A VISIT TO BLESSINGTON STREET BASIN [Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens]
Blessington Street Basin is a drinking water reservoir in Dublin which operated from 1810 until the 1970s, serving the north city. It became a public park in 1994.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day and normally I get to photograph the Dublin parade from the top of a bus after spending a night out with visitors from the USA. Last year the parade was cancelled with a few days notice. This year I knew that the event would not take place.
The problem is that I am now feeling bored after a year of not using my real camera and lenses and worse still I have have forgotten how to use my equipment. Since the beginning of last week I have started to wander around the local area for an hour or two using a different lens.
Today I used a Sigma 14mm f1/8 lens which I have had little chance to use as I purchased it not long before Covid-19 arrived. It is not an easy lens to use as lens flare can be an issue especially on a sunny day like today.
The Blessington Street Basin was built in the early 19th century by Dublin Corporation. Construction began about 1803 and finished in 1810, the plant was opened as the Royal George Reservoir, named in honour of King George III. The basin is rectangular, about 120 m long and 60 m wide basin took about 4 million gallons (15.1 million litres) of water. The water came from Lough Owel in County Westmeath, carried by pipe along the Royal Canal through a 3 km long pipeline into the basin at the western end of the Blessington Street. From its construction, the site was used as a public park.
By 1869, the basin was not large enough for purpose, and water collection moved outside the city. The basin continued to serve the Jameson’s and Powers’ distilleries until the 1970s, and then went out of operation as a reservoir. There were worries about the stagnant water creating a typhoid outbreak in the late 1800s leading to the corporation wanting to fill in the basin and the stretch of water connecting the basin to the canal, this connection was finally filled in 1956.
In 1993 work began on the restoration of the site following a rejected proposal to extensively refurbish it in 1991. The refurbishment was carried out by the Dublin City Council aided by FÁS, and with financial support from the National Heritage Council and A.L.O.N.E. It was reopened as a park on the 4 November 1994. The site also includes a lodge house built in a Tudor style in 1811, and another modern council building.
Since its restoration, the basin now serves as a bird habitat, with an artificial island and a number of fish. Amongst the birds that can be seen there are swans, tufted ducks, chaffinches, mallards and pigeons