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Phoenix Park Dublin

By damian, Saturday, 3rd January 2015 | 0 comments
Filed under: Museums, Did you know, Family Fun, See & do Dublin.

The Phoenix Park at 707 hectares (1752 acres) is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. 


Early History and Habitation

Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Man had long associations with the lands that now form The Phoenix Park.  About five and a half thousand years ago man was attracted to the narrow strip of land along the southern edge of the Park between Knockmaroon and Islandbridge.  This land had a commanding view over the River Liffey and offered unrestricted views across the valley to the Dublin Mountains.

  • The Phoenix Park was established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II. 

Conceived as a Royal deer park, it originally included the demesne of Kilmainham Priory south of the River Liffey, but with the building of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, which commenced in 1680, the Park was reduced to its present size, all of which is now north of the river. 

Shortly after the Park’s acquisition it was enclosed within a stonewall.

Nature & Biodiversity

Best small group day tours from Dublin http://www.daytoursunplugged.ieThe Phoenix Park is a highly important site for biodiversity in Dublin City and is an extremely valuable resource for the people of Dublin and its visitors. 

It supports 50% of the mammal species found in Ireland and about 40% of bird species. 

The Park has retained almost all of its old grasslands and woodlands and also has rare examples of wetlands.  In addition, The Phoenix Park is the location of Dublin Zoo, which interprets aspects of biodiversity to over 900,000 people each year.


Did You Know - West of St. Mary’s Hospital, on the hill of Knockmary, stands a prehistoric burial chamber over 5,500 yrs old. The tumulus, which covered it, was opened in 1838 and skeletons, pottery and other relics, now in the National Museum were discovered.

Important Buildings, Structures and landmarks

Residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, started as a modest brick house for the Phoenix Park Chief Ranger in 1751. It was subsequently acquired as an "occasional residence" for the Lords Lieutenants and gradually evolved to a large mansion.

  • After Ireland gained independence, it was occupied by three Governors General between 1922 and 1937, prior to the first president Dr Douglas Hyde taking up residence there. 

  • 19th century architects Francis Johnston, Jacob Owen and Decimus Burton, and more recently, Raymond McGrath, as well as stuccodores Michael Stapleton and Bartholomew Cramillion contributed to its gradual expansion, gardens and interiors.

American Ambassadors Residence, Deerfield Residence is a large 18th-century building, sitting on 62 acres (250,000 m²) of private grounds in the centre of the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

The premises have been the Ambassador's Official Residence since 1927.

It sits across from the official residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin.

Deerfield house is without a doubt one of most palatial ambassador’s residencies in the world, its location and grandeur symbolizes the special position the United States has in Irish history.

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, he celebrated a mass for 1.25 million people. 

Phoenix park visitor centre, don’t miss the lively entertaining exhibitions on the history and the wildlife of the Phoenix Park on display in the Visitor Centre.

  • Enjoy a historical interpretation of the park from 3500 B.C. to the present day.
  • Adjoining the Visitor Centre is the fully restored Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house that probably dates from the 17th century.

Former Guinness family estate - Farmleigh is an estate of 78 acres situated to the north-west of Dublin's Phoenix Park, It was purchased by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the Government in June 1999.

  • Farmleigh remains a unique representation of its heyday, the Edwardian period, when wealthy industrialists had replaced landowners as the builders of large mansions in Ireland.
  • Edward Cecil Guinness first Earl of Iveagh, the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, built Farmleigh around a smaller Georgian house in the 1880's.
  • Many of the artworks and furnishings he collected for Farmleigh remain in the house on loan from the Guinness family to the State.
  • The Benjamin Iveagh collection of rare books, bindings and manuscripts are held in the Library.

The extensive pleasure grounds are a wonderful collection of Victorian and Edwardian ornamental features with walled and sunken gardens, scenic lakeside walks and a range of plants that provide both visual and horticultural interest throughout the seasons.

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How To Get to Europe's largest walled park

From Dublin city centre:

 Nos. 25, 26, 46A, 66 / 66A / 66B, 67, 69

LUAS Red Line - Dublin Zoo is a 15 minute walk from the Heuston Station stop.





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