The Phoenix Park is one of the largest green capital city parks in Europe. With more than 1700 acres its amenities include a Victorian flower garden space, bandstand and tearooms close to the Park Gate Street Entrance and The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, Ashtown Castle, restored walled garden, accessible children’s playground and café from the Ashtown roundabout.
It’s also home to Aras and Uacharain (built in the 1750s) and residence of the President of Ireland, adjacent to the Residence of the Ambassador to the USA. The former Guinness owned Farmleigh Estate was restored by the state and hosts a herd of rare breed Kerry cows in its grounds.
The Phoenix Park is an important site for biodiversity in Dublin City supporting 50% of the mammal species found in Ireland and about 40% of bird species. I captured this squirrel on camera in one of the Phoenix Park’s broadleaved trees feeding of his foraged nut. More than a third of the park is covered in trees.
There are 351 different plant species to be found in the Park. It has also retained almost all of its old grasslands and woodlands and has rare examples of wetlands. In addition, The Phoenix Park is the location of Dublin Zoo, which interprets aspects of biodiversity and is visited by over 900,000 people each year.
One animal in particular, the fallow deer, was directly responsible for the development of The Phoenix Park in the 1600’s and today there is still a very successful herd in existence.