Tralee Town Park and Rose Garden is a green oasis situated off Denny Street in the town centre. It extends for 14 hectares/ 35 acres and is one of the largest urban parks in Ireland.  The Park was formerly part of the Denny family demesne and dates from the 17th century. A map of Tralee from 1735 shows improvements to the park carried out by Sir Edward Denny which include a Fir Grove, Ash Walk, hop and physic garden and a Bowling Green. The Denny Castle stood at the junction of Castle Street and The Mall and was demolished in 1823 to make way for Denny Street. The new street laid out in 1826 extended across the Bowling Green. While the sports area has disappeared the park retains the name “The Green” for local townspeople.

The park was purchased by Tralee Urban District Council in 1922 from Sir Clements-Finnerty who had acquired it from the Dennys some years earlier.  It now includes over 1,000 mature trees, 5 km of pathways and a stunning Rose Garden with over 6,000 roses. The centre piece is the Rose of Tralee Memorial (2009) of Mary O’Connor, the first Rose of Tralee and her fiance and composer William Pembroke Mulchinock (1820-64), by Jeanne Rynhart. The glass Rose Wall that surrounds it is inscribed with the names of the finalists in the annual International Rose of Tralee competition which commenced in 1959 and continues each August. The Rose Garden also has a memorial plaque to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1997) by Paula O’Sullivan and is adjoined on its northern / St. John’s Church end by the exquisite Garden of the Senses.

The Garden of the Senses, designed by Don Nolan of Liscahane, was a Council Millennium Project. It includes plants from four continents as well limestone and bronze sculptural pieces. Highlights include the Dagda Cauldron by Paula O’Sullivan, Bronze Horns by Ger O’Neill and Standing Stone, aligned on Scotia’s Glen, by Hadrian Buckley and Tom Little.

The Park, at its Ashe Hall access point, has an extensive Children’s Playground and Community Garden. On the western side of Denny Street is Páirc an Phiarsaigh – an intimate memorial park in honour of those who died in the struggle for Irish Independence. The bronze head of Padraic Pearse is by the French and Breton Nationalist Sculptor, Yann  Goulet.

The Ashe Memorial Hall (Kerry County Museum and Tourist Information Office) and Siamsa Tire Theatre are both built within the confines of the old estate. The pedestrian route from the Ashe Hall to Siamsa Tíre is dedicated to US Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who paid a high profile visit to Tralee and County Kerry in April 1997. Opposite the Apollo XI Memorial there is a limestone sculpture of a blacksmith called Draiocht an Ghabha meaning the Magic Blacksmith, sculpted by Fred Conlon.

Many species of bird inhabit the park with the trees and bushes providing ideal nesting sites.  Blackbirds, thrushes, robins, wrens, finches, tits, doves, wood pigeon, rooks, jackdaws, magpies, ravens, herring gull, common gull and oyster catcher are regularly observed while many more are occasional callers. Butterflies, moths, bees and wasps are common sights in the park with the larger, older trees playing host to a myriad of insect life.  It is truly a green oasis that is well worth a visit at any time of the year. There are access point on all four sides – Denny Street, St. John’s Church, Cloonbeg Terrace and Castlecountess.  It open all year round during daylight hours.

For more information download the Kerry Parks, Gardens & Woodlands Booklet below.

Kerry Parks Gardens & Woodlands Booklet

A stunning recent video of the Rose Garden in Tralee town park to the eclectic sounds of Avatar.