When I knew I was visiting Dublin, I knew straight away I would have to see Phoenix Park, and the zoo inside it. Covering a space of nearly seven miles, it is one of the largest parks in Europe and a wonderful place to go for a walk. The weather might not have been perfect, but it was still a delight to go for such a long and scenic walk. There’s a cycle lane and plenty of space for walking your dog, but most people I saw were just alone and enjoying the walk for themselves.
There’s so much more of the park to see, but there was not enough time to see all of it. For those with more time the Furry Glen, which is where there are specialist short walking routes surrounded by birds and wildlife, and Papal Cross which is where all the deer are, sound fantastic. I did manage to see the largest obelisk in Europe, the 62m / 203 ft Wellington Monument, which was opened to the public in 1871.
After a walk of several miles I came to to Dublin Zoo, Ireland’s biggest family attraction with nearly a million visitors a year. Created in 1831 with 46 mammals and 72 birds donated by London Zoo, it now has over 400 animals. As soon as you enter you are met by the main lake, where you will see the ducks and spacious green habitat.
Though you get given a map and there are signposts and map boards at various points, it still can be misleading as the signs only point what is nearby and some reconstruction work is taking place. It’s more fun to go at your own pace rather than look for specific animals and as it wasn’t too busy it was a lot easier. The lions and tigers, in the Asian Forests section, really are something.
Wondering around, you really see why the area is so popular with families, even more than most zoos. They have two separate children’s playgrounds and a Family Farm section, where the children can get up close with sheep, goats and cows. Other popular sections include the African Plains (including giraffes and zebras), the World of Primates (including apes and monkeys) the Gorilla Rainforest and the Sea Lion Cove. I love snow leopards but sadly they were sleeping out of shot. If you get the chance, you could happily spend a day visiting both the park and the zoo. Just don’t forget your walking shoes!