My classroom is located at 20 Dominick Street in the city center. SIT rents from Youth Work Ireland, an organization that works with young people through different projects that facilitate social, creative, and educational development. Youth Work Ireland owns a four-story building at the end of a long block of identical structures. The Dominick family constructed the street in the 1750’s and in the 18th century it was known to be a fashionable section of Dublin.
|Google Earth picture of 20 Dominick Street. |
First red door from the right.
The very first time I pushed opened the heavy Georgian door and climbed the stairs to the second floor I was in awe. The walls are cream colored from floor to ceiling, broken up by decorative molding along the edges of the room. But beyond the two-dimensional plane of the walls, there are pairs of large birds, wings raised ready for flight, framed by the curls and flourishes of raised plaster. The patterns continue from the hallway into our own classroom and throughout the building. Click on the pictures to enlarge and see more detail!
|Second floor hallway ceiling|
|Panoramic view of the hallway ceiling|
|Birds are a signature of this particular artist.|
|View of the street from our classroom|
However the building has a much darker past, despite the incredibly restored beauty it now possesses. During the famine (1845-1852), the house was sub-divided, becoming a dwelling for 30 or 40 families. At some point (date TBD) the Dominick Street area housed many soldiers from the British army helping brew the perfect environment for prostitution. The house was used as an orphanage until 1960. Today in 2013 Dominick Street is home to many low-income families.
Cars and buses race by and people talk on their cell phones right next to iron gates and heavy wooden doors that are centuries old. I just love the way in which bits and pieces of history have intertwined harmoniously with modern day.