To the lighthouse. Part 1: Poolbeg

Sunday Aug 28, 2022

  • I had no intention of coming to Poolbeg Lighthouse this morning but I got a nasty dose of sunrise fomo and I ended up here, chasing the light. The plan was to do a re-run of yesterday’s cycle, stalling in from basically Blanch to Grand Canal Dock, where I would aim for another dark coffee and bright pastry in Il Valentino, with the aim of writing about yesterday’s sun-drenched but otherwise identikit trip. But today, the clouds were out and I needed some Vitamin Tree, so I decided to do the river run instead, along the Strawberry Beds, snaking through Chapelizard, and following the southside cycle path towards Islandbridge.

  • As I was making my way to the Strawberry Beds, over a dull suburban bridge, I saw a patch of post-sunrise glow over in Cabra. Now Sunny Cabra is not renowned for its beauty, but when you are cycling along the Navan road, downhill into Town, and the stars are aligned, the place lights up like an afterparty in Ibiza, and you can see how this proto-dual-carriageway slash dynamic car park, which is actually lined with surprisingly large houses, may have once been a broad avenue of trees, horses and opulent outdoor breakfasts.

  • I obviously didn’t see that effect today  cos I wasn’t actually there, but that blob of light gave me the urge for some morning glowry, and I resolved to chase it and free myself from the sea of grey clouds overhead.  I pushed on inanyways towards Islandbridge and I stopped to take a few snaps of bushes whose leafy round undersides bounced back out of the river, and I reflected on how anything irregular can be made beautiful by simply doubling it.  How anything irregular can be made beautiful by simply doubling it.

  • There was a triathlon centred around one of the rowing clubs too and I  also thought about investigating it, seeing as I have been thinking about a) doing triathlons, and b) reporting on random events, but I thought better of it as I remembered that my actual goal is to talk shite about my own journeys, and I’ll start reporting about other people’s once I run out of my own juice.

  • So that had me on Conyngham Road approaching Parkgate St and another of my favourite views in Dear Dirty Dzublin, the quays on a bright day. Or, as it was today, light at the end of the river, with grey clouds all around, as though the buildings had a blurred reflection in the sky. Finally I was en route to the sunlight so I kept going, as planned towards Grand Canal Dock, although there was a random car parked on Ellis Quay, unmanned, and with its hazard lights flashing, so I stopped and called the cops, cos God only knows what was going on. The quays did their thing after that, opening up into the broader docks, with the water and sky casting redyellowblue joy onto the grey city, and the big buildings being pleasingly far away from another, leaving space for the soul to breathe, like they do in Berlin.

  • So I decided to Victor Vito the Grand Canal in favour of chasing the light, although I felt like the proverbial dog chasing after a bicycle, as sky’s visage faded to grey. I crossed over the scaldyball East Link Toll bridge, a rundown beggar of a road that ought to be ashamed of itself for asking people to pay to cross it. Yet its griminess bled neatly into Dublin Port which I had to wind through for a click or two, past the disused Ice Cream Factory, officially known as the Poolbeg Chimneys, and better known as the Ringsend Towers, and on to the to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, via the Great South Wall, a 2k stretch of chunky cobblestones that made me feel like I was soloing to victory in Paris-Roubaix.

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