Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Shames Cork People for not supporting his Street Names Change Campaign

Banners printed and advertised around the city by Diarmaid Ó Cadhla and his followers shames Cork people for not supporting the campaign for changing British street names in Cork.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla , Cork, Shaming Cork , Shame on Cork
New Banners around Cork Shaming People for not supporting Ó Cadhla ‘s Anti-British Agenda

The campaign was first started by Ó Cadhla back in October last year when the Cork man had not been appointed as a County Councillor yet.
The banners invite people to Ó Cadhla’s office located at 99 Douglas Street on June 27th to discuss the issue. This meeting is part of series of sessions devoted to changing British street names in Cork, such as Victoria’s Cross, Marlborough Street, etc.
Inside O’Cadhla’s Meetings
Ó Cadhla’s meetings usually take place in his tiny office at 99 Douglas Street. Corkonians who attend the meetings are usually older citizens. The same group of his supporters regularly attend the meetings – except for people who attend out of curiosity or to object the cause.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla's office, Changing Street Names
Picture of an Anti-British Meeting at Ó Cadhla’s Office

This campaign along with the Irexit activism has given Ó Cadhla a considerable amount of publicity lately, helping him to get elected as Cork County Councillor from Cobh.

inside Diarmaid Ó Cadhla's office,
Code of Conduct at Councillor Ó Cadhla’s office

Just a few months ago the Councillor was detained on charges of vandalism when the Gardaí caught him painting on British street signs of the city. Ó Cadhla claims he was verbally abused by the Gardaí during an alleged two hours questioning.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Arrest, Vandalism, Gardaí , Garda Síochána
A Text Message Sent by Ó Cadhla to his Supporters after being Released from the Garda Station

In an exclusive interview with The Logical Radical last year, Ó Cadhla painted a gloomy image of the country and promoted nationalistic ideas.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Rj-HNFUjS6QkxNcWhPeDZPMlk/view

It is the first time that Councillor Ó Cadhla is shaming Cork people while promoting his Anti-British agenda.

 

Young and Disillusioned in Paris: A Look at Truffaut’s First Film “The 400 Blows”

“I have always preferred the reflect of the life to life itself.”

–    Francois Truffaut

Francois Truffaut’s first film “The 400 Blows” (“Les Quatre Cents Coups”) is the most intensely absorbing coming of age film ever made. It is the story of a school boy (Antoine Doinel) growing up in Paris. His parents and teachers consider him nothing but a troublemaker. The audience gets to see another side to him – when he puts up a poster of Balzac and makes a shrine for him by lighting a candle under his picture. This film has one of the most memorable endings: a shot of him looking straight into the camera. He has just broken free from a detention house, desperately tired; he runs until reaches the sea, caught between future and the past he looks behind and then walks towards the sea. He has never seen the sea before.

Jean-Pierre Léaud plays Antoine Doinel. The striking disillusionment in Léaud’s eyes makes you feel like he is not acting but rather living his life in front of the camera. This film was a start of a long collaboration between  Léaud and Truffaut. He was Truffaut’s Antoine again in a short film called “Antoine and Collette” (1962) and appeared in Truffaut’s three other films, “Stolen Kisses” (1968), “Bed and Board” (1970),“Love on the Run” (1979).

“The 400 Blows” considered being one of the first French New Wave Cinema films. Perhaps one of the elements that make such simple film so excellent would be the fact that its story is influenced by the director’s days as an adolescent. Truffaut dedicated the film to Andre Bazin who helped him to get his life together when he was a young man.

All the events of the movie seem to be there just to add to the impact of the film’s final shot. Film’s hero Antoine lives with his mother and stepfather and is in his early teens. Antoine’s mom, (Claire Maurier), is a blonde young woman who wants to keep away from her family – perhaps frustrated by their poverty, or distracted by an affair with someone from work. The boy’s stepfather, (Albert Remy), is a happy-go-lucky guy who tries to be as friendly as possible with Antoine – although he is not deeply attached to him. Both of his parents are preoccupied with their problems outside of the home and judge him by the terrible school reports.

