Sea Locks – Royal Canal

Restoration of the Sea Locks

In May 2008, aided by a 250 ton crane, a new pair of outer tidal lock gates were installed at the Spencer Dock Sea Lock. This should dramatically reduce the risk of tidal flooding along the Canal’s banks between the River Liffey and Newcomen Lock. The inner lock gates are next to be installed [when?] and repairs will also be made to the historic walls around the Sea Lock. Once the restoration is complete, vessels will be able to safely navigate from Spencer Dock through to the River Liffey for the first time since its closure. Preparations are also underway for the diversion of the water, electrical and communication services that presently restrict vessel access from the River Liffey through to the Royal Canal.

Spencer Dock Bridge

One of the most exciting aspects of the Spencer Dock is the new Spencer Dock Bridge—a curvy 131-foot-long span located within the Linear Park, funded by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and the Rail Procurement Agency. Designed by Future Systems, this bridge will carry automobiles, pedestrians and the new Luas line. The bridge features a 62-foot to 95-foot-wide, shallow deck—just two feet thick—supported at its centre by two piers. The €4.5 million bridge has been likened to a manta ray, although this wasn’t the inspiration behind the design. From west to east, the main deck slopes up like a fin, rising by some six feet along its length. The centre points of the bridge’s north and south sides bow out some 16 feet to form cantilevered decks over the water, offering pedestrians views up and down the canal. These viewing spots are also devised as useful meeting places for people. At night, the bridges white concrete-clad underside will be illuminated by vibrant colored lights bringing it into step with the lights of the Royal Canal Linear Park.

The Royal Canal Linear Park

The Royal Canal Linear Park, sometimes known as the Harlequin Gardens, is an on-going project based on a winning design by Paris-based by French landscape and urban design company, Agence Ter. The six-hectare (1.4km) public green will eventually run from the Liffey, beside the new Convention Centre, northwards for 1.4km to North Strand Road. Blurring the distinction between canal and bank, the design includes floating gardens on pontoons, semi-transparent pavilions, cafes, playgrounds, cycling paths and sports pitches. Trees will be native species, such as oak and white willow, while flower beds will be mostly planted with exotic plants. Lighting designer Yves Adrien, of Coup d’Eclat, will work with the plant colours in his scheme, offering red glows against crimson blooms and such like. Such a setting will work well for events like the Coca-Cola Cinemagic Film and Television Festival for Young People which held its inaugural festivities at Spencer Dock in February 2008. The park should also work neatly alongside the new Luas canal bridge designed by Future Systems. The project will also open up the Royal Canal as a public amenity, encouraging use of the inland waterways between the River Liffey and the River Shannon for boating, walking and fishing.

 Turtle Bunbury