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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
order of the phoenix

What are all those buildings in the Phoenix Park?

It’s massive, but what are all those buildings?

THE PHOENIX PARK is massive.

At 707 hectares, it is one of Europe’s largest walled parks and there is a long-standing campaign to have it declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

While development within the walls isn’t strictly forbidden by the myriad of laws governing the park, it is such a well-used resource for Dubliners and people around the country, it is unlikely to be touched in any major way any time soon.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t already buildings in the park.

But, what are they?

Phoenix Park

1. Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo samboal samboal

That’s where daddy’s taking us tomorrow. Opened in 1831 with animals donated by London Zoo, it covers 28 hectares of the park. The original lodge was built for £30 and was used as a ticket office until the upgraded gate was built.

2. Gate Lodge

The gatekeepers’ lodges are placed near the gates to the park. The North Circular Road one is notable as being the founding place of Bohemian Football Club, who now play not far from the gate in Dalymount Park.

3.  Garda Headquarters

Garda Headquarters Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The headquarters of the gardaí, unsurprisingly.

4. The Tea Rooms

Constructed as an ice cream kiosk for visitors to the park and nearby Dublin Zoo, today the Tea Rooms act as a cafe and serve some yummy cakes.

5. Phoenix Cricket Club

Phoenix Park Deer Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The club was founded in 1830 by John Parnell, Charles Stewart Parnell’s father and is Ireland’s oldest cricket club. They have been at this site since 1847.

6. Sports grounds

The sports grounds are used by both GAA and field hockey teams.

7. Polo Grounds

The All Ireland Polo Club has been on “the nine acres” since 1873. At the height of summer, three matches are played a week.

8. Áras an Uachtarain

Aras an Uachtarainin Sam Boal Sam Boal

Home to the President of Ireland, it was built in 1751 as the lodge for the British Viceroy of Ireland but has housed the Irish President since 1939. It was designed by an amateur architect. At the back you may spot Ratra House, the lodge house for the Aras.

9. American Ambassador’s residence

4th July American Celebrations Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Formerly the Chief Secretary’s lodge, Deerfield is now American property, as well as American soil. The residence is the home to the American ambassador. It was bought by the US government in 2013.

10. Ashtown Castle

The fortified house was found hidden within the walls of a much larger and more recent building that was being used by the Papal Nuncio until 1978. Originally thought to be from the 1400s, it was rebuilt in 1989 and is home to the Phoenix Park visitors’ centre, a playground and a walled garden.

11. Civil Defence offices

The organisation used to be run from here, but has since decentralised to Roscrea.

12. Phoenix Park Special School

The school provides support for children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties.

13. Gate lodges

There are lodges at most of the park’s gates, but the two at the Ashtown gate are probably the most notable.

14. Whitefields Lodge

The lodge is now home to the Park Rangers and park superintendent.

15. Farmleigh

Economic Forums in Ireland Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The official State guest house, Farmleigh was built in 1881 after Edward Cecil Guinness renovated what was a small Georgian home. The State bought it in 1999 and it now hosts foreign dignitaries and a host of festivals and markets.

16. OSI

The building is the headquarters of the Ordinance Survey Ireland, the national mapping agency.

17. Knockmaroon Gate Lodge

The lodge at the Knockmaroon gate, unsurprisingly.

18. St Mary’s Hospital

The hospital was built in 1769 and was originally the Royal Hibernian Military School. It was then used as an army hospital. In 1964, it became a facility for older people.

19. Gate House

The Parkgate Street house is now home to a bike rental office.

20. Magazine Fort

Snow Scenes Bad Weather

The fort marks the location where Phoenix Lodge was built by Sir Edward Fisher in 1611. In 1734 the house was demolished when the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset directed that a powder magazine be provided for Dublin. An additional wing was added to the fort in 1801 for troops. It was the scene of the Christmas Raid in 1939.

Read: 425 Irish dogs helped break a Guinness World Record

Read: New US ambassador to Ireland says he is the luckiest man in the United States

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