Ranelagh Gardens Park is where we celebrate Richard Crosbie and Ireland’s first manned balloon flight in 1785. Indeed the Park, as it exists today must look something of a green and blue oasis from the air, evidenced by its use by so many of our urban birds, such as moorhen, pigeons, gulls, mallards garden birds and even a rather tame Heron. The Park is well used by local people in a wide variety of ways, as part of a commute to and from work, as a place to play, rest, relax or enjoy a walk through. The Park is also richly diverse in its habitats and microhabitats, making it a magnet for birds and insects in particular.
Residents’ and Dublin City Council have gone through consultation process and improvement works to the Park have been agreed. The children’s playground has been installed and is well used, bringing a vibrancy to the park. The next phase of improvement works include New Plantings and the creation of a new Bird Zone to the Park.
Additionally children from 5 local schools participated in walk and talk journeys in their neighborhood with the Dublin City Council Biodiversity Department and Birdwatch Ireland. The children drew images of their interpretations inspired by these educational walks. The children worked up the images with the Mobile Print Workshop to make beautiful prints of their interpretations.
Inspired by this work and the outcomes of the Part 8 agreed concepts of Ranelagh Gardens Park, we consider the Park as a flagship for Biodiversity. The new planting is selected with a criteria to be, where possible pollinator friendly. Pollinators will in turn attract birds. Bird requirements of Food, Shelter, Water and place for Nesting are provided. The planting and design for the planting is considered with the intention to harmonise with the all of the parks user requirements, be they people, birds or pollinating insects.
New planting to the archway entrance, as we walk into the park, new planting at the playground, new planting to replace some of the existing edge planting to the grass areas herald a welcome colour and life to the Park. The Island planting is considered for beauty and as an ideal habitat for the water birds such as Moorhen and Mallard. The Bird Zone, with new naturalising bulb plantings, woodland edge habitat creation and additional flowering perennials will bring life to the newly mounded corner of the Park. The walk and rest opportunities around the pond with new planting surrounding and to the pond itself provide a rich seasonal display which also creates new complementary habitats for water birds and pollinating insects. It is clear from visiting the park, as it is now, how people, young and old enjoy engaging with and observing the birds of the park. The new planting improvements build on the parks existing diversity, bringing beauty, additional seasonal interest and sustainability to the much-loved Ranelagh Gardens Park.
We referenced heavily, for all planting areas to the park the following publications and data sources.
1.Biodiversity Data Centre All Ireland Pollinator Plan. Councils: Actions to Help Pollinators. All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, Guidelines 4. National Biodiversity Data Centre Series No.12, Waterford. November, 2016.
2. Bird-Friendly Landscape Design Guidelines – City Of Vancouver Executive Summary. Michele Campbell, Vancouver Board Of Parks And Recreation Park Planning And Park Development. 2013
3. Birds of St Stephen’s Green in Autumn & Winter 2012. Report to the Office of Public Works. Prepared by Stephen McAvoy & Olivia Crowe, BirdWatch Ireland December 2012