A new local representative group for Dun Laoghaire Harbour says its hopes are high as it outlines a number of potential avenues for development upon the end of the harbour’s first year in local authority hands.
In its latest newsletter, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Representative Group — which was formed in February this year — says it priorities the development of a National Watersports Centre in the harbour (proposals for which first went online four years ago) while opposing any attempts to nationalise the harbour it describes as a “national asset”.
Heritage figures large in its proposals, with a conservation-based approach that combines restoration of the harbour’s piers “following years of neglect” with stronger links to the town’s National Maritime Museum, making more of ‘tourism trail’ potential such as in the area’s legacy of emigration and prison ships.
Efforts to attract cruise liners are eschewed in favour of encouraging the return of a smaller ferry operator of the like “which served the port well over so many years”, while the benefits to the adjacent town centre of new hotel builds are emphasised.
All in all, the group calls on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to capitalise on the “unique” nature of its harbour asset as it seeks expert advice on a strategic plan, with a holistic approach meeting both economic and community needs that goes further than “piece meal developments”.
“Dun Laoghaire Harbour is a unique asset,” it says. “When it was constructed just over 200 years ago it was the largest man made harbour in the world. It is steeped in history and tradition with families from all over Ireland, and now all over the world.”
It adds that “serving the needs of the local communities must be the top priority of our publicly owned national asset”.