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Friday, 6 March 2015

The Blackrock Baths

The Blackrock Baths were a public swimming pool located right on the seafront of Dublin Bay. Established in 1830s, the concrete pools were built in 1887 and incorporated a men’s pool, a women’s pool and a concrete walkway. In 1928, the government bought the baths and prepared them for use in the Tailteann Games.

Swimming Championships at Blackrock Baths
2 August 1958
After 1928, the baths were made available to the public during the summer months, making the 50m 8-lane swimming pool, the 10m and 3m diving board, and changing rooms a much–loved public facility. As the pool was right on the sea-front, all of Dublin Bay could be viewed while swimming, or from the tiered seating area which could accommodate 1,000 spectators.

The Connolly sisters, Maureen and June, performing a synchronised swimming routine before a packed house
1 July 1966
One of the best-known divers associated with the baths was Eddie Heron, who first made his mark in the 1928 Tailteann Games. As ‘Fancy Diving’ had also recently been introduced into the Olympic Games, Heron was invited to the States to try out for the US diving team. On his return to Ireland, Heron returned to his local Sandycove swimming club and made it the bastion of diving in Dublin. A plaque dedicated to his honour is still visible on the bridge that lead over the railway tracks to the baths.

Eddie Heron and Bill Morrison, former Irish champion at the Gallagher High Diving Gala at Blackrock Baths
1 July 1966
The popularity of the baths began to decline from the 1960s onwards, as indoor heated swimming pools began to be introduced. An attempt was made in the 1980s to repopularise them, but the baths eventually fell into disuse. The diving board could still be seen from passing trains until 2013, when the baths were demolished out of concern for safety.

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