Visit if you Dare the ‘Giant’s Garden’ at Merrion Square

Councillor Kate O’Connell representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin will officially open Dublin City Council’s new playground at Merrion Square Park on Wednesday, 30th July, 2014 at 11am.

Oscar Wildes’ short story ‘The Selfish Giant’ forms the theme for this captivating new playground in the heart of our city.

The concept was not just to create an area where children could play safely and freely with imagination but to try and create a sense of place within the playground which is sensitive to the cultural and historical heritage of this popular Georgian Square.

“Wilde lived locally at No 1. Merrion Square.  His sculpture, located close to the playground, commemorates his life and work. In order to enhance the link with this internationally renowned author it was proposed that his short story be used to theme the playground” said Michael Noonan, Senior Executive Parks Superintendent, Dublin City Council. 

The Children’s Playground Company based in Naas, Co. Kildare designed and built the play units.  A strong element of the plan was the design and installation of the ‘Giant’, a bespoke 8 metre tall play unit with outreaching arms to welcome the children into the playground. Another standout piece is the smaller ‘Giant’, an excellent wood carving of Irish Oak which also doubles as a seating area. This piece was designed and carved by Sarunas Gimbutis and appears to be a playful reflection on Danny Osborne’s own iconic sculpture piece of Oscar Wilde.

Gimbutis also carved a ‘Library’ from Irish Oak for the playground.  It is hoped the ‘Library’ will encourage parents and guardians to bring books along and read to the children while enjoying the surroundings of this enchanting new play area.      


For further information contact: Michael Noonan, Senior Executive Parks Superintendent T. (01) 222 2668
Photos will be sent to picture desks.

Notes to the Editor
The playground was enlarged to incorporate an overgrown and underutilised area adjacent to the old play area and was also extended into the parkland incorporating views of the surrounding park.  Although this necessitated the removal of some trees an over grown vegetation every effort was made to retain as many trees and as much of the under storey as possible in keeping with the garden theme of the short story.

The garden theme will be further enhanced over the coming months with additional planting to bring colour and create seasonal interest in the playground.  Various habitats will be created to encourage insects and enhance biodiversity and schools will be encouraged to use the playground not just as a play area but also as an outdoor classroom.

The wood carvings are designed and carved by Sarunas Gimbutis. The smaller ‘Giant’ appears to be a playful reflection on Danny Osborne’s own iconic sculpture piece of Oscar Wilde.