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The Border Interpretative Centre

No Subtitle - 2000

"The idea of establishing a Border Interpretative Centre for the new millennium came from a line in "The Border Worrier" (1997). I obtained the use of this simple building, which had been a small shop located right on the border itself on the main Dublin-Belfast road. I was supported in all this by Norah Norton, then director of The Temple Bar Gallery.

The centre was adorned by a specially designed neon sign. The shop was stocked with souvenirs and gifts including, ceramic miniature British army watchtowers wishing "Good luck from the border", sticks of border candy rock, books on the border, t-shirts, baged samples of 'The Border Itself' and a selection of postcards. There was also an interpretative video examining the border's geological history and people.

The Launch was accompanied by a billboard campaigne depicting an image of my two children Aine and Cormac and myself enjoying a family day out on the border.

At it's official opening, a plaque was unveiled by fellow border enthusiast, Kevin McAleer. The plaque celebrated a twinning of the Irish border with it's Korean counterpart. In Kevin's speech he noted that even though our border was small, and despite having himself viewed many other borders, he still felt our own border to be "the best" and "something that united the whole country".

After a successful opening and some initial commercial success, the centre ran into problems partly due to it's reliance on a diesel generator for power and the characteristically damp weather. Sadly, after less than a week, the border Interpretative Centre was forced to close.

The story of this short-lived institution was subsequently portrayed at solo exhibitions in Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast - where an exact replica of the centre was created for the duration; later and poignantly it travelled to Gallerie Aggregat, Berlin - within view of the site of the old Berlin Wall."


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