In the following sections we will describe the route, highlight some of the advances in the design since 2019 and some of the more notable changes that have been implemented.
You can click on the boxes below to expand the route description which has been split into four sections.
The route commences at the Estuary terminus station, which features a 3,000 space multi-storey Park and Ride car park to attract commuters from a much wider catchment area along the M1 motorway and the old Belfast Road, the R132 and surrounding areas.
Estuary Station serves a future development zone which will allow housing to develop in an integrated fashion around the station and Park and Ride. The proposed Swords Western Distributor Road which lies immediately north of the station will form a crucial link from north west Swords to the station.
The location of Estuary station remains the same as indicated earlier but the shape of the station has changed.
The route travels south from the Park and Ride on a viaduct over the Broadmeadow and Ward rivers, passing near the two protected structures in the area the Lissenhall and Balheary bridges. We have moved the alignment here in order to avoid these structures and in recognition of the importance of Architecture and Cultural Heritage. Therefore, to avoid direct impact on these structures the alignment has moved to provide a buffer zone.
The route then runs along Balheary Park adjacent to the playing pitches of Fingallians and Swords Celtic FC. Consultations are ongoing with Fingal County Council and the local sports clubs who use the park. At MetroLink we recognise the importance of this local amenity and are committed to maintaining the clubs’ operations throughout the entire construction period. Discussions are ongoing with each of the clubs and MetroLink recently engaged a specialist pitch designer who will redesign the pitches to suit the needs of the local sports clubs as important stakeholders.
Fingal County Council (FCC), in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) are undertaking an initiative to urbanise the R132 which will improve road safety, connectivity and pedestrian and cycling facilities. To achieve this, it is proposed to replace the existing roundabouts with signalised junctions and incorporating controlled pedestrian crossings. This scheme will also improve pedestrian and cycling facilities along the route. The MetroLink team is co-ordinating closely with FCC and NTA to ensure both schemes are integrated and relevant access along the R132 is provided to satisfy future developments and the residents’ needs.
From Balheary Park, the route travels in cut and cover under Estuary Roundabout to the west of the R132. There is an open cut section through the green area at Seatown Villas. Between the Estuary and Seatown Roundabouts, the route crosses under the R132 using the cut and cover method to the east side of the road. The route travels in cut and cover at Estuary Court and under Seatown roundabout. The station is located within the grounds of Hertz Europe Service Centre which is conveniently located, right beside the junction of Seatown Road and the R132 and serves the residential areas of north Swords as well as local retail and business parks.
The route then travels to the east of the R132 up to the Chapel Lane footbridge. A new pedestrian crossing is being developed as part of the R132 Connectivity Project which will be in place before MetroLink is operational. The removal of the footbridge at Chapel Lane will form part of the MetroLink works. Cut and cover is now proposed from the footbridge and under Ashley Avenue’s green area, then under the Malahide roundabout, which is a significant change in response to local feedback and we are happy to say has been well received locally. We appreciate that the construction period will present challenges here and we look forward to working through these challenges with the local community.
Swords Station is located adjacent to the R132 and will be an integral part of the proposed R132 Connectivity Project which will link the Pavilions Shopping Centre with the proposed Barrysparks Development to the east of the R132. A pedestrian crossing is now proposed which will provide a connection to the shopping centre, bus stops and Swords town centre.
There are currently 4 pedestrian bridges crossing the R132 which will be removed during the construction of MetroLink:
New signalised pedestrian crossings will be established in advance of the bridges coming down.
Fosterstown Station is located adjacent to the R132, just north of Airside Retail Park and close to the Boróimhe Estate. It is expected this station will attract commuters from a wider catchment area including West Swords, Holywell, Malahide, Feltrim and Kinsealy.
The line will continue to follow the R132 and go under the Nevinstown Lane junction. Then, just south of the Texaco station, it will go under the R132 to cross to the west side and continue on in cutting towards Dublin Airport. Just north of the Naul Road is the location of the substation and the northern portal tunnel launch site. A tunnel boring machine (TBM) will enter the ground south of Dublin Airport and bore a short tunnel northwards under the airport.
The Airport Station is located in the heart of Dublin Airport at what is now the T2 surface car park; from here commuters will have a short walk to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The station will be integrated with the future Ground Transportation Centre, a major transportation hub included in the Masterplan for Dublin Airport. Passengers’ journey time to Dublin Airport will be less than 20 minutes from the city centre.
