Sights of the Park
West of St. Mary’s Hospital, on the hill of Knockmary, stands a prehistoric burial chamber over 5,500 yrs old. The tumulus, which covered it, was opened in 1838 and skeletons, pottery and other relics, now in the National Museum were discovered. A similar sepulchre found in a gravel pit at Chapelizod was re-erected in the Zoological Gardens.
The Wellington Testimonial was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who is reputed to have been born in Dublin. It was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe at just over 62 meters tall. There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo - three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription at the base of the obelisk.
The Papal Cross is a simple large white cross that was erected near the edge of the Fifteen Acres for the Papal visit of Pope John Paul II on the 29th September 1979. On this day, before travelling to Drogheda, Co. Louth, Pope John Paul II delivered an open-air sermon to more than 1.25 million people.
The Papal Cross was designed by the Irish firm of Scott, Tallon Walker Architects and constructed by John Sisk & Sons. It stands 116 feet high and is made of steel girders. After several attempts to erect the cross, it was eventually put in place on the 14th September, which is also the feast day of the Exaltation of the Cross.
When Pope John Paul II died in Rome on the 2nd April 2005, at the age of 84 years, a memorial service was held soon afterwards at this site. On the 8th April 2005, it hosted many thousands of people who gathered in tribute, leaving flowers and other tokens of remembrance of him.
The Magazine Fort in the south east of the Park marks the location where Phoenix Lodge was built by Sir Edward Fisher in 1611. In 1734 the house was knocked when the Duke of Dorset directed that a powder magazine be provided for Dublin. An additional wing was added to the fort in 1801 for troops.
The Phoenix Monument was erected by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in 1747. The column was carved in Portland stone. It is in the shape of a Corinthian column with a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes at its pinnacle. It is located in the centre of the Park and forms a focal point of a large roundabout on the beautiful tree-lined Chesterfield Avenue.
The Victorian People's Flower Gardens comprise of an area of 9 hectares (22 acres), which were laid out circa 1840 and opened in 1864. They provide an opportunity to display Victorian horticulture at its best. Ornamental lakes, a children’s playground, picnic areas and Victorian bedding schemes are just some of the attractions.
Ashtown Demesne accessed off the Phoenix roundabout on Chesterfield Avenue, has numerous attractions for young and old alike. These include Ashtown Castle, a two and half acre Victorian Kitchen Walled Garden, the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, the Phoenix Café, toilets, car and coach parking, woodland walks, picnic areas and a universal access playground.
The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre has an historical interpretation and an audio-visual presentation of the Phoenix Park throughout the ages. For details or bookings the Visitor Centre can be contacted on 01 677 0095.
Also located in the Ashtown Demesne beside the Visitor Centre is the Phoenix Café; (An Fionn Uisce), which serves a range of home made mouth-watering cakes using many organic ingredients. Also contains toilet facilities.
The Victorian Tea Kiosk serves teas and lunches with an outdoor picnic area. It is situated between the Band Hollow and Dublin Zoo. Toilets are located here also.
The Band Hollow is host to many summer musical performances. Check OPW office for schedule.