New life for graving docks?

Photo: Kevin O’Gorman.

Photo: Kevin O’Gorman.

The Docklands Business Forum (DBF), a group which represents companies operating in the fastest-growing part of Dublin, has put together an interesting proposal for one of the city’s oldest landmarks.

Three Georgian graving docks, which date back over 220 years, and were once used to service and repair ships, are the subject of a bold new regeneration plan.

DBF recently met with Waterways Ireland and put forward their idea to preserve, restore and reuse these three old structures.

The smallest dock, which measures some 90ft in length, is earmarked for the purpose it was originally intended, repairing boats.

The middle dock of 150ft, which at the moment contains the abandoned ship, Naomh Eanna, pictured right, is envisaged as a children’s play area.

The final and largest dock at 180ft, which is currently filled in and used as an entry point to the water by Viking Splash tours, is planned for excavation and development as an amphitheatre hosting theatrical performances.

Photo: Kevin O’Gorman.

Photo: Kevin O’Gorman.

The forum point to the fact that there has already been considerable new office construction in the area, and that the last thing the docklands needs is more of the same. They argue that recreational facilities and “blue space” is required for the thousands of people who now live and work nearby.

Other cities such as Liverpool and Paris are cited as examples of locations where the docklands district has been successfully transformed, not only into a place of local interest, but also as a major tourist attraction.

DBF have other proposals for the area, including a cycle route, an historical trail, and perhaps most ambitious of all, plans to open up the basin for use as a luxury yachting destination, with the capacity to cater for up to 300 yachts at any one time.

By Paul O’Rourke