Overview : Unlike its sister, the Royal Canal, the Grand Canal doesn't have a song dedicated to it. It does however, have more than its fair... more »
Unlike its sister, the Royal Canal, the Grand Canal doesn't have a song dedicated to it. It does however, have more than its fair... more » share of relationships with Nobel Laureates.
The salubrious surroundings of the Grand Canal are well worth the stroll, and strolling is definitely the best way to experience this walk. less «
As per usual in Ireland, regardless of what time of year it is, bring a rain jacket and sun cream!
There's plenty to see and do... more » along the walk, but taking a moment to sit and read or contemplate upon the canal is well worth it. less «
The sculpture “Famine” is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. During the 1840s it is estimated that one million left, and one million died.
This location is particularly appropriate as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the 'Perserverance' which sailed... More from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick's Day 1846. Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job to take the 'Perserverance' out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey.
The Custom House, one of Dublin's major landmarks on Custom House Quay, was completed in 1791. It cost the then not inconsiderable sum of £200,000. Initially the building was exclusively the headquarters of the Commissioners of Custom and Excise; however by the beginning of the twentieth century, the dominant role of the Custom House was in relation to local government. The building was burnt to the ground on 25 May, 1921 during the Irish War of Independence; restoration work was completed by 1928.
The exterior of the Custom House is often considered the most architecturally important builing in the country. It is richly adorned with sculptures, carved keystones and coats-of-arms.
There is a strong Irish theme to the sculpture with the Irish rivers being symbolised and Hibernia in the main pediment sculpture. Bearing in mind that that there was an Irish Parliament at this time – the building is a demonstration of the aspirations of the Irishmen who were responsible for running the country at this time. On the main pediment, Hibernia is seen embracing Britannia while Neptune drives away famine and despair. Above the pediment stand four more figures symbolising Neptune, Mercury, Industry and Plenty. Atop the dome stands a large figure of Commerce.
Unusually as might be expected on a crown property the roof line coats of arms are not that of King George III but of the Kingdom of Ireland with a Lion and a Unicorn either side of the Irish Harp.
On the north face at Beresford Place are personifications of the four continents of world trade – Africa, America, Asia, and Europe. This mirrors the four statues on the south façade. The sculptures that most associate with the Custom House are the keystones of riverine heads personifying the Atlantic, and the rivers Bann, Barrow, Blackwater, Boyne, Erne, Foyle, Lagan, Lee, Liffey, Nore, Shannon, Slaney and the Suir. The heads of the rivers are laden with the fruits of their basins.
It’s also rather cruelly rumoured to have been built back to front; with the pavilions intended to sweep towards the Liffey.
Admission is free, and it is open for visitors Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.
Leaving the view of Dublin city centre behind you, heading out to sea, you pass the pedestrian swing bridge, the Sean O’Casey Bridge, which was opened in 2005.
From the bitterness of poverty and from the love of humanity, Sean O'Casey was a playwright who created works of drama and prose-poetry that sang of freedom's exuberance and reviled... More spiritual penury.
Though his internationally famous plays--"The Shadow of a Gunman," "The Plough and the Stars," "Juno and the Paycock" and "Within the Gates"--stirred up storms among spectators and critics, they are now celebrated for their magnificent lines, their sharp characterization and their robust humour.
"I have lived a troublesome life in Ireland, in my youth hard times in the body, and in my manhood years, a hard time in the spirit. Hardship in my young days taught me how to fight hard, for if that characteristic wasn't developed then, it meant that one became either a slave or a lick-spittle. So I learned how to resist all aggressive attempts to make me a docile one, and could hit back as hard as he who could hit hardest. This gift (for an earned gift it is) kept within me when I reached the world of thought as it had been in the world of hard labour--at times, I fear, fighting what I thought to be aggression where none was meant. Indeed, had I been Adam, I think I should have resisted the angel with his sword of flaming fire that drove him and his Eve from the Garden of Eden.”
The impressive Convention Centre has a wonderful 55-metre high glass atrium, offering amazing views right across the Dublin skyline and over the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. The building can hold up to 8,000 people in 22 meeting rooms, which include a 2,000-seat auditorium and a 4,500 square metre exhibition and banqueting space. It is also the... More first carbon-neutral convention centre in the world!
It is the first Irish building designed by Kevin Roche. Born in Dublin, his better-known work includes the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, the UN Plaza and the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York. He has won innumerable awards for his designs of over 300 major buildings around the world. In 1982, he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize (the Nobel Prize equivalent for architecture).
From here can be seen the magnificent Cill Airne, a passenger liner commissioned by the Irish Government on July 12, 1961. In its time, it has brought Laurel & Hardy and American President Eisenhower ashore. Now, it is a home to the Quay 16 Restaurant and the Blue River Bistro Bar.
