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Liffey Boardwalk

  • Architect:
    McGarry NíÉanaigh Architects
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2001
  • Location: Dublin
Liffey Boardwalk


Dublin (over £100,000)

A radical and important piece of urban intervention, this project makes a singular contribution to the living city. 

Architects Comments
The Boardwalk was the brainchild of Dublin Corporation City Architect’s Division and originated in 1997 as a new 650 metre long pedestrian route, which would reintroduce Dubliners to the river and provide relief from the traffic chaos of the north quays. The location has the enormous benefit of being south facing and not overshadowed - walking along the water in the sun being both enjoyable and memorable. 

Conceptually the Boardwalk is a continuous promenade and the design intention was therefore to maintain its continuity where interrupted by the existing bridges. Connections at the Halfpenny Bridge, O’Connell and Grattan Bridges are all immediate. At the Millennium Bridge the preference of the bridge’s designers was respected, resulting in the Boardwalk being held back some metres 20 on both sides. 

The level of the Boardwalk below pavement is determined by a number of factors - the degree of accessibility afforded to the mobility impaired, an acceptable incidence of predictable flooding of the deck, the likelihood of floating debris fouling the diagonal struts, the issue of corrosion of those elements below the freshwater level and the design intention to separate footpath and Boardwalk. 

Clients Comments 
The sense that the visual potential of the river in the Inner City area has not been realised led Dublin Corporation to formulate a programme of works to bridges and quays. The Bridges between Heuston Station and the Customs House have been repainted to colour schemes by Limerick Artist Samuel Walsh and decorative lighting installed. Then, to address the traffic problem, which made walking by the river such a hazardous experience, the concept of the Boardwalk on the North, and sunny, side of the quays was generated. 

The design team has met the requirements of our brief to an exceptional extent, balancing structural complications with tidal restrictions and yet to provide a generous space with a comfortable relationship to the quayside footpaths. Its immediate public acceptability has been clear even at a time of the year not conducive to taking riverside walks. The operation of the coffee stalls will, in warmer weather, greatly add to its success.

Very finely detailed, the Boardwalk expresses the Corporation’s intention to add to the range of public facilities in the city as well as upgrading and maintaining existing ones. Its success will accelerate public demand for continued improvement in the quality of the Liffey and will, at the next stage of development, see the reconsideration of a tidal control mechanism. The project is a source of great pride to all Corporation staff.