History of the South Docks Festival

In the early ’60s the community of the Pearse Street area was in a state of chaos. Demolition of the tenements and substandard housing and depopulation of the thousands of family from the area left a very demoralised small number of people remaining in the community. Simultaneously the demise of the docks and dock related employment effected availability of traditional jobs.


Out of this demise came the setting up of Westland Row/City Quay Social Service Centre and the fight to survive began. The struggle to give local people a sense of identity and pride starts here. A survery soon revelaed that a high percentage of people left behind were elderly and dependent on welfare needing services. So delivery of services was a good place to begin the road back to strengthening the community. St. Andrew’s BNS on Pearse Street was now no longer is use as a school because of the dropping numbers. The committee of the Social Service Centre approached the Diocese as the owners of the building for a lease to develop the building as a Resource Centre. The acquisition of the building enabled the organisation to achieve its objective of developing a one stop shop delivering services addressing the needs of the local community as they emerged.


St. Andrew’s Resource Centre now serves the local community from the cradle to the grave and right across the whole spectrum of life. Over the years the organisation continued to evolve to become the focal point of the community. The South Dock Festival was set up as the fun and games way of getting everyone out to celebrate together. When the radical Master Plan of Dublin Docklands was put into legislation local people had the skills and capacity to work to obtain maximum community gain. The physical and environmental development has been phenomenal but the Social Agenda remains a priority as regeneration is about people. The Festival has changed over the years to adapt to the changing environment and increase in residential units. We now promote the Festival as a neighbourhood one promoting integration which also includes the corporate sector. The Festival is held over five days during the last week in July. We are well aware of the economic downturn, we are aware of all the cut backs, we are aware that there is a general despondency about the future and that is why the Festival Committee resolved to organise the Festival in a similar way to previous years and to continue to celebrate our community. After all things were bad in the 80’s and we organised the first festival, things got better and we continued to celebrate our identity, now when there is a downturn it’s the time that we need to pick ourselves up and demonstrate what a well organised and well motivated community is capable of doing. We’re putting the Recession on hold for this week in July!