Minister Seán Canney welcomes the official opening by Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins, of the Commemorative Avenue in the Phoenix Park

30 July 16

Seán Canney TD, Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, today welcomes (30 July 2016) the creation of a new Commemorative Avenue in the Phoenix Park to celebrate the significant events in Irish History between 1912 and 1922.

Speaking ahead of the event Minister Canney said "The Phoenix Park is a magnificent amenity for all in the heart of Dublin City.  The opening of this living memorial by President Higgins will further enhance the landscape of the Park and will create a focal point for the public to reflect on this commemorative decade.  My Office, the Office of Public Works, manages other living memorials such as the John F Kennedy Memorial Park and Arboretum and these majestic trees will be a true testimonial to honour those who lost their lives during that period".

The Phoenix Park is a historic landscape of international importance and one of the largest designed landscapes in any European city.  It was originally established as a Royal deer park in the 17th century and today the park extends to over 700 hectares and represents a unique natural and cultural landscape.  In excess of 10 million people use the Phoenix Park annually and thus it is ideally suited to the establishment of a Decade of Commemorations Tree Avenue that is freely accessible for all to reflect and enjoy.

This avenue will commemorate the significant events in Irish history that took place between 1912 and 1922. This period was one of the most eventful in Ireland’s history from the campaign for Home Rule, through World War One and the Easter Rising of 1916 to the foundation of the Free State.The Commemorative Avenue of 180 Plane trees have been planted on the Furze Road within the Phoenix Park as a living memorial, in honour of those who lost their lives during the early period of the twentieth century. The one kilometre long avenue of specimen trees on the western section of the park, with its distant views of the Dublin Mountains, will have two new universal access outdoor classrooms which will double up as picnic tables. Access for all will be an integral part of the scheme.

-ENDS-

For further information please contact Barry Nangle OPW Press Office – mobile 087 1470617 or email barry.nangle@opw.ie

Photography will be available from Fennell Photography after the event.

Notes to Editors:

Commemorative Avenue:

The one kilometre long avenue of specimen Plane trees, Platanus x hispanica, on the south western section of the Park, with its distant views of the Dublin mountains, will be a testimonial for all those who lost their lives between 1912 and 1922.

The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, led by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys, TD, is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future.  Full details of the Ireland 2016 programme is available at www.ireland.ie  @ireland2016 #ireland2016

Phoenix Park Picnic Cluster:

The Phoenix Park Picnic Cluster, designed by award-winning furniture designers Simon Doyle and Adrian Coen, has reimagined the traditional picnic bench, creating a more social and accessible space for picnickers to gather and interact. The innovative design consists of a series of interlocking tables and benches crafted from 200 year old oak from the Phoenix Park. Whereas the traditional picnic bench can be difficult for older people and wheelchair users to use and isolates picnickers in their own groups around individual benches, the Picnic Cluster encourages spontaneous interaction between picnickers and is more accessible for people with reduced mobility.