Dublin Port (Irish: Calafort Átha Cliath) is the seaport of Dublin, Ireland, of both historical and contemporary economic importance. Approximatively two-thirds of Ireland's port traffic travels via the port, which is by far the busiest on the island of Ireland.
The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the main part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay. The element of the port on the south side of the river is much smaller (51 hectares or 130 acres) and lies at the beginning of the Poolbeg peninsula.
The main activity of the port is freight handling, with a wide range of vessels, from large container carriers to small diesel lighters, visiting daily.
Roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry services run regularly across the Irish Sea to Holyhead in Wales, Liverpool in England and in the summer months and at Christmas to Douglas, Isle of Man. Services also go to Cherbourg, France. The largest car ferry in the world, the Irish Ferries ship MV Ulysses which can carry up to 2000 passengers, runs on the Holyhead route. A new ship MV W.B. Yeats entered service in 2018 and is on the Cherbourg route.
Another company CLDN’s has ships that travel 6 times a week to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge and use the latest super ferries in Europe: MV Celine and MV Delphine. These are world’s largest short-sea Ro-Ro vessels with 8 km of road space on board. They do not take trucks on board just the trailers.
Dublin Port is also increasingly a docking point for cruise liners. Celebrity Eclipse began to home port in Dublin on 29 April 2018, and the port authorities reported 158 cruise ship visits in 2019. A temporary facility, Terminal 7, was created between Promenade and Tolka Quay Road at Branch Road; entered from Promenade Road, this allows cruise guests to check-in and leave baggage. A shuttle services transports guests to Ocean Pier 33. A new baggage claim facility was added to Ocean Pier 33 for guests to use when disembarking.
The port is operated by the semi-state Dublin Port Company, incorporated on 28 February 1997 (formerly the Dublin Port and Docks Board, and successor to the Ballast Board founded in 1707), the headquarters of which are located just beyond the main port entrance on the northern side of the Liffey. In 2017 the area around the headquarters was rebuilt with the installation of heritage crane and creation of a maritime garden. It is a landlord Port responsible for infrastructure of the Port which is then operated by private sector customers; ferry companies, terminal operators and stevedores.
According to DPC, the port handled 23.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2003, as well as 1,426,000 passengers. That year 7,917 ships docked in the port, including 54 cruise liners carrying 54,000 visitors. In April 2010, the Dublin Port Company announced its "busiest week ever", following restrictions placed on European airspace because of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Some 72,118 passengers were reported to have travelled through the ferry terminals during the week 15–21 April. That week saw the culmination of increased trade in Dublin Port, as the company's figures for the first quarter of 2010 would eventually reveal. March 2010 saw a 13.5% trade increase when compared with March 2009, and that month was declared by the company as the fourth consecutive month of trade increase since the economic downturn. The figures of imports and exports declined during the depression of 2010 but then increased during the decade and in 2019, 38.1million tonnes of cargo was handled and there were 7,898 ship movements of which 158 were cruise ships.
The Port Company is responsible for pilotage services within Dublin Bay, and manages the three port lighthouses (but not those of Howth or Kish Bank). It also operated two drydocks, which were closed in 2016.
Within the main port enclave, on the north side of the river, are a power generating station (gas-fired), several oil terminals and number of slightly-related businesses, and a Circle K petrol station on Bond Road. Entered at the north side of the port, but lying in East Wall, is one end of the Dublin Port Tunnel.
Since 2015 DPC has been involved in a series of heritage and community projects, including the Diving Bell Museum, the Tolka Greenway, the Maritime Garden, the Pumphouse Heritage Zone, and in 2020 announced the Liffey to Tolka Greenway with Grafton Architects.
The medieval port of Dublin was located on the south bank of the Liffey near Christ Church Cathedral, a few kilometres upstream from its current location. In 1715, work began on the Great South Wall was constructed to shelter the entrance to the port. Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end of the South Bull Wall was constructed in 1767. The wall was finally completed in 1795 measuring 5 km. This protected the port from the shifting sands of Dublin Bay.
In 1800, a three month survey of Dublin Bay conducted by Captain William Bligh recommended the construction of the Bull Wall. After the completion of the wall in 1825, North Bull Island slowly formed as sand built up behind it.
After James Gandon's Custom House was built further downstream in 1791, the port moved downstream to the north bank of the river estuary, where the International Financial Services Centre is currently located. The noise and dirt associated with the port traffic contributed to the decline of the formerly fashionable Mountjoy Square area, with many wealthy families moving to the Southside.
A Masterplan 2040 was published by the Dublin Port Company in 2012 setting out a plan to improve capacity at the Port and a commitment not to expand the Port into Dublin Bay. Prior to the Masterplan, over 40 years, the Dublin Port authorities had been exploring a controversial proposal to in-fill 21 hectares (52 acres) of Dublin Bay. The proposed development of Dublin Port which would have increased its capacity by 50 per cent was rejected by Bord Pleanála in June 2010.
A connection from Dublin Connolly to Dublin Port can be reached by taking the Red Line tram to the Point Stop and it is a 45 minute walk to Terminal 1. An alternative is to take Dublin Bus route 53 or by taxi.