Sitting at the entrance to Ranelagh village, the original park dates from 1848 and is one of the five original Georgian Squares of Dublin.
In 2005/06 a major building project on the site of Ranelagh Multi Denominational School (RMDS) meant that our own school yard was out of action and we began to use the park at play times. The park at the time was unkempt, very overgrown and seldom used by anyone. We at RMDS sought to change this and began to put up signage in the park encouraging dog owners to pick up their dog waste and other users to make use of the litter bins. In addition and over a number of years we have planted a number of new trees and many bulbs provided by our Parents’ Association in an effort to bring the park to life at ground level. This culminated in the planting of climbers at the base of the wall and over 3,000 bulbs, provided by Dublin City Council (DCC) in 2013. The DCC also granted permission for RMDS to place an outdoor classroom in the park, which was funded by school's Executive Committee.
RMDS takes its responsibility with regard to the park very seriously and we continue to work closely with the DCC and the Gardaí to report anti-social behavior. We have written to the DCC consistently regarding the bins, the litter problems and the general maintenance of the park. Due to our efforts and those of the residents, while the park remains dilapidated, it is now much less likely to be used for anti-social behavior and more likely to be used by dog walkers, local families and their children.
Unfortunately the ground is heavily compacted and so the plantings has not been very successful. Matters came to a head this winter when the excessive rainfall meant the park became unusable for a number of weeks.
In the second half of 2013 RMDS undertook to formulate a plan in accordance with our vision for a local park that would meet the needs of the local community as well as those of the school. RMDS and the surrounding communities are in a heavily built up area of the city and we feel that small green spaces are important for the enrichment of the local community facilities and as an aid in the education of young people about sustainability. Children deserve the best possible outdoor public spaces and the opportunity to learn how to use those spaces appropriately from early age. The park is also an important part of the Georgian heritage of Dublin and fits well with the local history emphasis of the primary school curriculum.
During February of this year, following informal discussions with the local residents association in Mount Pleasant Square , RMDS contacted Michael Noonan of the DCC. The context for our meeting was firstly the curtailed usage of the park due to the prolonged spell of wet weather and secondly the poor and dilapidated condition of the park in general.
The following points were discussed:
At that meeting we agreed that RMDS, following consultation with the local residents and the school community would fund a draft plan for further discussion.