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Around the Table Exhibition at the Central Library

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Around the Table, a project about food in Dublin connected with communities old and new across Dublin’s historic Central Area. An exhibition of photographs, taken by artist Jeanette Lowe over a five-month period as part of Dublin’s Culture Connects: National Neighbourhood, will be on view in the Central Library (Ilac Centre) until the end of June. This project worked collaboratively with communities, artists and The National Library of Ireland tracing the passage of food from the docks to the markets and from our streets to our tables.

The images on display reflect strong communities built on camaraderie and loyalty forged through work, through shared interests and passions, through family ties and through networks of support. They reflect the life generated by the food we buy, cook and share moving through the city.


Communities old and new reflected on and introduced their city through a shared experience of life, food and work in Dublin, sometimes drawing on memories of a way of life that is disappearing. While the 1,500 dockworkers who once unloaded our food from faraway places have been replaced by machines, up in Smithfield in Brendan’s Café beside the markets, a little girl takes part in a ritual that has been practiced by generations of children, queueing for a sausage, having refused the breakfast offered at home.

A theme of looking out for each other, particularly around food emerged through the project either through small quiet acts of generosity or on a much larger scale with food provision for those who need it across the city.

A book and film telling the story of this project is also available in the library for all to enjoy.
The schedule for the screenings of ‘Around the Table’ film is below:

Wednesday 7 June, 1pm-2.30pm
Thursday 8 June, 1pm-2.30pm
Friday 9 June, 1pm-2.30pm
Monday 12 June, 1pm-2.30pm
Wednesday 14 June, 1pm-2.30pm
Friday 16 June, 1pm-2.30pm

Here’s what Jeanette had to say about the project:

This project, like a photograph, has attempted to capture a moment in time in north inner-city Dublin. Having engaged with many different communities there is a feeling that we have only scraped the surface of the wonderful personal stories and social history of the people we met.


Hundreds of photographs were taken during this project, but for me the images that will be etched on my mind are the images that were never recorded by camera, but came to life through the stories we heard…. of the Docker banging on a TV set for a German sea captain in 1966 so he could view the world cup soccer final between German and England, and being rewarded with three bottles of Brandy for his expertise, or the inner-city children living beside the fish market who thought eating Lobster and exotic fruits was normal. Or the striking image of twenty-thousand people, on any given day, working in the docklands area, the thousands of men seeing work on the docks and the thousands of mainly women factory workers heading into Cadburys, Lever Brothers and the many other factories in the area. I see my mother in these pictures.






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