Dublin’s Phoenix Park Visitor Centre is located within 1700 acres of one of the oldest and largest urban city parks in the world. The Phoenix Park is actually Europe’s largest enclosed park and within its boundaries you’ll find Dublin Zoo, Ashtown Castle, a police museum, various monuments and Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the Irish president. Read on to find out why you should visit and check out our tips for a fun day out.
The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre caters for all ages with an entertaining audiovisual display and exhibitions detailing the history of the park and its wildlife, from 3500BC right up to the present day. There’s also a special section for children, which encourages young minds to explore the mystery of forest life. Admission is free and opening hours are as follows:
January - March: Daily 10am to 5pm
April - September: Daily 10am to 6pm
October - Daily 10am to 5pm
November & December - Saturday & Sunday 10am to 5pm.
The average lngth of a visit is about 1 hour and the last admission is 45 minutes before closing.
Facilities include toilets, a newly built children’s playground, a restaurant/café and if you’re planning to drive (located 3km to the north west of Dublin city centre), there’s ample parking for coaches and cars.
How to get here…
By public transport, we suggest you take bus routes 37, 38 or 39 from Middle Abbey Street to Ashtown Gate. You enter the Phoenix Park via Ashtown Gate and then walk about 190 metres to a T-junction. Turn left and walk for approximately 10 minutes, taking the right hand path, this path leads to the gates of Ashtown Castle and the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.
You can hire bikes at the main entrance at Parkgate Street, where there’s also a shuttle bus. The shuttle bus does a circular route of the Phoenix Park taking in all the main attractions.
From the Visitor Centre you can explore some of the many attractions situated within the magnificent Phoenix Park itself. Adjoined to the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre is Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house that has been fully renovated in recent years. Áras an Uachtaráin can be visited by guided tour on Saturdays - get your free ticket from the Visitor Centre on the day. Also within the park are gardens, playing fields for football, cricket and polo as well as no end of walking routes.
A must see is of course Dublin Zoo, the third oldest zoo in Europe, which is situated in the Phoenix Park itself. Dublin Zoo dates back to 1830 and is home to over 200 species of wild animals and birds. Children and adults alike love to take a trip on the train through the zoo where there are many playgrounds and picnic areas scattered throughout the enclosure. Take a look at our Dublin Zoo article.
The Phoenix Park is also home to a large herd of wild Fallow deer, which can be seen roaming freely and if you’re visiting in spring you might catch a glimpse of dozens of young fawns. The deer were introduced to the park in the 17th century, originally for hunting and are the reason the park is enclosed by a wall to this day.
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