Which are the best Dublin parks?
Welcome to Dublin, the capital of Ireland.
This charming town with its history dating back to Viking times bubbles with creativity and culture.
Dublin is one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. Even if you come for business, the city’s rich cultural patrimony, the shopping, the parks, the restaurants or the famous Dublin nightlife, you are guaranteed a thousand welcomes in Ireland.
There are a lot Dublin’s parks and each one is famous for something. Today we are going to talk about the main important parks in Dublin and their stories.
Our High School groups visit most of them during their stay in Dublin and they actually love to see how green this city is.
~MERRION SQUARE PARK
In the elegant Merrion Square (which is next to our school) we can find one of the most attractive, beautiful and interesting public park in Dublin. The officially name is: Archbishop Ryan Park, because it was built in memory of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. The Church had bought the park in 1930 as a site for a new cathedral. The project has never gone ahead; I would like to say fortunately, because now we have an amazing place to spend our afternoon out of the chaotic traffic of Dublin city center.
In the park there are a lot of interesting monuments, including many fine sculptures; the Rutland Memorial; a collection of old Dublin lamp posts; a central floral garden; heather garden and a new playground.
But this park is actually famous for the Oscar Wild Statue: an aptly colorful depiction of Wilde wearing his customary smoking jacket and reclining on a rock. It is situated in front of Number 1 Merrion Square which was the home where Oscar Wilde spent his formative years. The Wilde family lived here from 1855 to 1879. In 1994 the house was taken over by the American College Dublin. The first two floors have been restored to an approximate version of their appearance in Oscar’s day and can only be visited on a guided tour (definitely recommend visiting!).
~ST. STEPHEN GREEN
This is Ireland’s best known Victorian public park. The current landscape of the park was designed by William Sheppard. The park is 9 hectare / 22 acre large and it was officially opened to the public on Tuesday, 27 July 1880.
St. Stephen Green is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, such as Grafton Street, and to a shopping centre named for it “St. Stephen Green Shopping Centre”. It is the largest of all the parks in Dublin’s situated in Georgian square. Othersimilar parks are the nearby Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square.
It isn’t considered the largest park in Dublin city because Phoenix Park is actually the largest, but Phoenix Park is not situated in a Georgian square. The park is rectangular and it is surrounded by 4 main streets, also called four bordering streets, which are called, respectively, St Stephen’s Green North, St Stephen’s Green South, St Stephen’s Green East and St Stephen’s Green West. They once formed major traffic arteries through Dublin city center, although traffic management changes implemented in 2004 when the Luas has greatly reduced the volume of traffic.
Some interesting features in the park:
- Fusiliers’ Arch: situated at the Grafton Street corner; it commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who unfortunately died in the Second Boer War;
- a fountain representing the Three Fates. The statue was designed by Joseph Wackerle in bronze in 1956. It was a gift from Germany in thanks for Ireland’s help to refugee children following World War II. Nobody knows that up to five hundred children found foster-homes in Ireland thanks to a project named Operation Shamrock;
- a bust of James Joyce facing his former university at Newman House;
- a memorial bust of Thomas Kettle, fatality of the Great War. The attempt to erect a commemorative portrait bust of Kettle was beset by controversy until it was finally placed – without official unveiling, in the centre section.
It is 1752 acres of extension and it is considered an historic landscape of international importance. As we said before it is the largest park in Dublin but it is also one of the largest designed landscapes in any European city. The worst part is that not everybody in Dublin knows that it is one of Dublin’s main sights.
It was originally established as a Royal deer park in the 17th century, because when King Charles II needed hunting grounds near Dublin, the Duke of Ormond landscaped the area north of the Liffey, stocking it with deer. To prevent these from escaping, the whole park was surrounded by a substantial wall.
In 1745 the park was presented to the City of Dublin – with the provision to make it accessible to the citizens. Today it is still surrounded by more than seven miles of solid stone walls, the access is via the eight major gates and six smaller (pedestrian) gates.
Main Attractions in the Phoenix Park:
- Aras an Uachtaráin: the residence of the Irish president, which is also open for visitors only during the weekends;
- Ashtown Castle and Phoenix Park Visitor Centre: a medieval tower house and an informative display on the Phoenix Park’s history;
- Dublin Zoo: the house of all creatures great and small, from apes to zebras. It is open to everyone and the ticket is not so expensive, if you would like to bring your children we recommend you to enter and enjoy the tour;
- Magazine Fort: a still imposing military installation where the first action of the Easter Risingtook place;
- Papal Cross: a massive steel cross erected to facilitate Pope John Paul II saying mass to millions of people on the 29th September 1979. On the 8th April 2005, it hosted many thousands of people who gathered in tribute, leaving flowers and other tokens of remembrance of him;
- Phoenix Monument:erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747. It is located in the centre of the Park and forms a focal point of a large roundabout on the beautiful tree-lined Chesterfield Avenue;
- Wellington Monument:designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. It was completed in 1861 and it is considered the tallest obelisk in Europe at just over 62 meters tall.
Ireland has a lot of parks and each one is amazing, if you want to discover them and you want to discover Ireland, contact us!
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