Wednesday, July 14, 2010
A tourist in my own town - Discovering Dublin
Who needs an alarm when the dog can wake you at 5.30 on a Saturday morning? Feigning sleep I tried to get another ten minutes of much needed rest. But Ruby was having none of it. Eventually I gave in to the inevitable and rose to let her escape into the garden bathed in early morning light.
The sun was rising unsurprisingly in the East and was shining through the kitchen window at an angle peculiar to early morning. It danced on the dresser and lit up the glasses. It was a sign from God. No going back to bed.
I quietly fed the bicycle through the kitchen and gently placed it in the back of the Volvo saloon. Thank God for Mr. and Mrs. Volvo and their clever off spring who designed a car that allows you to collapse the back seats in under twenty seconds and develops space big enough to hold a concert in.
I drove to Sandymount Strand where the public car park boasted a smattering of white vans . They all seemed to be driven by Polish builders and their helpers, drinking steaming coffee and munching sandwiches ahead of a a busy days fixing Mrs Murphy's kitchen. What will we do when the Poles go home? God forbid that we Irish might have to fix our own gutters and drains.
Somewhat unsteadily I cycled at a leisurly pace towards the Poolbeg lighthouse. I was passed out by young men and women in Lycra looking very professional. I was nearly passed at one stage by a jogger but my pride spurred me to up the pace. I was reminded of the Scots author who recounted how one stormy day while walking he passed out an elderly gentlman cycling into the wind. I passed through the Irishtown nature reserve and looked back at Dun Laoghaire with its twin church steeples and Killiney Hill with cloudy nightcap still adorning its head. I suppose if you are wealthy enough to live in Howth or Killiney you have to put up with the odd mist. It is God's way of showing he has a sense of humour.
As I made my way to Poolbeg Lighthouse I reflected that despite living in Dublin for nearly 59 years this was the first time I had seen the city from this angle. It struck me that with a bit of money and imagination this area could be a fantastic place to live and bring up children. Why not build low rise apartments within two miles of the city centre rather than exile people sixty miles outside of Dublin and expect them to commute every day?
The famous/infamous Glass Bottle Site might indeed have been a very good idea, if only someone had paid the correct price for it. Amazing to think that the development of Poolbeg may never go ahead not because no one was prepared to spend money on the site but because they paid too much. I am sure David McWilliams will be able to exlpain that.
Back to my central theme. This is the year to rediscover Dublin - or indeed to discover it perhaps for the very first time.