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Grand Canal Walk by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2010, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Patrick still has some time on his hands these days. Last week we took a big walk around the Grand Canal. We started in Ballsbridge and ended up (accidentally) in Ballyfermot. I tried to take some pictures along the way.

We know the canal around Ballsbridge fairly well since I used to live in Ballsbridge. It’s a very high brow part of town. If I were ever thinking about moving to Dublin I would start by looking aorudn the canal, not necessarily in Ballsbridge but nearby. Being much more accustomed to the Mississippi, I like how narrow and calm the canal is.

We walked past the statue of Patrick Kavanagh and had to snap a picture. I took the same picture when we first met, maybe 18 years ago so it will be fun to see the differences. We walked by the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw. We walked through Baggot Street, Leeson Street, through Harold’s Cross to Dolphin’s Barn. Some neighborhoods are nice, some are mixed.

Patrick’s plan was to walk down the canal to the Kilmainham Hospital (Irish Museum of Modern Art) – but we missed the turn. Or rather he missed the turn and I foolishly followed him. We went farther than we should have and ended up in Ballyfermot, which is a rougher part of town. I kind of wish I had taken a picture, but it seemed like pretty bad form.

We’ve walked by load of council flats in the past and while I’m glad I don’t live in them they never really struck me. The flats in Ballyfermot struck. To start there’s a terrible eyesore that looks like a burned out apartment building – except people are still clearly living in there. Then the rest are better – but the area is so bleak.

Written in graffiti across several of the walls was “This is the Promised Land” in big, black letters.

It was midmorning when we walked through so I wasn’t actually scared or even very nervous – mostly I just felt terrible for anyone who had to live in that area every day.

We did run into a very funny pair. One guy walked into a wall and immediately blamed his friend for not giving him the heads up. He wasn’t holding anything, blind or busy – just walking. And the wall wasn’t hidden, it was attached to the just of the apartment building.

So after Ballfermot we did make our way to the Art Museum. I love that place. They had a new exhibit called something like “Not Waiting for Godot” that consisted of a gravelly ground, two sleeping bags with iPods; both with sounds of the beach and a woman talking. The speech is kind of Beckettian – but I don’t think it was actual quotes or anything – although I hardly know the play or Trilogy by heart.

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