You're spoiled for choice in Dublin when it comes to exploring our national parks. Visit these six parks that have been awarded Green Flad Awards in recent years.
One of the greatest city parks in the world and covering 1,752 acres, Phoenix Park is a treasure trove of secrets. Did you know that land speed records were once set here and Winston Churchill lived in the park as a boy?
Today you can cycle, walk, run or Segway through its acreage. Stop off to take a tour of Áras an Uachtaráin or enjoy a panoramic view of the city from Military Road (just beside the magazine fort). Say hello to the newest baby animals at Dublin Zoo, drop by the two kids’ playgrounds or sunbathe on the lush grass where you can enjoy an al fresco feast.
One of Dublin’s secret treasures the National War Memorial in Islandbridge, Dublin 8 delights visitors, especially when the roses in the sunken garden are in full bloom. This stunningly designed location on the south bank of the Liffey commemorates Irish soldiers who died in battle. It’s beautifully maintained and ablaze with colour for much of the year.
Find a shady spot by the riverside and watch rowing clubs go through their paces and meander along the cycle pathway to the quaint Chapelizod village after you've explored the park.
Sometimes called ‘Dublin’s secret park’ and located close to Stephen’s Green, Iveagh Gardens is the perfect sanctuary away from the bustle of the city. On sunny days, it’s an ideal spot for a picnic and you’ll have ample choice thanks to the cafés and sandwich bars close to the food mecca of Camden Street (just a five-minute walk away). Watch out for concerts in this unique setting and catch one if you can.
A family-friendly park, Herbert Park in Ballsbridge has a great kids’ playground, an all-weather pitch for children’s football and you can rent the refurbished tennis courts by the hour. Feed the ducks in the original pond built for the 1907 World Fair (held at the park). The pond was the ‘landing point’ for a massive water chute, a funfair ride that was beloved by Edwardian Dubliners. There are great dining options a few minutes away in both Ballsbridge and Donnybrook.
Visitors flock to the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire every Sunday to experience the farmer’s market. There’s an exceptional selection of food options for brunch, lunch or dinner. Choose from paella, falafel wraps, Asian cuisine or try locally foraged nettle pesto and delights such as hand-rolled ice-cream. The views from the park across Dublin Bay to Howth Head makes dining al fresco especially lovely here. Afterwards, a walk on the East Pier and a traditional 99 ice cream cone from Teddy’s are essential to any visit.
One of the best features of Dublin’s parks is that many of them are close to the main shopping districts. The Wolfe Tone Memorial Park is just off Mary Street beside the Jervis Shopping Centre and The Church pub (formerly a Protestant church) in the north inner city.
Look out for the vintage tram carriage converted to a café and grab some lunch. There’s a Dublin Bikes stand on site so you can explore the city on two wheels. History lovers will be fascinated by the old headstones at the park’s southern perimeter.
Take a stroll in the sunshine and enjoy a visit to one or all of these parks on your visit to the capital – the only dilemma is where to go first.
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