THE DUBLIN DOCKLANDS EXPERIENCE TOUR
Within the reaches of living memory, Dublin's docklands were a bustling hub of commerce and trade, but rather different to the thriving, high-tech and cosmopolitan centre the district has become today, encompassing the Irish Financial Services Centre and providing a home for Google's European headquarters. With coal-ships bringing in their daily cargoes, the waterfront was dominated by the gasworks, foundries, mills, factories, coal sheds and cattle yards. The streets and quaysides were a hectic flurry of carthorses and donkeys, trucks, trams, wagons and bicyles, all swerving throughout the throng of dockers, coalmen, gangers, merchants, sailors, stevedores and journeymen plying their trades. Peer into the underworld of prostitutes, fisherwomen, shawlies, tramps, alcoholics, drudges and barefoot children who lived at the edges of this great maritime entrepôt. Plumes of smoke, coal fumes and smog wisped the sturdy stone Georgian warehouses and merchants’ offices still visible between the shiny, streamlined contemporary buildings of glass and concrete which now slice the skyline.
This unique guided stroll through the capital's dockland's area evokes and explains its varying fortunes and declines through the ages: from the construction of what was once the world's largest docks at Grand Canal Basin, through Dublin's eighteenth century heyday as second city of the British Empire, its role in the war of Independence, twentieth century decline and recent rejuvenation and redevelopment as an economic hub and powerhouse of the Celtic Tiger era.
Peering deep into the waters of history, find out how the very ground Ireland’s capital port was built upon is land reclaimed from the tidal slobs and marshlands of the Liffey estuary, itself once a vast waterway when the first Viking vessels nosed their way upstream some 1,200 years ago to found Europe's largest slave market. You'll learn about the pioneering characters who made Dublin's docks a going concern, and whose names still grace the quays and streets of the locality, including tales of Binden Blood Stoney, Sir John Rogerson and many others. Explore a pivotal time in Irish history as you find out how the Boland's flour mill and bakery were at the heart of the 1916 Easter Rising.
You'll learn of local links to literary luminaries such as writer Sean O'Casey and playwright Samuel Beckett whose names now grace two of Dublin's newest and most impressive bridges. Find out about the steady flow of human misery through Dublin port during the Great Hunger, catch a glimpse of a working replica famine ship moored on the Liffey, the Jeannie Johnson, and hear of her sinking and subsequent rebuilding. Other notable vessels include the Cill Airne, now a floating restaurant, the old Aran Islands ferry St Enda, an early 20th century lifeboat, and a range of other exciting heritage vessels that regularly visit Dublin’s city quays.
You'll also have the chance to toast a Guinness barge, hear of U2's ongoing relationship with the Docks, and see some of the splendid modern architecture of the contemporary docklands, utterly transformed from dereliction and disuse to a world-class cosmopolitan centre and exemplar of urban renewal.
And dont forget about the "smugglers" and "pirates" !
Contact us today to enquire about a private Dublin Docklands Tour for your group