Bull Island - Causeway Road - Options for Car Parking and Access

20 Jul 2015

The Clontarf Residents' Association would like to update you all in relation to the latest proposals on car parking at Dollymount beach.

The following information was released by the Parks department on Friday.

As you will note from the end of their notice, *** they welcome inputs from local residents to their email parks@dublincity.ie - we would appreciate if you could also copy your feedback to clontarf.res.assoc@gmail.com ***.

Bull Island – Causeway Road – Options for Car Parking and Access

Informal parking has always been permitted to both sides of the Causeway road. The effect of this is that cars have parked parallel to both sides of the road for the entire length of the Causeway. In addition, parking was permitted on the beach with access to designated parking areas via roadways off the roundabout at the end of the Causeway Road. 

There were issues with this arrangement not the least of which was cars getting stuck in the sand and requiring Council assistance to extract their vehicles from the beach. In times of peak demand during high season when large numbers attended the beach, traffic jams ensued with the result that there were extended delays for people trying both to access and leave the beach by car. 

In June 2014, there was an incident on the beach where a car which was stuck in the sand led to a woman being injured. Due to the haphazard nature of parking, emergency vehicles had difficulty attending to the incident. Following advice from the Gardai, Dublin City Council ceased vehicular access to Dollymount Beach with the exception of emergency and other authorised vehicles.

 A survey of the car parking capacity when cars were allowed to park on the beach was carried out which found that in the order of 798 could be accommodated at peak period both on the Causeway and beach (this excludes the access from the North Bull wall): 


Beach Car Park (north)


Beach Car Park (South)


On roundabout




Total Potential Capacity



A number of options have been considered to accommodate such a peak level of parking, to regularise traffic movement and to provide safe and comfortable access to the beach for people on foot and of all abilities. These options also consider disabled access to the beach, access for emergency vehicles, disabled parking and improvements in the vicinity of the set down area including seating.

Option 1 – Linemarking with some Perpendicular Parking

This option would allow for cars to park on the Causeway as they do at present but with road markings to optimise the number of spaces. In addition it would utilise the road surface at the section closest to Raheny where the Causeway is at its widest to accommodate some perpendicular parking ‘nose to kerb’ on one side. The potential car parking capacity in this layout would provide for 506 spaces including disabled.

Option 2 – Perpendicular Parking to one side of Causeway Road  

In order to achieve perpendicular parking on one side of the roadway some of the roadside berm would need to be incorporated into the parking bays. This option would provide for 654 car spaces in total including disabled spaces.

 Option 3 – Perpendicular Parking to both sides  of Causeway Road  

 For Option 3, some of the berm from each side of the existing roadway would need to be incorporated to allow perpendicular parking ‘nose to kerb’ to both sides of the Causeway road. This would provide for in the order of 879 spaces, almost 100 more than the potential capacity when cars were permitted onto the beach.

Option 4 –Diagonal Parking to both sides of Causeway Road

This option is a variation on Option 3 with the difference being that the perpendicular parking spaces to both sides of the roadway are changed to be diagonal parking spaces. This results in a loss of car spaces but it would facilitate easier parking and traffic movement..

We have also allowed for some disabled parking on the access road to the beach (adjacent to the interpretive centre). 




Roundabout (set down only)


Disabled (on access road to the beach)


Total Potential Capacity


It is considered that that Option 4 is the most reasonable option in terms of accommodating the peak number of cars, minimising traffic hazard and minimising impact on the island. Set down spaces are provided at the roundabout to allow people to be dropped before the driver parks the car at some location on Causeway Road.

It is proposed to design a number of improvements into the area between the interpretive centre and the set down such as seating, a playground and tearooms at the ground floor of the interpretive centre to cater for the seasonal demand for refreshments. The public toilets will also be up-graded. A seasonal transport system such as that being trialled at present on the Causeway could also be part of an integrated traffic management plan for the future. 

A core objective in any works to provide for car parking would be to remove the tarmacadam road surface where parking bays are to be located and these areas would be surfaced in stone or a polypropylene grid infilled with sand to allow indigeneous grasses to re-establish.

This type of carpark surface has successfully been used at Airfield, Dundrum; Farmleigh and Malahide Castle and it would allow the natural vegetation of the island to colonise parking bays which are only in seasonal demand.

A shared cycle and pedestrian pavement is also indicated on the drawing to link from the greenway under construction on the Howth road to the beach. Bicycle stands will be put in place to accommodate bicycles in the vicinity of the interpretive centre.

These proposals will have to be brought to a detailed design and they will be subject to a Part 8 planning consultation and Appropriate Assessment with a view to implementation before July 2016.

Proposals for car parking and access from the north bull wall will be put on display in the coming weeks. 

Comments on this proposal can be forwarded to parks@dublincity.ie