Though Ireland was officially ‘neutral’ during WW2, the country did prepare for the possibility it would be attacked and set about constructing under-ground bomb shelters to protect its citizens, writes HARRY WARREN.
Whenever I visit a city or town, I always enjoy a walk through its parks. City parks are a vital place of respite and rest away from the commotion of traffic and general busyness. It’s good for the soul to take a leisurely stroll amongst the peaceful trees and greenery to unwind, perhaps take a seat to enjoy nature and watch the world go by.
If you look around you will see that all of the parks dotted around Ireland have their own flavour and stories to tell, arguably none more than Dublin city’s parks.
In the city’s parks there are a number of historical features worth exploring that are hidden in plain sight. Let’s take a look at some of the features of these parks and the locations that are related to a particular historic era.
There is a gentle hill in Merrion Square Park that occasionally features as a stage during summer concerts, where both young and old run up and down at play, or a few kilometres away, walk along the balcony in St. Patrick’s Park adjacent to the Tea Gardens where you have a beautiful view of St Patrick’s Cathedral from the Bride Street side of the park.
You may also visit that charming small park in Oscar Square in the Tenters neighbourhood in Dublin that has steps at its four corners. They all feature one thing in common and their history should be told.
When World War II broke out, Ireland, carefully protecting its neutrality, the government of the day declared an ‘Emergency’. Perhaps one of the understatements of the century, a euphuism coined by the then Taoiseach, Éamon De Valera, for the greatest war in world history.
During that time, we had no real military means of defending ourselves for any length of time against the Axis and Allied powers, but the population needed to be protected.
A civil defence volunteer Corp known as the Air Raid Precautions was set up, generally referred to as the A.R.P. It was to be controlled by the local authorities, county councils and city councils. Thousands of civic-minded people volunteered to join the A.R.P.