Urban beach for south Dublin suburb

Dún Laoghaire project will include swimming pool with heated sea-water

A €2.5 million “urban beach” and floating outdoor swimming pool at the harbour in the south Dublin suburb of Dún Laoghaire has been approved by planning authorities, a year after being proposed by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company.

The project, which will be funded jointly by the harbour company and the local council, will include an artificial beach and a floating swimming pool with heated, treated seawater. Sand for the beach will be overlaid on the existing concrete berth at the harbour's east pier while the pool will be built on a converted river barge located beside a berth within the harbour. There will also be a cafe, changing rooms, toilets and showers contained in eight single-storey “architectural modular pod structures”.

The project was modelled on the Badeschiff facility, a floating swimming pool on Berlin's river Spree. The Dún Laoghaire plan was a joint design by major international design company Arup (which designed the former Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin's Docklands), Dublin architectural firm Fitzgerald Kavanagh, and Wilk Salinas Architekten, the Berlin architects behind the Badeschiff model.

Users will be charged an undisclosed entrance fee and the facility will operate for six months each year around either side of the summer. The harbour company hopes the project will attract up to 150,000 visitors and generate up to €1 million annually.

The project has received a mixed reaction from the local commuity, some of whose members believe the money could be better spent on more urgent projects such as social housing.

It is not the first time the same council has caused controversy over its projects in the affluent suburb. Recently it inaugurated the area's new €30-million library which looms over the harbour and was condemned as an eyesore by locals even before it was inaugarated in November.

The council was also in the news in 2012 when it decided to demolish the historic Blackrock baths, which were built nearby in the 1880s but had fallen into disrepair a century later.