Cities, out to sea

Many of the world’s great cities have a strong relationship with the sea through their ports. On a weekend visit to Dublin I recently walked along the Great South Wall pier on the southern side of the entrance into Dublin port. This has an atmosphere all of its own – and I am not talking about the sewage treatment plant you pass on the way. Well worth a Sunday walk.

Great South Wall, Dublin

Great South Wall, Dublin

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7 Comments on “Cities, out to sea”

  1. Anna Notaro Says:

    Everyone who was born or lived in a city by the see is familiar with some kind of ‘architectural’ defense from the sea itself, it’s part of a familiar landscape, sometimes it’s walls like in the case of Dublin or in my home town a mix of huge rocks a few meters from the shore and the wall on which the beautiful promenade sits, passers by enjoy the walk, the sun in the summer months, the salty smell of the sea in their nostrils, oblivious to the fact that the main reason for the promenade to be there is as a defense from the constant threat that the sea poses. A wall is a liminal point, a threshold, an in-between space, maybe a non-space even, walking on it de-familiarizes the threat, fools us into believing we are safe from the unpredictable elements, from nature, and yet we cannot fully ignore what our senses are telling us, our physical proximity to such a powerful force, a wall is for cities, for us, out to see.

    • V.H Says:

      So more Apollonian than Dionysian.

      • Anna Notaro Says:

        If you wish to refer to this dichotomy then I would say that the wall is right in between the Dionysian force of chaos and distruction, the alluring chaotic state of nature (the sea) and the Apollonian “terra firma”, the solid earth of reason and rationality, walking along a wall pier is an apt metaphor of the living condition.

  2. Jill Says:

    A beautiful atmospheric photo. These lovely comments have me thinking. Fremantle, Western Australia, is a harbor city and although we have harbor walls it doesn’t have the feeling of protection. Definition maybe. Now I am wondering why?


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