Dublin City may welcome a new public park in 2018
Colloquially known as 'The Dump', the Bridgefoot St Park will bring much needed greenery to the heart of the city.
27 September 2017 | 1
Dublin City Council is proposing to build a brand new park called “Bridgefoot Street Park” in the very heart of the Liberties, Dublin 8.
The proposed works will comprise the following:
- Provision of a new public park, consisting of hard and soft landscaped areas, tree planting, furniture and lighting.
- Provision of soft landscape mounds and landscape terraces.
- Provision of allotments and community garden.
- Provision of multi functional performance space, play space and play equipment.
- The measures taken will lead to a significant improvement in disability access to the project area and support the principle of universal access for all.
The project proposal was developed in collaboration with residents and stakeholders as part of an open participative process.
However, while the site for the future Bridgefoot Street Park is still colloquially called the dump by some Liberties Residents – perhaps because this site once provided Dublin with its municipal dump back in the 18th century – it has very much taken on a new persona as it is now occupied by a vibrant inner city community garden.
The area has become one of the highest population density areas in Dublin. While there is no shortage of tourist attractions, shops, and historical interest within this area, there is also a noticeable lack of any green space.
The average Liberties resident has 0.7 square metres of green space, whilst residents of Dublin 4 and Dublin 6 have 15 square metres! The World Health Organisation recommends 9 square metres of green space per city resident.
For this reason the Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, which currently grows upon the southern end of the site chosen for the future Bridgefoot Street Park, is all the more welcoming for residents, workers, and tourists who want to take a break from the traffic and concrete that lie all around.
Since March 2015 when the garden was first created, Bridgefoot Street Community Garden has provided a quiet and lovely oasis in which to garden, relax, and socialise.
Located within the Liberties, in Dublin’s South City Centre, the garden is a short stroll from Thomas Street, NCAD, and the Guinness Storehouse. Because of the proximity to many destination attractions the garden has hosted plenty of visitors from other countries who arrive in Dublin on holiday.
In common with the mix of visitors to the city, tourists from as far away as America, Australia, and New Zealand have also dropped in on gardening sessions for a chat and sometimes to help out with the weeding and digging.
Bridgefoot Street Community Garden is the only amenity in this part of town in terms of a freely accessible site where people can regularly engage in gardening activity if they don’t own their own garden or have access to an allotment.
For this reason participation by local community groups has also been very positive and is increasing. Because of the garden’s central location, it’s visibility, and it’s relatively large size the garden has also been utilised for more formal gardening events by different groups.
These consist not only of various local community groups, but also commercial organisations wanting to provide their staff with an enjoyable day of volunteer work mixed with the chance to pick up horticultural skills.
The following groups and organisations have taken part in Community Garden Activities at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden since it opened in 2015:
- Dublin Mens Shed Group
- We Share Dublin
- Young Friends of the Earth
- The RECDP After School Club
- Sundial House
- Saint Audoens National School
- Navan Road Scouts Troop
- Work Day
- Mendicity Kids Club
- An Taisce Environmental Education
The strength of the community garden at Bridgefoot Street lies in it being a large amenity that multiple organisations and groups can use for activities, without having to invest in the long term organisation of the site or community garden themselves.
These groups might not otherwise have the capacity to manage their own community or school garden.
Dublin City Council has already identified the need for greening the Liberties in its “greening strategy”, and thus is proposing the new park on the community garden site some time in 2018.
While Bridgefoot Street Community Garden and allotment users are supportive of the plan to include both a community garden and allotment within the planned future park they are also concerned that the future park plan involves moving the garden from the south eastern corner of the site to a more southerly aspect.
This will impart a great deal of disruption to the now established community garden which has taken 2-3 years to establish, and which would in effect have to be rebuilt in terms of community buy in, as well as re-establishing the horticultural work already completed.
In response to the Part 8 site notice for the proposed park plan, Bridgefoot Street Community Garden held an open evening on Tuesday the 8th of August this year.
This informed the garden users, residents, and allotment plot holders about the proposed park development on the site, and collected submission comments.
These comments have been submitted along with the request to maintain the community garden within the wider Bridgefoot Street Park, while the new park is constructed around it.
The collected comments also raised the point that the Bridgefoot Street Park Site has become a haven for biodiversity since it has been unused for so long, and has been re-colonised by wildflowers, insects and birdlife.
Maintaining the community garden and allotment plots in-situ while the park is developed would also help to mitigate against the disturbance of this biodiversity.
The community garden is also surrounded by a number of urban bee hives, and is an important feeding site for the local Honey Bees, and other insect pollinators.
The results of the Part 8 stage of the planning process for the new Bridgefoot Street Park are yet to be revealed, but it is to be hoped that this community garden can continue to be open to all without interruption, and without the loss of so much hard work which has been put into the site by so many people.