The Blessington Street Basin was built in the early 19th century by the precursor to the Dublin City Council. Construction began about 1803 and finished in 1810, the plant was opened as the Royal George Reservoir, named in honour of King George III.
The basin is rectangular, about 120 m long and 60 m wide basin took about 4 million gallons (15.1 million litres) of water. The water came from Lough Ovel in County Westmeath, carried by pipe along the Royal Canal through a 3 km long pipeline into the basin at the western end of the Blessington Street. From its construction, the site was used as a public park.
By 1869, the basin was not large enough for purpose, and water collection moved outside the city. The basin continued to serve the Jameson's and Powers' distilleries until the 1970s, and then went out of operation as a reservoir.
There were worries about the stagnant water creating a typhoid outbreak in the late 1800s leading to the corporation wanting to fill in the basin and the stretch of water connecting the basin to the canal, this connection was finally filled in 1956.
In 1993 work began on the restoration of the site following a rejected proposal to extensively refurbish it in 1991. The refurbishment was carried out by the Dublin City Council aided by FÁS.It was reopened as a park on the 4 November 1994. The site also includes a lodge house built in a Tudor style in 1811, and another modern council building.
Since its restoration, the basin now serves as a bird habitat, with an artificial island and a number of fish. Amongst the birds that can be seen there are swans, tufted ducks, chaffinches and mallards.
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