The Hamilton Way
The Hamilton Way pedestrian and cycle route would link Dunsink Observatory, the Royal Canal Greenway, Ashtown, and the Tolka Valley Greenway and make the observatory more accessible for wheelchair users.
Please support our petition to Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council.
Dunsink Observatory in Dublin 15 was built in 1785 by Trinity College Dublin and is a unique part of the scientific and cultural heritage of Ireland. It has been home to many of Ireland’s greatest scientists, including Sir William Rowan Hamilton, and has played an important part in astronomical discovery and public engagement in Ireland for over two centuries.
The Observatory is located 1.2 km north of the Royal Canal/Ashtown Train Station. Since its foundation, the Observatory has been accessible by road by Dunsink Lane and for staff by foot via Dunsinea Lane and across the lands of Priorstown House (see OSI map below).
Dunsink Lane has been neglected since the closure of the Dunsink landfill over 20 years ago and is now poorly surfaced and lighted. It also suffers from constant illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour.
Dunsinea Lane offers a significantly more convenient and safer option for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists. Dunsinea Lane links Ashtown Train Station on the Royal Canal to Teagasc’s Ashtown Research Centre and ends at the gates of Priorstown House and Phoenix Football Club. The Observatory is then only ~450 m from the gates of Priorstown House at the top of Dunsinea Lane (held by NAMA). This is the route of the annual Hamilton Walk, which has taken place for the past 30 years from Dunsink to Broome Bridge on the Royal Canal.
Professor Patrick Wayman, previous Director of Dunsink Observatory, reported that the Board of Trinity College Dublin secured a right-of-way from Dunsinea Lane to the Observatory in a 1910 court ruling (“Dunsink Observatory, 1785-1985: A Bicentennial History”).
Dublin City Council’s Ashtown-Pelletstown Local Area Plan identifies creating a pedestrian and cycle link between Ashtown/the Royal Canal and the Observatory:
“UDO7: To support and promote the development of a pedestrian and cycling connection linking the Phoenix Park and Ashtown Station to Dunsink Observatory through the LAP area as a joint project between Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, Waterways Ireland, the Office of Public Works & the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies.”
Furthermore, the plan states:
“(c) In association with urban design objective UD07 of this plan and proposals by FCC (Fingal County Council), to provide a link from the eastern end of the LAP lands at Ashtown Road, to Dunsink Observatory.”
We therefore propose the 450 m long “Hamilton Way” so that observatory staff and members of the public could access the Observatory in a safe and convenient manner by foot, bike or wheelchair. This would transform access to the Observatory and open it up to many more visitors from the local area and beyond.
Dunsink Observatory is part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and has been operated by DIAS since 1947. DIAS has a long term lease from the owner of the observatory, the Office of Public Works (OPW).