I am a country girl at heart having grown up in rural Co. Wicklow surrounded by woodland and where the mountains formed the backdrop of my life. That said, I have always loved cityscapes.
I have been lucky enough to live in a number of great places, both rural and urban and can say without doubt that; be it Bavarian Landschaft or Hampstead Heath in London, the key to urban or rural beauty is the presence of trees. This simple truth has followed me from one home to another and finally solidified as an idea when I came to live next to the Phoenix Park in the long lost year of 2001. It was here that underlined for me the feeling that urban areas could be not only pretty but could also possess the savage beauty of a the forested countryside.
The decision to live next to the Phoenix Park was accidental on our parts and only fully revealed itself as a positive when we had children. But the real stimulus for our daily visits was the arrival of our beloved Jack Russell who demands a gallop there twice daily. My husband is a true urbanite and considers our tiny lawned front garden as an amazon-like wilderness and even he returns from the daily dog-walking duty and raves about the trees and how well they seem to be tended.
The park satisfies the deeply-buried longing for bucolic landscape in my psyche and I have come to rely on it as a salve for the everyday grazes that city life can bring. I find the park has become the focal point for almost all activities for our family. We say ‘let’s go to the park’ the way some people say ‘let’s go shopping’. My three children have spent their short lives (7, 9 & 11 years) under the sway of this wonderful space and it seems now as if we circle the park like insignificant satellites that never leave its orbit.