CRA Statement | North Bull Island Nature Reserve Action Plan 2020-2025

03 Jun 2020

We have recently posted two in a series of pieces on the Dublin City Council’s (DCC’s) Action Plan for Bull Island (the full report can be downloaded here).

Those posts covered DCC’s proposals in relation to Dogs on Bull Island and Accessing the Island.

These posts are intended to inform the community about the contents of the DCC plan and to seek your feedback so that we can pass that feedback on to our Councillors and DCC officials. It is our understanding that while DCC is seeking to implement this plan with the co-operation of our Councillors, adoption of the plan is an Executive decision and does not require Councillors approval.

Today’s post is dealing with the proposed new Discovery Centre. We have posted on this subject previously and some residents attended the public consultation meetings last December. Given the significance of this proposal, we had also requested a public meeting on the issue. This has not been possible due to the current restrictions.

Discovery Centre

“Dublin City Council, in partnership with Dublin Port Company and Failte Ireland, are considering the feasibility of the Bull Island and its Interpretative Centre as an international visitor experience for Dublin and the Dublin Bay Region. A study is being prepared to plan how to improve the Centre and to tell the story of the Island, its ecology and the Bay. This will contribute towards the preparation of a master plan for Bull Island.” (Source link)

Current Interpretative Centre

According to the Action Plan, the current Interpretative Centre:
is the primary venue for education and raising awareness on the Island, accommodates up to 20,000 visitors per annum, and, supports the primary school curriculum.

As the building was constructed in 1986 it is not designed for universal access and neither is it of a standard that would be acceptable for promotion to visitors.

Proposed new Discovery Centre


The purpose of the new Centre is to provide an “opportunity to people of all abilities in society who heretofore could not access the dunes and beach to visit the Nature Reserve and gain an understanding of the intricate terrestrial and marine ecosystems that make the Bull Island and Dublin Bay such a special place. The Discovery Centre will also act as a ‘gateway’ to the Nature Reserve and clearly signify the importance of the Nature reserve as a wilderness that must be respected.” The current DCC information brochure on the Centre can be found here.

Location and Size

DCC undertook a feasibility study in 2016 for a new Discovery Centre to replace the existing Centre. That study recommended that the new Centre be located on the Causeway Road and the edge of the Island – before the entrance to St Anne’s Golf Club.

At 2,400 square meters, the new Centre will be significantly larger than the existing Centre.

Visitors and the Visitor Experience

The new Centre is intended to cater for 55,000 to 60,000 visitors per annum.

The Centre will provide a year-round, non-weather dependent experience. Much of the visitor experience will be virtual with the Centre acting as a receiving centre for cameras located around the biosphere relaying images of various habitats and species which are otherwise difficult to access or inaccessible and where the public are being asked not to enter.

Further information on the Discovery Centre can be found on DCCs website by clicking here.


Action 20 in the Plan is to “Progress the planning for an accessible Discovery Centre for education, interpretation, visitor management and research to support the nature conservation objectives of North Bull Island Nature Reserve, the vision of the Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere and the goals of UNESCO.”


As always, we would welcome your feedback on this, or any, aspect of the plan to