Seomra Spraoi

Dublin's Autonomous Social Centre

Category Archives: Blogspot

Posts imported from the old Seomra Spraoi Blogspot page.

Seomra Spraoi have a new building — come visit!

We’ve found a new space, please drop in! We got the keys on Saturday and are moving in over the next week or so, and we hope to be back open again as soon as possible. Our new space is at 10 Belvedere Court, near Mountjoy Square in D1. Call in if you’re in the neighbourhood and have a look at the new place!

If you’d like to get involved in Seomra Spraoi, you can email us at

“Roll Up Your Sleeves”

[Watch this space: possible new Seomra Spraoi venue. Hopefully, there will be a callout for help and a chance for us all to get stuck in and roll up our sleeves again soon! Stay tuned.]

Hi All.

Premiere of the new documentary “Roll Up Your Sleeves” (27 mins) about Do It Yourself counterculture is taking place this Saturday 20th September at 12pm in the Irish Film Institute on Eustace Street in Temple Bar.

The event is FREE in and all are welcome.

It will also be showing on Dublin Community Television later in the year.

Hope to see you there!


Here’s the Synopsis:

Roll Up Your Sleeves: The DIY Counterculture (27 mins)

The debut film from 21 year old Dylan Haskins and a group of his friends was two years in the making. The documentary is a colourful exploration of the phenomenon of ‘Do-It-Yourself’ counterculture from the starting point of his own group of friends and their local alternative community. The journey of discovery leads Haskins to drive a US folk punk band on their European tour and looks at the relationship between DIY ideology and european autonomous social centres. This is contrasted with the Seomra Spraoi social centre project in Dublin and the problems they face. Independent music features as a thread throughout the film.

Interviewees include Ian MacKaye of legendary alternative bands Fugazi and Minor Threat, Ellen Lupton, author of DIY: Design it Yourself and Curator of Contemporary Design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, Ellie and Louise Macnamara of young irish band Heathers and members of long running Dutch experimental punk band The Ex.

Great news from Galway

The Galway Social Centre is up and running! Here is short note from the group. Check out their website on

Go n-éirí on t-ádh libh!

Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you all know that the long search is finally over and we have found a space. We’re setting up home at 24 Middle Street.

At the moment we’re working on painting the place and trying to fill it with donated items (computers, furniture, instruments etc).

If you, or anyone you know would like to get involved, please do get in touch. There are people down there painting most days…

We are having a celebration fundraising gig in the Warrick, Salthill next Thurs 14th. Intinn and Flo are playing. We’ll forward on the poster in the coming days.
Our open day will be on Sat 16th from 2pm. Please do pop down for a look and spread the word!
We have a new website at

We’re also on bebo and myspace

Sooo much happening! Exciting times! Hope to chat with you all soon!

Beyond Mary’s Abbey

It’s been a slow process finding a new Seomra but we are close. More details about that will be coming soon so watch this space for updates.

With each move we have grown and have seen more people taking an interest and getting involved in our project. Mary’s Abbey saw a huge surge in involvement. We were surprised and inspired by the diversity and imagination that was present in the wide range of projects that grew up in the little gap in Dublin’s concrete that Seomra Spraoi provided. Mary’s Abbey wasn’t just a place for meetings or having a good time at the weekend. It became a focal point for action, a place to perform, a space to be creative, and perhaps most importantly of all, a place for people of different backgrounds and nationalities to discuss and have lively arguments about anything, from politics to the music of Stevie Wonder.

The reactions that users of the space had to our shutting down re-asserted the desperate need for such a place, and our duty to keep the project alive. We were rarely short of people to help out or of donations to pay the rent and the bills. We are committed to rebuilding the project and we encourage new people, and people who were involved in the project before, to come and support us now. We say this every time we start in a new premises but it’s true — now is a great time to get involved. A new building provides a new opportunity for people to begin with something of a blank slate.

