Local Parks & Walks
Although Damer Court is in the heart of Dublin city centre, there is/are a surprising amount of pleasant Local Parks & Walks around us. Some of which can actually form parts of routes for longer walks, and many have a much earlier historical heritage.
Including within a few minutes gentle stroll from our front door,
Blessington Basin, and the adjoining linear Royal Canal Park,
Kings Inns Park adjoining Henrietta Street, once the finest Georgian Street in the city,
the publically accessible TUD (Technology University of Dublin)'s Grangegorman Campus,
and further afield, for those like longer walks...
on the northside:
Parnell Square including the Garden of Remembrance, and within the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter,the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin Writer's Museum, the Irish Writers Centre, which in turn can then lead onto Mountjoy Square.
Great Western Square, the Royal Canal, both the Phoenix Park and the National Botanic Gardens only 3km away.
on the southside:
the River Liffey, Dublin Docklands, St Stephen's Green.
Here is some information on some of the variety not too far from us.
Blessington Basin & Royal Canal Bank Linear Park
Located less than 100 metres from Damer Court, this is accessible via the main gate on Blessington Street. Originally, Blessington Street Basin was constructed as the Royal George Reservoir in 1810, fed by the Royal Canal from Lough Owel. The reservoir was used to store and distribute water to the north city until 1865, and continued to supply water to the distilleries of Jameson, (formerly located at nearby Smithfield Square) until 1970, and to Power’s until 1976. It was re-opened as a public park after re-furbishment in the mid-1990s.
The adjacent Royal Canal Bank linear park is actually the filled-in former Broadstone Canal spur linking the main Royal Canal, to the south, to the long defunct Broadstone Harbour (now part of the forecourt for the former Broadstone Train Station (currently the Dublin Bus Broadstone Depot), beside the DIT-Broadstone Luas Stop via the demolished Foster's Viaduct, located by Great Western Way.
The northern end of the former canal spur continues towards North Circular Road, through the Phibsborough Library, indicated by Blacquiere Bridge (Sir John Blacquiere was a director of the Royal Canal Company), continuing northwards, east of Mountjoy Prison, to the section of the main Royal Canal at Cross Guns Bridge in Glasnevin, which in turn could also be an alternate route to the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin Cemetary, and further north through Glasnevin, up to Albert College Park/Hampstead Park beside the main DCU (Dublin City University) Campus at Collins Avenue, a site in turn originally part of Albert Agricultural College.
Great Western Square Park
Great Western Square Park consists of a fairly simple laid out enclosed park, surrounded by houses that were built in 1884, adjacent to the Broadstone Railway Line (now re-used as the Luas Green Line), for the employees of the original Midlands & Great Western Railway.
Located just south of St. Peter’s Church on North Circular Road the Square is bounded by Great Western Avenue to the north, ultimately Broadstone Bus depot to the south (originally the terminus for the railway, now the Luas Green Line route, which was originally built as part of the Great Western Railway, Avondale Road to the east. The area includes Great Western Square and Great Western Villas. Its also accessible via Phibsborough Road, via Monck Place, a few metres from All Saints Parish Church (CofI).
(Historically, Great Western Square, Broadstone Railway Station/Bus Depot/Harbour, Blessington Basin and the Royal Canal Bank were at one time all owned by the MGWR Railway, and share some corporate history)
This Park can also be used as a pleasant longer route towards the North Circular Road Gate of Phoenix Park, and Cabra, the nearby Luas Green Line Phibsborough Stop, and an alternate route to the TUD Grangegorman Campus.
TUD Technology University Dublin Grangegorman Campus
Nearly the entire 73-acre Campus is accessible by the public for leisure, not just the students. The Grangegorman Campus' east and west sites, were originally built in the 1800s as Richmond General Penitentiary, Richmond Lunatic Asylum, and later referred to as St. Brendan's Hospital in 1958. The east and west part of the Campus are now majority used for the TUD Campus, in addition to the HSE also sharing the site.
Apart from the obvious TUD Campus buildings, it includes pitches, tree-lined walks, playground, and stunning uninterrupted panoramic views across the south of the city towards Dublin mountains.
It is accessible by the public by various gates on all sides, the nearest access to Damer Court, is via the bridge at the Broadstone Depot/Luas Stop with currently restricted hours, although the Campus closes at 10 pm most days.
Kings Inns Park and Henrietta Street
These are located a mere 300 metres south from Damer Court, and accessible via Constitution Hill, and via Bolton Street Upper. Parallel to Dominick Street Upper, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is Ireland’s oldest School of Law. It was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII when the king granted the Society the lands and properties on which the Four Courts now stand, but which were originally occupied by the Friars Preachers (Dominicans). When the Four Courts were built in the 1790s, a further 15 minute walk south via Church Street (close to St Michan's CofI Church), King’s Inns moved to its landmark position between Constitution Hill and Henrietta Street, the benchers commissioned James Gandon to design their present property.
