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Dublin, a fair city indeed. Particularly the old Georgian city, to the south around St Stephenʼs Green and Merrion Square,
which can boast many handsome properties. The newer parts arenʼt bad either.
Famous for its pubs and its music, it is probably true to say that Dublin has more to offer the drinker that the diner, at least in the mid to lower
end of the market.
It is also encouraging to note the more widespread availability of craft beers, which make a pleasant change from the ubiquitous cold,
gassy Guinness (and, yes, I am old enough to remember the real stuff).
Whilst I sometimes get annoyed by the Irish tendency to blame every bad thing in their past on the British, there is no getting away from
the fact that the way the UK Government treated the Irish during the 19th century Potato Famine was appalling.
These gaunt bronze figures on Custom House Quay, commemorating those Irish people forced to emigrate, are a graphic reminder of that reprehensible period
of our history. Famine was designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and presented to the City in 1997.
Originally named the Wellington Bridge (after the Duke of Wellington) and officially called the Liffey Bridge, the Haʼpenny Bridge,
as it is universally known, was built in 1816 from cast iron parts made in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire.
The popular name derives from the toll the builder, the former ferryman, was allowed to charge.
It briefly became the Penny Haʼpenny Bridge, until the tolls were abolished in 1919.
Docked at Custom House Quay, SS Jeanie Johnston is a scaled-down replica of the original ship of that name that sailed between Tralee in Co. Kerry
and North America between 1847 and 1855, taking emigrants on the outbound journey and returning with timber.
It was built between 1993 and 2002, and aims to allow visitors to see what it was like on board a wooden tall ship during the famine era.
Said to be inspired by the shape of an Irish Harp lying on its side, the incredible beautiful Samuel Beckett Bridge
was designed by Santiago Calatrava, and opened in December 2009 at a cost €60 million.
The bridge can be rotated through an angle of 90 degrees to allow ships through. Why, is anybodyʼs
guess, given that the docks upstream of the bridge are no longer in use.
Only a few metres away from Rowan Gillespieʼs Famine sculptures is the World Poverty Stone.
This commemorative stone marks the, optimistically named, United Nations International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty.
It was designed by Stuart McGrath who is based in Co. Wicklow.