Sea Wall in Clontarf - Latest Update

05 Nov 2015


As you may know, there was an Information Meeting this morning attended by our Elected Representatives and Dublin City Council, regarding the sea wall currently under construction on the James Larkin Road.

Prior to this morning’s meeting, Cllr. Damien O’ Farrell and Independent TD, Finian McGrath organised a public meeting in the Clontarf Castle last night, where those concerned about the Sea Wall could voice their opinions which O’Farrell and McGrath would then raise to the DCC today.

This morning we held off publishing a post about last night’s meeting, to await results from today’s meeting between the councillors and DCC, which are now coming in.

The only good news we have to report from this morning’s meeting is that the Council do seem to be taking notice of this matter on the back of the strong local opposition to the current build. The bad news is that the overall height of the wall remains the same (4.25M OD). The capping stone which is due to go on top of the wall will be 3 inches lower but the overall height will remain as originally planned.

There is a commitment to go away and look at other solutions that might improve matters. These include raising the road level but this would have knock on implications that would likely rule it out. The glass barrier was considered but the engineers believe that as these can only work where there is no wave action, this may not be an option. Although, we would like to see more investigation here as there is very little wave action in that lagoon area even when water levels have risen in the past. There is also a commitment to revert with options re the final rendering of the wall as well as the addition of some vegetation on the sea side of the wall to tone down the stark appearance when you look back from the Bull Island. And finally, there is a commitment, we believe, to mark out with pegs/strings the heights of the walls that have not yet been finished.

While there was a lot of discussion at the meeting and plenty of information was provided to the councillors who attended there appeared to be a limited appetite on the part of the engineers to address the actual height of the wall itself i.e. the issues raised at last night’s meeting ...

  • What is this wall actually defending?

  • The height requirements in this precise area - do the OPW general guidelines* for coastal areas need to be applied here?

  • The considerable local experience that exists in relation to what actually has caused flooding here in the past and how that might impact on the future.

  • Recognition of the fact that different parts of the coast from Alfie Byrne to the Causeway appear to have

    • different types of flood risk (i.e. widely varying levels of wave action)

    • different existing flood protection (e.g. existing sea walls, gap between sea and property, roadside walls etc.)

    • different requirements to protect (i.e. some areas front onto homes/businesses while others don’t)

  • The wider landscape of Dublin Bay North and the bigger picture. For example some of the issues raised by Dublin Bay Watch in terms of the Causeway and the silting at the north end of the Bull Island.

  • Finally an appreciation of the impact of this wall beyond its only function as a flood protection… i.e. impact on amenity, tourism, etc.

 * One item clarified at the meeting was that this project is not being funded by the OPW and therefore the final height of the wall is not relevant to the funding of the project. So, that appears to mean that Dublin City Council could reduce the heights without recourse to another arm of government. Our understanding is that the funding is provided by National Transport Authority (51%), Irish Water (13%) and Dublin City Council (36%).


Next steps

Councillor Sean Haughey (via Twitter) and Councillor Damian O’Farrell (verbally) have committed to continuing pressing for a reduction in the height of the wall.

Sinn Fein have also issued a joint statement (Cllrs Denise Mitchell, Mícheál Mac Donncha, Ciarán O'Moore and Larry O'Toole) as follows:

"This morning we received a detailed briefing from Dublin City Council officials on the sea wall at Clontarf. We welcome the clarification of the many issues with the wall which have caused widespread public concern.

We share the concern that the raising of the wall height obscures the view of Dublin Bay from the road, especially in front of St Anne's Park

Increasing tidal and wave heights and global warming are set to greatly increase the risk of flooding. The planned height has in fact been reduced as now the coping is being taken into account in the height, which was not the case previously.

We welcome the commitment of officials to bring forward proposals for a better finish to the concrete wall. We pressed for these to be brought forward as soon as possible and official agreed to present them next month.

Officials also made clear that a glass wall is not a practical solution as it would not resist the type of wave action to which the glass wall in Waterford, which is in an estuary, is not subject.

We also stressed the need for better communication with residents by the Council throughout the planning process. Communication was poor in this case and the public must now be fully informed at every stage of the ongoing work."

The next meeting on this matter is a full council meeting scheduled for next Wednesday night. We will have more information on this in due course.


Last night’s Meeting

Following last night’s meeting, we have been contacted by a number of people who were unable to attend for a full rundown of the issues raised. The team at have video recorded the vast majority of last night’s meeting, which will be available to view in full by tomorrow morning.

One of the many issues raised was, the flood defence system in place in Waterford (see below image). The see-through glass barrier in Waterford is a practical solution to any risk of rising tides and sea flooding, while preserving the views of the coastline from all angles and locations.

The glass solution was ruled out in to 2011 however, it should be noted that this decision was ruled out for the area south of the Wooden Bridge, prone to flooding and heavy wave action.

The current stretch of wall under construction north of the Wooden Bridge, lies within a Lagoon that is not subject to the same kind of wave action. So, could it still be possible for a defence wall, similar to that in Waterford City, be put in place from the Wooden Bridge to Watermill Road?

It was also suggested at last night's meeting that individual residents should directly contact the City Manager, Owen Keegan. We would encourage you to do this. His email address is