Dublin Airport itself supports 117,300 jobs in the Irish economy, and 19,200 of these are employed directly at the airport and its environs.
MetroLink will come out of the tunnel after Dublin Airport south of the Old Airport Road. The future Dardistown Station is located in the heart of the area south of the Airport which is the site of a major planned development zone, expected to generate significant levels of population growth and employment. The station will open when the area is further developed with new housing and all the related sustainable infrastructure and services are in place.
The MetroLink Maintenance and Vehicle Storage Depot is now located south of the Old Airport Road which is another change from our earlier announcements.
The proposed alignment will have some impact on the grounds of Whitehall Rangers Football Club, Starlights GAA Club and Na Fianna GAA club. Discussions are ongoing with each of the clubs to find reasonable accommodations and we look forward to working with each of the clubs in the coming years.
The station is located under the carriageway of the R108 with access from the east and west side of the carriageway. The surrounding area includes a range of commercial, residential and retail uses including Gulliver’s Retail Park, Musgraves head offices and Ikea. There will be substantial redevelopments in the coming years with a mixed use of commercial and residential developments by Lidl and Dublin City Council. The Ballymun to City Centre BusConnects core bus corridor commences at Northwood. Like elsewhere provision for cycling interchange is a core value for MetroLink and we are including approximately 400 parking spaces for bicycles here.
The launch site for the tunnel boring machine is located at Northwood in lands west of the R108. This location provides easy access to the M50 for the movement of spoil and waste from the tunnel. From here the route travels all the way to Charlemont in a single bore tunnel.
This is an important station which will serve the new Ballymun Town Centre. Located conveniently under the old Ballymun Shopping Centre, close to the planned Civic Plaza in the heart of Ballymun, the station provides easy access to local amenities including the Civic Centre and the Axis Theatre, as well as serving the rapidly growing community in the area. We are coordinating closely with Dublin City Council with regards to their future developments in the old shopping centre area.
Collins Avenue Station is located underneath the green area in front of Our Lady of Victories Church on Ballymun Road. As well as serving local residents, this stop serves the 10,000 students and staff at Dublin City University and the 1,800 seat Helix Theatre. The proposed BusConnects bus links along Collins Avenue will provide easy access to MetroLink for the communities of Beaumont, Whitehall and Finglas.
There are additional bicycle stands now proposed in the area which will impact on current parking arrangements for residents in the Albert College Housing Accommodation.
Consultations have taken place with local stakeholders about how the impacts of construction in this area will be managed. Arrangements will be put in place to maintain access to Our Lady of Victories schools and the immediate residential area adjacent to the station. There will be traffic impacts, but we are working on the plans with all local stakeholders with a view to keeping disruption to a minimum during construction.
The station at Griffith Park is to be constructed on the Home Farm football grounds in front of Whitehall College. The pitches will be replaced after construction is complete and during construction MetroLink will provide alternative pitches.
Access will be at the corner of the site nearest to the road and there will be a BusConnects stop close by.
This station will be a wonderful amenity for the many schools including Scoil Mobhí and Scoil Chaitríona, and sports clubs including Na Fianna and Home Farm in the area along with a large growing residential population.
We have liaised closely with the schools and we look forward to developing this relationship along with the rest of the local community.
The provision of cycling facilities along the route is part of our “joined-up thinking” and in this case a secure underground bicycle parking area for 174 bicycles under the pitches will be provided.
The Glasnevin MetroLink station is one of the most significant stations on the route. It is situated beside Cross Gunns Bridge and the Royal Canal, with a new Irish Rail station serving the Maynooth, Sligo and Kildare lines and BusConnects will also have stops close by.The complexity of the construction of this station is formidable as the aim will be to minimise the impact on Irish Rail services which is a vital part of the national rail network.
The location remains unchanged; sadly, this means the premises of Des Kelly, the Brian Boru public house and two other commercial office premises on Prospect Road must be acquired. We will continue to work with the owners and tenants here to assist in every way possible.
The MetroLink design team and the local stakeholder communications people have worked closely with Irish Rail and have re-designed part of the route to allow the residents of the Coke Oven Cottages keep their gardens fully intact, which previously had been the subject of a probable CPO. All concerned are delighted with this positive outcome.
