Phoenix Park (Páirc an Fhionn-Uisce in Irish) is situated 2 miles (3km) north west of Dublin city center and is one of the largest urban parks in the world. With over 1700 acres it is bigger than Hyde Park in London and also bigger than Central Park in New York.
Open to the public since 1745 it is run by the Office of Public Works which is heavily committed to the replanting of trees.
The park was originally established as hunting grounds for King Charles II and in order to keep the deer on the grounds whole area was enclosed by a high wall. Today you can still find many animals peacefully living here as well as a botanic garden, a lake, a waterfall, several sports grounds and miles of grassland.
In the summer it can get crowded here with people walking, running, jogging, cycling and roller skating. Within the park you can find numerous other attractions; one of the most popular is Dublin Zoo.
Opened in 1830, Dublin Zoo is one of the oldest in Europe and it offers a great place for families to spend their weekend so it tends to get very busy.
Another popular attractions is the residence of the Irish President (Aras an Uachtaráin) which is open to the public on weekends. The Garda Síochana (Irish Police Force) also has their headquarters in Phoenix Park together with a small museum about their history.
Phoenix Park also has a visitor center with a very interesting exhibition about the history and animals of the park. Right next to the Visitor Center you will find the medieval Ashtown Castle.
The visitor center has a restaurant or if you prefer something small you can always pop into the ever popular Phoenix Park Tea House or get yourself a snack from a nearby ice-cream van.
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