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the garden of remembrance

I was waiting for a bus a few weeks ago. Checked the bus timetable… and with an hour an a bit to spare [coffee flask in hand] I took a stroll up O’Connell Street towards Parnell Square and into The Garden of Remembrance.

My Auntie Bridie [God bless her 🙂 ] used to take me here when I was about 6 years old… back in the day when a trip into Dublin City was a treat filled day of ice-creams in the lashing rain, sitting in an old clear plastic raincoat of hers and maybe a trip to The Savoy Cinema [if I was ‘really good!]. In hindsight, I guess this was where she went to rest her legs when I had her worn out!

To the park… it is quite simplistic in its lay-out and overall design. But I love the little snug part where one can sit in quiet and ponder. It is also the heart of Dublin City and where a little tranquility is the order of the day…. this is a little gem.

Designed by Daithí Hanley to commemorate “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. It was opened in 1966. The main statue by Oisín Kelly of The Children of Lir [love that story] is to symbolise birth and ressurection.

The Garden commemorates insurgents from various uprisings, including the 1798 rebellion, the 1803 rebellion of Robert Emmet, the 1848 rebellion of Young Ireland, the 1867 rising, the 1916 Easter Rising and the war of independence.

I could be critical of the plants… but I won’t. As a park it is genius. Well maintained overall, clean tidy and a little bit of new with the glass of the Parnell Square entrance. It is that one painting that you could stare at for hours…. and here there are so many of them to see.

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.
Regards,
Michelle,
Parks Division.

From: customerservices@dublincity.ie
Sent: 25 November 2008 11:33
To: parks@dublincity.ie
Subject: RE: fitzwilliam square gardens

Hello,

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.

Regards,

Collette Egan

Customer Services Centre


From: Info@doneganlandscaping.com [info@doneganlandscaping.com]
Sent: 24 November 2008 12:37
To: customerservices@dublincity.ie
Subject: Fw: fitzwilliam square gardens

Dear Sirs,
many thanks
peter
Peter Donegan MI Hort
director
Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd
Bettyville
Ballyboughal
Co. Dublin
Ireland
t 00353-1-8078712
m 00353-87-*******
w https://www.doneganlandscaping.com
b http://blog.doneganlandscaping.com

[bio]diverse bats?

a lepidopteran of some kind

a lepidopteran of some kind

biodiversity: n the existence of a wide variety of plants and animals in their natural environments [collins dictionary]

I came home one night [a little the worse!] and saw this fella at my front door. So I took a photo. I thought it was a bat? It’s not. It looks like one. It’s not. But in my research I found Bats are good. Necessary; for plants, for humans – for life. They have a role to play.

I tried to check it out on the Bat Conservation Ireland website, but I found their web information so technical, for me anyway, as an apprentice novice of bats.

What I did find was [yet again & well done] by Dubln City Council. So I telephoned the number and got Mairead Stack [we’d met before], well her voice mail. So I emailed. [Mairead is the biodiversity officer for DCC]. I wanted to find out if it was a bat and what on earth were they good for!

The website pdf says:

The main value is insect control. The common pippistrell can catch up to 3,500 midgets in a night. Bats also serve as indicators of the health of the ecosystem.

God, if we didn’t have bats. Imagine what outside that spotlight would really look like…?!! Mairead also responded [thank you] to my email and informed me that:

It certainly isn’t a bat…. It’s a lepidopteran of some kind (moth).If you go to Bat Conservation Ireland’s website you will find lots of helpful advice and guidance on bats. Also, the DCC Biodiversity Action Plan on www.dublincity.ie lists the 8 species we have in Dublin (there are 10 in Ireland). The main thing re gardens and bats is to grow lots of insect attracting flowers so nectar producing, sweet smelling (especially in evening/night time). Also to have some water feature, again to attract insects on which bats feed, have a mature tree which is forked in which they can roost and put up bat box in the apex of the eaves of your house.

Full credit to DCC and Mairéad. Bulaibh bós in fact. It’s amazing the varying [and most welcome] calls that come in to a landscape & design office [partly the reason why I blog]. But I now know in writing that people shouldn’t be afraid of these chappies – we need them. Now all I need is a picture of a moth bat…

rain water harvesting butts

peter donegan - rain water harvesting buttsI always reuse the grey water from my house & throw it over the veggie plot. Butt [!] it’s time to go a stage further. I wanted a water butt. It took a little research and I go two from… fingal county council.

Made from recycled plastic, Dublin City Council [their page is a little more informative] are selling them too. I dont know about the rest of the country. Sorry!

How much? I paid €40 by bin tags [which is tax deductable] and collected myself. Thats really good value by the way. I thought they’d be sold out – but – the guy in Swords Estuary Recycling Centre said the uptake hadn’t been so great. That’s a bit of a shame and a little surprising. Maybe water charges should come in after all?

HOW TO FIT YOUR HARVESTER[what the instructions don’t tell you]

Anyhow – the fitting is a little tricky. Partly, because my instructions were wet! remember – take your time – measure twice & cut once

peter donegan - rain water butt install 1] place the butt where you want it near the down pipe from your gutters. Hold the pipe in place [as it will sit]; mark where you will cut; make sure it reaches. Cut the down pipe with a hand saw and again removing about 1cm of pipe. You may need a little more – but a good ‘wallop’ [careful and easy! measure twice – cut once!!] should knock it back into place. The section supplied should now be in place & the black hose should now protrude.

rain water harvesting - peter donegan landscaping 2] With the butt sitting on its stand, you now need to drill into the side of the butt – again careful measure twice and cut once – to fit the connection so as the pipe from the downpipe will connect to the harvester and don’t forget gravity!

water butts - peter donegan landscaping ltd3] you’ll need a decent screwdriver to knock the lid into place

That is pretty much it! Careful when cutting – or you’ll take most of the paint off the walls [and your fingers too…!] and make sure and leave the tap in the off position… I don’t need to explain that one…. ? All one needs to do now is wait for it to rain.

We really should allow fixtures like this more readily into our garden designs…

Urban Garden brightens up Smithfield

The previous article may explain why I got involved in urban garden [click here for previous article] … but I think you’ll find Mary Wier of [and] Dublin City Council organised a day that held in store a lot more than just a good looking horticulturist […that’d be me by the way]. The day really did make a difference.

We do need to make an effort to green up ‘our’ spaces.

I hope you enjoyed it and more importantly I hope ‘you’ took something home with you from the day [apart from a big smile] that will help you green up ‘your’ space.