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Food News

27th Feb 2018

PICS: Coddle Pizzas, Seaweed Cocktails, 99s And Freezing Water – The Clontarf Baths Are Back


The iconic Clontarf Baths have been closed since 1996, but are finally set to reopen after a €2 million make-over. 

As well as an impressive seawater pool, there’s a swanky new bar, restaurant and large terrace with stunning ocean views. 

At first, use of the pool will only be available to swimming and water polo clubs, and they’ll have to provide their own insurance and lifeguard cover. 

But the rest of the facilities are accessible to everyone and almost ready to go – so we popped over for a sneak peek ahead of the soft opening on Thursday.

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The first thing you notice about the decor is how fun it is. 

Lights that look like beach balls hang from the mirrored ceiling, and the couches are made from bath tubs by Italian designers Devon & Devon. 

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Ropes tied with classic sailing knots cordon off a cosy separate dining section, and orange parasols provide unnecessary indoor shade (but damn, they look good).  

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A beautiful mosaic made from Instagram pictures decorates one of the walls – if you’ve used the hashtags #clontarf or #sandymountstrand, your photos might well feature!

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In keeping with the nautical theme, the bathrooms are designed to look like changing rooms at a beach. 

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It’s a reminder of simpler times, of childhood holidays where your mam forced you to wear sunscreen as you scampered about collecting shells. 

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The menu, too, takes inspiration from the sea, but it’s not all crabs and chowder. 

You’ll also find rotisserie chickens, steaks, plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes – and experimental dishes like coddle pizza. 

“The coddle pizza is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” said head chef Craig Higgins. 

“It took a bit of work but we finally figured it out – we’re using an onion base, organic smoked pork belly, Guinness sausages and mashed potatoes, with a honey and mustard glaze.”

Many of the ingredients are sourced from local producers – cured meats will come from Fingal Ferguson, smoked salmon from Terry Butterly, vegetables from North County Dublin and meat from Lambay Island. 

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Drinks-wise, there’s a selection of unique cocktails, including a seaweed-infused creation. 

Owner David Cullen’s aim is to make sure the baths have “something for everyone”. 

“I didn’t want it to be just a seafood restaurant, or a cocktail bar,” he said. 

“It’s the kind of place you’d come with your family for dinner, or you could come on a date for wine, cocktails and so on.”

They also have plans for a playground, a dog-friendly terrace and a soft-serve machine (99s all round!). 

You can really see what a great amenity it will be when the weather gets warmer – especially if they open the baths to everyone. 

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“We are hoping to open it to the public but it’s an outdoor swimming pool, the water isn’t heated and the sea is freezing at this time of year,” said David. 

“There wouldn’t be much of an appetite for running a public service in this weather – so it would have to be in the summer.

“It’s been a long time since there were Baths in Ireland and everything has changed since then. 

“There’s no real blueprint for this – we’ll just have to wait and see.”

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