fitzwilliam square gardens …?

A small privately-owned Square with access only for adjoining householders

not open to the public...?

These gardens confuse me slightly. They are on Dublin City Councils website – click here and one can call their offices for information on it – but yet they are privately owned. However, it also appears on the dublin tourist website- click here where it mentions nothing of the sort. And, Abakus, the people who are noted as the contact on the notice board have their website under construction [as I write this post].

That aside, I applaud, and in no way wish to take away from, any group of people who are willing to pay to have gardens maintained – however – on this one, I wouldn’t be best pleased with dublin city council. Mainly because I believe parks, especially those of ‘a city’ should be for people. All, of the people.

In fact the dictionaries first definition of a park is:
an area of land, usually in a largely natural state, for the enjoyment of the public, having facilities for rest and recreation, often owned, set apart, and managed by a city, state, or nation.

and in that case it is none of the above. In that context, it is correct that it does not have the title of park. For it is not. It would be a fraudulant ‘park’ theoretically. It is a garden[s], as described. But it should also should either be of no relation to the state [as is my own garden for example] or it should. The reason for my confusion.

That aside, I went in and had a look around anyway. There was a gate open. And I honestly didn’t know until I was leaving [honestly!]. Maybe it should be handed back to the state I thought as I left. No offence Abakus ltd and to whoever the grounds maintenance has been outsourced to, sincerely. I am fully aware that grounds maintenance budgets can be €40k and be maintained or €100k and look amazing.

I reviewed Merrion Square Park [similar sze and area] for example. It’s not the Queens private gardens in the sense of pristine. But it is a park and it looks good. Here however needs a little something. And this is where sometimes putting projects to tender does not always get the best results and also where park departments may/ do play a role that is so worth while.

In my opinion I would suggest; a really good once over and an injection of new life, horticulturally; I refer to the Ginko Biloba; the borders themselves in their entirety; a tree survey is required – and therfore tree works; the lawns need feeding; one patch looks seriously out of place and after that a real good maintenance schedule put in place and also a programme for new planting. This is not intended as ‘bad’ criticism and I would like my reasons to be based upon a contrast with the grounds of Merrrion Square Park [due to be published friday 28th November].

Note: As with all of my posts/ articles and writings they are never intended to be ‘insulting nor damning’ in anyway. They are always intended to be based upon the logic. If one wishes to discuss this or any other piece with me I will make it my business to be available to do so. And if a correction of any from is made [either by me or in the case of a company doing their little extra I will ensure it is well written of here].

NOTE 2: I have emailed dublin tourist website and dublin city council.

UPDATE: 26th November 2008

Dublin City Council, [bulaidh bós] responded to my email –

—– Original Message —–

Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 12:02 PM
Subject: FW: fitzwilliam square gardens
Dear Mr. Donegan,
I have forwarded your email to Mr. Pat Curran, Senior Executive Parks Superintendent for attention and reply.
Parks Division.

Sent: 25 November 2008 11:33
Subject: RE: fitzwilliam square gardens


I am forwarding you this email from the Customer Services Centre email account which deals with queries from the public.

Can you please respond to the Customer directly?

I have informed the Customer that your Department/Section will be dealing with the matter directly at this email address and that you will respond as soon as possible.


Collette Egan

Customer Services Centre

From: []
Sent: 24 November 2008 12:37
Subject: Fw: fitzwilliam square gardens

Dear Sirs,
many thanks
Peter Donegan MI Hort
Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd
Co. Dublin
t 00353-1-8078712
m 00353-87-*******
2 replies
  1. Pat Curran
    Pat Curran says:

    Hello Peter,

    Fitzwilliam Square originated in Georgian times as a private garden for the use of the keyholders, ie; residents of the surrounding houses, and to date it remains in private ownership. Other Georgian Squares such as Mountjoy Sq. Mountpleasant Sq. and Merrion Sq. were private up to relatively recent times, or remain so to this day. Mountjoy Square was taken in charge by the old Dublin Corporation back in the 1930’s, while Merrion Square only came under the control of Dublin Corporation in the mid 1970’s. Mountpleasant square is predominantly under the control of a private tennis club. It is an objective of the City Council to bring all our Georgian Squares into public ownership at some time in the future, finances permitting. Some people would argue that from a historical perspective Fitzwilliam Square is a closer representation as to how a Georgian Square worked. However, I think most still prefer the open access to amenities afforded by the likes of Merrion and Mountjoy Squares. You are correct that Fitzwilliam Square is listed our website under City Parks, as we get quite a number of queries from tourists about it, but the reference does say that it is in private ownership.

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

    A Chara Pat,

    thanks so much for taking the time to comment. It is sincerely most appreciated and respected.

    Of course for the 28th Nov. I’ve reviewed Merrion Square Park [Archbishop Ryan park]. Your comments here would also be so very much appreciated, if you don’t mind that is.

    I do agree with you in why/ how some would see Fitzwilliam Sq. Pk based on the ‘olde’ theory of how Georgian Squares would have worked. I did/ and do sincerely admire anyone/ group who would take it upon themselves to ensure ths remains so. But, in the sense of being fair *to the park*, which ultimately comes down to resources, however, it may be better off within the hands of the city council [?]. But, once again, historical reasons are also good reasons and so the ‘arguement’ [so to speak 😉 ] continues….

    Once again, thank you so much for taking the time.
    Slan go foill

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave A Comment...