Friday, 17 June 2011

le cool Walking Tours

(le cool issue 057 cover by Will St. Leger)

Not long ago a new initiative from the boys behind le cool Dublin was launched via Fund:it. They've devised a series of walking tours that will take visitors and locals alike into the cultural heart of the city and provide a snapshot of what's happening around Dublin at any given point. Rather than give a tour solely about Dublin's history, Michael and Ciaran aim to show you what's happening in in the city right now, taking groups to exhibitions, pop-up spaces, one-time only performances or rehearsals and more. Every tour will be slightly different, with no reused routes or scripts.

Yesterday's tour took in a number of sights and stops in the Liberties, followed by an introduction to a new arts festival 10 Days in Dublin and a sneak-peak at a rehearsal by chamber choir New Dublin Voices in the beautiful University Church on St. Stephen's Green. What I thought was particularly enjoyable and impressive about the tour was how it managed to inform those of us on it not only about the current pulse of the city but also about some of the quiet constants here too. After visiting an exhibition in Meath Street by This Is Collective we popped in to a number of the traders who inspired and collaborated on the project - a reminder that the Liberties always was and is still an area full of independent trade; trade that needs our support more than ever. After that we called into John Keane of Lantern Antiques for more than just an insight into Dublin's antique quarter; for wisdom and life lessons from a man who's had ups, downs and adventures.

When you book your le cool Dublin tour (which I recommend you do) this isn't the tour you'll go on. You might not even go near this part of the city. You may see and do all the things your guide planned in advance, or you may deviate from the route and see something entirely unexpected. The tours are relaxed, flexible and a little ad hoc - a bit like the city they help you to explore.