I notice from the website of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company website there will be 22 of these ships expected this year, bringing up to 100,000 passengers and crew to the town.
I hope this can continue with Dún Laoghaire becoming the “port of choice” for the more modestly sized ships into the future.
It makes eminent sense to develop the town as a thriving suburb of Dublin with all the advantages of its maritime location (outdoor activities both on and off the sea) combined with small town friendliness and community spirit. Dún Laoghaire is a very special place.
However, I object to the harbour company’s proposal to radically change both the structure of the harbour and its use in order to accommodate super-sized cruise ships (as outlined in its public consultation document).
Dún Laoghaire harbour wasn’t built for super-sized cruise ships. Placing a 430m quay in the centre of the harbour to accommodate these enormous ships (towering ships which will extend well beyond the quay when berthed), in my opinion, will destroy its natural open shape.
The granite piers, built almost 200 years ago, are, without a doubt, the most beautiful part of the built environment in the town. They create a safe harbour for a thriving sailing community that would be seriously compromised by a new dock splitting and dominating the harbour.
But, more importantly, the hundreds, if not thousands, who walk the piers every day to enjoy the quiet open and uninterrupted majesty of this Victorian harbour will have suffered a terrible loss.
I propose that Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council choose instead to put their energy into ensuring that Dún Laoghaire becomes one of the top ten tourist attractions for all visitors to Dublin, no matter how they arrived — on a plane, a train, a car, a boat or a bicycle.
Keep it as a working town primarily, but a most welcoming one to visitors, with its unique maritime activities on offer and the flagship new library and stunning view of the pier.
I propose that Dún Laoghaire offers an improved tendering service to these larger cruise ships with a facility for boat excursions along the coast (Dalkey island, Forty Foo, etc) followed by visits to the town — all arranged by picking up the passengers from the liners out in Dublin Bay.
I propose that we develop Dún Laoghaire with sensitivity and imagination to make it one of the most beautiful ports in the world.