10 Best Dublin Parks. The Best Ticket for Great outdoors

Dublin Parks

Dublin parks are an attraction for residents and visitors: memorials, museums, cultural and heritage artifacts, historical sites, landscape planting , fountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, ponds, woodland and wildlife. The biggest urban park in Europe is also in Dublin! Dublin parks are green oasis and play a vital role in capital’s life.    

Dublin Parks are city’s lungs

Dublin is blessed with numerous parks of notable beauty.  Keep reading on to find out top Dublin parks.

Study after study proves that greening our urban environment is vital. It leads  to less stress, less crime, better health and happier life.
While more than half the world’s people now live in urban areas, worryingly, the world’s urban spaces are becoming less green. So what has to be done? It’s easy solution: plant more trees and build more parks, don’t reduce the green space by doing more construction and building.
Dubliner’s are lucky. They have so many green spaces, and the biggest urban park in Europe is also located in Dublin! Phoenix Park is within easy access from each Dublin spot.

Dublin Parks are everywhere: in the north, in the south and in the heart of Dublin city! Parks in Dublin provides additional space for kids and all families.

Benefits of Parks and open spaces

Social Benefits
•Learning and teaching
•Rest, relaxation, mental well
Improvement of physical health
•The opportunity meet other individuals
Environmental benefits: improves air quality, reduces toxins, protects wildlife and plant communities and increases biodiversity.
Economical benefits: improves working environment, provides an attraction for tourism, increases value of the area/town/country
Recommended reading: 10 Best Dublin Playgrounds


Here is a list of  the best 10 Dublin Parks


1. National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin is a feast for the eyes.  It is home to over 15,000 species of plants and cultivars from all over the world.  The well-manicured gardens boast of many glasshouses, the most notable of as the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House, both exuding exquisite appeal.  Aside from the glass houses, this premier institution is also the location of the National Herbarium. It is designed to promote the study, exploration, awareness and conservation of the botanical treasures, including the 300 endangered plant species found in Dublin. There are plenty to do in the Gardens.  Visitors can take in the beauty of its rose and rock gardens, alpine yard, arboretum and herbaceous borders. The Gardens have some steep areas, but is generally accessible to everyone including people with disabilities.  The admission to the Gardens is free but charges a minimal amount for vehicle parking. It is located just 3 kilometers away from the Dublin city center.  

2. St. Stephen’s Green Park

A hidden urban oasis in the bustling center of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green Park was originally designed by William Sheppard.  It covers an area of 22 acres or 89,000 square meters, making it the largest of Dublin’s main squares. The land had a much larger area and was utilized for grazing until 1663, when the Dublin corporation decided to gain additional revenue by selling the land’s perimeters.  A wall was put up to enclose the area, of what is now the current location of the park.  It was not before long that Georgian style buildings replaced the houses on the park’s borders.  By the end of the 18th century, The Green, as it is commonly called, became a popular destination for the affluent families of the city. Not much has survived from the era, also the modern-day landscape includes Georgian style replica, a lot of the buildings are contemporary. There have been three major renovations and changes with the park’s design and accessibility.  The first one was in 1670 when two rows of lime trees serve as its enclosure.  During that time, only the owners of the plots in its borders have access to the park. The Dublin surveyor Arthur Neville made some changes in the park’s design in 1815 by adding iron fences and winding pathways.  The park during this time was still not accessible to the public. It was only until the 1860s that other residents of Dublin started to enjoy the privilege of enjoying this well-kept gem when the then city engineer George W. Hennans redesigned in to make it the public park it is today.  Four gates were added, now being accessed by people going to the bordering streets of St. Stephen’s Green North, South, West and East.  

3. Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park holds the distinction as the largest among the many urban parks in Europe.  It is also the location for many homes of aristocrats and diplomats including the official residence of the President of Ireland and the ambassador of the United States. The Park holds quarters for the Dublin Zoo, listed as the fourth oldest in the world with more than 700 tropical birds and animals.  It comprises of many walking trails and cycling routes, as well as various sports fields.  There is a great chance for fallow deer sighting since the park has been the habitats of the herds since the 17th century. Phoenix Park is open all year round.  

