Irish history dates back centuries ago and the abandoned buildings still lying scattered around the country are a testament to the struggles and achievements endured since the 18th Century.
Urban explorers in Ireland should pay serious attention to “No Trespassing” and other hazard signs when urbexing in Ireland. Due to the lengthy history that is usually attached these decaying, heritage buildings, expect to find extreme levels of disrepair and structural instability.
Remember, safety is paramount so don’t forget to check out our 15 golden rules of urbex.
Where Can You Urbex in Ireland?
There are lots of great abandoned places in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Wicklow and other Irish counties, for those looking for a new urbex spot to photograph in Ireland. Feel free to click on one of the links below to view photo galleries, read historical research, and get inspiration for where to explore next.
Built in 1909, the abandoned Heatherside Hospital in County Cork, Ireland, operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium until 1957. After that, it was used as a mental health and psychogeriatric facility by the HSE up until 2010, when it closed its doors despite public outcry. In 2006, Heatherside Hospital was in the media spotlight when a diagnosed schizophrenic patient, Hannah Comber (65), choked to death by a restraining belt whilst being strapped to a chair and in the care of the hospital staff. Large-scale investigations were launched by An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive (HSE) and it wasn’t until 3 years later that the murder probe was completed. The inquest into her death recorded a “verdict of misadventure” and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided no charges would follow Ms Comber’s death. The 22-acre site comprises over 56,000sq ft of buildings, church, houses and other structures in the hills of Ballyhoura Country. It is currently for sale for just €350,000 by Lisney Cork (on behalf of the HSE) which is about the price of an average county bungalow in Ireland. The History of the Abandoned Heatherside Hospital, Cork The 110-year-old former Heatherside hospital and sanatorium opened in 1909 and
The Oldest Abandoned Asylum in Connaught, Ireland Throughout the early to mid-1800s, there was a rapid growth in the development of mental asylums worldwide, with Ireland leading the way. A total of 22 new Irish asylums sprung up between 1810 – 1870, one of which is the now derelict St. Brigid’s Hospital, formerly known as Connacht District Lunatic Asylum (CDLA). The Connacht Asylum’s doors first opened in 1830 and very quickly, hundreds of people were being admitted under the Dangerous Lunatics Act. Most spent the rest of their lives in the asylum once they were confined within the x-shaped prison-like walls and thousands died from tuberculosis even though the Ballinasloe Fever Hospital was right beside it. Connacht District Lunatic Asylum / St Brigid’s Hospital, Ballinasloe, Ireland – September 2017 – Adam X The asylum’s sheer size and formidable, military-like design, not to mention the adjoining graveyard where former patients are buried, is a stark reminder of 19th Century Ireland. Ballinasloe Main Street, Galway, in the early 1800’s. – The History of Connacht District Lunatic Asylum, Galway Back in those days there was no such thing as a voluntary addmission to a psychiatric hospital, meaning every person who was sent to
A Hidden Abandoned Castle in Ireland The abandoned Dromore Castle is located on the banks of Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, one of the most evocative regions of the Emerald Isle. The architectural design of this once-magnificent manor house is neo-Gothic/Revival Gothic. Most of its classic features are still intact such as lancets, turrets, spiral staircases, carriage arches, oriel windows, and of course, the famous round tower which is a replica of the Rock of Cashel. Dromore Castle and Estate dates back to the 19th century when it was built for Rev. Denis Mahony and his family, in 1839, by the famous Victorian architect, Thomas Deane. The Mahonys were, in early times, powerful chieftains and landowners in the province of Munster, and had extensive estates along the sea-coast of counties Cork and Kerry. Rev. Denis Mahony was a Church of Ireland minister who was also known for setting up a soup kitchen during the Irish Famine and providing free education and clothing to local children as long as they converted to the Protestant faith. However, his proselytizing activities did not make him a popular figure in the locality, and in 1850 he was attacked in his church at Templenoe. Richard John
The five-acre FAAC Electronics Factory and Warehouse site has been sitting derelict for 15 years and is a stark reminder of the Irish property crash that occurred in the 2000’s. In 2006, after FAAC shut down their Sandyford operations and moved to Citywest, the site was sold for €110 million to Lalco/Brackville Holdings (€20m per acre). This was one of the most expensive property deals ever made in the history of the Sandyford Industrial are, made possible after AIB and Ulster Bank “loaned” €25 million to Lalco. Lalco wanted to develop 800 apartments, a 190-bedroom hotel and 260,000 sq ft of commercial space on the site – a project estimated to have a gross development value of more than €500m. However, as with the other thousands of other massive property deals that the banks fraudulently “loaned” money to, Lalco’s fancy development plans were scrapped as soon as the property crash hit. Over the next 10 years, Lalco/Brackville Holdings tried to unburden themselves of the site but ran into obvious trouble considering no one could afford to buy land at such a ludicrous price during the crash. By 2017, the price for the site was sitting at a fraction of its
