This publication is both a book of record and a catalogue of an exhibition of the same name held at Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin and Mall Galleries, The Mall, London in 2017. For more than 300 years The Phoenix Park and Royal Parks have played a major role in the lives of those living in Dublin, London and beyond.
Drawing on The Hearsum Collection, the National Library of Ireland, the State Art Collection, OPW and the Royal Collection among others, the book reflects the many aspects of illustration, with maps, paintings, black and colour photographs, and artefacts such as entrance tokens, buttons and a commemorative pen. Details of the 109 exhibits and illustrations are also provided.
The authors Rheme Fordham, Daniel Hearsum, John A McCullen and the Office of Public Works address the history of the Parks in five sections, each with a two-page introduction. The section Formation and Development uses maps, drawings and engravings from the mid-17th–19th centuries to trace the Parks’ evolution. Celebration and Commemoration illustrates not only the place of the Parks in significant national celebrations, but also the many styles of memorials which have graced them. The introduction to Military and the War Years describes how the Parks were used for military reviews and military operations. A telling illustration – ‘Planned Air raid shelter for a million people beneath Hyde Park, 1938’ was never built. About 87 million people use the Parks each year. The section People and Play captures this activity, from ladies in crinolines to the exertions of half-marathon runners. The final section Park Management briefly addresses in word and photograph work undertaken by Parks’ staff.
This book captures the richness of these Parks, treasured social, historical, architectural and horticultural assets of two cities and nations.
Mary Forrest is Associate Professor at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, UCD.