Feb 28, 2024

Dublin Parks

Barrett EllisRadius Co-Editor
Photo by Conor McDonald

With St. Brigid’s day gone, we’ve entered some semblance of spring, and it is surely spring because the weather is better – as I write this there is real sun shining on the rooftops out my window! Clouds move through the sky slowly and there is much blue to be seen! You can now walk around outside – bar the rain – with a light jacket. Maybe even a T-shirt! 

My winter-worn mind met this change in weather, not with happiness, but confusion at first. After years of seeming hibernation I couldn’t help but wonder, “What is this!? Why is the sun out past four?”. I’ve acclimatised now, the brightness has come into focus, and with these extra hours we’ve been given, and this nice weather, what better way to celebrate the return of spring than a trip to the park! In this five of the best I’ll take you to some of the best parks Dublin has to offer – from fixtures like St. Stephen’s Green to some lesser-known gems. 

Palmerston Park


I mention Palmerston in an attempt to reach those poor souls currently residing at Trinity Halls, to make them feel seen and heard and such. Palmerston Park is located in Rathmines, a three-minute walk from the first-year Trinity accommodation. Palmerston is a cohesive park, it has just about everything you’d need. Little waterfall with rock garden? Check. Weird open-faced hut next to a gigantic tree stump? Check. Semicircular shape? Check! Palmerston Park is a serene refuge for those who want to escape from Halls and feel like they’re in the family-oriented, quiet neighbourhood that they indeed are in. Until night comes and the lads come out with their cans, it is a very nice park.

St. Stephen’s Green

St. Stephen’s Green is surely one of Dublin’s best-known parks, second in prestige perhaps only to Phoenix Park. Located just off Grafton Street, a two-minute walk from Trinity, the park has a great location. Stephen’s Green boasts a pond often occupied by swans, manicured lawns in the centre, and various statues and plaques of historical significance. The park served as a battleground during the Easter Rising, and the history surrounding this can be discovered during a walk through it. On warmer days Stephen’s Green swells with those out to catch the sun, and the good vibes that spread throughout the park are contagious.

King’s Inns

On the Northside of the river, down towards the Liberties and Smithfield is the King’s Inns, a well-known and beautiful building, self-described “independent educational institution”. I take this description from their website because the King’s Inns cultivates an air of mystery around itself – you can feel this when you go to the building – it’s grand, imposing, and for some reason quite tucked away for what it is. Behind the main King’s Inns building on Henrietta Street, through the main entrance that bores a hole through the building and out the other side is a wonderful park, King’s Inns Park. It is small, a lightly forested patch of green surrounded by older buildings, and the park conveys a sense of peace and quiet in an otherwise busy part of the inner city. A nice place for an afternoon with a book.

Merrion Square

Merrion Square is a great park, and extremely underrated. Soul-sisters with the famous St. Stephen’s Green and the wayward Parnell Square, Merrion Square is afflicted with the archetypal middle-child syndrome. Rather than getting the attention that it deserves, Stephen takes all the fame, though this may be a good thing. Merrion is surrounded by Georgian houses much like the other two parks, and the look of the park really captures this – you never forget that you’re in the city, but it feels like more of a park, less of a showpiece than St. Stephen’s Green. The park is inhabited by a much more local, more dog-walking pram-strolling crowd, and the atmosphere is wholesome. As if this all wasn’t enough, on Thursdays the park offers a mid-day food truck market with food from around the world that is extremely reasonably priced and shouldn’t be missed.

Irish National War Memorial Gardens

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens come at the end of this list for good reason. They are my favourite. The Gardens were originally established in the years following the First World War to commemorate the Irish men and women who gave their lives during the conflict. The sacrifice commemorated is immediately reflected in the park’s epic scale. To get to the park is a bit of a hike, as it’s out in Islandbridge near Phoenix Park and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, but the visitor is well-rewarded upon arrival. The park runs immediately alongside the south shore of the Liffey, and it radiates out southerly in an array of arched pathways and concentric ringed gardens. This park is well worth visiting just to appreciate the gardens themselves and the design of the park. As Spring gets underway and flowers begin to bloom the journey will be only more worthwhile.

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