- 10 Jan 23
There was a time when a continuous cacophony reigned over Dublin’s famous Docklands. Back then, the port area was dominated by massive maritime industries. But change has been in the air for a long time. The ships still come into Dublin in large numbers, and trucks roll off and on with staggering precision. But the wider Docklands area, which straddles both banks of the River Liffey, has been transformed into a vibrant business and tech hub.
The Docklands have also become a thriving cultural centre. North Wall Quay has long been home to the 3Arena (formerly the Point Depot), a state-of-the-art concert venue that has proudly stood Liffeyside for over 30 years. In that time, it has hosted an array of legendary performers, from Frank Sinatra to Nirvana, Elton John and U2.
Closer to the city, Custom House Quay is home to one of the top-rated visitor attractions in Dublin. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is an interactive showcase of how the Irish diaspora made such a big impact on the world, with adventure, adversity and triumph featured in hi-tech galleries.
An absolutely fascinating and engrossing experience, EPIC provides an incredible insight into Ireland’s cultural heritage and the remarkable influence its citizens have exerted around the world. With loads to see, hear, touch and read, the interactive EPIC exhibition offers an unforgettable look at the unique achievements of Ireland and its people.
It’s just one of the many gems in an area that continues to grow in popularity. Indeed, the docklands are filled with an exciting range of activities and attractions just waiting to be explored.
The iconic Diving Bell was the first project in Dublin Port’s ambitious plan to create a ‘Distributed Museum’ of attractions, with the aim of preserving the port’s industrial heritage and history. Visitors will soon – from January 2023 – be able to explore the area in a new and improved way, using the Dublin Discovery Trails app.
In 2015, The Diving Bell was raised onto a two-metre platform, allowing public access to a water feature which has been installed beneath the structure, accompanied by a series of interpretive panels explaining the historical, social and engineering significance of the Diving Bell, and immortalising its creator and the brave men who toiled inside.
At the Port Centre, on Alexandria Rd., close to the 3Arena, a ’60s quayside crane has been restored to its former glory, with an illuminated cabin for powerful night-time impact. It makes a striking addition to the city’s skyline. Standing in the shadow of Crane 292 is the Port Centre’s Maritime Garden, which is open to the public.
A short walk East from EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum takes you to the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Turn left there, walk the length of Guild Street and just beyond Spencer Dock, close to the junction with Sheriff Street Upper, you’ll find the striking statue of the great Irish folk singer Luke Kelly of The Dubliners.
Created by sculptor Vera Klute, it is a marvellously impressive, larger-than-life head, adorned by Luke’s famous hair.
For a totally unique way of exploring the area, take a ride on the Old Liffey Ferry. First granted a charter in 1665 by King Charles II, the ferry was discontinued in 1984 following the opening of the East Link toll-bridge. The water-taxi has now been fully restored through a joint project between the Irish Nautical Trust, Dublin Port and Dublin City Council. The three-minute journey point to point costs €2, with both Leap Card and cash fares accepted on board. (oldliffeyferry.com)
- 20 Feb 23