In the design and development of Fernhill, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council have developed the following aims & objectives;
- To develop Fernhill Park and Gardens as a high quality sustainable Regional Public Park.
- To conserve, restore and enhance the plant collections and gardens in a sensitive and sustainable manner in line with its ICOMOS designation.
- To conserve and protect the natural heritage, the flora and fauna of the site.
- To conserve and restore the built heritage including Fernhill House and provide suitable, sympathetic and sustainable uses for the properties in the setting of the public park and gardens.
- To ensure the natural character and topography of the site is protected in its setting and proximity to the Dublin Mountains.
- To ensure sustainable innovative proposals and green principles are at the core of the project.
- To ensure that interventions in the landscape are deliberate and at an appropriate scale to provide aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.
- To ensure a suitable range of visitor facilities are provided including opportunities for play, active and passive recreation.
- To ensure there are extensive opportunities for community engagement and education throughout the park and gardens.
- To ensure the park is designed to cater for existing and future needs of its users and adequate provision is made for the use of SMART technologies to improve visitor facilities and experience.
- To ensure the Right of Way is maintained, enhanced and developed as an integral part of the park while strengthening the link to the mountains
Phase 1 works are now largely complete consisting of; the installation of paths in the front meadow, tree surgery works, the restoration of the Broadwalk, the construction of a new pedestrian entrance at the Belarmine Roundabout, fencing enclosure works around the front meadow, undergrounding of ESB lines in the rear fields, a new A rated Near Zero Energy Building shomera unit, fencing works to the gardens, a significant project in the upgrade and restoration of the Right of Way, surveys, detail design and technical studies in preparation for later phases of the project and the completion of the Fernhill Park & Gardens Sustainable Development Strategy.
The new pedestrian entrance at the Belarmine Roundabout has created a strong presence for the park along the Enniskerry Road. It is also a very convenient pedestrian connection with the local residential areas and the village of Stepaside. The concept for the design was informed by the historic estate and the distinct local, rural landscape. The emphasis of the project is on the usage of the highest quality local materials and the best traditional craftsmanship. This new intervention aims to stitch seamlessly into the fabric of the old estate while acknowledging its place in the 21st Century. The detail of the entrance is a celebration of all the craftsmanship and materials evident in the estate and local area.
Works for phase 2 are currently underway which will provide vehicular access and car parking into Fernhill Park & Gardens. The works consist of a signalised junction, an entrance into Fernhill, a shared surface avenue, car parking in three locations, retaining walls, paths, steps & bridges, a grass playing pitch with a 400m running path around the perimeter, drainage and services, bicycle parking, seating and signage, lighting, extensive tree and groundcover planting. The works will be concentrated in two of the three rear fields and adjacent to Rosemont School. The works are for completion in early October 2020.
The design is shaped by the aims and objectives established as part of the park masterplan and also guided by the principles of the Fernhill Park & Gardens Sustainable Development Strategy. The overarching approach to the park development is light touch. This implies working with the natural topography of the site, protecting and enhancing the existing site features, minimising impermeable surfaces, maximising the opportunities for planting, prioritising sustainable travel, particularly walking and cycling and the use of soft engineering solutions.
The works will include the provision of service runs to future proof the site for subsequent stages of development including wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and other renewable energy elements. These investments will help to achieve a near zero energy status for Fernhill Park & Gardens. Further information on the Fernhill Park & Gardens Sustainable Development Strategy can be found at the following link: (https://www.dlrcoco.ie/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fernhill_sustainability_strategy.pdf
Other notable works to be undertaken in 2020 include extensive native woodland planting proposed throughout the rear fields which will help to achieve the targets and actions from the dlr Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024.
Fernhill is now open to pedestrians 7 days a week. Access is through the pedestrian entrance at the Belarmine Roundabout. There is no car parking available. Further information can be found at the following link: https://www.dlrcoco.ie/en/parks-outdoors/fernhill-park-and-gardens