Ballyfermot’s new pool complex a positive legacy of the boom

The Celtic Tiger has vanished, as we all know, but some positive legacies have been left for people to enjoy during the recession when we’ll have more time to relax. Foremost among these legacies is Gilroy McMahon’s great stadium at Croke Park, but the projects also include a range of arts and leisure centres throughout the country. Of course, it will be argued that communities such as Ballyfermot should have been provided with a fine leisure centre when the area was developed in the 1950s and 1960s. All it got, however, was a standard-issue swimming pool in the 1970s, not dissimilar in style from the old Markievicz Pool in Townsend Street. The Seán Dunne Pool (named in memory of a Labour councillor from Ballyfermot) was located on a backland site at the edge of Le Fanu Park. Tucked out of view, it couldn’t be seen from the main street – and this seemed to architects McGarry Ní Éanaigh to be “sending the wrong signal for a public building”. So after first looking at a possible renovation scheme, they strongly recommended to Dublin City Council that it should be replaced with a new building that would, by its sheer presence, reinforce the public domain and be visible from the main street – as well as forming a new entrance and edge to the playing fields.

The Irish Times