Recently I revisited the Pigeon House Power Station with another two Irish explorers. On my last visit I was caught for time so I wasn’t able to explore the station to it’s full extent. This time however we had all the time in the world and ended up spending over 6 hours exploring the building, getting right down into the bowels of the station which we had missed last time. I’ve already explained the history and layout of the building in my last post about this location so there’s not much else to do except to throw up a selection of the photos from the day.
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of my time researching the tunnels underneath Dublin. Between old mines, wells, underground rivers and sewer systems there is supposed to be quite a bit of interest under the city and it’s suburbs. One of the more interesting tunnels I’ve come across so far in my research is “The Clone”, a tunnel containing a diverted river running underground for nearly a mile in length. Compared to the drains in the UK or to some in the city centre of Dublin this drain isn’t hugely interesting but I hope you enjoy the below photos nonetheless. All going well there’s much more to come from underneath Dublin!
This mine is the only remnant of an ancient dig for minerals which started back in the late 1700s. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I couldn’t dig up too much information on how large the mine workings were. Arriving at the mine it was obvious why so few photos of it exist online. The entrance into the main part of the mine was extremely small and narrow and I imagine wouldn’t look too enticing to most people. The only way through this entrance was to lie flat on my stomach and pull myself along the muddy floor using my arms, all the time while pushing my backpack ahead of me. Luckily this section didn’t go on for very long and soon the mine opened out and I was able to stand up.
The Entrance Passageway
The Mine opening up
With the mine opening up to walking height I continued on. I was surprised to come across a wooden bridge above my head not far into the mine and also find rope leading up to some of the higher passages. Soon enough I came upon a flooded section but it seemed someone had made a bridge out of a net and hung it from the ceiling meaning this section could be easily gotten over. Continuing on through another dry passage I could see water further ahead. The mysterious group of people who had set up the net, built the rope bridge and set up the ropes to the higher passages had also dragged a series of long planks into this section and built a walkway bridging across this flooded section. I treaded carefully across the series of planks until I reached another dry section of passage. The water was only knee to waist deep I reckon so it wasn’t too dangerous! Continuing on another few metres I finally reached a dead end.
The net bridge
The start of the series of planks leading to the furthest point of the mine
With the furthest point reached I doubled back. Along the main passage back there were a couple of side passages leading away from the main one. These were interesting but pretty short compared to the main passage. One side chamber had two entrances leading into it, one of them being across the really nicely constructed bridge I had passed earlier. Whoever had set up all the different bridges and ropes in here had put quite an amount of effort into it and it had really paid off.
Back near the entrance there was one last tunnel to explore. This one was high up in the wall and involved climbing up the side of the wall using a very handy rope while holding the torch in my mouth so I could see where my feet were going! Up at the top there was a small chamber with a tiny tunnel leading off it. This one was even smaller than the entrance passageway and was tricky enough to even get into. I struggled through the passage on my stomach and disappointingly it ended nearly straight away in a small chamber. I had to back my way out again before navigating down the rope to the main passage again. With the mine fully explored I made my way back onto my stomach yet again and pulled myself back out of the entrance tunnel and into daylight.
The mine ended up being a good bit larger than I expected but all in all (if you weren’t taking photos) it would probably only take 10 minutes to explore the entirety of it. Despite this it was still a great explore. I’m going to leave the location out of this one as it’s really rare to see somewhere this cool entirely open. Whoever put all the props in place went to a lot of effort to set them up so I’d feel to blame if some pencil pusher came across this page and decided that the mine needed to be blocked off. The fact that this place is open to anyone in this day and age, just like it has been for over 100 years is something quite nice I think.
The flexy wooden bridge
The large side chamber
The rope leading up to the last chamber
A quick little climb up to the rooftop of a church in the Dublin suburbs. The road by this one was quite busy so I had to wait for just the right moment to make my move! With a bit of speed climbing I was up on top with a nice view ahead of me out over Dublin bay. There wasn’t too much to see up here apart from the view but I hung around to take a good few shots. After an hour or so relaxing up here I sped back down the ladders and out of there.
The Pigeon House power station is one of the iconic landmarks of Dublin. It was built on the turn of the 20th century and began operation in 1903. The coal fired power station continued to run for the next 73 years and was finally decommissioned in 1976. The power station which replaced it is now sprawled out on a vast site next to it. The old coal fired power station was built on land next to the old Pigeon House (the large grey building in the bottom right of the below satellite photo) which is how the area got it’s name. There is some history on this building located on the following page: http://dublincitypubliclibraries.com/dublin-buildings/pigeon-house Alongside the power station there are also some small remains of the old Pigeon House Barracks which were used to defend the port in times past.
My main interest here however was the now long abandoned power station. The building ended up being quite difficult to gain access to but it was well worth the effort. The site is huge and takes quite a while to cover. The large turbine hall has a large amount of rooms shooting off it, a lot of them containing some of the original machinery. The most interesting thing here though it the control room located high up in the power station. The main control panel here spans the length of the room. This is surely the only example of this in Ireland.
All in all this site took quite a while to cover with plenty of interest to see. It’s taken me a while to get around to getting in here but the wait was definitely worth it as this has to be one of the best abandoned sites in the country.
“Richmond Asylum is located in Grangegorman in the north inner city, just over 1km from the city centre. It has a long history in serving the people of Dublin since the establishment of the Houses of Industry for the poor in the 1770’s. In 1810 the Governors of the House decided to build a separate institution to house mentally ill patients. The Richmond Asylum was opened to patients in 1814 and was designed by Francis Johnston, the foremost architect of the day. This building, now known as the Lower House, was built as a large quadrangle but only its southern range remains standing today.” (History taken from http://www.ggda.ie)
Interestingly, this building was also used as the GPO in the set of the popular film “Michael Collins”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebfotos/2768175437/in/set-72157607800122155/
Today, this last remaining block of the asylum is in a fairly bad condition. Fires have gutted some of the rooms on the ground floor and some serious decay means that the upper floors are very unstable and most are just about ready to collapse. Luckily the basement is still in quite a good condition, maintaining a few interesting pieces including the old latrines, which were basically holes sawed out of a long wooden bench! Several other interesting features survive around the building despite all the damage which has been caused by the fires and the natural decay, making this a pretty interesting explore.