This visit I noticed that the water was covered with a carpet of green and when I examined my photographs from 2021 it was much the same. After some research I discovered that there is an environmental problem as an invasive species of plant is hindering efforts to maintain the duck pond in Kilkenny’s Castle Park.
The state of the pond is due to a high level of algae building up in the water and the Office of Public Works has indicated that they have to be careful that any work they carry out doesn’t allow the ”Australian swamp stone crop” in the pond to get into the River Nore. Also, they were unable to clean the water until after the bird nesting season.
Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii) is an invasive aquatic plant that dominates still and slow-flowing waterbodies. It was initially introduced from Australia in the early 1900s as a garden pond plant but is now spreading across waterbodies in the UK and parts of Western Europe.
It is particularly problematic in sensitive aquatic habitats where it has the potential to outcompete native flora and reduce oxygen levels by forming dense, impenetrable mats. This weed can also have negative impacts on recreation and can block filters necessary for water treatment. Australian swamp stonecrop tolerates extreme environmental conditions and, as such, management can be very challenging and often unsuccessful, especially for infestations in areas of high conservation value.
There is a children’s playground, an extensive wooded area, with walks to the banks of the Dodder (with access over a footbridge to the Rathfarnham area), a woodland pond, a duck pond, and a recently reopened kiosk. In front of the duck pond is a high hill, and east of the pond is a starting point for the woodland walk, beside a small cascade. The park is a good place for birdwatching – among the species which may be seen are sparrow hawk, treecreeper and kingfisher.
THE POND AREA – NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS IN DUBLIN
The pond and nearby is the most popular with children especially as there is the possibility of seeing at least one of the five turtles who have decided that the pond is their “forever home”.
There is also a sculpture, designed by Charles Jencks, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix in 1953. It is a gift to the nation from private donors. It demonstrates our growing knowledge of RNA. It is only recently that we have discovered that all life on earth, from microbes to plants and animals are all related to one another.
note: a young girl corrected me saying that the sculpture relates to RNA rather than DNA and I was in not in a position to argue