Plan to turn Dublin’s Mountjoy Square into visitor attraction revealed
Council wants to restore Mountjoy Square to how it looked in 1837
A computer-generated image of the proposed Mountjoy Square Park redevelopment. Image: Dublin City Council report
Dublin City Council has proposed restoring Mountjoy Square to how it looked on opening in 1837 by re-creating the 4.4-acre park at its centre.
The square does not play a significant role in Dublin’s tourism, despite its city centre location, and there are few reasons to visit it, a new report has concluded.
Moreover, a public consultation found concerns over antisocial activity in Mountjoy Square Park, especially relating to alcohol and drugs.
The council report has concluded the park has "greater potential” to contribute to the city and the local area. “It is a park that needs vision and investment to realise its potential in revitalising this area of the inner city,” the report said.
The planned centrepiece would be a lawn nearly an acre in size and big enough to allow games such as football and frisbee.
Planting around the central lawn will form large beds with mown grass margins. These planting beds will be themed on the concept of plant hunting that saw many new species introducted from the Georgian period onward.
Plant hunters in the Georgian and Victorian eras included horticulturalists and botanists who explored remote parts of the world in search of new species to record and bring back to Europe for propagation and commercial sale.
The plan envisages the removal of 33 trees in a “dead-poor condition”. Their removal will facilitate the main path in the park.
A circular path is proposed around the perimeter of the central lawn with a possible jogging path on the perimeter of the square.
Mountjoy Square is one of Dublin’s five historic Georgian squares and was developed by the Gardiner family in the late 1700s. It was compared at the time to some of London’s best squares, but the original design has been eroded over the years.
Its association with the playwright Sean O’Casey - he lived in a tenement flat at No 35 - will be reflected in the proposal to inscribe extracts of his work on stone edging around the perimeter walk of the central lawn.
The poets WB Yeats and Patrick Pearse are also linked to Mountjoy Square, and their contributions will be explored in the plan.
Parts of the playground in Mountjoy Square Park will be closed for building of the new path. In the longer term it is intended to replace the playground with a new facility in the restored original plan for the park.
The ultimate goal will be to upgrade the status of Mountjoy Squre Park from a ‘community grade 1’ park with a good range of uses to a ‘flagship’ park that would be a significant visitor attraction.
The report arose out of a decision by Dublin City Council in 2012 to designate Mountjoy Square as an architectural conservation area.
The full report can be read here.