Daily Archives: October 16, 2011

Hold your hour and have another

A path leads from Binn’s Bridge in Drumcondra, to Cross Guns in Phibsborough/Phibsboro (both Dublin City North), less than half a mile away to the west.  There are three double locks, in the stretch and although they are known as staircase pairs in British canal-speak, in Ireland a double counts as one lock.  For the photo above, I was standing on the 2nd lock and looking west.

Brendan Behan ~ Bronze
Sculptor
John Coll

At the 2nd Lock is the sculpture of Brendan Behan (1923 – 1964), he was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright and drinker, who wrote in both Irish  and English.  He is depicted in conversation with a bird on a bench, an ideal spot to sit and watch the local pigeons at play.

Between the backrest and the seat are a number of percussion triangles.

The Auld Triangle” is a song written by Dominic Behan for his brother Brendan Behan and is featured in Brendan’s play The Quare Fellow.  It is used to introduce the play, a story about the occurrences in a prison (in real life Mountjoy Prison where Behan had once been an inmate) the day a convict is set to be executed. The triangle in the title refers to the large metal triangle which was beaten daily in Mountjoy Prison to waken the inmates (“The Auld Triangle goes Jingle Jangle”). The triangle still hangs in the prison at the centre where the wings meet on a metal gate. It is no longer used, though the hammer to beat it is mounted beside it. The song has also become known as “The Banks of the Royal Canal.”

The bench has quotations from the plays and the song worked into it, and above the triangles are the following lines:

‘A hungry feeling came o’er me stealing
And the mice were squealing in my prison cell
And the old triangle went jingle jangle
All along the banks of the Royal Canal….’

I told my sister that I would find her a fella, and I did! 😉

She needed time to think about it….. so we walked on to the next Lock

This post takes the title from the Book ‘Hold your hour and have another‘ collection of pieces by Brendan Behan for the local newspapers in Dublin.  They include personal anecdotes, reminiscences, snatches of history and some memorable conversations, reading it is like being buttonholed in a pub by the funniest man you’ve ever met.