Dún Laoghaire Baths will be welcomed back by the people of the town. Elected members, local businesses and community representatives will join Councillor Mary Hanafin, An Cathaoirleach and Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, at an official ceremony to celebrate the re-opening of the well-known public facility.
Councillor Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said, “the re-opening of the Dún Laoghaire Baths is a significant milestone for the Council and the people of the town. This well-known landmark has been an important part of the history and heritage of families all over the County. Once again, we can welcome visitors to this popular bathing area. This beautiful restoration will facilitate swimming, water sports, and a great concert area.”
The works included the refurbishment of the baths pavilion, the construction of a new 35m jetty with built in seating, the installation of the Roger Casement statue, a simple changing shelter, the refurbished Edwardian gazebo in the beach garden and a new walkway from Newtownsmith.
The former pavilion building has also been substantially refurbished to provide studio space for artists, as well as a gallery and a café with a spectacular view of Scotsman’s Bay. The café will have a terrace outside which will link across to the People’s Park as well as down to the sea. The pavilion building and café will open in the New Year. There are also toilet facilities, including a “changing places” bathroom, which is for people with additional needs.
Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said, “the project was guided by our policy of improving public realm for our communities and linking the sea front with the town centre. It complements and is linked to the People’s Park, the Lexicon library and The Metals. We look forward to welcoming local residents and visitors to the newly restored landmark. Once again, the iconic Dún Laoghaire Baths is back at the heart of it all, in this unique location.”
The finished results are the culmination of 12 years work at the site. The work has encompassed different phases – the design phase, the preparation of tender drawings and construction phase, which took five years to complete. Significant structural work was required to underpin and stabilise the main building when extensions were removed and to restore walls along the embankment at Queens Road. Additional challenges included the rocky coastline and proximity to the sea.
Speaking at the opening, Andrée Dargan, County Architect, said, “with access to outdoor public spaces taking on a whole new significance in our lives in recent years, I am delighted that this breath-taking space is now accessible. This milestone is another step in the incremental implementation of our overall vision for the town as set out in our urban framework plan, and as recognised by the recent award of Dún Laoghaire as the Great Town 2022 by the Academy of Urbanism.”
There are plans for a new walkway between Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier and the Dún Laoghaire Baths in 2023. The original plans did not include a swimming pool, but a future phase of development on the site can include an open seawater pool, subject to approval. During the construction, a rectangular concrete void was left below the surface of the amphitheatre area, with a concrete “lid” covering it, allowing for the inclusion of a tidal pool.
The project was mainly funded by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council with a contribution by the European Regional Development Fund. Final costs are estimated to be in the region of €18 million. There was an increase in the cost due to the significant structural work required to underpin and stabilise the main building and to restore walls along the embankment at Queens Road as well as the construction of the jetty.