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The Docklands 1916-2016: Change Happens Here

Here in the centre of ‘Silicon Docks’ it can be easy to forget this modern hub’s past. It’s hard to imagine that the tall glass structures that make this place so recognisable hadn’t even been thought of two decades ago.

At McCann, we are lucky enough to spend our days in one of those glass structures, but ours has it roots in bricks, mortar and history. Our building was in the thick of the 1916 Rising, and it has the scars to prove it.

Eamon De Valera who was stationed at Boland’s Mill, had a flag raised on top of the Malting Tower to give the British forces an alternate target. A gun moved from the Helgato Percy Place took aim at the tower, shattering the windows, leaving bullet holes in the walls and eventually shooting the flag from its lofty position. The rebels however, remained unharmed.

100 years on, these bullet holes serve as a reminder of how far the docklands and this country have come. McCann is not the only creative agency in these parts. What brings us here? What effect does our environment have on us and on our creativity?

Simple; things happen here. History happens here. Change happens here. Creativity happens here.

In McCann history is in plain sight. It has not been covered up. It has not been put in a glass box to be admired. It is living and developing. Adapting to the environment around it, sitting comfortably beside framed prints and multicolour lights. It is a part of us.

What effect does this have on our work? It reminds us to keep things simple. It reminds us not to gloss over the tough questions. It reminds us that history should be respected, but that innovation should not be hindered as a result. It reminds us that the process can often be as beautiful and exciting as the end result.

A lot may have changed since 1916, for Ireland and for the docklands. This is a place where past and present, merge, co-exist and sometimes clash. It has survived revolution, resurgence and recession, and now bears witness to unprecedented innovation and creativity.

Long may it continue and long may McCann be a part of it.