There’s no denying it – the Cracks are beginning to show

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of South Bull Wall, Shelly banks, Dublin

Now that is clearly a crack, isn’t it? And this is one of the many cracks that I’ve noticed in the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay.

So my question is this: Is it possible that this great granite wall is slowly disintegrating, and sinking into the Irish Sea?  And we know that the sea level is rising even as we speak.

Now the Great South Wall or the Shelly Banks, as we always called it, has been a favourite haunt for Dublin strollers, stretching back presumably to the time it was first finished in 1795.

It was started back in 1748 to stop the encroachment of sand into Dublin Port from the South Bull sandbank. The original length of the wall was 3.5 miles (5.6 km) and at the time, it was one of the longest sea walls in the world.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of South Bull Wall, Shelly banks, Dublin

It was built from granite blocks hewn out of the hills behind Dalkey and Dún Laoghaire and transported across the bay in barges. The blocks (each of them about a ton in weight) were ingeniously interlocked together without using any mortar. Coliemore Harbour, Bullock Harbour and Sandycove Harbour were all built at this time by the Dublin Port Authority to facilitate this massive undertaking.

But you know, we were out there on a calm day, earlier this year and we got a sudden soaking. We were nearing the Half Moon swimming club when the seawater surged across the wall and we had no option but to stand there and allow the sea to ruin my fancy blue suede shoes.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of South Bull Wall, Shelly banks, Dublin
Sodden and disgruntled Dubliners beating a hasty retreat…

And then this week I heard that you couldn’t walk out that wall at all because the sea was too high. Ok, so you could call this anecdotal evidence (literally: dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi) but listen, in all my years of walking out to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, I’ve never encountered this before.

Was it a particularly high Spring tide? Was it that wayward East wind? I don’t think so. All the photos on this post were taken on the same day.

And then those cracks in the wall… Things are changing and I don’t like it. We know about the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising sea level. And we know that it’s our fault. Did you know that Ireland’s carbon emissions are among the highest per capita in the EU?  Now, there’s somewhere we can start. I’d love to hear your comments, way down below in the Comments section…

And finally, my exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery is finishing this weekend. Sunday, the 2nd of December is your last chance to see it.  The show was reviewed again last weekend – this time in the Sunday Times – and you can read it here

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