'Haunted' castle ground in north Dublin among 22 spectacular parks given 'Green Flag' status
The stunning grounds and reportedly haunted demesne at Ardgillan in north county Dublin is among 22 spectacular parks that were given "Green Flag"status at an inaugural awards ceremony today.
The 194-acre parkland and woods, with a Victorian walled garden and rose garden overlooking Dublin Bay in Balbriggan, is among the winners of An Taisce's Green Flag Awards for Parks announced at a ceremony at the Phoenix Park.
The awards are given to those public parks and green spaces that exemplify excellence in such standards as management and sustainability as well as providing beautiful settings for leisure, said An Taisce's Green Flag Award manager Robert Moss.
"It gives us our day in the sun'" he said of the international Green Flag scheme that has been in existence in the UK and continent for over 20 years. It is modelled after the popular Blue Flag awards scheme for EU beaches that live up to excellent water quality and other standards.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Sean Canney who launched the ceremony, said the awards provide an important benchmark for parks to uphold standards of excellence.
And he said Ireland's wealth of stunning parks is a testament to the hard work and dedication of staff who work there.
"Ireland has more Green Flag parks than others in the Green Flag scheme in Europe," he said.
Eleven parks in the greater Dublin area, including St Stephen's Green, St Anne's park in Raheny and The People's Park in Dun Laoghaire, were among the winners.
Recipients also included parks in counties Laois, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Offaly, Westmeath and Wexford.
A full list of winners is available on www.greenflagawards.ie.
Meanwhile Dominica McKevitt, head gardener at Ardgillan Demesne, said she is delighted to accept the award on behalf of Fingal County Council and her team who maintain the stunning park year-round.
But she admitted that working on the grounds reportedly haunted by the ghost of Lady Langford, who is said to roam the grounds and demesne, can throw up some challenges for staff.
While no tools have gone missing, staff have reported seeing mysterious shadows along the line of Yew trees at the front of the demesne and heard strange noises in the basement and other areas on the site, she said.