There is the Grand Canal portrayed from dozens of angles and panoramic points, first by the great 18th-century Venetian landscape painters such as Canaletto or Francesco Guardi, then by professional photographers or not, and finally from any smartphone you are wandering around Venice.

Then there is the Emerald Isle, with its legends and myths, its little people among leprechauns, fairies, goblins and elves, also known for a green clover as a symbol and - ok - Guinness. Here, in this green land, there is also a Grand Canal.

Its history begins in 1715, when the need is expressed to create a 132 km long water connection between Dublin and the River Shannon, which, however, will not mature until 1757. A slow and tiring beginning, which finds a greater impulse a decade later when a huge amount of money is poured into the project. But that's not enough, the works are still proceeding slowly. 

Light installation in the Grand Canal Square (Savkin Ignat, Twenty20)

It will only be at the gates of one of the most intense periods of construction in Dublin's history, in 1772, when the newly founded Grand Canal Company - by a group of nobles and merchants -, assisted by public subsidies, will complete the project, through Allen's swamp. A few decades later, in muddy areas full of ducks, the Grand Canal Company commissions the creation of a large harbor to allow boats to transit from the Grand Canal to the River Liffey and to Dublin's port, the Grand Canal Docks. Most of the workers assigned to its construction are local fishermen.

At 11 o'clock on 23 April 1796 there is the inauguration, with the entry of personalities and boats, to the salute of the artillery positioned along Hanover Quay.

After centuries of purely port use, with very few houses present and many service structures, today the Grand Canal Docks is undergoing a lively redevelopment, with noteworthy projects and architecture, which are transforming this place into an increasingly interesting attraction, as well as a reference place for the local population. 

Convention Center in Dublin's Docklands, opened in September 2020 (Steve Allen, Twenty20)

The Irish Grand Canal still continues to flow water over its 132 kilometers, starting from the Grand Canal Docks and winding between green banks and stone bridges, between wider stretches and narrower passages, offering places of authentic serenity for the eyes and for the soul.

The Docks, on the other hand, offer modern structures and architectures with slender shapes, in a mixture of metal and glass structures, seasoned with modern installations that adorn the landscape even at night, such as the Grand Canal Square, designed and built by the Martha Schwartz Landscape Architects and John McLaughlin Architects, and the Grand Canal Square Theater—a 2,000—seat theater built by Daniel Libenskind. Not far away is the EPIC, a museum with a strong digital character, dedicated to the 10 million men and women who have emigrated to the world, and their impact on the latter. 

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