A special screening of this award winning documentary . This is a FREE event , though there will be a raffle and collection with all proceeds donated to the Cycle Against Suicide initiative.
In memory of our friend and colleague Sarah Lundberg , to mark the second anniversary of her death. Hosted by the East Wall History Group and the Alternative Visions Oral History Group , with the support of Nascadh CDP .
“I am satisfied, that a knowledge of the art of swimming would be far more useful to the rising generation, than many accomplishments which are at present taught at a very great expense.” – Roger Lamb (1911)
It happens every year: as soon as there is a hint of sunshine the young people of the Dockland communities take to the river, and dive, leap and somersault into the arms of Anna Livia. There are of course though who tut tut and question the safety of this act, and there has in the past been some unpleasant occurrences. However, those engaged in the sport of recklessly projecting themselves towards the water are part of a long standing local tradition. It is possible that their parents, their grand-parents and even their great grand-parents behaved similarly, and in fact there is evidence that this recreation was taking place at least 250 years ago. What follows is the opening paragraphs of “Memoir of his own life” , written by Roger Lamb , and first published in 1811, in which the author describes his near death experience on the Liffey (in 1862).
“I drew my first breath in the city of Dublin, on the 17th of January 1756, of humble, industrious, and virtuous parents. I was the youngest of eleven children. My eldest brother sacrificed his life in the defence of his country: he died in consequence of a wound which he received on board one of the king’s ships. At the time of his death I was only five years old; but I remember that my father was greatly afflicted at it: and the more so, when he found my inclination of mind was also to the sea. Considering his situation, which though reputable, was far from affluent, and the labour necessary to support his family; he was a man of much reading, which strong narrative powers of intellect had led him to digest and methodize. He was far from being unacquainted with seafaring matters. I well remember, when a child, walking with him down the North Wall, he would describe to me, in the most interesting manner, a naval engagement, and by the most apt and familiar transition, turn the discourse to the battles which were then fighting between the English and the French. I am aware that my father’s motive, while he amused me in these conversations, was to instruct: but he little imagined, that in so doing, he was kindling a martial ardour in my young breast, which might, and ultimately did lead my heedless steps into very dangers he would have wished me to shun, and against which he would have guarded me with fondest anxiety. At length he began to perceive his error: for when he discovered my attention engrossed by these subjects, with tears I his eyes, he would say,” Ah, my dear child, I see your little breast is fired with this account. I only relate these things to inform your judgement. I have lost one fine boy already fighting for his country. Surely you will never leave your father. You must stay with me and your mother; and be our support and comfort in our old days.” Much as I loved my father, and deep as these affectionate speeches sunk in my mind; they had a tendency which he little imagined when he first used them. It was from these discourses of my father that an anxious desire was first raised in my mind for a seafaring life.
Our house being on the river Liffey, I was a constant frequenter of its quays, and the places where shipping were moored. There I soon acquired the art of climbing up the masts of vessels. At the age of six years I began to practice the art of swimming; but by my temerity, I was near losing my life at that tender period. This circumstance occurred in the old dock, near the spot where the new Custom House now stands. The tide was full in, and in imitation of some grown lads, who practised these leaps, as feats of activity, I jumped from off the steps. I soon, however found, that what I had thought swimming, in shallow water, was but the paddling of a child: for I sunk like a stone, in nearly ten feet of water. Among the spectators, providentially for me, were many expert swimmers; one of whom observing that I did not rise to the surface of the water, immediately plunged in and took me up, almost dead. This circumstance, far from deterring me from going again into the water, only made me more eager to acquire perfection in the art of swimming, in which, after some time, I became such a proficient, that from off the bowsprits and round-tops of ships, I frequently leaped head foremost into the river. I now recollect the dangers to which I exposed myself on the watery element, even before I had attained my ninth year!
I recognise with gratitude, the protecting arm divine, and, in humble adoration of that Providence which hitherto guided me in safety, through the progress of an eventful life, am led to say with the poet,
“Oft hath the sea confest thy power,
And given my back to thy command;
It could not, Lord! My life devour,
Safe in the hollow of thy hand.”
It may be necessary here to remark, that the dangers into which boys precipitate, in learning to swim, might for the most part, be avoided, by choosing places, where grown persons should attend, and protect them from danger, while they taught then the practice. I am satisfied, that a knowledge of the art of swimming would be far more useful to the rising generation, than many accomplishments which are at present taught at a very great expense. But until something of this kind is established, I may be permitted to remark, how necessary it is both for health and safeguard against accident that every lad intended either for the sea or land service should be taught to swim. I would recommend the following rules, to all, who may wish to become expert swimmers.
