Famous Phoenix Park gates to be re-hung later this year

by Sylvia Pownall

The famous gates of the Phoenix Park which were removed in advance of the visit of Pope Francis 18 months ago will take another nine months to refurbish.

According to the Office of Public Works (OPW) the iconic gates removed from a number of entrances will be restored at a cost of more than €820,000.

In a letter to Cllr Emer Currie (FG) the OPW said restoration works were now under way and it hopes the gates will be rehung by the end of 2020.

Neighbouring residents, including Castleknock Tidy Towns group, had queried why the historic ironwork had been missing for such a length of time.

The OPW stated: “This office can assure you that the old gates will be back in place once the necessary restoration is completed.

“The detailed conservation of the original gates commenced this month and will take about nine months to complete.

“Thereafter a contractor will be appointed to rehang the gates in their original location and to remove the temporary gates.”

It has emerged that the cost of refurbishment for the eight pairs of gates will cost €726,735, plus VAT of 13.5%.

The contract for the work, which the OPW has described as highly specialised, has been awarded to Dublin-based Dunfox, also known as Bushy Park Ironworks.

The company has crafted and restored bespoke historic gates and railings at the Shelbourne Hotel, Blackrock College, Howth Castle, and the K Club, according to its website.

The gates, which range in age from 114 to 187 years old, were first taken down in August 2018 before Pope Francis said an open-air mass for 132,000 people in the Park.

The project has been awarded in two contracts, one for restoration and a separate tender for the restoration of adjoining walls and support piers along with traffic management.

The winning bid by Dunfox (Bushy Park Ironworks) was described as the “lowest tender price received”.

The OPW also said that rehanging of the gates will be a significant piece of work, which may require temporary road closures.

Two of the gates involved, the Islandbridge and Chapelizod entrances, date from 1833, while the entrance at Castleknock was put in place the following year.

Gates at Ashtown and Cabra followed in 1835, while newer gates at the North Circular Road and Blackhorse Avenue date from around 1906.

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