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What is Worth Preserving in 2019?

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What is worth protecting, conserving, preserving? For some it’s health, traditional skills, buildings or family recipes. For others it’s looking after our clothes or beloved bulbs. 2019 is the year for PRESERVING the things we hold dear …

Rodarte SS19. Photographed by Jason Lloyd Evans

On a Wednesday morning at the end of November, a dolphin was spotted in the River Liffey in Dublin city centre, and, rather than a cause for celebration, it felt more like Shakespearean dread, a portent of doom, like clean windshields after drives that used to leave them sticky with bugs. As noted in The Insect Apocalypse is Here by Brooke Jarvis for the New York Times, “something from the past is missing from the present.” Almost too busy to notice that the world is emptier, a degree or two warmer, we have entered an anthropogenic age, in which life on earth is shaped by humans rather than alongside and in harmony with wildlife.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhât Hanh advises us that “The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.” Thriving towns have ceded to online shopping and with it the embrace of community; the gig economy is supplanting jobs for life, and the politics of fear plays on a terror of being left behind, replaced. So, how can we identify and preserve what is most important, to save from extinction all that makes our world a better place to live, the only place? Susan Zelouf.

 

THE PLANET

“The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon,” Sir David Attenborough told the UN climate change summit in Poland in December, addressing delegates of 200 nations who gathered to negotiate how to turn pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate deal into reality. “We are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change,” he said. “Leaders of the world, you must lead.” When it comes to carbon emissions, according to Kevin O’Sullivan, science and environment editor of The Irish Times, “Ireland is the second worst performing country in the EU, though no country is living up to its commitments on the Paris Agreement if the rise in global temperatures is to be kept at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Ireland is not going to meet any of its headline targets by 2020. At best we will only achieve a three per cent reduction, instead of 20 per cent.” Find out how to play your part: see www.epa.ie.

CORAL REEFS

We will not be sad to bid adieu to ultraviolet – officially Pantone’s Color Institute’s colour of 2018. This year restores natural beauty in the form of Living Coral – as seen on the catwalks at Temperley, Poiret and Elisabetta Franchi. It’s more difficult to incorporate into the home, though interior designer of-the-moment Martin Brudnizki has not shied away from using it in many of his flamboyant schemes. The Coral Room in the Doyle Collection’s Bloomsbury Hotel, London shows how Brudnizki pairs it with powder blue for an elegant, oceanic vibe. Of course, Living Coral is an oxymoron underpinning as it does the notion that our marine life is under threat. It’s increasingly rare to find coral which is not bleached a natural phenomenon where water temperature becomes too high and corals expel the algae which gives them their lush colour. Research has shown, however, the Irish continental margin is one of the most prolific for deep coral mound development.

 

LANDMARKS

The Irish Landmark Trust has added two newly restored houses to its list of unusual heritage buildings, which now totals 32 properties on 27 sites. Parade House and Garrison House, located within the 17th-century Elizabeth Fort, in Cork City, each sleeps three people. The conserved houses reflect the ethos of Irish Landmark – preserving the original character of the houses with furniture and fittings, chosen to reflect a sense of bygone times. www.irishlandmark.com.

FAMILY BUSINESS

The impetus to sell on a family business is both economic and generational. Not everyone wants to follow in their parents’ footsteps. However, for some families, their heritage is worth preserving. Over-populated with global brands our towns and cities benefit from the authenticity at the heart of Irish business. “I’m the fifth generation to follow in the footsteps of my family. I never doubted I’d work with my dad Des,” says Stephen BuckIey, operations director of FX Buckley’s restaurant group. Garnering praise for its welcome and eco credentials is The Sandymount Hotel, which has been in the Loughran family since 1955. Of the same era and embued with a sense of personal service is Appleby Jewellers, while Monaghan’s Cashmere has been family-run for 55 years. Worthy of praise too is: Fanagans Funeral directors have resisted buy outs and celebrate 200 years in 2019.

 

TRADITIONAL SKILLS

Fashion designer Jill de Búrca is known for her embroidery which she completes on her trusty Irish Singer sewing machine. “The machine itself is over 70-years-old but it is a workhorse built to last. Not many people use it in modern production, they favour computerised machines that can do massive production cheaply. But the quality of my machine is far superior and many more techniques can be accomplished using it. This allows me to translate my designs into reality.” De Búrca is one of 29 designers who have recently collaborated with Colourtrends Curator on a range of new paints; her blue-green shade “Moth Collar” is inspired by Dublin’s city gardens. Fellow designer and master goldsmith, Rudolf Heltzel, has been keeping the traditional skills of jewellery – making alive for over 50 years. His work is celebrated in the exhibition “In Precious Metal” at the State Apartments in Dublin Castle until March 31.

Penny McCormick

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