Ireland day 0687. Wednesday 16 August 2023- Grangegorman *

Ireland day 0687. Wednesday 16 August 2023- Grangegorman
Today’s summary Went to a lecture by Prof Raymond Gillespie at the Royal Irish Academy about Grangegorman.   Took the LUAS up to see the Hungry Tree and then visited Grangegorman itself
Today’s weather Dry and bright with long sunny periods.   Moderate easterly wind.   Appx 17C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The blue line shows where we walked)
(No GPX today)

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

It’s Heritage Week in Ireland at the moment and our go-to venue in Dublin, the Royal Irish Academy, had an event on this lunchtime to mark the occasion.   It was a lecture by Prof Raymond Gillespie of Maynooth university entitled “Grangegorman: a thousand years in the making“.   And as neither of us knew anything at all about Grangegorman (it’s a suburb of northern Dublin) we thought it would be worth going along to see if we could learn something.

It turned out to be really interesting, particularly so because it was a very narrow subject covering a relatively narrow timespan (it focused on the 1800s mainly) yet the speaker kept everyone’s rapt attention on the subject for a full hour.   And there were lots of questions afterwards.

Grangegorman is interesting because it has a lot of open spaces – which were popular with exercisers during the pandemic, apparently.   And to a certain extent, these open spaces blocked the westwards development of Dublin, and as a result, the Dublin plan today has a stronger north-east to south-west axis than it has in the perpendicular direction.

The reason why the open spaces existed in the first place is in itself fascinating.   One of the owners of the land, Charles (?) Monck had a daughter but no sons.   As such he didn’t think it was worth upgrading the land as it would “only” be inherited by a woman(!!).   So the land became semi -derelict which meant that when Dublin Corporation offered to buy some of it, he gladly accepted.   The Corporation built a prison on the site, which later became  a hospital, and the land that came with these buildings seems to have blocked further development in the area.

Recently the hospital has mostly closed and the whole site is subject to a major redevelopment centred around the Technological University of Dublin.

After the lecture, and after a nice but expensive lunch in a nearby bistro, we took the Green Line LUAS a few stops north to go and have a look at Grangegorman for real.   On the way, we dropped into to the grounds of the King’s Temple (a legal chamber) to inspect the Hungry Tree – a 100-year old London Plane tree that has started to engulf an adjacent wrought iron seat through a process of edaphoecotropism.

Grancegorman was quite interesting in a rather bleak sort of a way.   The old hospital buildings are still there, and look quite imposing.   But they don’t appear really to be used for anything any more, although the whole area is being redeveloped as a part of the Dublin Technological University.   We had a walk around the campus, admired the views over to the Dublin Mountains, then caught a LUAS and train back to Malahide.   Time, now, to enjoy a simple dinner of poached eggs on toast, followed by a video catch up with friends back in the UK.   Another very good day.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

In the RIA, waiting for Prof Gillespie to take the stage We had a quick pork pie and coffee lunch in the Theatre Café just across the road from the RIA, in Dawson Street.   It was very nice, and good food, but extremely expensive
Val and I relaxing on the Hungry Tree’s built-in seat The LUAS from Broadstone to Grangegorman goes round a tight corner and then up a remarkably steep hill.   Never seen quite such dramatic rail engineering before, I don’t think
Part of the Technological University Dublin campus Some of the buildings which formed part of the former St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital, which mostly closed in 2010
The Hungry Tree in Kings Inn, near Grangegorman.   A fine example of edaphoecotropism.   The tree is a London Plane and is about 100 years old
Interactive map

(No map today)

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