Dublin City is adorned with many famous streets, buildings from all periods of time throughout history from medieval through to Georgian and onto the modern facades you see around you today however also located within the city confines lay some of the most attractive parks and gardens one could find anywhere else.
Step inside anyone of them and immerse yourself in the beauty or uniqueness that each one has to offer, whether it be beautiful rose gardens, stunning rockeries, spectacular waterfalls and water fountains or the many species of wildlife living freely amongst the native flora and fauna. Be amazed at how peaceful and tranquil each one can be even though you are only 2 minutes’ away from the bustling city streets and the whizzing traffic.
10. Iveagh Gardens
These idyllic gardens, designed in 1865, are among the finest and least known of Dublin’s parks and gardens and are often referred to as Dublin’s Secret Gardens and the entrance located to one side of the National Concert Hall would indeed have you think that as you walk through leaving the essence of the bustling city behind and entering a mystical and magical oasis of greenery and fountains.
Inside there is a rustic grotto, a cascade, a yew maze, a rosarium, an archery grounds and woodlands. The Iveagh Gardens are popular with small and unique food and music festivals throughout the summer.
9. War Memorial Gardens
These gardens are one of the most famous memorial gardens in Europe. They are dedicated to the memory of 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the 1914-1918 war. The names of all the soldiers are contained in the granite bookrooms in the Gardens. These gardens are not only a place of remembrance but are also of architectural interest and of great beauty.
Designed by the famous architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), they are one of four Gardens in this country designed by him. Sunken rose gardens, herbaceous borders and extensive tree planting make for an enjoyable visit to the Gardens in any season.
8. Dubhlinn Gardens
Nestled away behind Dublin Castle and secluded amongst the city buildings lay these magnificently designed gardens. They are designed with Celtic Symbolism having snake paving work slitter around the circular gardens.
In Viking and medieval times this area was under water and called Dubh Linn (Black Pool) because it was where the river Liffey and Poddle met, the Poddle now runs underground and the Liffey banks were receded to where it is presently. The Vikings would also have moored their longships here as they had nearby settlements. This is also where Dublin derived its name from so essentially standing there you are in the place where it all started.
7. Dublin Zoo
Although not essentially a park however it is well deserved to be on this list. Established in 1831, this is the third-oldest zoo in the world (after London and Paris), nestled in the midst of the city’s largest playground, the Phoenix Park, about 3km (2M) west of the city centre.
This 12-hectare (30 acre) zoo provides a naturally landscaped habitat for more than 235 species of wild animals and tropical birds. Highlights for youngsters include the Children’s Pets’ Corner. The latest exhibition is Zoorassic World located in the reptile house.
6. Garden of Remembrance
At the northern end of Parnell Square is a small, peaceful park, dedicated to the men and women who have died in pursuit of Irish freedom. The Garden of Remembrance marks the spot where several leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were held overnight before being taken to Kilmainham Gaol, and was also where the Irish Volunteers movement was formed in 1913.
The central water feature is in the form off a sunken crucifix with the mighty Children of Lir statue at one end. Locals would come to this park to reflect upon themselves and to give one’s peace of mind.
5. Fitzwilliam Square
Much smaller than Merrion square, it was one of the last Georgian squares to be laid out in central Dublin. In the 1960’s, more than 20 townhouses were destroyed on Fitzwilliam Street to make way for the headquarters of the Electricity Supply Board, though the park still remains much the same.
4. Merrion Square
This is an elegant Georgian Square with a beautiful public park. The houses around the Square are the finest examples of Georgian architecture in Dublin. There are plaques on the walls of the mansions, which honour the notable occupants such as Daniel O’ Connell, W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde.
Inside the gardens of Merrion Square, which were originally a private garden for the residents of the square, you will find a statue commemorating Oscar Wilde and a collection of old Dublin lamp posts.
3. National Botanical Gardens
Located not too far north of the city, these colourful gardens cover a total area of 19.5 hectares, part of which is the natural floodplain of the River Tolka. The gardens contain a large plant collection which includes approximately 20,000 species and cultivars.
There are four ranges of glasshouses including the recently restored Curvilinear Range. Notable features include herbaceous displays, rose garden, rockery, vegetable garden, arboretum, extensive shrub borders and wall plants. Gardens are accessible for people with disabilities but there are some steep gradients.
2. St. Stephen’s Green
Ireland’s best known Victorian public park. Re-opened by Lord Ardilaun (Arthur Guinness) in 1880 for the citizens of Dublin. These 9 hectares / 22-acre park has been maintained in the original Victorian layout with extensive perimeter tree and shrub planting, spectacular spring and summer Victorian bedding.
The park is adorned with statutes of Irelands politically and literary heroes like Countess Markiewitz, Robert Emmet, James Joyce, WB Yeats and off course Arthur Guinness/Lord Ardilaun. On the Grafton Street entrance is The Fusiliers Arch commemorating those of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought or died in the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, as you walk under look above to see their names etched into the rock work. Spectacular water fountains sprinkle subtly away as you walk through the centre of the park.
1. Phoenix Park
One of the most unique and precious emeralds in Dublin is the Phoenix Park, larger than all the London city-centre parks combined and the biggest urban park in Europe it extends over 1,750 acres with herds of deer roaming freely.
The park is one of the best free things to do in Dublin and should not be missed when you are in town.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries several magnificent mansions, lodges, institutions and memorials were erected in different corners of the park including the Zoological Gardens in 1831, one of the oldest zoos in the world, the Wellington Monument, an obelisk 62 meters tall is the biggest in Europe and is a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, there are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo at the base of this, the Phoenix Monument erected in 1747 located in the centre of the park and close to here is Aras an Uachtarain is the residency of the Irish president.
The most recent monument The Papal Cross was erected for the visit of Pope John Paul II on 29th September 1979. This large white cross permeates the skyline of the park.