St Anne’s Park
Dublin’s second largest park, St Anne’s, can be found on the northern side of the city, between the leafy suburbs of Raheny and Clontarf. Inherited by the famous Guinness family in 1868, it was sold to local authorities in the early part of the 20th century, and has since become a very popular spot for sports and other recreational activities. There are 35 playing pitches, 18 hard-surfaced tennis courts and a golf course all open for use by the public. There is also a very impressive walled garden within the park which can be visited free of charge. A good place to see some traditional Gaelic games.
The stone walls of this enormous urban park enclose 707 hectares of land, making it one of the largest parks in Europe. As you take a stroll through the lush greenery, there is a good chance you will see wild deer roaming freely across the vast open fields. The park also contains Dublin Zoo, the largest zoo in the country, and an extensive visitor centre where you can learn about the history of the park while enjoying a delicious lunch out in the open air.
St Stephen’s Green
Situated in the very heart of Dublin’s thriving city centre, this historic park provides an avenue for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city beyond. Referenced numerous times by the internationally revered Irish writer James Joyce, the park is popular with joggers, dog walkers and local business people who stop by during their lunch break. St Stephen’s Green also features 15 statues and memorials to various historical figures and events, including a bronze bust of the Irish revolutionary heroine Countess Markievicz, the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, and a large commemorative arch dedicated to those who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899-1902).
First opened in 1975, this suburban park has gone on to become a popular performance venue for Irish and international musicians. As well as outdoor concerts, the park features a host of playing fields and a nine hole golf course. Marlay House, which the park was built around, is a splendid Georgian manor which has since entered public ownership and can consequently now be toured as part of a group. A small number of high quality craft workshops operate in the vicinity of the manor, offering services such as furniture restoration and glass cutting.
These splendid Victorian gardens can be found right next to the National Concert Hall of Ireland, and have been a staple of city life for over a century. Not as crowded as St Stephen’s Green, the park boasts a waterfall and a procession of beautiful flowers and trees that provide both shade and beauty. A great spot for a picnic, or just for a stroll, Iveagh Gardens may be the most under appreciated park in the city. Regular festivals and public events are also hosted here on a regular basis, especially during the summer months.