Photo by Lois Kapila

Dubliners have until the end of the month to give feedback on the draft strategy that Dublin City Council has for parks across the city.

In play are ten new literary-themed parks in the city centre, new “destination playgrounds”, and a sculpture park.

The plan also notes an increased emphasis on displaying art in parks, a commitment to provide bicycle parking spaces at all city-centre parks, and the inclusion of community parks as part of all future social-housing developments.

Alongside that, the city council has put forward the idea of a Dublin City Parks Volunteer Programme, which would give Dubliners a chance to get involved in working in parks.

That wouldn’t mean cutting grass. Rather, volunteers might be taking photos, giving guided tours or helping to run events in the parks.

Literary Parks

As many as 10 new literary-themed parks could be designed to reflect the work of the city’s greatest writers, although who they would honour is unclear as yet.

Under the plan, there would be a feasibility study to look at the possibility of developing the new parks.

The plan lists the city-centre areas that might be suitable: East Wall, Great Charles Street, Abbey Street Upper, Hammond Lane, St Teresa’s Gardens, Dolphin House, Bridgefoot Street, Werburgh Street, Grand Canal Place, and Temple Bar.

The Sculpture Park

If it is approved and goes ahead, some of Dublin’s parks  would be developed as artistic spaces, and officials would start to look at possible sites for a new sculpture park. That could be St Anne’s Park in Clontarf or Liffey Valley Park, according to the report.

Sculpture parks in other cities have proven successful, and the council’s strategy mentions international examples including the Museé Rodin in Paris, the Louisiana Skulpturparken in Denmark, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England.

The strategy also calls for ramping up the number of artworks on display in other parks. At the moment, 20 of the city’s parks have artwork, but they are concentrated in the city centre, particularly at Merrion Street.

They should be more evenly distributed throughout the city’s parks, according to the report.

Serious about Play

Also central to the plan are several new “destination playgrounds”.

The idea is that these would have modern equipment, parking, and amenities that would draw people from across the city to visit them.

At the moment, council officials only count the playgrounds within Phoenix Park and St Anne’s as “destination playgrounds”.

According to the plan, there is the potential to develop “destination playgrounds” in the north-west, south-central, and south-east areas, as well as in the city centre.

There are currently 57 playgrounds in public parks throughout the city.

[UPDATED: This article was updated on 12 January at 14:42 to make it clear that these are draft plans.]

Laoise Neylon is a reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at

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