Convention Centre admission is free, and open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Cill Airne opening hours are Saturday and Sundays from 3pm, subject to events in the local area
Quay 16 Restaurant:
Monday to Saturday inclusive from 5.30pm until 10.00pm
Pre theatre menu available from 5.30pm until 7.30pm
Blue River Bistro Bar:
Monday to Friday, extensive bar food menu available from 12 noon until 10.00pm
Normal bar hours in operation
And apologies, no children allowed, and dress code smart casual.
As you cross Samuel Beckett, to the east is Dublin port, and the Irish sea itself. The two chimneys of the Poolbeg Generating Station are clearly visible, at just over 207 metres they are well-known landmarks and some of the tallest structures in Ireland. Out of use since 2010, they may not be around for much longer, as an application for their... More preservation was refused.
The bridge itself was shipped from Holland, and its elegant decline evokes a harp lying on its side, the harp being a symbol of Ireland. It was opened in 2009.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
The Beckett scholar Ruby Cohn wrote: "After 'Godot,' plots could be minimal; exposition, expendable; characters, contradictory; settings, unlocalized, and dialogue, unpredictable. Blatant farce could jostle tragedy." The novels are among the most experimental and most profound in Western literature.
“The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.”
For his accomplishments in both drama and fiction, the Irish author, who wrote first in English and later in French, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969.
“If you do not love me I shall not be loved If I do not love you I shall not love.”
To complete the trilogy of literary crossings, the James Joyce bridge lies further down the river. After you cross the bridge, chances are the early-house The Ferryman is serving...
Take a left onto Hanover Quay, and a right into The Grand Canal Dock.
At 10,000 square metres, the Dock, the meeting place of the River Liffey, the Dodder river, and the Grand Canal, is one of the largest paved public spaces in Dublin and is worth a visit, both during the day and at night.
The Grand Canal was built in 1757 to connect Dublin,... More in the east, with the River Shannon, in the west. Its timing was perfect for the new Guinness brewery which found canal transport cheaper, and capable of carrying heavier loads. They have also used the water from the canal to make their world-famous stout, and while the last barge travelled down the canal in 1960, after lock 18, Guinness still use their filter beds.
The Grand Canal Dock is home to U2’s headquarters and recording studios. It’s also the site of the proposed “U2 Tower” which would stand at least 120 metres tall. When, or if, it is built, it will be the tallest building in Ireland.
The newly sponsored, and now christened “Bord Gáis Energy Theatre” commenced building in January 2007 and the curtain rose for its inaugural performance on March 18th 2010 with The Russian State Ballet featuring stars from the Bolshoi performing Swan Lake.
Martha Schwartz, president of the architectural firm that designed the regeneration of the area describes the design as featuring “a striking composition of a red 'carpet.' It extends from the theatre both into and over the dock, and is then crossed by a lush 'green carpet' of planters with lawns and vegetation. The red carpet is made of bright resin-glass paving, covered with red glowing angled light sticks. The green carpet of polygon-shaped planters offers ample seating, and connects the new hotel to the office development across the square. The planters themselves feature marsh vegetation which softens the space, and acts as a reminder of the historic wetland nature of the site.”
There’s plenty to eat and drink while you’re here, choices include the Valentino Bakery, Ely, Fresh or KC Peaches.Less
Heading towards Ringsend, and taking a left, you pass the Waterways Visitor Centre, and Boland’s mill. In its decrepit state, it’s difficult to see the auspiciousness of this building. The Easter Rising of 1916 was the first attempt in Ireland since 1798 to overturn British rule, and in many ways, began that process by its very failure. Unpopular ... Moreat the time, it lasted only a few days, of the principal rebel positions, the GPO, the Four Courts, Jacob's Factory and Boland's Mill, the mill was the last to fall.
The majority of those killed and wounded were civilians, who died by indirect fire. The Volunteers were hissed at, pelted with refuse, and denounced as "murderers" and "starvers of the people". The death sentences given to those involved, and the British military presence on the streets soon began to sway public opinion.
Less than two years after the Rising, republicans won 73 Irish seats out of 105 in the 1918 General Election to the British Parliament, on a policy of Irish independence. In January 1919, the elected members of Sinn Féin who were not still in prison at the time, including survivors of the Rising, convened the First Dáil and established the Irish Republic.
Eamon De Valera led the revolt in the Mills, and was court-martialled, convicted, and sentenced to death, but the sentence was immediately commuted to penal servitude for life. Being in the Mill, and being last to surrender is a probable reason that he was spared. The tide had turned. His political career went on the span over half a century, from 1917 to 1973; he served multiple terms as head of government and head of state. He also led the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland.
