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Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club

14th July 2009

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Brief History of Poolbeg area

Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club is adjacent to the Pigeon House coal burning electricity-generating station, which was officially closed in July 1976. It nestles at the foot of the towering twin stacks of the modern Poolbeg Power station, which replaced the Pigeon House in 1965. It is a site of considerable significance in the history of Irish technology close to the centre of Dublin.

There is an established walk close to the club. The South Wall of the Port of Dublin extends from Ringsend nearly four miles out into Dublin Bay. This is one of the longest sea-walls in Europe. The walk continues to the Half Moon bathing place. Further on is the landmark Poolbeg Lighthouse. The Poolbeg Lighthouse was built in 1768, but was re-designed and re-built into its present form in 1820.

Ringsend Village

There are different versions of the origin of the name Ringsend, but it is most probably derived from the Irish word Rinn meaning a point or spit of land jutting into the sea.

The area seems to have been relatively uninhabited up until the 1620s when a fishing station grew up around the end of a point jutting into the estuary among mudflats and salt marshes where the Liffey and Dodder met the sea.

A harbour was developed at Poolbeg and Ringsend replaced Dalkey as Dublin’s principal port.

From the mid-17th century hotels and lodging houses began to spring up to cater for the many sailors, soldiers, port officials and travellers passing through the area.

In 1654 the Chief Justice of Ireland, Henry Cromwell, ordered everyone of Irish blood to move two miles outside Dublin city and this led to the establishment of Irishtown.

By the turn of the century the population had increased significantly and a floating chapel was moored nearby to cater for the spiritual needs of the community. Work then began on St. Matthew’s church in Irishtown in the early 18th century, one of a number of ‘Mariners’ churches’ around Dublin Bay. Incidentally, the vaults of St. Matthew’s were reputedly used as a store for smuggled goods, smuggling being rife in the area during this period.

Throughout the 1700s travelling to and from Ringsend and Irishtown was risky, particularly after dark, as highwaymen and thieves roamed the surrounding countryside.

Press gangs also stalked the inns abducting people for the British Navy.

To make matters worse several bridges were swept away until the current granite structure was built after the flood of 1802 and the danger posed by the Dodder diminished after the construction of the reservoir at Glenasmole in 1868.

Fishing provided a good living for many, boat building, chemical works and other industries provided employment, and hot and cold seawater baths attracted day-trippers and longer-term visitors to Irishtown. Indeed Wolfe Tone often stayed in Irishtown to take a break from political activity.

The Great South Wall, including the Poolbeg lighthouse, was constructed throughout the 18th century to provide greater protection for vessels, and dredged soil from port improvements was used to form many streets on either side of the Liffey, the sites being apportioned by ‘lot’, hence the name South Lotts Road.

The Ballast Board was founded in 1786 to manage the port. This later became the Dublin Port and Docks Board, now called the Dublin Port Company Ltd.

The embankment of the quays was also completed during this period.

On the 23rd April 1796 a crowd of 60,000 people witnessed the opening of basins and sea-locks connecting the newly-built Grand Canal to the Liffey at Ringsend.

It was an astounding development, which equalled the entire Liverpool docks at the time and meant that Dublin was fast becoming the second port in Ireland and Britain.

However, an economic downturn followed the Act of Union in 1800 as restrictive tax laws were imposed. To compound matters, in 1818 the mail boats from Holyhead switched to Howth, later to a new terminal at Dún Laoghaire, while the Royal Dockyard was also removed.

The worst ravages of the 1845–47 famine were avoided in the Ringsend area due to the availability of fish and the importation of Indian corn by the local landlord, Sidney Herbert, and as the 19th century wore on the many industries such as glass and rope manufacturing, boatyards, mills and the new gasworks provided welcome employment.

In 1863 the Pembroke Township, consisting of Baggotrath, Donnybrook, Sandymount, Ringsend and Irishtown, was formed. Improvements in the following decades included a horse drawn tramline laid through the area in the early 1870s linking Nelson’s Pillar with the Martello Tower at Sandymount, and the construction of the sewage works in the 1880s. The Earl of Pembroke also provided funds for Ringsend Technical School, 1892, and the development of Pembroke Cottages, the first of a series of housing developments for workers, in 1893.

Around the turn of the century local Parish Priest Canon Mooney was a tireless worker on behalf of the local population, and was responsible for the rebuilding of St. Patrick’s church in the early 1900s.

During the 1916 Rising, Boland’s Mill on the Canal Docks was occupied by rebels under the command of de Valera. The flat complexes George Reynolds House and Whelan House are named for two local men who fought in the Rising, while O’Rahilly House is called after The O’Rahilly who was part of the GPO garrison.

In the 1930s the Pembroke Township was incorporated into Dublin city. Many changes have taken place in the intervening years including construction of new housing and the East Link Bridge, and the upgrading of Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority is also now redeveloping a large site; a Village Improvement Scheme is being implemented for Ringsend; and Irishtown Stadium.

Dublin city based Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club has completed developing its state of the art 100-berth marina facility in the heart of Ireland’s capital. Situated in Ringsend, a harbour area with a colourful maritime tradition stretching back to the 17th century, Poolbeg Yacht/Boat Club & Marina is in a prime location just 3kms from the cultural, historic, social and retail centre of Dublin.

The club has been welcoming locals and visitors alike for over thirty years. Members old and new, appreciate the friendly, family-oriented atmosphere of this highly sociable club.

The new 1.5 million euro marina development is a major new city attraction, particularly for visitors wishing to berth their vessels near the heart of Dublin and for Dublin based owners who like their vessels moored near the office for a quick getaway on Friday evenings! The marina also meets the international standards required to satisfy any yachtsperson who visits a European capital city

On-shore, the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club’s existing and new members, have benefited from the expansion and redevelopment of its clubhouse which has undergone a 500,000 euro dramatic facelift.

pic_1.jpg The only Yacht/Boat Club & Marina in the heart of Dublin. A number of berths are available, depending on size, on an annual or six month basis. Berths are also available for visitors on a short-term basis.

Poolbeg Yacht/Boat Club & Marina offers a unique package to serious sailors, leisure-time enthusiasts or beginners alike:

* The only marina and club in the heart of Dublin
* 100 secure fully serviced berths for long and short term stays
* Welcoming and sociable
* Full club support and facilities
* All levels of sailing and training for adults and children
* Affiliated to the Irish Sailing Association

Poolbeg Yacht, Boat Club & Marina, South Bank, Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, Dublin 4. Tel: +353 1 668 9983, Fax: +353 1 668 7177, email: [email protected]

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