(Click through for high resolution images)
The Stardust Memorial Park was commissioned to commemorate the 48 people who lost their lives in the Stardust Nightclub fire of 14th February 1981. In 1991, on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, the then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey and his son Seán Haughey, the then Deputy Lord Mayor, attended the sod turning ceremony. The park was officially opened on September 18th 1993 by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Tomás MacGiolla.
The cost of the park was in excess of £500,000 and included a playground, all-weather pitch, football pitch and a garden terrace with seating. New bridges were placed over the River Santry which runs directly through the park into a small lake in the middle. 8,000 trees, including maple, lime, mountain ash, oak, beech, larch and pine were planted. Additionally, 50 birch trees commemorating 400 years of Trinity College were planted around the main fountain. A sculpture in the centre of the fountain depicts two young people dancing and the fountain is enclosed by 48 pillars, each symbolising a person lost in the tragedy.
Interestingly, the leaflet suggests that a portion of the site was a monastic settlement in the 12th century. My mum kept this leaflet safe in a copy of Douglas Appleyard’s Green Fields Gone Forever, a great book about the history of the Coolock Area.
As you can see from this recent satellite image of the park, it remains largely unchanged today.