Throw yourself on your back, so as to lie straight and stiff, suffering yourself to sink until the surface of the water becomes level with your ears. Your body will thus acquirean equilibrium, and so long as you keep yourself lying at your length in this way, you will be enabled to float like a log in the watery element. Some have been saved from shipwreck by these means.”
Roger Lamb did not pursue a life at sea. Following a misfortune at gambling, he joined the British Army in 1773. He served during the American War of Independence, and was captured, imprisoned and escaped on a number of occasions (See http://eastwallforall.ie/?p=3413 ).
Having returned to Dublin he married in 1786. He took up a position as Master at the Methodist Free School in Whitefriar Street, which he would maintain for thirty years. He would author two books, one an account of his War of Independence days – “An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurrences During the Late American War” (Published 1809) and “Memoir of his own life” (Published 1811). He died in 1830.
Follow link below to video depicting North Wall, playground of the Young , courtesy of Paul Kelly / North Wall Series :
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LOCAL EMPLOYMENT ACTION PARTNERSHIP)
While young people might be eager to work, choosing a career and getting yourself started in it is not always straightforward for 18-24 year olds.
Back in 2014 one of the local community organisations ‘East Wall Youth’ made a presentation to companies operating in the IFSC asking them what role they could play in supporting young adults in becoming job ready. Part of this presentation highlighted recent research which had identified the employability of young people in Dublin’s north inner city as a key issue where the business community could make a significant impact. In fact, many companies were already making a positive contribution and investing resources into helping improve education and employment opportunities within the local community.However, it was felt that a more structured and co-ordinated approach would be more be effective and could target those who would benefit most.
As a result of this initial discussion, a partnership model was proposed which would see East Wall Youth, Members of Business in the Community and Trinity College Dublin come together to pilot an employability study, to support individuals faced with barriers to employment.This led to the exciting new initiative, the Local Employment Action Partnership (L.E.A.P), with the project now up and running.
Setting this all up might seem like an easy task, but to get to this point it has taken 19 months of very intensive work by the partners involved -East Wall Youth, Swan Youth Service as the community partners, Business in the Community and the glue that holds it all together The School of Education Trinity College. This is an ambitious and significant undertaking – it is not just about delivering immediate results (though we are confident it will), but is also about establishing a fresh approach and setting a template and standard for ongoing and similar initiatives. This is a pilot project When all the research and evaluations are examined it is planned to make available (through open access) all of the training modules that have been tried and tested. Funding has been provided for this project by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) and Business in the Community. The trainers and the mentors are all participating on a purely voluntary basis.
At the beginning of this month (July 4th 2016) the initial training course for young people started. The participants will complete two full weeks of training, followed by a job placement for three weeks, with a one to one mentor to supporting them at all stages.
If you would like more information about this exciting project you can contact the community partners directly- East Wall Youth at Strangford Road, East Wall orSwan Youth Serviceat North William Street.
Today, the 4th of July is celebrated in North America as Independence Day. This marks the date in 1776 when the United States of America was formally declared as a separate nation , and allegiance to the British Crown was repudiated.
It may be Surprising to hear that a local man, Roger Lamb, is something of a hero of the American revolutionary War, though on the British side. He afterwards wrote a memoir of his experiences in the war (and as a prisoner), which is now considered a classic of its kind. He also authored an autobiography, which features some fascinating details of Dublin life, and the Docks area as it was in the late 1700’s. We will be publishing some extracts from this shortly , but for now enjoy this brief account of Roger Lambs American revolutionary war experiences.
He was born in 1756 and grew up somewhere in the vicinity of Dublin Port. We are unsure of exactly where though it has been suggested that it was on North Wall. He was the youngest of 11 children, and despite an older brother’s death in Naval service, from a young age Roger dreamed of a life at sea. His father discouraged him from this, and eventually he found himself in the British Army. This was not necessarily a career choice he was pursuing and his route into military service was not an unheard of one. In his own words: “I had now arrived at a remarkable epoch in my life…It was on the 10th of August, 1773, that in my 17th year, when being seduced to gambling by some evil companions, with whom I thoughtlessly associated, I lost my little all. Forgetful of all the moral lessons so anxiously inculated in my mind by my father, I was blind to my danger, and united with those who became my corruptors, and worst enemies. Afraid to return and tell my father of my indiscretions, who would have rebuked and forgiven me , I shrank from my best hope , parental admonition , and formed the resolution of entering for a soldier “.
