A Dublin park for wildlife and for people

Phoenix Park the book

A history

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"Author Brendan Nolan provides a fascinating read."
Irish Independent.

"Brendan Nolan's comprehensive history and guidebook of Phoenix Park is a masterpiece." Community Voice.



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Train to run along Chesterfield Avenue

A tourist train has been introduced to open the park to more visitors.

Minister of State Simon Harris T.D launched the Phoenix Park Tourist Train, on August 16, 2014.

The train, will operate seven days a week at a charge of eight euro for adults, four for children. A 20 euro family ticket is available.

Passengers can hop-on/hop off trip on the route from Dublin Zoo, to Farmleigh and back to the Zoo by way of the Visitor centre, the three most visited places in Phoenix Park.

A live commentary is offerred on the journey on the history, wildlife and ecology of the park.

The service is operated by the coach and bus company Dualway,

Write a poem on the park

Write a poem on the park and have it read at Farmleigh in April at the launch of the latest One City One Book promotion for Dublin.

The Phoenix Park poetry competition is open to those aged less than 16 years of age.

Compose an original poem inspired by the landscape or wildlife of Phoenix Park.

Submit it before March 7, 2014

email: phoenixparkevents@gmail.com

Post: The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre Dublin 8

The 2014 One City One Book will be the newly published: If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth which will be published in April.

Dublin city council encourages people to read a book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year.


Barbeque areas designated on trial

Bowing to a demand by park users for places in which to have a quiet barbecue the OPW has designated two areas of the park on a trial basis where barbeques make take place subject to some conditions.

One space is at the existing picnic area on Furze Road between Oldtown Wood and the Ordnance Survey in the western end of the park, where picnic tables are provided.

The other is at the top of the Furry Glen at the picnic area beside the circular Knockmaroon Centre nearby the public carpark.

The park by-laws already state that: No person shall light fires in the Park.

Nonetheless, while the OPW points out that barbeques are potentially unsafe, small scale barbeques will be permitted on a trial basis in the designated areas provided they are of the variety of barbeques in disposable trays with steel bins provided, said the OPW.

In recent years, the park has become a meeting place for many families newly arrived in Ireland who tend to eat and picnic together with extended families and friends at weekends.


Concert damage changes race paddock

motor racing

Churned up grassland on the Whitefields area of Phoenix Park following the Swedish House Mafia and others' concerts in July forced a change of location for the assembly area for Phoenix Park races this year.
The paddock area was instead located on the hard standing car park of nearby Farmleigh.
Contestants assembled on the leafy drive at Farmleigh and motored on down to the race circuit.
After a two-year break from racing in the park; Motorsport Ireland opted to use the traditional Oldtown Circuit with its three main corners - Dublin corner, Furry Glen corner and Mountjoy corner providing the corners of the triangular course.
A chicane was installed on Furry Glen Road for the drivers to negotiate.
More than a few cars dropped out around the Furry Glen corner with its acute angle providing a test for man metal and machine alike.
Most crowds gathered at Dublin corner, it being the first turn off the straight when jostling could lead to cars bumping off one another with consequent thrills for onlookers.
The permanent temporary roundabout at Mountjoy corner used to be removed for the races; but now there is a light feature in the middle of the roundabout so it stayed where it was for this year.
Instead, large precast concrete barriers were used to funnel racers through the turn, avoiding the gas street lights on the roundabout.
At least one contesting driver had to drop out of the race when his rear wheel punctured following friction against the concrete after meeting the new barrier too optimistically.
It was a free event and Dubliners and visitors alike turned to in their thousands to cheer the racing drivers on their way.
Future runnings will require sponsorship which at the moment is proving difficult to source; but it was ever thus with motor racing in Phoenix Park.


80,000 people attended Bloom in the park

Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival organised by Bord Bia took over Ashtown Demesne for five days at the beginning of June, 2012.
Every spare centimetre of the demesne was included in the staging of Bloom 2012.
It was the sixth year for the festival to take place in Phoenix Park.
The festival included 27 show-gardens,100 Irish food and drink producers, 40 nurseries and 160 retailers, all on a 70 acre site.
Organisers made provision for an estimated 80,000 visitors to the show.
Car parking was provided and a shuttle bus service brought people from the city to the event and back, for free.
Judging of the show gardens, nurseries and floral displays was conducted over a two-day period by a panel of independent expert judges from Ireland and Britain.
A total of 81 medals were awarded including 24 Gold, 14 Silver Gilt, 22 Silver, 17 Bronze and 4 Special Commendations.
Bloom has always been popular with children, and this year Budding Bloomers was a mixture of features to keep children entertained and active, from toddlers to fifth class pupils.
Children and teenagers from the Kildare towns of Newbridge, KIldare and Naas presented a special performance of their show Dare to Dream in aid of Make a Wish Ireland on a wooden platform stretched out over a water feature of a garden dedicated to the story of Fionn McCumhail.




Phoenix Park 350th anniversary year starts with a cake and a sword

arrival of Ormonde

Brian Hayes TD the minister responsible for Phoenix Park cut a cake with a ceremonial sword and started a five kilometre race on January 1, 2012 in celebration of the 350th year of the park.
Commemorative events will be announced through the year by the Office of Public Works which has responsibility for management of the park.
James Butler, the Duke of Ormonde, was re-appointed Lord Lieutenant or Viceroy of Ireland in 1661 by Charles II on his restoration to the throne.
Ormonde then began assembly of the lands that lie enclosed behind the wall of the present-day park.
He introduced deer, partridge and pheasant into the deer park, of which the present-day deer herd are descendents.



sunset Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan

A conservation management plan for Phoenix Park in the next 25 years has been published and is online to see.
A previous plan operated for 25 years until now.
The new plan will see the park well into the twenty first century.
The plan gives a snapshot of the park and its long history.

The Visitor Centre complex, including playground and walled garden now attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually. Some 250 major events and 2,000 sporting events are held there annually.



book coverThis comprehensive guide to Phoenix Park covers its origins and history, buildings and monuments, wildlife, literary associations, military use, sports and outlines self-guided walks for the leisurely stroller to undertake.

Provided are histories and descriptions of park landmarks, including Dublin Zoo, Áras an Uachtaráin, Ashtown Castle, Farmleigh, the American Ambassador’s Residence, Garda Headquarters, and more.

It touches on such historical events as the political murders of 1882, the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979, the national soccer team’s homecomings, and the Nurse Gargan murder.

This book is of interest to visitors, and Dubliners alike, and to anyone interested in this most historic and scenic park.

It would make a welcome addition to corporate and conference goodybags as well as being an ideal introduction to the area for new arrivals.

In the shops now

ISBN 1-904148-78-6
or order online here



Brendan Nolan has reported on Phoenix Park as a freelance journalist for several decades and was a professional observer at many of the events of the late 20th century related herein.

He was born in Chapelizod in a house beside the churchyard of Le Fanu and counted Phoenix Park as his personal rambling ground through his growing years and beyond.

Can you help identify people in this 100-year-old photograph?
see here for detail


shop window

book jacket

click to order your signed copy for home delivery copy

"This is an enthusiast's book."
RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny

"It's a fabulous book. It should be in all schools."
West Dublin Access Radio

josh winter



Nolan sets well-known events in the Park's history beside accounts of its buildings and institutions, as well as obscure subjects like park rangers' uniform regulations.
Irish Times



home; buildings; crimes; deer flora & fauna history;introduction; links; literary; mass events; monuments; peacekeepers; sport;walks; whatson; zoo

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