Mosaic garden

Garden of Remembrance, Dublin
Garden of Remembrance, Dublin

In a combination of Celtic and Christian symbolism, the mosaics in the cruciform reflecting pool at the Garden of Remembrance represent the ancient custom of destroying weapons and discarding them in a river after a battle.

Garden of RemembranceThe mosaics, pool and garden were designed in the 1940s by Daithí Hanly who also used mosaics on several buildings around the city during his time as City Architect. Opened in 1966 on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the garden commemorates all those who died in the cause of Irish freedom over the centuries. The garden itself is something of a mosaic, with Oisín Kelly’s Children of Lir sculpture added in 1971, Liam Mac Uistín’s poem “We Saw a Vision” added in 1976, and a new entrance opened in 2007.

Garden of Remembrance, DublinHidden from the casual passer-by and largely forgotten by busy commuters, the Garden of Remembrance is almost always still and quiet, despite its city centre location; that said, it has been the centre of attention as the scene of important memorial services involving visiting heads of state in recent years.

Small, or far away?

Casino, Marino
Casino, Marino

Despite appearances, neither. Looking like a single-room Greek temple from the outside, the Casino (‘little house’ in Italian) in fact contains sixteen rooms over three levels. It was built in the eighteenth century by the 1st Earl of Charlemont soon after returning from his Grand Tour of Italy and Greece, having already named his newly acquired estate after the Italian town of Marino.

Casino, MarinoWith hollow columns, hidden doors, mysterious tunnels, and windows that are bigger on the outside than the inside, there’s more to the Casino than meets the eye. Comparisons with a certain time-travelling craft are almost inevitable; had the Casino been endowed with such powers, its architect might have been able to see his design brought to fruition. But for Chambers, the Casino remained both small and far away.

Wonderwall

North Bull Wall, Dublin Bay
North Bull Wall, Dublin Bay

The Réalt na Mara (Star of the Sea) memorial at the end of the Bull Wall, better known simply as ‘the statue’, was funded by subscriptions from Dublin’s dockers and completed in 1972 after a campaign lasting over twenty years. Illuminated at night, the statue is visible across Dublin Bay, and is dedicated to the memory of all who worked in Dublin Port.

Built in the 19th century to solve the problem of silting at the mouth of the Liffey after the Great South Wall by itself proved ineffective, the North Bull Wall extends just over a mile from the wooden bridge linking it to the coast as a paved road and path, and about two-thirds that distance again as a rocky breakwater which is submerged at high tide.

North Bull Wall, Dublin BayThe wall achieved its aim of deepening the entrance to the port, and the change in tidal flows led to the North Bull sandbank becoming today’s Bull Island. Most of the island is owned by Dublin City Council, but the Bull Wall remains the property of Dublin Port, having been designed by Ballast Board engineer George Halpin in 1819. While he did survey the bay in 1801, the popular story that Captain William Bligh was responsible for the wall and its bounty is, it seems, a load of bull.

 

Summertime

Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham

The living may be easy, but telling the time isn’t. Summer began a couple of days ago, but the clocks changed to summer time just over a month ago. Except they didn’t: officially, we don’t have summer time. In 1968, Irish Standard Time was defined to be one hour ahead of GMT, and in 1971, winter time was defined to be the same as GMT. In practice, Irish time has mostly been the same as British time since the end of Summer Time in 1916 (the year it was introduced). Prior to that, the standard time across Ireland, as decreed in 1880, was Dublin Mean Time, which was 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind Greenwich Mean Time, with Dunsink Observatory as the reference point.

The clock on the North Range of the Royal Hospital is just over an hour slow, perhaps still showing winter time (almost). The building dates from 1684, long before the railways demanded the use of a standard time across the country, so the sundial should show local time. That would be roughly the same as Dublin Mean Time, with a small adjustment for the Equation of Time, or about an hour and 22 minutes behind standard time, all told. It doesn’t, and one source puts this down to a gross error made during one of two known restorations. So what time is it? Lunchtime.

Land ahoy

Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, Dublin
Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Looking like a concrete battleship in a sea of grass, the Magazine Fort was built in 1734 on the site of the Phoenix Lodge, which dated from 1611 and was named for a spring of clear water (fionn uisce) nearby. With commanding views from its elevated position, the Fort was used as a powder magazine and munitions store well into the 20th century.

To Arthur

Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, Dublin
Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Wellesley, that is. The Wellington Monument (officially the Wellington Testimonial, as construction began while he was alive) commemorates the Dublin-born 1st Duke of Wellington’s military and political achievements. At 62 metres, it is the tallest obelisk in Europe, although it was originally intended to be taller.

Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, DublinA statue of the Duke on horseback was also planned, but a lack of funds reined that idea in, as well as delaying completion of the obelisk until 1861, after the Duke’s death.

The bronze panels on each side of the base were cast from cannons captured at Waterloo. Those aren’t wellies though.

Inspiration

Samuel Beckett Bridge and Convention Centre, Dublin
Samuel Beckett Bridge and Convention Centre, Dublin

The lines of the Samuel Beckett Bridge, inspired by the harp on the obverse of Irish coins, complement those of the Convention Centre and One Spencer Dock. Its location means Dublin’s second Calatrava bridge is fast becoming the city’s most recognisable landmark among the tech community. Leaving the Ha’penny Bridge in, well, the ha’penny place.

Still

Bull Island and Poolbeg Chimneys
Bull Island and Poolbeg Chimneys

Still and cold, the sort of day when nothing moves if it doesn’t need to. Even the chimneys are idle. Built 8 years apart, and of different widths to guard against resonance effects in windy conditions, the landmark 207-metre chimneys at Poolbeg were decommissioned in 2010, but still stand tall.

Fifty shades

Record Tower and Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle
Record Tower and Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle

The 13th-century Record Tower is the only intact tower from the mediaeval period of Dublin Castle, and was used as a high security prison. The battlements were added in the early 19th century, around the time the adjoining gothic revival Chapel Royal was built.

It was from this tower that Red Hugh O’Donnell, Art O’Neill and Henry O’Neill made their escape on a winter’s night in 1592, setting out for Glenmalure after lowering themselves down the toilet chute. Participants in the Art O’Neill Challenge usually skip that part.