The decision not to include any baths in the renovated Dún Laoghaire Baths is “like the Emperor’s new clothes”, a local historian has said.
The baths date back to 1843 but were shut in the late 90s and restoration work on the site began in 2018 - costing well north of €10 million.
The revamped baths include a new jetty, a café with views of Dublin Bay and a walkway to the East Pier.
However, many locals are disappointed that the site lacks a functioning bath.
“After 25 years, Dún Laoghaire Baths are finally opening to the public next Tuesday - and there’s no baths at all,” Eileen O’Duffy, author of From Dirt and Dips to Dryrobes: Bathing in Dun Laoghaire Through the Ages, told Moncrieff.
“It’s a little bit like the Emperor’s new clothes, isn’t it?”
Ms O’Duffy describes the new development as “gorgeous” and “great news for Dún Laoghaire” but still feels it is a missed opportunity for the town.
In the end, it was too hard for planners to get agreement and instead a space has been left where a bath might be added in at a later date.
“So, there may and might be baths at some stage in the future,” she said.
It is all a far cry from the baths’ heyday in the early 20th century when there was a pool each for men, women and children - all at a time when few in Dublin had access to running water.
“They had slipper baths where the ladies and gentlemen could soak in hot salt water in a slipper-like bath,” Ms O’Duffy explained.
“I mean, these were the essence of luxury.”
Dún Laoghaire Baths re-open to the public on Tuesday 13th December.
Main image: Dún Laoghaire Baths. Image: DLRCC