Dodder Valley Park, Rathfarnham

The Dodder River provides the focus for this marvellous park which extends from Old Bawn Bridge in Tallaght to Rathfarnham - a distance of 6km. Linking the Dublin Mountains with city suburbia, the park consists of over 100 hectares of fragmented parkland and remnant countryside.
The Dodder is one of two rivers rising onto the slopes of Kippure in the Dublin / Wicklow Mountains. The river's headwaters are a short distance from the source of the River Liffey. After a journey of just 29 kilometres, the Dodder rejoins the Liffey at Ringsend. The origin of the river's name is unknown but it is suggested the names stems from the old Irish word 'Dothra' meaning 'turbulent'. In times of heavy rainfall, the Dodder is prone to rapid and severe flooding. Unruly by nature, the rapid fall of 350 feet in the river's first few miles ensures that the river will live up to its name, and over the centuries, many bridges have been swept away by the Dodder's fury.

Water was diverted through a number of sluices in a manmade channel, two miles long, known as the "City Watercourse", part of which is incorporated into the park. The Firhouse Weir is one of the main features of the Dodder Valley with a splendid artificial waterfall. Spawell House was a popular meeting place for Dublin's 18th-century nobility and remains a feature of today's park.

 


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