Balbriggan Harbour, County Fingal (Minor Harbours of Ireland) - UCD Digital Library

Balbriggan Harbour, County Fingal (Minor Harbours of Ireland)

Abstract: This collection contains files which describe the construction and evolution of Balbriggan Harbour, County Fingal, from its earliest structure to its current form.

Is part ofMinor Harbours of Ireland

This visualisation provides an interactive view of the LiDAR associated with this collection. It is also equipped with measurement tools to calculate distances or areas and profile or clipping tools for close-up inspections.

Link to full screen visualisation:

Origin information
Dublin, Ireland : University College Dublin
Date created:
Type of Resource
still image
mixed material
Physical description
4 items
Physical description: Files include LiDAR point cloud data, and a bibliography of materials such as manuscripts, images, and printed materials relating to Balbriggan Harbour.
Biographical/historical information
The harbour at Balbriggan was largely built for trade through the efforts of the Hamilton family, who were the principal tenants of the land under deed to Viscount Kingsland from 1718 to 1885 when the estate was sold (Board, 1876). The original 'kay' designed by Oliver Grace and built before 1760 on the south side of the estuary was likely constructed of timber casing filled with rubble stone and was financed by the Hamiltons (Ireland, 1761-62). A parliamentary grant of £1500, secured by the Hamiltons in 1761, led to the rebuilding and extension of this pier, which was designed by Christopher Myers and Thomas Eyre, the Surveyor General (Anon., 1764; Ireland, 1761-62). An additional grant of £3721 in 1765 aided in extending the pier to its current form and building of a lighthouse (Ireland, 1765-72). The pier consists of a heavy rubble stone base surmounted by randomly coursed hewn stone with storm wall or parapet, protected by rock armour to the seaward face. The matching west pier was built incrementally during the course of the 19th century. The first west pier was designed by James Donnell before 1822, prior to his work with the Commissioners of Irish Fisheries, and partially financed by the Hamiltons (Gilligan, 1988; Rennie,1818). This was later extended to designs by Donnell, then working as engineer to the Commissioners, between 1825 and 1829 and built by James Kinffe, financed with a grant of £2,666 from the Commissioners (Office, 1825-1848). It was built, as the east pier, of randomly coursed hewn stone, with a low parapet wall. Following the building of the railway viaduct between 1843-44, the inner harbour south-west of the viaduct was no longer accessible. The Board of Public Works planned to deepen the harbour, through the removal of rock, and to build a new quay north of and parallel to the viaduct in 1848, but it is uncertain whether this work was undertaken at this date (Office, 1825-1848). The inner harbour was later occupied by the gas works, as can be seen on the OSI 25" series from 1909, though not in-filled until a later date. This area was developed as a surface car park after 1980. By 1866 the financial burden of maintaining the harbour had become too great and the Hamilton family requested that the Dublin Port assume responsibility, as it had for some years been used as an out port to Dublin (Gilligan, 1988). Following this transfer in 1867, Bindon Blood Stoney, the Chief Engineer of Dublin Port, designed the final extension of the west pier between 1869 and 1871 to its current form (Mulherin, 2000). This was a dressed ashlar granite extension to the earlier west pier. As the south-west quay wall at the viaduct and part of main pier adjoining it is of dressed ashlar granite, consistent with the last extension to the west pier, it seems likely this work was done at the same time. In addition to major repairs to the east pier following storm damage in 1896, by 1911 Dublin Port had also removed the end of ballast pier on the west pier (Mulherin, 2000). Storm damage in 1978 to the main pier resulted in significant expenditures by Dublin Port to repair the storm wall near the lighthouse with concrete and led to negotiations to transfer ownership between the port and Dublin County (Gilligan, 1988). Ownership of the harbour was transferred to Fingal County Council after 2000, who made further repairs in concrete to the east pier following storm damage in 2005 (Ambarchian et al., 2006).
Site information
Alternative Names: None.
Site information
County: Fingal.
Site information
Irish National Grid Coordinates: 320627, 264016.
Site information
National Monuments Service/National Inventory of Architectural Heritage reference: 11305018.
Site information
Geomorphological: Estuary.
Site information
Date of Construction: East pier [c.1755]; extension/rebuilding of east pier and lighthouse [1761-65]; west pier [before 1822]; Extension of west pier [1825-29]; Deepening of harbour [1848]; Final extension of west pier [1869-71]; Infilling of inner basin [after 1909?].
Site information
Form: Two piers, two slipways and lighthouse.
Site information
Builder: Unknown [c.1755, 1761-65]; James Kinffe [1825-29].
Site information
Engineer: Oliver Grace [c.1755]; Christopher Myers and Thomas Eyre [1761-65]; James Donnell [before 1822, 1825-29]; Barry Gibbons [1848]; Bindon Blood Stoney [1869-71]
Site information
Ownership: Barnewall, Viscount Kingsland [c.1414 -1718]; Hamilton Family, principal tenants of Kingsland estate [1718- 1867]; Dublin Port [1867-c.2000]; Fingal County Council [c.2000-present].
Site information
Building Material: Main east pier built of boulders as base surmounted by rough blockwork pier, repaired with concrete at storm breach from 1978. West pier of poorly coursed rubble with dressed ashlar granite on final extension. South west quay wall at viaduct and part of main pier adjoining also of dressed ashlar granite.
Harbours, Ireland, Maritime, Engineering, Heritage at Risk, LiDAR, Transportable Data, Balbriggan, 18th century, 19th century, James Kinffe, Oliver Grace, Christopher Myers, Thomas Eyre, James Donnell, Barry Gibbons, Bindon Blood Stoney, Barnewall, Viscount Kingsland, Hamilton Family, Dublin Port, Fingal County Council, Stone, Fingal.
Map centre point
53.61227068,-6.178100264 (WGS84 (EPSG:4326))
Map bounding box
southlimit=53.609798; westlimit=-6.182105; northlimit= 53.613253; eastlimit=-6.177092 (WGS84 (EPSG:4326))
Remote sensing image Photographs   linked data (gmgpc) Dataset   linked data (dct)
Balbriggan Harbour (Ireland)
Hydraulic engineering--Ireland
Hydraulic structures--Protection--Ireland
Historic sites--Ireland
Optical radar
Ireland--Remote-sensing images
Harbors--Ireland--Dublin (County)
Building material
Building material
Rough blockwork (dry stone)
Building material
Poorly coursed rubble
Building material
Ashlar (dressed stone)
Building material
Reinforced concrete cast-in-situ
Stone type
University College Dublin, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy. Elizabeth Shotton . MHI/BALBRIGGAN
Suggested credit
"Balbriggan Harbour, County Fingal (Minor Harbours of Ireland)," held by Elizabeth Shotton. © University College Dublin; and Elizabeth Shotton. Digital content by University College Dublin; and Elizabeth Shotton, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin <>
Funder: Irish Research Council ; funder identifier: ; award number: R15353.

Part of
Minor Harbours of Ireland (2019-02-19) (2015) –
Record source
Descriptions created by staff of UCD Library, University College Dublin based on information provided by the Minor Harbours project team. — Metadata creation date: 2017-11-29

Rights & Usage Conditions

Creative Commons License
Balbriggan Harbour, County Fingal (Minor Harbours of Ireland) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright of the original resource: University College Dublin and Elizabeth Shotton

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