Address: Camden Row, Dublin 8.
Category: Local Inner City Parks and former cemeteries
Enquiries: (01)222 5278
- Historical Church and Graveyard
- Floral Schemes
- Leisure Walks
St Kevin's Park
St Kevin's Park is situated on the South side of the city centre on Camden Row off Wexford St. It is surrounded by high walls and buildings and access is through a gate which is open during daylight hours. The area around the park is extensively developed with businesses, roads, a third level college and a car park. Nearby greenspaces include St Stephen's Green, the Iveagh Gardens, and St Patrick's Cathedral. The site contains a church, which is now just a shell of walls, and a graveyard. Access to the interior of the church is restricted to the public by a locked gate but we can see many gravestones on the floor of the church through the locked door. The walls of the church are heavily covered in ivy. People who like to use the park include local residents, students, and workers on their lunchtime break.
History of the Park & Landscape
St Kevin's Park is listed as an area of historical and archaeological importance by Duchas. The present church dates from around 1780 but a church has probably been present on the site since pre-Norman times. The use of the site as a burial ground has linked it with many important people in the social, economic and religious history of Dublin and Ireland over 400 years. For example, Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley was buried there after being executed for treason in the 16th Century. The site was developed as a local park in the 1960s and was officially opened in 1971. Before it was opened as a public park, all of the gravestones were catalogued and most were removed from their original location and placed upright along the boundary walls.
Special Features of the Park
Ivy and Wildlife: The Native ivy which grows in abundance on the walls of the Church and some of the boundary walls is of particular value to wildlife. The ivy covered walls provide nesting sites for resident species, year-round camouflage for nest sites and berries in late winter. The ivy flowers, produced in late Summer/Autumn, provide nectar for bees, butterflies and especially wasps. At least nineteen species of bird have been spotted in the park and most choose the ivy-covered walls and dense shrubbery as their nesting site. Birds nesting in the ivy would include robin, wren, blue tit, blackbird, magpie and woodpigeon. Other species of bird arrive on feeding trips in Autumn and Winter and these would include blue tits, great tits, goldcrests and occasionally long tailed tit. Winter visitors would sometimes include blackcaps and redwing and gulls. Three species of bat have been recorded in the park, these are the Leisler's bat, the common pipistrelle and the soprano pipistrelle. These bats are likely to use the ivy as a summer roost.
Geological History of St Kevin's Park
The park contains examples of different rock types, these include calp limestone, oolitic limestone, and granite. The church is mostly constructed of the calp limestone which underlies most of Dublin and could have been obtained by nearby quarrying. Some of the more recent gravestones are made of granite which could have been obtained from the Dublin mountains. Other gravestones are made from a pale limestone which could have been obtained from County Meath.
There are four habitats supporting different communities of plants and animals at present. These include:
- amenity grassland
- flower beds and borders
- stone walls and other stonework
- buildings and artificial surfaces
Amenity grassland (with trees and shrubs)
There are a number of mature trees growing on the grassland area. These include ash, rowan, lime, maple, holm oaks, birch, yew and elder all or which are useful as perches and shelter for birds. The ash and birch trees produce seeds and the rowan produces berries which can all be eaten by birds. Mammals that have been spotted in the park include hedgehog, fox, grey squirrel, ducks, wood mouse and brown rat.
Flower Beds and Borders
The flower beds are managed intensively and would have limited value for wildlife but some areas that are allowed to grow a little bit wild will have value for small mammals such as hedgehogs, wood mouse and brown rat.
Stone walls and Other Stonework
Please see above - special features of St Kevin's Park
Buildings and Artificial Surfaces
Some moss and weeds are allowed to grow on the paths around the park, the weeds when mature, provide seeds for seed eating birds.