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Fernhill is a former substantial family residence on 34 hectares of land at Stepaside. Fernhill Park and Gardens is Dublin’s newest Public Park, and forms an important component of the historic landscape on the fringe of Dublin City and an impressive example of a small estate dating back to around 1823. The former estate is a unique collection of heritage buildings, gardens, parkland, woodland and agricultural land. The elevated nature of the site, overlooking Dublin Bay on the threshold between the city and the Dublin mountains, lends a particular magic to the place.  Fernhill is also home to a unique plant collection, made up of acid-loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Camelias and Magnolias, among others.

Opening hours: Fernhill is open on a full 7 day-a-week rota May/June 09:00 - 18:00 and July/August 09:00 - 21:00 

Parking: There are currently no car parking facilities available with pedestrian access only at the new entrance on the Belarmine Roundabout. The public should take particular care when crossing the Enniskerry Road and upon exiting from Fernhill. Limited wheelchair access.

Update (March 2019): The development of Fernhill is taking place under a detailed sustainability strategy that has been developed by dlr. The strategy is underpinned by the concept of light touch where the site dictates the design. It also includes for power generation, the development of a community garden and many other exciting sustainable innovations that will happen as the Park develops.

Development works have included the resurfacing of the historic Broadwalk and new fencing surrounding the paddocks. The timber used was sourced in Wicklow and its unique design was inspired by the natural timber posts of the house. The old field gates have been restored and any new gates have been sourced from salvage. Three rare Irish Droimeann cattle have been brought in to graze the paddocks.

New planting has taken place at several points around the park. All the plants are unusual varieties that were chosen for the Bloom 2018 Gold Medal Show Garden to reflect the special character of the park. After Bloom concluded, the plants were brought to Fernhill and planted out at selected locations.

A pedestrian entrance has been built at the Belarmine roundabout, which has been designed to resemble a fern. There is a long history of quarrying and stonemasonry in the local area and the new entrance reflects this character through the random rubble walls and the granite paving. The random rubble walls were built by a local stonemason. The gates also reflect historic field gates in the local area, and were built by a Master Blacksmith using traditional techniques.

The Community Garden is an on-going project. Community engagement, the establishment of a community gardening group and the refurbishment of the kitchen garden are ongoing.

Phase 2 of the project will allow for vehicular access to the park (later in 2019) and a sports pavilion and sports field are also being constructed. Other design work that has begun includes an ambitious Natural Woodland Play Area, a new café in the old coach house and a 3 storey tower block which will provide toilet facilities, staff and community facilities. A roof terrace in the tower will provide a stunning view over the coast of Dublin.

Update (August 2018): The new entrance into Fernhill Park and Gardens will create a strong presence for the park along the Enniskerry Road. It will also provide a convenient pedestrian connection with the local residential areas and the village of Stepaside. The concept for the design was informed by the historic estate and the distinct local, rural landscape. The emphasis of the project is on the usage of the highest quality local materials and the best traditional craftsmanship. This new intervention aims to stitch seamlessly into the fabric of the old estate while acknowledging its place in the 21st Century. The detail of the entrance is a celebration of all the craftsmanship and materials evident in the estate and local area.

Existing granite is to be re-used and any new stone will be indigenous, Leinster granite. The stone elements include the walls, piers and paving.  The use of local stone masons to construct the enclosing walls will be encouraged. The gates will be fabricated by a master blacksmith with traditional rivets as a further reference to the collection of local historic field gates.  Finally, existing mature trees will be maintained and supplementary tree and generous groundcover planting will soften the new entrance. Plants will be chosen to echo the unique collection in Fernhill and to thrive in the local climate.

The existing access into the Park every Sunday will be maintained at this entrance throughout the works.

Following a comprehensive feasibility study and public consultation process in 2016, plans for the development of Fernhill as a sustainable regional park were approved by the Councillors at the September 2017 County Council meeting. Detailed design for phase 1 has already begun and the first paths were constructed in December 2017. Phase 1 includes paths in the front meadow, works to the gardens and works to facilitate vehicular access and car parking. Phase 1 is on-going with the main civil engineering works to facilitate car parking and vehicular access due to commence in mid 2018. 

The map below shows the location and areas that are open for public access. Fernhill is a highly sensitive historic landscape containing a rare and wonderful plant collection. In addition, there many spring bulbs emerging throughout the gardens and meadows. Therefore members of the public should walk on the designated paths and dogs on leads are permitted in the front meadow and rear fields only. To download a copy of the map click here.

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