Antoine’s teacher (Guy Decombie) knows him as a troublemaker and refuses to view him in a different light. He is not lucky either. When students pass a pin-up amongst each other in class, it is Antoine that gets caught with it. The teacher sends him to stand in the corner of the classroom as punishment where he writes a complaint on the wall. So the teacher orders him to wipe it off the wall, this stops him from transcribing tomorrow’s homework, so he skips class. However, he is forced to make an excuse for missing class, so he says his mother is dead. When her mother shows up at school, alive and outraged, he becomes known as a liar.

However, this boy reads Balzac and loves him. He loves him so much that unconsciously writes a part of one of his stories engrained in his memory in his school essay, and gets suspended from school over plagiarism.  From here his life takes a turn for the worst. He steals a typewriter from his stepfather’s workplace with his friend and gets caught and sent to detention house when tries to return it.

The only scene in which Antoine Doinel cries is where he is being driven through the streets of Paris to a detention house from the police station looking out of a barred police wagon– with a thief and three prostitutes.  His parents try to avoid taking him back in their conversations with authorities arguing that he will run away again. We see Antoine pulling up the collar of his jacket to his mouth from the day he gets arrested; we don’t know if Paris has gotten colder or that he feels colder away from his parents and under the care of social services.

However, the film has its fun moments as well. “Les Quatre Cents Coups” or “The 400 Blows” is a French expression which means “raising hell.” In one of the most hilarious scenes of the film, we see a physical education teacher leading a group of students on a morning jog on the streets of Paris. The boys run away two by two behind him until he ends up leading two students without realizing it. Another light moment in the film is when Antoine almost sets their place on fire by lighting a candle in a shrine he has made for Balzac in his bedroom. His parents forgive him, and they all go out to the movies. Antoine is happiest at that scene sitting in the backseat of his stepfather’s car laughing joyfully to his parents’ funny remarks about the film.

Truffaut made “The 400 Blows” when he was only 27 and died too soon at the age of 52 due to brain cancer, taking with himself many great ideas that could be fantastic movies. He made 21 films during his lifetime. However, “The 400 Blows” will always remain an ode to his younger self, fatherless and scared at school and on the streets of Paris. He was Antoine Doinel, and that makes this film so deeply touching.

When Jean-Luc Godard Changed Cinema: A Look at the Director’s First Film “Breathless”

Patricia Franchini: Listen. The last sentence is beautiful. “Between grief and nothing, I will take grief”. Which would you choose?

Michel Poiccard: …Grief’s stupid, I’d choose nothing. It’s no better, but grief’s a compromise. l want all or nothing.

Avant-garde filmmaking began with Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” (“A Bout de Souffle”) in 1960. One of the most influential films of French New Wave Cinema “Breathless” was the first movie in which “jump cuts” were debuted. Using jump-cuts means using “cuts within continuous movement or dialogue, with no attempt made to make them match.” This film is unique in showing an unprecedented amount of repulsion towards authority and in portraying young people who absorbed in their self-centered worlds, remain largely oblivious to what is going on in the real world.
Godard’s “Breathless” and Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde” directly influenced the youth rebellion of the 1960s. Perhaps, all young killers in Hollywood movies were trying to imitate Michel Poiccard (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
The surprise factor is compelling in “Breathless” as the events taking place in the movie appear very much accidental – as in real life. The two young characters are quite naive and immoral at the same time – as many young real-life criminals are. Michel the leading male character is a car thief who loves Humphrey Bogart and tries to act like a tough gangster that he is not. The young female character of the film is Patricia (played by Jean Seberg) an American in Paris who wants to enroll at the Sorbonne and meanwhile sells Paris editions of the New York Herald-Tribune on the streets. They are both unsure of what they want to become in life. Michel seems to kill just to keep a gangster persona. His tough act appears to be one of the reasons Patricia pursues him- she is also sexually attracted to him.
Michel practices the facial expressions of movie stars in the mirror, dresses like film noir gangsters and never stops smoking. Godard makes fun of chain-smoker leading male characters of movies when Michel takes his last breath, and a cloud of smoke comes out of his mouth. Maybe 26-year-old Jean-Paul Belmondo would appear a bit unattractive to play Michel (a New York Time reviewer called him “hypnotically ugly” at the time). But he plays Michel the way you can’t imagine him to be played by anyone else, and that is how you can tell that an actor is doing a good job. After all, we all know not being dashingly handsome does not stop French actors from becoming huge stars –Gerard Depardieu is one example of that.