The Táin Village Holiday Park and Outdoor Centre is situated in one of Ireland’s most beautiful areas – Omeath, County Louth. In fact, the area surrounding the former holiday park site is renowned for its natural beauty, sparkling rivers, and rolling hills lush with greenery and wildflowers. And of course, there’s the Carlingford Lough, a glacial fjord forming part of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This outstanding natural beauty is what made the Táin Village Holiday Park so popular for family holidays back in the 90’s. According to news reports, it closed down in 2007 and since then has been left in the hands of Mother Nature and unfortunately, vandals and arsonists. But like many other abandoned historic buildings that I’ve come across on my urbex adventures, the Táin has become a hotspot for film producers due to its dramatic backdrop. Most of the main buildings now feature burnt walls, fallen ceilings, and peeling wallpaper. Trees are beginning to sprout out of the fireplaces, rotting beds can be found upstairs in the main building, and the once grandiose red carpets are now tattered and crumbling. Additionally, in most of the rooms, the ceilings have fallen
Belcamp House is rooted in Irish history after having housed several political and revolutionary figures who paved the way for the 1916 Independence, such as Countess Markievicz, Bulmer Hobson and Sir Edward Newenham. Other famous Irish figures who once graced the ivy-clad, red-brick mansion include parliamentarian Henry Grattan, Dublin-born actor and Emmy-winner Brendan Gleeson, golfer Philip Walton, and Frank Cummins, the Irish GAA star. But despite having a colourful and impressive history, the 208-acre site has sadly fallen victim to a series of fires, extreme looting and vandalism, and vicious attacks since it became abandoned in 2004. For example, a former student of Belcamp College was found shot on the grounds of Belcamp House in 2021. Several site security guards were also hospitalised after locals attacked them with machetes whilst riding horses through the abandoned hallways. Keep reading to discover the fascinating history behind Belcamp House and what’s become of it today. But first, a little history lesson! The History of Belcamp House, Raheny, Dublin, Ireland In 1778, Belcamp House was built for Sir Edward Newenham, a member of the Irish Parliament and huge supporter of the American Revolution. The four-storey Georgian building was designed by Kilkenny native James Hoban,
This abandoned school was around the corner from my friend’s house and was so hidden, I only noticed it recently. The two of us popped in for a look around one day and had a bit of an adventure. Access was very easy as the school is tucked away in a residential area that’s known for anti-social behaviour so there isn’t any security around the area. All of the school buildings had been set on fire by the locals so unfortunately, there wasn’t much to photograph. However, we did enjoy a fun photoshoot at the Shag Pad! Previous Next Ireland Urbex
I used to have a rule that I never go into an abandoned house but I broke that when I went away for a weekend to Enniskerry, Ireland. I saw this derelict building on the side of the road, door wide open, so I let my curiosity get the better of me. In I went, to a mix of religious ornaments, dirty dishes and unkempt personal items. I got a strange feeling in this place so I didn’t stay for too long – maybe it was the extreme amount of crosses and crucifixion statues that drove me out. It’s very different exploring someone’s former home compared to exploring an abandoned historical building – which is what I normally photograph when urban exploring. Of course, every building has history but going into a house is instantly and intentionally trespassing on private home property. If it was a building owned by a previous company, organisation or the government I wouldn’t feel bad trespassing. The other reason why I don’t go into homes usually is because I would be more likely to find a squatter there (less security) which isn’t exactly a situation I seek out because I am usually exploring alone. Enjoy
Harolds Cross in Dublin has a bounty of history spreading back hundreds of years ago. Sadly, a lot of family run businesses that were set up back in time and flourished as they were passed down generations and generations, are now derelict and just waiting to be demolished. Number 119 on Harold Cross Road, used to be Burke Bros, specialising in flowers and floral tributes for the cemetery opposite it. It was a small building but easily accessible off the main road. The inside was in complete disrepair, full of rubbish and broken materials so I wasn’t able to get many good photos. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Abandoned chapels, holy water bottles, broken pianos, and sirens are what springs to mind when I remember this day. I found this site on Google one Saturday and decided to cycle straight to it as I wasn’t too far away from it. I had to climb over a big gate to get in which was easy enough and it only took me a few minutes to find an entrance. There was construction work on pause at the site, so there were security cameras everywhere and someone watching them on a Saturday afternoon, as it turned out. I managed to get some good photos of inside the chapel and a few of the massive outdoor yard, in which there was a really old, broken piano. Just as I was standing by the piano admiring it, a siren blasted through every speaker that surrounded the perimeter and I nearly shat my pants. A voice boomed through the mic that said if I didn’t leave the po-po would be called (the police) so I walked casually back towards the gate, gave a camera a little wave, climbed back over, and cycled home. All that mattered was that I got photos so I was
This site was pretty cool, but it was small considering a lot of rooms were inaccessible due to flooding. The buildings that were open and derelict, were all being actively used by squatters it seemed and the amount of rubbish and graffiti implied there was a lot of drugs/drinking going on here too. Overall, it was a great explore and it was so easy to find and access (bonus – no security at all). Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
