One Night in Shankill


Shankill is Dublin County’s southernmost town. It has a population of just over 14,000, most moving in over the last forty years around what was once a small village. The bridge at the north end of the Main Street (Dublin Road), crosses the defunct Harcourt Street Line, which closed in 1958. This was the original rail connection between Bray and Dublin in 1854. A little later, the coastal route pushed through to Dun Laoghaire and on to Westland Row. This is the surviving route, running all the way north to Belfast and south to Wexford. It provides the  Dartline electrified commuter rail service from Greystones to Howth and Malahide in North Dublin.  

Until the M11 bypass in 1991, Shankill lined the main road from Dublin to Bray. It’s still a busy route, but more pleasant with enhanced village life. Once past the village Main Street an avenue of trees forms a green tunnel from Woodbrook to Bray and the Wicklow border. The village trees are endangered by a recent public transport plan which, whatever its practical benefits, could have dire consequences for the visual amenity. 

For this painting, I’ve stopped on the southern carriageway of the Main Street, heading home from Dublin. Our Ford Focus seems blue in the glare of the green traffic lights behind me. Across the road the main glow of lights marks Brady’s Pub. In the dark is the Street Food outlet, best viewed by day with a lively sidewalk scene. Bernardo’s chipper is out of frame. A couple of pedestrians wander between pub and chipper. Decisions, decisions. A bus heads into the distance towards Bray. 

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