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St Audoens Park, Dublin

Located on the corner of High Street and Cook Street [just on past Christ Church] St Audoens Park is, I’m glad to say, another of Dublins little gems. According to Dublin City Councils website:

St. Audoen’s Park, although less than 0.5 hectares in size, is quite significant in historical terms.  Located adjacent to St. Audoen’s Church (1300 A.D.), it incorporates the first stone city wall dating from about 1100 A.D.; St. Audoen’s Arch, the last surviving entrance to the old city; and Fagan’s Gate.

The City Wall was restored in 1976 as part of Architectural Heritage Year and the park development of 1982 won a prestigious civic award.  Audoen was a 7th – century Bishop of Rouen (France) and the nearby church named after him is reputedly one of the oldest still used for regular religious services.

As a park, it is extremely relaxing and a great little getaway from the hustle and bustle. The fact that it has so much from a heritage point of view is something that maybe is overlooked a bit too often… But maybe there’s a little of The War Memorial Park versus The Phoenix Park going on here with Christs Church only a stones throw away [?].

That said I like it. Nicely laid out. Clean and tidy. There was even a gardener in trimming the lawn edges on the day I visited. I also like the fact that there’s a Dublin Bike Scheme collection point right outside. I cycled right up from Exchequer Street. The beds were a little empty but I’ll simply put that down to the time of the season… still no leaves on the trees 😉 A note should go also to the stone work cobbles that so often are not in keeping with the surroundings.

Go take a look. Enjoy. Well worth it.

more picture of St Audoens Park

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

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It was last month when I chose to visit the Iveagh Gardens just north of St Stephens Green.

On the whole, I like the Iveagh Gardens. I like the layout, the sunken lawn and the symetry of the main features.

But on this occasion I was a bit surprised with some elements of the grounds.

The Iveagh Gardens were originally given to University College Dublin by Lord Iveagh in 1908. The gardens are now under the remit of the OPW.

The waterfall was closed off, which is fine, but road cones and some other paraphernalia seemed to be strewn there and the rose area was closed off. These bits one can live with and are easily resolved. But when you see statues/ figures with parts removed and at the same time a brand new looking [and therefore slightly out of place] sculpt of John Mc Cormack one wonders mildly. No offence meant to the Mc Cormack people…. but I could think of more fitting places for such a sculpt. I suppose I may have thought that one would restore the more historic pieces before bringing in the brand new [?].

The main water features were also turned off, the lawns [acknowledgment of winter weather here] were in disrepair and the trees had a fair amount of suckering growth. Not a lot going on being quite honest.

On the plus side the park is one of the quieter ones in Dublin, which in recent times has become a little better known thanks to the comedy festivals that now take place there. And no harm. It is in summer months very much filled with the joys of spring [?!!] but on this occasion I was disappointed.

As I said, I really do like this park, overall and to simply escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It’s history is also quite amazing and well worth reading up on… that said if I was Lord Iveagh… I guess I’d be a little disappointed to see the missing and semi dismantled sculpts that dorn the parks peripherals.

On a slightly seperate note The Iveagh Gardens wiki page tells as lightly different story to that of heritage Ireland

The gardens in their present form were laid out in 1863 by Benjamin Guinness after he had built what is now Iveagh House on St. Stephen’s Green. Previously the land had been laid out as a private pleasure garden by “Copper-faced Jack”, Earl of Clonmell.

According to Heritage Ireland

The Iveagh Gardens are among the finest and least known of Dublin’s parks and gardens.  They were designed by Ninian Niven, in 1865, as an intermediate design between the ‘French Formal’ and the ‘English Landscape’ styles.  They demonstrated the artistic skills of the landscape Architect of the mid 19th century and display a unique collection of landscape features which include Rustic Grotto’s and Cascade, sunken formal panels of lawn with Fountain Centre Pieces, Wilderness, Woodlands, Maze, Rosarium, American Garden, Archery Grounds, Rockeries and Rooteries.

The conservation and restoration of the Gardens commenced in 1995 and to date most of the features have been restored, for example the Maze in Box hedging with a Sundial as a centrer piece.  The recently restored Cascade and exotic tree ferns all help to create a sense of wonder in the ‘Secret Garden’.  The pre 1860s rose varieties add an extra dimension to the Victorian Rosarium.

