Funicular plans for Phoenix Park to be abandoned

Public opposes retail elements in Dublin’s park but shuttles and train may materialise

The OPW proposed visitor attractions in the Phoenix Park including a funicular train, a driverless shuttle bus and the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The OPW proposed visitor attractions in the Phoenix Park including a funicular train, a driverless shuttle bus and the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

A funicular will not be installed in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, but driverless shuttles, a train station and new visitor facilities are still on the cards, following public consultation on the park’s future.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) last March published a review of the park with proposals for new visitor attractions including a funicular, the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre and the Magazine Fort, and new parking and retail facilities.

A report on the public consultation, to be published on Thursday, indicates the OPW should leave the park alone. “A high proportion of submissions expressed a desire for the park to be left largely untouched,” the report said.

Toilets and cafes

Almost 20 per cent of submissions felt the proposals would result in “commercialisation” of the park with some “strong objections to retail opportunities in the park”.

However, the OPW said existing users found the facilities “unsatisfactory” and it was “not an option for OPW to do nothing in relation to the provision of adequate facilities such as toilets, water stations, cafe facilities . . .”

Respondents were unenthusiastic about the funicular and the OPW has dropped this proposal, but there were wide-ranging views about other transport facilities, with some arguing for more parking, others seeking car restrictions. The OPW will next year conduct a mobility study, which will consider potential for electric shuttles, a train train, Luas extension, cycling and car facilities.