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Sandymount Strand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Official nameSandymount Strand/Tolka Estuary
Designated7 June 1996
Reference no.832[1]
Sandymount Strand looking across Dublin Bay to Howth Head
Sandymount Strand looking across Dublin Bay to Howth Head

Sandymount Strand (Irish: Dumhach Thrá) is a large strand on the east coast of Ireland, adjacent to the village and suburb of Sandymount in Dublin. It is part of South Bull - a major component of the south side of Dublin Bay, and part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve. South Bull is a mirror to the North Bull sandbank, which grew into North Bull Island.

Sandymount Strand is a popular place for locals to take a walk. People, and in the past - there is no longer public vehicular access - cars, have been occasionally trapped by the incoming tide. A large inlet of water that remains even at low tide is known locally as "Cockle Lake".


In the 1930s, the strand was included as a suggested location for the construction of a new Dublin airport.[2]

The baths

Sandymount swimming baths; in the background: the Poolbeg Generating Station
Sandymount swimming baths; in the background: the Poolbeg Generating Station

The Merrion Promenade Pier and Baths Co built Sandymount swimming baths in 1883. The baths measured approximately 40 by 40 metres, with a 75-metre pier added in 1884. The pier featured a bandstand halfway along it and summer concerts were regularly held there for many years. By 1920, the pier had deteriorated so much that it had to be demolished. The concrete baths section, which resembles a small harbour, remains.

Martello Tower

About halfway along the strand is a Martello tower, part of a system of defences built in 1804[3] to warn of an invasion by Napoleon. The Tower was used by the Dublin United Tramways Company as an office,[4] and was also a popular cafe back in the 1960s. An attempt to turn the tower into a restaurant led to the installation of a large window with roller blinds on the seaward side of the tower. The restaurant never opened, leaving the tower with the modified window.

An Cailín Bán / Awaiting the Mariner sculpture on Sandymount Strand.
An Cailín Bán / Awaiting the Mariner sculpture on Sandymount Strand.

Awaiting the Mariner (An Cailín Bán)

At the end of the strand walkway lies a 20-foot high metal sculpture donated by Mexican President Vicente Fox in November 2002, symbolizing the friendship between the Irish and Mexican people. This work, named Awaiting the Mariner, was created by Mexican sculptor Sebastián and was the first permanent work by a Mexican artist in Dublin. There was a mixed reaction when the sculpture was originally placed from residents.[5]

Gallan Gréine

The Gallan Gréine marker stone is located at the end of the strand beside the Irishtown playing fields. Carved by Cliodna Cussen and dedicated to James Joyce in 1983, a sighting stone stands 300 metres to the west and when aligned with the marker stone to the east, indicates the winter solstice with the sun rising over Killiney Hill around 21 December each year. The face of this stone is also a sundial.[6][7]

In fiction

In long lassoes from the Cock lake the water flowed full, covering greengoldenly lagoons of sand, rising, flowing

- Ulysses, James Joyce.

James Joyce based two episodes of his epic 1922 novel Ulysses at the beach;

On the morning of Bloomsday, in the Proteus episode, Stephen Dedalus wanders "into eternity" on the strand; later the same day, Leopold Bloom sits on a rock and watches while young Gertie lifts her skirt as Bloom masturbates. It was this incident in the Nausicaa episode which led to the banning of the book in the United States for alleged obscenity.


  1. ^ "Sandymount Strand/Tolka Estuary". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ McAteer, Desmond (1935). "Suggested Airport for Dublin". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review. 24 93: 73–84 – via
  3. ^ Clements, Bill (2011). Martello Towers Worldwide. Pen and Sword. p. 214. ISBN 978-1-8488-4535-0.
  4. ^ "The Martello Tower in Sandymount". Dublin City Council. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Sculpture on Sandymount strand creates shock waves". 6 November 2002. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Sandymount Walking Trail Map & Guide", Dublin City Council, 2015, retrieved 17 March 2017, The Gallan Gréine marker stone was carved by Cliodna Cussen and dedicated to James Joyce in 1983 [..] The face of this stone is also a sundial
  7. ^ Leeza Kane (30 December 2013), "D4 Local Sculpture Explained", Four News, retrieved 17 March 2017

External links

This page was last edited on 20 March 2021, at 08:25
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