The biodiversity and natural attributes of the Royal Canal will be under constant supervision during the works as there are many species of wildlife here including swans, otters, bees and a vast variety of birds. Over the last 12 months we have carried out a large number of ground investigation surveys, water monitoring, biodiversity surveys including trees and wildlife. We thank everyone involved in allowing us access.
Traffic and pedestrian route diversion for access to the canal will be key to the construction of the station; this will be agreed with Dublin City Council, Waterways Ireland and the local residents. A temporary bridge will be constructed over the canal locks to provide safe access for the residents. Details of this bridge will be agreed with Waterways Ireland. We will work closely with all local stakeholders to ensure ease of safe access for all including emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
From here the tunnel continues under the Royal Canal and across to Phibsborough and the Mater station.
The Mater Station design has further advanced since the preferred route announcement. It is located under the small park known as the Mater Plot or the Four Masters Park, dating back to the 19th century, which provides access to the Mater Hospital, St Joseph’s Church, Berkeley Road shops and cafes and is within easy walking distance of the city.
The bustling village of Phibsborough is just minutes away and the station will serve the many old and new residents and businesses in this thriving community. The new plans for the Phibsborough Shopping Centre (Jan 2021) include a co-living scheme and a civic space linking Phibsborough Road to the North Circular Road. Access to Dalymount Park football stadium will also be created as part of the development.
MetroLink must acquire the Four Master’s Park which will be then opened to the public following construction. It will in time, be a wonderful amenity for residents, commuters, and patients of the hospital. The nearby community will be able toenjoy this beautiful park, one of very few in the city centre.
The simple path layout has been designed to respect the formal layout associated with the original park. A simple network of paths is to be aligned with park entrances and allow ease of access to the station.
The tradition of the park as a passive space will be continued with a central formal lawn. Boundary trees removed as a result of the works will be reinstated as semi mature size for better impact. However, it is proposed to bring the informal area of planting to the boundary of the church to include species chosen for their value and biodiversity impact. This is a departure from the traditional use of the park to showcase non-invasive and exotic species but reflects a more modern approach to planting in civic spaces. This will align with TII and DCC policies on biodiversity and will be in line with the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. The grass will be mown to a longer pollinator specification to contrast with the more closely cut central lawn.
Prior to construction the architectural structures and sculptures will be carefully removed, preserved and restored on completion of the works. Access to the church will be maintained during construction.
This is a challenging site to construct, and temporary road closures will be necessary. We will work closely with the local community to manage these restrictions and ensure access to the hospital for all emergency vehicles is maintained at all times. St Joseph’s Church is at the heart of the local community. We are very grateful to Father McDonald for allowing us carry out a number of ground investigation surveys here. There will be mitigation plans in place to protect the fabric of the building during construction.
From Mater the tunnel travels south under Parnell Square to reach O’Connell Street.
We have been working to create an integrated station with Hammerson Ireland, who are developing the old Carlton Cinema site into a world class commercial and retail development. We fully support this scheme and believe this will add terrific value to O’Connell Street, which, many feel has been in need of regeneration for some time. The integrated design is at an advanced stage and agreement will be reached shortly with the developer.
We have listened to our stakeholders concerns and have reduced the size of our station box to avoid impacting the historically significant buildings at Numbers 59 and 60 O’Connell Street Upper, which was part of the earlier plans.
The main entrance to the station will be provided from O’Connell Street Upper and a second entrance will be situated in Moore Lane. This is a change to the previous plan and will allow for greater ease of access for many commuters.
The station location allows for easy access to major bus routes, the Green Line Luas stops at O’Connell Upper and O’Connell – GPO, the Red Line Luas at Abbey Street and access to the major shopping zones of Henry Street and Jervis Centre. The station is a short walk from the Rotunda Hospital and the Gate and Abbey Theatres.
From here the tunnel moves south under the River Liffey to Tara Street.
Artist’s Impression: Tara Station entrance - day time
The station at Tara Street has probably involved more studies than any other station on the route. The station here is hugely important due to its City Centre position and its connection with the Irish Rail station at Tara Street.
This will also be the station used by Trinity College and the many new developments proposed in this area including the Ronan Real Estate development at Tara Street, the development of the old Apollo House and the redevelopment of the Department of Health.
