Monday, May 21, 2012
I recently went out to Killiney and walked over the hill from there to Dalkey. This is probably the most definitively rich part of town, where the wealthy live behind high walls and gates with intercoms. Many of the streets and houses have Italianate names that evoke the Bay of Naples or the hills above Sorrento. I used to find this a somewhat laughable affectation, but now having been to that part of the world I can see why one place would remind of the other. On a sunny, day as you climb the winding but leafy paths of Killiney you could easily imagine that you were in the hills above Sorrento – except that there are more mansions and less olive groves around you.
One other thing you do not see above Sorrento is loads of U2-related graffiti, the sighting of which suggested that I was near Bongo's Killiney home. I did not pay him a visit.
There is a park on top of the hill between Killiney and Dalkey on which a number of interesting items are to be seen. The most famous is probably the Obelisk, a mysterious item that was apparently built in the 18th century by whatever nobleman owned the hill back then. It is probably no more than a decorative folly, but it is easy to imagine it being part of some sinister cult's activities; I seem to recall that it makes an appearance in the book that reveals Dublin's Occult Grid, but then so does every other structure of note in the city and county. I have heard rumours that on certain nights people gather at the Obelisk to worship Satan, but it sounds a bit unlikely. I would imagine that devil-worshippers would prefer somewhere a bit more secluded. I suspect that more typical night-time visitors to the Obelisk and its environs are worshippers of some kind of cheap and nasty god of cider drinkers.
Near and slightly below the Obelisk there is a little pyramid. It has steps running up and looks more like a very small version of those Aztec Pyramids than the Egyptian pyramids that more typically appeal to the Masonic types who build obelisks. I do not know what it was for, if anything. You could just about imagine a priest to some thirsty deity ripping out the still-beating heart of a sacrificial victim at its apex, but only if both priest and victim were not very big and had a superb sense of balance (even after death in the case of the victim).
And beside the pyramid is a second obelisk, the much smaller one known as The Witch's Hat. It is now hidden by trees from the big obelisk, but would be very visible on the seaward side.
Beyond that on towards Dalkey, the hill also boasts an aircraft safety aid (possibly to prevent aircraft flying into the hill during poor visibility) and what was once telegraph station and now seems to be abandoned but nevertheless bristles with mysterious aerials.
An inuit panda production