The Carlisle Pier took its name from the Earl of Carlisle, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland during the Pier's construction which commenced in 1855 and was completed in 1859 with the railway line and station running on to the pier opening on December 23, 1859. This facility enabled convenient ship to rail interchange, constructed in an age when rail - sea cooperation was very much in fashion.
The pier railway line linked to the main Dublin - Rosslare railway line just south of Dún Laoghaire (Mallin) Station. The section of railway from Dublin to the present mainline station site opening in 1837. See the 1950s post card top left.
The station was closed following the electrification of the main line railway as part of the DART system between Howth and Bray in 1980. The official closing date recorded in Vol 16 of the Regional History of Railways being October 10, 1980.
However, whilst the rail link may have been closed, the Carlisle Pier remained the main point of departure for passenger ships to Holyhead until the introduction of the Stena HSS in 1996.
The colour photographs on the left taken in 2002 show the former station and train shed. Though the space between the platforms had been in filled to provide car-parking space the sweep of the platform can be clearly seen.
The Carlisle Pier terminal under went a significant revamp in 1993 an artist's impression of the interior can be seen at the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Co web site. In 1992 over 370,000 passengers passed through the terminal. However, the writing was on the wall for the long-term future of the terminal as recorded in the various Dún Laoghaire harbour newsletters as plans were in place for the introduction of the HSS service to Holyhead.
Following the introduction of the Stena HSS the Carlisle Pier was abandoned and all Stena operations concentrated on the adjacent St. Michael's Pier.
Since the opening of the HSS service the old Carlisle Terminal has awaited its eventual fate.
A competition for a new iconic development was announced by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company in 2003 a notice to that effect being displayed on the terminal (right).
The winner of the competition was announced in March 2004 as being the Urban Capital Consortium. However, lack of progress led the harbour company to withdraw its preferred bidder status in September 2005 therefore the decaying buildings may survive a little longer, presumably the demolition may prove to be something of a challenge as the buildings contain a significant amount of asbestos. The final photograph bottom right shows the terminal forecourt in August 2005.