Blanchardstown, Co Dublin
The National Aquatic Centre’s popularity is multifaceted. To begin with, it is without a doubt Ireland’s premier venue for competitive swimming, diving and water polo. Major international competitions have been hosted here since it opened in 2003. It also serves the greater Dublin community as the leading public facility for swimming and other fitness activities.
Here’s a clearer way of framing its importance. In 2012, the National Aquatic Centre received well over 800,000 visitors. Cast in that light, it’s the third-most popular fee-paying attraction in all of Ireland. Combine that with the fact that competitive swimming teams come from all over the world to train here, and it’s easy to understand why Dubliners ascribe so much importance to the centre.
Tourists in Dublin have cause to visit as well – especially families with younger children. Inside the aquatic centre is a bona fide water park, complete with the following rides:
- Flow Rider: a surfing simulator that allows people of all ages and skill levels safely try their hand at catching and riding a wave.
- Master Blaster: an award-winning ride that uses a jet of water to push riders uphill on a water slide before cutting them lose and letting gravity do the rest.
- Flume Rides: a tangled web of enclosed water flumes winding through the facility.
- Pirate Ship: a collection of small-scale rides ideal for children under eight years of age.
- Wave Pool: waves from the deep end splash into shallow waters – just as they would at the beach.
- Lazy River: a relaxing two-mile-per-hour ride around the wave pool that takes ten minutes to complete – perfect when the waves have worn you out.