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Watersports Campus
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National Watersports Campus, Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Stakeholders combined forces in 2019 to promote a project to improve the Harbour’s infrastructure resulting in improved access, job creation and greater tourism potential. 

A grant application to government made by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) assisted by stakeholders was successful with the announcement of a €400k feasibility study grant from the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) in January 2020.

It meant plans for the €8m National Watersports Campus at Dun Laoghaire Harbour got the green light from Government and came a step closer to reality.

The project recognises deficits in the current set up in the harbour, proposing the construction of an all-tide publicly-accessible slipway (none currently in the Greater Dublin Area) as well as a marine services facility, providing a much-needed home for the supporting industry. 

The campus also seeks to provide a marketing framework to make boating more accessible to the general public.

The benefits of such an increase might be obvious for the Dun Laoghaire waterfront but there are other spin-offs for the harbour town in the creation of the sort of jobs that cannot be shipped abroad.

Centre for Community Watersports activity and public slipway

  • High-Performance coaching centre
  • Flexible Event Space for hosting national and international events
  • Multipurpose Building
  • Campus Marketing and Promotional Centre
  • Accommodation for Irish Sailing and Irish Underwater Council
  • Shared NGB Facility
  • Education Centre for schools, community groups and clubs
  • Proposed site – Carlisle Pier

Watersports Campus FAQs

Similar to the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, the watersports campus will provide quality, public, recreational and high-performance facilities for the many watersports participants. The Campus will considerably enhance the services currently provided by more than 30 clubs and activity centres to over 50,000 annual users of the harbour.

The passing of control of the harbour to DLRCC, the public appetite for a community benefitting project and the capital funding for sports infrastructure in the Project 2040 National Plan have aligned to create an opportunity to deliver this proposal.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) and the Irish Sailing Association (Irish Sailing) are the project leads, endorsed by the National Governing Bodies of other Irish watersports and clubs and activity providers.

The National Sports Policy, published in 2018, established the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) to provide Exchequer support for sports facility projects. In some cases, these may be projects where the primary objective will be to increase active participation in sport. In other cases, these may be venues where the focus is more related to high-performance sport.

Government has allocated at least €100m over the term to 2027 to successful applicant projects.

The Watersports Campus was one of seven successful applicants for Stream 1 funding allowing planning to commence on the project design and feasibility. €442,000 has been granted in this phase.

NThe project will provide for a municipally-owned public access facility to include a small craft slipway that is accessible at all stages of the tide (currently none in public ownership in the greater Dublin area), storage and lock-up resources, watersports event management space, a high-performance centre and NGB accommodation.

The project aims to enhance the profile of Dun Laoghaire as a major international venue for maritime events, shows and conferences. Establish Dun Laoghaire as the 'go-to place' for anything marine – generating revenues Create employment in the county - attract businesses, visitors and events. Grow the market for watersports Promote the services of activity providers to the public. Complement the plan to develop Dun Laoghaire as a 'destination.'

As of January 1 2021, The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has approved the applicant project and DLRCC are expected to appoint a team to further advance the project.

©Afloat 2020

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