Thursday, February 27, 2014

Farther Up The Dodder

On a recent Sunday, we were feeling restless after a week of bad weather in Dublin.  Both of us had been cooped up the whole week, and needed to stretch our legs.  We decided to pack up a picnic lunch and go for a little ramble... or amble... or mosey... ok, a walk.

We decided to hit the trail along the River Dodder heading west.  I have been miles up this trail on my bike, but we had never walked it very far.  Armed with sandwiches, water, and money for a hot beverage somewhere on the trail, we set off.

River Dodder is a Little High in Dublin
River Dodder is a Little High

The River Dodder was a little higher than it had been in high summer when we first arrived.  The spillway upon which I usually fish was overflowing, and water was (beautifully) pouring over the top, giving us a nice photo opp of this cascading torrent.

Just a bit farther down the trail, we found a little old bridge... to nowhere.  Clearly this little stone bridge was built over the ditch or culvert some years ago.  Then... a big stone wall was built right in its face.  Poor little bridge.  I had ridden my bike past this bridge a number of times, but had never noticed it at bike speed.  It really does pay to slow down sometimes.

Bridge to Nowhere in Dublin
Bridge to Nowhere

I had seen this particular sight from my bike, but Sara hadn't been this far.  Near The Dropping Well pub in Milltown, a statue of a rhino sits in the middle of the river, looking upstream.  The statue apparently mysteriously appeared in the river late one night in 2002.  The staff of the pub swear ignorance, but it has become something of a cult Dublin sight since its mysterious arrival.

Dodder Rhino in Dublin
Dodder Rhino

The River Dodder in Dublin is defined and controlled by a series of weirs.  These man-made spillways act as fish-friendly dams, slowing down the water flow, creating pools, and controlling flood issues without hindering migrating sea trout and salmon.

One of many Dodder weirs in Dublin
One of many Dodder weirs 

Another of many Dodder weirs in Dublin
Another of many Dodder weirs 

We couldn't resist taking a photo of some food-begging swans.  Many of these birds (and their waterfowl friends) have become almost completely dependant on human feedings.  It's sad and not good for the birds.  These wild animals should have a healthy fear of humans, and when they don't, we get things like swan-on-human violence.

Swans in the Dodder in Dublin
Swans in the Dodder

A swan prepares to attack Cory in France
A French swan preparing to attack Cory in 2012

After narrowly avoiding a swan attack, we made it to Rathfarnham, a quiet southwest Dublin suburb.  We had walked about three miles on a chilly day, so we were ready to sit down and enjoy something warm.  Just off the trail was Rathfarnham's cute Main Street, with shops, cafes, and, most importantly, pubs.  We chose The Revels for our reverie.  (Eh?  See what I did there?)

The Revels in Rathfarnham southwest Dublin
The Revels in Rathfarnham

Afternoon Cuppa Tea at The Revels in Rathfarnham southwest Dublin
Afternoon Cuppa Tea

After our break in the warm and welcoming pub, it was time to start the long trek home.  We walked back along the river, by the begging swans, the riverside parks, the weirs, and the rhino.  Just before we reached Clonskeagh, we got a good look at a hopeful heron hunting on the riverbank.  Sara snuck around the bird, snapping photos from every angle she could reach.  Eventually, we saw the bird make a snap into the water and pull out a small fish.  It quickly went on its way, leaving us without a photo of its trophy.  

Heron on the Dodder in Dublin
Heron on the Dodder

On the way home...

Ashton's Pub and Restaurant in Dublin
Ashton's Pub and Restaurant

O'Hara's Red and a Guinness at Ashton's in Dublin
O'Hara's Red and a Guinness at Ashton's

Well?  We had some extra money, as the tea in Rathfarnham was pretty cheap.  We had some extra time with the sun staying up later and later with each day.  What would you have done?


  1. The love the bridge to nowhere! The rhino looks like he's moving up the river, haha. I almost died you mentioned the french swan attack LOL.

    1. Well, we can go see that rhino and get attacked by those same swans in just a few weeks!

  2. The bridge to nowhere was originally in the garden of Bawn House ,the original building where the muslim centre now stands

    1. Wow! Thanks for letting us know. We love gathering more local knowledge like that.


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