Dublin City Bird Market


As a small boy I remember my dad bringing us to the Bird Market in Dublin City on a Sunday morning.  Back in those days in the 1960’s you could buy wild songbirds that people trapped in the countryside.  I remember seeing Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Bullfinches and Linnets amongst the Budgies and Canaries.  I don’t know if they still do that, and I hope not.  The wild birds are under too much pressure as it is.

But the market is still there.  A quick scan of the Internet tells me it still convenes on Sunday Mornings in Peter Street, near St Patrick’s Cathedral.

We used to have birds as pets.  I believe we had a linnet once but I don’t remember it.  I do remember a budgie.  My enduring memory is of its rigid dead corpse lying in the bottom of the cage.  Beautiful plumage.

So to a poem and since today is the birthday of Walter De La Mare let’s have a Linnet from him.  The Linnet is a finch who gets his name for his penchant for Flax seeds.  Flax plants are the key ingredient in linen, hence the Linen Finch, or Linnet.  One of the seven subspecies of Linnet was registered by the Scottish ornithologist Philip Alexander Clancey, probably a relative of my dad.

The Linnet; by Walter De La Mare

Upon this leafy bush
with thorns and roses in it,
flutters a thing of light,
A twittering linnet.
And all the throbbing world
of dew and sun and air
by this small parcel of life
is made more fair;
as if each bramble-spray
and mounded gold-wreathed furze,
harebell and little thyme,
were only hers;
as if this beauty and grace
did to one bird belong,
and, at a flutter of wing,
might vanish in song.