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Albert College Park, Dublin

I was in Albert College Park last weekend, for my first time. If ever embarrassment was warranted in my very photosynthetic world, this was the case for it, for unknowns maybe, some moons ago, 14 years approx of them, I was responsible for the grounds of Dublin City University. And, should gardens be houses, these two would be a semi-detatched. Right, next door to each other.

As parks go and at first glance, the grounds show remnants of estate like appearance with olde entrance steps and piers; tree lines, pines, stalwart in pairs and in rows and the railing entrance almost a little esque of St. Stephens Green. Far more embarrassing than never being there before ? Knowing Its history. I refer of course to 1927.

  • 1838 Albert College began as ‘The Glasnevin Institution’, based at Cuilίn House and became known as ‘The Model Farm’ for agricultural teaching.
  • 1853 After a visit by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort it was called the Albert College.
  • 1900 (c), it was a national centre of excellence in agricultural education, the ‘Albert National Training Institution’.
  • 1926 (c) it was an important centre of University College Dublin (UCD).
  • 1927 (c) Professor Paul A. Murphy put the Albert on the world map when he discovered the cause of the potato famine, the potato blight fungus. The Albert was the training and research centre for horticulture, plant pathology, plant breeding, animal breeding and botany in Ireland. Cuilίn House was the residence of the College’s Director.
  • 1978 UCD departed the Albert for the new Belfield campus and Dublin Corporation developed The Albert into Hampstead Park with new planting and recreational grounds.

albert college park

It’s a little War Memorial Park versus The Phoenix Park, in the over shadowing sense, but with that also comes its upsides. I walked there with Ella and my good friend Blaithín. Botanical eloquence, in appearance, it may not be, but serenity it certainly is.

As I walked with the parambulator, Blaithín quized my botanical latin versus what was noted on the plaques, which she then translated into Irish. And a little like being on Inis Mór and being more Irish, I did feel more at ease knowing the who’s who of Irish horticulture had been here at some point.

On our way round, we got dragged into a tug o’ war family games day that just happened to be taking place. My manly strength aside and far, far more noticeable was the sound of laughter from the many and varying facets of the park. Now that, is what makes green spaces the stuff of legends.

Joggers, kick abouts, play areas and sports pitches noted; as a space outside I love this place. It’s subtle, like meeting Ronnie Wood and him not picking a guitar up, just in case you might think of him a show off ; In reality, we know, I and he. The history is just too much.

The Battle Of The Boyne Site

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The Battle Of The Boyne Site was visited by The Garden Group yesterday Sunday 27th June.

For a group that is entirely run free gratis yesterday would not have been possible without the help of Aisling Mc Mahon of the OPW and her team who gave us a personal guided tour of the grounds and access to areas that are not as yet open to the public.


The place is absolutely brimmed with history. That aside, from a personal point of view, as having restored and designed 17th and 18th century landscapes, to see the before and then the end result after landscape restoration is simply amazing. I know I am not alone when I say I will return to this place.

There is so much more there than just history to see and do here. It’s also free as long as you don’t do the guided tour of the house. Which you should. The landscape is simply breath taking. Two displays were taking place while we were there. The coffee shop is a must…. the list goes on. Go. Visit. Enjoy. Wander in the long grass.

More Details at the Battle of The Boyne Website

View more of my Battle of The Boyne Images

Looking for more information:

I really enjoyed Sarah’s images of the Boyne Battle site trip – baffles me how she took this picture from the boyne site visit 😉 genius.

George has great [curious] images of the Boyne Site Trip.

John Williams as always, took these great shots of the boyne site tour. Keep an eye on his personal weblog. You wouldn’t know what boyne site gems he could pull out of the bag.

Check out these images of the Boyne Visit. Jennifer posted the rest of her [as always genius] images of the boyne day. Some bits in there a lot of us missed. Makes me wanna go back and stay longer 😉

Battle of The Boyne Site Visit & The Garden Group

To those attending there is of course the original garden group guide post to this trip to the battle of the boyne site.

