Dún Laoghaire is a suburban coastal town in Dublin in Ireland. It is the administrative centre of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown.
The town was built following the 1816 legislation that allowed the building of a major port to serve Dublin. It was known as Dunleary until it was renamed Kingstown in honour of King George IV's 1821 visit, and in 1920 was given its present name, the original Irish form of Dunleary. Over time, the town became a residential location, a seaside resort and the terminus of Ireland's first railway.
John Rennie (1761-1821), who was Scottish, was one of the leading civil engineers of his day. He designed many bridges, canals and docks, including those at Hull, Liverpool, London and Leith. Keeping an effective link between Ireland and England was vital in the early 19th century and Rennie was responsible for the construction of Howth Harbour a decade earlier than Dunleary. He had been asked for his observations on Dublin Bay just two years after Bligh’s survey in 1800. Rennie suggested that: “Dunleary, or rather a little to the east of it was a good site for the construction of a harbour of asylum, for ships which, under unfavourable circumstances get embayed in Dublin Bay and cannot with safety enter the present harbour”.
The Bay between the East Pier and The Forty Foot is now known as Scotsman’s Bay in Rennie’s honour. He died in 1821 and is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. His son, also John Rennie was a distinguished engineer and he carried out further work at Kingstown [Dun Laoghaire] Harbour.
Dún Laoghaire Harbour and Carlisle Pier were constructed in the nineteenth century for the purposes of sheltering ships and accommodating the mailboat which sailed between Dún Laoghaire and Holyhead. The nearby settlement of Dún Laoghaire has also previously been known as Kingstown and also as Dun Leary. Carlisle Pier has been known previously as Kingston Pier and the Mailboat Pier.