100,000 out to turn back the clock on Dublin
TENS of thousands of people stepped back in time to the Dublin of 1915 at an RTE event on O'Connell Street yesterday.
An old-fashioned funeral, a wedding and a communion party all took place on the sun-soaked thoroughfare as families took in some of the 60 attractions along the street.
Dozens of volunteers and visitors wandered through the capital in period style clothing for the Road to the Rising open air event.
The clothing, particularly women's fashion, was a point of fascination for many yesterday.
Many visitors sourced their own period style clothing and braved the warm temperatures in layered looks.
Showbiz hairdresser Maureen Smith was on hand to demonstrate the intricate up-styles of the time which would have taken Irish women half an hour to perfect in 1915.
The Dublin-based stylist has worked on TV shows Ripper Street and Penny Dreadful.
"Back in the day you would have lots of popular looks. The ladies of the night would have worn a more voluptuous style," she said.
"Centre partings were popular and you would have used padding in the hair when needed," she explained to the crowd as she deftly styled her model's hair.
Clery's store also hosted a fashion show highlighting the flowing dresses and statement hats of the time.
Mannings Bakery owner Irene Manning was on hand to offer people a flavour of 1915 with some homemade Gur cake.
The fruitcake was made from stale cake and leftover bread and is still made in the family-run bakeries today.
"It was the cake of the common people at the time," Ms Manning said. "It got its name from children who were mitching school, known as gurriers in Dublin, who used to eat it."
At the top of the street a Massey Funeral Brothers replica hearse stood, complete with a grieving widow. But it was Loaise Cahill (9), from Ballyboden who stole the show in her communion dress with a traditional cap.
President Michael D Higgins was among guests who attended the festival.
Some 250 volunteers and actors took part in the event which was organised by RTE, An Post, Dublin City Council and the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Husband and wife Karen Ward and Sean de Cantuail donned military green period clothing for a wander through the historic exhibits
The couple, from North King Street in Smithfield, said that the event was a great way for people to get engaged with the history of the 1916 rebellion a year before the centenary celebrations.
"There has been so much controversy over what to do and what not to do for the centenary and to celebrate Dublin the way it was then from the music to the arts, even how people cycled, is just fantastic," Ms Ward said.
"I'm really impressed with the number of people here with their children. I know it can seem so far away from then - it's just history in school but to bring it alive like this it's just magical," she said.
Bands took to an usual stage as they stood on top of a refurbished tram to perform to the crowds. A series of lectures on the Rising and events leading up to it took place in venues along the street.