herald

Wednesday 18 September 2019

New parks named after famed Irish writers will create city's 'green heart'

Flagship parks such as St Stephen’s Green will have a new management plan
Flagship parks such as St Stephen’s Green will have a new management plan

New public parks named after famous Irish writers are planned for city centre areas to make up for the lack of open spaces.

The first strategy for parks by Dublin City Council has proposed a series of new parks as part of plans to create a "green heart" in the city and to associate them with some of our best-known authors and poets.

These will include Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, Maeve Binchy and Brendan Behan.

The Dublin City Parks Strategy 2019-2022, which promises the creation of "a greener and more liveable Dublin", said the city had a comparatively good provision of parks by inter- national standards.

Quality

There are around 300 parks and open spaces, which account for 17pc of all land area within the council's administrative area.

However, the strategy acknowledges they are not evenly distributed or of consistent quality.

Although the average provision of open space in the city is 36 square metres per person, it falls to less than five square metres per person in the city centre.

The council will examine rezoning some lands between the canals, which are currently vacant and derelict.

Among the areas identified for potential parks are East Wall, Great Charles Street, Upper Abbey Street, Hammond Lane, St Teresa's Gardens, Dolphin House and Temple Bar.

The council will also examine if existing parks in private ownership, such as Fitzwilliam Square, Kenilworth Square, Brighton Square and Mount Pleasant Square, could be converted to public open spaces.

The strategy proposes that individual management plans be prepared for the city's 13 flagship parks, which include Phoenix Park, St Stephen's Green and the Iveagh Gardens.

Plans include a new visitor centre on North Bull Island, the potential designation of St Anne's Park as a sculpture park and the development of tearooms at Merrion Square.

The council plans to upgrade four other parks to flagship park status - Mountjoy Square, Fairview Park, Albert College Park and Fitzwilliam Square.

New land for allotments may also be provided, due to the growing number of people living in the city who have no private garden space.

Council's chief executive Owen Keegan said Dublin's parks provide space for people removed from the countryside to get into contact with nature.

"They make a significant contribution to creating a sense of place for local communities and they provide the space for rest, relaxation, recreation and cultural activities," he said.

It is estimated that up to 5,000 people participate each week in games on the 230 pitches in the city's public parks.

The council is to enhance tennis facilities at Rockfield Park, Bushy Park and Herbert Park and develop a policy to boost cycling in parks.

Volleyball

It will also increase the number of skate parks across the city and examine the potential for beach volleyball at coastal parks and beaches.

Tearooms are also planned for Bushy Park and under consideration for Blessington Street Basin, Fairview Park and Palmerston Park.

A survey found 26pc visited their local park every day while 42pc did so every week.

Only 2pc never visited their local park.

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