The Wren’s Nest

Racing Back To The House

Getting up on a cold Sunday morning, racing to mass, praying to God that the priest would fly through the sermon, racing back to the house past the canal with all things possible dumped in it. Gathering old clothes, dumping them into a bag then heading down to Seville place. The old club was located in a building where every now and then the high tide filled the small hall with water. We played everything in the tiny hall, table tennis, basketball, and gymnastics, the hall was also used to store canoes and Mirror dinghies. On those Sunday mornings, we loaded canoes onto a trailer, and a bunch of us headed out to the Wren’s Nest located on the river Liffey.

The Blades Dipped into the Water

The mist was rising from the water as the sun started to shine. We started by slipping the canoes into the water and the sting of the cold water meant that you didn’t want to capsize going over one of those wiers because it took ages to get warm again. The blades dipped into the water and the sun began to heat up the fiberglass canoe as I watched the swans and their young glide along and the familiar hiss that the bird gave when you got too close for comfort. The sun heating up the water and the steam rising made your mind drift a little but the sting of the cold water from it running down from the paddle brought you back to the real world. Watching the banks of the Liffey drift by and thinking that this was much nicer than the sight and sound of the city.

The City, the Fights, the Screams

The city, the fights, the screams, cars, and lorries as they crossed the Liffey that divided the city. With the sun slowly getting higher I pulled back the spray deck. There was a nice feeling as the cold air came into the hot canoe. We slowly slipped along as we approached the Wren’s Nest weir. I checked slowly to see if there was nothing blocking our way on the wier. When there was heavy rain it made for great canoeing , because it flooded the river but that alos meant that there could be big branches blocking that had fallen in and blocked the weir. I watched as each of the canoeing company shot the weir. The safest way was through the point of v of the wier because you didn’t want to get caught in the stopper which was like getting caught in a washing machine.

Everthing was Deadly

Paddle, paddle was sceamed from behind me and the nose of the canoe dropped over the lip of the wier. I felt the cold sting of the water. I stopped paddleing which was the wrong thing to do and I leaned to the left and then I found myself struggling for breath as now I felt the cold water stinging my whole body easly getting through the old clothes that I had worn. Everything was deadly up untill I capsized. On the bank, dripping in my old clothes, more kids shot the weir. The shouts of laughter from the bank made everybody feel happy. These screams from the bank when someone capsized were far better that the sceams in the flats. I was glad to get out of that old jumper scroched from being to near the coal fire at home

A Real Swan Lake

During the summer, the Liffey was flooded by the ESB electrical company. Slowly the weir filled up and then it exploded into a noise of water. Watching from the banks some canoers were fighting against the current, plunging the nose of the canoe in the stopper at the bottom of the v where there was a huge amount of white water, then pushing down on the nose of the canoe violently, the front of the canoe disappear at the stern lifted quickly into the air. Then a low dud and the canoe was overturned. Slowly the paddle came out of the water and feeling for the surface was slapped down and the the head of the canoer was the last to leave the water. Then he started back into the current to start the whole maneuver again. These guys were like ballerinas on water. A real swan lake.
When we reached Seville Place, we knew we were home because we could smell the piss and the drink under the railway bridge.