Down By The Riverside
DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE
Some of the greatest adventures of my childhood took place along the banks of the Dodder. This beautiful river winds its way down from the Dublin mountains and passes through Clonskeagh, where I used to live, on its way to Ringsend where it joins the Liffey, before flowing into the Irish Sea.
I remember rafting down the river on a homemade raft, made of wooden planks and oil barrels, like Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer on the great Mississippi.
I remember catching Pinkeens (Minnow) in the dark pools beneath the waterfall at the back of Ashton’s Pub, and watching in wonder an Otter gliding through the water with only the tip of its nose to be seen. Or a Kingfisher as it hovered in the clean air. And a pair of Swans, too, who made their home there for years, happy in their own company. They were still there long after I had moved on, into the murky waters of adulthood.
I remember playing Cowboys and Indians on warm summer evenings during the school holidays with my pals. Many a scalp was taken amongst the trees and bushes that lined the river in those golden days of my childhood.
We would play ‘chasing’ with the girls from Beaver Row and Beech Hill, running along the Ramparts that overlooked the river, our hearts thumping with excitement and joy in the hope of catching them… yet half afraid, also.
It’s said that you never again have friends like the friends you had when you were ten.