‘Howth in Sight’ a self portrait by William Orpen traveling back to Ireland on the Mail Boat.

Sketch from Orpen’s book – ‘Stories of Old Ireland and Myself’ – (Chapter 1 page 2).

“Crossing from Holyhead to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), there is always a thrill for an Irishman when he catches sight of St Patrick’s Isle; but sometimes only one of relief, for instance, when passing the Kish Lighthship in a howling gale and he sees the blurred lines of the mountains in the grey dawn. Another time, dawn over Dublin Bay is a wonderful sight. One wishes to stop the boat and watch this splendour, changing from one beauty to another, the sun touching the hilltops, its rays coming lower and lower, till the spire of Kingstown Church itself is caught by the glory of it. Or arriving in the afternoon with the sun behind the hills, that long irregular line from Bray Head to Hell Fire Club, the bay a mass of sparkling diamonds and on the right Dublin steeped in a haze of purple mist. One could travel to many corners of the world before finding such pure beauty”.


Post by Dominic Lee.