A number of weeks back whilst I was busying myself with something or other in the kitchen, something caught my attention on the radio that was playing in the background. Someone had mentioned the word ‘pallet’ ! I perked up, as anyone that knows me will know that I have a strange affection for pallets. The piece was about a group called Upstart and they were launching the very first pop-up park in Dublin. Granby Park. The idea was actually genius. The aim was to make use of derelict unused spaces in the city and bring about something creative beautiful and somewhere that people were able to gather and share and chat and enjoy. All done by volunteers I might add. The pallet part was of course my favourite – they had somehow spectacularly created a theatre from, you guessed it, pallets. Hundreds of pallets were contructed into an arena by young people from Dublin and Belfast and they named the theatre ‘Dubfast’ to recognise the work that was put into it by these two groups.
But even though there was a full schedule of performances and shows, the park was so much more than the theatre. There was a ‘playground’ area made up from logs and tyres and ropes, there was a lovely reading area where you could drink a fairly good cup of coffee and enjoy the goings on. There was clever grow your own ideas – some using pallets (but of course…) but old boots and shoes and upcycled glasshouses. There was ‘yarnbombing’ of railings and I can’t not mention the plastic bottle display (seriously you can make a glasshouse from plastic!) People donated time, cakes, books and skills for the duration of the life of the park.
It also proved that there is so much talent and creativity out there waiting to find that little ‘pop-up’ place to showcase itself, no matter where in the city, or country for that matter, that you live. That people can come together to make something that just makes things a little brighter for other people. What we need, I think, is more little upstarts to get us as a people interested again in what matters, which is ‘us’, as a people. Community, getting back to nature, trying things even if you’re afraid, writing that first chapter, scripting the play thats been in your head for years, just getting out there and meeting your neighbour for a cup of tea and chat, and using pallets for every wonderous thing you can think of (ok I had to add that in). Working together, joining together, laughing, creating and appreciating together is the way forward in these hardened times.And lest not we forget we do have a great sense of humour…
Sadly that park closes today, the 22nd of September, and this bright and colourful and most vibrant corner of Dominick Street will be returned to an unused gated wasted space. But maybe it might have been enough to ignite people into wanting more from the city and councils, more from the government , more from themselves. You never know there could be a pop up near you very soon!
Well done Upstart, don’t be gone too long!
(you can follow Upstart on Twitter @weareupstart)