Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Epic Emigration Experience

Oblique View Sept/Oct. 2019,

An EPIC trip to Dublin

The Epic Emigration Experience

On Friday September 27th I took a trip to the capital. I often think that I would have liked to have spent a real wedge of time there to familiarise myself with what Dublin has to offer. That will hardly happen now so it will have to be explored as per usual in short visits. The most recent visit was motivated by two things in no particular order. One was for the launch of Mossie Martin’s CD in the Cobblestone and the other one was to follow up on the very positive reports emanating from friends who had visited the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum.
   EPIC in Dublin's Docklands and covers the history of the Irish diaspora and emigration to other countries. Its founder is Downpatrick born, South Africa raised Coca Cola supremo E. Neville Isdell and it was designed by a London-based design firm. It was voted as "Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction" at the 2019 World Travel Awards. This is an outstanding achievement for a tourist destination in its very short existence having come on stream in 2016. It is now challenging for world recognition through a voting system. 
It is located on Custom House Quay about 7/8 minutes from Connolly Station. It was formerly a bonded wine warehouse and this is evident with the series of vaulted-ceilings like’ caverns which house the broad range of emigration themes on display.
The varied themes celebrate the millions of Irish people who have emigrated to the various parts of the globe and how many of them and their descendants achieved great things and made enduring impacts on their adopted countries. I was not taking any notes during my three-hour tour as I soon realised that I would need to revisit the EPIC Centre again to get a better evaluation of it. There are many connections with Roscommon noted such as Margaret Cousins of Boyle and her work in India also the painter Roderic O’Connor. It was in the traditional music area, however, that Roscommon came alive and was best represented. First there was a stirring display of a music session in a traditional pub in London, The Auld Triangle, and playing there were James Carty Jnr. and his uncle James. Minutes later in that same vault we heard more traditional musicians and were introduced to John Carty and Matt Molloy. Nearby were the McNulty family originally from Kilteevan who were prominent entertainers in New York up to the 1950s’. This area had a hugely impressive tribute to Riverdance and Roscommon was represented by Michael (?) Donnellan from Ennis the son of Michael from Ciaran’s Park in Roscommon town.
There was also a fine representation of the GAA with team pictures from clubs around the world. In the one for Perth, Australia, a friend of ours, Sean Casey, just visible in the background. Sean is married to Joan O’Gara of Boyle. I figured he might be visible in any GAA representation so Joan/Séan if you read this you are in there in the EPIC. As James Cagney’s character, Coady Jarrett, exclaims in the film ‘White Heat’…” Made it Ma! Top of the world”. I’m forcing that in there Sean!
Anyway as General McArthur said, ‘I will return’ to the aptly named Epic. If anyone else visits it, who reads this, please let me know what you think of it. As part of my China watch I noticed in the queuing area near the reception area A 4 sized laminated pages with the flag of China top left corner. I did not investigate it further after a guide told me they hadn’t noticed it before or knew anything of it!
 The guides are very helpful and would like a stamp of approval in the evaluation area at the end. *There is also a process where you can nominate a person who you feel should be considered for the exhibition. As an example, I nominated Maureen O’Sullivan.
On a practical level there are lockers for your goods if you have already done some shopping etc. Also there are numerous eating and coffee locations in the mall of which it is the basement. You may exit from the Epic for refreshments and return to it with your day pass. All this information is online of course and as seasoned travellers will know to avoid queues in mid- summer etc. etc.
I really recommend the EPIC Emigration Experience and of course I am not doing justice to it here just alerting you to it. 

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