Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dún Laoghaire harbour, situated right in the lively east coast seaport of Dún Laoghaire, could not be better suited to sailors looking for safe moorings, pleasant walks, entertainment, good food and friendly service.
For many visitors, their first contact with Ireland is the beautiful coastline as they enter Dún Laoghaire, with its spectacular man-made harbour. A trip south from the city on the DART (commuter railway) takes you from the Booterstown Marsh Bird Sanctuary, close to Dublin, through Blackrock, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and the breath-taking vista of Killiney Bay, to Shankill in the south, hugging the shoreline all the way.
Within ten or fifteen minutes drive from the coast at Dun Laoghaire you can play golf, go hill-walking on the 'Wicklow Way' which starts from the magnificent Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, go horse-riding, or enjoy a host of other outdoor activities, all set in spectacular countryside.
The area around Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and Killiney is steeped in our literary and cultural heritage, both past and present. James Joyce, that great Irishman of letters, saw fit to base the opening chapter of 'Ulysses' in the striking Martello Tower at Sandycove, just south of the harbour which was his home for a short while, and now houses a museum in his honour. The poet Oliver St. John Gogarty lived here. Nobel Prize Winner George Bernard Shaw of 'Pygmalion' fame lived nearby in Dalkey.
In the last few years, the area has become home to musicians Enya, Bono and U2's guitarist The Edge, writer Maeve Binchy, playwrights Hugh Leonard and Bernard Farrell, and Neil Jordan from the film world.
The new Heritage Centre in the Goat Castle on Dalkey's Castle Street celebrates the town's magical history as well as hosting art exhibitions, and programmes of music and drama. The National Maritime Museum, housed in the magnificent former Mariners' Church, is a must -see in Dún Laoghaire.
There is a great wealth of archeological heritage in the area and this can be experienced through a video presentation and site tour starting from the Dalkey Heritage Centre.
A visit to the county would not be complete without an evening in one of many restaurants that offer a fabulous choice of dishes from traditional Irish fare to wonderful cuisine from around the world. The quality restaurants and the good family eateries of our towns and villages offer a wide choice of ethnic and international dishes and virtually every pub has an extensive menu of fine Irish food. Believe it or not, the county has around 60 pubs and 80 restaurants.
The yacht clubs are a five minute stroll from the town centre with all amenities. To get a full listing of all services and facilities, a handy pocket guide has been produced with visitors very much in mind. The 2012 edition 'What's On and What to Do' is available from the local tourist office. It is also available on the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Tourism website at www.dlrtourism.com
Dun Laoghaire is unique in having three individual Georgian-style yacht clubs located side-by-side. Your hosts for the event are within a small radius of the plaza area and as a competitor you are encouraged to visit each one!
Collectively, Dun Laoghaire's Waterfront Clubs have in the order of 5,000 members, who in turn own approximately 700 keelboats (boats which are moored in the water typically) and 1,000 dinghies, most of which are sailed by the Junior and Youth Members of the Clubs.
The Waterfront Clubs can trace their origins back to the early 1800s, having up to 175 years of involvement in the Harbour.
With the development of the Dun Laoghaire Marina since 2001 sailing has become a year -round activity.
Club racing takes place within the confines of Dublin Bay, around a series of fixed marks laid for the purpose of racing.
Routine racing can involve up to 400 boats, with up to 2,500 participants. Dinghy racing takes place typically within Seapoint and Scotsman's Bays (to the west and east of the Harbour).
Another major activity of the Waterfront Clubs is in providing sail training to youth sailors. Annually from late May to early September (during school holidays), each of the Waterfront Clubs organises sail training programmes and cater for up to 1,000 young sailors aged between 5 and 18. These programmes are being expanded continuously and now include a School Sailing programme in combination with local schools, and an Adult Training Programme for adults who wish to learn how to sail.
The Waterfront Clubs organise a combined Dun Laoghaire Regatta every 2 years, next being held in July 2013, which attracts up to 500 boats, 3,000 participants over the 4 day long weekend of the event. About 35% of the participants are from outside Dublin.