Outdoor drinking facilities – think big


Sir, – Olivia Kelly reported on Saturday that a Dublin business group is calling for the grounds of Dublin Castle to be made available for outdoor drinkers (News, 5June 5th).

The thought crossed my mind that Myles was back or that Olivia might have been made an offer she couldn’t refuse to move from The Irish Times to Waterford Whispers News.

Once I realised the suggestion was in earnest, I gave my mind to trying to improve on it.

The reported case for Dublin Castle is that it could accommodate 10,000 to 20,000 people, it has a Garda presence with the traffic corps based there, it is a very controllable space and “you could put in as many Portaloos and bins as you like”.

This is all well and good but surely we need to think big.

Croke Park has a capacity of about 83,000. Even allowing for the presence of a few thousand gardaí,­ it should certainly be possible to match the attendance of 76,000 who saw and heard Michael Bublé there. Croke Park’s premium seats and boxes are the perfect solution for those who like to be on the edge but not too close to the action. The planned reopening of Fitzgibbon Street Garda station is an advantage while the Four Courts and Mountjoy are short hops in the Black Maria.

But the mother and father of all outdoor drinking facilities must be the Phoenix Park.

Recall that it comfortably accommodated 1,250,000 when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. It has designated entrances and exits and so should pass muster as a controllable space. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’s office is within the walls. There cannot be any conceivable number of Portaloos and bins which would be beyond its capacity. The Criminal Courts of Justice are a short frogmarch from the main entrance.

Wonder of wonders, Dublin Zoo is on the campus with the result that the outdoor drinkers can be assured that their children are entertained while they’re exercising their constitutional rights. I need hardly mention that Ireland’s largest brewery and a raft of distilleries are adjacent so that supplies can be replenished at short notice.

Finally, Heuston Station is next door so that the Park could serve as an outdoor drinking facility not only for Dubliners but also for those who would like to make an excursion from Limerick, Cork and Waterford while the country cousins who rely on Connolly Station are just a few stops from the Park on the Red Luas line.

I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this from our masters who are planning for an outdoor summer. – Yours, etc,



Co Mayo.