A note of thanks and deserved applause to Nick Reilly and Aisling Mc Mahon [OPW]  and also to you who decided to make this your Sunday day out.

Really looking forward to this. 🙂

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Glasnevin Cemetery

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Sunday 23rd May saw me visit Glasnevin Cemetery with my good friend Blaithín.

I was dubious. I was beginning to wonder slightly why I went, at first. You may also wonder why a cemetery is being featured on this blog. As disclaimers go, I paid in just like the rest of the some 30 people who managed to get on the guided tour.

But the 140 acre site is amazing. The €5 priced guided tours done by historian and development manager Shane MacThomais run daily at 11.30am, 12.30 & 2.30pm and are well worth it. Really well worth it.

Of course you can walk in for free…. but whats the fun[?] in that. There are 1.5 million people buried there since 1832 – just pay the fiver…. you won’t regret it.

From an ‘outdoors’ person perspective…. it was noticeable that the trust has been putting a lot of money into restoration of the entire grounds. A lot of headstones appeared as 2 seperate colours and it wasn’t until Shane explained that they had been laid a long time ago and sank, some from 8′ high down to just 2′. These are all now being fixed. The fact that the yew trees were put there to prevent people parking their cattle and right down to why cemeteries are no longer placed by rivers as they used to be.

This June the cemetry will also be joined with the Botanical Gardens so one will be able to walk through from one to the other and there are further plans to open a sort of stone masons apprentices school. That I think is a great idea for such a craft. Once again its not until Shane explains how long in hours and hammer taps per hour a piece of stone takes by hand.

All that aside there are the stories of the grave robbers, why a Dublin person is never buried after 12 noon [uisce beatha 😉 ]  and as funny as it sounds even just looking at the trees made me smile.

The tour outdoors takes about 1.5 hours. The tour inside the building and out combined costs a tenner and both receipts will give you discount in the coffee shop [where the cakes are a must and the staff are polite]. They also do student rates. If you believe you may have some family history here…. do go and research.

Some of the more better known names buried there include: Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, Charles Stewart Parnell, O’Donovan Rossa, Arthur Griffiths and Countess Markiewicz. Brendan Behan, Luke Kelly, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Michael Cusack and Liam Whelan.

The trust employs 2 full time and 7 part time staff and can be contacted via the Glasnevin Trust website, telephone 00353-1-8826590 or email tours[at]glasnevintrust[dot]ie

*view more images of Glasnevin Cemetry

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Irelands Eye

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The second garden group event took place today. This time to Irelands Eye.

It was an amazing day. And to that some notes of thanks are due. To the legend that is Diarmuid O’Cathasaigh of The Howth Peninsula Historical Society, who spoke to us about the island and to Mary Stephenson who introduced me to Diarmuid – thank you so very much. It put meaning to the journey.

To the skipper of The Little Flower, Mark Doyle of Island Ferries. You are Sir, a gentleman and I wouldn’t sail in any other boat.

To the people I spent the day with… I applaud you and thank you. Absolute Ladies and gentlemen.

To the island itself… I did try to edit the story teller [the video of him that is] that is Diarmuid [and I could have rewritten what he told me]… but the guy is a legend and I just couldn’t do it. Want to know about Irelands Eye…. really ?

From the famous murder to why martello is actually incorrect spelling. From the year 200 AD to Napoleon and why Howth has 2 of everything…. it’s all there.

All I know is, prior to this trip, I could find very little information on Irelands Eye, including 3-ish photographs and some information on wiki…

This video is the ultimate guide to a history of Irelands Eye. The day out… one I will never forget.

My advice if you are going…

  • Get on well with skipper Mark – that’s if you wish to plan in advance. He is a marine engineer by trade and a gentleman by nature.
  • Wear long trousers and hiking boots, not necessary, just better.
  • Bring a picnic including a hot drink and water And sun screen and water proofs.
  • Relax and enjoy. Worth every cent… more than that, every minute.
  • The boat rip costs €15 and if the tide is with you takes about 15 minutes
  • I recommend you spend a good 2 -3 hours there
  • There is much more than the martello tower there [see images]
  • Anything else…

looking for more information

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