Dublin city is no concrete jungle: it’s dotted with open spaces where you can stretch your legs, get some fresh air and soak up nature. It’s just one of the many perks of Dublin life. Here’s an introduction to just a few of the city’s best parks and gardens.
The city’s most notable outdoor space is the Phoenix Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in Europe. Its 11km long perimeter wall encloses 1,752 acres of parkland. (This is more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park.)
The Phoenix Park is home to a beautiful array of local flora and fauna, including a large herd of fallow deer. It also has a historic built heritage. Nestled within the park is Áras an Uachtaráin, home of the Irish President, as well as Farmleigh, former home of the Guinness family. The park also houses Dublin Zoo, the medieval Ashtown Castle and an 18th century military Magazine Fort.
Deer in Phoenix Park, Dublin
Right in the heart of the city centre, you’ll find the oases of St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square. They’re perfect for a mid-afternoon stroll during your lunch break.
If you have more time to spare, you can explore the yew maze at the Iveagh Gardens. This small park is also known as Dublin’s secret garden but, as one the city’s best venues for outdoor music and comedy gigs, it’s becoming more and more famous.
The National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
One of the best Dublin parks outside of the city centre is Marlay Park – where the Longitude music festival takes place each year. Its craft courtyard is a real treat too. To the north of the city, you can also enjoy St. Anne’s Park which is home to 35 playing pitches, 18 hard-surfaced tennis courts, four boules courts and a par-3 golf course.
At the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, visitors can enjoy rockeries, rose gardens and the exotic rainforest plants that reside in its Victorian era Palm House. Every autumn, there’s an exhibition of sculptures inspired by nature too.
The city’s other gardens don’t have such vast collections, but the War Memorial Gardens and the gardens at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham are well worth a visit too. Their ornamental landscapes are a sight to behold.
Want to make a day of it?
If you want to travel further afield, consider heading to the south of the city. Here, you can check out the Dublin Mountains or the People’s Park in Dún Laoghaire, which holds weekend markets and is located right next to the seafront. Alternatively, you could head north to explore Malahide Castle and Gardens. Here, you’ll find Ireland’s only butterfly house.