A day out in Dublin

In which I take a long walk round Dublin city centre, find more street art than I ever imagined, and have a very unusual coffee….
Since my two visits to Dublin in September an internet search had provided me with maps of four street art walks around the city ; one of these seemed to be a distance out of the centre itself but the other three were definitely doable. Not sure if I would have enough time to do all three in one day before I lost any decent daylight I concentrated on the first two which were both in the same part of the city ; the starting points of each walk were close together but the end points were a distance apart so to save back-tracking I started at the end of one and followed the route in reverse to join up with the start of the second, thus turning two two-and-a-half mile walks into one five mile circuit.
My walk began on the south side of the river at City Quay with a large Irish Wolfhound done by James Earley, the artist who painted the outside of the Blooms Hotel ; I’d actually photographed this one in September but still took another shot of it. Right along the riverside, past the Samuel Beckett Bridge and almost before I ran out of road, a right turn took me up to Hanover Quay on the huge basin of the Grand Canal where I found another work by James Earley, though this one was partially obscured by several leafless young trees. There was another one close by done by Decoy but the bottom half of it had been painted over which rather spoiled it, so I gave that one a miss.
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Artist – James Earley
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Artist – James Earley
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The Grand Canal basin
Past the end of the canal basin a good walk involving two right and two left turns took me to the next piece, a 2-part work on the side of a business premises. Not far from there was Merrion Square followed by St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens and as I was going that way anyway I took a look round all three and also photographed some more of the colourful Georgian doors for another post. I was particularly interested in seeing Iveagh Gardens properly as I’d abandoned my visit there in September due to a sudden rain shower.
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Artist – Ominous Omin
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Merrion Square Gardens

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Oscar Wilde’s house
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St. Stephen’s Green
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The cascade, Iveagh Gardens

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The next artwork I wanted to find was just a few streets away from Iveagh Gardens. I couldn’t get all of it due to a couple of parked cars being in the way but the line at the bottom actually reads ”So get your head out of your phone”. A very true sentiment when so many people these days walk round with their heads down, eyes glued to their phones and constantly texting or internet surfing as they walk. From there a long zigzag route down towards the Temple Bar area provided me with more street art than I ever thought possible and I took so many photos it’s been really hard deciding which ones to include in this post.
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Artists – Maser in collaboration with Aches
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Artist group – Subset
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Artist unknown
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Artist – Maser
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A digitised image by Aches – more effective if viewed from a distance
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Side wall of The Times Hostel – artist unknown
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Artist unknown
Now although certain individuals may think it’s fun to get a cheap can of spray paint and scrawl amateurish pictures and tags over random bits of blank walls proper works of street art need permission from the council and this permission isn’t always granted. Street art though is a constantly changing medium, murals can often be changed twice in the time it takes to get that permission and headed by the artist group Subset the Grey Area Project was born, a movement to paint murals on walls quicker than the council can paint those same walls grey. Although some of the murals I found may not be completely ‘official’ they certainly brighten things up and look a lot better than blank grey walls.
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Artist group – Subset
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On the back wall of a cash and carry place – artist unknown
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Artist – Eoin Barry
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Artist – unknown
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Liberty Lane – a whole street full of art and graffiti
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The next few murals I wanted to find were all in Temple Bar but as I headed down the main road in that direction I unexpectedly came to the entrance to an indoor shopping arcade. With shops on each side and stalls down the centre it looked quite intriguing but I didn’t want to linger so once I could get a clear view with no-one close by I took a quick shot then continued down the road to Temple Bar and hopefully some coffee and cake.
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George’s Street Arcade
A while ago Queen of Tarts, an Irish cake shop and café, had been recommended to me though I can’t remember now who or where the recommendation came from, so I thought I’d give it a try and found it down the pedestrianised Cows Lane just off the main road. It seemed to be quite a busy place but I found a small vacant table and ordered a latte coffee and a slice of the ‘Queen of Chocolate Fudge’ cake ; it was going to cost more than I would normally pay for something like that but I was on holiday so deserved a treat. Well that’s my excuse anyway!
After the young waiter had taken my order I was quite surprised when he returned a couple of minutes later with a carafe of chilled water and a glass – this was something totally unexpected and I began to feel I should have dressed for the occasion! My coffee and cake arrived not long afterwards and that’s when I got another surprise – instead of the coffee being in the usual type of tall glass mug with a handle it came in a small handle-less glass, the type of thing you would have orange juice in if you had a hotel breakfast. This was weird, and when I looked round to see other people being served drinks in the sort of glass mugs I’d expected my coffee to come in it seemed even weirder.
Wondering if the young waiter had made a mistake I went up to the counter to query it and was told it was usual to serve the coffee like that as that was how the owners liked it to be done. I must admit though, of all the different places I’ve been in over the years I’ve never encountered that  one before. The coffee itself however, although not mad hot, was very nice and the cake was absolutely divine ; I’d actually expected to only get a small slice with a tiny blob of cream but I got a sizeable piece with a good portion of cream, in fact there was so much cake that I couldn’t quite eat it all. Price-wise it hadn’t been too much of a blow-the-budget expense either and although the coffee situation was weird the cake was wonderful so I’d definitely go back there another time.
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Coffee and cake at Queen of Tarts
Back along the main road from the end of Cows Lane was Crampton Court, a courtyard and narrow alley leading between the road and the main street through Temple Bar. In 2014 ‘Love The Lanes’ was a joint initiative between Dublin Council and The Temple Bar Company to allow artists to visually improve some of the lanes around Temple Bar and this alleyway was one of them, being decorated on both sides by various artworks. By the time I emerged from the alleyway the daylight was starting to fade so I got my last four shots as I walked along the main street through Temple Bar then headed back towards the river and the bridge which would take me towards the bus station.
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A collection of strange creatures promoting a youth art initiative
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Artist – unknown
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Artist – unknown
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Portrait of Irish musician B P Fallon by Maser
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Artist – James Earley
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ESB building, Temple Bar – artist(s) unknown
At the far side of the river I noticed that the pyramid rooftops of George’s Quay Plaza were lit with purple lights round the edges and in the fading sunlight they looked quite attractive. On the side wall of the building down below was the outline of what had once been a work of street art ; created by Italian artist Artur Bordalo it was a red squirrel and had been made up of different items of trash, including an old bike, found in and around the city. Unfortunately it fell foul of Dublin council’s drive to build as many new hotels and office blocks in as many derelict or run down parcels of land as possible and it had to be removed, although nothing has been built there yet.
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Sunset over the Liffey
With the sun finally setting over the river I made my way round to the bus station and got the 4.30pm coach back to Roscrea. I hadn’t had time to do the third street art walk but I’d certainly got plenty of photos during my day and I can look forward to doing the other walk another time.

