Feb 9, 2018

Fire in Front Square, as Science Gallery Celebrates 10 Years

The 10th anniversary of the gallery saw performers playing with fire across Trinity’s cobbles.

Kathleen McNameeSenior Editor
Ivan Rakhmanin for The University Times

Crowds gathered tonight in Front Square for a display of pyrotechnics and fireworks, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Trinity’s Science Gallery.

However, the show, which was scheduled to begin at 6pm, did not get under way for a further hour and a half, leaving some members of the crowd disgruntled.

It was a pop-up show, with students and visitors to Trinity alike watching on curiously this morning as a crew worked to install rigs and fencing around Front Square. The preparation for the night built the hype for an event which promised “three explosive performances”. Designed by Science Gallery collaborator Aoife van Linden Tol, the event was inspired by science and nature, as well as Trinity’s campus.


The display began with three performers, clad in silver fire-resistant suits, walking through the crowd brandishing multi-coloured smoke bombs. The performers made their way from the Graduates Memorial Building (GMB) to the avenue leading to Front Arch.

The first section of the show was impressive. Lighting up Front Arch, several loud bangs grabbed the crowd’s attention while the large sparklers lining the avenue jumped into life. With sparks reaching high into the Dublin night, the performers walked between the fire, drawing claps from the crowd.

Visibility might have been an issue depending on where you were – one man shouted “this would be great if I could see it”, to cheers from the crowd.

Moving on from the sparklers, the three performers moved once more among the crowd. Some children hid behind their parents as the hulking figures passed, while others reached out, curious about the strange beings they found before them. One performer knelt down to a child, reaching a hand out to her. The girl reached out before snatching her hand away, laughing nervously as the performer slowly returned to the others.

Arriving in front of the Chapel, lit by an orange glow, the three performers knelt reverently before the second installation. Stretching up close to the height of the chapel, circles of fire spurted to life to cheers and applause from those assembled. Rising to their feet as the fires went out, the three performers once again lit red and green smoke bombs and made their way to the final installation.

Placed in front of the campanile, a large glass box dangled from a metal frame. People looked on inquisitively as the moments ticked by and nothing happened. Another loud bang, however, had the crowd jumping to life once more. Sparks flew as fireworks crackled to life inside the box. Several minutes of loud bangs followed as each firework went off.

Lasting just under half an hour, the end of the show was greeted by the crowd singing a muted “happy birthday”. Ending two hours after it was due to start, many people had already started to disperse during the final installation.

For a setup that only began late this morning, however, it was an impressive show. During the few moments that each installation was live, people watched on with genuine interest and awe.

While parts of the night may have fizzled out, there is no doubt that the Science Gallery’s impact on the College was worth recognising and celebrating.

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