Tiernan had both Monday and Tuesday off and we spent both those days at Phoenix Park! On our first trip we got really lost. We could have prevented this by looking at a map first :3 Instead we just got really fit by walking around the whole park.
The pictures might not show it, but the place was packed on Bank Holiday Monday. There were cars lining the streets and all of the carparks were choca. There was also a half marathon finishing up. The Rock’n’Roll Dublin Half Marathon 2014 to be precise. After all the walking we probably could have competed. The weather yesterday was so fabulous that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do anything other than lay about smothered in sunscreen and cry about how ‘it’s too hot’.
Phoenix Park is one of the largest inner city parks in Europe. It is 707 hectares and was initially established in 1662 by James Butler. It was original meant to be a Royal Deer Park. There are still about 450 free roaming deer in the park. They aren’t hard to find, I’ll post about them tomorrow.
There is No Walking on the outer footpath along Chesterfield Avenue (the main road through the Park) – it’s a cycle way. There is another pathway amongst the trees that is for strollers. It was a bit challenging being a cyclist on Monday because there were so many people out walking their children on the no-walking path (and not just to get to their cars).
The Papal Cross
The cross was the sight where Pope John Paul II gave mass to over a million people. They packed the fifteen acres on 29th September 1979 to hear him. As Ireland’s population is only around 4 million a significant portion made the pilgrimage. The cross is 116 feet high and made entirely of steel. After the pope died in April 2005 it became a focal point for his memorial in Ireland.
The Phoenix Column
The Corinthian column, topped with a rising Phoenix, was erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747. It’s a beautiful column in the day, but they also light it up at night sometimes!
The official residence of the Presidence of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, is located within the Phoenix Park. Michael D. Higgins is the current president and he couldn’t be a more typical example of an Irishman. He’s so cute. You should Google him.
The American Ambassador’s residence is a very similar looking building, also within the Park. I wonder if Ireland and America ever borrow bowls of sugar from each other?
Park Hours: 24/7
Áras an Uachtaráin: Limited hours on Saturday (check the website)
More Landmarks: Fallow Deer