About Phoenix Park.
Phoenix Park is one of Europe’s largest suburban park, covering 11km or 1,752 acres (707 hectares) of land. The park is over 350 years old. Walled off in 1662 for king Charles II, as a ‘Royal Deer Park’. The deer have been part of the park ever since and can be spotted in various locations throughout the 11km park. Before the park was walled off to become a park, the Vikings buried their dead here. Around 40 graves – one of which contained a woman buried with a pair of bronze Scandinavian brooches – were discovered together near the Islandbridge/ Kilmainham edge. This is the biggest Viking cemetery outside of Scandinavia. Some of the rules of Phoenix Park include – no lighting fires, no litter, no riding a horse unless in an area specified for horse-riding, no posters, not to drive on the grass and not to go faster than 50km/per hour on roads through the park. Phoenix Park is one of the most photogenic wild areas Dublin has to offer and is well worth a visit.
How to get around.
Rent bikes from Phoenix Park Bikes for €15 for a full day, €10 for 3 hours or €6 for one hour.
What to see.
We have listed what we view as some of the best things to see and do in Phoenix Park below.
- Dublin Zoo
A hit amongst adults and children alike. Dublin zoo is home to over 400 animals and has been in operation since 1831, making it one of the world’s oldest zoos. The zoo covers over 69 acres. Many of the animals are part of international breeding programmes for endangered species, as their species are currently under threat. Pricing for adults is €18. and for children is €13.50. For more information and to get your tickets at a discounted price click here.
- Áras an Uachtaráin
Áras an Uachtaráin, otherwise known as the President of Ireland’s humble abode is located in Phoenix Park and unlike most other presidential house’s you can almost wave into the window at President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina. The public are welcome every Saturday to come and join a guided tour free of charge and takes almost an hour. The tour operates on a first come on first served basis and the tour times are – 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Sometimes due to State and/or Official Business the tours cannot operate. For more information and for updates on tours click here.
- The Wild Deer
Phoenix park is home to a herd of 400-450 fallow deer descend from the original herd introduced in the 1660s. They can be found throughout the park in various locations. Friends of the deer are advised not to feed them any food.
A historic Edwardian period house holding important collections, an art gallery, a working farm, and the official Irish State guest house, Farmleigh House and Estate is open seven days a week. An estate of seventy-eight acres situated to the north-west of Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Farmleigh provides accommodation for visiting dignitaries and guests of the nation. Entry for guided tours around the house start are €8 for adults For more information click here.
- Phoenix Park Visitor Centre
A lively and entertaining exhibition on the history and the wildlife of the Phoenix Park is on display in the Visitor Centre. Here the visitor can enjoy a historical interpretation of the park from 3500 B.C. to the present day and can also view an audio-visual presentation on the Phoenix Park through the ages. Next to the visitor centre is Ashton Castle.
- Ashtown Castle
Ashtown Castle is a medieval tower-house. Until 1978, this castle was hidden within the walls of a Georgian mansion (called Ashtown Lodge) that was occupied by the Under Secretary for Ireland. When the Georgian house was demolished in the late seventies, the castle was discovered inside. It has since been restored and is now open to the public. It may date from as early as the fifteenth century.
- Victorian Walled Gardens
The Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden is a two and a half-acre garden set in the grounds of Ashtown Castle (next to the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre).
Other things to see and do in Phoenix Park.
- Wellington Monument
Built to commemorate the victories of the ‘Iron Duke’ Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who was born in Dublin, the memorial in the Phoenix park is the tallest obelisk in Europe. It is 205 feet tall.
- Papal Cross
The Papal Cross is a simple large white cross that was erected near the edge of the Fifteen Acres for the Papal visit of Pope John Paul II on the 29th September 1979. On this day, before travelling to Drogheda, Co. Louth, Pope John Paul II delivered an open-air sermon to more than 1.25 million people.
- Magazine Fort
The Magazine Fort is a bastion fort and magazine. Built in 1735, it was occupied by British Armed Forces until 1922 when it was turned over to the Irish Defence Forces.
- Phoenix Park Monument
The Phoenix Monument was erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747. The column was carved in Portland stone. It is in the shape of a Corinthian column with a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes at its pinnacle.
- The People’s Gardens
The Victorian People’s Flower Gardens comprise of an area of twenty-two acres, which were laid out around 1840 and opened in 1864. They provide an opportunity to display Victorian horticulture at its best.
- Prehistoric Burial Chamber
A prehistoric burial chamber over 5,500 years old. The tumulus, which covered it, was opened in 1838 and skeletons, pottery and other relics, now in the National Museum were discovered.
For more information on all of these sites and attractions and for more details on their locations please visit phoenixpark.ie.