Inside The Dun Laoghaire LexIcon Centre
For anyone who is familiar with Dun Laoghaire, you'll know all about the controversy surrounding the new library building which was built along the seafront. Families, groups of friends and committees were spilt down the middle; with some likening the new development to an enormous anvil dropped from the sky while others marvelled at the industrial beauty of the building. Initially, when I witnessed the building's construction I was a bit surprised that they needed a building of that size costing a whopping €36.6million for a local community library. What I didn't know was just how many resources would lie within.
The new library contains many facilities including free reading rooms for the public, a 100 capacity performance space, a children's library, a gallery and a café. The library which has over 80,000 items to borrow operates a 24hr book return service, and there's a large section dedicated solely to the local history of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. In reality, the alleged 'eyesore' provides multiple services to the community, and creates a creative hub for local artists.
The inaugural exhibition at the LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre makes it well worth the Dart trip out from the city centre. Entitled, 'Soundings – Collective Memories of the Sea', the exhibition examines the relationship Dun Laoghaire has with the sea, combining the work of six artists. There is a carefully planned schedule of events that runs concurrently with the exhibition throughout the month of January, using spoken word, multimedia displays and participative art projects to further explore the art.
In the project room, you can also learn more about the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Dun Laoghaire, who saved 67 lives in 2013 alone. The nautical theme of the exhibition and the stunning back drop of the ocean through the gallery windows make for the perfect pairing. This is the ideal lazy weekend activity - ambling out on a Dart some afternoon for a wander around the gallery before a walk on the pier and a cone from Teddy's to finish.