Flora (pictured above), goddess of flowering plants.
New norms and old friends at the RDS Members' Club
The official ‘Welcoming Committee’ is standing by with open arms. Well, they would do … if they had any arms. Our magnificent marble busts are back in the Members’ Club corridor at last, in place for the return of indoor dining. And, in case you’d forgotten them, the roll call includes:
Master engineer, Alexander Nimmo (1783-1832), who made surveys for the Bog Commission in Kerry and Galway, as well as charting two-thirds of Ireland’s coastline for the Fishery Board. In his spare time, he directed the construction of 243 miles of road in the wild west of Ireland, as well as more than 40 piers along the western coastline.
The father of Irish geology, Sir Richard Griffith, Bart., (1784-1878) was Mining Engineer to the Royal Dublin Society from 1812. Best known for ‘Griffith’s Valuation’ – his endurance-testing nationwide survey of nearly 20 million acres of land and about 1 million buildings – he also made surveys of the bogs of Ireland and the coalfields of Leinster.
Courtier and legendary wit, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), served a short but successful term as lord lieutenant of Ireland from 1745-46. He famously stated that the RDS had done ‘more good to Ireland with regard to arts and industry than all the laws that could have been framed.'
A single maid amongst men, it’s a mystery how Flora (pictured above), goddess of flowering plants, got mixed up with our league of extraordinary gentlemen. Mind you, she could also be Ceres, goddess of food crops, which would be more in line with Dublin Society thinking. Either way, she brings a whisper of womanhood to the manful company – not to mention a splendid hairdo.
President of the Royal Dublin Society in 1829, Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey (pictured below) (1768-1864), was lord-lieutenant of Ireland from 1829-30, and again from 1831-33. A supporter of Catholic Emancipation, he established a system of elementary education in Ireland. He lost a leg at Waterloo. You would never know from looking at the bust though.
John Philpot Curran (1750-1817) – ‘the dreamiest of all the scamps of Trinity College’ – was an Irish politician, orator, lawyer, judge, and later, Master of the Rolls in Ireland. A celebrated wit, he was combative but principled, fighting five duels during his lifetime. Beware! His countenance suggests a sixth may well be in the offing...
During the course of his four polar expeditions, Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock (1819-1907) surveyed and charted vast areas of unknown Arctic coastline. Nicknamed the ‘Arctic Fox’, he collected vast quantities of fossils on his voyages, many of which he presented for research and exhibition at the Society’s headquarters.
Who could forget Gregor von Feinaigle (1760-1819), the Cistercian monk turned Professor of Mnemonics? In 1812, he gave a series of lectures on his new system of education at the Royal Dublin Society (to the disapproval of some), and later established the well-attended Feinaiglian School at Aldborough House, close to today's Five Lamps.
The Dublin Society’s first registrar, William Maple (1679-1762), was a chemistry demonstrator in Trinity College and Keeper of the Society’s collections at the Irish Parliament House. Conservation treatment has failed to remove 250 years of ingrained smoke and smog stains, hence he is now affectionately known as ‘the chimney sweep’!
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James Joyce by Roger Cummiskey. When we think of Ireland, we think of a country that has a rich cultural heritage. A place which seems to be bursting at the seams with poets, novelists and playwrights, who all seem to have been gifted with an incredible innate sense of storytelling and drama. If you were to check the list of Nobel Prize winners since it’s inception, you’d find that Ireland ranks eighth in terms of how many it has produced over the years. Just what is it that makes the Irish so good at writing and the creative process? The first Irish foray into literature Culturally speaking, Ireland lays claim to the fact that it has one of the oldest forms of vernacular literature in the world, with only Greek or Latin able to match it. The Irish peoples were literate from the very earliest centuries, utilising a simple writing system called “Ogham” which was a way of communicating via inscriptions on little stone tablets. One of the very first proper written Irish wor
Selected Poems from James Joyce and Me. Happy 139th Birthday Mr Joyce. 2/2/21. 2nd. February 2021 If Joyce were still alive he would be 139 years old today. Born 1882 died 13/01/1941. I would like to feature a poem written by Joyce entitled " Gas from a Burner ". 14 September 1912: Joyce started writing the poem ‘ Gas from a Burner ’ in the railway station waiting room in Flushing (Vlissingen) in the Netherlands on his way from Dublin to Trieste, and he completed it between there and Salzburg. He had it printed in Trieste and sent copies to Dublin. The poem was a broadside against his Dublin Publisher George Roberts of the firm Maunsel and Company who had turned him down over a ten year period. James Joyce composed ‘ Gas from a Burner ’ in response to learning that the printed sheets of his short story collection Dubliners had been destroyed by the printer John Falconer. The collection had already been rejected for publication on several occasions. After the inc