Dún Laoghaire Harbour is one of Ireland’s best areas, standing as an over 200 year old Victorian harbour located in the Dún Laoghaire town itself. Visitors and residents can take a seaside walk by both its east and west piers, go swimming and sailing, experience the nearby pubs and restaurants, and the finer details of the piers themselves. This harbour is also ideal for both filming and photography, with for example, the film Michael Collins (1996) in the scene where the characters Neeson, Quinn, and Roberts walk along a pier (Dún Laoghaire East Pier). Photography will be the focus of this article to capture Dún Laoghaire Harbour’s noteworthy features and its character as a whole (all taken by the author of this article).
Dún Laoghaire Harbour – West Pier
Although less frequented by people, the West Pier of Dún Laoghaire is nevertheless a worthwhile endeavour in the harbour. Characterised by its neighbouring and small Apna Park, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, and West Pier Lighthouse (paralleling the East Pier’s lighthouse) amongst other things, this pier offers a quieter, but certainly not worse off view of the Irish sea. This part of Dún Laoghaire’s harbour was constructed around 1822 to 1827, and its dimensions measure in at 1,548 metres.
This particular shot of the West Pier depicts an adjacent park of the pier called Apna Park. Apna Park provides everyone with a plot of grass to sit and lay on and benches to sit on to take in the sights of the Irish Sea and also the Poolbeg Generating Station to name two things visible in this shot. The park is best enjoyed during sunny weather and/or the summer months, but can be visited nevertheless.
Address: W Pier, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin
Dún Laoghaire Harbour – Marina Pier
The West and East Pier are the two parts of Dún Laoghaire Harbour typically acknowledged, but the Marina Pier is unfairly overlooked by comparison/contrast to them. Situated in between these two piers, the Marina Pier is the smallest pier of the three, neighbouring Dun Laoghaire Marina. Marina Pier is characterised by a thin, stone-covered pathway stretching out towards the West Pier, and features a statue titled ‘Commemorative Tower to the Hobblers’. Either side of that path ahead lies a multitude of parked boats to admire that are part of Dun Laoghaire Marina and even sailing around that area too.
This next picture shows a closer look at the accompanying plaque to the ‘Commemorative Tower to the Hobblers’. It shows it was made by Fiona Holland and “Unveiled by An Cathaoirleach Cllr. Donal Mareen on 26th September 2002”. The statue was also “sponsored by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company”, according to the plaque. Further historical information is given about the statue alongside the names of the Hobblers themselves, which states: “‘Hobbling’ was the term used to describe those who ensured safe passage and mooring for large boats coming into an unfamiliar harbour. This sculpture is dedicated to the memory of all Hobblers including those men who lost their lives in the line of duty in Dublin Bay.”
Address: Dún Laoghaire, Harbour, Co. Dublin
Dún Laoghaire Harbour – East Pier
Dún Laoghaire Harbour’s East Pier is regarded as one of the most, if not the most popular spot in Dún Laoghaire as a whole. Its main structure is a 2.6 km walking path that stretches out to the Irish Sea and ends at a left turning curve at the East Pier’s lighthouse. Also part of this pier is a Victorian shelter and bandstand that was first constructed in 1890, undergoing extensive renovation up until 2004. Those that come to the East Pier can grab various food and drinks along the way in pop-up stands along the walk, such as one for coffee and another for fish and chips.
In the case of this photo, it portrays a view of the East Pier with its walking path, Victorian shelter, and boats and buoys in sight too. The perspective this photo was shot in shows the East Pier from the left hand side, relative to the start of the walking path of the pier. Like the other two piers, it is at its best during the summer season and sunny weather in general.
Address: E Pier, Glasthule, Co. Dublin
Dún Laoghaire Baths
This part of Dún Laoghaire Harbour was closed for quite some time, until plans in October 2015 were made to renovate and reopen them to the public. When it came to December 2022, the work on refurbishing this area was complete and officially open to the public. “The works included the refurbishment of the baths pavilion, the construction of a new 35m jetty with built in seating, the installation of the Roger Casement statue, a simple changing shelter, the refurbished Edwardian gazebo in the beach garden and a new walkway from Newtownsmith.”
