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Waiting for wind

8th February 2008
Waiting for wind
SOUNDINGS – FEBRUARY/MARCH 2008

When the decent sea breezes which were expected in a sunny Cork Week didn’t materialise some years ago, we were given an explanation. The official word was that it was because there’d been so much rain beforehand that the land had become exceptionally damp and was mopping up the heat that would otherwise create a perfect sea breeze.

Then in early September last year, with good westerlies expected to invigorate the Dragon Worlds in Dublin Bay, nothing happened. The suggestion was that the glass towers of the expanding financial districts in Dublin were causing an easterly tendency when the underlying breeze was westerly, resulting in stalemate. But as many of the international Dragon sailors were folk who would rely on burgeoning financial districts to fund their sailing habit, it was thought bad taste to say that the calms on the Bay were all their fault.

So in this cash-rich, time-poor era, we have to find a way of providing breeze in spectator-friendly conditions at trendy Irish sailing centres. Climate control is top of the agenda when old-fashioned climate change is making us all very nervous. Our research unit here at Soundings has been quietly monitoring two projects, and started in a small way at a secret venue along the Grand Canal. It is now accepted locally as part of the scene, so the next stage is roofing over a couple of miles of the waterway mostly for the comfort of towpath walkers and canoeists. Soft rain will be turned on at the click of a switch if desired, or sunshine if preferred, while birdsong will be available from those CDs which presently enhance your visits to the neighbourhood garden centre.


A more ambitious project has been the climate control provided for the past three years at Westport House. The house is of great maritime interest as the birthplace of Grace O’Malley, but the ostensible purpose of the scheme – repairing of the fabric of the house and roof – has now been fulfilled, and this pioneering Irish astrodome will be removed by Easter.

A pity, as it had become a tourist attraction in itself. But now we are going to apply the technology to Dublin Bay, with an elegant curved roof over a rectangle of 32 square miles, covering the city and bay between the Baily-Muglins line to the east, and the Glasnevin-Rathfarnham line to the west. Covering a major part of the city in addition to the bay is necessary for income purposes, as the DART and LUAS can become open-top, and all money saved will be passed on to the Bureau of Climate Control.

Ten years into the future, as the new DCCZ (Dublin Climate Control Zone) takes shape, we’ll be up to our tonsils in redundant wind farms, as wave power and nuclear energy will have taken over from the old inefficient windmill system. So the hundreds of slightly-used wind turbines will be installed up in the Phoenix Park in a fetching array in forty shades of green.

This will win the Turner Prize, and thanks to motors powered by our excess of nuclear power and from wafer-thin solar panels on the new roof, will also provide controlled and pleasant breezes when required, to waft across the city, and more importantly guarantee good sailing conditions out on the Bay.

Raising the wind will cost money, but this can easily be written into the entry fees and sponsorship costings for regattas, major championships, and the concluding races for each Dublin Bay SC points series. It will also provide free breeze for inner-city sailing clubs. Thus we will cover charity, climate control, and championship convenience at a stroke. Couldn’t be easier.
Published in Editors Blog
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