City officials have been forced to relocate several large stainless steel domes from the Sky Garden area of Cork’s revamped Fitzgerald’s Park amid health and safety concerns.
The eye-catching domes, which were half-buried in new flower beds close to the Sky Garden’s signature pod, were intended as visual features when the revamped park opened in May after a €2.3m facelift.
But they have proven irresistible to children who have been climbing on and jumping between them, heavily trampling the planting arrangements in the area.
A spokesman for the city’s parks department said they didn’t anticipate the level of attraction the domes would provide for children.
“They were meant to be viewed and appreciated — not jumped on,” he said. “It’s just one of those operational things and only one small element of the park that has to be tweaked.
“We’ve decided to take the preemptive decision now to move the domes in an effort to prevent an accident.”
In a statement yesterday, the council said the revamped park and Sky Garden — which has now rebranded as the Mardyke Gardens project — has received an “overwhelmingly positive” reaction from the public since its reopening.
Project engineer Aoife O’Mahony said the new park infrastructure had stood up remarkably well to the large crowds.
But health and safety issues were identified in the area where the domes were on display.
“This, along with the unsightly condition of the trampled beds, has necessitated a rethink of its layout and contents.”
Officials plan to relocate up to 10 domes to the nearby Gallery Garden play area where they will be positioned safely as play features on a bark mulch surface.
The largest stainless steel sphere will be relocated to act as an entrance feature to the Gallery Garden on the approach along the river walk.
A few smaller stainless steel spheres will stay where they are along the path through the existing planted area, and the planting arrangement will be reinstated as a horticultural feature, with some alterations to account for the loss of the other domes.
The work, which is due to start next Monday and take about two weeks to complete, will cause some minor disruption in this area.
The new planting arrangements are due to take place in the autumn.
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