Jean Seberg (film’s Patricia) was an American actress who found fame and success in France. Her film debut as St. Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger’s “Joan of Arc” (1957) didn’t go very well in America. In fact, she received terrible reviews for her acting in the movie. Preminger who had discovered her at 18 when she came to his talent search auditioning session made another movie with her the following year (Bonjour Tristesse) to prove the reviewers wrong, but it did not go well either. As a result of that Seberg, immigrated to Europe when she was 21 and was cast by Godard to play Patricia.
Patricia is the most enigmatic character in the movie – unlike Michel. We all know Michel is a young man whom fascinated by movie stars tries to act tough to hide his insecurities. But Patricia’s story is entirely different. She doesn’t find the fact that she might be pregnant to be paramount. She finds out Michel is indeed the cop murderer everyone’s looking for, has a wife and uses various aliases and takes this information with utmost indifference and detachment. One can’t possibly guess her thoughts from her facial expressions either. Her cheating on Michel is also a well-thought test – to find out if she loves him. Her cold-hearted, femme fatale persona is something that many reviewers have failed to point out – except for the late great Roger Ebert.

The film’s process of making was entirely experimental – as it was with most French New Wave Cinema films. Godard and many other New Wave Cinema directors started their careers as critics for an anti-establishment film magazine called Cahiers du Cinema. The whole film is an experiment. Godard wrote the script for each scene the same morning they had to shoot them. Director Claude Chabrol was the movie’s production designer; writer Pierre Boulanger plays the role of the police inspector, director Jean-Pierre Melville plays the writer whom Patricia interviews at a press conference and Godard and Francois Truffaut each play small roles in the film as well – Godard plays the role of the informer. Everyone behind the scene also helped a little in front of the camera– as in a film made by cinema students.
Raul Coutard film’s cinematographer (Godard’s favorite cinematographer) does a magnificent job, especially in the scene where Patricia and Michel are in bed smoking, and the clouds of smoke mingled with the light coming out of the window make it look as if they are sitting on a big cloud. It is the same scene in which Patricia comes home and finds Michel in her bed, they argue, flirt and smoke till she finally lets him make love to her. She presses her face on a painting of a girl by Renoir and asks Michel to judge who’s prettier at the same scene, and Michel sits next to a portrait of a man holding a mask by Picasso.
Godard uses jump-cuts throughout the film. A technique which emerged quite accidentally – Godard took a scissor and just cut everything he thought was boring. Jump-cuts went to become a popular technique amongst filmmakers.
“Breathless” received a spectacular reception from the public and film critics. Filmmakers left the theater questioning all the traditional notions of filmmaking. Godard had changed cinema permanently.

 

Cork County Councillor Sets EU Flag on Fire on Europe Day

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Independent Councillor for Cobh, set the EU flag on fire in front of the City Hall this evening.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, EU Flag Burning , City Hall, Europe Day
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla sets the EU Flag on Fire on Europe Day

Ó Cadhla who was surrounded by dozens of his supporters and bystanders spoke to them before setting the EU flag on fire.

Counting examples of other Europen Union countries Councillor Ó Cadhla said:” We’ve seen the heated debate in France and Holland, we know European Union membership is a red hot issue,” before going to praise Italy’s nationalist party for promising to hold a referendum on leaving the EU (Italexit) if elected in the next general election.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Eu Flag Burning City Hall Cork
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Speaking Next to EU’s Burnt Flag

Ó Cadhla counted the entrance of the United Kingdom the main reason behind Ireland’s joining the EU back in 1973. ” We are going to modernize you, they said. What has happened? We now have the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Famine,” said O’Cadhla blaming country’s housing crisis on the European Union Membership.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Cork City Hall Irexit
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Standing in Front of Cork’s City Hall

” We have a lack of future for young people, every day is filled with anxiety. Senior citizens are afraid to get sick, so they’d be left on hospital trolleys. This is what modernization has brought us!”

