Blooming Great!

Bloomsday 100 was a bright and memorable experience. The sun shone and the Bloomers (those partaking in the celebrations) were in fine fettle, whether singing, dancing or just looking properly suited and booted for the Big Day. The large crowd in Glasthule, a short walk from the famous Martello Tower in Sandycove, was colourful with quite a few James Joyce lookalikes on show. The music from a local group was engaging and had many feet happily tapping along. Enticing aromas drifted from the restaurants and there was much chat and laughter in the air. My friends (Brendan & Luke) suspected that if Joyce had arrived into the lively scene he would definitely have approved – and had a glass or two! YES, I said, oh YESSSS!

A Bloomin’ Great Day!

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Running Free

A big Thanks to my friend Brendan Hayes (the man with the video camera) for his work in giving my poem a new dimension. We had walked along the beach in Greystones, County Wicklow, enjoying the scene, especially the fun that the dog was having. I was inspired to write this poem, and his video makes it all the more memorable.

Surf’s up!

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Midsummer Magic

It’s midsummer day, sun shines from on high

Puffy clouds float, in the bright, blue sky

Taking a walk by the sea

With a friend, carefree

A magical moment, for us to enjoy

Take It Easy…

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Bloomsday Breakfast

Breakfast of kidney, and a cup of tea

Licking his lips, Bloom’s near rea-dy

One bite to savour

Oh, what a flavour

Must have more, before serving Moll-y

Blooming Breakfast!

She lay in bed, as he entered the room

Darling, tea and toast, just as you like

Ah, ta, she said from her sleepy gloom

Yes, and an obsequious pose he did strike

Tea, my dear

Don Cameron 2022

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YEATS – Birthday Boy

Yes, I’ll go now, to my beloved lake isle

Ensconce myself there, and stay awhile

At last I find

The peace of mind

Simple life, that always brings a smile

WB Yeats – Born on 13 June 1865 at 5, Sandymount Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin

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Book of Kells

It is considered by many to be Ireland’s premier, cultural masterpiece, and a visit to see this gem should be on your ‘To do’ list. It was created, or at least started, on the island of Iona, off the West coast of Scotland, around 800 AD, before being taken by monks to Ireland to avoid Viking raiding parties.

The book is written in Latin and shows the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of the New Testament with many wonderful, illuminated pages. Experts say that three artists worked on the decorative work with one of them being producing images of the highest quality. Also, four scribes copied the text, each bringing his own stylistic traits to the undertaking.

Book of Kells

In the main exhibition hall there is plenty of information on all the techniques employed by the artists and scribes and the materials used. It is written on vellum (calfskin) with as many as 150 being needed. Various pigments were used, including indigo or woad that produced the vibrant blue. The red was made from red lead with the green being a result of damp copper. They all make for wonderous displays of colour that the talented artists fully exploited.

In medieval times most monasteries had decorated books but they are almost all lost now. So, it is very fortunate that the Book of Kells has managed to survive for so long; and in 1653 the Bishop of Meath transferred it to Dublin for safekeeping. It was given to Trinity College in 1661, where it has remained to this day. It has been conserved there, and in 1953 it was split into four, according to the Gospel writers, and one of them is always on display.

It is a massive attraction with half-a-million visitors a year regularly showing up. However, more than a million arrived in 2018 – impressive, and showing that it still has significant, international appeal.

The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

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Robert Mallet – Man, what a bang!

An engineer of note, who loved a blast

On Killiney Beach, had a test at last

Instruments did measure

The invisible pressure

Of energy waves, that raced so fast

Commemorative plaque on Killiney Beach, Dublin

Commemorative plaque on Killiney Beach, Dublin

Lyell’s Principles led him, to study the quake

Of what made the ground, tremble and shake

Get ready to rumble

Some rocks did tumble

And a brand new science, he did create

Robert Mallet - Father of Seismology

Robert Mallet – Father of Seismology

He was big in seismology, and railings new

The Fastnet Lighthouse, and bridges a slew

Scholar and inventor

He gave us epicentre

And Mallet’s Mortar, from which no shell flew!

Railings around Trinity College

Railings around Trinity College, Dublin

 Robert Mallet (Born on 3rd June 1810, at Ryder’s Row, Dublin) – civil engineer and geophysicist who, due to his study of earthquakes, is referred to as the Father of Seismology.





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Book Review: PALS – The Magical Mill

Summer in Dublin was an exciting time when I was young, and PALS certainly took me back to those carefree, far-off days. The weather was always good, perfect for playing games and going on adventures – well, they seemed like adventures to me and my friends. Moments that I had forgotten came streaming back to me as I turned the pages of the well-illustrated PALS, and read about ‘discovering’ the old mill that had recently closed, the lake that sparkled in the sunshine for which that they built a raft (it had to be done!) to sail upon, playing cowboys in the long grass and boxing the fox (robbing an orchard) and getting chased by the angry owner. All these episodes, and many others, are beautifully  captured, and for a short while after I closed the book I was back there wondering what me and friends were going to do tomorrow!

Amazon: PALS – The Magical Mill

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Millennium Bridge

Of all the many bridges across the Liffey the Millennium Bridge was only the second pedestrian bridge to be erected. A little over a hundred meters to the east is the Ha’penny Bridge, the original of the species, which dates to 1816 and has become synonymous with the city.

A new bridge connecting Eustace Street with the Ormond Quay had been mooted since the 1980s, but it was not until the following decade with the regeneration of Temple Bar that action was taken. Originally a plan for the Wibbly Wobbly Bridge was suggested but this was rejected in 1994. Later, Dublin Corporation announced a competition for the design of a bridge and 153 entries were received from both Irish and international entrants. It was won by the Sandycove-based firm of Howley Harrington Architects, in collaboration with Price and Myers, a London firm of structural engineers. The win was announced on 8th June 1998, leaving only eighteen months for the bridge to be in place.

Millennium Bridge

Because of the busy location the bridge was fabricated in Carlow while engineers used a pontoon in the river, taking heed of the tides, to prepare the new abutments. The single span, 41 metres in length, with balustrades and integrated in place, was brought to the river on 7th November 1999 and swung into place in only half-an-hour!

The bridge offers new views of both quays and sits easily with its older neighbour to the east. It also helps it in reducing its traffic – 2,000 pedestrians per hour at peak time – which could be challenging especially because of the steps. The Millennium Bridge has no steps and its gradient of 1 in 20 allows easy access for wheelchair users. The design was highly regarded and received awards from, among others, the Institution of Structural Engineers (UK), RIAI, RIBA, and the Construction Industry Federation (IRL). It was officially opened on 20th December 1999 – just in time for the New Millennium!

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