Albert College Park/Hampstead Park,
The name Hampstead Park is from Hampstead House, which was shown on Ballymun Road on a map of Dublin from 1760 by John Rocque with fields around it which are the park today. The house was named this because its position towards Dublin was similar to that of Hampstead Heath towards London – each is situated on high ground to the north commanding an extensive view of the city.
The Albert College began as ‘The Glasnevin Institution’, based at Cuilίn House, in 1838 and became known as ‘The Model Farm’ for agricultural teaching. After a visit by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, in 1853, it was called the Albert College.
By 1900, it was a national centre of excellence in agricultural education, the ‘Albert National Training Institution’. By 1926, it was an important centre of University College Dublin (UCD). In 1927, Professor Paul A. Murphy put the Albert on the world map when he discovered the cause of the potato famine, the potato blight fungus. The Albert was the training and research centre for horticulture, plant pathology, plant breeding, animal breeding and botany in Ireland. Cuilίn House was the residence of the College’s Director. The grounds of the Park contain many fine specimen trees which date from that era. Many local residents recall the extensive orchards once there. UCD departed the Albert in 1978 for the new Belfield campus, and Dublin Corporation developed the Albert into Hampstead Park with new planting and recreational grounds.
The Park is a quiet, sheltered oasis on the busy Ballymun Road. It is the headquarters for DCC Parks staff serving the North West Area, situated in the former cottages, stables and classrooms. It is 15 hectares in area.
- Parkland walks
- Playing pitches for soccer and GAA
- Playground for 0-12 years
- Car park
- Boules Court
- Tennis Ireland National Centre (See Tennis Ireland)
- Slí na Sláinte Trail for Dublin City a joint initiative of Dublin City Council and Dublin City University with the Irish Heart Foundation which links the park and the DCU campus in a 3.5 km exercise route – please click here for leaflet
- Artists-in-residence at Albert Cottages
Ecological surveys carried out at the Park show that it is used by a variety of garden birds. Today, the Albert College Park is ideally situated for students, faculty and visitors to Dublin City University (DCU) and the Helix theatre, a popular entertainment venue.
The original building, Cuilίn House, now a protected structure, survives in the heart of the Park, and it is hoped to re-develop the building for use in future. Some of the original cottages are now being re-developed for an artist-in-residence programme by DCC. National sporting and charity events take place here annually, as do tennis courses (see Shreddies Parks Tennis) throughout the year.
It is anticipated that, should Metro North proceed, a main stop will be situated close to the Park, bringing potentially more visitors here to discover this special historic park.