More images of the Iveagh Gardens on Pix.ie

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The Garden Group Visit The War Memorial Gardens

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I had reviewed The War Memorial Gardens last May. But today wasn’t about my view of the park.

It was about a group of people, a great group of people I should add, who took some time out of their Sunday, to enjoy a little of the great outdoors. On a slight side note it was also about making garden group[s] a little funky 😉

A note of very special thanks should go to the OPW and in particular Craig, from The War Memorial Gardens who gave a very enthusiastic guide to how the park works, its history, the design… put simply he proved just why The Irish Times ranked it number 5 in Irelands top ten hidden gems.

The weather was a little nippy. But on a positive, it didn’t rain 😉 Considering I work outdoors all week and I used to work in this park [some 16 years ago now albeit….] for me it was a really enjoyable afternoon, made partcularly amazing by people I spent it with. Thank you all. Sincerely.

Funny thing, I never ever thought the laughing point of Anthony and Nialls afternoon would involve a joke about pruning roses 😆 That really made me smile!

So the garden group got off the ground and it’s onwards and upwards… Next garden group outing will be announced the first week in March. Looking forward to it now.

More Pictures of the garden group gig over at Pix.ie

UPDATE:

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The Garden Groups First Adventure

war memorial gardenswar memorial gardens

It is official. The first ever outing for the Garden group has been organised is set up and ready to go.

The trip is to The National War Memorial Gardens [Dublin] and it will cost you absolutely nothing.

We will have a personal guided tour and if you have never been here before… the towers will be made open and available to us so if you had [or think you had] a relation in World War 1 we will be able to go in and get printed copies from the original books of the records. The fact that the entire gardens were built by hand…. is amazing just to look at and for the pure gardener there’s a collection of over 5,000 roses. There literally is something for everyone and this is not about ones ability to horticulture….

Date and Time: Sunday 7th February 2009 at 12pm midday. Depending on yourself this should take no more than 3 hours [at a max].

To Book Your Place: Places are limited to 18 people maximum. Whether you showed interest in the previous post – or not – this is the list I will use. If you would like to go enter your details and note: ‘ i’m in ‘ – or – ‘keep me on the shortlist’

Any Other Details: My suggestion is we bring some sandwiches and a flask and maybe have a bite to eat/ picnic there [weather permitting]. This can be organised through the comment section below.

Anyone who travel-wise can only get so far – note it below I’m sure some of us will be driving and would be more than happy to pick you up en route.

Location: South Circular Rd, Islandbridge. Opposite the army barracks Entrance from Con Colbert Rd. and South Circular Rd. (Phoenix Park end) enter via school gates and drive through to the car park

Bus Route(s): No’s. 51, 68 and 69 from Aston Quay.

* a note of thanks to Michael Herbert [and Margaret Gormley] and his team in the OPW park department – really so very much appreciated

put your name down...

put your name down...

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101 Amazing Peter Donegan Facts

I had written some time ago a list of ten things you did not know about me. But recently I was reading the weblog of Eolai Gan Fheile and found he had done 101 which I found so much more interesting…. I realised I should do something a little more indepth.

