Discovering Dublin: 2/5/20km Southside (5/)

Aongus and I feel so fortunate to live close to the city center. During Ireland’s lockdown, the entire central core fell in our allowable exercise area–a 2km radius from home. We got out and about on weekends, though we sorely missed our gym (1escape, we love you!).

This blog pictures how our world expanded southward as Dublin’s lockdown lifted. Prior posts show the first days of lockdown, isolating at home, our escapades in Phoenix Park and 2/5/20km northward.

Central Dublin, South of the Liffey

The streets of downtown Dublin were particularly tranquil for morning bicycle rides, and the weather blessed us during March and April. We eventually explored all around Temple Bar, Grafton Street, Synge Street, Portobello, and the Liberties.

We normally returned home before sunset. They can be so beautiful when viewed across the Liffey.

Here we’re at South King Street, near the still-asleep Gaiety Theater and St. Steven’s Green:


Our cycles brought us through Grand Canal Docks several times, with the Board Gaís Theater, designed by the office of architect Daniel Libeskind.


We found Herbert Park in Ballsbridge, which I knew of from Collene Dube’s “100 Days of Walking” Tweets. It’s near Dublin’s big Arena.

Riding out here, I felt that drivers gave me more space when they saw the orange vest. Aongus says it’s probably the style of vest I’ve chosen, which evidently suggests I do maintenance in the social housing complexes of Dublin. Whatever–it works! And yes, my sense of style is surely all my own!


We could only access the inner part of Sandymount in our 5km radius, but we made the most of it and dreamed of cycling even further southward, toward Booterstown, Blackrock village, and Dún Laoghaire in coming weeks.

Here we are playing around at Sandymount Strand:


Low and behold, we discovered the beach at Seapoint as our zone opened to 20km, permitting our ventures toward Dún Laoghaire. It was a bit crowded, but still possible to find the needed distance from others:

Dún Laoghaire

We made it to Dún Laoghaire, with its mega-sized harbor and its vibrant People’s Park. The harbor is so much larger than Howth’s. We always brought a picnic and planned for the lack of bathrooms. Although Howth opened thiers prior to our visits, Dún Laoghaire did not.

We have talked about a cycle out to Dalkey, which is just inside our 20km, but we haven’t made it there yet by bike. Something to look forward to…..

Novelty Express

I awoke this morning to an excited phone call from Dave. He’s accustomed to going out at dawn to photograph in the morning light. Today, he was out with the tall ships and he summoned me to come see them sail. The ships closest to the city were moving out. The city had opened the Calatrava-designed bridge to allow the ships thru passage. (Calatrava is an architect and bridge-designer whose work Dave and I greatly admire.)

“Take a picture every time you see something that surprises you,” the International Four-H Youth Exchange had instructed me when I was an IFYE to Switzerland in 1994, “because after a few days that thing won’t seem unusual to you and you’ll forget to take a picture.” I recalled that advice today after the Facebook image of my “mini” Irish breakfast raised eyebrows among my friends back home.

After eating dozens of these meals over the years, I’d nearly forgotten that beans on the side seem unusual to the American palette. But our cat-sitter, Morgan, posted a query about our choice of side items. She’s the person who asked me to bring back some Lucky Charms (her favorite boxed cereal product). I guess she’ll be surprised when the luck I bring her comes in a can!

After breakfast, Dave headed back to work editing photos. He’s at in non-stop these days, to meet deadlines back home. I did a bit of shopping on my own (again) in preparation to move into the new apartment. Today, I went shopping on Grafton Street. I’ve posted reflections from the area. The one (to the left) reminds me of the importance of landmarks in creating a beautiful townscape (an idea of Gordan Cullan’s) and of using landmarks to help people orient themselves in the city (as explained by Kevin Lynch). See how effective the church is in providing a visual cue to your location? And how the curved streets provide a sense of mystery (as recommended by Camillo Sitte)?

The reflection on BT2 I captured today (shown to the right below) was completely different from the one I posted yesterday (to the left).

After that, I was off to a tour of the Freemason Hall just up the street from our hotel. The tour was offered as part of National Heritage Week. I learned so much from the guide! I’ve posted some photos of the building–which serves as the headquarters for all of the island’s Freemasons–in honor of my Hampton University office-mate, David Perronet.

On the way back to our hotel, I noticed a sign for the “Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.” Now, that’s a title and combination you wouldn’t see in the States! It’s shown below, to the left. The photo to the right is a memorial to the Celtic Tiger. More on those topics later. (Please remind me if I forget!)

For now, I’ll get this posted and try to pry Dave from that computer so we can enjoy the last few moments of sunlight today.