Dublin has more green spaces per square kilometer than any other European capital city. There are 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of parks, 3 hectares (7.3 acres) of public green space per 1,000 people, and 5,000 trees are planted annually. The main parks are the Phoenix Park just west of the city center, near Castleknock; St. Stephen’s Green at the top of Grafton Street; and Herbert Park in Ballsbridge, in Dublin’s south side.
The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed urban park in Europe, encompassing 712 hectares (1,760 acres). This park offers large, grassy areas and treelined avenues, and features a herd of wild fallow deer. Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland, is located in this park, as is the Dublin Zoo, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador, and Ashtown Castle. Every summer the park hosts various concerts and festivals.
Herbert Park is tiny in comparison, just 13 hectares (32 acres), but it provides a good example of Dublin’s smaller city parks, offering a variety of amenities. The park includes sites for football, tennis, boules, and croquet, and a children’s playground was added in 2007.
St. Stephen’s Green is adjacent to a shopping center and is surrounded by offices, flats, and government buildings. The park, spanning 9 hectares (22 acres), is roughly rectangular in shape and features an artificial pond and waterfall that is home to ducks, a garden circle with wide expanses of green grass, and, most notably, a garden for the blind featuring scented plants that are labeled in Braille.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Ireland.