Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Dublin, Ireland

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

My home is Dublin’s fair city, located on the beautiful emerald isle of Ireland. I love Dublin!

Dublin is a compact city and I’m lucky enough to live in a quaint cottage among a small tight knit and friendly community just outside the city centre. My walk to work takes forty carefree minutes and I’m sharing it with you in the hope that I can convey a little about the city I call home.

A few minutes after leaving home I encounter the Royal Canal immortalised by one of Ireland’s many famous writers Brendan Behan in ‘The Auld Triangle’ (which I occasionally attempt to sing after consuming too many pints of Guinness…).

A hungry feeling
Came o’er me stealing
And the mice were squealing
In my prison cell
And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal
Oh! To start the morning
The warden bawling
“Get up out of bed, you! And clean out your cell!”
And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Mountjoy Prison, to which Behan refers and in which he was incarcerated, still stands today and is a short distance further along the canal, though I do not pass it going to work (which is my personal prison!). I continue along North Strand Road where, on the night of 31 May 1941, four bombs were dropped by German aircraft. The casualties were many: 34 dead and 90 injured, with three hundred houses damaged or destroyed. This bombing was interpreted either as a deliberate ploy by Hitler‍ s government to force neutral Ireland into the war or as a reprisal for the assistance given by Dublin Fire Brigade during the Belfast Blitz. After the war, Germany paid compensation to the Irish Republic for what it described as a military error.

Today, on either side of this same broad majestic road are gracious old trees that stand proudly, their lush green foliage injecting colour into the ubiquitous grey of city life. One of these trees had an unfortunate encounter recently with a double decker bus and needed to be significantly pruned – although I believe the bus came off worse!

I amble for another five minutes until I come upon the Five Lamps. Unlike some cities which are based on grid systems allowing their inhabitants to give directions according the intersections of avenues and streets, Dublin residents use local landmarks for identification (well-known pubs, an old cinema, a famous house etc.) . The Five Lamps is one such landmark and is exactly what is says – a dec orative lamp post, dating from the 1880s, with five lanterns standing at the junction of five streets – Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street.

My route then takes me along Seville Place. At the end of this road I meet a beautiful new bridge opened towards the end of 2009. Named after another of our beloved writers, the Samuel Beckett Bridge was designed by the world-famous Spanish architect and engineer Dr Santiago Calatrava. It is beautiful and I enjoy walking over this fabulous structure every day passing over the River Liffey (which as kids we referred to the ‘sniffy Liffey’ due to the overwhelming stink of pollution, much improved now I’m happy to say).

I continue along by the river Liffey marvelling at how our city was transformed during the years of the Celtic Tiger. Conference centres, apartment buildings, restaurants and theatres now populate what until only a few years ago was a wasteland.

A short trip over a cobble-stoned street brings me to Dublin’s second canal, the Grand Canal. I walk along by its grassy tree-lined verge until I reach my office where poet Patrick Kavanagh sits in quiet reflection all day long every day on a bench by the canal (in the form of a statue of course!). I enjoy looking at him through the window from my desk, even though as a young student I was tortured by his unbearably grim poems…

O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.

Lunchtime brings the office workers out for strolls in the vicinity including Raglan Road where Kavanagh redeemed himself for me with his composition of one of Ireland’s most beautiful verses, later sung with haunting beauty by Luke Kelly a ballad singer from Sheriff Street not far from the Five Lamps and only a quarter of a mile from Dublin’s main thoroughfare O’Connell Street.

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

And best of all, at the end of the working day Dublin’s magnificent bay is accessible at just a handy twenty minute commute.

Sent by Maria from Dublin