Dun Laoghaire Baths/Rainbow Rapids, Dublin City – December 2013

The Dun Laoghaire Baths/Rainbow Rapids have been well covered by most other explorers in the country so I’m a bit late to the party with this one. Nonetheless below are the photos from my recent visit.

Bathing facilities have existed on this site since 1843. The site was then renovated in the early 1900s and several additions and upgrades were made during the rest of the century including the addition of two slides which led from the top of the building to a small indoor pool. In 1997 the complex closed it’s doors and has lain vacant ever since. Several plans had been drawn up for redevelopment of the site but none have come to fruition. The current plan is to level part of the site and build a walkway through it. For the moment though the complex remains vacant, the only regular visitors being the heroin addicts of Dun Laoghaire.

The interior of the complex is in a terrible state. It has been devastated by vandalism and fire damage. Some of the murals from the time when the Rainbow Rapids facility existed still remain on the walls however they are mostly covered in graffiti.

Sleeping bags and old clothes litter the floor in the changing rooms area so it’s clear to see that the heroin addicts and homeless of Dun Laoghaire sometimes spend their nights here. I was lucky not to bump into anyone during my visit.

The main thing you notice in the building though is the amount of drug use that is going on in here. Needles litter the floor, as well as burnt spoons, used lighters and discarded tin foil. There are a large amount of these items discarded throughout the building so it must be used fairly regularly by the heroin addicts of Dun Laoghaire. In one room I came across a newly bought roll of tin foil set up on a table ready for some heroin to be placed in it and smoked (rather than injected as is the most common method.)

Continuing through the building I come across the exit of the old slides of the Rainbow Rapids, they make for a sorry sight. The roof has recently collapsed in on them.

After a good hour exploring the complex (luckily without attracting any attention) I made my way back out again onto the clean paths of Dun Laoghaire, a world away from the heroin den which exists hidden just metres away.