The final hours of any holiday are difficult, what to do to make the most of the remaining time before the impending trip to the airport? We set off from the hotel in the direction of the Grand Canal, the same one we discovered on our first day in Ireland at Edenderry.
The canal begins in Dublin at the River Liffey and, 43 locks later, connects with the River Shannon 131 kilometres away.
We noticed a naked female figure seemingly climbing the wall of the Treasury Building.
The sculpture is titled Aspiration – Liberty Scaling the Heights by artist Rowan Gillespie and was installed in 1995. Representing Ireland in the struggle for freedom that took place in 1916, it is fitting that this building was once occupied by Éamon de Valera who was a key figure in the Easter Rising. He was arrested and sentenced to death but instead, was released and went on to be President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973. Although the figure appears to be made from bronze, it is actually foam-filled fibreglass.
We wandered further to Grand Canal Docks, the world’s largest docks at the time they opened in 1796. With the advent of the railways they fell into decline and by the 1960s were almost completely derelict. The land was rendered toxic by a history of chemical factories and tar pits until regeneration began in 1998, with millions spent on decontamination. Since then, significant redevelopment has seen the docklands become the location for multinational companies.
A functioning mill until 2001, the gorgeous 19th century stone block building of Boland’s Mill is a protected site. The concrete silos, however, have since been demolished as part of the Boland’s Quay reconstruction.
I could imagine living in an apartment overlooking the docks,
although new construction was encroaching on some of the characterful older buildings.
The chimneys of the Poolbeg Power Station, known as the Poolbeg Stacks, dominate the skyline to the east.
It seems that construction will be an ongoing enterprise in the docklands,
something to keep the resident cormorants interested.
The time had come for us to make our way to the airport and one more taste of Ireland before boarding the shuttle to Heathrow.