Do you like lying on the grass or walking submerged in nature? Dublin is a great place to do so! It offers a large number of parks and green areas – all within easy walking distance of the city centre.
I have been living in Dublin for the past seven years and in my free time I walk and cycle around looking for the most peaceful and relaxing areas in the city.
Here are my four favourite ‘secret’ parks in Dublin – ones that most tourists (and many Dubliners) don’t know exist.
- Irish National War Memorial Gardens (above)
- Farmleigh Park
- Irishtown Nature Park
- Herbert Park
1. Irish National War Memorial Gardens
This park has a lovely 2km walk that follows the River Liffey before it enters the city centre and its waters turn brown and murky. For the most part, it is surrounded by trees whose branches stretch toward the clear water. You can walk or cycle until the end, where a gate connects this path to the main road.
If you are looking for a more intimate place, there are two lovely rose gardens on the left hand side of the park, which are even more beautiful during the blooming season in May and June.
2. Farmleigh Park
Not everyone is brave enough to take this 5km walk to the most western point of Phoenix park. Along the way you might stop to take a selfie with the deer or to chase some rabbits jumping in the tall grass.
After this long walk, I usually grab a coffee and enjoy it while sitting on a bench in the Walled Garden. But the part of Farmleigh that I find the most intriguing is the small but beautifully decorated Dutch-Style Sunken Garden, an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type of garden with bushes shaped like peacocks… but you’ll have to hunt around a bit – it’s not easy to find!
3. Irishtown Nature Park
I discovered this park by accident, while trying to find a cycling path toward Poolbeg. It starts at Sandymount Beach and follows the coastline toward Dublin Port. On a clear day it offers beautiful views of the south side of Dublin Bay, all the way to Dalkey and a sneak peak of the Wicklow mountains.
If you wish to take a closer look at Howth and the north side of Dublin Bay, you can continue along a concrete road towards Poolbeg, where a big red lighthouse sits at the end of a 2km long pier… a walk that it is well worth taking!
4. Herbert Park
Situated on the southside of Dublin, this small but cute city park is a favourite among sports lovers. Especially after work and during the weekends when many people come here to run, play tennis or football and attend outdoor fitness classes.My favourite spot is a small artificial lake that hosts a large variety of migratory birds. The area gets very busy and noisy when the little chicks come out of their nests and start swimming around and exploring, always under the vigilant eyes of their parents.
Emanuela (Administrator, Central School of English)
Simon is the Director of Studies at the Central School of English in Dublin