RadioMoLI’s Writer Presents series invites writers to produce a radio programme focussing on and exploring a chosen subject that is close to their heart. In the second episode of Writer Presents, the poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger looks at the life and enduring legacy of Herbert Simms (1898-1948) – the architect responsible for much of Dublin’s early twentieth-century social housing, and whose home on St Mobhi Road Bolger would pass on his pandemic lockdown walks.
“I found it fascinating to imagine his life – he was a man who suffered greatly from the strain of his work,” says Bolger. Through conversation with with three geographers – Dr Ruth McManus, Dr Joe Brady and Mary Broe, the writer pieces together the remarkable and tragic story of Simms’ efforts to improve the lives of many Dubliners. Broe, having grown up in Pearse House also sheds a poignant light on the lived experience of Simms’ designs. The programme ends with a powerful reading of Bolgers’ poem about Herbert Simms, ‘The Corporation Housing Architect’.
Born in Dublin in 1959, the poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger worked as a factory hand, library assistant and small press publisher before becoming a full time writer in 1984. Bolger is the author of fourteen novels, as well as numerous plays and collections of poetry. He lives in Dublin.
Writer Presents is produced with the support of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
Researched and presented by Dermot Bolger
Produced by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Additional Production by Ian Dunphy
Edited and Mixed by Ian Dunphy
Music composed by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Music performed by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Nathan Sherman