It snowed properly for the first time this year in Dublin on the first of March. Very unexpected.

Despite my fatigue recovering from my illness I went for a walk. I grew up in a place where it always snows in the winter, and where the snow normally stays between snowfalls and the ground gets covered in an increasingly high and increasingly subdued reflection of the lay of the land underneath. Even when it was a frequent occurrence I loved to walk in the snow. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a brilliant thinker and writer and generally not great poet, wrote a short poem, one of his better ones, about a snow storm in New England that does convey what I experienced as I grew up and what I yearn for now. I ache for the “tumultuous privacy of storm”. So I was overjoyed this day, even if this snowfall would not even be of note where I grew up. As much I like being here, I do not like being away from the snow.

I heard cearca uisce squawking and honking and was glad I caught their sounds here (you’ll hear them right at the start). You’ll hear drops of water fall from Emmet Bridge above and land on the path near the recorder. One even lands on the recorder. You’ll hear some light plops in the canal. The falling snow was heavy and wet, and the recorder didn’t capture as many crackles as I had hoped. You’ll hear the traffic (again, and not for the last time in these field recordings).

Can you hear the snow? Can you hear it falling? Can you hear not it, but everything else beneath and behind and through it? Falling snow changes the sound of the world, so does fallen snow. Even the city. Does the traffic din seem softer? Are the echoes a little clearer?

Can you hear An Chanáil Mhór a few feet away as it grows? And further, the decay of a horn’s report?

I stood there freezing below the bridge and staring at the water and thinking of Andy Partridge’s song River of Orchids from one of the final XTC albums where he dreams of replacing roads with rivers of flowers.

What would you hear now then?



The grand canal, snow flakes visible as specks against the dark of the water. Some snow on the ground along either bank.

Figure 1: Snowing at the grand canal.

The recorder, on a little tripod, set on the concrete path below a bridge and pointing towards the water.

Figure 2: The recorder.


Emmet Bridge
<2024-03-01 Fri>
Sony PCM-M10
Built-in mics on the recorder
2, Stereo
Other notes
Light high pass filtering.