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Saturday 8 March 2014

Circumnavigating the Liffey

Well almost, but not quite. Today I took a trip eastwards from Phoenix Park through the north side of the city sticking relatively near to the river and then returned via a similar route on the south side having crossed over the East Link bridge. I mostly just wanted a nice walk in the city but as usual I was on the look out for anything interesting.

My first waypoint was Smithfield, I’d skirted the Southern edge on Benburb St on my last trip along the Luas line a few weeks back but had missed out on the square and I knew there was some stuff there worth checking out.

The first thing that caught my eye was a little bit of street humour.


Smithfield itself was looking good but the place was pretty quiet.


On the North end of Smithfield there are two great examples of Dublin Street art.



Moving eastwards down King St North and Bolton Street. I came across this little gem leading away from Mount Carmel’s secondary school. This is Henrietta St. – a  very odd set of marginally preserved protected buildings leading up to King’s Inns. I presume these were tenements at one stage too. The street looks amazing with that combination and contrast of Regency architecture and the early version of classic Georgian red brick Dublin street design.


Some restoration seems to be happening so maybe things are looking up but the second shot gives an idea of just how run down it is.


Nipping through Kings Inns at the top of the street I came out the gate on the right hand side of the main doorway in the picture below, turned around and had this fantastic front view appear. Really nice.


After this I was dodging though the masses around Dominick St and Parnell St until I came across an interesting piece of “classical” tagging on Rutland Place as I was making my way up to the Hugh Lane Gallery.


I was heading there to pay a visit to my favourite piece of classic Irish art, Harry Clarke’s “The Eve of St Agnes” . I took a picture, probably wasn’t supposed to but it’s a hard thing to capture so I don’t think they need worry. I like the contrast between these two in any case.


Both of these contrast quite starkly with the preserved facade of something that appears to have been part of one of the Magdalene Laundries on Sean MacDermott St. that I came across next. I know the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity ran one that appears to have taken up most of the block that this portico is part of. This thing is just a preserved facade, there’s a modern building right behind it and looking on Google Maps you can see that it’s only about 5m deep. The Greek inscription reads “ΜΟΝΟ ΣΟΦΩ ΘΕΩ ΣΩΤΗΡΙ ΗΜΩΝ ΔΟΞΗ” which is, apparently, a biblical verse, Romans 16:27 making some comment about God being wise. Seems he failed to pass that wisdom on to quite a few people in the vicinity if you ask me. I’m also not sure why a verse from Romans should be quoted in Greek but what the heck, I’m not the target audience I suppose.



Anyway it was then on in the direction of the IFSC and the (old) new docklands of the North Side. There are some pretty nice apartment setups in there that I hadn’t realised existed. Interesting location. Once again I was struck but how dead it was, where are all the peoples!!. This was 1:30PM on a Saturday. What is this? 28 Days Later???


Anyways on to the next stop – just after Custom House Square / Mayor’s Square (where there were loads of people I’m glad to say and my worries about the Zombie Apocalypse were proven groundless) – I came across the North Quay’s monument to modern Irish stupidity and hubris – it’s The New Anglo HQ again! The SOS button in the first picture is about 6 years too late I’m afraid but I’m glad to see someone’s thought to put a Paddy Wagon permanently on call outside the front as you can see in the second shot, just in case.


From here up to the O2 and the East Link Bridge things thin out a bit but the view across to Grand Canal Dock was nice, you could even see down the Dodder to Lansdowne Rd where the screen was on warming the crows up for the Ireland Italy matches. The light wasn’t great so I didn’t get a good enough picture to post unfortunately. A bit further on I began to notice that there are a lot of lights embedded in the cobbles along the whole quayside and they all have odd shapes in the glass, odd shapes that are actually fish – how cool is that. There are hundreds of them but here’s a small sample: a fish, a starfish and look two fishes..

NorthWall-FishLight1  NorthWall-FishLight2  NorthWall-FishLight3

This was hitting the easterly limit of my jaunt and I had to either cross here or turn back so I headed over the East Link bridge. The view was pretty good but the light wasn’t really playing nicely for me.


You can see how dark it was getting in the shot I took of Lansdowne Rd from the bridge over the Dodder in Ringsend. You can just make out the flames and the screen is showing 0:0 as the teams were just lining out as I took this.


The light stayed pretty grim for most of the trek back to the city center but it picked up just enough as I hit Temple Bar so I had to check out the progress on Blooms Hotel.


It’s looking amazing now, although frankly the Paddy’s day flag is a bit of a let down.


Onwards into the side streets of Temple bar and I found a piece by Dahleo on Crowe St, beside FX Buckley’s, that I hadn’t noticed before – very nice work.


And then on Temple St South a more challenging piece by Emil (?) that has a lot going for it once you look closely.


And finally I took a snap of the Beatles decorated traffic light signal box on Parliament St. , I’ve been meaning to take a picture of this for a while and I think I’m going to have to go back and try again because this one isn’t all that great. Fantastic work though, shame my picture doesn’t do it justice.


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