No bottling out of Poolbeg development

The time is finally right for a new urban quarter on the peninsula

In the early years of the last decade, with the city expanding far beyond its natural borders and house prices soaring, the Poolbeg peninsula was put forward as a new “urban quarter” for Dublin.

Much was made of its D4 postcode and its waterside amenities, while its less salubrious features – power plants, sewage works, commercial port activities, and a future incinerator – were played down.

If there were smirks of derision at the time, they turned to howls when the boom turned to bust and the folly of the State's involvement, through the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), in the €412 million purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site came to light.

With the nascent recovery and the housing shortage, attention is once again turning to Poolbeg as a solution to the city’s needs.


While the sewage plant remains, and the Dublin Port Company has made it clear it's not going away, and the incinerator, then just a threat, is well on its way to being a reality, the development of the peninsula as a new residential area is still a more realistic prospect than ever before.

The main reason for this is the success of the existing fast-track planning scheme for the docklands. Previously the focus was on Poolbeg's Dublin 4 location, its proximity to the established residential areas of Irishtown and Ringsend, and, with a bit of mental as well as physical leap, Sandymount.

However, the pace with which the docklands sites are filling in, north and south of the river, the peninsula is looking far more like a natural extension of the docklands and an extension of the city – a truly urban, rather than suburban quarter.

This potential connection to the city has been boosted by the recent publication by the National Transport Authority of a €10.3 billion public transport plan for Dublin which includes a Luas line onto the peninsula. This would involve the extension of the Red Line – currently running to the Point in the north docklands – south of the Liffey on a new bridge near the East Link (now Tom Clarke) bridge.

While the peninsula is a vast land bank – 4km long from the bridge to the south wall (not including the stretch out to the lighthouse) most of the land to the north will remain in industrial use, while to the south there are the large protected open spaces of the Irishtown nature reserve and Sean Moore Park.

This leaves 40 or so hectares available for the development, with the former glass bottle site, once again the jewel in the crown.