History and description of the site
In 1999, Laois County Council commissioned the development of an 8 acre boggy, poorly drained site on the Timahoe road in Portlaoise as an amenity. At that time it was intended to develop the park as an ecological area with emphasis on creating an area diverse with wildlife.
The park is bounded on one side by ‘The Downs’, an Esker feature and on the other side by the River Triogue. Beneath the subsoil is a layer of marl clay, ideal as a natural liner for the lake which was formed when the River Triogue was allowed to divert through the central area of the Park. Footbridges were installed to allow access around the lake and over the river. Fish have extensively colonised the lake area, and the lake is also home to ducks, water hen, little grebe and swans.
The planting used throughout the park is mainly native species of trees and shrubs with some non-native trees planted for their ornamental value and their suitability as parkland trees. These trees and shrubs have been used to form woodlands on the boundary of the park acting as a screen to housing developments in the area. Many wildflowers have grown in the natural environment surrounding the lake.
Páirc an Phobail was officially opened by Laois County Council on 16th June 2000. In 2002, Laois County Council installed its first playground in over 20 years in a sheltered site in Páirc an Phobail. The playground, nestled by a backdrop of native Irish trees, An Esker and a dry stone wall was aimed at the under 12’s, it was one of the first Robinia wood playgrounds to be installed in Ireland.
The Green Flag Award for Parks is a benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces. It was established in the United Kingdom in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country. Today it is a worldwide programme. In 2014 it was piloted in Dublin and six parks were awarded Green Flags, In 2017, Green Flags were awarded to 25 Parks in the Republic of Ireland, including Pairc an Phobail.
Partnership Organisations/External relationships
An Taisce http://www.antaisce.org/
The Heritage Council http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/
Tree Council http://treecouncil.ie/
Laois Offaly Branch Irish Wildlife Trust www.iwt.ie
Garden and Landscape Designers Association http://glda.ie/
An Garda Síochána http://www.garda.ie/
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) https://www.rospa.com/
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) https://www.iosh.co.uk/
Green Flag Award http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/
National Biodiversity Data Centre http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/
Irish Water https://www.water.ie/