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I’ve Never Been There!

Co Author:
Anne Maree Barry

Dublin-based filmmaker Anne Maree Barry has been working as a videographer in the South-East area for Dublin’s Culture Connects’ The National Neighbourhood since December 2017. She reflects on her experiences and observations so far.

‘I’ve never been there!!’ is a rather honest exclamation from myself before documenting a school’s cultural visit, as part of the South East area of Dublin’s Culture Connects ‘The National Neighbourhood’. Despite consistently making film works about Dublin, when working on The National Neighbourhood, I was able to explore the city once again, but within a different process.

Places I had never visited include: The National Archives, Marsh’s Library, Rathmines Library and Dublin Castle (*guided tour). These site visits were with students from Synge Street CBS, Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount and St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School. My film making practice involves observing how people interact within a specific space, my relationship to the space and intuitively reimagining historical or fictitious characters that previously roamed amongst said space. Interviewing the students about their experiences visiting cultural institutions in Dublin, I found their answers and queries as curious as my own. How do they imagine the future urban landscape of Dublin? Who will stay in all the new hotels? Will the past simply be a relic? What became clear during The National Neighbourhood was that the students realised (as I once did) that Dublin’s history and stories are so rich that they are not easily forgotten.

National Archives2

Whilst reviewing footage in lieu of editing the school’s journeys, I am reminded of time spent looking at the December 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty at The National Archives and questions from the teachers and students: ‘Is that blood on the document? – No, it’s a wax stain‘.  Or the story about Bram Stoker researching for Dracula at Marsh’s Library whilst adjacent to his desk were bullet holes in the bookcases from the British army accidentally shooting through a window after the Easter Rising. These layers of history are ever present, however, unless you are actively seeking them out you may never discover them.

Through the workshops, the students investigated people’s pasts, mapped their area and created poems and ghost stories. I observed that the students began to appreciate and understand the goal of Dublin’s Culture Connects and what is available to them, in their own neighbourhoods.


To fully celebrate the achievements made by the students from Synge St Secondary School, St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School and Warrenmount Presentation Secondary School as part of Dublin’s Culture Connects’ The National Neighbourhood why not join us for ‘MY PLACE: A PORTRAIT’.
On Monday 21st May, 11am come along to Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 to view original artwork created by the students.

Working with writer Enda Wyley and visual artist Yvonne Cullivan, local students have built a portrait of their neighbourhood and their lives through words and images. Using the collections of The National Archives of Ireland and The National Gallery of Ireland as stimulus, students were asked to simply look and notice their neighbourhood and their Dublin. The resulting work is both impressive and powerful: we hope you can come celebrate it with us! RSVP to or phone 01-222 6705.

I know I’ll be there…

Anne Maree Barry, 2018

Anne Maree is a film artist based in Dublin. She makes site specific film works that address connections between memory and loss, geography and architecture. Anne Maree’s solo exhibition Leisure with Dignity  at The LAB, Foley Street, Summer 2017, curated by Sheena Barrett, received an honourable mention as one of the exhibitions of the year by Aidan Dunne of The Irish Times.

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