Low Quay Walls in Dublin City Centre

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Existing Building Issues

Low Liffey quay walls, DublinWalking along the River Liffey in Dublin City Centre recently, I was surprised at how low the protective quay walls were in some places. I measured the barrier heights as 700mm in two particularly areas I walked past. One was close to the Four Courts while the other was close to O’Connell Bridge. The low wall close to O’Connell Bridge seemed especially dangerous as it was at a busy location and is beside a taxi rank.

At the location close to O’Connell Bridge, a short length of steel barrier of higher height had been installed. While this showed that somebody was concerned enough to act, its length was too short, and it needs to be extended to protect pedestrians. See photograph below, click to enlarge.

Low quay wall at O'Connell Bridge, Dublin
Low quay wall at O’Connell Bridge

You can  imagine someone, late at night, tired, leaning against the wall while waiting for a taxi, and potentially falling into the river below.

When designing balustrades the minimum height in this type of location should be 1,100mm. Many people fall into the River Liffey every year and a sensible step would seem to be to raise all barrier walls to the above minimum height.

3 thoughts on “Low Quay Walls in Dublin City Centre

  1. We can’t start applying the nanny state approach to health & safety risks associated with a “potential hazard”. People have to take some responsibilities in their own actions to ensure their own and other people’s safety. Otherwise, we’d have to put barricades up beside all the streets. Luckily transport of this sort was designed in a different time, otherwise, it would have never been approved by the H&S Police.

  2. It’s the few who spoils it all for everyone. Those you touch, when it clearly says “Hot Surface, Don’t Touch”.

    E.g., A number of H&S cases caused many beaches around the UK to be closed off from vehicle access, resulting in those towns being abandoned as a day trip location.

  3. Fair point about the height of the walls, and probably not the best place to wait for a taxi late at night.

    I thought there was city planning talk, during the boom, of putting a structure in place to limit tidal surges on the Liffey. So that the water level would only rise so far? I wonder if that would be the long-term plan? If so, better to fund that than be adding courses to various river walls one by one, I’d say.

    All I see in town is a new bridge being built, no walls being raised. Maybe that will help with traffic bottlenecks in Dublin. You would think that a tidal barrier would take priority, all the same. I hope something is on the to-do list for the city there.

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