Skating Down Hill Street.

In #rabble2, Culture, Film, Interviews, Print Edition, Sportby Jay Carax4 Comments

rabble interviews the makers of Hill St. Photo: Michael Feehan

Shot over the course of a year, this film has interviews with the most important Dublin skaters of the last two decades as well as previously unseen old home videos. To hear more about the background of the film, Jay Carax caught up with the producer Dave Leahy.


When did the idea to make a film about the history of skateboarding first come about?

I was one of many people who started skateboarding in Dublin and eventually found their way up to the skate shop in Hill Street. I initially had a very linear idea of what I wanted to do but once JJ Rolfe (Director) came on board he quite rightly shaped the story around Hill Street and its proprietor Clive Rowen. Hill Street really was a unique shop and it was from there that everything really started.

Why did you think it was important to make such a film and why now?

I think it is really important to make this film as it is, and will be, the only real definitive story of skate culture in Dublin over several decades. We have really worked hard to do it justice and have had unequivocal support from the skate community. They feel it accurately captures the scene and we have also strived to make it equally engaging to people outside the scene. There were also unique events throughout the years that deserve to be documented such as Tony Hawk’s visit to Dublin. Finally the film does illustrate how one individual, Clive Rowen who owned the Hill Street shop, can really drive a scene forward and make things happen.

How long has it taken to get the finished product out?

About two years. We worked on this part time when we could. There were inevitably large gaps between interviews and edits but we took our time and have worked to maintain a high level of production value. How has it been tracking down the original 80s/early 90s Dublin skateboarders? Many of them still involved in the scene today?

It was easy enough. Although they did not know me by name they would have known me as soon as they saw me from the early days. At the initial stages we took advice / information from a Dublin skate veteran Roger Kavanagh who provided contact details and an overall perspective which was invaluable. Without exception all the people we interviewed still skate. The majority also work in the industry as photographers, skate park owners and so on. There were unfortunately one or two people we could not get but they still feature in the film in other ways such as video or photos.

Were you able to find much archive footage, like home movies or early RTE news stories, of the early skaters? As an independent production, although RTE have great footage, it would have been too expensive to use it. We did however source other great material including old photos, super 8mm film, Hi-8 videotapes and VHS stuff. There are some real gems in the film again like Tony Hawk skating in the Top Hat in Dun Laoghaire and also great old footage of all the Dublin guys.

How many interviews did you do?

Nine in total I think. We interviewed Clive obviously and the guys from that era. We then interviewed guys who were around towards the end of that era and then finished up with some of the more contemporary guys. We finished up filming the majority of the interviewers actually skating together at an indoor park in Santry, which was great as Clive turned up to watch too.

What are your plans for screenings of the films now?

We will submit it to film festivals worldwide. We have also submitted the film to some broadcasters and hope to hear about that soon. Finally once these pan out we will do a DVD release. You can keep up to date with us on Facebook and our website.

Photo by Michael Feehan


  1. I had a skateboard shop in the 80’s / 90’s .Use to get picketed by fundamental Christians who thought the skateboard graphics were Satanic.

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