Ireland day 0360. Friday 23 September 2022- CultureNight
|Today’s summary||Drove up to Drogheda to do some shopping and renew phone contracts. Visited the HighLanes gallery and the Malahide museum on the way back, as part of Ireland’s national “Culture Night” event|
|Today’s weather||Dry and bright in the morning, cloudy with some light drizzle in the afternoon. Slight north westerly breeze. About 16C|
|Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
(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):
Drogheda wander with Highlanes gallery
Drogheda Tesco might sound like an odd place to start our journey through Ireland’s “Culture Night” (Oíche Chultúir) extravaganza. But I think actually it’s the best supermarket we have come across so far in the east of Ireland – on account of its long opening hours, convenience for the motorway, homewear and clothes section, and in-store pharmacy. As we had quite a lot of things on our shopping list to keep us going for the next couple of weeks, we thought we would start off our journey there before turning to more cerebral distractions.
I should explain a bit about Culture Night itself. It’s an annual event, sponsored by the Arts Council, and covering the whole of the Republic. This year is the seventeenth. During culture night, sites that aren’t normally accessible to the public are opened up, and other venues are opened for longer hours. One of the best things about it is that everything is free. We had heard about a “hidden gem” of an Art Gallery in Drogheda – the HighLanes gallery – that was going to be participating in todays event, so decided to pay it a visit. Hence our early stop at Tesco (which, it has to be said, also has a large and free car park).
Actually, HighLanes wasn’t our only target destination in Drogheda. We also more prosaically needed to call in at the Eir mobile phone shop, down in the Highland shopping mall in the town centre. When we arrived almost a year ago, one of the first things we did was to get mobile phone contracts – which came with a 50% introductory discount lasting six months. But we seem to have struck up a good rapport with the excellent and friendly store manager who has kindly agreed to extend the discount for a further six months, if we turn up in person every half year. Accordingly, we were there last March and he can expect to see us knocking on his door in March 2024, too.
Once we had dealt with the paperwork, we headed outside to have our lunch at one of the convenient picnic tables on the windy and somewhat bleak Boyne Valley rampart. We were sitting almost next door to the iconic modern arched Hugh de Lacy pedestrian bridge (you can see it with Val foreground, in the banner image at the top of the blog). Drogheda has some pretty impressive bridges by the way, beside this one. Starting with the Mary MacAleese Boyne Valley bridge on the M1 motorway to the west – which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Ireland, to the Boyne Viaduct railway bridge to the east, carrying the main Dublin-Belfast line and which, when it was opened in 1855, was considered to be one of the wonders of the age.
We had to buck our ideas up a bit when a bold and hungry looking seagull decided to join us at our dinner table (and by the way don’t they look massive when they are sitting next to you?). So we hastily finished our sandwiches and packed away our biscuits before they could be turned into seagull lunch.
A short walk over the river and up into the warren of alleys on the north bank of the Boyne soon brought us out at the HighLanes gallery – which I think could genuinely be described as a “hidden gem”. It was especially interesting today as, in a nod to Culture Night, as well as the normal art displays, the café was open late and there was a recital of Irish traditional singing going on outside. An excellent atmosphere and we really enjoyed our visit to the gallery and the exhibits, which were are shown off to good effect in the tastefully converted Franciscan church.
But culture night was not done with us yet. We hiked back up the hill to the Tesco car park and then skipped back down the M1 to Malahide just in time to catch the open evening for the Malahide museum. It’s housed in a nice cottage up in the castle demesne, and we spent an interesting hour in there, admiring the exhibits (and seeing how much the town had changed since the railway came in 1844). The staff were on hand to fill in the background and we came away feeling suitably educated.
Having spent most of the day feeding our brains with art and culture, we are now feeding our bodies with red wine and the double-sticker bargain quiche that I bought the other day. A suitably delicious end to an enjoyable and mentally nutritious day.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(Elevations corrected at GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )
Max elevation: 49 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 94 m
Total descent: -93 m
Total time: 02:54:23