Poems from the Coast | Dun Laoghaire, Ireland by Daniel Wade

Poems from the Coast | A Maritime Poetry Series

The latest in our series of maritime inspired poems by Daniel Wade is a tribute to the men who built the piers at Dun Laoghaire. This year marks the bicentenary of the harbour with the foundation stone first laid on May 31st 1817.

Daniel Wade Poem Dun Laoghaire Ireland

Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

This harbour wall is truer than any god,

chequered rust glazing fuse-blasted stone.


The sea thunders over and over, between

north-easterly choirs and abrasive granite.


For now, though, there’s a lull in the fighting

between wave and wall, the light of June


smearing itself over horned rocks. I ask

myself, how many navvies poured their lives


into stone, just to build these pincer-piers,

carving the slowest of inroads on the tide,


iron cabals sagging to the water’s edge?

A thousand men, maybe more, who sweated


for asylum, hauling tallow-greased drays

from the Dalkey pits, laden with the import


of granite and the friction of their hands.

If there is anything to love about the place,


it’s the closeness of the sea, the tide’s

ebbing murmur, the waves’ crumbling chant,


miniature forests of algae swaying underwater.

The bandstand, with rust-tattooed masonry,


letting the rain enter as lazily as the sun.

A catamaran throbs whitely on the horizon,


towing behind her a chain of swollen miles,

the mould of her prow acute as a whetstone.


Even now, under a crash of spray, I ask:

does the harbour hold any provision for exiles?

Daniel Wade is a poet and playwright from Dublin, Ireland. He is a graduate of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology where he studied English and Journalism.

Check out his website danielwadeauthor.com for more.

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22