Visitors to Dublin who want to get away from the bustle of the city and breathe in some fresh sea air should make the short trip out to Dun Laoghaire. Only 20 minutes away from the city centre by train Dun Laoghaire is a coastal town with a wonderful mix of Victorian and Irish charm.
In Place of the Pavilion
Dun Laoghaire has seen a number of changes in recent years, most notably at the site of the old pavilion. The pavilion was a beautiful building surrounded by gardens built at the end of the 1800’s. The building was destroyed by fire in the early 20th century. In its place now stand a stylish complex of modern buildings. These include the Pavilion Theatre named for the Dun Laoghaire pavilion that once stood at the site. Regular performances here draw in crowds from all over Dublin.
Next door is the Forty Foot bar which is named after the Victorian swimming pool which sits in the water just south of Dun Laoghaire harbor. There are still a number of brave souls who swim there year round. A tradition amongst Dubliners involves travelling out to Dun Laoghaire on Christmas Morning to swim in the brisk waters that flood the pool. An invigorating experience if ever there was one.
A row of restaurants and cafés beneath the Forty Foot bar provide outdoor seating. It’s a great place to soak up the summer sun while watching the activity of Dun Laoghaire harbor just across the road.
A Pier View
The harbor is bounded by two extraordinary man made piers made from a silvery granite that gleams in the sun. The piers were built in the Victorian period with stone quarried from the nearby Dalkey Quarry and dragged to Dun Laoghaire by horse and rail. The Pier is a popular place to take walks as the far end of the pier is over a kilometer from the shore and provides stunning panoramas of Dublin Bay.
Along Dun Laoghaire Pier a Victorian bandstand often hosts jazz and other brass bands particularly during the summer. Numerous festivals of food and culture are also held along the pier all year round. The Victorian “People’s Park” also hosts a food market every Sunday.