Contributed by Malahide Historical Society
On the corner of Bath Avenue, immediately beyond the Grand Hotel going towards Portmarnock, where a tall apartment block is now located, stood the once popular Malahide Sea Baths. The Victorians placed great faith in the health promoting qualities of the seaside, especially when seawater bathing was involved. This prompted Lord Talbot to build the baths at his own expense, apparently for letting, shortly before 1863. They were leased to a Mrs Gamble. She retired or died in 1864 and her was auctioned off, including a first rate four-oared boat and two smaller boats. The baths were then, apparently, taken over by the adjoining hotel. The hotel featured hot sea and freshwater baths from time to time in advertisements.The baths consisted of a long low building with a colonnade along the front. There were a number of bathing rooms at one end, a boiler house and tall chimney in the middle and living accommodation at the other end. There were two open-air plunge pools to the rear. Sadly, the buildings were demolished in the 1980s and the rubble used to fill the pools. There were bathing boxes on the shore in front of the baths building for use by modest Victorians who wished to bathe in the estuary seawater. The seawater baths were exceedingly popular in the 19th century renowned for the health-giving properties. The bath water was changed at high-tide. Patrons had a choice of heated indoor baths and or a plunge in an outdoor cold pool.
The accompanying photo shows the bath house building with it’s distinctive high chimneys to carry away smoke from the boilers that heated the water. Across the estuary the building on the left was probably a shed for storing Island Golf Club mowing machines whilst the building to the right was the original clubhouse in use until replaced in 1973 by the present day structure (second photo) at the northern end of the course. Local boatmen rowed golfers over and back across the estuary.