Project 1: Merrion Baths
For most of the history of our species, in most parts of the world, bathing has been a collective act. In ancient Asia, the practice was a religious ritual believed to have medical benefits related to the purification of the soul and body. For the Greeks, the baths were associated with self-expression, song, dance, and sport, while in Rome they served as community centres, places to eat, exercise, read and debate politics.
The Sandymount and Merrion area has a rich history of many making their way during the summer months to the south coast from inner city Dublin to enjoy swimming and leisure activities. There had been several bathing facilities available, and one prominent bathing facility on Strand road – The Merrion Promenade and Baths. Unfortunately, these now stand as concrete ruins slowly being washed away by the sea.
The idea of creating pools and baths in Merrion Hall is to bring back the popular bathing activity that was once so popular along the South Coast of Dublin but set in a modern context. It is to provide bathing and swimming facilities for relaxation and health benefits, as well as areas for the chance of social interaction between visitors.
Being physically present with one another makes us more aware of ourselves, and those around us, as biological – not purely linguistic and intellectual – organisms.