Sunday, 29 June 2014

The 6 day trip to Ireland - Dublin - Unusual secret details (Day 6 afternoon cont.) - Wood quay to War Memorial area - the bronze plaques - The 15th of June 2014


When we set off in search of some twenty or so bronze plaques based on recordings and set into the walls of Nicholas street, Bride street, Bride road and Ross road we had no idea I would be looking at history from within.

Artist Chris Reid had some of the local residents confide in him and whilst among some of those confidences there are sobering confessions many are real nuggets of history and memories of old times.  By casting them in bronze and giving them a heritage-style appearance, Reid further emphasised the fact that voices like those are very rarely heard.

I found the idea particularly interesting, not to mention some of the things that were said. Written words speak for themselves ... and so do those walls ...

(To be continued)

The 6 day trip to Ireland - Dublin - The unusual secret details (Day 6 afternoon) - Wood quay to War Memorial area - Holy water stoods, Gulliver's travels, the City wall and the Lord Iveagh's likeness - The 15th of June 2014


Having walked a bit further on Cornmarket street we came across another of the unusual secrets we had been looking for, this time at St. Audden's.

Dating from 1846 St. Auddens Catholic church, home to the Polish chaplaincy in Ireland, has Holy water stoops set on either side of its front façade, which are actually enormous clamshells fished from the Pacific Ocean in 1917. According to what is said to be known those were brought to Dublin by a seaman whose brother was one of the parish priests working in the church at the time.

Shells are not an uncommon motif in churches. Throughout Antiquity hinged species such as the scallop and clam have symbolised fertility and the female- both as protective and nurturing forms, and more explicity as emblems of the vulva.

We continued walking forward till Christchurch place so as to capture a better image of Christchurch and the Dublinia having turned onto the Castle area,where we stopped at the Chester Beatty Museum Café to have a drink and get back onto the back streets in search of another unusual detail.

A short distance from where Swift served as a dean from 1713 to 1745 one of his most famous works is celebrated in a series of roundels embedded into the façades of some brick buildings along Golden Lane and Bridge street. The separate ceramic disks depict scenes from the 1726 classic novel - Gulliver's travels could be instantly recognisable to anyone who has read the book.

We walked back towards Cornmarket street so as to locate the Iveagh market.

Having been incorporated in property boundaries, without which they might have been vanished sections of early Dublin's mural defences could be seen in the area. We managed to locate one in the form of a monument-style remnant along Lamb alley.

Upon reaching Swift's alley, which looked like a fairly "abandoned" area with just a few interesting graffitis we finally sighted the Iveagh market, which must have seen better days in the past. 

Sir Edward Cecil Guiness (1847-1927) also known as Lord Iveagh is said to have certainly made his mark on Dublin, but according to Cristine Casey's Dublin one of the figures carved into the keystones on the former market building with an "impish grin" appearing to wink at the passers-by is that of Lord Iveagh.

Our "exploration" of this area ended with the Tailor's Hall, whose direction we had to ask a passer-by who seemed quite surprised as to why we wanted to go there. We soon realised we had walked into a fairly"uncomfortable" area but once we photographed its façade we made our way into the Cathedral district.

(To be continued)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The 6 day trip to Ireland - Dublin - Unusual secret details (Day 6 - midday) - Wood quay to War Memorial area - Bully's acre, St. Patrick's Tower and Church of St. Augustin and St. John -The 15th of June 2014


We just walked across the road from the Croppies park from which we could clearly see the beautiful Heuston Station façade dating from 1844, as well as the 17th century formal garden before making our way towards the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Royal Hospital of Kilmainham where we were looking for another unusual Dublin secret.

We stopped at the Irish Museum of Modern Art premises briefly to get a drink as the heat was intense and we had been walking all morning without having had a single break. The surrounding atmosphere was very welcoming and the moment we sat out in the gardens it was as of we could spend the rest of the afternoon there.

Set inside the Royal Hospital Kilmainham gate we came across Bully's acre, also known as Dublin's oldest graveyard. It was difficult to imagine such a quiet and peaceful looking place could have actually been the favourite haunting ground for  body-snatchers supplying city surgeons with material for dissection in the 18th and 19th centuries.

As we walked out we made it along the Bow Lane where quite a few awkward-looking houses and details caught our attention

Once we reached Thomas street "Guinness" seemed to be a common feature, wherever we looked it was a permanent reminder of its importance. Among the Guinness buildings St. Catherine's church dating from 1769 and two other churches, one of which had a "sold" sign (somehow strange ...). They were all closed so we just had the chance to photograph their façades.

A 46 metre windmill, known as St. Patrick's tower stood proudly and still majestically near Thomas street. Said to have pertained to Roe's distillery, the highest of any distillery in the world in the 18th century. The 1757 windmill was once considered the largest smock windmill in Europe and was lucky not to have been demolished as the other buildings when Roe's ceased its production (in 1926) and its site was taken over by Guinness in 1949.

We didn't have access to its entrance nor the site it is located at, which I felt was a pity.

We continued  walking along Thomas into Cornmarket, where a fairly wide variety of street Art forms was to be seen everywhere.

I had been looking forward to being able to see the mosaics of St. John's Lane Church but to my disappointment the Church was closed. I was nevertheless able to admire its sandstone, granite and limestone, which I found to be of extreme beauty.

(To be continued)