Blackrock Park, Dublin

I used to pass this park heading southside of dublin, on towards Wicklow and beyond. I’d only ever seen the wee little island house from the roadside, but I never  took the time to go in. Sunday [28/02/10] I did just that.

According to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councils Website:

A formal Victorian park was thus developed which became the responsibility of the newly formed Corporation of Dun Laoghaire in 1930, and in turn of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 1994.

I had this image in my head of the John Lennon video where he and Yoko row out to the little boat house and play the big white piano….. I was sorely mistaken.

The entrance in and car park looks fine, until one realises that there exists car parking charges Monday to Friday 8am – 7pm …. I’m guessing the park and playground is empty mid week.

I walked passed the GAA like sculpt and through the park… What I saw was an absolute disgrace. Graffiti on the memorial plaque, graffiti on the martello tower, the island house…. graffiti everywhere. The bandstand area was flooded and yes more graffiti on that too.

The planting: although there was evidence of works being done in cutting plants back and some new rose beds planted…. the parts that were in need of serious attention well out weighed the possible good work that was being done. The place simply looks neglected. And if The War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge can show pristine…. this parks department has no excuse.

On a positive, the new playground area was being used. The overall layout is good and the walking/ cycle paths were being used. That said on a Sunday day where I could not find any parking in Dalkey or Dun Laoighre…. there were maybe three cars in this car park.

This is one of the worst parks I have ever visited and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council should be ashamed…. and before any heirarchy even dream of speaking…. it take two minutes to clean a memorial plaque.

View more images of Blackrock Park

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10 replies
  1. Louise Connolly
    Louise Connolly says:

    Hi Peter,
    Not sure if you are aware of this but there is/was a plan to redevelop Blackrock Park, see here:
    Presumably this has gone by the wayside due to lack of funding.
    I used to live in the area up until recently, and its a great place to go for a walk, run, or even just a think. There’s one great bench up high that looks out over the DART line and has a stunning view of Dublin Bay. Its a real pity that parts of the park are not looking their best.



    P.S. See you on March 20th, I’m booked in for the course with Jason.

  2. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    Hi Louise,
    I actually wasn’t aware that there was a master plan that was to be put into operation

    It actually is a great place to go for a walk/ run/ cycle and I did see the bench that overlooked from a high… as I said the layout is there and in my opinion the new masterplan, maybe, isn’t necessary. For me all it logically needs is a replant/ replenish of prettier plants rather than the guaranteed to grow varieties that are displayed there. That and of course a good cleaning/ scrubbing/ manicure.

    Surprised that not one politico [local or otherwise] has picked up on this and decided to make a name for themselves… as one who is bothered. Shame.
    Beir Bua
    That aside…. really looking forward to the 20th. Should be good fun 🙂

  3. David
    David says:

    Hi Peter,

    Good to read this piece, interesting to hear a professional’s opinion on the place. It’s my local park, I’m in it at least 4-5 times a week, and I can’t say I’m ever that bothered by what is/isn’t growing there: my two-year old son eats blackberries from the bushes come autumn and as long as they’re there he’ll be happy 🙂

    On the other hand, couldn’t agree more about the neglect of the infrastructure. It’s been left to rot by DLRCC, and flooded almost every single day during the winter. List of the local councillors is here, we lost our Green councillors at the last election unfortunately. I’ll be sending some emails to see if I can make a bit of a stink, I’ll update if I hear anything back.


  4. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:

    A Chara David,

    nice to hear the blackberries are tasty.
    shame one has to make a stink to get something done. If anything at all.
    would look forward to the updates.

    beir bua

  5. David
    David says:

    Hi Peter,

    As promised, an update on my dealings with DLRCC. I sent the Parks Department an email asking for an update on any progress with the proposed redevelopment, got the following response:

    Mr. Scanlon,
    Your recent query was passed to me for reply, as I am the landscape architect working on implementation of the Blackrock Park Concept Masterplan.

    Implementation of the proposals outlined in the Masterplan is by way of a series of interrelated projects. The buildings you mention fall within 2 projects,
    the first of which is currently receiving priority; brief descriptions follow:

    1. Landscape and Hydrology Project
    We are currently finalising detailed design proposals for landscape design and water management, with a view to statutory Part 8 planning public consultation
    in autumn 2010. The project is an elaboration of the Masterplan proposals to divert part of the Priory River thro’ an constructed wetland and ponds system (effectively a new river valley/water gardens) into the lake and to remove the concrete/macadam edging to the lake, creating natural, ‘soft’ lakeside habitats, restoring the overflow mechanism to the sea. The project includes raising the seating area around the bandstand, retaining the bandstand in-situ, creating a new, enhanced screened (hedging, trees) seating area; and creating a new, larger play area. A new path system would also be created; the existing cyclepaths beside the railway boundary would be retained. Subject to all planning and other approvals, including budgetary allocation, it is envisaged that construction would commence in 2011.

    2. Park Plaza Project
    The area including and surrounding what you call “the Cottage Aviary building and the toilets”, will be the scope of this project. To date, we have not developed the proposals to any greater degree than show in the Masterplan. However, I can say the project would include conservation and renovation to the “Aviary” building (we call this the park shelter – I’d be pleased to receive any info. as to why you use word “aviary”). The concrete toilet block would be demolished.


    Aidan J. ffrench MILI
    Landscape Architect
    Past-President, Irish Landscape Institute

  6. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:

    A Chara David,

    in the meantime does the park stay in a state of neglect until 2011 ? I understand that may not be under Aidan’s remit, but it would be nice to know.

    As least we are aware of the future plans.
    Well done my friend.


  7. Stella Marsh
    Stella Marsh says:

    Margaret Quinn was a beautiful and much loved Aer Lingus Hostess who spent her off duty hours working for The Samaritans, Dan was from a very successful auctioneering family – they married and had a short but very happy marriage before they were tragically killed in a plane accident in Haiti where they were on holiday. Both lovely people remembered with much affection. RIP

  8. Peter Donegan
    Peter Donegan says:

    Hi Stella,

    I’ve never had a comment like this pop up on the garden blog and didn’t want to not respond and yet was and I guess am also mildly unsure of how to do so, in the most appropriate manor…

    What I do know is that when I have seen any form of plaque or commemoration in any garden it usually because that person was famed for their services to a state or maybe were prior to laureates or fine artists… [you know the kind of garden I mean, most usually a ye olde style of settingh that would excite me, but bore to tears almost every person I have ever met in my life, that has not studied horticulture. 😉 ]

    And although I’m sure they [the artists, in this my example] were; and not in anyway to take away from any one; never has it noted or been made better known to me, to remember that they were quite simply, lovely beautiful and happy people.

    The loss of loved ones so special is never easy, but, the idea of a dedication right a longside the sound of laughter and smiles and happiness is one that sits quite well with me.

    And in my mind, for no apparent reason, Donovan is currently singing ‘catch the wind’.

    Thank you Stella,

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