In Dublin’s Fair City

Last weekend I was in Dublin for a family occasion and stayed – for the very first time – in the rejuvenated  docklands  at Sir Rogerson’s Quay. I have long wanted to see at first hand the cleverly designed, harp shaped new bridge over the River Liffey …and there it was – right on the doorstep of our hotel! In the quiet traffic free hours of a Sunday morning I took a stroll along this lovely part of the South Bank.

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The Samuel Beckett Bridge, having ‘the appearance of a harp lying on its side ‘

The Samuel Beckett Bridge carries both vehicles and pedestrians and is, in my opinion,one of the most beautiful structures in Dublin.

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The Convention Centre, Dublin

Right alongside the bridge is another stunning structure – the world-class Dublin Convention Centre, with its tilted glass cylinder  beautifully reflected in the  Liffey waters.

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The Dublin Convention Centre from Samuel Beckett Bridge

The Convention Centre dissected by the stays of the Samuel  Becket Bridge.

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A view of Dublin City through the Samuel Beckett Bridge

Looking back towards the City Centre, some of Dublin’s iconic structures are framed by elements of the bridge. The tall building is  Liberty Hall. Built in the 1960s it is renowned for its non pleasing appearance, but is nevertheless an integral part of the Dublin sky-scape. In total contrast, the green dome is atop one of the most beautiful buildings in Dublin, the fabulous Gandon designed  18th century Custom House. The tall spire to the right of the dome is the Monument of Light, otherwise known as The Spire, reaching 121.2 metres into the Dublin sky.This very elegant and modern  stainless steel structure has been part of the Dublin skyline since 2002.

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Liberty Hall, The Custom House and The Spire ‘through the eye’ of Samuel Beckett Bridge

Another view of 3 of Dublin’s iconic structures, all on the north side of the River Liffey,  from the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

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Ulster Bank Headquarters, on the Liffey South Bank, from Samuel Beckett Bridge.

Equally iconic, although a recent addition to the Dublin sky scape, is the glass, multi-roofed building that is  the headquarters of the Ulster Bank. It looks very spectacular at night especially when approaching the city from the north side.

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The Jeanie Johnston Replica Famine Ship.

Moored  between Séan O’Casey Bridge and the Samuel Beckett Bridge, with the Custom House in the left background, is the replica famine ship, the Jeanie Johnston. Built about 2002 in County Kerry, she is a replica of the original that sailed between Tralee in County Kerry and North America from  1847 to 1855. The Jeanie Johnston was  remarkable in that no life was ever lost on the difficult voyages between Ireland and the New World. She is open to the public. I boarded her when she was tied up in Fenit, County Kerry, some years ago and she is well worth a visit to see at first hand what the living conditions were like for the emigrants who sailed in her.

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Statue of Mayo-man Admiral William Brown, ‘Father of the Argentine Navy’

A few yards from the Samuel Beckett Bridge, on the seaward side, stands a statue of  Admiral William Brown, or Guillermo Brown as he is known in Argentina. This illustrious Irish emigrant  changed the history of South America. This piece is from the Connaught Telegraph :

”Admiral William Brown, the hero of Garcia, Montevideo and Los Pozos, is acknowledged as ‘the father of Argentina’s Navy.’But he was even more than all that. He was a champion and friend of human liberty and the emancipator of a whole nation. In fact, the entire continent of South America owes him a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that he was one of the world’s foremost and greatest men of action, and that his exploits and heroism have profoundly influenced the course of history.”

Feb13 Book Launch + Dublin 036Beyond the statue of Admiral Brown, looking seaward there are reminders of the history of the old Dublin Port when ships were once moored along these docks.

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The modern Dublin Port in the distance, with these once busy quays now providing an excellent recreational, commercial and residential amenity.Feb13 Book Launch + Dublin 035Reminders of the past are all along the quay wall.



Filed under Ireland, Irish Heritage, Irish History, Living in Ireland, Mayo Emigrants

10 responses to “In Dublin’s Fair City

  1. Well observed pics SV, thank you. The docklands quays are – I think – quite beautiful. When the money ran out the development stopped, creating a great mixture of contemporary Ireland, and its seafaring past.
    I was living there and running the quays most days as the Beckett Bridge was floated in from the Netherlands and installed.
    Much more about Admiral Brown in a recent post from Come Here to Me

    • Thank you for your most welcome comment! There is a magnificent picture in The Maldron of the bridge floating up the river. Lucky you to have had such a nice place to run. It’s looking good there nowadays – I recall when it was a risky business making ones way to The Point (as it was then!) and I do not recall ever being on the southside. Come Here to Me is a great blog indeed and the post on Admiral Brown is worth a read.
      Thank you for dropping by!

  2. How I love your photos, especially of the bridges! Isn’t it amazing how there is now that whole side of Dublin that grew up when I, for one, wasn’t paying much attention,

    • Dublin does have some nice bridges – now there’s a post in that! I lived in Dublin when the Ulster Bank HQ was going up – but really the South Bank is lovely now and well worth a stroll. On the day I was there it was too hazy to see the port clearly, but there is a great link now with the city at your back and the huge ferries just down by the 02. Well worth a stroll. Thanks for your visit to the page!

  3. A wonderful tour of Dublin… I love the harp bridge. Your photos portray vistas that most would never notice, highlighting the contrast between new and old. To me, cities that revere their history while catering for today’s needs have so much more soul. Thank you.

  4. Lyn

    I can never get over the size of the ships they sailed across vast distances compared to the liners of today. I would feel like I was boarding a matchbox but it is also a testament to the skill of the mariners of the day as well.

    • Hi Lyn.The Jeanie Johnston is a tiny wee thing compared to the huge ferries a few hundred yards downstream! I was in disbelief when I first saw the cramped space these brave souls had to live in when they made the hazardous voyages across the world. It is indeed a testament to the seamanship of the times,in terms of courage as well as maritime skills. Thanks for dropping in! A

  5. Thank you – it’s a part of Dublin I had not been to before, so I was glad to share the ‘good news’ story of what was once a dilapidated area now brought back to life, but still with recognition of what it once was. Thanks Chris – as ever .

  6. Thank you for this wonderful tour Angela….you’ve revealed things I’ve never seen before like the Jeanie Johnston and the Spire (how did I ever miss the latter?)…perhaps my mind was on archival matters 😉 I will be adding them to my Dublin sightseeing list along with the gorgeous new Harp bridge which is just so pretty and perfect for Ireland. Thanks for sharing with us all.

    • Glad you enjoyed Pauleen – the Spire (or The Spike as it is affectionately known) is in the middle of O’Connell Street. It is rather controversial, but I am fond of it! Thanks for visiting!

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