Newly developed York Street Play Space and Garden to benefit local community

An tArdmhéara, Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Facility of Medicine and Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), will officially open the newly designed community play space and garden in York Street Flat Complex, Dublin 8, on Wednesday 9th December at 11.45 am.  Local children from York Street and from St. Enda’s National School, Whitefriar Street, will also be attending this event. 

This innovative play space offers children and young people in the local area, a new form of free play which has an emphasis on imagination and social interaction, rather than the traditional swings and slides.

An tArdmhéara, Críona Ní Dhálaigh praised the new play area and said, “I congratulate all involved in designing and facilitating this new play amenity in York Street Complex.  This is the second of six playground projects whereby Dublin City Council creates and increases play opportunities within an imaginative redesigned space. I hope that all the local children get lots of opportunities to get out and play here and have lots of fun.  Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh páistí Shráid Eabhrac ag súgradh le chéile anseo ar feadh i bhfad.’

The new play area has carefully planned installations including hills and mounds, a sandpit, slide, a giant blackboard, oversize picnic table and a tree house. The amenity is splashed with vibrant colour due to the extensive planting by one of the local residents. There is ample space for wheeled play, street games and imaginative free play.

Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI said, “It is fantastic to see the finished play area and community garden which, I’m sure, will bring a lot of happiness and pride to the local community, both young and old. The REACH programme at RCSI is committed to developing the education and health of our community and this amenity will no doubt contribute greatly to lifelong participation in recreational activities of our local young people.”

Dublin City has nearly 70,000 children under 12 years of age living in the city (and 181,638 under 18) which presents a very real issue of access to quality playgrounds and open spaces around the city. York Street Play area redevelopment is part of the ‘Outside the Box’ project.  This initiative is a new way of thinking about and facilitating play for children and young people living in Dublin City Council housing and flat complexes. 

York Street playground redevelopment arose through a consultative process with staff from Dublin City Council, children and young people from the local community and the York Street Play Committee.  The project is also aligned with the aims of the REACH RCSI Programme which was established in 2007.  The REACH RCSI Programme is a unique Community Outreach and Access programme at RCSI, promoting Recreation Education and Community Health.  The initiative is aimed at encouraging and facilitating third level participation and enhancing life chances for those traditionally underrepresented at third level, particularly those from Dublin's South Inner City.




For further information, please contact: 


Debby Clarke, Play Development Officer, Parks & Landscapes Services, and T: (01) 2225396:



Notes to the Editor:


York Street play area redevelopment was funded by Dublin City Council, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland).

The DCC Play Plan was launched in 2012.  The plan is underpinned by UNCRC Article 31; the child’s right to play. The vision of the Dublin City Play Plan is that Dublin will be a child-friendly and playful city where children and young people can enjoy the right to play. ‘Outside the Box’ project involves re-imagining and redesigning spaces to facilitate play and will contribute greatly to the implementation of the play plan, in particular theme 2 within the plan which promotes a collaborative approach; Working together to ensure that Dublin is a child friendly and playful city.

The first play amenity developed by Dublin City Council under “Outside the Box” project was Bishop Street play amenity.  This space was officially opened on 28th November 2015.

York Street Housing Complex Project:

This project was managed by Debby Clarke (Dublin City Council Play Development Officer) in conjunction with Gerard Geoghegan (Dublin City Council Housing Department).  The civil and engineering works were carried out by Silvabuilds and BA Steel.  Sophie Gräfin von Maltzan of ‘Fieldwork & Strategies, Art and Landscape Architecture’ provided initial workshop and consultative services.


The York Street Play Committee

This committee is made up of local residents   Gerard Doyle, Janice Kiernan and Therese Roe as well as Maria Kelly (REACH RCSI Programme), Debby Clarke (Dublin City Council Play Development Officer) and Gerard Geoghegan (Dublin City Council Housing Department).        

Improvements to York Street Play area include:

A large ‘blackboard’

A tree house,

A slide,

A large blackboard

A mud kitchen

Communal seating for family activities

Space for active/moving play is also facilitated through the creation of a kick about area and an avenue of obstacles to facilitate wheeled play.

Extensive planting by the local community


The aim of this project is to:

Increase children and young people’s daily access to challenging outdoor physical active play opportunities by increasing the variety of play experiences currently available

Provide more inclusive and accessible opportunities for play and encourage children and young people’s integration through play

Provide spaces where children can engage in self directed free play which greatly enhances their social, emotional development, improves resilience and supports freedom of choice, decision making and independent mobility

Provide children and young people with enriched and varied play experiences which build on their ability to assess and take risks, develop resilience etc

Provide a space that can be shared by and address the needs of the wider community which creates a sense of belonging and enables children and young people to be active citizens in their local communities whilst also increasing adults awareness and understanding of children’s play.