Ireland’s first pop-up swimming pool has made something of a splash in the north Dublin town of Donabate.
The portable pool holds 45,000 litres of water and the steel structure measures 12 metres by 3.4 metres.
Every school term the pool will move to a different location around Ireland and Ashley Hunter, head of participation at Swim Ireland, says things have been going swimmingly since its arrival in Donabate:
“So this is Ireland’s first mobile pool and it’s fully heated,” he told Moncrieff.
“It comes, as you can see, in a fantastic facility [with] a marquee and changing facilities. Everything you’d need.
“So the pool will move around the country and align with school terms. So every 12 to 14 weeks it’ll move to a new venue.
“And the whole idea is to give people in a location like we’re in, like Donabate where there isn’t a pool, to give people an opportunity to either learn to swim or to continue their swimming journey.”
The pool is heated to a very toasty 31 degrees and lessons have been organised for both school children and adults.
Swimming is embedded deep into the culture of Dublin - it even gets a mention in Joyce's Ulysses - and Donabate Portrane Community Centre estimates that some 750 swimming experiences a week will be booked.
Employees say locals are really enjoying the new facility and won’t want to see it leave in 12 weeks time:
“It adds to the community centre, it adds to the whole peninsula,” one enthused.
“It’s vibrant, it gives the opportunity to children to community groups, to adults, to seniors to have a pool on their doorstep.
“They don’t have to travel off the peninsula.
“At the moment we see teenagers, kids, seniors cycling, walking to the pool.
“They were here yesterday till half four swimming. It’s just been phenomenal.”
The town of Donabate is perched on the Dublin coastline overlooking the Irish Sea but locals have long hoped for a pool they could use in any weather.
The community looked into building one a few years ago but quickly concluded it would simply be too expensive.
“We did a feasibility study there earlier in the year and number two on it was a swimming pool and an extension of the facility.
“And here we have our swimming pool!
“If we were to build this it would cost maybe €3 million or more.”
Main image: A swimming hat and goggles. Picture by: Roger Hutchings / Alamy Stock Photo