Monday, May 26, 2014

Landmarks

Haiku

heading towards
the twin chimneys,
a two-horned snail

-- Anatoly Kudryavitsky

One of the more controversial features of Dublin's skyline is a pair of striped exhaust chimneys out in Ringsend, part of an oil-burning power plant that closed in the '70s, though the building lingers on. In a city where 10 floors makes a "skyscraper" (and there aren't that many of those), anything as tall as these things definitely stands out. The chimneys are one of those love-it-or-hate-it features of Dublin, with some people decrying them as a hideous eyesore and others defending them as a cherished local landmark. I fall firmly on the "love it" end of the spectrum. Maybe it's a side effect of an upbringing surrounded by chemical refineries (they really are magical all lit up at night y'all) but I have something of a fondness for industrial installations, and I like these a lot. Living on the southeast side I see them every day, unless low clouds block them from view. I look for them when I fly into Dublin, because they say "home" to me.

The power station has an interesting history too. Known as the Pigeon House after the storehouse-keeper who set up a shop and restaurant there for hungry travellers coming off the ships at the seawall in the 1700s, the site has since hosted a hotel and a fort in addition to the power station. The first power station there was built in 1903 and is still standing, as are parts of the other buildings, though long abandoned and slowly falling apart. A few years ago photographer Donal Moloney broke in and made the following video, which shows the decaying building in all its eerie splendor:


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