Dublin’s many beautiful parks and open spaces will prove to be more important than even in coming weeks as the Coronavirus restrictions close more and more indoor venues, attractions and small businesses such as bars and cafes. The Liberties has benefitted enormously from investment in its parks and spaces in recent years. Here’s a flavour of where to head to for some fresh air and enjoyable social distancing.
This beautiful formal park, next to St Patrick's Cathedral, is considered by tradition to be located at the site where St Patrick baptised the first Irish Christians, using water from the River Poddle, which now runs underground. Developed by Lord Iveagh under the St Patrick's Park Act 1897, the park was completed in 1904 to a design by Alfred Dudgeon. It later came into the ownership of Dublin Corporation (now Dublin City Council). With the stunning backdrop of the Cathedral, the park includes formal planted beds set around a central fountain, sculpture, the famous Dublin Writer's Literary Parade and a small cafe.
Opened in 2018, Weaver Park is one of two new community parks being developed in the area. The award-winning park includes a skate bowl and integrated skateboard features, a playground modelled on the distinctive gable houses once common to the area, a central lawn and beautiful planted areas.
This small park, which has recently been restyled, forms a beautiful setting to one of Dublin's oldest buildings, the medieval church of St Audoen. The park includes a sunny terrace, a series of sensory play pieces to amuse young and old alike, and a number of archaeological features uncovered during recent development works. The park also features the most impressive surviving section of Dublin's medieval city walls, including the atmospheric St Audoen's Gate. At the west end of the park is a memorial to children who lost their lives in the events of Easter 1916.
The Peace Park on Christchurch Place was originally laid out in 1988 to mark Dublin's Millennium. The park was recently restyled to create a beautiful respite of calm along the busy Dubline tourist trail through the city. At its centre lies a simple raised lawn growing in soil from the Fields of Flanders, as a touching marker to the dead of World War I. The sculpture at the rear of the park represents the Tree of Life. The ruins of the Church of St Nicholas Within sit alongside.
The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It was originally formed as a royal hunting Park in the 1660s and opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. The Park is also home to the Zoological Gardens, Áras an Uachtaráin, and Victorian flower gardens. The Phoenix Park is about 20 minutes walk from The Liberties, and while you venture on to the north side of the River Liffey, you're still in the postcode of Dublin 8. There are many walks and cycle trails and varied landscapes available to enjoy.
All parks are open daily, although playgrounds are closed for the foreseeable future. Please exercise due care in public and observe HSE Guidance to avoid the spread of novel Coronavirus.