“When we have done our best, we can, as a united people, take whatever may befall with calm courage and confidence that this old nation will survive and if death should come to many of us, death is not the end.”
On route to Beggar’s Bush via Barrow Street, the Gaswork buildings are clearly on view. Another landmark of Dublin, built in 1895, it was converted to apartments in 2007. It used to be a Gasometer, the red metal pillars of the original structure, once housed a huge balloon that rose and fell as the gas levels changed. You also pass through “Google... More Land”, where the internet behemoth has its European headquarters.
Beggars Bush is the name of the former barracks on Haddington Road, as well the surrounding area. Dating back to 1827, the British Army used the barracks as a recruit training depot for the garrison in Ireland. The barracks was handed over to Michael Collins and the Irish military on 31 January 1922, the first British barracks to be handed to the new Provisional Government. Robert Erskine Childers was executed in the barracks on 24 November 1922. The army finally closed the barracks in the 1920s.
Now, amongst residents, and the Labour Relations Commission, Geological Survey of Ireland, the Irish Labour History Society Museum, it houses the National Print Museum. On exhibit is a representative display of the equipment and artefacts of the rich centuries-old printing heritage. Items include a replica Gutenberg press (on loan from The Tudors TV series) and an original 1916 Proclamation of Independence. The National Print Museum's activities include: guided tours; exhibitions; workshops; outreach; lectures; and demonstrations days.
Saturday & Sunday, 2 and 5pm
Closed bank holiday weekends
If it’s time for R&R, you’re in luck. Beggar’s Bush is home to the culinary delights of the Chop House, Juniors, and Slatterys. If you arrive at lunchtime, be prepared for queues, all worth the wait.Less
Taking a right onto Haddington Road, you soon re-join the Grand Canal. There to welcome you, is Patrick Kavanagh himself.
Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin
"Erected to the memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien"
O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
... More Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges -
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb - just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.
Following the canal inland, on your right, you pass St Stephen’s Church, locally known as the Pepper Canister. The monument was erected in 334 B.C. in honour of the victory won in a dramatic contest by the Athenian choragus Lysicrates (a choragus being a wealthy patron of the arts who directed the chorus in the Athenian theatre). In the early... More nineteenth century it stood in the garden of a Franciscan friary in Athens, used by the friars as a summer house. Perhaps its most famous occupant was Byron, who used it as a study. Apparently, he scratched his name on a marble panel, which was still legible in 1850.
Other parishioners have included Oscar Wilde, who spent most of his boyhood years in 1 Merrion Square nearby. Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, an internationally acknowledged master of the ghost story genre lived at no 70 Merrion. The Hon. Arthur Wellesley, more commonly known as the Duke of Wellington, the victor of the battle of Waterloo was born nearby. William Butler Yeats lived at 82 Merrion Square between 1922 and 1928, then a Senator, and the funeral of his brother Jack Yeats, the great artist took place in this church on 30 March 1957.
Wednesday & Thursday 12.30-2.30pm.Less
Continuing along the canal, at Baggott Street, your quiet enjoyment of the birds and greenery may be momentarily disturbed by the outdoor food market held on the canal every Wednesday, featuring a popular mix of Indian, Spanish, British and Lebanese food, men and women in suits and some live jazz.
A premise of note is the striking Royal City of ... MoreDublin Hospital on Upper Baggot Street, built in 1832. Its facade is of red brick and terracotta tiles, set back from the street.Less
At Leeson Street, there is the option to leave the canal, and take a right to continue to St Stephen’s Green, or the nearby hidden gem of the Iveagh Gardens. I would recommend continuing along the canal until you reach Portobello.
The “Beautiful Harbour” was also known as Little Jerusalem because in the first half of the twentieth century it was... More at the heart of the Jewish community in Ireland. The first Jews fleeing conditions in Lithuania arrived in the early 1870s and eventually settled off Lower Clanbrassil Street. The population has now diminished, with many families moving to New York, Israel, or just up the road in Terenure.
The Irish Jewish Museum is located on Walworth Road. One of the items in the museum includes a Guinness bottle sold in the area with a customized label printed in Hebrew. The long-standing Kosher bakery, the Bretzel, is nearby on in Lennox Street.
A fitting end to this watery, literary walk is the Bernard Shaw. Opened in 1895, it is now run by the music producers “Body Tonic” and is possibly the coolest bar in Dublin (Ireland?). The bar is open 7 days a week, from 4pm, and if you get the chance, it’s worth looking up what entertaining event is on that day.
Another of Dublin’s disproportionate number of Nobel Laureates, the author of Pygmalion, once said: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
This walk is a perfect way to create and share many new ideas.
The Irish Jewish Museum can be visited between 1st May to 30th September on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11am to 3.30 pm and between 1st October and 30th April on Sundays only between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm.