Pubs, craft beer, free museums, music and nightlife, heritage sites and cultural attractions, friendly locals — Dublin has everything a modern traveller could ever dream of. Just run a quick search on Google and you’ll see a crowded city teeming with vibrant restaurants, cafes, pubs, shopping centres, and other urban establishments. One image shows an aerial shot of River Liffey, surrounded by an abundance of commercial areas that seemingly dominate the bustling Irish capital.
At first glance, you can barely see a patch of green in Dublin. You might think that there’s no place in the city where you can have a breather from all these exhilarating activities — no parks with lush greenery and flowerbeds, no trace of wildlife, nothing.
And that’s where we get it all wrong: Dublin is home to a wide array of beautiful parks, squares, and gardens should you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. In fact, the capital is home to the largest urban park in Europe.
1. Phoenix Park
At 1,750 acres, Phoenix park is recognised as Europe’s largest urban park. There’s plenty to see and do in its expansive fields. Here, you can find monuments and historic sites like the Papal Cross, the Wellington Monument and Ashtown Castle. It is also home to elegant 18-century residences, including the official home of the President of Ireland and the US ambassador.
If you’re an animal lover, you’d love to go deer watching in Phoenix Park and spot a herd of Fallow deer. The park is also home to Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest in the world.
Make the most out of the park’s lush greenery, flower garden, lakes, flourishing wildlife and other attractions by booking a hotel in Dublin that’s only a stone’s throw away. It’s a great place for jogging, picnics, and relaxing with family and friends.
Location: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
2. St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green isn’t the most peaceful park in Dublin (think about the clangs of the trams nearby) but it does provide an oasis of calm in the middle of the city. The Victorian park in the heart of Dublin boasts its tree-lined paths and vividly-coloured flower beds. It also has a tranquil lake that’s home to swans, mallard ducks, moorhens, and a wide array of bird species.
You can also find several landmarks and attractions, like the James Joyce Memorial Sculpture, Famine Monument, the bust of Constance Markievicz, and the slightly hidden Yeats memorial garden.
Location: Grafton St, Dublin 2
3. National Botanic Gardens
Whether you’re a horticulturist yourself or you simply love nature, a short visit to the 19.5-hectare National Botanic Gardens will surely make your eyes sparkle. The quaint, curvilinear greenhouses boast 15,000 species of plants, which range from common plants to exotic and endangered ones.
To learn more about plants and the parkland per se, you can join a guided tour that runs twice daily. You’ll be fascinated with the latest in botanical technology, which includes a series of computer-controlled climates mimicking environments from various parts of the world. Other highlights include the radiant carpet beds and the sensory garden. You can also visit the en fields and shady spots for a picnic.
Location: Glasnevin, Dublin 9
4. Iveagh Gardens
Looking for the most tranquil park in the city? Let Iveagh Gardens provide you with some zen. It’s simply next to the busier St. Stephen’s Green, but it has a tucked-away entrance and lower foot traffic. That means the park never gets too crowded.
While Iveagh Gardens is small, humble, and may not have the elegance of the other city parks, it acts as a sanctuary to folks who are seeking rest from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The garden includes a small maze, rustic grotto, rose garden, a fountain, and a gushing waterfall made of stones from Ireland’s 32 counties.
Location: Clonmel Street, Dublin 2
5. Merrion Square Park
Aside from the distinctive Georgian houses with colourful doors and ornate peacock fanlights, there’s something else worth seeing in the Georgian Quarter: Merrion Square. Go past the statue of Oscar Wilde lounging on a boulder, and you’ll view the well-kept lawns and flower beds.
Need to get your art fix? Merrion Square’s west side is bordered by the National Gallery of Ireland. Local artists also create a makeshift gallery around the square by hanging their paintings on the park’s fences on Sundays.
Location: 1 Merrion Square E, Dublin 2
Plus 4 other must-visit parks in Dublin’s suburbs
- Herbert Park – A tranquil park known for its cherry blossoms, ponds, and flower beds
Location: Ballsbridge, South Dublin
- St. Anne’s Park – a suburb park with a classical Chinese garden, Herculanean Temple and clock tower, and a garden with lots of medicinal herbs.
Location: Raheny, North Dublin
- Irish National War Memorial Gardens – a beautifully landscaped garden, paying homage to the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died during WWI. The names of the fallen heroes are inscribed in the two huge granite book rooms that stand at one end.
Location: Island Bridge, Ushers, Dublin
- Killiney Hill Park – a wild park set within craggy woodland and fields, which is perfect for seasoned walkers and hikers. The top is worth the climb, as it will give you picturesque views of the Irish Sea, Dublin and Wicklow.
Location: Scalpwilliam, Dublin
Escape the hustle and bustle of Dublin by unwinding in one of these parks. Which one is your favorite? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel and lifestyle writer. Aside from taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Ashling Hotel Dublin.