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Image of the saltwater pool in Clontarf in Dublin. Clontarf Outdoor Pool Ltd.
Swimming

Clontarf's landmark saltwater swimming pool will remain open despite restaurant closure

The pool’s operator will not be impacted while the restaurant changes management.

THE OUTDOOR SEAWATER pool in Clontarf on Dublin’s northside will be unaffected by the sudden closure of The Baths restaurant, which were built and opened together in 2019.

Local councillors confirmed to The Journal that the pool will not be impacted after the restaurant closed in recent days and will reopen with new management.

The Baths restaurant, located on the Clontarf Road, provides access to the pool which is operated by Clontarf Outdoor Pool Ltd and the Clontarf Swimming Club. 

The outdoor baths were closed for more than 20 years when publican and hotelier David Cullen’s family purchased the site in mid-1990s, with plans to redevelop the baths and build the restaurant.

It remains one of the only seawater pools in Dublin.

The restaurant is understood to have been sold to a large national hospitality group,  which also own hotels and restaurants in Dublin and Belfast. 

Currently, the Clontarf pool is closed to the public due to the cold weather and risk of cold water shock, but events for club members and strong, experienced swimmers are still ongoing.

Green Party councillor Donna Cooney and Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Heney both confirmed to The Journal that the baths will remain unaffected by the closure of the restaurant. 

The Journal has contacted Clontarf Outdoor Pool Ltd for comment.

The baths have been operated by Clontarf Outdoor Pool Ltd since the operator acquired insurance for their use in August 2022, according to Cooney.

Previously, the swimming club, the Cullen family – which runs the company behind the restaurant – and other Clontarf baths companies have operated the swimming pool, which is open for public use during the summer months. 

Dublin City Council has previously made offers to purchase the site, which have been declined. The site has never been operated or owned by the local authority, according to Cooney.

Therefore, the location has remained in the control of the swimming club, one family, or various club-affiliated operators since the early 1890s.

Works and grants were provided by Dublin City Council in the early-to-mid 2010s to refurbish the baths but the operation did not get up and running until insurance was set up, through its current operators in 2022.

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