Overview: Celebrating 350 years, Phoenix Park still reverberates with Victorian sensibilities, pomposity and power, medieval, majestic, and... more »
Overview: Celebrating 350 years, Phoenix Park still reverberates with Victorian sensibilities, pomposity and power, medieval, majestic, and... more » macabre, histories grim and gruesome. In this gentile setting, not even the name is as it seems, the park has not risen from the ashes, the name is derived from Fion Uisce, “clear water.” In Phoenix Park, nothing is as it seems, and all is worth investigating. less «
To get there, you can catch a number of buses from the City Centre and from the central train stations. Phoenix Park is a 20-minute... more » walk from Heuston Station and from the LUAS Red Line stop.
The park has its beauty all year round, so it's always a good time to visit. The walk is easy, and flat, but be prepared to scramble up a couple of wet, muddy hills if the mood takes.
The walk is dog friendly, except for the zoo.
There are some great cafés and watering holes located throughout, so a picnic isn't necessary, though lovely.
As always in Ireland, be prepared for four seasons in one day. less «
The park dates back to 1662, when the Duke of Ormonde fenced off land north of the Liffey and established a Royal Hunting Park for visiting British monarchs. A large herd of the descendents of the Duke of Ormonde's original fallow deer still roam the park.
The very best place to spot them any time of year is at the Papal Cross, the start of this... More walk. It was erected in 1979 for the visit of Pope John Paul II, when more than 1 million people attended an open air mass. Dominating its surroundings, the white cross is 35 metres tall and makes for an excellent sledding spot when snow comes to Ireland.
8am-5pm January, February, November, December
8am-6pm March, April, September, October
8am-9pm May, June, July and AugustLess
The Deerfield Residence, originally built in 1774, is the former residence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland and before that was the Park Bailiff's lodge. It has been the official residence of the United States Ambassador to Ireland since 1927.
Among the prominent Chief Secretaries who have occupied this residence were Sir Arthur Wellesley,... More later to become the Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel, who went on to become Prime Minister of Great Britain and helped create the modern concept of police force, leading officers to be known as “Bobbies” in England, and “Peelers” in Northern Ireland.
Another former resident was Lord Castlereagh. As British Foreign Secretary, he was central to the management of the coalition that defeated Napoléon, and was leader of the British House of Commons. Earlier in his career, he was involved in defeating the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and was instrumental in passing the Irish Act of Union in 1800. His death by suicide was deemed to have been carried out while insane, thus not breaking the law, and deemed a governmental cover-up at the time by the press. This led to widespread hostility, and a rather savage quip by Lord Byron about his grave:
Posterity will ne'er survey
A nobler grave than this:
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
Stop, traveller, and piss.
When the Duke of Marlborough was appointed Viceroy in 1878, Lord Randolph Churchill joined him as private secretary, and his son, the future British Prime Minister and war leader, Sir Winston Churchill grew up here. It is said that young Winston was fascinated by the daily drilling of the 822 mounted cavalry from nearby Marlborough Barracks (now McKee) and spent all day watching the soldiers and imitating their manoeuvres.Less
The Phoenix Monument was erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747. The column is carved in Portland stone. It is in the shape of a Corinthian column with a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes at its pinnacle. It is located in the centre of the Park and forms a focal point of a large roundabout on the beautiful tree-lined Chesterfield... More Avenue.Less
In the 12th century, the lands Phoenix Park now occupies were granted to the Knights Hospitaller who were closely linked to the Knights Templars. The Knights controlled most of Europe's ecclesiastical power, military and finance.
In the 1430s, they built Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower which was found hidden within the walls of a much larger... More and more recent building that was being used by the Papal Nuncio until 1978. At that time, the more recent and larger building was deemed structurally irreparable due to dry rot. But as that was being demolished, Ashtown Castle was discovered. It has now been restored and forms part of the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.
Attractions also include a two and half acre Victorian Kitchen Walled Garden, the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, the Phoenix Café, toilets, car and coach parking, woodland walks, picnic areas and a universal access playground.
Tickets are issued at the Visitor Centre to visit Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturdays only; group or advance bookings are not possible.
Visitor centre is open daily except for Dec. 24-30 and Jan. 1.
Guided Tours: 10.30am to 3.30pm
Free children's workshops on nature awareness, history and heritage and arts and crafts each Sunday between 11am and noon. Ages 6-12
Tel: + 353 1 677 0095Less
Home to the Presidents of Ireland since 1922, Aras an Uachtarain has also slept Queen Victoria and George V. American presidents hosted here include John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, all of Irish descent.
In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to visit the Áras on the... More occasion of her state visit to Ireland. She was welcomed by then President McAleese, inspected a Guard of Honour, signed the visitors book and planted an Irish Oak sapling.
Some historians have claimed that the garden front portico of Áras an Uachtaráin (which can be seen by the public from the main road through Phoenix Park) was used as a model by Irish architect James Hoban who designed the White House.
