Ballsbridge Tower Crane, Dublin – November 2014

Nothing spectacular to see here, just a quick dash up what was the tallest tower crane in Ireland at the time (however, that’s not saying much considering Ireland’s aversion to any sort of skyscraper). This crane was set up on the site of the “Number One” development in Ballsbridge, a nine storey building with the crane topping out at approximately 13-14 storeys.

I found myself wandering the streets surrounding the development in the early hours of a chilly, November morning. Being a weekend, there was still an unfortunate amount of activity in the streets, people stumbling home drunk from clubs and taxis ferrying similarly drunk individuals back home. With so much activity, there was little I could do but wait.

I listened to music to pass the time, wandering the streets in an attempt to look as inconspicuous as possible – quite an ask considering the dark clothes I was wearing and the fact I was pacing the quiet streets of an office district in the early hours of the morning!

Ballsbridge Crane (7)

Close to 3am, the traffic finally quietened down and I readied myself to vault the hoarding into the building site. My hour of pacing back and forth around the site had allowed me to spot the one blind spot in the building’s security. With the site surrounded by 8 foot hoarding, and the perimeter covered by security cameras monitoring the top of this hoarding, it took a while to find the one spot that wasn’t being covered by a camera – just a metre, but that was all I needed.

I waited until a gap in traffic appeared and ran full speed across the road directly towards the blind spot. With no footholds on the hoarding I had no choice but to sprint towards it, kick off and stretch my hands out, grabbing the tip of the eight foot board with my fingertips. I hauled the rest of my body up and over the hoarding, careful to ensure I remained in the security cameras’ blind spot the entire time. Once over, I dropped silently down the far side and into the building site. Crouching in the shadows, I waited in silence, savoring the tension that always builds as you wait for any sound from security to signal if you were seen or not.

There was nothing, just silence and the hum of the spotlights which proliferated the building site. I cautiously ventured away from the perimeter, tip-toeing around debris and into the shell of the half constructed building. I climbed the stairs in here to the first floor where I used my perch to survey the base of the crane from above. The security hut was out of sight and there were no patrols taking place. Perfect!

I crept back down the stairs to ground level and picked my way across the building site, dashing from one shadow to the next as I silently worked my way to the base of the crane. One last dash across some open ground and I arrived at the base, clambering up the concrete surrounding the first level and jumping directly onto the second level ladder. All I had to do now was climb.

The climb to the top was nice and easy, and I was soon enjoying one of the higher views in Dublin stretching out over the southern suburbs of this vast city.

Dublin Crane

Ballsbridge Crane (1)

After a few photos of the city, which included the American embassy across the road (sorry lads!) I decided to have a quick sit down in the crane’s cabin before the more exciting part of the night began.

Ballsbridge Crane (5)

Ballsbridge Crane (3)

Ballsbridge Crane (4)

I had noticed that unlike the jibs of most tower cranes (which have a dangerous narrow walkway along the edge that you must walk along while balancing yourself on the framework of the jib), this one actually had a wider walkway through the centre. This made reaching the end of the jib an actual prospect for me, someone who is a bit careful about messing around at height.

So, I set off along the jib, carefully avoiding the winching wire as I crouched my way for over thirty metres out into the Dublin skyline. Along the way was the occasional gap in the walkway but compared to most jib walks, this was as easy as it got. Right at the end of the jib, I sat down and took out the camera for a few more photos, watching the traffic pass beneath me.

Out here at this end point, the crane swayed worryingly in the wind, bouncing up and down. This feeling of exposure and the views in front and below me were quite special though and I enjoyed my time out here.

Ballsbridge Crane (6)

The Long Walk Back

Ballsbridge Crane (2)

With my photos taken and the views savoured, there was nothing else to do but descend back down the crane, sneak through the shadows of the building site again and vault the hoarding back out onto the street. Yet another great night out in Dublin!

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