Dublin’s City Kayaking at the heart of the city’s vibrant Docklands is an absolute treat to tourists. It offers visitors a wonderful glimpse into the rich, cultural hub that is Dublin. While sailing the waters of River Liffey, one cannot help but marvel at the splendour of the city which has a multitude of stories to tell.
We embark on a marvellous journey at the historic Jeanie Johnston – a ship that chronicles the accounts of Irish emigrants who left their homeland during the Great Famine in the nineteenth century. As our paddles glide through the waters, our first stop is the Custom House, a grand neoclassical building established in 1791. Standing tall in its absolute grandeur, it proclaims a tale of struggle, endurance and survival, having been burnt down during the War of Independence. Following its restoration after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it remains to be a mark of the nation’s resilience.
A few further strokes with the paddles take us down to Ha’Penny Bridge, which has a fascinating story attached to it. Known originally as the Wellington Bridge. Under British Rule, Dubliners had to pay half a penny to cross over to the other side, giving it the name it is famously known for. The man behind this enterprise is William Walsh, a ferry owner whose business of transporting people across the river was replaced by the bridge. The anecdote of an immensely entrepreneurial ferryman is a tale that bears testimony to turning an obstacle into a miraculous opportunity.
The tour also introduces you to gates on the wall, which are connected to Dublin Castle. The black waters that were filtered into the Castle’s premises give the city the name Duvlin, which translates to “black pool”. It is interesting to note that this magical city draws its name from River Liffey, which in translating into “river of life” quite literally gives a shape and form to the land it flows through.
The journey downstream is no less adventurous than it is upstream, whereby the salty waters inundate the kayaks and our spirits with glee and laughter. We disembark at the very same spot the memorable voyage begins, leaving your clothes soaked, spirits high and a hunger for new adventures.