It’s been seven months since Seomra Spraoi closed its doors at Mary’s Abbey for the last time. The drama and disappointment that came at the end of that amazing experience created a space for reflection. Since then we have been getting back to our roots and re-evaluating the project. A new organisational structure has been put in place. General collective meetings will now be held monthly with four working groups feeding into that meeting. Each working group is taking on specific tasks related to different aspects of the project. These working groups give people a chance to give a more focused and less time-consuming commitment to the project.

The next general meeting is on Thursday the 3rd of July at 7:30 (venue to be confirmed). Alternatively you can email us on if you are interested in working with us on the project.

Scoil Spraoi invites you to our first Social Centre gathering, on April 11th–13th!

Scoil Spraoi is the Seomra Spraoi educational working group. This is our first event. We hope you like it…

Social Centre Gathering

A space to share our experiences and knowledge about Social Centres. By sharing these things and making them collective we can sharpen our tools, develop our ideas; create new forms of non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist organisation. Through collective discussion debate & action we create communities of resistance

Social Centres

Social Centres have been an important and stable development of social movements. Social Centres create space for meetings, workshops, benefit gigs, not for profit cafes, libraries, internet access, craft activities, bicycle workshops, self-defence training: the list goes on. What more can we use them to do? What forms of collective activity do they make possible? What forms of resistance emerge form such a social space? What are their limitations?

We have part of the answers to these questions in our collective experiences. This is a chance to share, discuss and debate those experiences.

Seomra Spraoi

The Seomra Spraoi collective was started three years ago with the intention of setting up an autonomous social centre in Dublin. We reckon we’ve been pretty successful…

Since our humble beginnings we have occupied three different spaces of our own, each bigger than the previous one. Our move to 4 Mary’s Abbey in July 2007 saw a huge surge in activity and an expansion of the collective. Over 20 groups held regular meetings or events there, with hundreds of people using the space on a weekly basis. After a month of bureaucratic dealings with the landlord, fire authority & police the collective decided to terminate the lease. From this experience we learned a lot…

We keep on learning. The collective is highly organised, with around 30 people managing the social centre, via working groups, and an open meeting of the collective every Thursday.

Europe wide days of action

This gathering coincides with a European wide call for “decentralized days of action for squats and autonomous spaces” — a weekend of discussion & action in defence of free spaces.

We want to make autonomous spaces and social centres more visible as a political movement. We want to develop interconnections and solidarity between social centres and autonomous spaces. We want to keep linking our spaces with new people and new struggles, and support the creation of autonomous spaces in places where there has not been a history of this kind of action.

First things first — Friday

…will kick off around 7 and is shaping up to be a nicely chilled and fun evening.

The venue for the gathering is CASADH, 19 Newmarket Square, The Coombe.

Click on the map below for a larger graphic.

Please note that CASADH is a DRUG & ALCOHOL FREE SPACE,
it is used as a drug rehabilitation centre during the week and drugs/alcohol are not allowed on the premises at any time.


Group presentations
So far we have individuals who will tell us about their experiences of working in autonomous spaces and social centre projects in Italy, Poland, Germany and Seomra Spraoi…more presentations to be confirmed.
Dinner will be provided by the skilled ’Peoples Kitchen’ collective. If you think you’ll be arriving late let us know and we’ll try to keep food for you or if you have special dietary needs, again, do let us know. Lunch and dinner will be provided on Saturday also.
While we’re chowing down we’ll chill out watching some short movies on various international social centre projects. If you have an interesting short documentary that you think we could show feel free to bring it along.

Saturday’s discussion topics

Saturday will be broken into 3 discussion sessions — each session will deal with a variety of themes — we are currently working on the structure of the discussions to enable full participation so please mull over these topics — we wanna know what you think!

