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The confluence of the River Dodder and the River Liffey at Ringsend was known to generations of locals as ‘The Gut’, On the quayside was a knacker’s yard where the local wharf rats enjoyed the pickings of fresh carcasses every day. The name ‘The Gut’ was sanitised to ‘Portview’ and ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ when apartments were built on the site of the bone-yard during the late twentieth century property boom. Until the construction of the nearby toll bridge The Gut was served by a Dublin Corporation open ferry which plied a triangular route from one side of the Dodder to the other, then across to the North Wall on the far side of the Liffey. The ferryman seldom stopped to tie up and passengers had to board by stepping down on the gunwale in the brief moment when it touched the quayside.

Ringsend Water Music, 1983

Eamonmaguidhir_thumbnail_02by Éamon Mag Uidhir24 Mar 2014

At river high tide on the hot days
Grey mullet graze the undersurface.

Nearby, at the old canal lock,
Corduroy boys strip to divebomb,
Smashing the pane of the afternoon.

Above it all, a black-backed gull
Pursues a sinister aimless purpose,
And over there, harassing the sun,
Swifts sift the air for midges.

I whistle for the ferryman
—coming about at The Gut—
And leap for his glancing gunwale.

Charon would have waited, you know,
If it was my time that had come.