4. Killiney Hill Park

Killiney Park originated from the love of Prince Albert Victor of Wales to his beloved Victoria.  He opened it to the public in 1887 and was also called Victoria Hill. The small public park offers the view of the Dalkey and Killiney villages, as well as the magnificent views of its surrounding areas such as the Irish Sea and the vast mountains of Wales in the east and southeast, the Wicklow Mountains and Bray Head in the south and of Dublin in the northeast.  This makes it the preferred spot of hikers and walking enthusiasts.

Killiney Hill and Dalkey Hill form part of Killiney Hill Park, a small public park overlooking both Dalkey and Killiney villages.


5. St. Annes Park

The beauty of the 240-acre St. Anne’s park can be found in the center of Dublin’s north-side suburbs Raheny and Clontarf. The park is the second largest among the parks managed by the city council of Dublin.  Some of the park’s features are its renowned follies and trees, its rose garden and the Nanekin river that bisects it.  There are now modern amenities that can be seen in the park, such as cafes, soccer fields and tennis and golf lawns. It was Sir Arthur Edward Guinness, or Lord Ardilaun, who was responsible for the development of the area; he was the one who spearheaded the planting of various trees like evergreens, oaks and pines along the boundaries and main avenues of the estate.  The Lady Olive Ardilaun contributed to the cultivation of the gardens by putting her own touch to it, bringing in hints of French chateau gardens and the influences of the Victorian era.  

6. Iveagh Parks & Gardens

Declared as a National historic Property, Iveagh Parks and Gardens is among the finest in Dublin City, but is also one of the least known.  This is perhaps because it is tucked among buildings, making the park less noticeable from the outside. Ninian Niven designed the park in 1865, with influences of the French and English landscapes.  It displays features of 19th century architecture in its rustic grotto, cascades and sunken lawns.  There is a dense wilderness and woodlands in Iveagh Park.  Also found in its premises are archery grounds, rooteries, rockeries, a rosarium and an American garden. Efforts on the conservation of the park, including the restoration of its features and pre-1860s varieties of roses, started in 1995.  

7. Farmleigh House

Located in the northwest corner of Phoenix Park is the 32-hectare Farmleigh House.  The main house displays a Georgian-Victorian style of architecture.  The expanse of the its grounds is beautified by a number of ornamental features also from the Victorian and Edwardian era; there are walled and sunken gardens, and lakeside pathways displaying plants of different kinds.    The horticulture attracts many birds and insects and it is not uncommon to see a herd of Kerry Black crows. The Farmleigh House is the preferred venue for many meetings of national and international importance and offers accommodation to visiting local and foreign dignitaries. It is open to the public via scheduled public tours and during community and cultural events that are often held in the place.  

8. Ardgillan Park

Ardgillan Park offers as panoramic view of the Dublin coastline including the Rockabill Lighthouse, Shenick and Lambay islands, the Colt Church, the highest Cooley mountain Sliabh Foy and the Mourne mountains. The public park comprises of 200 acres, with rose garden, a walled herb garden, a Victorian glass house and an ice house. There are also tea houses in the park. Ardgillan Park serves as the location for the country house called Ardgillan castle.  The two-storied castle has been recently restored and opened to the public. It is owned by the Fingal City Council. Adding to the allure of the Ardgillan park is the famed story of the ghost of a lady haunting the stairs.  It is believed that it is the ghost of Lord Langford’s wife, who goes to the castle in search of his husband.  

9. Merrion Square

Merrion Square is one of the few surviving squares in the city.  The enclosed central garden serves as a public park while Georgian redbrick townhouses line three sides of the square. Early blueprints for the park shows a plan of lining the perimeter with trees, but was later enclosed by railings.  Very prominent in the park’s layout is the influence of a Jardin Anglaise style with informal tree clamps, sunken paths and contoured grass areas. In the 19th century, the Earl of Kildare was among the first to build his residence in this southside area, which at that time was highly undeveloped. He was responsible for the construction of the Leinster House, Dublin’s largest state home.  His move inspired many wealthy and prominent people including bishops and aristocrats to sell their northside homes and migrate to this area. Perhaps it was the place was the inspiration for the literary works of the famous novelist and satirist Oscar Wilde, who once lived in the square.  

10. Marlay Park

The 300-acre Marley Park can be found in the administrative area of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in Rathfarnham, Dublin.  It is situated ten kilometers away from the city center.  Marlay Park was developed as a regional park by the Dublin County Council in 1972.  Its administration is now being done by the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.  It consists of woodlands, walks and ponds. Now you know all the top Dublin Parks. Click here for the list of National Parks in Ireland.