Sunday, March 16, 2014

Gandon's Glory

Click any image for a larger version

James Gandon (1742-1823) went to a lot of trouble completing the designs for the Dublin Custom House and then having it constructed.

It is a fine building and came to symbolise a lot of what Dublin was and is, despite: its destruction by the IRA in 1921; its subsequent restorations; the building of the loop line bridge, which obscures its view from the west, and the erection of the Liberty Hall "skyscraper", both of which spoil what would otherwise be a wonderful Liffey streetscape.

Well the vandals are at it again, albeit temporarily and in the name of St. Patrick.

Custom House Quay, or at least that part of it between the building and the river, is playing host to a set of garish and loud volume "amusements" to celebrate the something-or-other anniversary of the conversion of the Irish heathens to Christianity - otherwise known as St. Patrick's Day.

Well it used to be a day. Now it varies from a whole week to a mere weekend depending on the calendar and the coffers.

And my, is it FUN?

More fun, I'm sure, than living with the lion and the unicorn under the British crown in times of yore!

The blue "spire" on the left is a modern version of the chairoplane of old.

Not only are you subjected to the traditional centrifugal force, but you are elevated half way to Heaven in the process, and you can get a magnificant view of Dublin by day or night, if you have the nerve to open your eyes.

I read that, when he came to Dublin to do the Custom House, Gandon was secreted away by John Beresford in his house on what is now Railway Street and which was formerly part of the red light district known as Monto.

I think, at this stage and to restore a bit of sanity, we need a bar or two from the Dubliners on that subject.


Póló said...

I thought that was a sort of a critical post, but I must be losing my touch as I see @VisitDublin complimented me on it and even retweeted it.

Just for the record, my own family associations with the area are pretty intense. My grandfather's body was fished out of the Liffey on nearby Eden Quay in 1918 and the Mammy worked for a number of years in the Labour in Beresford Place on the other side of the Custom House. A grand-uncle (by marriage)had a pawn shop up Gardiner Street on the corner of Railway Street on the perimeter of Monto.

So there.

me said...

One word comes to mind

[And your ref to Gardiner St brought back bad memories of forced office relocation which was hugely unwelcome.]

Póló said...


Yes, cheap (but probably expensive), and vulgar also comes to mind.

Whatever about the snakes, you'd be tempted to bring St. Patrick back to get rid of the amusements.