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14th Dec 2022

Dún Laoghaire Baths open officially – and we can’t help but notice there’s no bath

Fiona Frawley

aerial shot of the new dun laoghaire baths

12 years of work, 17 years of campaigning and €18m later, the new and improved Dún Laoghaire Baths opened officially yesterday.

There’s been great excitement around the expansive studio space for artists and the new 35 metre long jetty, but it’s hard to ignore the glaringly obvious.

The new Dún Laoghaire Baths… don’t have a bath.

While lovely, I don’t think the new addition to Dún Laoghaire’s seafront is quite what we thought it’d be. Old photos of the Baths in their heyday show the potential that lies within – delighted Dubliners swanning around with their cute bobs and cloche swim caps in the ’20s, the beloved Rainbow Rapids that were added in the 1980s with plastic slides leading to a heated plunge pool, the simple pleasure of a slightly warmer swim temperature than the bitterly cold Irish Sea which crashed up against the Baths’ concrete enclosure.

While no one was expecting a return of 300ft long tube slides or spa treatments, I’m sure most of us hoped that the new and improved Baths would have included an actual bath.

According to the Council, the original plans for the Baths did not include a swimming pool, but they’ve said that a future phase of development on the site could 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. Will 2023 see the void be filled? It’s all to play for. In the meantime, a leap off the jetty into the sub-freezing sea awaits.

Header image via

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