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In pics: Marking the 350th anniversary of Phoenix Park

The pen and ink drawings by the Irish artist Sheelagh Duff are part of a free exhibition in the Phoenix Park until the end of November.

The entrance to the Phoenix Park at Parkgate Street.
The entrance to the Phoenix Park at Parkgate Street.
Image: Sheelagh Duff/OPW

A NEW EXHIBITION of pen and ink drawings of the Phoenix Park is now open as part of its 350th anniversary.

Sixty of the 150 drawing by Irish artist Sheelagh Duff are currently on display – free of charge – in the gallery of the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre until the end of November.

Originally commissioned by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in 1987, the “Illustrated Record of the Phoenix Park” have been in storage since first being displayed.

The slideshow below shows six of these drawings that appear at the exhibition, with their captions written by retired Chief Park Superintendent, Dr John McCullen.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, the Minister of State with special responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes TD,  said:

This Park is a vibrant part of Dublin’s city life, with close to 9 million visitors each year, including pedestrians, cyclists and commuters. The wonderful Victorian Kitchen Garden, Ashtown Castle and the excellent children’s playground are just some of the myriad reasons why city dwellers flock to this green oasis.

In pics: Marking the 350th anniversary of Phoenix Park
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  • Parkgate Street Entrance

    Erected to the designs of Francis Johnston and completed in 1813 the entrance consists of four limestone piers, each of which is topped with a magnificant scalloped hemisphere of limestone on top of which a lantern was placed. These were dismantled for the Eucharastic Congress in 1932 and re-erected as part of the 1986 Phoenix Park Management Plan.
  • Original Entrance Dublin Zoo

    The original entrance to Dublin Zoo consisted of a rustic thatched building which had what appeared to have been a smaller extension which no longer exists. The two entrance gates with four piers and steps were beautifully crafted in granite with iron railings and painted an "invisible green". They were most likely designed by Decimus Burton.
  • Tea Kiosk

    The Tea Kiosk or Tea Rooms were erected above the "Hollow" on a site chosen by the Park Bailiff, William Dick. The building contract, worth £340, was awarded to Mr. Pemberton and the kiosk was completed by the end of March 1896. Similar facilities had already been provided at Kew and Kensington Gardens. A fence was erected around it to prevent unauthorised trespassing by both cattle and people.
  • Papal Cross

    The Papal Cross was erected as a centre piece of the altar in the Phoenix Park for the visit of Pope John Paul II when he visited Ireland in September 1979. The Cross which was fabricated from steel girders was designed by Ronnie Tallon of the architectural firm of Scott, Tallon and Walker. More than one million attended the Mass celebrated by the Pope on that occasion. Two other major religious gatherings which took place in the Park were the 1932 Eucharastic Congress and the Centenary of the Catholic Emancipation in 1929.
  • Magazine Fort

    Built on the site of Phoenix House which was demolished in 1734 (on the Duke of Dorset's intructions) to make way for the building of the Magazine fort. The location on St. Thomas's Hill, commanded some of the best views and vantage points within the Park. It was located nearby to a number of military barracks and was within easy reach of Dublin Castle. It housed suppies of gun powder and munitions for the various army barracks.
  • Park View to Áras an Uachtaráin

    Approximately halfway between the Gough Roundabout and the Phoenix Park Column on Chesterfield Road there is a vista which opens onto the Southern facade of Áras an Uachtaráin. On the opposite side of the road facing this vista the Phoenix Park 'murders' occurred on the 6th May 1882 in view of the residing Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Earl Spencer, who did not realise what was happening at the time.

(Images courtesy of Sheelagh Duff/OPW. Words by Dr John McCullen)

Read: Phoenix Park is 350 years old: Here are 20 things to know about it >

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Paul Hyland

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