Ó Cadhla finished his speech in Gaelic language and set the EU’s flag on fire in front of the City Hall to his supporters’ delight. He then invited his supporters to his office at 99 Douglas Street to have ” many cups of tea.”

Irexit Ó Cadhla Cork City Hall
Anti-EU Banner left Outside Cork City Hall by Ó Cadhla Supporters

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla who considers himself an independent politician had made news recently when he got arrested on charges of vandalism while painting on British street signs in Cork. Ó Cadhla was released after a couple of hours of questioning by the gardaí.

He was also briefly jailed for refusing to disclose his campaign donations for his unsuccessful run in Ireland’s 2011 general election. The jail time was due to his refusal to pay a 300 Euro fine.

He is currently serving as  Councillor for Cobh in Cork County Councill.

 

 

 

Friends Forever: a Look at the Film ” Jules and Jim” 55 Years after its Release

François Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim” starts with an excited narration that tells the story of a friendship between two men – one French, one Austrian-. They meet in Paris and become best friends. “Each taught the other his language and culture. They shared an indifference for money.”

The Austrian Jules is unsuccessful at dating. Each of his dates turns out to have a particular flaw that makes him uninterested. He tries to be with a professional, but that won’t work for him either. The whole sequence of Jules trying his luck with different girls gives you this strange feeling that is not what this movie is about and we are in the early stages of getting into a much more complicated story.

Watching “ Jules and Jim” is a nostalgic trip to the times when filmmaking giants like Godard, Resnais and other New Wave cinema directors revolutionized French cinema. The film is François Truffaut’s third (He made “The 400 Blows in 1959 and “Shoot the Piano Player” in 1960). Even though Godard’s films are considered to be very influential in the development of New Wave cinema, “ Jules and Jim” remains to be one of the best examples of a form of filmmaking that refuses to play by the rules. There is something in the movie that appears fresh to the 2017 audience and unthinkable for the audience of 1962. The energy and, life that comes from the screen rekindles the relationship of the audience of today with the silver screen. It is no wonder that Americans copied Truffaut’s style in “ Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) just a few years after the release of “ Jules and Jim”. “ Jules and Jim” and “ Bonnie and Clyde” defined the sixties just to live stealthily in the corner of our minds like a hippie who dressed up in a suit and became a bank clerk in the seventies.

Truffaut’s masterpiece is an adaptation of a novel by Henri-Pierre Roche (1879-1959) who had lived through the events of the story. He was one side of the love triangle between Jules, Jim, and Catherine in real life. Roche wrote “ Jules and Jim” towards the end of his life, but the autobiographical nature of the story makes you feel like it was drafted by a young man, as Roche had to delve into his youth and recollect the moments described in the book. Roche’s Catherine was still alive when the film was released in 1962. She attended the film premiere anonymously and confessed later:” Yes, I am the girl who leaped into the Seine out of spite, who married her dear, generous Jules, and who, yes, shot Jules.”

However, Jim’s (Henri Serre) character does not perish with a shotgun in the movie (although Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) waves a gun to his face once). Truffaut wanted a more tragic ending than a lover wounding her love, taking the audience by surprise after hearing the four vague words of “ Jules, watch us, carefully!” the director leaves his audience shocked.

Jules and Jim are what one might call soul mates. They were made to be best friends. Once when Jules thinks he has found a perfect girl in Therese – just because she considers herself an anarchist and spray paints on the walls- after realizing he cannot find the love of his life in her, he confides to Jim that “ She was both mother and daughter to me.” Jules and Jim go from café to café and tell each other the stories of women who are not exactly what their mad souls desire.