  1. I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers
  2. My Mothers father [my ‘Pop’] was a furrier by trade
  3. When I was 6 years old he told me he blew up Hitler with a grenade
  4. He was a pioneer [never drank] for life
  5. My father has been in the wine trade all of his life
  6. My Mother was only 2lbs in weight when she was born. ‘Thats 2 bags of sugar…’
  7. I wasn’t allowed go to a disco until I was 14.
  8. My first home was in Leixlip.
  9. In one year in school I played on the following teams table tennis, hurling, rugby and athletics.  I also played gaelic football.
  10. I had to write an essay about myself in 6th class. My Mother made me write that I was unique as the closing line. The teacher wrote after this ‘how very very true…’
  11. I had an action man who eyes used to move. His eyes looked dirty so I cleaned them with bleach. This removed the blue and looked quite scary. So I cut off his fingers with a pliers.
  12. He refused to marry my sisters barbie. That caused an argument.
  13. I have not taken a summer holiday since I started horticultural college at the age of 17
  14. I still call my younger sister Jackie ‘snotser’
  15. I used to wear camouflage clothes and crawl around the garden thinking nobody could see me.
  16. The first seeds I ever grew were radish. I was 4
  17. The first bulb I ever grew was a hyacinth. It cost 17 pence. I was 5
  18. The first cuttings I ever took were geraniums. I was 11
  19. I used to own a grifter [bike]
  20. I thought myself how to play guitar when I was 14. I still play
  21. I once busked on Grafton Street and made £1.74 – one pound of that was in sterling
  22. My Dads Dad [my grandfather] was in the special branch
  23. I never met my Dads Mom [my grandmother]
  24. I was born on March 2nd 1976
  25. When I was ‘small’ my favourite snooker player was Terry Griffiths. My brothers was Steve Davis
  26. I used to cut grass for pocket money
  27. I was in the cubs and the scouts.
  28. Me and my brother disassembled a Bastille Day rocket bought for my oldest brother and set it alight on the window ledge. As we closed the window the curtain netting got caught outside and burnt. We fixed it with white thread and tipp ex.
  29. I am God Father to my best friends [John & Siobhán] child
  30. I have two dogs. Whitey – who is black; and sparky who is not very intelligent
  31. I take a size 13 shoe
  32. My first car was a Citroen AX 1.1. It cost £2,000. The insurance cost £2,119. I was 22.
  33. I owned an MGB GT for 8 years. I sold it for €1 this year. It was previously owned by a man called Jack Taylor.
  34. The first house I bought was a one bedroom dormer bungalow in Balbriggan.
  35. Because there are so many children in my family… when we were being called for dinner each name was shortened to one syllable. Peter became Pee. Which is what my close friends call me.
  36. My Dad once told me he’d cut my fingers off. In fairness I did take most of his tools apart…. to see how they worked. I now know he was joking.
  37. When I was 8 my brother Fran told me that the only way to get hairy arms like my Dad was not to wear a jumper and that my body would grow hair to keep me warm. I think it worked.
  38. I once ate an entire Vienetta ice cream cake in one day. My older brother and sister got the blame. The week before I had been given Sunday ice cream in a bowl that previously had ham in it. I don’t like salty ice cream to this day.
  39. My Grandmother had false teeth. I still think she can hear me when I speak about her.
  40. She bought me a key ring that said ‘worlds best gardener’ on it. I was 9.I still have it.
  41. When I was younger I wanted to be a stand up comedian. My teacher in school told me: ‘stand up and everybody laugh at you’.
  42. My favourite team is Arsenal. I once wrote to David O’ Leary. But he never wrote back. I hope he reads this.
  43. The first country abroad I was ever in was France. Carnac to be exact.
  44. My family used to have a caravan in Arklow. We lost the key to it and used to have hoosh my brother through the bedroom window.
  45. I don’t like horror films. I do like funny ones. My favourite are The Marx Brothers.
  46. I used to have long hair. It goes curly when it get long.
  47. Once I went to sleep in the back of a neighbours truck. I have also slept in a hedge. The hedge is warmer. It was a griselinia.
  48. The most dinners I have ever eaten in one day is 8. I was in Clonmel.
  49. The first song I ever thought myself to play on guitar was The Rolling Stones Paint it Black
  50. The first Band I ever saw in concert was The Hothouse Flowers
  51. The first [vinyl] record single I ever bought was George Harrison. The first vinyl album was David Bowie ‘The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
  52. 3 of my sisters are originally red heads. When I don’t shave I get a tiny blotch of approximately 1″ square of red come through my beard
  53. I have never bought myself aftershave
  54. I have never asked a girl to dance.
