Supermarket sweep: Dublin Selected *280

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For many of you, Clery’s has been a landmark for decades. Where your Mam took you to visit Santa, where you had your first job in the linen department, or where you met pals fresh off the bus from the suburbs as a teenager.

For others, Clery’s barely featured in your experience of the city, as O’Connell Street became less Champs Elysées and more bargaintown, and the formerly grand department store was battered and bruised by that street’s plummeting fortunes. However, even if you had never stepped over the threshold, the news of the gross, inhumane dismissal of loyal employees shocked the nation to its core. As a speaker at a talk on the Wonderlust stage at Body & Soul said of it, in relation to the 1913 lockout, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

This week’s Le Cool cover artist chose to ruminate on the clock, the landmark that will (hopefully) outlast any corporate owners, and will serve all Dubliners, or out-of-town visitors as a reliable place of meeting. There is little we can contribute to the discussion of the treatment of Clery’s workers, only that we stand aghast, and in solidarity with them and their families, who served an institution loyally, only to be abandoned unceremoniously.

What we can do, though, is encourage people to think about where they buy goods. Buy from family stores, from Irish stores where you know staff are treated well (cough cough), or from international stores where you know the staff are treated tip-top (John Lewis in the UK, for instance, is a co-operative. Marks and Spencer were the first store to think about cafeterias for their staff, which must be why they are always so sound.) Think about those things.

We have always advised buying Irish, but that’s not always plausible or possible, so consider sustainability, the white, the black, and the grey, when you’re choosing retailers. Whether their staff have proper, not zero-hour contracts, for starters (we’re looking at you, Dunnes), and if well-being (food, exercise etc) is a priority, and whether they have educational or study opportunities. Are they equal opportunities in practise? For instance, do they employee people with physical or learning disabilities? The provenance of food and items is important too, but our people are even more so. We need to do right by them.

Who’s the reason Tesco started security tagging its baskets, Kate or Michael?

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They've played with everyone but Bono.

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Nai Palm. Not to be confused with the chemical warfare.

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Her daddy thinks she's fine.


Hefty appetiser.


Cash-and-carries and creativity.

Disequilibrium Displacement

Earth, body and fire.

Ajo Arkestra & Ciaran Lavery

A musical sun salute.

At Large Social

For theatrical types at large.

The Overnight

Like a raunchy God of Carnage...


Leaving the viewer exposed.

(It's kind of like) telephone

Kind of, but not really.

Lotts & Co

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Industry have been very industrious of late, creating an incredible…

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Ruth Griffin continues her summer series of Lost Fashion History Tours on…

Marsh’s Library may be the oldest and best-concealed library in Ireland, but it has been innovating through its work with resident illustrator John Rooney, who has worked with their education and outreach officer, Julie Burke, on this comic for children about the library. Well, we say it’s for children, but you’ll definitely like it too. We caught up with John who gave us a tour and the lowdown on the project. Visit Marsh’s Library to pick it up, and live our a little horrible history.

I was called in by the organisation, and they asked if I’d like a job in my specialist field, illustration. There’s maybe one other museum with an in-house illustrator that I know of.

The books here were soaked in urine – you probably didn’t want to hear that – but it was to preserve them for hundreds of years. Apparently the ghost of the founder of the library (Narcissus Marsh) walks up and down every night looking for some lost letter from his niece that is hidden in one of the books in the library.

There are usually three or four people in the reading room at all times, and then there’s Jason, the keeper, and lots of volunteers. There are lots of ex-gardai – I think the old keeper knew they’d be trust-worthy! The Garda station (Kevin Street) used to be next door, and there’s a blocked up tunnel that used to run from the library to the station.

I didn’t really look at the books for the illustration in the comic – it was one of the first things I did when I got here. It was either Jason’s or Julie’s idea. They thought we should do a children’s book. They do a kids’ tour here, (which I’m doing a really poor job of here!) but the kids do seem to enjoy it, and the book opens up a whole new world for them, scary stories to think about. I was trying to think about where I got a lot of the influence for this from, and it was that Dandy comic, Calamity James, the detailed, sketchy drawings, and the small things that were happening in the background.

I’d love to do something like this for Dublin in general – I’ve been illustrating since I was two. My parents would never let me get video games or anything. I just had to draw! I’ve been using crayons since then. This subject and place gave me something new to work on; there are so many interesting characters and stories.

What’s the best thing I’ve ever found? There’s a book here on anatomy from the sixteenth or seventeenth century and the drawings are really detailed and amazing but very gruesome. I wouldn’t read through it on a full stomach though, because you’d probably see a full stomach!

Le Help

Le Cool is a free weekly magazine distributed every Thursday that features a selection of cultural events and leisure activities, revealing the things you really shouldn’t miss. We filter out, among other things, the best art, film, music, and club nights, as well as a careful selection of extraordinary bars, restaurants and other fine places. Le Cool content is chosen because we believe it is worth your time and will never be traded for money.

To contact our editorial team, email Kate.
For marketing, advertising and other commercial type stuff, email Michael

Published by: LE COOL GROUP

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