Pigeon Pipes

ringsend - pigeon house smoke stacks




A painting of the Ringsend smoke stacks viewed from Sandymount. I used an image kindly supplied by the most excellent photographer David Costello-check out his awesome work in the links above.


These pipes are an ever-present image in my childhood, but, not just for me, for a lot of people. I remember being 6 or 7 and having the free expanse of a school summer holidays ahead of me and my friend, Ian, and I walking as far as the rocks in this picture in search of crabs to capture…wholly oblivious to ‘real life’ and what the future had in store for us. (the crabs would inevitably slowly decay in freshwater and the summer sun till noon or thereabouts)

Another time, my cousin and I got surrounded on the strand as the tide quickly engulfed us turning the sand squishy, we would swear we had encountered ‘quicksand’ like from the movies, lucky to escape with our lives.

Then there was the time with the same cousin one friday evening we borrowed my dads pitch & putt clubs and went to the strand to tee-off not far from E.T.’s Finger out into the strand. Musta been late 1980’s so I was 8 or 9 and not physically adept at weilding a 9 iron. My effort skewed left….and then further left….straight on to the delicate temple of a Spanish exchange student(the first Id ever encountered). What shoddy luck! Her friend leaned deep into her ear and relayed to her the most obscene English expletive her 10 yr old brain could muster. “you beetch!”, she exploded. We ran quickly home and ate a couple of bread and butter and monster munch sandwiches and watched the telly.

Then in the summer of ’86 when my crab-capturing friend and I went with his family to the strand all day in a heatwave and I was so sunburntĀ  I couldnt bathe for 2 weeks because of the pain.

Then there are the countless times Ive walked as an ‘adult’ with friends and without, with mind-altering substances and without, discussing the various facets of life most cloying for our attention………..

……and all under watch of those 2 towers.

Red Sparrow Down the Docks

Red-Sparrow-Down-the-Docks_smallUnauthorised portrait of Dave. I’ve known Dave since I was 8. My mate at the time sent me to beat him up so I obliged. A high speed bmx chase ensued. Dave crashed into a wall, I crashed into him to stop him getting away. He turned around and I said, “Hey, youre that guy from the small yard in school”. He said, “yeah”. We just cycled away together. Friends. My other mate wasn’t impressed. Despite my fickle loyalty to friends at that time, Dave and I have remained friends since.

Im happy with the picture in some respects but I need to work on edges and also it was hard getting the brights in the face right. Dave was in full sunlight here which is not represented very well in my painting. Also, the doublechin is not that big in real life either. Sorry Dave!