Dublin is home to two canals that connect to the Shannon river. On the northside, the Royal Canal, and on the southside, the Grand Canal. They’re both steeped in history – work on the Grand Canal began back in the 1750s; and the first part of the Royal Canal came into being in the 1790s. They’re both lovely, in their own distinctly unique ways, and on the banks of both you can find some of my favourite bronzes.
Poet, playwright, novelist and borstal boy Brendan Behan sits quietly on the banks of the Royal Canal chatting to a pigeon.
“I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”- Brendan Behan
On the southside, poet Patrick Kavanagh sits, hat by his side, pondering the waters of the Grand Canal that he loved so dearly.
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 niagarously 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.
Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin – Patrick Kavanagh