He marched to Waterford to join the 9th Foot Regiment , a journey which took six days. His autobiography describes in detail the drilling and discipline, and recalls crying the first time he witnessed a fellow recruit being flogged (75 lashes). A mass desertion was contemplated by some of the men but the fear of such punishment dissuaded them. The following year he was stationed in the North of Ireland and in 1775 was posted to Dublin.
That year would also see the outbreak of what is now commonly referred to as the American War of Independence, which saw thirteen colonies challenge the legitimacy of British Rule . These would soon declare themselves independent , and proclaim themselves the United States of America. Hostilities would quickly escalate and continue until 1783, with the now ‘Sergeant’ Roger Lamb finding himself at the heart of the conflict for the next 8 years of his life. It was to be an eventful period for the young man, who would see combat in two major military campaigns and also be captured, imprisoned and escaped on four separate occasions.
Initially posted to Canada, he served under General Burgoyne who invaded the colonies from the north, with the intention of driving a wedge between New England and the southern colonies. However, as the force moved southwards the revolutionaries managed to block his supply routes preventing their progress, and Burgoyne eventually surrendered at the battle of Saratoga in 1777. Lamb was amongst those captured, and also amongst a large number which escaped, and having made his way to New York was assigned to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
An online history of Prison camps from the Revolutionary War summarised the experiences very accurately as follows :
“Sergeant Roger Lamb, an Irishman who served with the Twenty-third Regiment of Welsh Fusiliers, made his own luck and his own misfortune by repeatedly escaping imprisonment and returning to the field where he would be imprisoned again. He fought under Burgoyne and was first captured at Saratoga. He escaped before the Appalachian march and joined Major Andre’s forces. Then he fought under Cornwallis at Yorktown and was captured again and again he escaped. He reached Frederick, Maryland, where he was promptly captured and held in the Hessian Barracks prison. From there he moved to Winchester, Virginia, for a brief stay and then on to York.
His officers warned him he’d be put in jail in Winchester on account of his penchant for flight, and suggested he squirrel himself away in the hospital which would delay his move to York by a few weeks and keep him out of Revolutionary cross-hairs. When he finally reached Camp Security, his old comrades from the Ninth Regiment in Burgoyne’s army were ready for him. They had heard he was coming and so secured a pass for him from the American commander. They even built him a hut at Camp Indulgence. Thus Lamb, unlike the rest of Cornwallis’ troops and despite his mastery of the art of escape, got the same kid glove treatment granted the relatively settled Burgoyne prisoners.
Of course he tried to rouse them into escaping and rejoining the British forces in New York, but they’d been prisoners going on five years by the time Lamb arrived. They were treated well, had families and jobs. They just weren’t up for rejoining the fight. They did help Lamb escape this prison too, though. He and seven of Cornwallis’ men from the Twenty-third Regiment successfully fled in March of 1782 and joined Sir Guy Charlton’s troops in New York City.
The war was basically over by then. Yorktown was the last major battle and preliminary peace negotiations were already in the works in 1782. The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, formally ended the war. Lamb sailed for Portsmouth in December 1783. Upon his return he received his discharge and went back home to Dublin where he became a teacher and started a family.”
Having returned to Dublin he married in 1786. He took up a position as Master at the Methodist Free School in Whitefriar Street, which he would maintain for thirty years. He would author two books, one an account of his War of Independence days – “An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurrences During the Late American War” (Published 1809) and “Memoir of his own life” (Published 1811).
The Poet and author Robert Graves, best known for “I Claudius”, used Lambs memoirs as the basis for two fictional novels published in 1940 and 1941. (Graves had himself been a member of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers was seriously injured at the Battle of the Somme and shell-shocked). It may have been a case of Truth is stranger than fiction, as “Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth” and “Proceed, Sergeant Lamb” were both reasonably well received , though some reviewers were more taken with the period detail and setting rather than the narrative (ironic considering it was largely factually based).
Roger Lamb died in 1830. His two published books make very interesting reading. “An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurrences During the Late American War” is considered an important record of the period and is of major historical significance. As well as describing his own time during the revolutionary war he also analyses the broader conflict, and there is also an interesting section devoted to the issue of Black slavery, with Lamb highlighting the hypocrisy of a nation proclaiming freedom yet tolerating this brutality. “Memoir of his own life” contains fascinating snippets of Dublin life from the late 1700’s, including the authors own near drowning in the Liffey , the execution of pirates and the duelling prevalent at that time.
We will be publishing some of these excerpts in the near future.
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“An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurrences During the Late American War” (1809) and “Memoir of his own life” (1811) By Roger Lamb.