The park can also be used to access Henrietta Street, via the archway/courtyard. First laid out and developed by Luke Gardiner, during the 1720s, it was the earliest Georgian Street in the city, itself a contemporary to the nearby Parnell (formerly Rutland) Square, and Mountjoy Square. The street fell into disrepair during the 19th and 20th centuries, with the houses being used as tenements. The house at No. 14 has been restored to show the original Georgian period through to its final original incarnation as a tenement.
Both Kings Inns, its park, and Henrietta Street are regularly used as interior and exterior locations for various period tv and film dramas, across multiple time periods, so its not unusual to see film crews both here and in Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square.
Parnell Square (formerly Rutland Square)
Located 500 metres from Damer Court, its a contemporary companion square to Henrietta Street. In 1748 Dr. Bartholomew Mosse leased "four acres and one rood" on the north side of Great Britain Street to erect a Lying –In Hospital, this became known as the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, the oldest of its type in the world. The main source of funding for the hospital was provided by the ‘New Gardens’, developed by 1750, with orchestra, bowling green and other amusements. over time the Rotunda gradually expanded over these Gardens, (with the last section later becoming the Garden of Remembrance)..
In 1875 the streets ‘surrounding the garden ground belonging to the said "Lying In Hospital’ were named Rutland Square by an Act of Parliament. The name of the Square was later changed to Parnell Square at a quarterly meeting of Dublin City Council on 3rd April 1933.
Some of the Georgian houses were later adapted to become offices, schools, hotels and cultural venues. Among the Square there is "Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane", the Gate Theatre, Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin Writers’ Museum, Poetry Ireland, the planned new Central Library, and the Abbey Presbyterian Church. Admission is free for most of these venues, so can be incorporated into part of a relaxing artistic stroll. This is the area for the currently planned Parnell Square Cultural Quarter.
The Square is also home to the Garden of Remembrance, the national site commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising which led to the foundation of the Irish State. Opened in 1966, by Eamon de Valera, The Garden was designed by Dáithí Hanly, in the form of a sunken cruciform water-feature. Its focal point is a statue of the Children of Lir by Oisín Kelly, symbolising rebirth and resurrection, added in 1971.
Parnell Square/Rutland Square has been the scene of many political events central to Irish history. The Square continues to be used as the start of both Protest and Cultural Marches, such as the St Patrick's Day Festival, so you won't have far to stroll from Damer Court.
The Square can be both a destination, and a stopping point on the way to Parnell Street, O'Connell Street, and even onto the south of the city. The Square also connects to the Mountjoy Square via Gardiner Row, via Nth Frederick St/Parnell Square Nth and East junction. Itself being a contemporary Georgian Square to Rutland/Parnell Square, and Henrietta Street
Around 1km east from Damer Court, depending on your route, is another one of the five Georgian squares in Dublin. (The other four are Rutland/Parnell Square, Fitzwilliam Square, St Stephen's Green, and Merrion Square.)
Mountjoy Square was planned and developed in the late 18th century by the Luke Gardiner, 1st Viscount Mountjoy.
(His family owned a large estate, to the East of the then established Dublin city. This estate corresponds to the modern area bounded by The Royal Canal, Dorset Street, the Western Way, Constitution Hill, Parnell Street, O'Connell Street and the River Liffey, which over time became the Dublin city centre area that Damer Court is now part of.)
Mountjoy Square of was originally surrounded on all sides by terraced, red-brick Georgian houses. Construction began in the early 1790s and the work was completed in 1818.
Mountjoy can boast being Dublin's only true Georgian square, each of its sides being exactly 140 metres in length. The North, East and West sides each have 18 houses, with the South has 19, reflecting some variation in plot sizes.
Although some of the original buildings fell to ruin over the 20th century and were eventually demolished, some via being tenements. the new infill buildings were fronted with reproduction façades, so each side of the square maintains its appearance as a consistent Georgian terrace.
Currently, in 2019, the Square's own park has both playing areas for football, basketball and table tennis, playgrounds for children and a green park area, however Dublin City Council is planning to revert the Park design back to the 1837 version, by re-creating the 4.4-acre park at its centre.
The Square can be both a destination and/or form part of a longer walking route, as it interconnects many streets in that part of the city. Including Grenville Street and Gardiner Place to the West and Fitzgibbon and North Great Charles Street to the East. Gardiner Street passes through the West side of the square, while Belvidere Place and Gardiner Lane run off the North- and South-East corners. It's also a short walk over to the Blessington Street Basin in Broadstone.
Additionally from here, you could also continue in other directions on much longer strolls, across a lot more of the city than you may realise, from Mountjoy Square, north to Drumcondra, north-west Phibsborough, east to the very close Croke Park, and if you stroll south on Gardiner Street, which later runs parallel to O'Connell Street, it takes you onwards to the Connolly Station, the Customs House, River Liffey, and over the Liffey near to the wider southside areas covering Trinity College, not far from Merrion Square, Grafton Street, Fitzwilliam Square, and also Dublin Docklands to the east, and ultimately to Heuston Station and Phoenix Park in the west.
Connects to Parnell Square via Gardiner Row, via Nth Frederick St/Parnell Square Nth and East junction. onwards to Customs House, River Liffey, Croke Park.