People who used to live in Dublin’s tenements were invited to share their memories in a former tenement building on Tuesday 26 February.

The event is part of 16 in total being held from January to April by the team of historians and guides at 14 Henrietta Street museum, a former tenement building. These discussions with former residents and their families will later be included in an oral history project.

“Rather than collecting objects, we want to collect intangible things like peoples’ stories and memories,” said Head of Engagement at Dublin City Council Culture Company Aalia Kamal.

People are invited to these events over the next few months to sit down and discuss their memories of the tenements with historians and guides at the museum and around the city. Events are being held in Ballymun, Finglas, Drimnagh and Darndale among others.

“We are trying to have relaxed and open conversations with people and we are recording peoples’ voices and their memories,” said Kamal. 

“Every conversation you have, it illuminates the place in a different way and adds value,” said Kamal.

There is no end date for the project but the informal discussions will finish on April 30th. Each event has seen an average of 20 to 25 attendees depending on the day and location. Within the first half hour of event at 14 Henrietta Street, seven people had come in to tell their stories.

“The word sort of got out a bit and people have been great in coming along or approaching us on the phone line,” said Kamal.

The phone line is especially important because a lot of people are elderly and may not be able to make it out to the events around the city. The museum workers ensure that people know exactly what the project is and where their memories will be shared.

The building dates from the 1720s on Henrietta Street in Dublin’s North Inner City. 100 people were living in 16 rooms in the building at its peak. Families continued living in the building until the late 1970s.

14 Henrietta Street took 10 years and €4.5 million to restore before the museum opened up last year.

For more details on the oral history project, visit www.14henriettastreet.ie.

By Orla Dwyer

Image credit: Dan Butler

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