By Niamh Denny
Utopia 7 is a newspaper published by 7 DIT Architecture students sharing their research into 7 Utopian Irish villages. We have mapped 7 fascinating planned villages, each with a strong religious background, studying them in the context of urbanism, architecture and utopianism.
We're publishing our work in newspaper form to allow it to be widely distributed; we want to make architectural history and research as accessible as possible to a diverse audience. We've planned a 20-page colour newspaper in tabloid form. It will contain introductory texts by Gillian Darley (author of Villages of Vision) and Mike Haslam (Solearth and DIT). The newspaper will include maps of each village, background factual information and an edited version of each student's research.
The newspaper will be launched at the DIT Architecture End of Year Show on May 29th and all funders are invited to attend.
Ballitore, Co. Kildare, the earliest of our villages, is famous for its Quaker boarding school and its close links to both the 1798 rebellion and the French Revolution. Andrew Murphy writes about class structure in 18th century Ballitore and posits the Quaker as a first middle class Ireland.
Letterfrack, Co. Galway, founded by Yorkshire Quaker couple, was built as a famine relief project. Ronan Lonergan analyses how Quaker approach to architecture, planning, the family and work practices differed from that of the state-led workhouse famine relief programme.
Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone, a Presbyterian Industrial village, was founded by the Herdman brothers who were heavily influenced by the writings of Robert Owen. Alice Clarke compares Sion Mills with Robert Owen's New Lanark, and the unique Owenite village of Ralahine Co. Clare.
Gracehill, Co. Antrim, is the only Moravian village in Ireland. Michelle Diver has uncovered the impact of the Moravians attitude to gender in the orthogonal planning of Gracehill and similar Moravian villages throughout Europe.
Portlaw, Co. Waterford. Niamh Denny has written a history and geography of the Portlaw Truss; how it evolved, where it was used in Ireland and abroad, and its development.
Bessbrook, Co. Armagh, and Portlaw's similarities and differences as two Quaker mill villages are drawn out by Hannah Crehan, how their urban forms, architecture and public space differ and why.
Clara, Co. Offaly, is unusual in that the Quaker planned element was superimposed onto an older Jacobean town. Andrew Sterritt examines the role of the physical environment in memory, specifically the collective social memory of a town.
We are; Alice Clarke, Hannah Crehan, Niamh Denny, Michelle Diver, Ronan Lonergan, Andrew Murphy, Andrew Sterritt and our tutor Miriam Delaney.
Utopianism and Planned Villages in Ireland are under explored subjects. We need your support to ensure our newspaper gets published and the work we've done is shared! Thank you.