Monday 21 April 2014

Two Gardens, One Canal (Bridge)

The weather was much better this morning than I was expecting so I took a walk in the Memorial Gardens and headed out to the Botanic Gardens with a short detour via the old Midlands and Great Western Railway of Ireland bridge at the end of the Royal Canal. That bridge probably has a much briefer real name that I don’t know, and can’t be bothered to figure out right now, but it’s a cool bridge – massive Victorian engineering with a lift mechanism, massive gear wheels and balance weights all hanging out in the sky. Very cool, and a wonderful contrast to the Samuel Beckett bridge that is nearby.

Pictures today are going to have to be a slide show, there are too many to insert in one by one. I’m quite happy with these, the new Sigma lens is not too shabby at all.

Saturday 19 April 2014

The Battle of Clontarf

I would pick today of all days to for a walk through St Anne’s park. About 50,000 people were also in St Anne’s Park today to watch a re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf and generally hang out in some medieval themed festival. I never got to see any of the Vikings, or the Irish who were fighting them, because it was too packed. At one point I found some high ground but I still couldn’t see the re-enactors or whatever they are called. It wasn’t really my scene to be honest, too many people, but I’m glad it was a success for all those involved. I was very impressed by the little descendant of plunderer stock on the right here who was busy making off with one of the flags. You’ll go far, kid.

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Apparently the Vikings had an air wing too. You learn something new every day.

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I stopped for a few minutes to take some shots of the birds of prey in the Falconry demonstration. I’m not 100% convinced that they were altogether happy but they were very cool. I don't think they were maltreated, I just think they might have a similar attitude to crowds of people that I do. I got some nice shots of them in any case, although most of that is because raptors are just very cool birds.

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My original plan was to walk around St Anne’s Park and then sortie out to the North Bull Island because that would have been a nice counterpoint to yesterday’s hike out to Poolbeg Lighthouse. The Vikings didn’t really interfere with that but age and poor footwear have forced me to back off a bit. I made it to St Anne’s Park but I had to quit and head home after that.

So my feet have decided that I’m not taking sufficient care of them and I’m going to have to stay at home with my feet up for the rest of the weekend, if not longer.

On the way to the park I grabbed a couple of shots in Connolly Station. These didn’t quite work but there’s potential there and I do want to go back because there’s a massive Grift piece on one of the Rail bridges that I missed and I need to return to take a picture of for Tim.

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Friday 18 April 2014

Walking out to sea.

For some crazy reason the madness took hold again this morning and I decided to walk out to the end of the South Wall. For those unfamiliar with Dublin, the South Wall is the southern harbour breakwater that was built to help prevent Dublin port silting up in the 18th century. As a construction effort it was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, civil/naval engineering projects in the world at the time. The wall was built in a couple of phases, ending up almost 4 miles long. Today over 2 miles of that extent is covered by one of Dublin’s container ports, a ‘water’ treatment plant, some industrial sites and the Poolbeg Generating station so the final “wall” section is now just 1.6km in length. That is still a disturbingly long and thin finger of solid ground reaching out into the sea. It makes for a fantastic walk, the visual effect is superb.

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The problem is getting there. Well it’s not a problem if you are smart and just drive to the car park that is just there by the end of the wall but it is a bit of a problem if you decide on a whim to start your walk at the Phoenix Park which is about 8km further inland as the crow flies. So with a normal walk, taking roads and not flying like a crow, the trip out to the Lighthouse was about 16km and I’d clocked up 27km by the time I got back on a bus for home at Wellington Quay in the middle of the afternoon.

So yeah my feet hurt but it was a magnificent day. Blue skies from horizon to horizon and as walks go I think there are few better within the greater Dublin area. I should also remember that I burn at the merest hint of sunshine so I am a wee bit crisped tonight. Oh well, maybe I’ll remember next time.

I’m not going to get bogged down into every step of the journey but I will call out a few the highlights of the day.