One day they are invited to watch a slideshow of various sculptures, and they both become infatuated with a statue of a beautiful woman with a calming smile. The smiling woman captures their hearts so much that they decide upon a spontaneous trip to the Adriatic to see the statue. After they come back to Paris, they meet Catherine who looks exactly like their beloved icon. Jules becomes close to her and warns Jim that he is not willing to share this girl with him. Jim graciously agrees. They became inseparable. One of the film’s famous shots shows the trio in a rented cottage talking to each other while leaning out of separate windows. One night they go to watch a play, Jules doesn’t like the heroine’s free-spirited persona, Catherine loves it and jumps into the Seine just to show her admirations for her boldness and freedom. It is here that the narrator lets us know that it was her jump that made Jim’s heart weak for her. “ Jules and Jim” is a good example of best use of narration in a film.

Now they are both in love with one woman. World War I breaks out, Jules and Jim fight for different sides – they always fear that they might shoot each other- and Jules takes Catherine to Austria with the intention of marrying her. After the war, Jim goes to visit Jules and Catherine who are now married with a child (Sabine) and live in a cottage near Rheine River. Catherine is not happy. Jules tells Jim that Catherine cheats on him with different lovers. Jules is willing to do whatever it takes to make his Catherine happy. Even if that means sharing her with his best friend. “ If you love her, don’t think of me as an obstacle,” says Jules to Jim generously. Catherine asks Jim to move in with them. Jules contemplates divorcing her so that they could get married. Through all this he still considers Jim to be his best friend. He thinks what they have shared in their youth is so strong that they will survive this. But Catherine does not agree.

“ Jules and Jim,” unlike its name is Catherine’s film. It is an hour and a half of Jeanne Moreau captivating the audience with her stunning performance as Catherine. Her way of showing Catherine’s discontent is brilliant; it is in every inch of her body, it is in her face, it is even in her laughter. Perhaps it is her magic that we aren’t convinced that Catherine’s unpredictability indeed comes from her madness.

Historical aspects of World War I also being showed in this love story – Nazi book burning scenes. Truffaut also uses original newsreels of the war to make the story more believable. The film’s cinematography is as unconventional as it can be even by today’s standards. It is as if camera floats throughout the story. It breaks all the rules of how to shoot a movie set by the Hollywood directors and cinematographers.

The fact that the film goes through the time so quickly is actually one of its strong points. It is precisely as if an old man [Roche] is sitting at a café and goes through his memories to tell this story. It is exactly a trip in Roche’s mind, with happy days of youth floating by and days of sadness fading away in a dark passage.

Roche’s Catherine doesn’t need a psychiatrist to diagnose her of some form of hysteria – like Hitchcock drags a professional into the story to explain Norman Bates’s behavior in Pyscho (1960).Jules and Jim is a story of three friends whom unable to recreate the happy days of youth fall into the claws of sadness. It is one of those rare films that shows the inconsistency of human emotions in the best way possible.

Village Hall Plays Host to the Second Cork Loves Music Event

The second edition of Cork Loves Music event will kick-start on 27th of April in Patrick’s Quay’s Village Hall Vintage Shop.

Cork Loves Music , Mike McGrath-Bryan
The second Cork Loves Music will Take Place on 27th of April at Village Hall Vintage Shop

The evening of talks and live performances will feature writer and Editor Jamie Coughlan former radio programming director Colm O’Sullivian, and music bloggers Gary Meyler and Siobhán “Shiv” Brosnan.

Lowli, Spekulativ Fiktion & JusMe and Circuits of Heaven are going to perform live music at the event.

The changing faces of music journalism, the place of Irish artists in foreign and domestic media and media relations policies for artists and producers are among the topics that will be discussed at Thursday night’s event, according to the announcement published on the event’s social media page.

Mike McGrath-Bryan Music journalist and one of the main organizers of the event said that he is hoping to expand the knowledge of art and music in the community with these series of events.

“Local, interesting acts are the ones that we choose,” said McGrath –Bryan about the organizers’ preference in selecting the event’s acts.

McGrath-Bryan also described the first Cork Loves Music event as an introduction to these series of events that would hopefully “lead to larger ones.”