(An omnibus edition is available from http://www.ballindalloch-press.com/
“Drawings from Sergeant Lamb’s Journal,” Camp Security Virtual Museum, accessed July 3, 2016, http://www.campsecurity.org/museum/items/show/80.
Summary of Lambs military career sourced from http://www.thehistoryblog.com/
“We are having terrible times out here this while back
Roll on the end.”
These are the last words written in a letter from James Nimmo to his mother Rachael, from number 44 Caledon Road, East Wall. James was a private, a drummer in the Connaught Rangers, killed in action at Flanders on AUGUST 3rd 1915. Aged 23 at the time of his death, he was buried in France.
The Nimmo family were part of the North Dock population that originated in Scotland. James and Rachel had immigrated from Posilpark Glasgow to Dublin, sometime in the 1890’s. They had a total of eight children, though only six survived – Jeanie, James, Thomas, Alice, Rachael and Henry. Of the surviving children, all but Jeanie and James were born in Dublin.
In 1901 the family were living at 25 St Mary’s Road. This was a ‘tenement’ house,divided into two separate two-roomed dwellings. Their two-rooms were occupied by the seven family members, while eight members of the Constantine family were in the other. The father’s occupation was listed as a ‘Fireman, in manure works’. By 1911 the family were living at 44 Caledon Road. James senior’s occupation remains the same, while 17 year old Thomas is a ‘labourer in Iron works’. Thomas would also serve in the Great War.
James Nimmo died on the 3rd August 1915. He was one of twelve parishioners recalled on the Great War memorial unveiled at St Barnabas Church in 1919. (When the church was demolished in 1969 this was relocated and remains at the North Strand Church).
As part of his ongoing project examining the links between Glasgow and the Dublin Docks , musician Paul O’Brien recorded this song , with lyrics based on the words of Nimmos letter to his mother.
Just a line in answer to your letter of the 3rd which I received quite safe and was glad to hear everybody is well at home as this leave me in the very best at present. I received your papers and xxx letters alright, I was glad to get them as they gave the league results of Seaview xxx xxxwhen Dick played for them this season. I have had no word from Tom yet I can’t make it out why he never wrote to you even before he left India.
The weather is getting a bit hard now of course we can’t expect anything else this time of the year but it is hard being in the trenches in the morning after lying in them all night. We have had some poorly times lately but they are nearly all over. Xxxx xxx xxxxis on some staff job he isn’t in any danger where he is. I haven’t got much to say as it is very awkward writing in the trenches. So long as you can get word from one it is alright. I am very thankful to both you and Dad for the gifts you sent out. Well when you send me those socks don’t mind sending out any more cigs or tobacco as the people are after sending out plenty, I have as much now as will do for xxx months. Though I was glad of it at the time. Well I shall close now as we don’t know the minute we have to be off.
Remember me to all at home
Giving my best, Love to Mother + Dad
For the present
Mother about me not leaving you so much a week. Well it’s like this it was the way I was tricked, there was a cpl. in the drums and he went round the room asking if we were leaving anything to our people so I gave him my name leaving you 15 shill a month. So did all the other drummers but to our surprise after we were in France he told us he was only joking. So that is how you didn’t get it but you have it all to come if anything should happen me, so don’t think I forgot about you, never
Goodbye for the present
We are having terrible times out here this while back
Roll on the end.”
Another song by Paul O’Brien, this one imagining the thoughts of the older Nimmo family members as they consider their choice to move from Glasgow to Dublin, and the hope that they might one day return there.
For comments, clarifications or further information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image credits :
Extracts from letter: National Archive of Ireland NAI/2002/119
Photo of soldiers : Nigel MacGowan / East Wall History Group/ Gallery of photography Ireland
St Barnabas Plaque : irishwarmemorials.ie
Videos courtesy Paul O’Brien
Last weekend the Rising Stars School of Dance (based in Ballybough) traveled to Blackpool for the freestyle World Championships. They had amazing results with a number of East Wall girls sharing in the success . We can now proudly say that on top of everything else, our community is now home to more than one World Champion Dancer !
Their teachers Sabrina O’Callaghan and Jayde Wellings couldn’t be happier!
Congratulations to everybody involved , particularly the Girls from East Wall , but also the other areas and a special congratulations to the great teachers who made it happen.
Three videos of some of the events at local schools during the 1916 centenary year . All produced by Eoin McDonnell , and features pupils from St Joseph’s Co-ed East Wall and St Laurence O’Toole’s CBS Seville Place.
The local history groups involved can be contacted at :