Dublin city’s footfall up 80% with ‘notable increase’ due to outdoor dining

Numbers rising since January as northside proving more popular than southside

Dubliners have returned to the city centre in their droves with footfall up 80 per cent since January with a “notable increase since outdoor dining resumed”, Dublin City Council has said.

The northside of the city is proving many times more popular than the southside with pedestrian numbers now exceeding pre-Covid levels around Henry Street, according to data from the council’s automatic footfall counters.

A comparison of the weekend footfall in June 2019 and June 2021, shows an upsurge in activity on the northside throughout the month, but particularly in the third weekend in June, where numbers hit almost 100,000 on Henry Street up from just over 80,000 in the same week in 2019.

The difference between the northside and the southside is stark, however. In the third weekend of June 2019, Grafton Street counters were showing figures of more than 85,000 people, but in June of this year this had fallen to fewer than 20,000.


Pedestrian numbers throughout the city last December reached their highest point since the Covid-19 pandemic began – 60 per cent of pre-Covid levels but plummeted in January when restrictions were reimposed.

“Footfall has been climbing steadily and is now 80 per cent higher than it was in early January with a notable increase since outdoor dining resumed” on June 7th, the council said.

Despite companies still being asked to allow their staff to work from home, car traffic has also increased and is now at 82 per cent of pre-Covid levels, while bus passenger numbers are about half of what they were before the pandemic.

‘Covid mobility measures’

Cycling numbers are continuing to increase and are at their highest levels since February 2020, “almost back to pre-Covid levels”, the council said.

The council is continuing to implement a cycle lane protection and segregation programme. Almost 6,000 requests for “Covid mobility measures”, including footpath widening and outdoor seating have been made to the council, with measures to protect cyclists and keep cycle lanes free of parked vehicles the most requested, at 1,300 submissions.

On the northside, bollards are being installed to protect the cycle lanes on Griffith Avenue, while designs are expected to be published next week for a cycle route on Collins Avenue.

The council hopes to start construction early next year on a new segregated cycle route to link the Liberties to Grangegorman, from Thomas Street, via Bridgefoot Street and Queen Street. The new paths will also connect to the Liffey cycle route.

Meanwhile, work will begin on Monday on a 10-month project to revamp Francis Street in the Liberties, with new granite-paved public spaces to the front of the Iveagh Market and St Nicholas de Myra Church, as well as landscaping, bicycle stands, and road and footpath resurfacing.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times