The Phoenix is much loved by visitors and all who live in Dublin city. On a sunny evening, it can be near to impossible to find parking, you have to keep your eyes open for cyclists and lots of walkers roam through the beautiful landscape that is in the city of Dublin. How lucky are Dubliners to have this wonderful space!


The Phoenix Park at 707 hectares (1752 acres) is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city.  The Phoenix Park was established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II.  Conceived as a Royal deer park, it originally included the demesne of Kilmainham Priory south of the River Liffey, but with the building of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, which commenced in 1680, the Park was reduced to its present size, all of which is now north of the river.  Shortly after the Park’s acquisition it was enclosed within a stone wall, which was initially poorly constructed.  Subsequent wall repair and new build were necessary as the Park’s size and boundaries were adjusted and realigned.  In 1668, Marcus Trevor, Viscount Dungannon, was appointed Ranger who, with two other keepers, was responsible for the deer, managing the Park’s enclosures and newly formed plantations.

About 30% of the Phoenix Park is covered by trees, which are mainly broadleaf parkland species such as oak, ash, lime, beech, sycamore and horse chestnut.  A more ornamental selection of trees is grown in the various enclosures.  A herd of Fallow Deer has lived in the Park since the 1660's when they were introduced by the Duke of Ormond.  The Phoenix Park is a sanctuary for many mammals and birds and a wide range of wildlife habitats are to be found in the park.  One such area is the Furry Glen, which is managed as a conservation area.

Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland, dates from 1750 and is located in the centre of the park adjacent to the United States Ambassador's residence, which was built in 1774.  Many other historic buildings and monuments are located in the Park.

The Victorian People's Flower Gardens located close to the Parkgate Street entrance, comprise an area of 9 hectares (22 acres) and, were re-opened in 1864.  These gardens were initially established in 1840 as the Promenade Grounds.  They provide an opportunity to display Victorian horticulture at its best.  Ornamental lakes, children's playground, picnic area and Victorian bedding schemes are just some of the attractions.  The opening hours are 8am till dusk.  Closing times vary during the year.

Ashtown Demesne accessed off the Phoenix roundabout on Chesterfield Avenue, has numerous attractions for young and old alike.  Those include Ashtown Castle, a two-and-a-half-acre Victorian Kitchen Walled Garden, Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Phoenix Café toilets, car and coach parking, woodland walks, picnic area and a new universal access playground.  The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre has a historical interpretation and an audio-visual presentation of the Phoenix Park throughout the ages.


West of St. Mary’s Hospital, on the hill of Knockmary, stands a prehistoric burial chamber over 5,500 yrs old.   The tumulus, which covered it, was opened in 1838 and skeletons, pottery and other relics, now in the National Museum were discovered.  A similar sepulchre found in a gravel pit at Chapelizod was re-erected in the Zoological Gardens.

The Wellington Testimonial was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who is reputed to have been born in Dublin.  It was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe at just over 62 meters tall.  There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo - three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription at the base of the obelisk.

The Papal Cross is a simple large white cross that was erected near the edge of the Fifteen Acres for the Papal visit of Pope John Paul II on the 29th September 1979.  On this day, before travelling to Drogheda, Co. Louth, Pope John Paul II delivered an open-air sermon to more than 1.25 million people.

The Papal Cross was designed by the Irish firm of Scott, Tallon Walker Architects and constructed by John Sisk & Sons.  It stands 116 feet high and is made of steel girders.  After several attempts to erect the cross, it was eventually put in place on the 14th September, which is also the feast day of the Exaltation of the Cross.  

When Pope John Paul II died in Rome on the 2nd April 2005, at the age of 84 years, a memorial service was held soon afterwards at this site.  On the 8th April 2005, it hosted many thousands of people who gathered in tribute, leaving flowers and other tokens of remembrance of him.

The Magazine Fort in the south east of the Park marks the location where Phoenix Lodge was built by Sir Edward Fisher in 1611.  In 1734 the house was knocked when the Duke of Dorset directed that a powder magazine be provided for Dublin.  An additional wing was added to the fort in 1801 for troops.

The Phoenix Monument was erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747.  The column was 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 Avenue.

The Victorian People's Flower Gardens comprise of an area of 9 hectares (22 acres), which were laid out circa 1840 and opened in 1864.  They provide an opportunity to display Victorian horticulture at its best.  Ornamental lakes, a children’s playground, picnic areas and Victorian bedding schemes are just some of the attractions.