History was made today when Mr. Brian Hayes, TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), oversaw the commencement of construction of a pedestrian link between the two institutions, which will allow visitors a chance to enjoy the unique amenities each has to offer.

Speaking today, Minister Hayes said, “It is entirely appropriate that my office, the OPW have driven this initiative, which brings together the synergies of the National Botanic Gardens, which it manages and Glasnevin Cemetery, which through OPW, has received Government grant aid for its wonderful restoration works. The linking of the Cemetery grounds with the Gardens and the Tolka Valley Linear Park will create a verdant green park of over 200 acres. When combined, this will create the second largest green space amenity in Dublin City after the Phoenix Park; locals and tourists alike will enjoy the benefits of this exciting new development.”

The National Botanic Gardens is Ireland’s premier botanical and horticultural establishment and has seen massive development since OPW took over its management in 1992. Since then, over 15 different projects have been carried out, including the award-winning restoration of the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House. The Gardens also host a range of cultural, scientific and educational programmes for young and old alike.

Glasnevin Trust, which owns and manages the Cemetery & Museum, has an ongoing Restoration Programme funded through the Office of Public Works (OPW), making an important contribution towards restoring this great necropolis to its pristine glory of the early 1900s. This undertaking commenced in 2007 and is due for completion in time for the 2016 Easter Rising centenary celebrations.

Speaking at the commencement of works, Glasnevin Trust Chairman, John Green, said: “Over 1.2 million people visit these two great amenities every year. Soon we will all be able to enjoy both their similarities and differences in 200 acres of beautifully appointed historical parklands and what will be the largest traffic free zone in Dublin City.”

The new Link between the two institutions will involve the removal of a 4m section of the existing railing, provision of a new security controlled access gate, paved steps, and a paved gently sloped access route designed for universal access between each venue. It is anticipated that visitors to both the National Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum will use the link to experience the amenities of both iconic institutions and serve as an important cultural and historical connector for future generations.