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St Patricks Park, Dublin

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I had been to St Patricks Park before. Just never with camera in hand and an eye on reviewing it. There is a difference.

But I love this park. I like the personal touch to it – the signs of which are, literally, everywhere.

Of particular note *and something that makes the park so very beautiful are the little ode’s to those [possibly surpising] who knew the park so well [as versus political heads who never really went there at all]. One of those is to Tom Keegan, a previous head gardener and he is just one of many.

I like the layout. The park is well maintained. People in there seemed relaxed and the pace of life on entering somehow seems to slow motion slightly.

There’s an unusual mix of old and new…. but it is funny that one wouldn’t be so aware which parts are the more modern. Add to that a fine backdrop of the Cathedral and the fact that the rails between have been left ‘not blocked off’.

It was only last week when I visited here [early Feb], whilst there were minor changes and touches that I may add, the reality is it is one of Dublins better parks.

Two things. First, this is the second mention I have given to the river poddle and [secondly] Nice to see the Lord Iveagh touch here again…. makes me want to say thanks to the chap for such a fine legacy that he has certainly left behind.

Go take a look, bring the coffee, relax and enjoy. Well worth the trip.

According to Dublin City Councils website

Situated beside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, tradition has it that St. Patrick baptised the first Irish Christians there with water from the River Poddle which flows underground.  Developed by Lord Iveagh under the St. Patrick’s Park Act of 1897, work was completed by July 1904 to a layout by Arthur Dudgeon C.E., dated 17th July 1901.  Lord Iveagh continued to maintain the park for a number of years under a joint arrangement with the Corporation who eventually took full responsibility in the 1920’s.

The park provides an ideal setting for the cathedral and recent additions in 1988 include a Literary Parade highlighting the works of Swift, Mangan, Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Synge, O’Casey, Joyce, Behan, Beckett, Clarke, Dillon and the Liberty Bell Sculpture. There is also a childrens playground.

View more images of St Patricks Park

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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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