Granby Park

Artist Name(s) UpStart
Artwork title Granby Park
Context/Background UpStart wanted to challenge how vacant sites can be used in cities, while creating a special experience for Dublin and its residents. For two years prior to the realistion of the project, UpStart worked on development plans with help and support from a number of people including Dublin City Council, planners, architects, landscape architects, designers, research and education groups and the local community, all of whom worked on a voluntary basis and gave their time and services free of charge. The site for the temporary park was located on the north side of Dominick Street, extending between Dominick Place (to the west) and Parnell Street (to the east). The immediate area was used for industrial, commercial and residential purposes. Originally a Georgian street, Dominick Street was constructed in the 1750s by the Dominick family. Once a fashionable place to reside, over time the street fell into decline and Dublin City Council constructed the Dominick Street local authority flat complex in the mid 1960s to replace the tenement buildings that existed.

Granby Park (2013) was a temporary ‘pop-up’ park in a vacant site in Dublin’s inner-city. It was devised and constructed by over 500 volunteers, from recycled, up-cycled, reclaimed, borrowed, donated and found materials, to make “a place of creativity, nature, imagination, play and beauty for everyone”.

Over 1000 people supported the park through a crowd funding campaign. UpStart worked with Dublin’s best creatives to provide the events, interactive art installations, lectures and workshops for all ages. Devised as 'part festival , part community garden’, Granby Park included a cafe, children’s play area, Cafe, Trade School, library, polytunnels and over 30 different artworks. Seán Harrington Architects were commissioned to create a 300 person amphitheatre out of reclaimed wooden pallets. Over 40,000 visitors attended the park during the period it was open, which, according to the organisers, made it the third most visited attraction in Ireland that summer month.

Map of site


Video documentation of Granby Park


Research and evaluation

UpStart aims to measure and evaluate the processes and effects of the Granby Park project. Research and evaluation will be carried out by academics from TCD, UCD, DCU, DIT, NUIM, NCAD and other institutions looking at the project from perspectives including design, planning, art, play, happiness, music, drama, spoken word, landscaping, performance, project management, community, culture, city management and city identity.


RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2014: Granby Park was voted outright winner in the Best Public Space/Urban Design Category. The jury’s citation for Granby Park read:

"A transformative pop-up park achieved by the fulfilment of an ambitious process of collective creativity. From artists, architects, schoolchildren, horticulturists, cooks, musicians, and more, this community-based project brought forward, through a remarkable volunteering spirit, the potential of everyday vacant city spaces. Alive and inventive, the park embraces resourceful design, polytunnels for shelter and a winding amphitheatre constructed from industrial timber pallets featured. A significant element of the project is that, although temporary, it was designed as a template for other communities and their spaces."


UpStart Collaborative Ltd is a non-profit ,voluntary arts collective. Their mission is to highlight the importance of creativity and ingenuity when society is in need of direction and solutions, and to emphasize the value of arts to the public life and community. Their first project displayed 1000 posters of original artwork around Dublin streets during the Irish General Election, and attracted both national and international attention as one of the biggest public art exhibitions in Ireland to date.

Members of the Upstart Team are detailed on the website:

Commission Type Independent Agent
Commissioner Name UpStart
Commissioning process Artist Led
Public Presentation dates August 22, 2013 - September 22, 2013
Partners Dublin City Council
Artform Architecture,Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Other
Location Granby Park
County Dublin
Town Dublin
Street Address Dominick Street Lower
Content contributor(s) Web Editor
Public engagement

For four weeks, arts events, live music, educational activities, film screenings and theatre performances were presented to the public for free.

Tool Kit

UpStart have documented meetings, plans and processes with a view to publishing a community ‘toolkit’ in the future, which will provide a lasting record of the Granby Park project, while also offering guidance to other groups interested in organising similar vacant space projects within their communities. The toolkit will provide advice on how to work with authorities, companies, local groups and other agencies and is intended to take two forms – an online downloadable app containing a video tutorial and template of the original park, and training workshops to be carried out nationwide.

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

A2 Architects

Sean Harrington Architects

UpStart have extended their Thanks and Acknowledgements here:



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