Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sandymount Beach and Poolbeg Lighthouse

It was the first really warm, rainless weekend in Dublin- and we were home and free. We made a plan to have a picnic lunch at Poolbeg Lighthouse- the red phantom at the end of a long pier on Dublin Bay. We have seen the lighthouse from Sandymount Strand, and had been on the mile-long pier before, but never all the way out to the lighthouse. We carved out a few hours for the walk to and from this Dublin Bay landmark.

Poolbeg Lighthouse from Sandymount Strand Dublin
Poolbeg Lighthouse from Sandymount Strand

It was near half-tide coming in when we started at Sandymount. Most of the strand was exposed sand and mud, but the waterline was visible, unlike at very low tide, when it is very difficult to actually see any water in these heavy tide zones.

As we made our way to Irishtown Nature Park, we could see the tide flowing in on the series of shallow channels in the sand. On our way back the tide would be full high, and the sand and channels invisible.

Incoming Tide Irishtown Nature Park Dublin
Incoming Tide

Poolbeg Power Station Smokestacks Dublin
Poolbeg Power Station Smokestacks

As we turned north along the park, we got a close look at one of Dublin's only skyline features: the now unused smokestacks of the old Poolbeg power station. According to some friendly astronomers, the powers-that-be considered tearing down the useless industrial smokestacks but were convinced to leave them standing as ships in the harbor used them for guidance. This despite the fact that there is a functional lighthouse a full mile closer to these ships on the bay...

It being a nice day and the tide rising, the kitesurfers were out, catching the strong breeze and going for a ride.

Kitesurfer on Dublin Bay

Now finally on the pier on our way out to the lighthouse, we watched the ferry come in to port from Great Britain across the bay. Ferries leave from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales (which is a country, not part of England, but part of Great Britain, and the UK, but they share a government with England, I mean, GB, I mean, UK, but they are a different country, but they are... the same ...country? Political identity? Something with commonwealths?) and the Isle of Man (a self-governing British crown dependency? Further confusion).

Ferry Coming In on Dublin Bay
Ferry Coming In

We finally made it all the way to the lighthouse, after a long walk on sidewalks, trails, and the rough building stones of the mile-long pier. The end of the pier was crowded with anglers casting out into the bay with heavy-duty saltwater fishing tackle. I think my six-foot rod and spinning reel would have been laughed at.

A bit like the guy in Dun Laoghaire who scoffed at me and said,
"Ye cahn't g'fishin' wit' da! Ye'll leoose all ye'r equepmunt!" 
Which I think was a very thick-accented way of telling me my tackle was ill-suited for the fishing task at hand.

Poolbeg Lighthouse Dublin Bay
Poolbeg Lighthouse

We had our picnic lunch on one of the convenient public benches around the lighthouse and began the long walk home. By now the tide was all the way in, and the coastline looked more like, well, a coastline.

High Tide Sandymount Strand Dublin
High Tide

All told, we walked more than nine miles over the course of a leisurely four hours. The skies were clear and the wind was warm all day- the best weather in Dublin this calendar year.

A Flock of Seabirds Dublin Bay
A Flock of Seabirds

Obligatory Cory-Looking-At-The-Water Shot
Obligatory Cory-Looking-At-The-Water Shot

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