Public toilets in Dublin remain an illoosion

Dublin city operates very few public toilets, none in the city centre with those to be found mostly in parks.  

When the only women’s public toilet on Burgh Quay, near O’Connell Bridge, in Dublin was closed in 1919, the then press saw it as an act of “malignant stupidity”. Today, tourists visiting Dublin may find it a bit difficult to find a public toilet as well. They will find none in the city centre. The last serviced public convenience was closed years ago. 

“The City Council currently provides automated public conveniences at both Sandymount Strand and Clontarf in the South East and North Central Areas respectively,” the Dublin City Council said.   

Dozens of public toilets became a place of drug use and other forms of anti-social behavior, and the city thus decided to close them. And while not in Dublin, a  woman has recently been sexually assaulted in a Belfast public toilet.  

The Dublin City Council said it provides temporary facilities at big events within Dublin, such as sporting events at Aviva Stadiums and Croke Park. Similar facilities are a requirement for organisers holding events in the capital. 

Public toilets in parks  

Visitors to Dublin can use toilets in shopping malls and may try to use toilets in pubs on a busy night when a risk of being spotted as they sneak into a bar just for a toilet use is low. Or they can get a drink for themselves and use a toilet without stress.

“Each publican is an independent business and decides his or her own policy in this matter, however, we understand that generally toilet facilities are for customer use,” Sandra Smyth of Licensed Vintners Association Dublin told Babylon Radio.     

Additionally, Dublin’s parks department provides public toilets in several parks around the city:

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          St Anne’s Park (North Central Area)

          St Patrick’s Park (South Central Area)

          Herbert Park (South East Area)

          Harold’s Cross Park (South East Area)

          Bushy Park (South East Area)
[divider style=’full’] 

There are also public toilets provided where tearooms/cafes are located within Dublin parks. The public may also use public toilets in public buildings and transport hubs.

New public toilets under consideration

The Dublin City Council approved €200,000 on new public toilets in late 2018 but failed to spend the amount a year later. However, the City Council did not say if public toilets in Merrion Square and Fairview Park, as mentioned on the council’s website, were provided in 2019 after all.

“Options are currently being examined on how best to proceed with the provision of additional public toilets in the city centre,” the City Council told Babylon. It added additional standalone units similar to those in Clontarf and Sandymount and serviced ones are being considered.

The City Council spent €381,966 on existing public conveniences in 2019 but is expected to spend less this year, only €128,668.   

“There are various issues to be considered in the final assessment of these options including planning requirements, the availability of suitable locations and the ongoing costs of providing facilities,” the City Council added.   

The Irish Sun reported in mid-January that Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has signed a deal for 20 years with JC Decaux, which will provide a new public toilet for almost €750,000 in South Dublin.  


Peter Dlhopolec
Peter Dlhopolec

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