Music journalist Jamie Coughlan who is also a guest speaker at the event described his concern for addressing the issues in the music industry and starting a dialogue between “people from different sides of the industry” as the primary motivations behind his participation in the event.

Coughlan believes that the exchange of insights between people from the sector is the most significant opportunity that the event is providing for the individuals involved in the music industry. The journalist is hopeful that such talks would take place all over the country.

The last Cork Loves Music event was held back in February at Coughlan’s Live. Young, budding musicians performed in the February’s event. Journalists such as Irish Examiner’s Ellie O’Byrne and also First Music Contact’s (FMC) CEO Angela Dorgan were the event’s guest speakers of the previous gathering.

The event first started in September last year as part of TEDx talks and got expanded following its success.

 

 

Art : Ever-present or a Missing Link in Cork Architecture

Nicola Brandonisio’s apartment window opens to a large-scale concrete building in Cork’s city center called Sample Studios. Being a researcher at Tyndall National Institute his mind is always preoccupied with data and research progress. “I like to start the day feeling calm and happy considering the amount of work I have to do during the day, but I look out the window every morning and I see this giant ugly building. It really depresses me,” says the young researcher.

Sample Studios , Sullivan's Quay Ugly Building in Cork
Sullivan’s Quay’s Sample Studios is not a Popular Building in Cork

On the busy desk of Marcus Mulvihill at the glass building of Cork City Hall erasers, pencils and numerous pencil-drawn sketches make the visitor mistaken it for an artist’s desk. Asked why not completely switch to a computerized design, Mulvihill smiles and says that he finds drawing on paper “more pleasurable.”

 That is the story of Cork. A city that has its fair share of unsightly buildings but also has architects who draw her pretty structures on paper in hope of passing them by in real life one day, looking just as they envisioned them to be. But right now the old Sample Studios unknowingly ruins a beautiful morning for a young researcher, every day.

Ironically, Sample Studios is now a semi-operational art studio that is going to be completely closed in the unknown future. The artist residents of the former tax office have tried to give it a better look by drawing graffiti on the building’s old entry and parking walls. The building has or used to have a white coat of paint as dark patches have emerged upon its concrete surface.

Sample Studios is not the only building in Cork that has aged badly and Cork residents find it a “depressing site” to look at. If you go to St. Patrick Street on a Sunday afternoon and ask everyday people to name the least aesthetically pleasing buildings in the city you’ll get a long list of answers: Gardner House on South Mall, the Fire Station, Garda Station, the library- this last one might surprise you since Cork Library has competed in the category of People Choice Awards for Architecture at Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland’s (RIAI) annual Architecture Competition in 2016.

City architect Marcus Mulvihill blames fear of change for the functional, simple designs of some of Cork’s buildings. “I think the reason why there are so many white, bland designs in Cork is that we’ve become a developer-driven society and most people are in fear of doing anything that isn’t standard and normal. So we stick to the most neutral designs as much as possible.” Mulvihill thinks that regrets and what ifs after every project are an inseparable part of a city architect’s job. “You’re strongly encouraged to stick with the average and mundane for the sake of a quick and easy fix,” says Mr. Mulvihill.

Looking at the history of Cork architecture one can find stories of hope, ruined beauties, and risings from the ashes. Cork Opera House has such story in its long history. Originally called “The Athenaeum”, the building was built in 1855. Irish architect Sir John Benson along with his British colleague C.J Phipps were the designers of “The Athenaeum”. Their design follows a style that is close to Neo-Classical architecture. Renamed to “The Munster Hall” in 1875, it became known as the “Cork Opera House” we all know today in 1877.

Burnt down in 1955, the beloved building stood there burnt, ugly and looking disheveled for almost a decade, only to regain its beauty in 1965 thanks to one of the most famous – arguably the most creative as well – Irish architects Michael Scott. The building got a modern makeover in the 20th century when it was renovated in 2003. Cork-based architecture firm Murray O’Laoire Architects designed a huge shiny facade for it that has connected all three floors of the place together from a visual standpoint. The exterior changes were fundamental: stone entrance, tower-like components, and wooden doors. The building is currently going under development again.

