Dublin – Looking Up
Its all too easy while walking or driving to keep your head down, eyes scanning for possible collisions, mind thinking of all sorts of things – troubles, dinner, family or just nothing. So perhaps its not surprising that we see so little of what is in plain view.
While on holidays, it is not as bad. Generally we are more relaxed and more open to seeing new things, exploring the surroundings.
However looking up is not too common, even on holidays. A shame as skies, architecture, spires, birds and so much more can be missed. Here I want to highlight some of the things that are easily missed by not actively looking, especially up, in Dublin.
The sky above is glowing red/orange after sunset. But look at the array of chimneys, Guinness silos, the Bottle Tower and the Church steeple, silhouetted against the sky. They are all interesting in their own way.
Ceilings are also often interesting – see 2014 post Ceilings https://cliffsview.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/ceilings/
It’s easy to miss the climber sculpture on the Treasury Building, Grand Canal St. Lower.
Merrion Square is famous for its Georgian buildings with windows that get smaller towards the roof to emphasise height. But look at the battery of chimneys !
And what about the Customs House?
The Copper Dome is a well known feature (although it is high up, it is very large and green) but have you noticed the dodgy looking statue on the top?
This apparently is a figure of Commerce and includes an anchor!
Consider also the Justice Statue on the Gate to Dublin Castle at Cork Hill ?
She wields a heavy sword, balanced by a delicate scales! Hmmmm!
The huge red-bricked building enclosing Georges St. Arcade is a familiar site. However at ground level it is a bit dreary. Old premises are only beginning to be renewed and some remain empty.
Looking up reveals a great building with a fabulous roof-line complete with turrets, balustrade, attic windows and large elaborate chimneys. This is one of the special buildings in Dublin.
Dame Street and College Green contain a good number of interesting buildings. Once again though, the roof-line is often overlooked.
This is a great pity as a variety of intricate architectural features and designs are to be found way above street level.
The Roof Windows and lovely chimney with wind vane are on the old Hibernian Bank, now a H&M shop, while the Copper cone is on the red-bricked Bank Restaurant which used to be the Royal Bank of Ireland.
Probably this grand old tall chimney wouldn’t be missed if it was on a main street. Tucked in the back of Heytesbury St. is is less obvious but an interesting throwback.
It is octagonal, made of yellow and red bricks and was originally connected to the boilers in the old Meath Hospital.
Looking up at the Bank of Ireland in College Green reveals one of the old empire symbols – the Lion and the Unicorn. These are heraldic elements and appear on the coat of arms of the United Kingdom.
The figures are still looking in good shape though I don’t think the same could currently be said of the UK!
The same animals in a different pose appear above the Custom House on Custom House Quay along the Liffey. This time they look up to a Harp with a crown atop! This is not the Coat of Arms of King George III but that of the Kingdom of Ireland!
Decorative edging tiles under the roof of buildings on Lincoln Place.
Christ Church Cathedral contains a myriad of interesting details at street level as well as internally and even below ground (including a 58 metre long crypt). But still some some glances upwards are well rewarded. As well as some serious flying buttresses, there are cross finials, carved limestone parapets and octagonal tapering towers with windows.
Finally a picture of Lord Edward Street looking down to Dame Street. Not to suggest that street level should be ignored in any way – Dublin has so much of interest in our old and some of our new buildings and features – but there is often so much of interest just a tilt of the neck away 🙂