Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest city park, located in the lively city of Dublin. Not only is it a great place to take a walk but it also hosts a wealth of attractions. In fact, you could easily spend the day here and not see it all. But when you do, you’ll find lots of options within a couple of miles or less – just wear your comfortable shoes and start exploring. Along the way, be sure to keep an eye out for the herd of wild fallow deer.
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Guinness Storehouse (Nearby Hotels)
One of the best ways to start your trip in Ireland is with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse which happens to be within walking distance of Phoenix Park, about 15 minutes from the entrance near Ashling Hotel. One of Dublin’s most iconic attractions, Guinness is synonymous with Ireland. Visitors can view the exhibits that are located across seven floors to learn more about how the drink is made before enjoying the best part, a sample in the Gravity Bar on the top floor. Everyone gets a free pint to drink while taking in the panoramic, bird’s eye view of the city.
Dublin Zoo (Nearby Hotels)
The Dublin Zoo is located inside Phoenix Park and is one of Dublin’s top attractions. It’s also one of the world’s best zoos, home to more than 400 types of animals, many in settings designed to match their natural habitats, set across over about 70 acres. Opened in 1831, it’s one of Europe’s oldest zoos and is known for preserving some of the most endangered animals on the planet. Its conservation projects help take care of creatures like orangutans, great apes, tigers, rhinos and much more. In the African Savanna section, you’ll find an entertaining family of chimpanzees that seem to enjoy putting on a show for visitors. The orangutans share their Orangutan Forest with siamang gibbons, while Sea Lion Cove is home to a colony of California sea lions. There’s also a family farm where visitors can get up close to sheep, pigs, goats, ducks, rabbits and chickens.
Farmleigh House and Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
Farmleigh House and Gardens is also located inside the park. A 78-acre estate in the north-west section, it was purchased for the government and developed to provide accommodation to visiting guests of the nation and dignitaries, as well as for public enjoyment. It’s a quintessential Edwardian period building filled with impressive furnishings and works of art, much of which is on loan from the Guinness family to the State. The lovely grounds have Victorian and Edwardian ornamental features, including sunken and walled gardens, picturesque lakeside walks, a variety of plants and a working farm with a herd of Kerry Black cows. Guided tours are available daily.
Old Jameson Distillery (Nearby Hotels)
Less than a 15-minute walk from the entrance near the Ashling Hotel is the Old Jameson Distillery. Visitors can take a tour to learn about the history of the Jameson family as well as the drink they produced. While the distillery itself no longer makes Jameson whiskey, it does offer an excellent insight on how it’s done. You’ll get a guided tour and a tasting experience that provides a better appreciation for the Jameson story. The distillery also hosts a restaurant that serves lunch daily and a gift shop where exclusive Jameson gifts can be purchased. Visitors can even bottle their own cask strength Jameson Select Reserve.
Kilmainham Gaol (Nearby Hotels)
The Kilmainham Gaol (jail) may not sound like a fun place to visit, but this one provides an interesting look at Irish history about a 20-minute walk from the park’s south entrance. It once held some of Ireland’s most famous political and military leaders, like Eamon de Valera, Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell and the 1916 Rising leaders. You’ll find out what it might have been like to be confined in this bastion of punishment and correction which was open for nearly 130 years from 1796 to 1924. It tells a gruesome part of Irish history through exhibitions and a guided tour, including the execution of the Easter Rising leaders and several Irish nationalist leaders who were imprisoned here over the decades.
St. Patrick's Cathedral (Nearby Hotels)
Magnificent Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is about a 25-minute walk from the park but well-worth making the effort to witness this incredible building that’s been a part of Ireland’s history for over 800 years. A perfect budget-friendly activity, the beautiful cathedral was built in honor of the country’s patron saint in the mid-13th-century and provides a compelling cultural experience as one of the few structures that remain from Dublin’s medieval days. In the 18th-century, Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, served as Dean, and he was buried on site. The cathedral is world-famous for its choir, which still performs daily throughout the school year. Guided and self-guided tours can be taken allowing visitors to hear the fascinating tales of Ireland’s patron saint and other famous historical figures that shaped the course of the country’s history and culture.
Brazen Head (Nearby Hotels)
The Brazen Head is only 15 minutes from the park entrance, or 10 from the cathedral, near the River Liffey. It claims to be the oldest pub in Dublin. While its building dates to the mid-18thcentury, they say pints have been poured here since 1198. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate, but there is no doubt that it has quite the history having served illustrious alumni like Daniel O’Connell, Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet, who planned the Dublin rising of 1803 underneath its low timbers. Emmet reportedly resided here a couple of centuries ago, and some say that even after his execution he occasionally pays a visit. Visitors can not only enjoy a great pint but delicious Guinness stew and live music while surrounded by walls lined with old photos, papers and ads from the past.
Irish Museum of Modern Art (Nearby Hotels)
Housed in a spectacular 17th-century building on beautiful grounds with a formal garden, meadow and medieval burial grounds, the Irish Museum of Modern Art is only about a 10-minute walk from the park. It’s considered to be the leading national institution for the collection and presentation of modern and contemporary art in the country and hosts the National Collection.