St Annes Park
Ask any person in St Annes any day of the week as you ramble through what people think of it and I would be very confident that 99% of people don't like St Annes; They truly love it and all it has to offer. The park has a very rich history from Benjamin Lee Guinness family ownership to Sir Arthur Edward Guinness/Lord Ardilaun then to their nephew Bishop Plunkett who decided he could no longer afford the up keep of the estate and sold it to Dublin Corporation in 1937. In the 1943 the magnifcent Mansion which once stood at the end of the avenue was gutted by fire. The building was being lined up to be the official residence of An Taoiseach until the fire destroyed the entire building. Rumours were abound of arson as the local army held armament stores in the building during'The Emergency'. These rumours proved to be unfounded of course!
As the above pictures show the mansion was a beautiful building and I asked Senior Parks Officer Mick Harford the reason why such a building was torn down. His response was that back in the 50s and 60s us Irish still had a loathing and and dislike for 'people in big houses' and as far as heritage and architecture was concerned nothing was further from their minds when these decisions were made. Mick also informed me that he has a few ideas as to what he would like to replace 'The Mound' that we see in the park there today. Let's just say he is keeping his cards close to his chest on his plans!
The Guinness family kept horses on the estate. A lot of horses. The Red Stables is now home to a cafe and and this building also has rich architecture. Original features are still in place in the stables includingthe original winch used for hoisting hay to feed the horses, the original range to heat the stables are also still in place. Olives Cafe is also on the site serving up the best ice cream during the summer months! http://olivesroom.ie/
The park has many features dotted over the 500 acres including St Annes Well to which the park is named.
Keep up to date with all the goings on in St Annes Park at
Credit for the photos of the mansion go to Mick Harford Dublin City Council Senior Parks Officer whom I also owe a gratitude of thanks for the tour of the not often seen areas of the park. All other photography by Mike O'Brien and prints are available on