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  • Southside

Public get their first glimpse of Dublin’s newest local park

Friday, 12th January, 2018 8:00am
Public get their first glimpse of Dublin’s newest local park

Councillors Cormac Devlin, Emma Blaine, Tom Murphy and Senator Neale Richmond are pictured during the Fernhill open day.

Public get their first glimpse of Dublin’s newest local park

Councillors Cormac Devlin, Emma Blaine, Tom Murphy and Senator Neale Richmond are pictured during the Fernhill open day.

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OVER 500 members of the public got their first glimpse of Dublin’s newest park as Fernhill Park and Gardens in Stepaside opened for a few hours on New Year’s Eve.

Fernhill is a former substantial family residence with ancillary buildings situated on 34 hectares of gardens, parkland, woodland and agricultural land in an elevated location overlooking Dublin Bay.

It was purchased by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council for €4.25 million in December 2014.

wIn September 2017, the council agreed a masterplan plan to develop the estate into a regional park.

The first tracks and trails have been completed and the public were invited to visit the park on New Year’s Eve for the first of several planned partial openings that will occur as works proceed. 

Welcoming the first visitors to the estate, the cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr Tom Murphy said the new park will be a fantastic facility for the community.

“Council officials have prepared a detailed proposal for the development of the park,” Cllr Murphy said.

“The plan includes a range of new recreational amenities and facilities, and it also includes pedestrian and vehicular entrances from the Enniskerry Road.

“The historic natural character of the site presents the opportunity for developing a unique public amenity, not only to serve the residents of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and surrounding region, but also as a prime visitor attraction in close proximity to Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains National Park.”

Fernhill House and Gardens form an important component of the historic landscape on the fringe of Dublin City.

They form an impressive example of a small estate dating back to around 1723.

Historic records indicate that the estate gardens and an arboretum were established in the 1860’s.

They were 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.

Further improvements during the mid-20th century to the walks, additional topographical features and upgrading of the information on the plant collections, facilitated the opening of the gardens to the general public.

Back in 2014, Minister Shane Ross praised the decision of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to purchase Fernhill.

“The people of this area of South Dublin desperately need a public park and I always believed that the historic estate needed to be protected from developers” he stated.

Independent councillor, Deirdre Donnelly, added: “I was delighted to be present when Dun Laoghaire Rathdwon County Council acquired the house and gardens in 2015.

“I am very excited about the proposed design and development of the property.

“This amenity, once opened, will be a welcome addition to the county given its history and heritage, beautiful landscapes, walkways and much more.

“It will attract large numbers of visitors not just from with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown but outside the county as well.”

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin Rathdown, Neale Richmond, said the park will be a valuable asset for families across South Dublin.

“Following a productive initial consultation, the formal proposals being put forward by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council will include car parking, active recreation, play, paths with multiple seating/resting areas, woodland walks, gardens, ponds and wetlands, meadows,” he stated.

An Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom Murphy welcomes members of the public to Fernhill Park & Gardens.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here