Insider Tips

Dublin’s super parks, both great and small

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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Dublin has an abundance of marvellous parks, long part of the fabric of the city and county. Each one is just waiting to be explored this spring — be it with a picnic, a trip to the playground or a slow-paced wander through a rose garden.


The king of Dublin parklands, the Phoenix Park, will be celebrated in a new exhibition: Parks: Our Shared Heritage. Running at the Farmleigh Gallery in Farmleigh Park from April 7 to May 28, it traces the centuries-old history of this landmark green space, and that of London’s famed Royal Parks.

The free exhibition may focus on the city’s biggest park, but it offers a timely reminder of just how many wonderful Dublin parks are there, waiting to be explored. Here’s seven to put a spring in your step.

Phoenix Park

One of the greatest city parks in the world, and covering 1,752 acres, Phoenix Park is also 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, run or Segway through its acreage, stopping off to take a tour of Áras an Uachtaráin, or enjoying a panoramic view of the city from Military Road (just beside the magazine fort). Say hello to the new baby elephant at Dublin Zoo, drop by the two kids’ playgrounds or sprawl out of the lush grass for an al fresco feast.

Dublin’s super parks, both great and small
Dublin’s super parks, both great and small

National War Memorial Park

One of Dublin’s hidden gems, once you visit you’ll be bound to return to the National War Memorial, 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 a blaze of colour for much of the year. The park’s riverside setting offers the perfect opportunity to watch rowing clubs go through their paces. Whizz along the cycle pathway to the quaint Chapelizod village after you've explored.

Iveagh Gardens

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 be spoiled for choice thanks to the number of cafés and sandwich bars around the food mecca of Camden Street (just a five-minute walk away). A handful of concerts take place in this unique setting during the summer – catch one if you can.

Dublin’s super parks, both great and small
Dublin’s super parks, both great and small

Herbert Park

A classic family-friendly park, Herbert Park has a great kids’ playground, an all-weather pitch for children’s football and the refurbished tennis courts can be rented by the hour. There are ducks to feed 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 some great dining options a few minutes away in both Ballsbridge and Donnybrook.

St Anne's Park

The second biggest municipal park in Dublin, the 500-acre St Anne's Park (between Clontarf and Raheny) covers much of the former Guinness estate. The Red Stables Farmers Market is the perfect excuse to visit on Saturdays and there are several picturesque walkways from which to admire the mature trees and architectural follies. Take a stroll on Dollymount Strand afterwards, accessed by walking or driving over the famed Wooden Bridge.

Dublin’s super parks, both great and small
Dublin’s super parks, both great and small

Wolfe Tone Memorial Park

One of the lovely features of Dublin’s park culture is just how many of them are located slap-bang in the shopping districts. This small park can be found just off Mary Street and adjacent to the Jervis Shopping Centre and The Church pub (formerly a Protestant church) in the north inner city. There’s a vintage tram carriage that's been converted to a café here and a Dublin Bikes stand is on site for those who want to explore the city on two wheels. History lovers will be fascinated by the old headstones to be found at its southern perimeter.

People's Park

They come in their droves to the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire every Sunday — the draw is a farmer’s market that offers an exceptional selection of food for those hungry for brunch, lunch or dinner. There’s everything from paella to falafel wraps and from locally foraged nettle pesto to hand-rolled ice-cream. The view across Dublin Bay to Howth Head makes dining al fresco especially lovely here. Afterwards, a walk on the East Pier and a 99 from Teddy’s are hard to beat.

Dublin’s super parks, both great and small