Phoenix Park is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying 2-4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 11 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres), one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the seventeenth century has been home to a herd of wild Fallow deer. The English name comes from the Irish fionn uisce meaning "clear water".
The Park is split between three civil parishes: Castleknock to the north-west, Chapelizod to the south and St James' to the north. The last named is mainly centred south of the River Liffey around St James' parish church.
Áras an Uachtaráin
The residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, built in 1754, is located in the park. As the Viceregal Lodge, it was the official residence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland until the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Dublin Zoo is one of Dublin's main attractions. It houses more than 700 animals and tropical birds from around the world and was founded in 1830 and opened to the public on 1 September 1831, with animals from the London Society, making it the third oldest zoo in the world. Within a year the zoo housed 123 species.
Phoenix Park Visitor Centre and Ashtown Castle
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.
The 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 display Victorian horticulture, including ornamental lakes, children's playground, picnic area and bedding schemes. A statue is in the gardens dedicated to executed Easter Rising leader Seán Heuston. There is a plaque in honour of the Irish sculptor Jerome Connor on Infirmary Road, overlooking the Garden's which he frequently visited. The opening hours are 8am till dusk. Closing times vary during the year.
The Magazine Fort in the south east of the Park marks the location where Phoenix Lodge was built by Sir Edward Fisher in 1611.
Other Places of Interest:
- In the south-western corner of the park is an area known as the Furry Glen which has a series of short walks centred around a small lake with birds, plants and wildlife.
- The park also contains several sports grounds for football, hurling, soccer, cricket and polo.