News of new regional park, gardens praised

by Emma Nolan

A STUNNING new public park on the grounds of a historic estate that boasts fantastic views over Dublin Bay could soon be a new jewel in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown’s crown – all thanks to people power.
The council acquired Fernhill Park and Gardens last year and intends to develop the property as a regional public park following submissions from the public.
Fernhill is a former substantial family residence (above right) with ancillary buildings on 34 hectares of land (gardens, parkland, woodland and agricultural land) just south of the Enniskerry Road at Stepaside.
According to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the house and gardens are an impressive example of a small estate on the fringe of Dublin city dating back to around 1723.
Fernhill is in an elevated location overlooking Dublin Bay. Historic records indicate that the estate gardens and an arboretum were established in the 1860s, and extended towards the turn of the 19th Century with the inclusion of a number of water features, rockeries and a collection of many unusual rhododendron varieties.
The general design is said to have been strongly influenced by the Irish ‘naturalist’ gardener William Robinson (1838–1935), who spurred the movement that evolved into the English Cottage Garden style.
According to the council: “The historic natural character of the site presents the opportunity for developing a unique public amenity.”
Deputy Josepha Madigan (FG) said that the park will be a “great asset to the local community”.
She said: “The council’s plans include new pedestrian and vehicular entrances from both Enniskerry Road and Rosemont School; car parking ponds; a new sports building and public toilets, as well as recreation and play areas.”
The closing date for receipt of submissions and observations is August 23, and these can be made online at www.dlrcoco.ie.
Senator Neale Richmond (FG) is encouraging locals to have their say. He said: “This will be a fantastic public amenity for the people and it is vital that the people take ownership of what the new park will look like.
“It will be a focal point for the local community and will provide space for both playing and learning for all ages.
“This is the type of positive investment we can all be proud of and support, but I am encouraging locals to input their ideas and concerns to ensure that this park serves them the way it should.”

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