Thousands of native trees have been planted in the Dublin suburb of Darndale as part of an "urban forest" initiative, which sees thousands of trees planted in urban locations across Europe. 

Darndale has joined Milan, Barcelona, and the Romanian city of Brasov for the EU-funded UForest project. 

Local schoolchildren and volunteers planted around 3,000 native trees, including oak, birch, willow, and hazel, across a 4,500 sq/m site at Darndale Park on Friday afternoon, December 1, at the end of European Urban Forest Week. 

The UForest initiative aims to transform cities in Ireland, Italy, Romania, and Spain "from grey to green."

The Dublin project was led by Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Social Innovation, with Dublin City Council providing the trees, site, and ongoing maintenance, and students from Our Lady Immaculate National School helping to plant trees on Friday.

Trinity is taking part in a collaborative urban forestry project in Darndale, North Dublin. Locals, staff & students are gathering to plant thousands of trees to provide a green space to spend time together & enjoy nature.#DarndaleUrbanForest #Uforest

— Trinity College Dublin (@tcddublin) December 1, 2023

The site was proposed by the Darndale Together Implementation Oversight Group, which is working to tackle anti-social behavior and improve community self-esteem in Darndale. 

Dr. Jack Nolan, Chairperson of the group, said things were "changing for the better" in the Dublin suburb and said the Darndale community will "play a full part and be involved in maintenance as well tree planting activities."

"This initiative is a vote of confidence in an area on a journey of significant advancement and will have major social and environmental benefits for Darndale and its surrounds," Nolan said. 

"The urban forest will grow to provide the community with a space to spend time together, enjoy nature, and learn more about it.

"To fully embrace inclusion and unity, the forest has been planted in the shape of a doughnut, with trees forming an outer ring and a small clearing within.

"The goal is to raise awareness of the benefits of nature, while providing some basic skills to students to teach them how to plant and take care of trees." 

Professor Mary-Lee Rhodes, Co-Director for the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation, said on Friday that urban forests such as the one planted in Darndale can provide efficient solutions to many of the challenges posed by increasing urbanization and climate change.

"With 84% of the population of Europe expected to live in urban areas by 2050, planning more sustainable and liveable cities is crucial. Forests can reduce heat, provide better air quality and increase biodiversity," Rhodes said.