Things to See: Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo

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.

Phoenix park trees

pheonix park landscape

cycle path phoenix park

The Pheonix Monument

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.

dublin zoo water

shimmering water

dublin zoo water

dublin zoo open space

 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.

lion dublin zoo

romantic lions

serene tiger

cute tigers

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.


monkeys having fun


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!


33 thoughts on “Things to See: Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo

  1. Thanks for the walk in the park and the zoo, Alex! We missed both of these when we visited Dublin, but like you, enjoyed being there. When we went I wasn’t expecting such a pleasantly low-key, relaxed environment (OK, except for trying to drive on the left side of the road again….). which was a pleasant surprise. Not at all like the irritable, stressed, alienated cities in some of the U.S. and other parts of the world.

    • You drove around? It looked tricky when I was there so you must have had a better experience. I walked when possible and I was lucky with the weather. I’m glad you got to go to Dublin. What was your favourite part of the city?

      • Yep, we drove all over the backroads of Central and South Central Ireland – at one point on what wasn’t much more than a cow path, but eventually got us where the map said it went. The Irish Trad pouring out of the pubs in Temple Bar was my favorite part of being in Dublin. The Kilmainham Gaol tour, Christchurch Cathedral and Trinity College were also pretty amazing. I’d wanted to stay at that hotel on the Liffey that was owned by U2, but it’s very expensive and we ended up staying at Chief O’Neill’s, which was a great choice.

      • What a wonderful sounding trip. I’m glad your place was great. It was really useful how St Patrick’s Cathedral is so close to Christchurch Cathedral.

    • I’d love to go back. Although I covered quite a lot of it, there’s so much more I didn’t get to view. I would really have liked to see the deer especially. It looks like there were quite a few, far more than the ones in London parks. It would also be lovely to get such fresh air and lovely surroundings regularly on such a long walk.

  2. There’s a little thingy you can climb into so you can “pop up” in the snow leopard habitat but I think it’s for kids. Luckily I’m small and I went in there anyway because I’m immature.
    Nice photos. I love the way the zoo has that lazy pond feeling all around it. It’s really peaceful and the animals seem healthy.

  3. The Zoo was outstanding and such a lovely natural setting, Alex. I like the tallest obelisk in Europe in the Papal Cross part. I would of course enjoy bird watching. Smiles, Robin

  4. Pingback: Line(s) of the Day #StPatricksDay | Alex Raphael

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