I stumbled on this abandoned farmhouse in County Wexford, Ireland one day as I was going for a Summer stroll. Sometimes, the best explorations are buildings you find spontaneously. There were a good few abandoned structures here but most of which were completely boarded up. The areas I did manage to get in to were cool, a lot of old farm related items and machinery but overall, not a whole lot to see. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The Clancy Barracks date from about 1857 and have had a long connection with artillery, cavalry, and ordnance. They have been associated with various military events including the Crimean War, the Boer War, World War 1, and the 1916 rising. The site is now being used for various film and TV show sets, most notably “Ripper Street”. The only point of entry I could find for this site was over a wall that surrounded a large, modern apartment complex (not ideal!). I always walk around the whole perimeter of a site to check where the safest and most legal way in is before I actually go in. Due to the fact this is an important historical military site and now being used for films, it’s pretty well protected. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
This is one of the most challenging sites I have explored on my own. I knew security would be very high here, so I opted for a back entrance in. This meant using Google Maps to navigate through several overgrown football pitches and through very creepy woods until I came across small derelict buildings that seemed to be outhouses belonging to the asylum. The outhouses were stripped bare inside and only full of debris, ash and squatter items (mattresses, syringes, cooking stoves etc). I made my way to the main asylum building and managed to get past a few security rooms but sadly, all doors/windows I could get to were boarded up. I was pretty disappointed and even went back another time with a friend to see if we could find an entry point but to no avail. Security is so high here for some reason and I’d love to know why. I explored the Grangegorman Mental Asylum numerous times and brought a series of film directors to the site. Not once was there a hint of security in the area and both sites are very similar in terms of when they closed down and what they were used for back in
I spent months trying to find a way into this historical building that played such an important part in Irish history, specifically 1916. It is where Eamon De Valera and his men hid out when things were getting heated in Dublin during the war of independence. Another site I’ve explored that holds even more historical resemblance in Ireland, is the Phoenix Park Magazine Fort, which still stands derelict today. Bolands Mill is now being torn down to make way for Google offices. I believe the site should have been used for a new museum in Dublin similar to the style of Collins Barracks in Smithfield. It was so exciting to get into the Mill but the inside of the main towers was so dilapidated that it was impossible to go inside too far. I couldn’t get into the site unless it was pitch black because it’s on a busy road just outside of Dublin City Centre and entry meant climbing through a tiny window in the carpark of a dance studio that sat beside the site. Once inside, the darkness meant it was hard to see all of the massive holes in the floor and if I missed one I would’ve
I get a lot of email requests from photographers, film directors, location scouters and other urban explorers for the location details of certain places I have photographed. The most type of site people ask for details about, is a site with space to shoot photos, films etc. I have personally brought many of these people to the sites when possible, most of which are film directors. The Ballyfermot warehouse is a fantastic place to shoot film because it’s HUGE. There are plenty of big and small rooms, there are different types of lighting to play around with the and the site is stable (no wooden floors). Entry is extremely easy into this site and the way in is safe enough to bring camera equipment through. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Many abandoned buildings are used by squatters to sleep in, drink, take drugs or perform illegal acts. Drug use has been evident in almost every building I have photographed but has never stopped me from wanting to explore. Aldborough House was a different story. Upon arriving at the site and locating an entry point into the building I began to make my advance. I was stopped in my tracks when I was met with the sight of blood spattered on the wall, which most likely came from the dirty syringes on the floor. The unusually large amount of sleeping bags in the adjacent room were also quite worrying. For once the dangers had beaten me and I was forced to leave the premises and make my safety first priority. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
I found this hidden gem on Cork Street and it turned out to be one of the oldest, most abandoned buildings I would ever find. It was so dilapidated, the cobwebs were massive and looked like they’d been spun for centuries and more than half the building had fallen. What was so cool though, was that it was all UNDERGROUND. Check out the secret door photo below, the steps leading down, and if you can, imagine how big this place actually is. We’re talking a few storeys…and once again UNDERGROUND. Mind blown. Sadly, it was impossible to find any history on this place. Only a few metres away from the secret door there was a commercial garage and other shops. This place is truly hidden and in such a random spot. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The Pigeon House, more formally known as the Poolbeg plant was built in the early 1900s. It’s situated by one of the most beautiful places to walk in Dublin – Sandymount Beach. Out of all of the buildings I have been to, the Pigeon House was by far the hardest to find and get in. It is tucked away in the heart of a huge active power plant site which is surrounded by acres of land and the beach itself. The hardest part was slipping past the ESB security guards unseen, and then walking along the edge of an outer fence and climbing onto the platform of the plant. It’s hard to explain, but it was really tricky and there was a few moments where I was very afraid I’d fall into the sea! Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The Phoenix Park Magazine Fort was built in 1735 and was occupied by the Brits. By 1939 its purpose was to house the Irish Army’s stock of ammunition and guns. During the 1916 Easter Rising, members of the Irish Volunteers and Fianna Eireann attacked the fort, stole some ammunition and set fires intended to blow up the rest. However, the fires burned out before reaching the ammunition and not much damage was done. The fort is situated in the south-eastern part of Phoenix Park and is heavily guarded by three gates. I named these gates the ‘gates of hell’, purely because they were so difficult and nerve-wracking to get over. The first gate is topped with multiple rolls of barbed wire, the second was so high and unsteady it took me about an hour to figure out how to get over it and the third was just plain awkward and carried with it the danger of getting a spike up the area where the sun don’t shine! After completing this terrifying obstacle course, I explored every nook and cranny of the fort. There were a large number of rooms with fireplaces and stoves still intact, a warehouse, basement, two towers
Dates: 1814 – 2013Number of patients: Over 2,000Size: 30 hectaresStatus: Demolished Note: This was the first ever abandoned building I explored. :) Grangegorman Mental Asylum (otherwise known as Richmond Asylum) was part of St. Brendan’s Hospital, a psychiatric facility located in Co Dublin, Ireland. Interestingly, it was Ireland’s first-ever public psychiatric hospital and it was my first “abandoned building” experience. The site was relatively easy to access. All I had to do was climb over a wall and wade through a big field of nettles. Then, all of a sudden, the huge shadow of the former asylum was in front of me. The interior of the building was in a major state of disrepair. Most of the ceilings had fallen through, the floors were soft and had huge gaping holes, and there was a severed rope attached to one of the ceiling beams. I ended up revisiting the hospital numerous times, as many film directors reached out to me for help finding the location after they spotted my photographs online. The Dark History of Grangegorman Mental Asylum According to reports, lobotomy was carried out on many patients, which consisted of severing the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain. Many of
This building had been a two-storey convent school for girls, erected in 1901. The number of attendees dwindled and it closed in 2007. Thankfully, I got in three days before the JCBs moved in on their prey and completely demolished it. The Department of Education plans on replacing the site with a new secondary school. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
This small building situated along the beautiful Killiney Beach is an eyesore. Covered in graffiti and home to endless piles of empty beer cans, this long-abandoned site is a popular attraction for ‘sessions’ (a gathering of people where copious amounts of alcohol and other substances are consumed). Now, I won’t lie – I have joined in sessions here and it is a pretty cool place to go because of how tucked away it is. However, when your friends start falling down the massive black holes and twist their ankles, then it’s not so fun. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular urbex updates on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
UPDATE 2021: The Dun Laoghaire Baths have been demolished and renovation is underway: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/d%C3%BAn-laoghaire-baths-being-redeveloped-after-20-years-out-of-use-1.2151632 The Dublin based Dun Laoghaire Baths, otherwise known as Rainbow Rapids, dated back to the 1790s and used to act as a public place to swim and bathe up until 1997. It was a major hit with both locals and families from afar who would travel to Dun Laoghaire to enjoy the popular hotspot by the sea. There were different types of baths available to customers such as sea and freshwater, hot and cold baths, sulphur, seaweed and Russian and hot sea-water baths and children’s paddling pools. To me, it sounds like a pretty darn good spa!! When I lived in Ireland these baths were only a short stroll down the road, and once I found them abandoned, I always wished they were up and running. Lots of people who currently reside in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Council area have very fond memories of the baths. Unfortunately, the site is a derelict eyesore to walk past now, but according to the Irish Times, renovation of the abandoned site is due to start in July 2018. “The project will include the retention of the existing baths building and the development
The Alexandra Guild House nursing home was established in 1954 and was used as an aged care retirement home for elderly women. In 2007, it merged with Cowper Care and the residents were moved to different premises. Before doing so, the staff left a bunch of documents behind in one of the rooms. The only reason I knew this, is because when I climbed through the window to get into this property, I landed on a huge, soft pile of something. At first, I thought it was a pile of pigeon poop like I experienced at the historic Boland’s Mill, but no, this time it was a pile of very important documents belonging to former patients. The pile of documents consisted of family photographs, letters written or received by the women, birth certificates and diaries belonging to some of the nurses. There was enough documents there for someone to obtain false identities and have access to unsuspecting peoples’ bank accounts. I ended up contacting the new premises to make them aware of what they had left behind and returned the documents to them within a week. Enjoy the photography slideshow below and don’t forget to follow Abandoned World Photography for regular