You like the feel of the place at night: the theatre and taxis; the restaurants and bars. You like the high-heeled style of it; the buzz and glamour.
You’re lucky to live nearby; to have access to a well-designed urban space. You like the culture it affords, the trendy entertainment. But mostly, if you’re honest, you like the red poles. You like how their lights dance skywards, cast playful reflections on the water.
(You may have outgrown sophistication.)
You like the place during the day, too. Its sharp-suited buildings project themselves with confidence, all angles and apexes. Light bounces off their reflective skins, catching your eye in fiery flashes.
You find it energizing to walk among the buildings, at least for a while. You know you’ll never be shiny enough to live or work in one.
You like the sun on the water, too; the canal basin happy under a silver sheen. You find an empty bench to sit on and look out over the dock.
The water asks nothing of you.
You sip your coffee; watch seagulls squabble over a piece of bread. In the distance, five orange kayaks are tied to a pontoon. You think it might be fun to paddle around the dock, take the kayak under the bridge and into the marina. You could pull up to the barges; examine their painted hulls and polished windows.
You picture yourself climbing aboard a barge, untying the ropes and pulling out onto the canal. How long would it take you to reach the Shannon? You can’t imagine a more lovely or less likely escape.
You smile at the thought, finish your coffee and turn back to the city.
Grand Canal Square is located at the west end of Grand Canal Dock, on the south side of the River Liffey. Opened in 2007, the development includes shops, restaurants and offices, as well as a 2000-seat theatre by Daniel Libeskind and a hotel by Manual Aires Matues.
American landscape architect Martha Schwartz designed the joyful light sticks and the ‘red carpet’ paving. A ‘green carpet’ of planters filled with willowy vegetation provides seating.
The Square’s character changes from daytime to evening and from weekdays to weekends. It’s a perfect spot for people watching.