Video of Phoenix Park, Dublin City, Republic of Ireland
Phoenix Park (Irish: Páirc an Fhionnuisce) is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying
2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 11 km perimeter wall
encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres), one of the largest walled city parks in Europe.
It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the seventeenth
century has been home to a herd of wild Fallow deer. The English name comes from
the Irish fionn uisce meaning "clear water". The Irish Government is presently lobbying
UNESCO to have the park designated as a world heritage site.
After the Normans conquered Dublin and its hinterland in the 12th century, Hugh Tyrell,
1st Baron of Castleknock, granted a large area of land, including what now comprises
the Phoenix Park, to the Knights Hospitaller. They established an abbey at Kilmainham
on the site now occupied by Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The knights lost their lands
in 1537 following the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII of England.
Eighty years later the lands reverted to the ownership of the King's representatives
in Ireland. On the restoration of Charles II of England, his Viceroy in Dublin, the
Duke of Ormonde, established a Royal Hunting Park on the land in 1662. It contained
pheasants and wild deer, making it necessary to enclose the entire area with a wall.
The Park originally included the demesne of Kilmainham Priory south of the River
Liffey, but when the building of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham commenced in 1680,
the Park was reduced to its present size, all of which is now north of the river.
It was opened to the people of Dublin by the Earl of Chesterfield in 1745.
In 1882, it was the location for two murders. The Chief Secretary for Ireland (the
British Cabinet minister with responsibility for Irish affairs), Lord Frederick Cavendish,
and his Undersecretary (chief civil servant), Thomas Henry Burke, were stabbed to
death with surgical knives while walking from Dublin Castle. A small insurgent group
called the Invincibles were responsible.
During The Emergency thousands of tons of turf were transported from the bogs to
Dublin and stored in high mounds along the main road on the park.
The residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, built in 1754, is
located in the park. As the Viceregal Lodge, it was the official residence of the
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland until the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Also located in the park is Dublin Zoo, The Papal Cross, Deerfield Residence, Peoples
Gardens, Magazine Fort, Farmleigh (the state’s guest house).
There are 351 plant species in the park; three of these are rare and protected.