Saturday, February 7, 2009

Yesterday I was determined to leave the house on a mission that wasn't about going to the Post Office or the Grocery Store, or on a shopping mission for something for the house. So despite the cold and the semi-slick roads, I bundled up and got on my bike. My destination was the Docklands, specifically the Grand Canal Square, because a friend of mine's wife had a hand in designing it, and it sure looked cool from the pictures.

Looking at my map, it seemed simple enough to get to. Except I didn't notice that one of the major streets I'd planned to take was actually a one-way going in the opposite direction. So as I was going along with the traffic, I was taken away from the direction I knew I wanted to go. So I pulled over next to Trinity to look at my map, to discover the error of my ways. No biggie, I thought! But biking here is still rather tricky for me, as I'm not used to this left hand side of the road business, not to mention that taking a right hand turn when you're all the way over on the left hand side on a two-lane one-way stretch of traffic is no easy task, especially when you don't know where the hell you're going. Also, it seems like the roads were always splitting when I didn't expect them to, and I was never sure which way to go. And you really have to make decisions in an instant because cars are coming as well as other bikers. So next thing I know, I'm totally lost and at Merrion Square Park, only I have no idea what or where that is, but it caught my eye, so I stopped. Here's what I saw as I biked past:

It was this pyramid shape, but you could see through the panes of glass that a real eternal flame burned inside. I hopped off my bike to take a closer look. Statues of four soldiers stood guard around the flame. I took a couple of shots, and I actually like how you can see the reflection of the trees in the photo, because that's very accurate to how it looked in person. In the second shot, you can see me in my bike helmet, which sort of mimics the solder with his hat:

My feet were starting to get really cold, so I thought if I was going to find my destination, I'd better stop exploring the park and get going. So I got back on the bike and headed for the Docklands. Although it's the home of a few well known offices like Google, the area is definitely mid-construction. It had a sort of end of the earth feeling, maybe even post-apocalyptic. I wanted to stop and take photos, but I was getting too cold and wanted to find a place to warm up. I'll have to go back again and explore the area. After overshooting it a bit, I decided to give up and turn back, when I spied just what I was looking for! But by then I couldn't feel my feet, so I locked up the bike and stopped into a cafe for a cappuccino. Once I was warm again, I ventured out. There's still construction going on, and it seems like the execution of the design of this public space could use some tweaking. From a design standpoint, it really is interesting. For example, these red poles that stick out of the ground look pretty cool, especially as it starts to get dark out, because they begin to glow. You can even see it in my photos because it was nearly dusk. Here's a photo, shot facing the water:

However, the birds absolutely LOVE these red poles. Here's a seagull sitting on one:

What you perhaps can't see in the photo is the bird droppings oozing out from the top of the pole. And on the surface below, the ground is covered in bird poop. It actually crossed my mind that I might get bombed myself while I was out there! But this problem could be easily solved by putting something on top of the poles to prevent the birds from wanting to hang out on them.

Anyways, I think this area will look pretty neat and might be an interesting events venue once construction is finished. I made a couple of collages for a more panoramic effect. As usual, they don't line up perfectly, but that's the charm of them:

Larger versions of the collages can be seen here and here.

On the way home I had an easier time finding my way, but still, I find myself getting confused in places I know I've been before!

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