A stroll along the Quays, Dublin, Ireland, Friday 13th November, 2020

Such a glorious day! this is to whet your appetite, should you ever have some tie to just wander along the quays in Dublin,

Today as yesterday – only yesterday? – it was a truly glorious day. So much so that I left the house and set off to walk along one side of the quays and return along the other, without remembering that I had an appointment. A zoom call. Zoom calls. 2020. Zoom calls are de rigeur in 2020. Anyway, I soothed the unfortunate who rang me to check if I were still alive, and continued on my way.

And what did I see?

My photos will be my prompts.

The first photo shows the replica Jeanie Johnston, looking up river, and a link tells you more. The day of the Inauguration of the Famine Walk, I was among the motley group who waited for those who had enacted the walk, and it was an emotional moment, to see them all being herded along and hurried up along the gangplank on to the Jeanie Johnston…

The little shoes are part of a remembrance of the Famine Walk, from Strokestown House along the Royal Canal to Dublin quays. The story has many starting points, but all ended at the quays. Those who travelled on the Jeanie Johnston were lucky, as the reputation of the ship was a good one, with very few if any losses on its journeys.

The above is a plaque on a recently built bridge over the Liffey, honouring Rosie Hackett. It was the first bridge in Dublin to be named for a woman.

The following is taken from Wikipedia.

Rosie Hackett was born into a working-class family in Dublin in 1893. Her father was John Hackett, a hairdresser, whilst her mother was the former Roseanna Doyle. According to the 1901 census, she was living with her widowed mother and five other family members in a tenement building on Bolton Street in the city centre. The available documents suggest that her father died when she was still very young. Hackett joined the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union(ITGWU) when it was established in 1909 by Jim Larkin, which marked the beginning of her lifelong activity in trade unionism.[1] By 1911 she was living with her family in a cottage on Old Abbey Street, and her mother had remarried to Patrick Gray.[2] That same year she co-founded the Irish Women Workers’ Union (IWWU) with Delia Larkin. Hackett never married, and lived in Fairview with her brother Tommy until her death in 1976.[citation needed]

Surprise surprise. Palm trees on the boardwalk in Dublin City?

Quote from Wikipedia: Palm trees in Ireland are frost hardy and grow in gardens all over. They decorate our towns and suburbs, they are blasted by the salt air on our seafronts, and they are often seen in pairs guarding the entrances to farmhouses and give a tropical look to any garden.

However, they are not palm trees at all; they are the New Zealand native, Cordyline australis. They enjoy the common name of “cabbage tree”, supposedly because settlers in New Zealand found the young leaves to be a tolerable substitute for cabbage. The plant was popularised in Irish gardens as early as the late 1800s. By the 1970s — and almost certainly before that – the palm imposter had gone rogue, spreading into the wild and lending parts of coastal Ireland a distinctly beautiful aura.

Looking to the south side of the quays, we can see what many conservationists wish had never been built. Modern Civic Offices have been superimposed upon an area known as Wood Quay.

Dublin Corporation acquired Wood Quay gradually between 1950 and 1975, finally announcing that it would be the location of their new offices. Large-scale archaeological excavations were conducted on the site by the National Museum of Ireland at intervals between 1974 and 1981. Finds made during the excavations of the site led to a significant, but ultimately unsuccessful, public campaign to halt the development. Artefacts from the excavations are now on display in the National Museum of Ireland. Most of the quay is now entirely occupied by Dublin City Council‘s Civic Offices.

15 Ushers Island, on the south quays of the  River Liffey, at the James Joyce Bridge, The house was used in the film The Dead, by James Joyce.

It is currently pending a final decision on an application for using it as a tourist hostel, much to the chagrin, once more, of conservationists.

it is impossible to miss the Guinness factory. The aroma pervades the surrounding district…
Directly opposite on the other side the river, Collins Barracks, part of the National Museum of Ireland.
Heuston Station, for all points west…

Best if you wish to look up Anna Livia statue. She was given at least two other names, thanks to Dublin wit.

She is to be found here, just a short walk from Heuston Station, on the north side of the quays, heading towards the city, and on out to the sea…

I was delighted to come across this piece of street art. Some few years ago the City Council invited ideas for decorating objects that sit on streets, maybe meters, who knows. This guy, Bang Bang, was before my time, but he was a real character, in both senses. Internet will help you learn more.

