Blessington Street Basin

Measuring 0.75 hectares and located in the heart of Dublin’s north inner city, and within easy walking distance of O’Connell Street, the Basin has a long and varied history. Construction began around 1803 to provide a reservoir for the city water supply which until then was sourced from Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath. From the date of the completion of the Vartry Reservoir system in the 1860’s Blessington Street Basin’s water was then used exclusively to supply distilleries in Bow Street (Jamesons) and John’s Lane (Powers) and this continued until 1970 and 1976 respectively.

Blessington Street Basin was built in the nineteenth century to provide a clean water supply to the northside of Dublin city. It was opened in 1810 and officially named the Royal George Reservoir, but most Dubliners simply referred to it as ‘the basin’. The basin could hold four million gallons of water and it got its water from Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath.

If you would like to meet a few ducks and swans in Phibsborough, you should make your way to the Blessington Street Basin at the end of Blessington Street.

The Blessington Street Basin was built in the early nineteenth century to provide a clean water supply to the northside of the city. It was opened in 1810 and officially named ‘the Royal George Reservoir’. A reservoir is an area like a lake, where water is kept until it is needed.

Blessington Street Basin was built in honour of King George III but Dubliners, quickly forgot this fact, and simply referred to it as ‘the Basin’.

The northside’s water supply came from Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath. The water was brought to Dublin by the Royal Canal and through a two-mile pipe to Blessington Street. There was a lot of water needed and the Basin could hold four million gallons of water.

In 1869 even more water was needed, and a new reservoir was built at Vartry in Co. Wicklow. However, the Basin continued to supply water to Jameson’s distilleries in Bow Street and Power’s distilleries in John’s Lane until the mid-1970s. It then became a public park but so few Dubliners knew of its existence then that it became known as ‘the secret garden’.

The Basin was completely refurbished in 1993/94 with the help of Fas and financial contributions from the National Heritage Council and ALONE. Now this quiet haven in a bustling metropolis provides a secret garden for local residents and visitors alike.

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