Waypoint 3 - Town Hall / Pavilion / Dún Laoghaire Station

Waypoint 3 - Town Hall / Pavilion / Dún Laoghaire Station


Before 1817

Until 1817, this area was a short stretch of coastline with a sandy bottom and few rocks beyond the waterline. It was the only place where a harbour could be built.

Source: Tom Conlon



Planning the Street Layout

Street layout marked out on open ground as part of the plan for the harbour.

Source: Tom Conlon


Kingstown Railway

The world’s first commuter railway came to Kingstown, but terminated almost 1km east of this junction. Two years later, the line was re-laid and extended to a small station on the site of the present railway station.

Source: Tom Conlon



Railway Station Opening

The railway station with a neo-classical design by John Skipton Mulvany opened.

Source: Tom Conlon



Opening of Royal St. George Yacht Club

The Royal St. George Yacht club, designed by John Skipton Mulvany opened on the site of a previous smaller clubhouse. This 1858 picture shows work in progress on the nearby Carlisle Pier.

Source: Tom Conlon



World’s First Commercial Atmospheric Train

The world’s first commercial Atmospheric Train commenced operations between Kingstown and Dalkey. The train had no engine. A stationary engine in Dalkey created a vacuum in a pipe laid between the tracks. A plunger in that pipe pulled the train to Dalkey. The return journey was downhill and needed no power. On a test-run, the train is reputed to have held the world land speed record.

Source: Tom Conlon



Canon Trophy at the Railway Station

The cannon which is now located on the East Pier came as a trophy captured during the Crimean War. A steel carriage was made for it in the Royal Armoury at Woolwich, and it was put on display for about 50 years on the spot where the small roundabout neat the Railway station is now. This 1889 picture shows the cannon on that site.

Source: Tom Conlon



Horse-Tram Tracks Laid

Horse-Tram tracks laid. Two separate tramlines were laid, one to Dublin and one to Dalkey – but they had incompatible gauges. Accordingly, passengers from Dublin to Dalkey had to change trams.  Picture shows the Kingstown-Dalkey tram at the town hall.

Source: Tom Conlon



Town Hall Opened

Town Hall opened. Designed by John Loftus Robinson. For some years previously, the Kingstown Town Commissioners had operated from temporary town halls. It is now the county seat for the county of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown.

Source: Tom Conlon



Electric Trams Commence Operation

Electric trams commenced operation. Picture shows the last tram leaving the town in the late 1940s.

Source: Tom Conlon



Queen Victoria’s Arrival in Dún Laoghaire

Queen Victoria arrived in Ireland.  She spent a very short time in Kingstown/Dun Laoghaire where she received an address of welcome and a floral bouquet from little May Robinson (pictured here).

Source: Tom Conlon



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 Pavilion

The Pavilion was built in 5 months on the site now occupied by The Forty Foot and The Pavilion. It was a luxurious leisure centre with ballroom, bars, billiards room, tennis and provision for many other popular activities of the upper class.  After two major fires, it was gradually transformed into a cinema in the 1920s.

Source: Tom Conlon



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.

1950s Emigration

The 1950s was a period of massive emigration from Ireland to Britain and Dun Laoghaire was the point of departure for many.  This picture shows queues for the outgoing mailboat, and queues at the bus-stop of returning emigrants.

Source: Tom Conlon