A trail and play park commemorating the children who died in the Easter Rising in 1916 would be located at St Audoen’s in the Liberties under a plan backed by city councillors last week.
Children from several schools formed a committee to decide how to commemorate the 40 children who died in 1916, said Les Moore, head of Dublin City Council’s Parks Service. They decided on a play park.
The council selected St Audeon’s Park because it is centrally located, it needs regeneration, and some of the children from the area were involved in the committee, said Moore.
“We wanted it to be a trail more than a playground, a trail where children would learn about heritage … commemorative but not solemn,” he said.
If the plan goes ahead, the park would have a wide slide that kids could go down together, artistic features, boulders for climbing, sound elements and water features. The council could finalise designs over the summer and start work by the end of the year.
At a meeting of their South Central Area committee on Wednesday 19 July, councillors welcomed the proposal.
“Other councillors are getting jealous because so much is happening in the Liberties,” said Sinn Fein Councillor Criona Ní Dhálaigh. “But that is because it was neglected for so long.”
In response to a question from Ní Dhálaigh, Moore confirmed that the play park will be wheelchair accessible.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Mullooly welcomed the project, but urged the council to look at security seriously, to ensure that the park doesn’t become a place for anti-social behaviour.
Bridgefoot Street Park
Councillors were also show the latest draft plans for Bridgefoot Street Park, which have been designed in conjunction with members of the local community.
“We needed to develop a design process that took on board the community’s needs from an early stage,” said Peter Leonard, a landscape architect with the council.
That meant a workshop with models of different possible elements of the park that led to a community wishlist, and later, round-table discussions with local residents, too.
“Some of the strong things that were emerging was that it should be a multi-functional space for all ages, open and inviting and a natural space,” said Leonard.
Those present voted to have a pavilion for meetings and showing films on a projector, he said. They also asked that the park should be organic and the play elements natural.
By the third meeting they were able to present the design of the park to members of the community, based on what they had wanted he said.
The final plans include a play space, a café-workshop, a terraced performance space, a flexible open space and a community garden. They hope it could be open by summer 2018, said Leonard.
“This is a success story, this is the way parks should be built,” says Sinn Féin councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh. “If Carlsberg did parks, well this is the way they would do them.”
Homes in Ballyfermot
Deputy City Architect Brian Swan also gave councillors an update on 61 units of social housing that are planned for Cornamona Court on the Kylemore Road in Ballyfermot.
Of the planned homes, 29 are one-bedrooms earmarked for senior citizens. The rest are general two- or three-bedroom units, including 15 houses, Swan said. Plans include a landscaped residential courtyard, a community room and a basement car park.
The council had originally envisaged the development as an elderly-only facility, but that was changed as the Department of Housing pushed for it to be mixed-use needs, Swan said.
Dublin City Council will manage the units themselves, said Housing Manager Brendan Kenny. They hope to begin building by next summer and complete the construction by 2020.
The plans received support from all the councillors. The main concern was that they go ahead as quickly as possible. “Is there any way we can speed it up?” asked Daithí Doolan of Sinn Féin.
Kenny suggested that to speed up the process the councillors could approve the plans there and then, to save them coming back to a later meeting as planned. That was agreed.