'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage’ is a work in progress, commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and due to be completed in the autumn of 2008. The following tale represents research I have undertaken for the project which may or may not be used in the final book.
East Wall, they say, is something of an independent republic. Since Victorian times, the area has been bordered by the River Tolka, the East Wall Road, the Royal Canal and a broad sweep of cast iron railway tracks. For the 1700 or so households in East Wall, this created a sense of unity. This part of Dublin was underwater until the construction of the East Wall in the 1720s kept the tidal waters at bay. The earliest residents were invariably working class, with coal and the railways counting the greatest number of employees. With the decline of such industries, East Wall entered the doldrums although there was always an element of crack and mischief in the air. Local hero Sean O’Casey captured the essence of this in many of his plays. There was always someone to maintain pride in the community - ‘The Building Parson’, the women who rebuilt St Joseph’s Church, the organizers of the East Wall Festival, the commissioners of the new Sean O’Casey Community Centre. Wiggins Teape, Rathborne Candles and Lego provided employment in more recent decades, while the late Dermot Pierce’s East Point Business Park brought thousands of multi-national workers to the northern border of the area. The buildings around East Wall may keep getting higher but the community within are determined and feisty enough to retain their independence.