Spiddal Park is not a typical park. In this project we were working with a deceptively simple brief in one of the most spectacular landscapes in Ireland – Connemara.
The brief was simply to connect the old and new quays for the first time across the mouth of the Owenboliskey River to create a walking route. The design intent was to create a path with the necessary coastal defence expressed in a robust and rugged form, using simple and durable materials. The completed path winds around the shore and is protected by stone walls that rise organically from the coastal shingle and rock outcrops.
The bridge over the Owenboliskey, designed by Murray & Associates, is a light structure – deliberately arched and ornamental in form – contrasting with its surroundings but constructed of durable galvanised steel and timber deck. It was assembled off-site and lifted into place without damaging any of the trees and scrub around it, so it is comfortably held by the river banks and structural or other interventions are almost invisible, lending a maturity and timeless quality to the project.
The key to the success of this project is the landscape itself, from the intimate views of the Oak woodland (rare in Connemara) and white water upstream of the bridge to the panorama across Galway Bay and the Burren beyond. It is the landscape that people are interested in here, and the work of the landscape architect was to facilitate that, not to obstruct or sanitise the experience. We believe that the simplicity of the completed scheme achieves this.
- Location: Spiddal, Co. Galway
- Client: Galway Co. Council
- Size approx.: 1000 linear metres
- Year of Project: 2003; Completion onsite - 2008
- Project Team
- Director: John Ward
- Senior Landscape Architect: Mark Boyle
- Team Members
- Consulting Structural Engineer: John Britten