Great South Wall

The approach to Dublin Port had long been plagued by sandbars obstructing the entrance and also by frequent squalls and stormy conditions.

To alleviate the situation, in 1716, the Ballast Office (predecessor of the Dublin Port Company) commenced the city's most ambitious civic construction to date. From the harbour at Ringsend to Poolbeg Lighthouse a sea wall of 3 miles (5 Km) in length, the world's longest at the time, was built. Initially the Great South Wall was composed of wooden piles on the outside filled in between with gravel. It soon became necessary to strengthen the walls with revetments of hewn granite taken across Dublin Bay on barges from the quarries in Dalkey.

The work was more or less finished in 1786. Meanwhile at the “Head of the Piles” (the end of the wall) an island of masonry was laid down on which Poolbeg Lighthouse was built. It was ready in 1767 and initially operated on candlepower (reputedly the first in the world to do so) but changed to oil in 1786.

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