Status: Substantially completed 2nd December 2022
The Baths project was approved at a Meeting of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in October 2015 and following the appointment of consultants and the completion of design development and tender action, SIAC Construction Ltd. / Ing.E Mantovani Joint Venture was appointed to undertake the construction of the works in April 2018. The project was financed by the Council with Grant funding of €1.1m for the Project being made available from the European Regional Development Fund’s S&E Regional Programme 2014-20 “Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme” which is managed by the Southern Regional Assembly.
A Phased Project
Due to the complexity of the overall project, it was divided into two phases, with the upgrading of the walkways included in the second phase. Dividing the project into phases allows some of the facilities to be opened to the public as they are completed, rather than waiting for the entire project to be completed. These include the Changing Places bathroom, Artists’ Studios and the Café.
The Core Project Delivered
The first phase of the Dún Laoghaire Baths project was formally opened on 13th December 2022. The approved plan for the Baths project includes the area that is now open, and also includes the upgrading of walkways from this site towards the existing East Pier in Dún Laoghaire. The site that is now open consists of facilities at street level, at mid-level and at lower level, an amphitheatre and a pier.
To date significant numbers of people can be observed enjoying the facility. This includes promenading, taking in the views from the Jetty and enjoying the new Casement Memorial Statue. Swimmers and swimming groups have begun using the beach and steps to access the water and it is expected that numbers will continue to grow as the summer approaches. Swimmers have two points of entering the water. The first is off the stairs leading down from the jetty and the second is from the lower plaza area where there are steps with handrails that lead to a tidal beach area. Both points of entry permit access at low tide. This arrangement also facilitates canoes and stand-up paddleboards to alight at the Baths. The area has been risk assessed by Water Safety Ireland and the placement of signage and lifebuoys complies with their recommendations
The refurbished building on the site will open in the short term. This will provide for additional facilities for people with disabilities, including a lift to provide for easy access between the upper and the mid-level of the site, a wheelchair accessible toilet and also a ‘Changing Places’ bathroom for people with further additional needs.
The 'follow on' Part 8 ramp works
The Design team are currently developing and tendering the 2015 Part 8 approved accessible ramp link between mid and lower levels that were allocated to be undertaken as a follow-on project in 2018 (phase 2). It is envisaged that construction will commence mid August and be complete by Spring 2024.
Café Tender and Artist Studios
An open tender for the Café generated significant interest, tenders have been evaluated and Container Café T/A Happy Out Café, a social enterprise, has won the tender.The café opened to the public on 26th July. The Artists’ Studios are now occupied.
Future Projects at the Baths
Provision of an open-air seawater pool at the Baths and accessibility works to the East Pier - It has now been decided to bring forward a Part 8 for an open-air seawater pool that will provide a sheltered non tidal swimming area. A pool will require a full Part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended). A Part 8 will require at a minimum internal reporting, AA and EIAR screening and the development of a full set of drawings. In this Part 8 it is also proposed to undertake further accessibility works to the East Pier linking to the existing approved 2015 Part 8. As part of a new Part 8 it is also proposed to bring forward the refurbishment of the existing public toilets on the East Pier.