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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 24 October, 2014

Blackrock Baths to be demolished due to safety concerns

What are your memories of Blackrock Baths before they closed?

STRUCTURES AT BLACKROCK Baths have become so unsafe that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has moved to demolish them.

It said this week that it is to tackle “serious public safety issues” associated with the structures and diving platform at Blackrock. The baths were built in 1839, beside Blackrock train station.

At one time, you could buy a special train ticket that also gave you admission to the baths.

The baths were closed in 1997. Abandoned Ireland has a wonderful image of diver Eddie Heron in action at the Blackrock Baths. He went on to represent Ireland at the 1948 Olympic Games.

Inspection

Following a recent inspection by senior council staff, it emerged that the structures “have suffered from extensive weather damage and from the ravages of the sea”, making them and the adjoining land dangerous to the public.

The concrete has been seriously affected by the wind and waves, while the pool structure is beyond repair. The seating and changing block is in danger of collapse.

The council also said that the guard rails to the upper seating area “have rusted away and the steps are exposed”, while the diving platform is seriously corroded and detached from the pool base.

Graffiti

During the inspection, the council noted extensive graffiti and rubbish in the building, “which suggested it is subject to regular unauthorised access”. It confirmed that it is not feasible to secure the site to prevent unauthorised access.

The council asked its constructing structural and civil engineers to carry out a more detailed inspection of the Baths, and following the consultant’s report, county architect Andree Dargan has determined that the structures on the site are ‘dangerous structures’ and that “measures must be taken to remove the danger that exists”.

Demolition

The council is now arranging the necessary demolition work, including the removal of the diving platform. But it said that the elements of the structures and pool/sea wall that are not considered to be dangerous will be retained.

The council is conscious of the special designations that attach to the area between the baths and Merrion Gates, which will have to be crossed to access the site and remove debris. Without prejudice to the Council’s legal obligations and powers under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964 (as amended), environmental consultants have been engaged to advise the Council regarding any potential environmental issues and to liase with other statutory agencies.

Security have been installed on the site pending the demolition work.

County Manager Owen Keegan said of the site’s future:

As part of the preparation of the Blackrock Local Area Plan, outline proposals are being prepared to make improvements to the seafront, including access at this location, having due regard to Specific Local Objective 9 (Map 2) in the County Development Plan. Subject to consultation with the site owners, consideration will be given to what can be done with the remainder of the baths structure and a report will be brought to councillors in due course.

A gallery of photographs of the baths is available on the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s website.

Did you go to Blackrock Baths before it closed? What are your memories of the place?

Read: Irish bathing water quality improved in 2011>

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