Fog Bell

This small lighthouse marks the edge of the deep river channel in Dublin Harbour, as viewed from the 18th-century Great South Wall, which, at two kilometres, was one of the longest harbour walls in the world when it was built. The green lighthouse marks the starboard side of the channel for arriving ships. Across the harbour the complementary North Bull Wall was laid out by Capt. Bligh, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. The two walls converge in order to cause the river to dredge naturally, and the sand from the river subsequently formed a new island in north Dublin Bay, called North Bull Island. The tidal lagoon between Bull Island and the coast is a wonderful bird sanctuary, right beside the busy main road to the hill of Howth at the northern end of Dublin Bay. The bell was used as a warning to ships when fog reduced visibility.

In James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake the River Liffey is the subject of one of the author’s most famous sentences: ‘riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.’

‘A commodius vicus of recirculation.’ Splendid.

FOG BELL, egg tempera, 30 x 30 cms

© Fergus A Ryan, 2024