Yes, it was a church. It is now – or was, before lockdowns, a thriving meeting point for friends and acquaintances. Slightly off the quays, but not too far. For those interested, it is backing on to a plaza where you can find the cleanest public toilets in the city. A young lady was cleaning as I approached, cleaned while I was inside, when I left. I really should have got her name to recommend her to the management. It is a concession to the public, because before the lockdowns, it was impossible to find public toilets in the city centre.

Not Christmas yet, but it has begun. I was lucky – no music!

So that was my stroll along the quays. It was nippy enough, but the blue sky and the sun from time to time made for a very pleasant stroll.

Thank goodness for feet, and good health!

18th October 2020

A day late, but never mind. The banners were still there. Yesterday was World Poverty Day, as celebrated by the 4th World Movement. So, this is for Pili.

A well trodden path for me gave me a feast. A sunrise that took its time, and I ‘caught’ some of its moments as I criss-crossed the river.

A few jarring images, one of which shows a modern attraction, invented happiness.

Mostly, the beauty of the natural world, the light of the sun that is everywhere, whether we can see it or not.

The edited photos just follow one another over around 45 minutes.

just before the feast began

this might have been such a warehouse in its day… now the hoarding hides more apartments and office buildings

An old church sandwiched in between a modern glass building and an old building. The sun reflecting through the modern building.
reflected light, and the building houses Mammon.

A Camino Like No Other

A long, long time ago… in 2006 I walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. A friend had an unexpected two month period free while she was in transition between jobs. She asked if I would walk with her. I was terrified! Me? A lazy being with no history of any exercise whatever? Long story short, 150km practice walks, bought the usual minimum of gear and set off on Friday 23rd June. 29 days later, arrived in Santiago. Plenty of ups and downs along the way, but this story is not about that camino.
So, why is this one not like any other?
Well, my camino is not listed on any forum. It consists of a concrete laneway at the back of our house in Dublin, Ireland. It takes me 80 steps from end to end but then I do have short steps. At present I am not allowed to leave the house or garden. Well, the lane is the equivalent of a garden. It is shared by 20 houses, ten on each side. So far, since lockdown, I have only seen a dad and son playing football, and my own community companion using the lane as well as myself. The dad and son were very happy to leave out the football for my companion. She likes kicking it up and down. The lane is closed at one end by a wall, and at the other by a gate.

I had been forcing myself to walk up and down for a certain amount of km. I got tired of that. A friend was admitted to hospital, probably not with the virus, but… in fact, no sign of the virus, but another health problem. In any case, that led me to say: here I am, safe and sound, able to walk where there are three other users of the space, and I can roam around the world in my mind and heart while I walk up and down. I can focus on the wonderful people who are right there on the frontline of this battle with the invisible enemy that is Covid19. Then there are all the supporting actors in every possible walk of life, protecting the frontlines, as well as the backbenchers.
So my camino that is unlike any other calls on an element from my first camino: dedicating the joys and sorrows of each day to someone in my life. That person did not know, but I knew. Equally, the tens of thousands I am thinking of do not know, but I know. That is what keeps my feet moving. Speaking of which, it is time to go out while there’s nobody else in the lane! See you later…
Now, a word about the albergue. Singular, in more ways than one.
No matter how far I walk, I always find the door open in the same albergue. I do not know how this happens, but it is always the same one. I walk through the door from the lane into the yard, and then into the kitchen. The kettle is always on, and I am free to use whatever is there. In the fridge, on the counter…Before leaving this morning I had a toasted home made wholemeal muffin with some cheese. For my first rest period I had a cup of cafe con leche – a rare treat! then I just popped in from time to time for water.
At lunchtime, the hospitalera had prepared sausages, with some leftover potatoes from yesterday. Just what the doctor ordered. Shoes off, and some social time. Then, el vecino offered to bring the newspaper. Very kind, for reading later.
So off I went again. At 15km I decided: enough for today.
Who did I dedicate my walk to today? To the countless unnamed persons: daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, fathers, mothers – who are going out every day into the lion’s den. Whether medical personnel, or other essential workers – such as the pharmacist who will drop in my prescription when she is closing at the end of the day. such as the people who have dedicated their time and resources to supporting the elderly who have been told to stay at home, the people who are waiting to support the vulnerable who cannot manage to keep a level balance as a result of the Covid19 and what it is doing to their mental health.the delivery couriers, the bus drivers, the drivers for the Cancer patients, and there are so many more. It took me a while, but I roamed around Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, and all the other countries in Europe. Let’s not cut UK out just yet.
So, as we approach the vigil of Palm Sunday I can look out of the upstairs window at the back of the albergue, and I see some pretend palm trees. Good enough. I still have some from last year, so all will be well. at this time, everything is happening ‘like no other’. we won’t go back to normal. At least, I hope not. We have to learn from this not normal first.
till next time!
View from upstairs window:
Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 12.43.21

A journey, part 2.



