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Dublin City Council Messiah

The notional links between Handel's oratorio and the council staff of Ireland's capital city.

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4.8/5 (13 ratings)

Dublin City Council Messiah

Fishamble Street Dublin – a crowd is gathering. Facing them, a small orchestra and a large choir in maroon and black robes, getting ready to sing Handel's Messiah. Our Lady's Choral Society.

As well as the crowd on the ground, in the high buildings nearby, people are at the windows looking down.

Listen to those words from the Bible which Handel used in 'Messiah'. They suggest a connection between Dublin City Council and 'Messiah'. An abstract connection.

There are real connections between the City Council and Messiah, of course: Handel wrote it and first performed it in Dublin. They help fund the annual open air performance of 'Messiah' and it takes place on the doorstep of their headquarters.

But the abstract connection is this: as you stand in the shadow of the Civic Offices listening to the choir singing those phrases from the Bible - you can imagine them referring to the work of the various council staff around the city.

Around the corner from Tara St., City council crews are working at both ends of Dame Street.

The farthest flung workers for Dublin City Council are actually on the Kildare/Wicklow border.

In the heart of the old city – in the shadow of Guinness – a City Council depot.

Beside the Garden of Remembrance, where the dead are remembered, the City Council's gallery, where the dead still speak.

Back in Fishamble street, the annual open air Messiah winds up with handwringing.


Handel “Messiah” - Our Lady’s Choral Society
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Proinnsias Ó Duinn (Cond.)


Handel's 'Messiah', London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir & Walter Süsskind

Photos: Stephen McGuinness

'The Curious Ear' is produced by Ronan Kelly

December 2012

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