I started at the main gate of Phoenix Park and as usual headed up the Luas line towards Smithfield and Abbey St. Interestingly, even though it was 8:30AM, only one Luas passed me the during my entire trip from Heuston to O’Connell St. They were definitely on a holiday schedule.

First up was Fegans cash & carry again. This has the Kathrina Rupit and DMC pieces that set me on this street art hunting path. I just got a print of DMC’s audade, the piece on the left, that is absolutely superb but it’s nice to see this version doing it’s thing.

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Winding along the river I crossed over to Temple Bar on the way up to Steven’s Green. Someone has seen fit to add humour to a space on Temple Lane that has hosted some amazing graphic pieces in the past. I just don’t know who this is by, but it’s very clever.

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At this stage I was wandering thinking about food and looking for interesting things before committing to what I knew was going to be a long slog. I went over to Merrion Square but the park was locked unfortunately however Oscar was looking resplendent. I got there at just the right time and the light just played along, I really love this one.

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And then I headed back to Grafton street cos I was hungry and was looking for some food. At this point I was very disturbed by the combination of signage. These would have been bad enough without the Horse transporter unloading it’s cargo into McDonalds.

Before anyone sues me yes, they were just unloading scaffolding but the combination was comedy gold.

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Over on Georges St the folks at Pitt Bros ( http://www.pittbrosbbq.com/ ) have squarely claimed the unarguable title of best window dressing / advertising art of all time. You guys rock, Braise the Lord! indeed. I’ll have some ribs thanx.

Also – love my new sigma lens, look at that optical stabilisation do its thing, This was hand held, 1/13th second @ equivalent of 78mm zoom. It’s obviously blurred when you zoom in but it should have been optical soup with those settings.

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Anyway back to the walking around this collection of stickers Dame Lane, felt like a perfect underscore for Pitt Bros joke around the corner.

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I got some food at this point. In Brick Alley as it happens, because I’m a creature of habit but they do such an awesome breakfast.

I had to strike out for my target after than and made my way out to Ringsend. I was going to get a bus but I missed the 47 I was aiming for and decided just to continue walking and I got out past Irishtown by about 11:30 anyway. From there I took the road route out past the Generating station. It’s pretty grim industrial stuff but it’s an interesting walk all the same. And there is some plant life along the way, and a pretty little garden even.

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I’ve definitely been in worse looking and smelling industrial zones in the past and it completely transforms when you loop back to meet up with the Irishtown Nature Reserve that occupies the south side of the peninsula. I came back that route and would strongly recommend it over the road route for anyone thinking of walking out from Ringsend.

Looping around the Generating station you have beach on your right hand side for about a kilometre and a half before you reach the car park at the end of the wall. This is where you really should start your trip if you don’t want to have sore feet.

I found this beauty from Canvaz ( http://www.canvazstreet.com/ ) on the back of the info sign. Very funny. And yes it is a bit smelly round here. It was OK today because the breeze was coming from the bay but I can imagine it would be less pleasant if the wind was from the west.

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From there it is the 1.6km walk out the wall to the lighthouse. The wall itself is an impressive construction, about 15m across, granite slabs and blocks encasing a rubble interior. 18th century massive engineering at its best.

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At the end there is this old crane and the now fully automatic lighthouse/foghorn. I would not want to be standing where I took that photo when that beast winds up to roar.

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Getting back I took the green route though the Nature Reserve. Definitely a more pleasant environment. When I got to Ringsend I decided to take the Grand Canal / Hanover Quay route just in case I could get a better shot of the Eoin ( http://artbyeoin.com/ ) /DMC ( Dermot McConaghy http://www.manchini.co.uk/ ) pieces from the other day. In doing so I managed to get this engraving of the original dedication of the Westmoreland Lock in 1796. 218 years ago, at a time when the French Revolution was still current news, the United States was barely 15 years old and there was, as yet, no “United Kingdom”.

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