  55. In my leaving cert mock German exams I got 19% intentionally. I had a German girlfriend at the time
  56. In the April – May of my first year in business it rained for 5 weeks solid. I was living in a rented room. It was the first time I had cried in a long time.
  57. For the craic once, I went into a police station and asked for a big mac and large fries
  58. I went to electric picnic this year only on the Sunday. Apart from the clothes I was wearing I only brought €150, a roll of toilet paper and a roll of sellotape. I slept in a plastic bag.
  59. I used to write Jake on my knuckles in black marker.
  60. The most times I ever watched the blues brothers in one sitting was 12
  61. The last time I was in a fight I was 14.
  62. When I was 6 my Dad gave me his old briefcase to use as a school bag. One morning I put mine in the place where his was. He arrived at my school to exchange shortly after.
  63. I once used a  bin lid as a frisbee and threw it through the kitchen window. My brother was meant to catch it.
  64. I was sent to bed for a week when I was 7 for letting the hand brake off my Moms Citroen 2cv. It rolled out of the drive way and hit the pillar on the far side of the road with me in it.
  65. I was thrown out of piano lessons after 2 years. We didn’t own a piano.
  66. After reading the Random Acts of Kindness book I bought everyone in the café on Westmoreland Street coffee and a cookie anonymously.
  67. I do not wear pyjamas.
  68. I am afraid of flying. But I still do.
  69. I ran the womens mini marathon 2 years ago under the pseudonym of Petra Donegan
  70. I used to have an Italian girlfriend called Petra when I was 15. We broke up after 3 weeks when she returned home.
  71. I still turn the first middle cigarette of every box upside down for good luck. I have only not done this once when I was 14. I got caught with cigarettes by my Mom that day.
  72. I still bang my right elbow after I bang my left by accident. My sister also told me this was for good luck. Now after I bang my right elbow, by accident, I bang my left twice and then my right once more. She told me this one when I was 8.
  73. The most donuts I ever ate in one go was 25.
  74. I want to grow my hair long again.
  75. I prefer red wine to white
  76. My favourite drink is Guinness
  77. I have only owned 3 pairs of black shoes since I was 20
  78. When I moved to Scotland, Aberdeen [Stonehaven]. I decided on a Wednesday. I had nowhere to live. I had never been there before. I moved there on the Friday. I had a job organised but nothing else. I found home on the second day in an apartment over The Queens Hotel.
  79. When I lived in London my address was Clonmel Road, London. It’s near the seven sisters tube station. I had just left Clonmel Co Tipperary.
  80. I don’t mind wearing odd socks.
  81. I once smoked pot pourri to take the smell of cigarettes off my breath.
  82. I think all politicians should be made have a real job as mandatory before they are allowed get elected.
  83. I own a mandolin, 6 guitars, a tin whistle, a harmonica and 3 sets of bongos.
  84. I have never received social welfare as an individual or a grant in any format as a business
  85. I like to close my eyes when it rains softly so it tickles my tongue
  86. I did a business plan when I was 19 for a garden centre with a coffee shop. The bank manager told me if I got rid of the coffee shop part [he thought the idea ridiculous] he’d loan me the money.
  87. I would like to be a member of the band The Riptide Movement
  88. I still speak in Irish. [As Gaeilge]. My name in Irish is Peadar O Donagáin.
  89. I used to have a weekly column in the farmers journal newspaper.
  90. I don’t like beans on my breakfast.
  91. I prefer coffee over tea. I like it when its made from real coffee beans. But I hate watery coffee. I like watery tea.
  92. When  I first moved house [from Leixlip] I wondered the next morning how the beds moved too. I also wondered when we were going back to our real home. My Dad told me this today.
  93. My favourite fruits are grapes and bananas
  94. The Beatles poster now framed in my living room has been in every home I have ever lived in since I was 17.
  95. I only have 3 chairs at my kitchen table. One of them is odd. They used to be my parents. The kitchen table used to be my sisters.
  96. I like art. I like art that I start to day dream at when I look at it. I have only ever bought one painting. I bought this in the Dominican Republic.
  97. I think I’d be a great Dad. I haven’t really spent much time thinking about it though.
  98. I was extra in the film ‘A Tigers Tale’. I have never seen it. I never told anyone. My friends said they saw me in it.
  99. I like to sing in the shower.
  100. I need a new maximum minimum thermometer. I bought my first one when I was 19
  101. My eyes are blue.

If you really read all of that, consider seeing a therapist.

For the record there is no significance in the order, and they do not include the things I regard as the most important.