Take a walk along the 200 year old "Grand Canal" when you want to escape from busy rushhour Dublin! It's nice, green and quiet there - even though it is located in the city centre! At the canal you find many benches to sit down for a picknick.... in the canal you find many nice old locks.
Just a little walk through the Georgian quarter in the southside of the city and you're there. My favourite walk combines this quarter, the canal and the area around the Dart Station "Grand Canal Dock" with its new and old industrial buildings.
A Monaghan born poet called Patrick Kavanagh made this Canal famous when in the twentieth century he depicted the Canal as a place of solitude and reflection. In one of those poems, Kavanagh asked that on his death he be commemorated with a chair on the Grand Canal 'A chair for the passer-by'. This wish was dually granted and today you can sit beside a statue of Kavanagh and watch the world go by at much the same pace as it would have been in his day.
Sitting on a bench beside the Grand Canal, one of his favourite spots, is a statue of the Dublin poet Patrick Kavanagh. For some reason I missed it on my first stop at the canal but he is hard to miss if you walk far enough along.
The Grand Canal is older than the Royal canal in the north of the city, having been built between 1756 and 1803. It hasn't been used commercially since the 1960s but its a nice area to walk along particularly between Leeson St Bridge and Mount St Bridge
One of Ireland's most famous poets Patrick Kavanagh has two benches dedicated to him on opposite sides of the Grand Canal. The more scruffy one (normally complete with scruffy drunks-which Kavanagh prob would have liked!) is the original one erected by his friends and the bronze one on the north bank is a newer one paid for by the government. For no money at all you can sit by the great man himself and contemplate life.
As you can see from the poem below he loved the canal and if you visit it you will see why.
Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin
"Erected in Memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien"
O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully.
Where by a lock Niagariously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges -
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb - just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.
The canal here is quite pretty - probably more so in summer. They unfortunately have quite a bad littler problem in Dublin - and a lot of it seems to end up in the canal. Despite the rubbish it is a haven for wildlife and we saw a few ducks and swans.
There hasn't been any waterway traffic here since the 60's but in summer there are tour boats. A 2 hour stroll along the tow-path will take you all the way to Killmainham Jail.... we took the bus.