When I settled in Chapelizod 10-12 years ago the heartbeat of the village for me was the Villager Pub and what I knew to be Paul's Shop or Kelly's.
Paul's shop was a greengrocer, craft beer treasure trove before hipster beards and craft beers were anything like ubiquitous, sweet shop, general store and a daily news digest.
I guess I noticed the building that housed Paul's was gradually decaying but was genuinely surprised and saddened when Paul was left with no choice but to call time on a business that his father had originally started some 50 years before.
The building to the immediate right of Paul's is almost completely gone now and it's history is fascinating. Known as The Gambles, a 500 year lease was originally granted in 1694 by Sir John Temple. Although originally a single structure it was subsequently divided into separate dwellings.
The Gambles buildings were tenements which fell into disrepair and were boarded up by the late 1950's. Several of the families housed there were rehoused in the then new council housing estates in Ballyfermot.
Among those that lived in the Gambles buildings were Dominic Bolton, so-named as a foundling baby discovered on the corners of Dominic St. and Bolton St. in Dublin and Maggie & Mrs. Gunning. (see below)
Mrs. Gunning was well known for leaning on her window sill and for never being short of a kind word.
When I started the "Dereliction' project this year I had no idea that several of the buildings in question were about to be auctioned. The Gambles building was the subject of a compulsory purchase order by Dublin City Council and I'm grateful to them for their co-operation and support in allowing me to utilise the hoarding (that had to go up for health and safety reasons) in the project.
Maggie and Mrs. Gunning are coming down for a few weeks and will be housed in the Cow Shed Gallery in Farmleigh for the Chapelizod 'Dereliction' exhibition between the 6th-23rd November. They will be back though and will eventually be joined by these fine ladies.... members of the Gibney family who were also Gambles residents at one time.
I do wonder what the future holds for sites like these and I'm worried that their stories may be lost. I've always loved the shabbiness of Chapelizod, the character, the edges.... and the people. I suppose new stories will have to be written....