One of the best things about Dublin is that you’re never too far away from a peaceful, beautifully manicured park to have a peaceful stroll, crash out on the lawn or enjoy the history and the surroundings.
Although you’re in the centre of a capital city there are plenty of parks and green spaces to find serenity in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Not only are the parks beautiful but they’re also historic. As with almost every corner of the city there is a layer of history where ever you look.
Here are just five of the green historical sanctuaries around the city –
Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Merrion Square, which refers to the houses surrounding as well as the park, is a Georgina square which was laid in 1762 and was complete by the 19th century.
On the west side of the square you find Leinster House (the seat of the Irish Government), the Natural History Museum (also known as “The Dead Zoo” by locals) and the National Gallery.
Although most of the houses around the square are now used for office accommodation they have a rich history. W.B. Yeats lived at number 82 and Daniel O’Connell at number 58.
The park contains a statue of Oscar Wilde as he lived at number one Merrion Square from 1855 to 1876.
The Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Street, Dublin 1.
Right at the top of O’Connell Street on the north side of the River Liffey is the Garden of Remembrance. This garden is dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”.
The gardens commemorate those who lost their lives in the various uprising throughout Ireland’s history including the 1803 rebellion of Robert Emmet, the 1848 rebellion of Young Ireland, the 1867 rising of the Fenian Brotherhood, the 1916 Easter Rising of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army and the 1919-21 Irish War of Independence of the "Old" IRA.
Dáithí Hanly designed the garden’s in the shape of a sunken crucifix. The focal point of the garden a statue of the Children of Lir, to symbolize rebirth and resurrection was added in 1977.
Iveagh Gardens, Clonmel Street, off Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
Many Dublin locals don’t even know about this park. It’s quieter than most Dublin parks and is being used more and more for events such as the Taste of Dublin (an annual restaurant and food festival) and an annual comedy festival.
It was originally a private park which was laid out in 1863 by Benjamin Guinness. It was originally part of Iveagh House, which is on St. Stephen’s Green. The garden was for the pleasure of the Earl of Clonmell, known as “Copper-faced Jack”.
In the 19th century the gardens were opened to the public but were called the Coburg Gardens after the royal family, Saxe-Coburg. They soon fell into disarray and were restored by Benjamin Guinness.
In 1908 his son, the first Earl of Iveagh, gave the gardens to the new University College of Dublin, which was chartered in 1908.
Apart from its rich history the garden is full of secret spots with old trees, a sunken archery range, fountains and the remnants of ancient artwork. It’s the perfect place to hide from the city.
Dublin Castle gardens, off Dame Street, Dublin 2
These gardens are a godsend on a warm day in the city and beautiful to boot. The flat lawn lies inside a low circular walled are which is repeatedly bisected by narrow black swirls. Also in the garden are garden ornaments made of semiprecious stones. There’s also a pond which sits beside a walk of colored mosaics.
The gardens are nestled in below the walls of Dublin Castle and they are also very close to Christchurch Cathedral, Trinity College and the commercial area of Grafton Street.
Herbert Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Herbert Park is a most romantic and old fashioned park. The band stand and the pond in the backdrop both day back from the Irish International Exhibition of 1907, or World Fair.
The land which was used for the park was given to Dublin city by the Earl of Pembroke whose family name was Herbert.
The park is 32 acres in size and is usually full of suit wearing workers around lunch hour. Also next the park, on the south side is the River Dodder.