Violet Hill Park -Tolka - Botanics

From Google Maps: click to enlarge

One hour of diligent walking; but plenty of temptations to stop and stare or take refreshment on the way:

Starting at the main gate of Glasnevin Cemetery (on Finglas Road), we walk north-west to Finglas Bridge (over the Tolka) and, crossing the bridge, enter Violet Hill Park by the pedestrian entrance. We follow the riverside path on its eastwards route, crossing and re-crossing the river by two pedestrian bridges. At Addison Park, the continuation of the riverside path is blocked to us because it continues on private grounds of the Holy Faith Convent. At this point we turn north through Addison Park estate to emerge on Old Finglas Road. Proceeding eastwards along this road, we arrive at Glasnevin Hill, which brings us into the village of Glasnevin  and to the gates of the Botanic Gardens. We pass through the Botanic Gardens into Glasnevin Cemetery and take one of the many tracks back to the main gate. It is a delightful walk, but could be even better if the local authority were to make improvements and maximise its attractions.

We start at the main gate of  Glasnevin Cemetery. O'Connell Tower is behind the gate, museum and restaurant to the right, offices to the left and the Church of the Resurrection further to the left.
Proceeding north-west along Finglas Road (in the Finglas Direction), we pass the Topaz petrol-station, and then the Mormon church, both on the other side of the road.


Reaching Finglas Bridge, view westwards into Tolka Valley (we remain this side)

We enter Violet Hill Park (at Finglas Bridge) by pedestrian entrance. This wall cries out for improvement. Perhaps it's intended to hide the local amenities from the prying public.

Steering right of white utility building

Humans are dwarfed by the silver birch trees


The parkland opens out in front of us

We follow the riverside path

Bearing right at each junction

We cross to the other side via the first pedestrian bridge

Glancing down at the grass track that continues on the north side

View of the weir and little rapids from the bridge

We continue on the path, leading us towards Addison Park apartments

Addison Park apartments peeking above the trees

The Tolka flood plain separates us from Glasnevin Cemetery

Our track takes us across another pedestrian bridge into the Addison Park lands

Looking down from the bridge we see Glasnevin's secret strand

To the left is a fenced-in environmental-friendly wet-land

The path comes to an end at Addison Park

We can see that the path continues on private grounds over the railing that demarks the property of the Sisters of the Holy Faith. In time, the City Council may acquire this property and allow the Tolka walk to  be progressed from the sea at Fairview/ Clontarf right up to Blanchardstown. In my lifetime I have seen it develop from Addison Park, via Finglas Bridge, to Ashtown, a beautiful walk all the way.

Addison Park

The development of Addison Park entailed the removal of an old grey wall along the Old Finglas Road that blocked the magnificent view from the public. Now the view is opened up and the apartments are sited north-south, vertically to the contours, to maximise the view, rather than blocking the view as much of the older architecture did.

Emerging from Addison Park we turn right to proceed along Old Finglas Road. Unfortunately, the convent lands on our right are surrounded by a high grey wall that hides the beautiful landscape from the public.

On the other side of the road, we see magnificent houses

Including some houses of recent excellent design

Cremore Park, a desirable suburban address lies to the north of the road. (Cremore is an ancient townland name, meaning "Great Soil" which contrasts with the nearby Claremont, which means "Plateau of Peat").

Buildings added during the 1960s or 70s were not as attractive. This was the headquarters of the Institute of Industrial Research and Standards, and now houses the Innovation Campus of Dublin City University

Next we pass the headquarters of Met Éireann (the meteorological service), an architectural gem.

And arrive at the top of Glasnevin Hill, formerly Washerwoman's Hill

Passing shops and café and the famous Washer Woman restaurant

On our left, the oldest building in Glasnevin, dating back to Jocobean (pre-Georgian) times

And then the entrance to Bons Secours Hospital

Passing the Gem general  store on our right, where among its many goods, the History of  Glasnevin can be purchased.

To our right as well as to our left, we find River Gardens apartments

And to our right Tolka Lodge public house

In the car park of Tolka Lodge we get a view of the magnificent Russian Vine that scales the wall separating the pub from the adjoining apartments.

To our left we see one of the most beautiful streets in Dublin, St Mobhi Drive, facing the Tolka and church. "Mobhi," meaning crippled, was the Saint's nickname. Despite having a hump he was an energetic man, well in with the Seven Apostles of Ireland, and founded a monastery on the banks of the Tolka. Unfortunately it was wiped out by a plague during his own lifetime.

Peeking in through the railings of the Botanic Gardens, we get a view of the Rose Garden

Street furniture very nicely decorated!

Another peek through the railings of the Botanics gives us a view of the School of Horticulture, a building that gets my gold star for architecture, blending in so well with the botanical surroundings and historic buildings of the locality.

Across the road, the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, where I was married many years ago, another magnificent example of Glasnevin architecture.

Passing the church, we arrive at Glasnevin Village

and then, to our right, the entrance to the National Botanical Gardens.

Entering the Botanics, we soon come to the Restaurant, with its magnificent panoramic window and popular menu.
Skirting around the restaurant, we view the "Glasnevin" a variety of Peruvian potato-tree developed in the Botanics

and continue to view this glasshouse, renovated in 2015.

Its spacious interior is sometimes used for receptions

Returning towards the restaurant,

we skirt in through the Alpine Garden

and emerge, to the left of the redbrick Library,

to pass through the gate leading to Glasnevin Cemetery.

We pay our respects at a neighbour's grave,

 and, guided by the iconic O'Connell Tower,  take a short-cut across the grass towards the main entrance, where our walk starts and finishes.

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