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Dublin’s National Stadium: From Boxing to Bingo

Dublin’s National Stadium: From Boxing to Bingo

October 19, 2020

Dublin's National Stadium: From Boxing to Bingo

It's where U2 signed their first record deal.
It's where 16 Irish Olympic medallists got their first licks in.
It's where, for the past 40 years, Bingo has been called 3 nights a week.
It's where, for the past 4 year, sold-out crowds have come to watch OTT wrestling. And it’s where every Sunday you’ll find the All Nations Church gathered to pray. 

This 'where', is Dublin's National Stadium.

In the words of those who know it best, "It's the home of Irish boxing...", but it's also home to so much more. This documentary explores the oral history of the stadium, celebrating the rise and fall of the deeply interconnected communities who have come to call it home over the past 80 years. 

In this program, we take a trip back in time to learn about the founding of the stadium, how it was, and still is, “...the only purpose-built boxing stadium in the world.” We hear from Dave McCartney the stadium manager and learn how the stadium has been a fixture in his family for generations. Producer Brian Byrne then explores the dichotomy at the heart of the stadium, how the two very different worlds - boxing and bingo, exist side by side. Ann Smith the stadium’s infamous bingo caller, and a range of colorful characters provide insight into the high stakes world of bingo. While the tradition of boxing is revealed by Art O'Brien, general secretary at the Irish Amateur Boxing Association. 

But boxing and bingo are only part of the stadium's story. Gary O’Neill, author of Where Were You recalls what it was like to be a young fella trying to sneak into gigs at the stadium in its hey-day. From Pastor John Aherne of the All Nation’s Church - we hear the story of how a  boxing ring came to be his pulpit. And Aonghus Óg McAnally, commentator for Over The Top wrestling explains how in recent years, Irish professional wrestling has introduced an entirely new community to the stadium. 

“Community is essential for all of us, whether you get that in Croker on a Sunday, or whether you get that in mass on a Sunday or whether you get that at an Ed Sheeran gig...I don't mind but it’s vital for us to come together as humans, and for those people in the crowd to get those magic moments, to get your breath taken away...those are magic moments.” Aonghus Óg McAnally: commentator at Over The Top Wrestling.

Featuring voices from families for whom the stadium became more than just a building. ‘From Boxing to Bingo: The Story Of Dublin’s National Stadium’ aims to capture some of the magic moments the stadium has borne witness to over the years.

CREDITS: ‘From Boxing to Bingo: The Story Of Dublin’s National Stadium’ was produced by Brian Byrne. And was funded by the Sound and Vision scheme. 

With special thanks to David McCartney, Ann Smith, Sinead Mooney, Gary O'Neill, Aonghus Óg McAnally, John Aherne, Art O'Brien, Francesca Lalor and Cian Hogan. As well as all those at the IABA, Over the Top Wrestling, and the All Nations Church who contributed. 

Managed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the Sound and Vision scheme provides funding in support of high quality programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience.

History in Residence

History in Residence

January 9, 2020

In 2016 thousands of people took to the streets across the country to take part in events commemorating the Easter Rising. In Dublin alone there were over 100 different community events. This was when Dublin City Council realised that there was an appetite for history in the city, and the need for community-based history resource. This was how the historians in residence program was born.

The following year in 2017, the council hired 6 historians in residence (the first of their kind in the city) with the mandate to take history down from the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, and back into our communities. To deepen and empower public connection to the past, promoting a sense of historical identity and pride - and to show that history can be just as much about the present, as it is the past.

Cathy Scuffil, Maeve Casserly, Mary Muldowney, Cormac Moore, Bernard Kelly and James Currymake up the team of historians. They each have their ‘own’ area of Dublin to work in, and over the past 2 years they’ve held talks, given guided walks, helped the revival of weaving in the Liberties, started history clubs, oral history projects and made history engaging for people from all walks of life.

This documentary follows the work of the historians in residence, and takes you on a journey across Dublin and into its past, featuring little known stories behind some of Dublin’s history- like why the forty foot is called the forty foot, what Hannah Sheehy Skeffington did to the census, or the origin of the animals which once adorned our coins.

History in Residence was first broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday Jan 12th 2019.

Science for the Love of it

Science for the Love of it

March 31, 2019

This is Science For The Love Of It, a short radio documentary telling the story of Martyn Linnie, professor of Zoology and curator of the Trinity College Zoological Museum.

This documentary was first broadcast on RTE 1 Extra in September 2019

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