Category Archives: Dublin

A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin

A Bird's Eye View of Dublin

A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin

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So last night I put one of my Christmas presents up on the wall. It is a copy of an amazingly detailed drawing of Victorian Dublin, dating from 1890.

“A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin” was a present from my “Secret Santa” (as is now the tradition among the six Cullen siblings) and the Geographer in our family, Declan.

Amazingly, this panoramic of Dublin was issued as a supplement to “The Graphic” newspaper 123 years ago. Kind of puts the countless churned-out supplements you’ll get in the Sunday newspaper today into perspective, eh?

This drawing is by H.W. Brewer, who (according to the information I have found on Old Irish Maps, where they are selling an original copy of this map) was named by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) as the finest of all Victorian architectural draughtsmen.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Brewer was also a perfectionist. There is incredible clarity and detail in “A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin”, which the image above does not do justice to. Especially as it was taken late last night under artificial light  – Mr Brewer would not have approved!

As pointed out on Old Irish Maps, this is “an incredibly detailed original topographic panorama, church spires and street-scapes are shown with exacting precision. To look at the scene in High Street, as the eye is drawn from St. Audoen’s to Christchurch is akin to stepping back in time, with the minute detail of each house, window, door etc. delicately rendered”.

I’m writing this post from just in behind the Four Courts, the impressive building dominating this small section of the overall map, which, as well as the Four Courts, shows The Liberties, High Street and Christchurch in the foreground, and stretches out to include the Liffey as it flows into Dublin Bay, with Howth and Killiney also clearly visible in the background.

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How Mr Brewer achieved this fantastical view of Dublin before the age of helicopters and aerial photography has apparently been a matter of some conjecture since it was first produced.

According to Old Irish Maps, “that he invented it all using ground-level sketches and a bit of imagination is highly probable. And indeed would be a correct assumption, except for the fact that five years before this Dublin panorama was completed he produced a “Bird’s Eye View of Liverpool – As seen from a Balloon“, (1885). We guess it will remain a mystery!”

Oh and, on a final note, I have to say, Declan set the bar pretty high this year, as I also got this amazing book!

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Chancery Park Fountain

I have been walking past Chancery Park at night for some time now, always looking longingly over the spiky railings as I stroll by.

Chancery Park is a grand title for what is essentially a small garden attached to a building comprising 27 flats (Chancery House), which you can read all about here, in Dublin’s north inner city. It is located just beside the Four Courts between the Luas (tram) tracks and the Quay.

The reason for the longing looks is that I have been particularly taken with the fountain there, which is lit up at night, with The Spire on O’Connell Street in the skyline behind it as you look at it from the Four Courts side (the second photo below).

However, you can never get in there at night as the park is only open a few hours a day and closes very early in the afternoon. This is apparently to do with anti-social behaviour and is mentioned in the piece I linked to above.

The fountain is the park’s centre piece and is surrounded by a few small benches. Several trees are placed closer to the nearby perimeter and that’s it. However, it’s still a very charming park. Albeit, one that I never see anyone in, though again this is probably due to the limited opening hours.

Anyway, last night I stopped looking longingly at the fountain and hopped the spiky railings to get my photo.

Apologies to Dublin City Council.

Earlier yesterday I had bought a tripod to replace the one I left behind at the beach on Christmas Day. It was fun to practice long exposures again.

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Irish Weather Online

For those of you, like me, who love nothing more than stunning images then the Facebook page run by the team over at Irish Weather Online is an absolute must “like”.

Or for those sensible enough to have no Facebook account, you can still view the images if you visit the page.

Anyway, I’m delighted to have made their album of favourite images from around Ireland in 2012 with the photo below and if you visit the album you’ll see my image is keeping some pretty exceptional company.

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Aviva Stadium

I was driving home on Christmas Eve and I was tempted to stop loads of times in Dublin city by the sky, before I finally succumbed in Ringsend. where I took a photo from the bridge, down towards Lansdowne Road stadium, now known as the Aviva Stadium.

I like the stadium. It’s on my to-do list to photograph at night time, probably from the same spot.

After getting my photo fix I continued happily to Wexford.

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Merchant’s Arch and Temple Bar

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Four Courts, Dublin, at night

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“Better” by Janet Williams

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I had the pleasure of taking some photos at the opening of the latest exhibition at the Avenue Road Gallery in Portobello last night.

“Better” is an exhibition by the very talented and very lovely Janet Williams, who is at work during the participatory element of her opening in the photo above.

The exhibition contains two key pieces of work, “Better Faces” and “Better City”.

“Better City” are Dublin cityscapes bursting with colour. “The thought process being, this city can get pretty glum with those grey skies looming over us all, depleting all our energy. Instead I wanted the sky to reflect the creativity, colour and energy people put into this city,” said Janet.

“Better Faces” is a series of 50 portraits of people from her generation whom she feels are making things better for themselves and better for the society in which they live.

“They are all a little disappointed and dealing with the recession in their own way. Everyone I know has made compromises in their life, but they are doing it with their chins up, full of ambition and energy. They don’t need their grey skies replaced with colour, they just need the chance to burst open with the colour that’s inside,” said Janet.

For the participatory piece last night, all visitors to the Avenue Road Gallery were invited to have their portraits taken in the same manner as the 50 “Better Faces”.

“Better” is open until December 12 and if you’re in Dublin you should really drop in. Particularly as the following photos in no way do it justice!

I really enjoyed this exhibition, from the motivation behind it to the finished work. It’s a timely reminder in a post-Budget week of all that’s good about Dublin.

As always at Avenue Road Gallery – the beautiful space run by Jennette Donnelly and Billy Kinsella – I  also enjoyed not just photographing, but meeting and talking to a variety of very talented and interesting people.

You can read all about “Better” here,

To see more of Janet’s photography, follow this link.

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Janet Williams with her piece "Better Faces"

Janet Williams with her piece “Better Faces”

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Christmas Tree, Trinity College

I stopped into Trinity College after work today with the intention of taking a photo of its Christmas Tree.

The light was almost gone and the clouds were whizzing by overhead. I tried some long exposures, but didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked for some badly needed practice. There’ll be plenty more evenings!

Here are the results:

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A cold day in Dalkey

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I didn’t really get a chance to take many photographs at all this weekend between one thing and another, but I did get a few of my friend Natalia down in Dalkey, so I’m afraid she has no choice but to be the focus of my latest post!

I’m finding these really short, dark days a bit hard to handle in every sense right now.

Anyway, I digress, so here is Natalia coping admirably with the fact she’s freezing:

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And back home seeking refuge under a blanket (from the cold and the camera, probably!):

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Getting back in the groove

Liffey view from Grattan Bridge

Liffey view from Grattan Bridge

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had lost my photo-mojo recently. Well, happily I think I have located it! I brought my camera to work today. I took the first two photos in this post on the short stroll home from work a few hours ago. I took the last two during lunch-time on my way for a bite to eat. Even when you’re not putting any great effort into it, there’s still great joy to be taken out of it. I love photography!

Oh and I am planning some shots tomorrow that I’m really looking forward to!

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Four Courts view from Arran Street East

Meanwhile, at lunch-time today:

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A bird perches on top of Daniel O’Connell

Swans by the Liffey boardwalk

Swans by the Liffey boardwalk