Session 1 — practical issues associated to running a social centre
  1. From shaky ground to safer spaces
    Can we make social centre spaces free from oppression? How do we deal with behaviour and language that perpetuate oppression?
  2. Decision making by consensus
    Why do it without leaders? How can we increase democratic participation in social centres?
  3. Avoiding the ghetto and increase accessibility.
    How can we broaden the appeal of social centres and not just serve the needs of the familiar activist scenes?
Session 2 — Discussion topics relating to viewing social centres as a political project
  1. From autonomy to bureaucracy and back
    Can Irish social centres remain truly autonomous in the face of bureaucratic challenges? How do we raise finances without being limited or diverted in our aims?
  2. Creating spaces of resistance
    How do we see the role of social centres in social movements and wider revolutionary currents? Are we just providing services that the government provides?
  3. Developing aims & principles
    How do social centres develop their politics?
Session 3 — Futures
  1. Creating a social centre network — developing social centres in Ireland
    What ways can we support each other in creating social centres and other spaces?
  2. Social centres as places of skill sharing and popular education?
    In what ways can we tap in to the full potential of social spaces to share and develop skills; inspire and create amongst each other?
  3. Creating spaces beyond the social centre
    How can we create temporary autonomous zones? What role can social centres play in campaigning and taking action to reclaim spaces?

Sunday’s antics

A fun and kid friendly picnic marking the privatisation of public space. We’re encouraging creative participation so get any costumes out and start making banners!


If you need somewhere to crash over the weekend please email us — — and we’ll try to sort you out. There is limited space so we can’t guarantee everyone a place but we’ll do our best to sort you out.

Over and Out!

The search goes on…

Seomra Spraoi is continuing to look for a new home, if any of you are aware of somewhere suitable in Dublin please let us know. Weekly meetings take place at 7.30pm on Thursdays – the location varies so get in touch for directions.

Similarly, if you are involved in any groups or activities which have used Seomra Spraoi in the past send on any details of your current activities. We can put them up here on the blog and let other Seomra Spraoi friends know what’s cool and happening in the city!

seomraspraoi at gmail dot com

Movin’ on up …

The Seomra Spraoi collective continue to meet weekly on Thursdays at 7.30pm. As we have now moved from Mary’s Abbey, there is no fixed meeting place. Anyone interested in attending please get in touch and we will notify you with regards to meeting locations. Alternatively keep an eye on the events calendar on

We are looking at a number of different possible new locations and hope to re-open as soon as possible. Now, more than ever, all help and assistance is needed.

Here is a link to an excellent story about Seomra Spraoi on Indymedia:

The energy and spirit of all involved in Seomra Spraoi is as strong as ever. Watch this space for further developments!

Fundraiser for Seomra Spraoi — Saturday January 5th

A fundraiser gig for Seomra Spraoi social centre
Saturday January 5th 9pm — Lower Deck

gz present

A fundraiser for Seomra Spraoi social centre, featuring:

Running order TBC on the night

Sat 5th January 2008
The Lower Deck, Portobello
9pm. Minimum donation €6.
Related Link:

Seomra Spraoi Closed

For Now…

Seomra Spraoi (& the entire building in 4 Marys Abbey) was closed down by the Fire Authority last night.

At 8pm around 10 Police and 4 Fire Officers arrived to inspect the space. Less than 10 people were present in Seomra Spraoi. The Fire Authority stated that the building did not meet fire safety regulations and closed the building. An hour was negotiated with the Fire Authority to move out any of our stuff we might need whilst we don’t have access to the building. The Fire Authority were, supportive and apologetic, but ultimately had no choice but to close us down.

Phonecalls went out and around 30 people supporters arrived within the hour in solidarity and to help move out stuff we might need.

Around 20 people from the Seomra Spraoi Collective reconvened for an extraordinary general meeting (at midnight). We see this as a temporary setback and obviously agree that we’d like the building to be fire safe. We have booked a fire consultant to see what work needs to be done and will be working with the Fire Authority to get the building re-opened as soon as possible.

We’ll be having a public meeting on Thursday to keep all the users of the space informed on what’s going on. Details of time and venue will be posted on Indymedia.

Thanks for your continued support

Seomra Spraoi Collective