Our Story - SWICN & the Clubhouse

South West Inner City Network (SWICN)

South West Inner City Network (SWICN) is a community development organization founded in August 1994, based in the south west inner city of Dublin, an area rich in cultural and historical significance. The south inner city is one of the oldest areas of Dublin. Today however, the area is subject to much physical neglect, large scale environmental decay, poor infrastructure, substandard housing and a lack of recreational facilities.

The south west inner city has a mixed community.The area has the highest amount of local authority flat complexes in the state. The area comprises of St. James Parish, the Liberties, Merchants Quay, Whitefriar Street, Donore Avenue Parish and Kilmainham.

SWICN was established in response to the need for an integrated approach to deal with the problems of the region. Apart from providing a range of  services, which are detailed on this website, SWICN creates a forum for raising issues affecting the local community. All development strategies undertaken by SWICN are informed by the philosophy of community development and participative democracy in the decision making process.

The Clubhouse

In October of 2002 Media Lab Europe agreed to situate a Computer Clubhouse on its campus in  the Liberties. This was the second Clubhouse to be built in Ireland (the first is run by Foroige and situated in Blanchardstown). Working with the local community (the South West Inner City Network – SWICN), the Irish Government, the City of Dublin Youth Services Board (CDYSB) and Intel, a partnership was formed and the SWICN Computer Clubhouse came into being.

In order to promote the Computer Clubhouse to the local community and teenagers in particular, the “ Outreach Computer Clubhouse” Programme was set up with existing Youth Clubs of the southwest inner city from December 2002 to the opening of the clubhouse in February 2003.

This programme involved visiting Youth Clubs with laptops, digital cameras and a printer, and to work on creative software with the teenagers in the Clubs themselves, using mainly Adobe Photoshop.

The SWICN Computer Clubhouse was officially opened by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on May the 29th 2003. At this occasion, 15 Young People from School Street and Donore Avenue showed him their work in the Clubhouse, and gave him a tee-shirt they had designed themselves. 

Mr Ahern said the clubhouse “provides cutting edge technology, mentors, and a creative and safe environment for young people to learn new skills and explore their imaginative ideas.”

Intel Ireland general manager Jim O’Hara said the clubhouse was part of a five-year $32m worldwide drive by the company to build a network of up to 100 such clubhouses.

The 150 guests present were also given the opportunity to see the Members’ work on the computers.