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Blackrock Park, Dublin

I used to pass this park heading southside of dublin, on towards Wicklow and beyond. I’d only ever seen the wee little island house from the roadside, but I never  took the time to go in. Sunday [28/02/10] I did just that.

According to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councils Website:

A formal Victorian park was thus developed which became the responsibility of the newly formed Corporation of Dun Laoghaire in 1930, and in turn of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 1994.

I had this image in my head of the John Lennon video where he and Yoko row out to the little boat house and play the big white piano….. I was sorely mistaken.

The entrance in and car park looks fine, until one realises that there exists car parking charges Monday to Friday 8am – 7pm …. I’m guessing the park and playground is empty mid week.

I walked passed the GAA like sculpt and through the park… What I saw was an absolute disgrace. Graffiti on the memorial plaque, graffiti on the martello tower, the island house…. graffiti everywhere. The bandstand area was flooded and yes more graffiti on that too.

The planting: although there was evidence of works being done in cutting plants back and some new rose beds planted…. the parts that were in need of serious attention well out weighed the possible good work that was being done. The place simply looks neglected. And if The War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge can show pristine…. this parks department has no excuse.

On a positive, the new playground area was being used. The overall layout is good and the walking/ cycle paths were being used. That said on a Sunday day where I could not find any parking in Dalkey or Dun Laoighre…. there were maybe three cars in this car park.

This is one of the worst parks I have ever visited and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council should be ashamed…. and before any heirarchy even dream of speaking…. it take two minutes to clean a memorial plaque.

View more images of Blackrock Park

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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