Warm welcome for plan to replace narrow path at Blackrock Dart station with wide passageway

An extremely narrow path beside Blackrock Dart station — where it’s hard for people to pass each other — is to be replaced by a new wide passageway with separate pedestrian and cycle paths and greenery inside the current wall of Deepwell House, a former house of the Guinness family.

At a local area council meeting this evening, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council councillors strongly welcomed the plan. There was even laughter in the council chamber as one of the councillors, who nearly always objects to active travel projects, supported it.

The project length of 130 metres and a width of 9 metres is planned to include a 3 metre wide two-way cycle track and a footpath of 2 metres. Green areas will be included between both paths and the walls lining the paths.

A section of the route with walls on both sides will be around 90 metres long. Councillors asked if the side of the Dart station could be left open with a railing rather than a wall, but a council official said that it would not be possible as the project will use an existing protected wall.

Margaret Hartnett, a senior council engineer, said that the wall on the Dart line side would be the existing Deepwell House wall, which has architectural or historical value. A new wall would be provided to separate the rest of the house’s garden from the new public paths.

She said that landowner negotiations were ongoing, and there had been a slight delay in bringing the presentation to councillors because of a change in the environmental screening processes outlined by the National Transport Authority.

The current path forms part of the Coastal Mobility Route, but signs tell cyclists to dismount along the section containing the high wall. The current path is hardly wide enough for many bicycles, prams, and wheelchairs to pass at once.

The current timeline for the project includes public consultation on a Part 8 planning process is expected to start in May and run for six weeks, with a report presented in August and the decision made at the full council meeting in September.

IMAGE: A Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council drawing of the plan.

On the park side, a new bridge will be required to replace the existing narrower bridge over the stream, and, on the station side, a shared area for people walking and cycling is proposed before the cycle path exits onto the carriageway on Bath Place outside the train station.

Cllr Marie Baker (Fine Gael) said that the council previously “almost” had the project ready to go previously and it was “long over due given the wonderful two-way cycle path through Blackrock Park.”

She said: “Anybody who knows it knows what a mess it is — you end up flattening yourself against the wall if you come up to a cyclist — quite frankly, the cyclist dismount signage should have been taken down years ago because it’s actually easier to pass the cyclist on the bicycle than if they get off the bicycle, there really isn’t room for everybody to dance their way through.”

Cllr Martha Fanning (Labour) said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see this going forward. As a teenager it wrecked my head and as a mom with a toddler it was very difficult. I didn’t use the park as much as I should have when on maternity leave as it’s just too difficult to navigate with was buggy. You now see people in cargo bikes and they cannot use it either.”

She said that at the weekend, she cycled out to Sandycove on the Coastal Mobility Route, and one of her children was ahead of her for the journey, but she was sure he was okay because it’s a safe path.

Cllr Fanning added it was now up to Dublin City Council to finish their section of the route toward the city centre. The city council’s section of the route via Strand Road was to be trailed 2021, but High Court ruled against the project. The council took the case to the Court of Appeal, but 14 months on from the last hearing of the case, the court has yet to publish its written decision.

Cllr Kate Ruddock (Green Party) said she really welcomed the project, which was important to link Blackrock to the park, and she said she hopes the negotiations with the landowners go well.

Cllr Mary Hanafin (Fianna Fáil) said that officials should keep going with the project as fast as they can and that all the councillors were behind them on this. She said: “Once this is done, the rest will come quite quickly for the seafront area in Blackrock and it could be really positive.”

Cllr Maurice Dockrell (FG) said that he would like to join in with the chorus of approval, and it was a sad sight seeing people with disabilities being unable to easily use the current narrow path.

Cllr Kate Feeney (Fianna Fáil) said that women can feel afraid in the narrowness of the lane.

Cllr Melisa Halpin (People Before Profit) asked if the new area would be lit up, and it was confirmed it would be. She also asked if there was to be a delineation between the cycle path and the pedestrian path

Cllr Michael Clark (Fianna Fáil) said: “Even I like this one” which was quickly followed by laughter in the council chamber. He said: “I could go through my usual suite of objections, but this one is unapologetically excellent” and “would revolutionise the lives of those using active travel in the area.”

Cllr Lorraine Hall (FG) said that the plan was fantastic and would benefit people along the coast who use the cycle route.

Cllr Tom Kivlehan (Green Party) said: “It is a horrific narrow lane to get through, whether you are a cyclist or pedestrian or mothers or fathers with buggies going in the opposite direction, there was always a problem caused here. This has been long awaited.

At the train station side, he said that the design should invite people into the path. He said: “This is going to become a beautiful new entrance to Blackrock Park. We should invite people in.”


  1. Great to learn of this project and that there is overwhelming agreement to go ahead with it.

    However, let us not be foolish. The cynic amongst us will point out rhat the concurrence has only been reached because a dingy lane off the beaten track is to be smartened up in this most salubrious Dublin neighbourhood.

    In addition Michael Clark FF et al are only willing to give their approval because private car owners will not in any way be inconvenienced.

    And the Nimby Brigade have yet to add their say.

    • The most salubrious Dublin neighbourhood part might stand if they weren’t working on it without much success for decades now. It’s probably the worse non-road safety issue on any part of the active primary cycle network in the whole city.

    • If you were talking about the half finished fiasco that is the 2 way cycle lane on Merrion road at Booterstown I’d agree, but this lane is THE main cycling and walking route, and has been for decades (no exaggeration) – I would certainly love to know the real reasons for why it was ignored for so long, and especially when they upgraded the park cycle lanes and still ignored it, extended the dart platform and ignored it, etc., – but there are a LOT of such in your face totally obvious issues that everyone knows- but are ignored like they don’t exist- for example Westmoreland St in Dublin, the dangers of Luas tracks, Strand Road, College Green mess, etc.,
      My guess is that it is certainly a bizarre bowing and scraping to the owners of the big property adjacent the lane, just not realising how central it is out of general ignorance, and the general philosophy of councils which is to take the easy road on everything- hence cycle lanes in out of the way outer suburban areas but none in town and city centres.
      And of course not forgetting fancy photoshop visuals and actual timelines and built reality rarely pan out (Temple Bar Square, portobello square etc.) time will tell.

      • Well said Mark. It’s sad to see so many nearly completed or nearly useful cycle projects. Such a pity they aren’t finished before gadding off to create another half assed one somewhere else. No wonder the cycle infrastructure faces so much opposition.

    • Well said. I remember only so well the grief I got from fellow cyclists when I pointed out this little shortcoming in the route about 10 years ago. The glee club for DLRDCoCo wouldn’t hear of any criticism of a Council that must have a Masters Degree in semi useful cycle schemes. I share your cynicism when it comes to their projects and asking, Who Benefits, seldom brings an answer primarily centered on cyclists. The recent “Living Streets Project” will close a main road across the Town and dump all that additional traffic on adjacent villages. However the resulting closure will probably increase Property values for those that lobbied to close the road, so at least someone is set to benefit.

      • Projects like the Living Streets Project have been shown to work time and time again. It is not just a cycling project but filters as planned, lower traffic levels enough to make cycling safer.


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