Dublin YMCA Blog

Exploring the Docks, by Eva

Have you been feeling a bit ‘ungoverned’ lately? If you do, then you may be living in Ireland OR Spain. Both countries have gone through the last months with their politicians engaged in conversations about forging the next government. Having reported on local politics for years, this is a very interesting topic to me. Because of that, I got really excited when a YMCA member of staff invited me to accompany her to vote. I could witness the whole process and compare the differences between Spanish & Irish elections. It surprised me that the ballot here shows the faces of every candidate, and moreover, a small biography, like a Twitter bio. In Spain, the presidential elections held in December set out a polemic about one party showing the candidate’s face in the ballot, and the other parties claimed this to be an indicator for a “potential person-centric government”. Apparently is just a matter of customs!

However, the differences are more than just pictures: In Ireland voters can choose different candidates openly regardless of their parties, whereas in Spain the candidates can vote only for the party they select, as block of names. We call this ‘closed lists’ and in the past year many voices have been asking for open the lists, more like in Ireland, because malpractice in this tends to allow (allegedly) corrupt politicians keep being elected because people cannot vote for their favorite party without voting that particular politician.

 

Regarding my exploration of Dublin, I got myself lost last weekend after attending a networking event in the area, and this led me to explore Ringsend, Sandymount beach & coastal walk as well as the Docks themselves. I was amazed by the sight of an old ship stuck in the middle of the place!  Also I had very interesting conversation with some old ladies from the nearby St. Patrick’s church, and other people from an association of breast cancer survivors that were just leaving their meeting. Probably they could read in my face that I was a bit lost with the whole scene. I love meeting random new people and listening to the stories of the places I visit. This way I learnt about the story of the ship -Naomh Eanna is its name-, that some people want gone and some other want to restore.

Along my path I also discovered this church that has a virgin Mary statue in the backyard. Seen from the other side of the canal, it looked to me as a ship’s figurehead. This crazy idea of the church navigating the canal I couldn’t get rid of.

Having spotted that, I definitely had to go inside the building and ask to see the statue closer. This lady was extremely kind and stopped cleaning the church’s benches to grab my arm and lead me to the backyard. They have this virgin Mary piece protected behind bars to prevent vandalizing acts to be aimed at it. Definitely it looks beautiful and it’s a pity that is has to be so isolated, in my opinion.In the meantime I learnt that Oliver Cromwell first set a foot in Ireland in the area that today is called the Docks. “And he has not being much loved ever since”, end of quote.

Afterwards I headed to Sandymount beach (too bad I spent a whole month selling Christmas Trees here and never got the chance to have a walk around) and enjoyed the sun that was shining and the feel of the sand under my feet. Doesn’t look like a very clean beach but anyway it is a pleasant place to be on a Saturday morning.