Vartry Reservoir

Coordinates: 53°03′31″N 6°12′12″W / 53.05861°N 6.20333°W / 53.05861; -6.20333
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Vartry Reservoir
Taiscumar Fheartraí
Roundwood Lakes
Vartry Reservoir Taiscumar Fheartraí is located in Ireland
Vartry Reservoir Taiscumar Fheartraí
Vartry Reservoir
Taiscumar Fheartraí
LocationCounty Wicklow
Coordinates53°03′31″N 6°12′12″W / 53.05861°N 6.20333°W / 53.05861; -6.20333
Primary inflowsRiver Vartry
Primary outflowsRiver Vartry
Basin countriesIreland

Vartry Reservoir (Irish: Taiscumar Fheartraí) is a reservoir at Roundwood in County Wicklow, Ireland. The water is piped from Vartry to a large open service reservoir in Stillorgan in the southern suburbs of Dublin. The reservoir is operated by Irish Water.[1]

The original (lower) reservoir was completed in 1863 and has a capacity of 11.3 billion litres and a maximum depth of 18.3 metres. A second embankment, 3.5 km upstream, was completed in 1923 to form the upper reservoir. This has a capacity of 5.6 billion litres and a maximum depth of 13.4 metres.[1]


Vartry waterworks, downstream of dam
The R765 road along top of dam/embankment

The Vartry Reservoir scheme involved the partial redirection and damming of the Vartry River, the building of a series of water piping and filtering systems (and related public works) to carry freshwater to the city.[2]

Between 1862 and 1868 the lower reservoir was formed by constructing an earthen dam across the valley of the River Vartry after a Dublin Water Works Committee was established to develop a new water supply to Dublin and suburbs.[3] The committee was chaired by Dr. John Gray who actively promoted what would become the "Vartry scheme".[4] The scheme was formally opened on 30 June 1863.

This work was particularly important in the improvement of living conditions and public health in Dublin city.[4] It improved sanitation and helped reduce outbreaks of cholera, typhus and other diseases associated with contaminated water.

The lower reservoir and its capacity is mentioned in chapter 17 of James Joyce's Ulysses.[5]


  1. ^ a b Image of Dublin City Council sign at the reservoir
  2. ^ ENFO - Ireland's public service department with responsibility for environmental publications - Article on Dublin's Water Supply
  3. ^ Norwood, John (1973) [1872]. On the Working of the Sanitary Laws in Dublin, with Suggestions for their Amendment. Vol. VI, Part XLIII. Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. pp. 230–242. [1] [2]
  4. ^ a b " - Entry on Sir John Gray". Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  5. ^ Joyce, James (1922). Ulysses. Shakespeare and Company. pp. 623–624.