Due to the need for extensive property acquisition and the risk of impacting the major Dublin City Trunk Sewer (serving approximately 300 000 people), severe traffic impact considerations, and the imperative of joint station access the team has looked at a large number of options here. However, as previously advised, the result of all these studies is that the location of the station remains unchanged.
Artist’s Impression: Tara Station entrance – night time
The alternative options considered and ultimately rejected under a multi criteria analysis included:
The plan will necessitate the acquisition of significant structures including College Gate apartments, Ashford House offices and the demolition of the Markievicz Leisure Centre. There is also a requirement to acquire eight Dublin City Council residential units on Townsend Street and two derelict buildings.
Residents and tenants will be offered independent assistance in all aspects of the acquisition process and the Markievicz Leisure Centre will be re- located.
MetroLink will provide assistance to Dublin City Council with this process. There will be an opportunity for oversite development at the surface above the station at a later date.
The tunnel continues South under Trinity College and Government Buildings towards St Stephen’s Green.
The station at St Stephen’s Green East will allow for connection with the Luas Green Line on St Stephen’s Green West and with the many bus routes in this area. As this area houses many large Government Departments, major office developments and several schools, this station is crucial to the MetroLink plan. Dublin’s main retail area of Grafton Street and surrounding Grafton Quarter will be serviced by this station.
To avoid impact on the early Georgian buildings on the street, the revised station will be located under the perimeter footpath and part of the eastern interior of the Park.
This design allows for some traffic lanes to remain open on St Stephen’s Green East during construction, provides the opportunity to avoid impacting the street’s major sewer which would otherwise require diversion, and also avoids several other utilities critical to the city’s infrastructure.
The revision of the station to this location has a substantial saving financially and also in terms of the construction timeline. In the previous plan traffic would have had to be diverted for up to 7 years and this would have caused huge disruption to the businesses and commuters coming in to the city centre from Leeson Street and surrounding areas such as Hume Street and Merrion Row.
The proposed MetroLink station will have a short-term impact on approximately 7% of the eastern side of St Stephen’s Green. The works in this area will be carefully managed respecting the value and importance of St Stephen’s Green as a national monument. The MetroLink’s works within the boundary line of St Stephen’s Green compare far more favourably than that of the previously approved railway order for Metro North, where approximately 20% of the park would have been impacted.
The proposed MetroLink station on St Stephen’s Green East will require the short-term removal to secure storage of the Wolfe Tone Monument and Famine Memorial which have formed the north-eastern entrance to the park since 1967. Works would also require the removal of the surrounding railings and wicket gates in addition to a limited number of mature trees along this boundary. Upon completion of works all heritage items will be conserved and reinstated. This design offers the potential to locate the Wolf Tone Monument and Famine Memorial within the park interior, allowing greater public appreciation of this significant work. Compensatory planting and landscaping will also take place.
We continue to work closely with the Office of Public Works and Dublin City Council on this proposal.
The tunnel will continue towards Charlemont under Earlsfort Terrace and Harcourt Terrace, under the Grand Canal to Charlemont.
The station location remains unchanged under the Hines development: “Two Grand Parade”.
Hines are currently developing their site and have undertaken enabling works for MetroLink to allow future construction of the station box.
Significant design changes have been made to the station size to ensure that the gardens to the rear of Dartmouth Square West will no longer have to be temporarily acquired for the project, although the laneway at the rear will have to be taken temporarily for the construction of the metro box but it will be reinstated after the completion and handed back to the residents. MetroLink has coordinated these changes in response to the residents’ concerns in this regard.
The station will now also have a southern access from Dartmouth Road, which will accommodate the Ranelagh residents in the area, as this will be minutes’ walk from the thriving village. The northern access at Grand Parade will interconnect with the Green Line Luas access in an innovative design.
At the time of public consultation MetroLink had not progressed to the preliminary design stage and therefore design information on the turnback arrangement had not been developed.
Several options have been considered through multi criteria analysis and the final design is that the tunnel will continue for approx 650 metres further south to allow for tram parking and turnback.
We have worked hard to ensure there will be no physical surface infrastructure south of Charlemont by providing an additional tunnel for fire evacuation.
MetroLink may connect to future transport projects when passenger demand is deemed to be required. This will be a matter for the National Transport Authority.