Felling of trees in Merrion Square


Sir, – I write with reference to the recent large-scale felling of trees and shrubbery, mainly on the southeast and eastern sides of Merrion Square Park in Dublin. It used to be the case that on entering Merrion Square Park, the visitor had a sense of stepping out of the city, with its attendant traffic, fumes and noise. Changes within the last three or four years make this illusion harder to maintain. It may well be, as enquirers are informed, that Merrion Square is “overplanted”. But the recent changes seem unfortunate given that the south side of this beautiful square has for some years been designated a parking area for double-decker buses and coaches, and the north side seems to be going the same way for coaches. Visually, from inside the park, the principal effect of the changes has been to open up an entirely new view of the breeze-block and graffiti-clad buildings located in the southeast corner of the park.

Those carrying out the removal of the trees and shrubbery have been quick to inform visitors that this is being done “before the nesting season”. This is reassuring up to a point, although it overlooks the fact that on completion of the work, the available nesting sites will have become proportionately fewer. That raises concerns, notably for the smaller birds, whose eggs are under threat particularly from the ever-growing numbers of magpies in the park, and from some relatively new residents – grey squirrels.

Many flowering trees and shrubs remain, and the park is always well maintained. And of course, in the horticultural world, nothing ever stays the same. No doubt, pressure on the use of park space for a multiplicity of events is growing all the time. It would, though, be good to be reassured that no further destruction on the scale of recent weeks is planned. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 2.