Wednesday, November 29, 2017


It’s a fine brisk November morning when meets up with Ed Bowden at his office in Blessington Basin, the north side’s secret park. But we are not here to talk about Ed’s job as chief of parks today. No, we are talking about another curious string to Ed’s professional bow.

Curious, quirky and colourful. Because Ed is the Dublin City Council vexillologist. “He’s the what?” I hear you say. Well join the club, I said it myself. But if you are stuck for the answer, we’ll give you a clue. A clue that comes from a recent Nobel Laureate who told us “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.”
Flags. It’s unlikely Dylan had flags in mind, so let’s grab Webster’s dictionary. ‘Vexillology’ is the study of flags. And Ed is the city’s vexillologist. In more common parlance, Ed is the DCC flag man. And there’s quite a range of duties involved. “It varies. But It would be unusual for a week to go by without me doing something involved with flags,” he says.“There’s the national flag, the EU flag and the Dublin City Council flag flying permanently on the roofs of the CIVIC OFFICES, the MANSION HOUSE and CITY HALL,” Ed says.
We put three or four cable ties on them now to try and stop the guys with too much booze and too little history
“We see more of the national flag now because up until a few years ago the national flag was not allowed to fly after dark,” Ed explains. That all changed about four years ago when the Taoiseach’s office amended the protocol, saying the flag can fly at night as long as it is floodlit. The national, the EU and the Dublin City Council flags still need to be changed regularly, as they get dirty and old. Then in addition to these flags there are some 140 distinctive big flag poles along both banks of the Liffey that need to be taken care of. Flying big 12 foot by 4 foot flags, these flagpoles are used to promote different events in the city – whether it’s FESTIVALS, culture or sporting matches.
As we spoke the Green, White and Orange was flying in support of the national team’s match the following night against Denmark. Being fair-minded chaps, Ed says “we also had both the Irish and Danish flags flying on the three bridges: Butt bridge, O’Connell bridge and Grattan bridge...CONTINUES 

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