7 Weird And Wonderful Things About Dublin You Probably Never Noticed Before
How familiar are you with your city? There are so many weird and wonderful things to see around Dublin. We've picked out some quirky things around Dublin city that you may have noticed as you're out and about.
7. Anna Livia
This gorgeous artwork used to reside on O'Connell Street, and had the nickname 'The Floozy in the Jacuzzi'. Unfortunately her presence on our main street promoted bad behaviour amongst the masses with people bathing with her on sunny days, or giving her some bubble bath in the form of washing up liquid, or worst of all destroying the sculpture by flinging litter into the stream. During the redevelopment of O'Connell Street in 2001, Anna Livia went into storage and was replaced by the spire. However, some ten years later someone had a brainwave and decided to give her a new home near the Liffey, in the park just in front of Collins' Barracks.
6. Gulliver's Travels Artwork
Along Golden Lane and Bride Street just off Aungier Street, you may have spotted some stonework depicting Jonathan Swift's story, Gulliver's Travels. The apartments were built by Dublin Corporation in 1998, and the murals are the handiwork of Terry Cartin from Cartin Ceramics. For anyone familiar with the tale they'll be able to easily identify the key moments from the murals such as the citizens of Lilliput capturing Gulliver, or him pulling the ships of his enemies with his giant hands.
5. The Camino de Santiago Starts in Dublin
Most modern day pilgrims who take part in the Camino de Santiago take a short flight to mainland Europe before commencing their trail in France or Spain. However, in the past before air travel became as commonplace, pilgrims used to begin the trek from Dublin. The boats to northern Spain departed from along the quays at St. James' Gate, where pilgrims could also get their pilgrim passports. There's even a tile on the wall to indicate the beginning of the trail.
4. Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society
This building on Palace Street was home to a society founded in 1790 which focused on supporting those who could not support themselves due to illness or misfortune. As there was no social welfare system in place in the city, this society (funded by wealthy citizens) supported any Dubliners in need. The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society relocated to Leeson Street in the late 90s but the building remains the same, with the stone inscription marking a tribute to the past.
3. The Taxi Driver's Shrine
The taxi rank at the top of O'Connell Street is a hive of activity with drivers stretching their legs, having a quick smoke or having a chat with each other. But there's always a stoic character watching over them, in the form of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The story goes that during the Civil War the horse-drawn cab drivers helped to salvage goods and furniture from surrounding shops. They left all the items in the middle of O'Connell Street for the owners to reclaim, yet the statue of Jesus was never collected, and he has remained there to this day.
2. There are 900 Individual Artworks Along the North Quays
If you ever take a stroll along the North Quays, you might see some of Rachel Joynt's permanent art installations. The glass cobbles have miniature figurines of sea creatures suspended within them, and emit ethereal green and blue lights at night time. You'll find starfish, goldfish, crustaceans and so many more as you walk along the quays, so keep an eye out for them next time you're out and about.
1. The Hippocampus Lamps on Grattan Bridge
What we know as Capel St. Bridge is actually named after Henry Grattan, and it is one of our city's most ornate bridges. The green lamps along the bridge are held up by horse/sea creature hyrbrids called 'hippocampi'. On first glance you may think that they're seahorses, but on closer inspection you'll see they have the upper body of a horse, and the tail of a fish. Hippocampi were strong beasts in Greek mythology and were said to pull Poseidon and Neptune's chariots.
If you found this interesting, then you should check out one of our favourite books about Dublin, Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide.