Restoration works to restore Warrenpoint Municipal Park back to its former Edwardian glory are now in the final stages of completion.
To mark the final investment by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage was joined by Mukesh Sharma, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland to plant a historical rose named ‘Narrow Water’.
The rose is part of a selection of plants from 1900s plant collection by renowned horticulturist, Thomas Smith that will be reintroduced to the Park. Thomas Smith laid out Warrenpoint Municipal Park in 1907 with plants gifted from his nursery, Daisy Hill. Daisy Hill Nursery built its reputation for rare and interesting plants of all types supplying the households of Europe and influential garden makers in North America.
Speaking about the significance of this final stage of planting, Chairperson Councillor Michael Savage said, “Planting the ‘Narrow Water’ rose is a fitting tribute to Thomas Smith who created the Park in 1907 and I am delighted to see the Park’s planting scheme extended to include plants that would have originated from Smith’s Daisy Hill Nursery.
“He often named plants raised or selected by the Nursery to reference local people and places, cementing the connections of the area through horticulture. Thomas Smith worked on many gardens, including the one at Narrow Water Castle. Captain Hall owned the castle, which had close ties to the Warrenpoint Municipal Park because he leased it to the Urban Council for 999 years. This project has really brought to the fore the strong connections and relationships those in the past and the present have with the Park and demonstrated how its original architects built structures and landscaped features that connected it to the local area. Its restoration will now preserve it for generations to come”
Mukesh Sharma, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland said, “Regenerating and conserving public parks remains a high priority for us, and we have been delighted to support the restoration of Warrenpoint Municipal Park as well as the events and initiatives that connect it with the community. Thanks to National Lottery players, people can enjoy a high quality, urban green space that is further enhanced by new planting schemes that will be appreciated by both local people and visitors to the area.”
The plant collection in the Park now boasts another Turner’s Oak, to match the original Turner’s Oaks. Rambling roses have a new home that now grow up selected tress and the beautiful old magnolia has received treatment to ensure it is protected for years to come. A new magnolia has also been planted opposite the much-loved original magnolia to create planting symmetry and in the spring beautiful heritage daffodils will bloom.
In acknowledgement of the funding and the work carried out for its restoration, Chairperson Cllr Michael Savage said, ”On behalf of the Council I would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its support and the various voluntary and community groups, schools, individuals, and businesses who have participated and assisted in the delivery of the Warrenpoint Municipal Park Project.”
To ensure the heritage of the Park continues to be shared after the completion of the project, information points have been installed beside the benches throughout the Park. Visitors can scan the QR code, sit back, watch a video, browse images, listen to an audio file, read a book especially written about the Park and smell the beautiful roses.