PLANS are progressing for Ireland's first jumbo cruise ship berth at Dun Laoghaire.
Authorities have launched a geological study of the harbour seabed and ramped up their marketing efforts, while planning permission is expected within the year.
The berth will be the first to allow gigantic "next generation" cruise ships to tie-up ashore.
Cruise ships currently have to anchor off if they want to stop in Dublin since there are no suitable docking facilities.
The investigation into the seabed will gauge how difficult dredging might be, though there is no bedrock involved.
With approval expected, the next step is attracting the cruise liners – 25 have been confirmed for next year.
The number of cruise passengers visiting Ireland could quadruple in the next decade if the right facilities are in place, an Oireachtas committee heard last year.
Only 100,000 cruise visitors came to the capital last year, despite an effort to attract liners to Dublin Bay.