Members Reports and Photos

SATURDAY 24th FEBRUARY  2014            

st enda's Park, rathfarnham  

LEADER: mary carson

Mary introduced us to St Edna’s Park producing Christopher Ryan’s Lewis’ Dublin based on Samuel Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland and John Rocque’s Maps of Dublin (1756 and 1760) by Paul Ferguson and J H Andrews.

The house and grounds were originally called the fields of Odin. The current house was built in the 18th Century. Pádraig Pearse acquired the property and it was converted into a school in 1910. The school was called St Enda's and it is from this that the house and grounds got their name. Today there is a museum within the house as well as a visitor centre and nature study room. The grounds are managed as a historic park by the Office of Public Works. 

An unusual aspect of St Enda's is the Follies dotted around the park. These ornamental structures were built by a former owner of the house William Hudson. The Parks was formerly known as the Hermitage and got its name from one of the Follies called the Hermitage, also known as Odin’s Cave. Other Follies are in an area known as Druid’s Glen which contains a Druid’s portal, seat, Ogham stone and dolmen. These were all copied from originals that Hudson had seen. Work is in progress in restoring these artefacts [? For the 1916 Centenary Celebrations].

The Whitechurch Stream follows through the grounds and now largely bypass the pond which once of ecological interest but now suffering from ‘neglect’ and the effects of pollution. Over time the stream has gouged out a wooded valley and it later joins the Owendoher and flows into the river Dodder.

The Park has a range of 'exotic' trees including Horse Chestnut, Pine, Larch, Beech and Sycamore and also 'native' Willow, Yew, Oakd, Ash, Birch and Alder. The outstanding trees are Monterey Cypress Cypress Cupressus (Hesperocyparis) macrocarpra, with their ‘button-like’ cones, which probably date from somewhere in the 19th Century having been ‘discovered’ near Monterey in California in 1838. Some of the avenues were lined with this trees whose trunks have since expanded to narrow the roadways.

The walled garden is minimally landscaped with a central arrangement with Box Buxus and Yew Taxus and a fine specimen of the Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo and also contains a fountain and some flower beds mainly around the perimeter. The spring flora was beginning to peep out with the early flowering deciduous plants such as Lesser Celandine Ficaria (Ranunculus) verna, Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum, Bluebell Hyacinthoides ?non-scripta in evidence and with the occasional Cherry Prunus in flower. The Pendulous Sedge Carex pendula was plentiful along the edges of the stream and the pond. Crocus, Snowdrop Galanthus and Winter Aconite  Eranthis hyemalis were in flower.


   Lewis' Dublin         Pearse Museum     Rocque's Dublin 


Padraig Pearse                     Yew Garden                 Sculpture


Triple Portal                 Map of Follies                     'Cave'


Alexanders                              Cherry                                 Crocus


               cf Monterey Cypress                                           Winter Aconite     Cypress Cones

Photos ©  P Lenihan 

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