The island of Ireland is also often called the “Emerald Isle”. You can easily see why the moment you set foot on Irish soil. Many green spaces can be found all over the island, especially in all the stunning parks and gardens. Dublin in particular possesses an astounding number of big and small parks scattered throughout the city. Babylon Radio has found 10 parks in Dublin and the surrounding area for you that we found interesting.
This park is one of the largest enclosed urban parks in Europe and the biggest in Ireland with 1,750 acres (707 hectares). It mostly consists of grasslands and woodlands, but also has rare examples of wetlands. You can find many different species of plants and animals all throughout the park, even some rare and protected ones. The park has been home to a herd of wild deer since the 17th century and contains Dublin Zoo, the country’s largest zoo. The Victorian People’s Flower Gardens are also located in the park.
Several magnificent buildings, institutions and memorials have been erected in different corners of the park over the centuries. One of these is the Wellington Monument, a 203 ft (62 metres) tall obelisk, the largest in Europe. The Phoenix Monument, the residence of the US Ambassador and Áras an Uachtaráin, the residency of the Irish President are other such monuments and buildings.
Another point of interest is the Papal Cross. It 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, where he delivered an open-air sermon to more than 1.25 million people on that day.
St Anne’s Park
The brothers Arthur and Benjamin Lee Guinness built up an estate from 1835 onwards and called it St. Anne’s after the Holy Well on the lands. In the 1920s, a descendant of the Guinness family decided they could no longer maintain such a large estate and most of it was sold.
In 1943, the main residence of St. Anne’s was gutted by a fire and the ruins demolished in 1968. At the same time, parts of the estate were developed for public housing while the central most attractive portion comprising about 270 acres was retained as parkland which Dublin City Council now manages.
It is the second largest park in Dublin, located a bit farther outside the city centre. It possesses extensive woodlands, water features and recreational facilities. You can also visit the very beautiful gardens enclosed within the park free of charge. The Nanekin river flows through it from the ornamental pond to the sea. Woodland paths add to the charm of the park.
St Stephen’s Green
St Stephen’s Green is a beautiful Victorian park located in the bustling city centre. Lord Ardilaun redeveloped the park after it had fallen into disrepair in the early 19th century. He planned a beautiful ornamental lake with a waterfall which is home to a great number of birds such as swans, ducks and herons today. Another part of his plan was the picturesquely arranged Pulham rockwork, a bridge as well as formal flower beds and fountains. The park has since been maintained in this layout.
You can also find statues and memorials of various important Irish historical figures all over Stephen’s Green. Statues of people like Arthur Guinness, Irish revolutionary Countess Markiewicz and writer James Joyce are featured there.
The Iveagh Gardens are almost completely surrounded by buildings, making them less noticeable and a little hard to find. This makes them one of Dublin’s hidden gems. They display a diverse collection of landscape features which include rustic grottos, sunken panels of lawn with fountain centrepieces, woodlands, a maze, a rosarium and archery grounds. The cascade, a waterfall established after the restoration of the gardens, flows over an immense rockery, with rocks from each of Ireland’s 32 counties.
Dublin County Council acquired the land in 1972 and developed it as a regional park. Since 2000, Marlay Park has become a popular music venue with a maximum capacity of 40,000 featuring both renowned national and international performers. During the Summer months many concerts and events are held in the park, like the Longitude festival which takes place in July and mostly features hip hop artists. Recreational spaces in the park include tennis courts, a BMX cycle track, football pitches, a cricket pitch, a children’s playground and a miniature railway run by the Dublin Society of Model and Experimental Engineers.
Griffith Park is situated on the Tolka River between Glasnevin and Drumcondra and just downstream from the National Botanic Gardens. The park is one of the premier north city parks, with its fine trees, flower garden, pleasant riverside walks and well-used modern playground. Originally, there was a landfill at the site where Griffith Park is now located until the 1930s, when the eastern end of the park was first developed.
Merrion Square Park
Merrion Square Park, previously known as the Archbishop Ryan Park, is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Dublin. It has a number of beautiful sculptures, like this statue of Oscar Wilde. The park is flanked by numerous historic buildings, such as the National University of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland and the branches of Archaeology and Natural History of the National Museum of Ireland. You can also find the remains of an air raid shelter on the South East side, built to protect 1,100 people.
St Patrick’s Park
It is believed that St Patrick baptised the first Irish Christians on the grounds of what is now the park with water from the River Poddle which now flows underground. There were several additions made to the park in 1988, including a Literary Parade which pays tribute to many famous Irish poets and writers, and the Liberty Bell Sculpture. The park itself provides a beautiful setting for the St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Irish National War Memorial Gardens
These gardens are one of the most famous memorial gardens in Europe. They are dedicated to the memory of 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in WWI. Their names are etched into the Stone of Remembrance, which has its place in the Gardens. The gardens are not only a place of remembrance but are also of great architectural interest and beauty. Sunken rose gardens, herbaceous borders and extensive tree planting make for an enjoyable visit to the gardens in any season.
Blessington Street Basin
This quiet park in a bustling metropolis provides a haven for local residents and visitors alike. Here they can relax, play, exercise and enjoy the picturesque mature trees and flower displays. Blessington Street Basin is one of the most unusual parks in the city, as 80% of the area is water. This is not surprising since it is a former reservoir. An artificial island has been developed in the centre to create a refuge for the ducks and swans that regard the basin as home.