15 thoughts on “A day out in Dublin

  1. Some beautiful artworks there. I too would have been puzzled in the coffee shop, but the chocolate cake looks really yummy. I’m sure you weren’t too disappointed not completing your mission, there’s always another time for the other walk.

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    1. The cake was certainly yummy, in fact a bit too rich to have such a big piece. If I go back there again I’ll have something different to drink just to see what sort of mug or glass it comes in 🙂 If it had been summer time, or even September, I could have done the other walk still with some good daylight but I’m not really disappointed that I didn’t do it – as you say, there’s always another time 🙂

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    1. The cake was really delicious, and though it was nice to get such a big slice a slightly smaller one would have sufficed as it was so rich. The street art was amazing and I found some really great pieces – and only in the last few days I’ve come across a fairly new blog which shows some pieces I didn’t know about so I now have two good excuses to go back to Dublin 🙂

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  2. I don’t think that clock looks real but it is and that was the time I actually took the photo. If you were to go to Dublin you may not see a lot of street art if you weren’t purposely looking for it as a lot of it is away from the more touristy areas but it’s amazing just how much there is when you start seeking it out – I found far more than I could ever put on this blog 🙂

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  3. A full on day. The parks look lovely especially the cascade. Did you go into Oscar Wilde’s house?The cake looked to die for. I’ve had iced coffee in glasses but never hot coffee. I like a mug you can wrap your hands round. You certainly got to see a lot of incredible street art.

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    1. The Oscar Wilde house is privately owned by a college and isn’t open to the general public although groups of 25 people or more can book a private tour. The cake was definitely more-ish although it was such a generous slice I couldn’t eat any more 🙂 As for the street art I was really surprised that I found so much of it 🙂

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  4. It was certainly a generous slice Jo, which was quite surprising as that sort of place usually serves very small portions but charge an arm and a leg for them. Definitely a place to go back to another time 🙂

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