Outdoor dining plan proposed for Merrion Row

Dublin City Council proposes trial partial pedestrianisation of road during the summer

A view of Dublin’s Merrion Row. File photograph: Eric Luke

Proposals to reduce traffic on Dublin’s Merrion Row to one lane to facilitate summer outdoor dining when Covid-19 restrictions ease have been made available for public consultation.

The Dublin City Council proposals, which would see the three traffic lanes on the road reduce to one, would involve the redirection of traffic onto Hume Street and Ely Place from St Stephen's Green to avoid bottlenecks on Merrion Row.

Dublin City Council said it had been approached by businesses on Merrion Row seeking the full pedestrianisation of the street to facilitate outdoor dining. However, it said the National Transport Authority had advised that the removal of buses from the street was "not feasible from an operational point of view".

Instead the council is proposing to keep both buses and cars on the one-way street, but restrict them to one lane, with space on both sides of the road to be made available for outdoor furniture.


Currently one-quarter of the traffic on Merrion Row comes from Kildare Street, with the remaining traffic coming from St Stephen's Green East. Under the proposals traffic could still approach from Kildare Street, but to reduce the pressure on Merrion Row the traffic coming from the green would divert on to Hume Street and Ely Place to reach Merrion Square or Baggot Street.

This would require the current direction of traffic running between Ely Place and Hume Street to be reversed.

Public submissions

Public submissions on the proposals can be made until April 30th, and if there is support for the plan a trial of the traffic arrangements will be conducted over a weekend in May to determine if reducing the lanes on Merrion Row and reversing the traffic flow on Hume Street and Ely Place is feasible, the council said.

If the trial is a success the council will build the footpath on Merrion Row out into the roadway temporarily to allow for tables and chairs. Outdoor dining will then be permitted on a trial basis during the summer, Covid-19 restrictions allowing.

“This arrangement will be reviewed after the summer and a decision on whether to maintain this arrangement will be undertaken,” the council said.

Future pedestrianisation on the road could be possible as the BusConnects programme would see almost all bus routes removed from Merrion Row, but this would not happen until 2024, the council said.

Submissions can be made at consultation.dublincity.ie/traffic-and-transport/merrion-row-consultation/consultation/intro/

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times