View from Boland’s Mill

Bolands Mill is a place of historical significance in Ireland. By that I mean that I first heard about it in a history class in school, and I basically know nothing else about it. As I understand it, it was one of the key locations during the 1916 rising which ultimately resulted in Irish independence from the United Kingdom.

Much more significantly for me, it was the giant ugly concrete building across the road from my apartment when I lived in Dublin. It’s on the corner of Ringsend Road and Barrow Street, about a block away from Google’s Dublin office. I used to look at it during my (extremely brief) walk home from work, and I always thought it looked like an ideal model for a level in a first-person shooter. It’s full of huge ladders, narrow walkways and tiny slit windows. I can easily imagine playing Counter Strike in it.

The mill has been closed for years, so there was never any chance that I’d make it inside to have a peek around. Fortunately for me, my cousin Conor Coghlan managed to (perfectly legally and legitimately, I’m sure) get a bit of a look around recently. He posted this video of the inside of the facility, and the view from the top:

Bolands Mill from Conor Coghlan on Vimeo.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

Today is Paddy’s Day (not “Patty’s Day”, which is some kind of weird American barbarism). And this is the first time it’s fallen on a weekend since 2007.

Back then I had been finished university and unemployed for about six months—it was just a couple of weeks before I started working at Google—so I wasn’t in a position to properly celebrate. I hadn’t even moved out of home yet. So instead of being in Dublin I would have been celebrating in my home town of Greystones, which has the distinction of having the lowest pub to person ratio of any town in Ireland.

Fast forward a few years and I’m living in London. London has the downside that when Paddy’s Day isn’t on a weekend it pretty much doesn’t happen. For some reason it’s not a public holiday here. What gives? But there’s a corresponding upside that when it does fall on a weekend there are a heck of a lot more nightlife spots in London than in Greystones. You don’t decide which one to go to by tossing a single coin.

Strangely, London has decided that Paddy’s Day celebrations will actually happen tomorrow, on the 18th. Maybe they figured observing what is effectively a giant piss-up, where for many people national pride is directly proporional to alcohol consumption (and my people are very, very proud), on a Saturday might lead to a bit of a mess. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the threat of having to work with a patriotic hangover has any effect on the celebrations.

The parade tomorrow starts at Green Park at noon, and ends at Trafalgar square.

I imagine the rules for participants in London’s parade don’t have quite the same form as those for people marching in New York’s parade, which features this fantastic item:

4. The only banners allowed are ones identifying the unit or “England Get Out of Ireland”. Only one banner for each unit. NO EXCEPTIONS!!