Phoenix Park is so important to Dublin that it has its own law on the statute books and visitors should be aware that one provision of this is that “no person shall act contrary to public morality in the Park”. So watch your Ps and Qs!
Where Dublin Comes to RelaxPhoenix Park sits resplendently 3 miles west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its perimeter wall encloses 1,750 acres of open space, sports grounds, leisure opportunities, historic buildings, tree-lined avenues and a herd of wild fallow deer. It is where Dublin comes to relax, although you are never short of things to do here.
Phoenix Park’s HistoryAs one of the largest walled city parks in Europe, with a detailed history and active contemporary role in the city, the Irish Government is understandably busy lobbying UNESCO to designate the park a world heritage site. Originally a 12th century gift from a Norman baron to the Knights Hospitaller the park is today free for all to enjoy, and you’ll never be short of space even though you are close to the heart of the bustling streets of Dublin just outside the park walls.
Sightseeing in Phoenix ParkWithin the park you will find a range of places of historical interest. These include Áras an Uachtaráin, the delightful 18th century building which acts as the residence of the President of Ireland, the Deerfeld Residence, another stately 18th century building designed as an official’s residence, the domineering 35 metre high Papal Cross, erected in 1979 to commemorate the Pope’s visit to Dublin, and the strongly fortified Ashtown Castle, a marvellously restored medieval tower house dating all the way back to the 15th century.
Phoenix Park for FamiliesFor families there is Dublin Zoo, a world-famous collection of more 700 animals and tropical birds from around the world, play parks, short lakeside walks and plenty of opportunity for the children to burn off some energy.
Nature in Phoenix ParkFor nature lovers this centre of the city space packs in plenty of birdlife (at last count 72 species were recorded), wild fallow deer, grasslands, woodlands, wetlands and lakes.
Sport and Activities in Phoenix ParkFor sports fans this is the place for jogging, cycling and it contains grounds for football, hurling, soccer, cricket and polo. You won’t have to look too far to find a suitable spot for frisbee either!
It is not just the Pope that draws the big crowds here either. The Irish Grand Prix takes place here and, at a comparatively leisurely pace, so does the 10km Great Irish Run each April. The Park has played host to Robbie Williams, Tom Waits, Snoop Dogg and many other musical legends.
Refreshing Phoenix ParkAnd if that’s not enough there is always the Victorian Tea Kiosk serving teas and lunches between the Band Hollow and Dublin Zoo.
What more could you want?