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Legendary Dublin Painting and Sketching Club Celebrates 150th Anniversary in The Substation at Dublin Port

27th February 2024
Artist Aidan Hickey with his piece The Custom House, 1842, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin
Artist Aidan Hickey with his piece The Custom House, 1842, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin Credit: Robbie Reynolds

Shorelines, a vibrant new exhibition chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin, will come to The Substation at Dublin Port, courtesy of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club (DPSC) and Dublin Port Company (DPC). The exhibition will contain brand-new works from some of Ireland’s most exciting and dynamic artists, who will bring an immediacy to the life of the sea across paintings, etchings and sculpture.

Shorelines runs from 8th-20th March at The Substation, Alexandra Road, Dublin Port. It is open to the public from 11am-4pm, Monday-Saturday, and admission is free of charge for all.

Artist Kathrine Geoghegan with her piece Bull Island Tangle, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin Photo: Robbie ReynoldsArtist Kathrine Geoghegan with her piece Bull Island Tangle, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin Photo: Robbie Reynolds

This exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of DPSC, a co-operative of artists which holds Nathaniel Hone, John Butler Yeats and Bram Stoker among its past members. Today, the club’s 80-strong membership includes some of the country’s most illustrious painters, sketch artists and print makers.

Among the rich catalogue of works is Kathrine Geoghegan’s Bull Island Tangle, which portrays seaweeds washed in on the tide at North Bull Island. Through vivid acryllics with oil glazes, this stunning work finds beauty in the familiar and puts a spotlight on the treasures of Dublin Bay.

Artist Dave West (left) with Kathrine Geoghegan and Aidan Hickey (far right) of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club pictured with Declan McGonagle (second from right), curator of Dublin Port Company’s Engagement Programme at The Substation for Shorelines, an exhibition chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin Photo: Robbie ReynoldsArtist Dave West (left) with Kathrine Geoghegan and Aidan Hickey (far right) of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club pictured with Declan McGonagle (second from right), curator of Dublin Port Company’s Engagement Programme at The Substation for Shorelines, an exhibition chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Dave West’s richly textured High Tide, Balbriggan Harbour strikes visitors with its strong colours and refined representational approach. West’s eye for detail uncovers an interplay between light, shadow and reflection across a row of boats at berth in this captivating piece painted en plein air at Balbriggan Harbour.

The range of works on display reflect the varied perspectives and approaches the club has nurtured throughout its rich history.

History of the DPSC

The DPSC was founded by renowned maritime painters Dr William Booth Pearsall FRCSI and Alexander Williams RHA. An etching by Pearsall featured in the club’s 1880 exhibition is the first etching ever produced in Ireland as an original artwork. The work depicts a tall ship moored at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

In the late 19th century, members would take to the Iris, a shallow-draft yacht owned by member George Prescott, to sketch, paint and photograph along the Poolbeg Peninsula, in often perilous weather conditions.

Maritime Subjects Today

Shorelines, supported by Dublin Port Company, is a celebration of both the club’s history and also the vibrant culture of traditional art practice in Dublin today, with a focus on maritime subjects. The current exhibition follows on from a series of open-air painting sessions and exhibitions at Dublin Port, as part of DPC’s Port-City Integration programme.

Darragh Treacy, President of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, said: “It is an honour to celebrate the club’s 150th anniversary with Shorelines in The Substation at Dublin Port. Our members have put forward a great selection of works that show a range of perspectives on all things nautical. At a time when artists are increasingly squeezed out of the city, showcases of work like these are more vital than ever.”

Lar Joye, Port Heritage Director at Dublin Port Company, said: “The threshold between the city and the sea has always been a fascinating subject for painters and artists, and the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club has featured some of the original visual storytellers of Dublin’s life as a Port-City. In the year of the club’s 150th anniversary, it is really important for us to bring this selection of maritime-inspired works to The Substation, DPC’s new interpretive space which aims to open up the Port to the public.”

This is the latest item in a dynamic calendar of programming at The Substation, a venue for exhibitions, events, lecutres and performances. It follows the success of Solidarity: The Dockers of Dublin Port, an exhibition on the subculture of the dockers curated by The Little Museum of Dublin.

The Substation is part of DPC’s Distributed Museum, which includes The Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay and The Pumphouse, a venue for artist residencies and workshops in Dublin Port’s Heritage Zone. The Distributed Museum route will be connected through 5.3km of dedicated cycleway and pedestrian walkways in the Port estate and the surrounding area. The Distributed Museum is part of DPC’s Port-City Integration programme to increase public access and celebrate Dublin’s Port-City heritage. Team

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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port is Ireland’s largest and busiest port with approximately 17,000 vessel movements per year. As well as being the country’s largest port, Dublin Port has the highest rate of growth and, in the seven years to 2019, total cargo volumes grew by 36.1%.

The vision of Dublin Port Company is to have the required capacity to service the needs of its customers and the wider economy safely, efficiently and sustainably. Dublin Port will integrate with the City by enhancing the natural and built environments. The Port is being developed in line with Masterplan 2040.

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020.