In 1882, it was also the scene of the “Phoenix Park Murders.” Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Thomas Burke, his Permanent Undersecretary, who were stabbed with surgical knives. Cavendish, married to the niece of British Prime Minister William Gladstone, had only arrived in Ireland that day.
The then Lord Lieutenant, Lord Spencer, described suddenly hearing screams, before witnessing a man running to the Lodge grounds shouting "Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke are killed." Responsibility for the assassinations was claimed by a small hitherto unheard-of Republican organisation called the Irish National Invincibles.
A large number of suspects were arrested and kept in prison through claims that they were connected with other crimes. By playing off one suspect against another, the investigators got several of them to reveal what they knew. Five men were convicted of the murders, and were hung in nearby Kilmainham Gaol, The others, thought to be the leaders, were sentenced to long prison terms.
Áras an Uachtaráin is open for free tours every Saturday, tickets available at the nearby Visitor’s Centre.Less
The park’s Victorian empire ethos is extended with the Victorian Polo Pavilion on the Nine Acres, and the cricket club which is on the opposite side of the main road, Chesterfield Avenue. The Phoenix Park Cricket Club was founded in 1830 by John Parnell, father to Charles Stewart Parnell, known as the “father of the nation.” The oldest cricket... More club in the country, it stages regular fixtures throughout the year.
As a member of Parliament at the time, Charles Stewart Parnell made a speech condemning the Phoenix Park murders. This increased his already huge popularity in both Britain and Ireland. However, the murders ultimately delayed his main goal, the achievement of Home Rule, by decades.
The elder brother of one of the victims, Lord Cavendish, split with Prime Minister Gladstone on the Home Rule bills of 1886 and 1893 and led the breakaway Liberal Unionist Association. In the 1886 general election, the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists swept the board.
In April 1887, the Times published a reproduction of a letter, allegedly bearing Parnell's signature, that excused the Phoenix Park murders. Proof that the letter was a forgery transformed Parnell into a hero in the eyes of English liberals and he received a standing ovation in the House of Commons. However, this proved to be the pinnacle of his career.
The third Irish Home Rule Bill was passed in 1914, 20 years after his death, but it was never effected; Ireland only being granted its freedom in the 1920s.
There are few things as comforting though, as listening to the gentle thwack of a cricket ball on a warm day.Less
The Royal Zoological Society of Dublin was established at a meeting held at the Rotunda Hospital on 10 May 1830 and the Zoological Gardens Dublin was opened the following year.
It is no coincidence that the founders of Dublin Zoo were members of the medical profession. Their interest was in studying the animals while they were alive and getting ... Morehold of them when they were dead. Up until that point, anyone not associated with one of the big medical institutions had to resort to grave-robbing for study, so getting hold of the corpse of a primate without having to rob a grave was great progress.
In 1916, getting in and out of the zoo during the Easter Rising was difficult and meat ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers fed, some of the other animals in the zoo were killed.
Today there are still parts of the zoo that date back to the very beginning and much of a visit to the zoo feels like a tour through Victorian Dublin, albeit with far more modern values.
Daily except Christmas Day & St. Stephen's Day.
Children and visitors under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times and teenagers may be required to show ID.
January, open 9.30 am - 4.30pm
February, open 9.30 am - 5pm
March - September, open 9.30am - 6pm
October, open 9:30am - 5:30pm
November, open 9:30am - 4:00pm
December, open 9:30am - 4:00pm
Children ages 4-15 €11
Children 3 and under: Free
Seniors and students: €12.50.
Group and family price tickets are also available.Less
Wellington Monument is Europe’s tallest obelisk, standing at 62 metres high. Originally, the intention was to make it taller and to build a bronze monument of the Duke of Wellington astride a horse. However, they ran out of money and had to make do as is.
Completed in 1861, the esoteric-looking monument commemorates the heroic feats of... More Dublin-born Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington during the Battle of Waterloo.
As well as the home of dignitaries, and grave downfalls, the Park is also home to the largest Viking graveyard in the world outside of Scandinavia. Located near the site of the Magazine Fort, the site was discovered in the 19th Century when archaeologists unearthed 40 graves which contained swords and decorative Viking jewellery.Less
Magazine Fort, which sits atop the man-made Thomas Hill, was built in 1611 to protect the city. However, at the time the city was an impoverished ruin, prompting the satirist, and author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift to write:
Now's here's a proof of Irish sense
Here Irish wit is seen
When nothing's left that's worth defence
We build a... More Magazine.
During the British occupation, the Fort had been seen as a symbol of the occupation, but by 1939 its purpose was to house the Irish Army's stocks of arms and ammunition. That Christmas, it was the scene of a daring arms raid by the IRA when they made off with 1,084,000 rounds of ammunition, removed in 13 lorries with no casualties or hindrance. Despite how easy it was to carry out the raid, it was easily remedied as well. Within days, the ammunition was rounded up along with the IRA volunteers who stole and stored it.
The Fort also offers stunning views of the river Liffey, the Wicklow and Dublin mountains, and the skyline of Dublin city. From here, it’s a quick 5 minute walk back to the papal cross, and the beginning of the day.Less