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Liffey Boardwalk

Dublin City Centre

McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects

The brainchild (south side of the River) of the City Architects Department, the Boardwalk originated in 1997 (Phase 1) as a new 650m long pedestrian route which would re-introduce Dubliners to the River Liffey, providing pedestrian relief from the traffic chaos. Design development established the project on the north side of the river this location having the enormous benefit of being south-facing and not overshadowed.Walking along water in the sun is memorable.The immediate design issues were structural.The intention was to leave the existing granite quay walls intact and use a simple cantilever, counter-weighted under the footpath, however the main national trunk fibre-optic cables under the footpath precluded this. The ultimate solution was a system of propped cantilever frames tied to the top of a series of rock anchors thus leaving the footpath undisturbed.The rock anchors were drilled diagonally down to bedrock c 12m below. The level of the boardwalk was determined by universal access, an acceptable incidence of predictable flooding of the deck: the likelihood of floating debris fouling the diagonal struts: the issue of corrosion of those elements below the freshwater level: and the design intension to separate footpath and boardwalk. The prototype / painted steel structure, ekki deck and leaning rail was installed on site and detail design modification followed.The Boardwalk is both promenade and venue.Walking along and over a river on a timber deck in the sun is both enjoyable and memorable, sitting with your back to a quay wall chatting or having a coffee all proved very popular. With phase 1, the volume of use far exceeding that anticipated. Phase 11 happened quickly thereafter. 

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