The Magnificent Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park, Dublin

This park is situated 3 kilometers to the northwestern portion of Dublin City in Ireland. It is an enclosed urban park considered to be the largest in Europe which covers 712 hectares or 1,760 acres of land space and a circumference of 16 kilometers. It is Dublin's playground with much of the ornamental plants, trails, grasslands, oak trees, chestnut trees, lime trees, and so on is accessible to every visitor. Much of it encloses grasslands and avenues lined with trees. This park is the sanctuary of the wild Fallow deer ever since the 1600s. The main entrance to the park is located at Parkgate Street Dublin 7, near Castleknock.

History of Phoenix Park

The first Baron of Castleknock, Hugh Tyrell, gave the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem this huge land mass where the Phoenix Park is currently situated. He granted them this piece of land in the 1100s when the Normans took over Dublin. At Kilmainham, they built an abbey which is now the present location of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. However, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem lost the land to Henry VIII during his reign in 1537 when he ordered for the confiscation of all monastic properties. After eight years, the ownership changed hands and were given back to the King's representative in Ireland. This entire land space was bordered by a wall due to the necessities of the leisure of Lord Osmonde, the viceroy of Charles II during his regime. Lord Osmonde is fond of hunting and this area he established a Royal Hunting Park. The area had wild deer and other varieties of animals and it needed to be closed down so as not to let the animals escape. In 1745, it was reopened to the public by Lord Chesterfield.

Important features of the Park

Some significant establishments that can be found in Phoenix Park are the official residence of the President of Ireland which was built in 1754. Also, in this park is where one can find the Zoological Gardens, the location of one of Dublin's major attractions, Dublin Zoo, which is the home of various animals and birds present in all parts of the world.

During the visit of Pope John Paul II in September 1979, the Papal cross was built. This event is celebrated by over a million Catholics of Ireland. The Phoenix Park also features different monuments such as the Wellington Monument or called by its other name, Wellington Testimonial with a height of 63 meters or 210 feet as a tribute to the victories of Duke Wellington. Another monument is the Phoenix monument built by Lord Chesterfield in 1747. It is a column of Corinthian design with a Phoenix resurrecting from its ashes at the column's pinnacle. One favorite site in the park is the 15th century medieval tower house Ashtown Castle which is the oldest structure there.

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