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  Dún Laoghaire - A Brief Local History

Boasting one of the worlds finest harbours, Dún Laoghaire takes it's name form the great King Laoire who in 480A.D. maintained a great "Dún" or stone fort in the centre of the town. The ancient fort was demolished in 1803 to make way for the building of a Martello tower, which in turn was replaced in 1834 by the first suburban railway in the world. King Laoire's large garrison ensured that the Romans would think twice about invading Ireland from British shores.


Some say that Patrick the boy shepherd arrived at Dún Laoghaire as a slave, it was the same Patrick who returned in 432A.D. to face King Laoghaire and who subsequently destroyed his ancient Druid order. Traces of this order can still be found in Dún Laoghaire and the neighbouring village of Dalkey. Both towns are closely linked for it was the granite from Dalkey Hill that built Dún Laoghaire harbour in 1817.

The decision to build a harbour in what was until 1817 a small fishing village came about as entry into the River Liffey was becoming more and more difficult, with ships having to wait days before they could berth and offload their cargo. The amount of shipwrecks was also becoming unacceptable, literally hundreds per year being wrecked off the coast of Blackrock and Monkstown with thousand of lives lost, which eventually led to the setting up of the lifeboat station in 1803.

So it was in 1817 that the Earl of Whitworth laid the first foundation stone of the pier designed by John Renny. Designed to be a port of refuge away from the fierce Irish Sea where large ships could berth safely it would have worked had the Earl not insisted that the entrance to the harbour be widened to accommodate the Admiral's fleet. This widening of the harbour also accommodated the silt from the surrounding shoreline which washed in and made it impossible for the larger ships to enter safely as planned. Despite this the Mailboat operated out of DúnLaoghaire successfully carrying cargo, passengers and of course, Mail.

This now thriving port prompted the building of a railway to link the southside of Dublin to the City. Churches, schools and shops had sprung up to accommodate the needs of the labourers and their families working on the construction of the harbour and then the railway, transforming the fishing village of Dún Laoghaire into a prosperous town that catered for the day trippers who would come from all over Dublin to enjoy the shopping and entertainment that the markets, the bandstand and the pavilion provided. Now nearing the 21st Century, Dún Laoghaire stills provides excellent shopping value and entertainment, with plenty of pubs, clubs and restaurants to choose from.

Today in Dún Laoghaire, people still enjoy a stroll along the "Prom", and then down the Pier. Stopping off at Teddy's for a Ninety Nine ice cream on the way home is a ritual to be savoured. During your visit you can enjoy anything your heart desires. Dún Laoghaire has a Wide Range of Activities for everyone, old and young. With the Harbour the center piece of the town, you can be assured of a wide and varied selection of water sports to choose from. Whether it's speeding through the waves of Dublin Bay and dancing the night away until the wee hours of the morning, strolling through the hills, horse riding, fishing or just taking it easy, Dún Laoghaire has everything on offer. It is also the ideal place to base yourself if your planning a visit to Dublin, or the rest of Ireland.

The Tourist Office is at the bottom of Marine Road, by the Harbour.



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