Ireland’s only swimming pool built on the roof of a shopping centre is to be shut down by Dublin City Council after more than 50 years of operation.
Refurbishing the pool on top of the Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock would cost €5 million, the council said. Instead, it wants to build a new pool costing €10 million at a nearby site currently occupied by a local pigeon club.
One of the oldest purpose-built shopping centres in the State, Northside opened in October 1970 with broadcaster Mike Murphy cutting the ribbon. The centre was designed by Stephenson Gibney & Associates, the firm behind the former ESB headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street and the Central Bank on Dame Street.
Uniquely for Europe, it was built with a public pool on the top floor.
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The pool was leased for 200 years to Dublin Corporation, now Dublin City Council, which has operated it since. The council has undertaken a number of upgrades to the pool over the years, including a major refurbishment 10 years ago. However, it said there is now a need to undertake a “significant upgrade” to bring the facility up to modern standards.
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The council last year commissioned a report to assess the works required, including roof replacement, significant upgrade of the pool and deck, electrical works and the installation of new changing, staff and toilet facilities. “The completed report identified a cost in the region of €5 million to carry out these works,” the council said.
The inability to expand the facility at the current site to include other sports and “wellbeing activities” reduced its attractiveness and “limiting usage”, the council said. It was also difficult to improve upon its energy consumption, which was “prohibitive and unsustainable” in terms of cost.
“The investment of €5 million in a service that will continue to be limited and confined by its location does not represent good value for public monies,” it said.
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Councillors will be asked next week for preliminary approval for a €10 million new pool and additional sports facilities. The 25m, six-lane pool “with associated changing village” would be located beside Kilmore Recreation Centre, about 300m from the shopping centre.
The site earmarked for the pool is currently occupied by a local pigeon club, which also has a long-term lease. The council said it will enter into talks with the club about a relocation, if councillors approve the project.