Phoenix Park in Dublin is one of the city’s best-loved free amenities – and it is over 350 years old. The English name comes from the Irish fionn uisce meaning "clear water”. The Park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city.
The park started life as a royal deer park for King Charles II in 1662. Fallow deer herds have been kept in the park since its creation right down to the present day. There are many wonderful attractions found in the park. Here are some of the most know attractions in the park;
Áras an Uachtaráin
The residence of the President of Ireland, built in 1754. As the Viceregal Lodge, it was the official residence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland until the Irish Free State in 1922.
The Deerfield Residence (formerly the Chief Secretary's Lodge) is the official residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland and was previously the Embassy of the United States of America in Ireland.
The Zoo is located in Phoenix Park. It is the largest zoo in Ireland, and one of Dublin's most popular attractions. Opened in 1831, the zoo describes its role as conservation, study, and education.
The Papal Cross
The cross was erected at the edge of Fifteen Acres for the visit of Pope John Paul II on 29 September 1979. Over one million people attended an open-air mass in the park at the time.
The Wellington Monument
This Monument is a 62 metres (203 ft) tall obelisk commemorating the victories of the Duke of Wellington. It is the largest obelisk in Europe and would have been even higher if the publicly subscribed funding had not run out.
The Magazine Fort
The Fort is in the south east of the park and marks the location where Phoenix Lodge was built by Sir Edward Fisher in 1611.
The gardens, located close to the Parkgate Street entrance, comprise an area of 9 hectares (22 acres). The opening hours are 8.00am till dusk. Closing times vary during the year.
The Victorian Tea Rooms
These Tea Rooms serve teas and lunches with an outdoor picnic area. Situated between the Band Hollow and Dublin Zoo.
The oldest building in the park is Ashtown Castle, a restored medieval tower house dating from the 15th century. Restoration began in 1989 and it is located beside the visitor centre which houses interpretive displays on the 5,500 years of park and area history.