And this fellow! Guess what he is holding under his arm! An ipad! No sooner had he heard my country of origin than he exclaimed: “och aye, the noo!” It was a sign of his knowledge of music hall humour…
He is one of the few people we asked for permission to take a photo. He was proud to tell us we would find him in Lonely Planet, and no problem with taking a photo.


Lasting impressions will include the spontaneous smiles of welcome from many people, the omni-presence of the police, the never-ending looking through piles of used clothes and shoes, the multitude of storage nooks piled to the brim with junk… and the cats! Oh, the cats… sniffing around food, reigning over everything…



spontaneous invitations to ‘come to my house, my mama will be happy to see you and offer you some food’ (this from a lovely young woman who had come into the church as an act of brave curiosity and who was pleasantly surprised not to be attacked because she looked different).



The total ignorance of what was being said. Being a real stranger in a foreign land. And yet, the non-verbal agreement that if you scratch skin, blood is the same colour… we are, to use a word from my school German, ‘geschwister’: sisters and brothers.
Finally, imagine the music, the shouting, the smells, the tastes, the contrasts… and watch a short slideshow of some of the many photos we took…during an unforgettable visit to Morocco.


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A journey

What does that word conjure up in your mind? Before I went there, I had a vague notion of noise, heat, strangeness, alien culture.
Well, it was cold. Wet. Noisy. It was white, and it was blue. It was mysterious, mountainous, ‘mazing.
With some days in Tetuán and Martil and a day in Chefchaouen, plus the final day in Tanger, we had a taste of different places, each with its own special atmosphere.
How reassuring, the obvious desire of the Moroccan people we met who were so helpful, willing us to be happy with our visit to their country.
How striking, the vast numbers of young men, and older ones, ‘los sentados’ :– a child replied when asked what her father did : “es un sentado”. That means, he sits around and maybe plays cards, or chess, or parchís.
How absolutely heartbreaking, the weariness and dejection on the faces of those young men sent back from the frontier after weeks trying to find a way, any way, out of misery and hopelessness.


How beautiful to see them after the permitted 25 minutes in the shower, wearing clean pyjamas while their clothes spin in the washing machine and they sip hot tea or coffee.
How utterly humbling to see a local successful builder giving bus fares to those young men, telling the youngest, who was fifteen years young: “Go home. Better a beating from your father than one from a strange man.”
How shocking, to see the old women and men begging. To see those selling nothing at all of value on the roadside, hoping for a few dirhams…
How intriguing, to watch the action among the men who would crowd around on arrival at the bus station, vying for the job of leading us to the right counter for the bus to our destination; the passing over of coins among the directors of business at the taxi ranks; the acceptance of everyone being crushed into a car intended ““for four passengers. Those cars often held together with sellotape…
Hilarious, being offered guidance around a Medina, escaping with firmness, only to be caught a few bends later, and realise that the all-seeing eye had been following from the start of Bab Ruah. (Tetuán: the Medina there is breathtaking in its complexity and stark white beauty). Such a blessing, the knee massage offered because the follower had observed and passed on the word…
How intricate, the work of the Berber women, in their rugs and cloths, weaving their age old colours and histories.
How furious, the man who thought he had found a purchaser. No, he had found some people who truly appreciated the skill of the women, and hard work that each piece represented, but who did not need to, nor could, spend the money that would properly ‘repay’ those women.
So many people. So many people without work. The routes the King might use are shined up and beautified, but behind them… life is hard on the way up those inclines, out of the modern roads. A tiny woman, a bundle of firewood loaded on her back so that she was hardly visible, making her way uphill. Little children selling individual packs of tissues. Guys on the street selling individual cigarettes.
Two little boys with dirty plastic bags, inhaling glue.
And these words from The Selfish Giant, came to me:
“Who hath dared to wound thee?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.” “Nay!” answered the child; “but these are the wounds of Love.” “Who art thou?” said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.
And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.”
And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

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