Dublin Bay Dusk
Sandymount Strand on Dublin Bay is a difficult place to comprehend. Depending on how you approach it and where you look, it may tell you many different sorts of stories. Scanning southward along the shore, you will see a line of pleasant water-view homes, the edge of a city suburb. To the north is an industrial landscape, from the tall chimneys of the Poolbeg Generating Station to the cranes of Dublin Port.
As I walked along the seawall at dusk and low tide, I was surprised by the sheer number of runners and walkers on the firm sand immediately below me. To the locals, this is clearly a place of recreation. Others might contemplate it in the context of the long history of human settlement in the Dublin area, or maybe consider its literary significance as a setting for James Joyce’s Ulysses.
To me, as a visiting marine paleontologist, this looks like a scientifically complex place. In spite of the industrial activity it is clear that Dublin’s famous cockles are still abundant here, and that they are accompanied by a variety of other marine life. The tidal flats are extensive and show a great variety of ripples and other features of sediment deposition. And then of course there are all the questions about how these natural systems are interacting with the modern human ones.
So many interesting things to consider, but it is getting too dim for me to see much, and tomorrow morning my itinerary will carry me along to yet another place. A person needs 100 lives to answer even a fraction of the questions that come to mind during a random walk through this fabulous world.
© Graham Young, 2013