PEOPLE’S PARK, DUN LAOGHAIRE
PEOPLE’S PARK – RESTORATION AND DEVELOPMENT
DUN LAOGHAIRE, CO. DUBLIN
The People’s Park opened to the public in 1890. For a park of its small stature it boasts an extensive array of fine heritage structures, including a tearoom, gate lodge, a bandstand and fountains. The restrained Victorian park layout had been compromised over the years as a result of a proliferation of extra pathways and insensitive interventions. Poor ground conditions due to the park’s previous use as a quarry resulted in subsidence of some of the structures causing damage to their fabric. The park has been restored to its historic layout as faithfully as possible while adding sensitive contemporary interventions for modern day requirements. The elegant simplicity of the original design has re-established the main north south axis which connects and highlights the main features particularly, the central spine linking the fountains to the bandstand and the tearooms.
The restoration of the formal layout has also resulted in a reduction in hard surface area and a substantial increase in soft landscape features including the perennial borders and large areas of manicured lawns. The ever popular playground has been upgraded and increased in size while space for a new contemplative garden has been allocated that will provide a quiet secluded area. Balancing the restoration of the old features with the intensive use of a popular small park posed the greatest challenge in the planning and design. Discrete additional utilities and infrastructure have been put in place for the increasing number of events in the park particularly the Farmers Market.
The Pavilion and Gate Lodge form the gateway to the park from Georges Street. Both buildings have received substantial underpinning, restoration and sensitive extensions to bring them into the 21st century as quality park facilities. The pavilion is a unique Victorian structure which has been embellished with a new glass extension. Its structural expression and form respects the existing building without resorting to pastiche. The extension has added a generous dining space in the centre of the pavilion while also creating frontage onto the adjacent street. There is a full working kitchen to one end of the building and bar/take-away section with customer toilets to the other. Access to the roof has also been restored via the refurbished cast iron staircases. The terrace has also been expanded creating more outdoor dining space and a great vantage point for patrons to enjoy the views over the park. The Pavilion is now operating as a fully functional café/restaurant opening until late in the evening