Waypoint 1 - George IV Monument

Waypoint 1 - George IV Monument


View of King George IV Monument

The King George IV Monument was hugely controversial at the time, not for anything which was on the monument, but rather for the deliberate omission of the real hero of the harbour. The monument carries the names of a king, noblemen, engineers, etc, but does not carry any reference to Richard Toutcher.  The omission caused great distress to Toutcher, as did the award to him of a very insignificant job in the harbour.  He died bitter and bankrupt in 1841.

Toutcher was a Scandinavian ships captain who initiated the campaign for a harbour at DunLeary soon after the 1807 tragedy.  By 1811, he had chosen the site and produced an outline design under the nom-de-plume “A. Seaman”which he showed at a large meeting at Monkstown. His campaign led directly to the various Acts of Parliament authorising the construction.
Credit: National Library of Ireland

King George IV Monument

The George IV monument was erected about 1823 to commemorate the visit of the king in 1821. The town was renamed Kingstown after him and the main streets (George’s St, Cumberland St, Clarence St, Sussex Street, York St, (later York Road)) were named after his sons.

The monument was controversial from the start. It was famously lampooned by Thackeray the poet. It was a target for many protesters through the years, including a bombing about 1970, after which one of the 4 balls forming the base had to be replaced

Credit: Tom Conlon

Construction of George IV Memorial

The George IV Memorial was erected near the harbour on Queen’s Road in 1823 to commemorate the King’s visit in 1821 when the construction of the East Pier of Dún Laoghaire harbour was completed. This was also the time when the town of Dunleary was renamed Kingstown (it was not until 1920 that its original name, spelt in gaelic form, was officially adopted).
The George IV memorial also records the laying of the first stone of Dún Laoghaire Harbour in 1817. The obelisk was built at a cost of £550 and was designed by an engineer called Aird.

The inscription says: 

To Commemorate the visit of the King to this part of his
dominions and to record that on the 3rd of September 1821
His Majesty in person graciously named this Asylum Harbour
the Royal of Harbour of George IV and on the same day
embarked from hence.


Credit: Simon Coate


The Victoria Fountain

The Victoria Fountain was commissioned to commemorate the royal visit of 1900, but the queen died before it was erected. It was vandalised in 1981, but was restored using funds from parking charges.  Picture shows Davy Stephens, well-known paper seller about 1904.

Source: Tom Conlon



The LNWR’s Scotia

The LNWR’s Scotia to seaward, built in 1902, with possibly the Munster of the City of Dublin Steam Packet astern. This photo can be dated to 1908 as it is around the time a Battle Royale between the City of Dublin and the Railway over rights at Kingstown.

Having failed to win the mail contract the Railway had moved its Kingstown passenger services to Dublin Port in 1861. A row with Dublin Port & Docks over dues saw the LNWR return to Kingstown in 1908, much to the chagrin of the City of Dublin. The Irish company protested by blocking the Carlisle Pier berths with three ships. Fines were issued to the Masters concerned and even short periods in custody were handed out. The political outcry was immense with Sinn Fein calling on the people of Ireland to rally to the support of the City of Dublin by blacking the LNWR ships. The latter prevailed however and was able to secure its rights to run steamers into Kingstown by way of the fact that its predecessor, the Chester & Holyhead Railway, had operated its service to the harbour in the previous century and as such, it had the right to do so again.


Credit: Page 17 of ‘Dun Laoghaire – Holyhead 1826-2015’ by Justin Merrigan


Important Visitors at Carlisle Pier

Prime Minister Asquith visits Dún Laoghaire in 1916

Credit: Justin Merrigan Collection



Train on Carlisle Pier

Credit: Simon Coate


The Cardinal Legate visit

The Cardinal Legate visit 1932

Credit: National Gallery


Ticket to London

Sail and Rail Ticket to London from Dún Laoghaire in the 1950’s.

Emmigration from Dún Laoghaire

Emigration in times of economic downturn has been a feature of Irish history of the past 200 years. In the twentieth century mass emigration reached levels during the 1940s and 1950s that were reminiscent of the Famine period, and Dun Laoghaire became the main point of departure.  There were frequent queues for passage and instances were recorded of passengers being turned away because the boats were full.

The picture from the late 1950s also shows the monument erected to commemorate the 1932 Eucharistic Congress. A larger statue of Christ the King intended for this location is now in the area of the Lexicon Library.


Carlisle Pier

Credit: Private DLHC collection ex Larry Whelan


Carlisle Pier Fuel Racks

Last reminder of the Ferry days

Racks for refuelling the mailboats.

They were first installed when the campshires were extended in approx 1968.

In the case of the Carlisle Pier, the campshires were the concrete quay tops – the space between the berth and the side of the building. The space between the berth and the building was no more than a single walkway. In the second shot, from 1969, they’ve finished construction, and there is much material still lying around.

Photo: John Byrne / Justin Merrigan collection.


One of the last trains to leave Carlisle Pier

This picture of a C class Engine type Number 218 (Bo-Bo wheel formation)

The Carlisle Pier spur railway line with platform was established in 1859
The timetable was arranged so that one could arrive at the city terminus – Westland Row – thirty-five minutes before sailing time and still catch the departing ship.
The trains stopped running from the pier in November 1980 and the rail line onto the Carlisle Pier was severed, due, it was said, to the inability of the new DART electric trains to negotiate the sharp curve onto the pier itself.
Little time was lost raising the tracks and by January 1981 the cutting had been infilled to accommodate the buses that replaced the trains.
It was not until after Stena Line acquired the Sealink fleet in 1990 that an embarrassed Irish government invested in the modernisation of the entrance to the Carlisle Pier. It was however, too little – too late as by 1993 plans for the construction of a new ferry terminal at St Michael’s Pier were well under way.


Credit: Simon Coate



St David Sealink

1982 Carlisle Pier aerial showing Sealink discharging

Credit: Justin Merrigan collection


Harbour Bicentenary Celebrations

Wednesday 31st May, President Michael D Higgins officially opened the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Bicentenary Celebrations.


Members of the RNLI, Irish Defence Forces, Local Representatives and TD’s were all present for the official launch, which featured the firing of the Dún Laoghaire Cannon, a 21 gun salute on the east pier battery and a flyby from the Air Corps.


The President with the help of the RNLI & some local school children, laid a time capsule in the ground  beside the King George IV monument replicating one which was laid on the same day 200 years previously.