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Podcast: The Rivers Dodder and Poddle

7th September 2016
Don McEntee on the banks of The Dodder - Rhino in the background Don McEntee on the banks of The Dodder - Rhino in the background Credit: Tom MacSweeney

Being a marine journalist brings the opportunity to meet interesting people in pleasant locations….
So it was that I had coffee in the Dropping Well, a very pleasant bar and restaurant in a very nice location at Milltown in Dublin, which traces its origins back to the Great Famine of 1845 – 1849. So the bar staff told me and that it was first licensed as a Community Morgue in ‘Black ’47’. Aside from those historic notes it was, suitably enough for my purpose, on the banks of the Dodder, which is as important a river in the opinion of many Dubliners as the Liffey, though perhaps it does not have the Liffey’s swathe of dominance of the capital.
However, it was on the bank of what he describes as a “flashy river…” at the rear of the Dropping Well that I recorded an interview with Don McEntee, one of the two authors of a fascinating book - “The Rivers Dodder and Poddle,” published by Four Courts Press.
Don was standing close to what seemed like a rhino emerging from the Dodder under Classon’s Bridge, but which is in reality a piece of decoration that adds to the colour of the riverside pathway, though I wondered if it had ever caused surprise or shock to any inebriated soul, emerging from the Dropping Well…!!
Don, with his co-author Michael Corcoran, has constructed a great tale about the Dodder, embellishing it with stories that relate its benefits to Irishtown and Ringsend, Dublin dockside maritime communities. There are stories such as the reason for 20,000 Dubliners washing themselves daily in the Bay… “and those were the ones who had time and inclination to clean themselves! There were many more dirty people in the capital,” he told me… But Dubliners need not be over-anxious, those days were away back, centuries ago…. But the tales are good!
Join me to listen to these stories on the latest edition of my THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme where you can also hear of the horrors which befell the crew of a Cobh square-rigger as she sailed home to Cork Harbour from the West Indies. The residents of the often-neglected offshore islands are not happy with the health services provided to the islands and anglers are told to wear lifejackets to save their lives… all part of the programme mix.
Hope to enjoy it….I’m always glad to hear the views of listeners!
• Listen to the programme below

Published in Island Nation

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