A park built on the site of one of Dublin's most infamous prisons has been reopened after a €300,000 refurbishment.
St Michan's Park, located between Green Street and Halston Street in Dublin's north inner city, had been underutilised due to anti-social behaviour and poor facilities.
The park is situated on the site of Newgate Gaol, a prison for political prisoners where a number of supporters of the 1798 rebellion, including Lord Edward Fitzgerald, were incarcerated and died.
It was revitalised in response to the demands of the local community and with the help of the Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (HARP) monitoring committee and Dublin City Council.
The council's parks division enlarged the site and put in place seating, shrubbery as well as slides and swings.
A handball alley has been retained and a shatter-proof glass back wall and a new ground surface have been introduced. Yesterday, a large gathering of locals viewed the official opening of the park, which is tucked away in the markets area behind Capel Street.
Speaking at the opening, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Vincent Jackson, said that as the city develops, it is important that adequate services are developed too.
Geraldine Moran, a member of the local community, said it was a beautiful park to have in an area of the city where there are not many green areas left.
She said it would be a great meeting point for parents and would help break the isolation some may feel.
With the improvements made to the handball alley, it is hoped that a club can now be set up in the area. "There's a great history of handball in the area and it should be rejuvenated," said Frank Semple, Dublin County Handball secretary.
© 2007 The Irish Times