We began the year with a walk along the River Dodder starting at Clonskeagh and continuing as far the Grand Canal Basin. We then retraced our steps to finish (as the rain came pouring down) in Ashton’s Pub for a well earned warm drink. There have been remarkable works on the flood defenses along this stretch of the Dodder with high walls and sturdy metal gates, which can be closed so there is no chance of the river bursting its banks below Ballsbridge. The pathway is clearly defined and easy for walking but the down side is that there is no interaction with the river and its wildlife. We did look down upon many mallards – some of whom are perhaps ‘manky mallards’ who have interbred with other species of duck.
We were again lucky with the weather in February for our walk in Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire & the Metals. As it happens, 2 February is James Joyce’s birthday and we detoured into the Tower to partake in a little of the birthday party (balloons were hanging outside), then a look around the Forty Foot bathing place before having an ice-cream from Teddies. The new library in Dun Laoghaire is well worth a visit and we then walked along a section of the Metals – the remains of the single gauge railway that brought the granite blocks from Dalkey Quarry for the building of the harbour. We recited Padraic Colum’s poem ‘The Old Woman of the Roads’ and read the plaque on his house before returning down Albert Road to finish in Fitzgerald’s Pub and refresh ourselves. The James Joyce birthday party seemed to have followed us and we were invited to stay there a bit longer and enjoy the festivities that were due to begin at 5 pm. However other duties awaited us all and we regretfully had to depart for home after a really interesting and cultural afternoon.