Insider Tips

Dublin’s Super Parks, Both Great and Small

By Visit Dublin

4th March 2020

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 season — be it with a picnic, a trip to the playground or a slow-paced wander through a rose garden. From Green Flag Awards to exhibitions, there's plenty to inspire your latest park outing this summer.

You're spoiled for choice in Dublin when it comes to exploring our national parks. Six of them have been awarded Green Flag Awards in recent years – St Stephen’s Green, Grangegorman Military Cemetery, the Phoenix Park, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Iveagh Gardens and People's Park.

Meanwhile, the king of Dublin parklands, the Phoenix Park, has been celebrated in the exhibition: Parks: Our Shared Heritage. It traced the centuries-old history of this landmark green space, and that of London’s famed Royal Parks. The free exhibition may have focused on the city’s biggest park, but it offered a timely reminder of just how many wonderful Dublin parks are there, waiting to be explored. Here’s six to put a spring in your step.

View of trees, sky and pond at Furry Glen in Phoenix Park

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 gorilla at Dublin Zoo, drop by the two kids’ playgrounds or sprawl out of the lush grass for an al fresco feast.

Roses in bloom surrounding monuments in the National War Memorial Park

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

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.

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 Annes Park Raheny

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.

The public enjoying a sunny afternoon in the People's Park Dun Laoghaire

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.

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