I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

A Dublin Poem


The Halfpenny Bridge

Georgian iron and treacherous timbers,
slime covered and slippery up and down;
a pox on the ferryman’s earnings
by those who dare to cross
from mean street to Venetian passage,
this is the Ha’penny bridge

Leaning on both North and South,
owned by neither, both,
a no-man’s land
twixt Norse and Brit,
chained to the granite quays.

On its crest
its pinnacle,
the luckless Lord Mayor of Dublin;
the toll gatherer-beggar,
with his bowl forever sits,
selling poverty for a pittance,
and redemption for avoiding eyes

The royal barge,
the chieftains byre,
bananas from Bolivia,
they all have passed
beneath this throne,
this crown of Anna Livia.

From the collection Change in the Wind by Niall O’Connor