The English Market is another old building that is going to get a new look. Mulvihill and his colleagues at Cork City Hall envision a glass ceiling for the tourist-favorite spot. The Victorian style designed market has been around since 1610. However, the “covered market” we all know today was built in 1786. Just like the Opera House, English Market is a survivor of fire (1980 and 1986 fires) and has been restored twice. Both restoration processes remained loyal to the original Victorian architecture of the market.

The market is also getting a new neighbor as construction work on the site of the former Cinema Capitol is almost finished and a new modern building with a chocolate brown clock on its top has emerged in its place. Wilson Architecture is the firm behind the design of the soon-to-be five-storey retail and office complex. The sharp contrast of modernism and tradition between the two neighbors is an interesting sight to look at. It is like watching tradition gasping for air while Capitalism swiftly inhales oxygen into its massive lungs.

the capitol , English market , cork architecture
The Architecture of English English Market’s New Neighbor is in Sharp Contrast with the Victorian Style Architecture of the Market

 

Irish architecture has gone through many styles and movements. From towers and castles in the medieval Ireland to the reasonable forms of Palladian architecture in the early 18th century, architecture in Ireland has come a long way. Cork is a city that has at least one structure from most architecture movements. Cork City Hall that has been designed by Jones and Kelly in the early 1930’s keeps the light of Georgian architecture bright, while English Market originally designed by Sir John Benson is a constant reminder of Victorian architecture. Traces of 1950 to 1970’s modernist movement such as the controversial Brutalist architecture can still be seen in the old houses at Douglas and Mayfield.

It is true that Ireland has lost some of her most talented architects such as Michael Scott and Andrew Devine (who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright).  However, there’s still place for creativity and art in Cork’s buildings while there are architects like globally- recognized John Tuomey and Sheila O’Donnell who are still alive and working today. They do not like the idea of specifying their style, in their own words they like to design buildings that are “strangely familiar”, (novel but free of intimidation).

University College Cork’s Lewis Glucksman gallery was one of their projects. Finished in 2005, the building stands on the edge of the college. It is raised among the trees in a series of twists and turns and has a calming view of both up and down the river. O’Donnell and Tuomey decided not to worry about measuring the space between the trees and let the building stand free among them as to create an illusion of turning. It is as if the Glucksman plays a mediatory role between two places: the campus and the city. It turns to keep an eye on Cork but turns to the college again. The gallery’s café has also a unique feature, in that it appears interconnected with the surroundings outside the building. As in most O’Donnell and Tuomey Avant-garde projects the concept behind Glucksman is also open to interpretation.

There is no doubt that bringing art into architecture requires a great amount of funding from the government. Dublin-based architects Marcus Donaghy and Will Dimond of Donaghy + Dimond Architects, learned this fact the hard way as their artistic vision for West Cork Art Center (Uillinn) won the favor of jurors at a 2009 international competition but encountered many difficulties to come to life as the country hit the recession and the promised funds could not be delivered on time. Even today, the digital illustration of their design for the Uillinn appears slightly different from the actual building.

As the aftermath of the recession, the homeless crisis started to worsen in the country and is still ongoing today. Does that mean designing artistic, beautiful buildings would be wrong when there are so many people that don’t have a simple roof over their heads? Marcus Mulvihill does not believe that there’s any correlation between the two issues. Calling them two separate issues this architect thinks that building beautiful buildings does not have to be more expensive than building ugly ones, “if you do everything in a proper way.”

But it might not be as simple as that. Some architects strongly believe that the government contracting system (GCC contracts) is limiting the control of architects over the final outcome of projects. Mulvihill confirms this argument and believes that after the architects are done designing the buildings; contractors take over and might sacrifice the artistic aspects of the building for delivering a low-cost project in order to increase profit margins.

The reflection of buildings in Cork’s River Lee fools the daydreamers as a watercolor painting. Construction workers talk and laugh together after a long working day. The shadow of art dances on some buildings and dies little by little on others. That is the story of Cork City and her buildings.