Sunday, 29 June 2014

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)

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