Sunday 29 March 2015

Threads

I’ve posted about these odd threaded stickers before but I found a third one on Paddy’s day and thought I really should put them all together. One of these fine days I’ll track down some explanation about what’s behind the concept but for now they’re just sitting in the weird bucket. I’ve no real proof that they are actually related to be honest but it seems too weird for them not to be.

The most recent one is simply woven into a flyer for Weathering, which is an exhibition of contemporary Irish design run by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. I’ve no idea if that has any significance at all. I found this one on Benburb Street, near Collins’ Barracks.

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The second one is an advert, or based on an advert for what I suppose the hipsters would call bespoke artisanal eyewear specialists, called Molloy and Dowling. In any case I found it on Essex Street East across from the Culture Box stuck to the wall of Costa Coffee.

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This was the one I noticed first, tucked away in Crampton Court, that little alley way connecting The Olympia with Essex Street East. Clearly it’s a map but I think it might actually also be a map that has something to do with these.

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Need to find some more.

Recent Dublin Street Art

I haven’t been posting much about street art lately because I haven’t really gone on a specific trip to track stuff down but I have caught sight of a few new bits and pieces recently that I haven’t put into any posts as far as I can remember. Seems like a good time to get them out.

First up there are some rather odd black and white wheat paste photoshop mashups. They all appeared at around the same time a few weeks back in and around Coppinger Row. The first two are definitely related, not so sure about the third.

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Dublin’s Dead Letterbox on Shie Lane has had a bit of a clean up, and has acquired a strange little sticker to go along with the clean new look.

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There’s been a bit of an explosion on the sticker scene. A lot of the newer stuff is crap TBH, either just plain advertising, over produced shiny bullshit or badly produced vapid bullshit and there is definitely now an _excess_ which will probably lead to a serious backlash. There are still some that catch my eye that I think do add some sort of value to the atmosphere of the streets.

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Saturday 28 March 2015

Grangegorman

I passed by the squatters/protestors at Grangegorman earlier today. I’ve been intrigued about the Grangegorman site for quite a while. It’s always struck me as off that that there is an enormous section of land right beside Smithfield, within 10 minutes walk of the city centre, that has now been empty for over a decade. I always thought it was owned by the state, but it seems that I was wrong as earlier this week NAMA (who are apparently the owners) decided that they needed to start off clearing the place using force to remove some squatters. Now I know we technically kind of own NAMA but I didn’t think the Grangegorman properties were actually owned by failed developers at all. I thought those were properties formerly used by various national institutions ( like the old Richmond Hospital). Probably should investigate and find out who the “owners” really are.

It’s very interesting to see the force and willingness to use violence that is evident in the approach taken against these particular squatters, who owe the rest of us nothing by the way, while the squatters on Vico Road, who are collectively responsible for millions in bad debts we all have to pay for, get handled with kid gloves and are allowed to take the piss out of the legal system at every opportunity.

Anyway the squatters I saw seemed like a quiet enough bunch, and like I said this place has been empty for years. So it seems very strange that someone decided to opt for eviction by force without a court order as the first move unless someone, somewhere was trying to make a political statement.
The area covers two large sections, split down the middle by Grangegorman Upper and Grangegorman Lower roads. The area to the west has started to be developed. This is one of the entrances to that development on the west side of Grangegorman. I wasn’t quite sure what it was as I wandered around, it’s not doing a good job selling itself to pedestrians, but I think it’s a new campus for DIT. All very shiny.

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This is also probably one of the highest points in the city, and it’s a nice scenic spot to go along with
the anti-fascist stickering on the street furniture. It really has a lot going for it, even without the laudable political stickers. Makes for a nice picture too. The dead zone that hasn’t been developed is to the east, behind this building, and to the south along Grangegorman lower as it joins up with Brunswick Street North is the area that the squatters are occupying.

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Walking along to the south down the hill you notice that a lot of the houses on the eastern side of the road are boarded up. There’s some recent graffiti with a nod to King Crept and some humour but this all quickly takes on a single theme of support for the squatters. It’s not all derelict, and there are some pretty nice looking houses here that are clearly still in use. It’s odd, as I said I’ve never quite figured out what’s up with this area.

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The Transformeresque robot thing is a bit mad and is a very recent addition, it wasn't here last week when I walked past.

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I don’t think the “Squat and Fight” sticker helps set the tone for peaceful resistance but then again who am I to tell people how they should protest when those planning the first move against them certainly felt that pre-emptive violence was justified.

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I’m not at all sure what this is about, looks like a prop for a video game advertising display or something. Pretty mad, possibly related to the robot.

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The Harvest Walk on The Royal Canal Way

I took a short walk out along the Royal Canal from Enfield last Sunday. It’s a lovely little stretch, signposted as “The Harvest Walk” and the stretch between Enfield and Furey’s Bar is one of the prettiest canal sections I’ve walked so far. It’s a nice easy stretch too – about 6km I think which makes it a very pleasant walk with a lovely spot to stop for lunch before heading back. The walking surface is mostly grass towpath that’s in a reasonably decent state of repair. A round trip can be completed comfortably in 3 hours, including a break at Furey’s for refreshment, but you can park at either end and make a shorter trip that takes in some lovely stretches of the canal too if you’re in the mood for a shorter walk. 

The initial stretch along the south bank of the canal is very nicely surfaced and almost immediately passes the Enfield Harbour area which has plenty of mooring capacity and a slipway tucked in beside and underneath the new road bridge that carries the Enfield bypass.

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The hard packed walking surface gives way to a grass towpath after a kilometre or so and the Blackwater Aqueduct follows after another two. It’s quite a significant bit of canal engineering, the main aqueduct carries the canal about 15m above the river in a very imposing stone structure that quickly changes into an elevated banked canal section that continues on for about 500m giving superb panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

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This section ends at Kilmore bridge where the walking route crosses over to the north bank. The path changes noticeably here too, it’s a lot less level and it feels more enclosed as there are high trees bordering the canal on both banks. It’s still an easy walk but the surface is quite uneven and laced with roots that could give a careless walker a twisted ankle.

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The next two kilometres or so feel more like a woodland walk than a canal walk to be honest but on a sunny day it’s perfect. This section ends at the bridge that takes the R148 over the canal at Moyvalley. The Royal Canal way crosses the road itself here so walkers and cyclists have to get up onto the road and cross over because the towpath comes to an end at road bridge here which is a bit of an annoyance. It’s not dangerous though provided some care is taken and there’s a decent sight distance in both directions. Furey’s bar and restaurant is just across the bridge and is a perfect spot to stop and have a break before heading back.

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Spring was struggling to get going last week along this section of the canal. Apart from the fact that the grass is a bit greener there was little evidence of spring along the route until I got into the section approaching Moyvally and even then it was just a few dandelions and some budding shrubs.

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I was also surprised that there was so little animal life around. I noticed this one cute ladybird tucked away into the sunny side of a tree near Enfield and apart from that the only fauna I saw that wasn’t domesticated were these two swans.

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That said there was some evidence of a decent sized predator at one point. Just before the approach to Moyvally I came across about a dozen broken mollusc shells, I think they were swan mussels, about 5cm along the longest axis. Something had a good snack on these, maybe an otter but I wonder if a stoat could be responsible as I’m pretty sure I saw one along the canal near Kilcock last year and that’s not too far from here,

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