Ireland day 0327. Sunday 21 August 2022- Kingfisher!

Ireland day 0327. Sunday 21 August 2022- Kingfisher!
Today’s summary Val was at work, and I joined the Dublin Walking Club at Clonskeagh for a short walk up the Dodder river and back.   En route we saw a kingfisher – I have been searching for years for this avian rarity and finally I was able to conclude my quest.   A truly memorable day
Today’s weather Dry and sunny all day, in complete contrast to yesterday.   Light southerly breeze.   About 18C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Dodder kingfisher walk

Val was up bright and early this morning, and off to work before 9 am.   This was quite a remarkable feat as I definitely felt anything but bright this morning after yesterday’s pummelling by the elements on Slieve Donard.   She was evidently made of sterner stuff.

But a quick glance out of the window when we woke up revealed that the weather had undergone a radical transformation overnight.   Gone were the oppressing clouds and squally downpours and instead a clear blue sky was shimmering tantalisingly beyond the sycamore trees outside our bedroom window.   Enough to put a spring in anybody’s step.

Being Sunday, the Walking Club had laid on a shorter excursion today – and today it was back to the river Dodder for an upstream exploration starting out from Farmer Brown’s Pub at Clonskeagh.   I’ve walked this way a couple of time before, but never in summer.   So after the no. 11 bus deposited me right outside the pub at noon, and after the obligatory coffee and scone before we set off, the walk today made for an extremely pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.   Though I did feel somewhat guilty about Val having to go out and earn a crust while I was pottering about on the riverbanks.

I’ve described the walk in some detail on previous blogs, and also in the captions to the photos below.   But there was one very important development today – so important in fact that it deserves its own paragraph.

I saw a kingfisher.

Yes – it’s true – I really did.   It flitted up and down the river three times, right in front of our eyes, a lightning flash of turquoise iridescence, gone before you had time to realise what you had just seen.   I’ve been wanting to see one since I was a teenager, and have looked along river banks in the UK and Ireland ever since, but until now had never seen one.   So today, a lifelong ambition was, at last, fulfilled.   Of course, the whole episode was over too fast to get a camera out so there are no photos, but the memories will surely live on.   What an amazing sight.

After that heart-pumping episode, it would be easy to imagine that the rest of the day would be an anti-climax, but that wasn’t the case.   The river was looking particularly beautiful – bright fresh green banks, with a reasonable flow of crystal clear water tumbling over the many weirs and waterfalls that punctuate its course.   Along the way we spotted the curious metal rhinoceros in the river by the Dropping Well pub, the multi-coloured bridge just upstream of Farmer Brown’s Pub (pictured in the banner image at the top of the blog), statuesque herons and cormorants waiting to prey on the abundant trout swimming below, and the impressive defunct laundry chimney just down from the Nine Arches Viaduct.

Most of the party elected to finish the walk back at Farmer Brown’s to enjoy, no doubt, a refreshing pint or two, but three of us decided to carry on down the Dodder to Lansdown Road and then to get the DART back north from there.

So altogether a thoroughly satisfactory day out – but I can’t end my report from the day without saying something about the Apple Watch.   Because I decided I would risk it and take it on our walk today to see if it would behave itself.   And to my surprise, it did!   OK I haven’t done anything hazardous with it like got it wet or been in a sauna, but the 48 hours embedded in rice and then 24 hour power-down look like they might have galvanised it back into life.   I don’t know if this is a temporary lease of life or whether it is a permanent restoration of function.   But anyway, at this stage, the omens look positive.   So thanks to everyone who sent me helpful suggestions for repairing it and especially to Daphne for the idea about the rice.

So as things stand at the moment, I’m reflecting on what appears to have been a very successful day.   I think I better go to bed right away, before anything has the opportunity to go wrong.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Old Mans Beard – Clematis vit-alba – growing on the riverbanks.   It’s so-called because the seed clusters are covered in wispy hairs, like an old man’s beard.   It was introduced into Ireland from southern Europe as a decorative plant but it has adapted so well to the conditions here that has become an invasive weed.   It grows very fast and is hard to control. Statuesque cormorant (or was it a shag) sitting on the banks of the Dodder, presumably waiting for a tasty morsel to jump out of the river and into its mouth.   Notice the abundant pond-skaters testing out the surface tension in the background.
There’s a kingfisher somewhere in this picture.   No prizes for spotting it though as I definitely don’t know where it is.   All I can tell you is that it flew into the shrubs just above the river in the centre of the picture Ely’s Arch, in Churchtown just off the river Dodder.   It was built around 1767 for Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely, and it was originally the entrance to Rathfarnham castle.   Today, it’s more or less abandoned and sits on a small grass verge between a housing estate and a main road
At one time there were some 44 mills on the river Dodder, and there are numerous dams and weirs which presumably fed the mill-races to power them.   This is one of the many weirs and the lake upstream from it was known as the “Tank”, and popular for swimming Along the banks of the Dodder.   There is a path / cycleway most of its length, at least as far as Tallaght
Nine Arches (or Milltown) viaduct in Dartry Park.   It was formerly a mainline railway line that connected Harcourt Street (near St Stephens Green) to Bray, but since the mainline was closed, the trackbed has been used by the GreenLine Luas to Brides Glen.   The chimney in the background is the last remaining evidence of the old Shanagarry Laundry.   It was sold in 2018 for €136,000 and earns revenue for its owners as a communications mast.   It is 28.6m / 94ft tall.
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 7665 m
Max elevation: 40 m
Min elevation: 15 m
Total climbing: 145 m
Total descent: -143 m
Total time: 03:10:44
Download file: Dodder And Kingfisher compressed corrected.gpx

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