What this specific photograph shows of the Dún Laoghaire Baths is the Roger Casement statue and part of the walls and pathway of the baths on the horizon. This section and the rest of the baths is easily accessible from both its left and right hand side. This photo also shows the houses up ahead in the Dun Laoghaire area and also further ahead in Sandycove.
Address: E Pier, Glasthule, Co. Dublin
Gourmet Food Parlour
For a bite by the harbour and across from the Dún Laoghaire DART station and Dublin Bus stops, Gourmet Food Parlour serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to bask in by the seafront. Its Dún Laoghaire location is renowned for being the first establishment that started the chain in 2006. The restaurant’s (and the chain it belongs to) ethos is “to produce healthy, nutritious, affordable food sourcing local ingredients and using local suppliers where possible.” This is reflected in its food on offer, from breakfast plates to a diverse selection of sandwiches, each of these items are prepared to a very high standard.
Gourmet Food Parlour’s entrance and part of its exterior seating area can be seen in this chosen shot. There is also an overhead cover most of the outdoor tables are huddled under in case it rains. The interior of the restaurant has more seating than the exterior of it, but is definitely well worth the seat placement for whenever the sun is shining.
Monday – Wednesday
9 AM – 5 PM
9 AM – 8 PM
Friday – Saturday
9 AM – 9 PM
9 AM – 8 PM
The Forty Foot – JD Wetherspoon
To bask in a central view of Dún Laoghaire Harbour, JD Wetherspoon’s The Forty Foot location is the optimal place for that, and food and drink to hand. The restaurant/pub derives its name from the Forty Foot public swimming area in Sandycove, and is part of the Pavillion Complex as well. There are two floors to the restaurant/pub: the ground floor and the upper floor. Customers can order their food and drink either at the ground or upper floor, or they can have it delivered to their table via the official Wetherspoons app. The Forty Foot offers drinks from IPAs, beer, wines, and cocktails, to food like pizza, chicken bites, and burgers to list some of their varied selection of food and drink.
Depicted here is the side entrance of The Forty Foot and part of its outdoor seating area, decorated with flowers and palm trees. The Forty Foot’s outdoor seating area during the summertime is almost always packed with locals and visitors, contrary to what that specific photo shows. This seating area also allows for delivery of food and drink as well, allowing everyone choosing to have their consumable goods outdoors whilst basking in the summer light and heat.
Monday – Thursday
8 AM – 11:30 PM
Friday – Saturday
8 AM – 12:30 AM
8 AM – 11 PM
Teddy’s Ice Cream
One other essential mainstay to the seaside of Dún Laoghaire is none other than Teddy’s Ice Cream. First opened in 1950, Teddy’s Ice Cream was founded by Jacob Edward, and has been open to the public ever since then. A classic choice out of this menu is the 99 cone, a vanilla ice cream cone served with a Flake bar in the cone. Besides the 99 cone, they also serve hand made sweets, gourmet coffee, and confectionery for customers to choose from as well. Teddy’s Ice Cream is just by the Dun Laoghaire Baths and People’s Park, making it a great pitstop for ice cream at the coast of the Irish Sea.
Monday – Saturday
10 AM – 8 PM
11 AM – 8 PM
The opening hours are subject to change with the weather.
Dún Laoghaire Harbour – In Summary
When discussing coastal areas all around Ireland, Dún Laoghaire Harbour is certainly in that discussion of the best coastal areas to visit in the country. From its triad of West Pier, Marina Pier, and East Pier, to the harbour’s baths and various spots for treats, food, and drink, Dún Laoghaire Harbour is a part of Ireland essential for visiting. It will be exciting to see how the long-time mainstays of the area, as well as any potential new developments may occur in future.