Redesigned Denis Burke Park is given back to the people

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

District Engineer Jonathan Cooney and architect Kenneth Hennessy at the new amphitheatre at the Denis Burke Park in Clonmel.
A place where people can enjoy a stroll or a sit-down in a landscaped area beside the river, enjoy outdoor musical and theatrical performances and where children can while away the hours in a playground will soon be available in Clonmel.

A place where people can enjoy a stroll or a sit-down in a landscaped area beside the river, enjoy outdoor musical and theatrical performances and where children can while away the hours in a playground will soon be available in Clonmel.

The Denis Burke Park, redeveloped at a cost of €250,000, will be officially re-opened on Friday evening, April 17.

“The park was lost to the people of the town for several years because the flood relief scheme was anticipated”, explains District Engineer Jonathan Cooney. “Once the flood works were completed the opportunity was there to develop the park and give it back to the people”.

The park, which is named after a former Mayor of Clonmel from the 1950s and 60s, was first opened in the early 1970s. Once the flood relief scheme was completed work on the redevelopment began at the end of August last year and was substantially completed in early November.

Adverse winter weather delayed its opening.

“There was a flood event last November when the work was completed but no damage was caused because the park is designed to be flood-resilient”, says Jonathan Cooney. “However it was decided to wait until the spring to re-open it and give the ground a chance to dry out”.

An amphitheatre, capable of accommodating a few hundred people has been cut into the hill in an area near the Gashouse Bridge and overlooks a stage where musical and theatrical performances will be presented. The entrance from that side has been realigned to include both steps and a ramp.

An adventure area and playground for children aged between 3 and 6 years and 6 and 12 years is also included, as is an enclosed area for the Scouts and Girl Guides and other interested groups.

Clusters of picnic tables and benches are provided, as are fishing platforms along the river bank that can be accessed by the disabled.

Another access has been provided from the Raheen Road and the park is more visible from the road. The park is 400 metres long and includes a network of paths, including a woodland path. Old mooring posts, removed from the far bank of the river during the flood relief works, have been incorporated into the design.

The park is part of the overall development of the town and links in with the new cycleway/walkway that will connect the Convent Bridge to Mulcahy Park.

It’s hoped to accommodate a slipway and boat dock at a later date, as well as a pedestrian bridge that would link the park with Suir Island.

The park was developed through a joint initiative between the former Clonmel Borough Council and Suircan, a voluntary community forum that’s mainly focused on trying to improve the quality of public spaces. Suircan took on the public consultation phase and held workshops to guage feedback from the public.

Kenneth Hennessy architects designed the park and managed the construction phase, while Seamus Butler of Marlhill Construction Services carried out the civil works. Creative Play Solutions constructed the playground.

The park will be officially opened by District Mayor Martin Lonergan at 6.30 on Friday evening of next week, April 17. Banna Chluain Meala will perform at the ceremony and everyone is invited to attend and celebrate its re-opening.