Amazing Parks in Ireland: Must-Visit Parks for Tourists and Locals

St Stephens Green Dublin, County Dublin

Updated On: May 05, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Looking for unique things to do this Summer? Well, we’ve created a list of all the best parks in Ireland for you to enjoy when the Irish sunshine appears. After all, the parks in Ireland offer some of the most beautiful spots to enjoy nature at its finest.

Irish parks are perfect for Summer days when you want to have fun and chill in the sun. But no matter what time of the year you visit, parks in Ireland are a treasure to appreciate.

Please keep reading to find out our favourite parks around the country.

Here are the Most Famous Parks in Ireland

1. Phoenix Park, Dublin

Parks in Ireland
Phoenix Park, Dublin

Our top pick? Phoenix Park in Dublin is the biggest enclosed park in any European Capital City. No trip to Dublin would be complete without exploring this stunning attraction. There’s so much to enjoy at Phoenix Park, from its amazing Dublin Zoo to the beautiful Victorian flower gardens, Ashtown Castle, and the historic residence of the Irish president.

Also, at Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, you can learn about the park’s incredible history and wildlife, dating back as early as 3500 BC to the present day. It’s the perfect park in Ireland for getting active. Rent a bike and explore the 700 hectares of the world-famous surroundings.

Phoenix Park is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so there’s no reason to pass up an opportunity to visit Ireland’s biggest park.

2. Castlewellan Forest Park

Castlewellan Forest Park & Peace Maze; Lake, Castle & Walks,

If you travel north, another great Irish park is in County Down: Castlewellan Forest Park is home to one of Northern Ireland’s famous lakes, a beautiful Victorian Castle, and a historic Peace Maze. Surrounded by the mountains and sea, the park offers incredible views at every turn.

This Irish park is filled with a magnificent tree collection, considered one of the best in Europe. Tree enthusiasts, drawn to savour the uniquely shaped trees, travel worldwide to take in the collection. But many other unique features will draw you to the park. The County Down attraction offers a blend of informal and formal design styles, with fountains, terraces, flower beds, and more. You can enjoy lovely scenic walks around the lake or have fun on the mountain bike trails.

Don’t forget to check out the widespread and growing attraction ‘The Peace Maze’. First created in 2001, it’s the world’s second-largest permanent maze and was designed to honour the peace efforts made in Northern Ireland over the past decade. That’s not all; there’s also a multi-activity centre, equestrian centre, and children’s play area on site. Castlewellan Forest Park is a must-visit for all ages, offering plenty of fun and things to do.

It’s one of our favourite parks in Ireland, and we believe you’ll love the place just as much as us.

3. Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens | Belfast | Botanic Gardens Belfast | Northern Ireland | Things To See in Belfast

Next on our list of the best parks in Ireland is the charming Botanic Gardens in Belfast, near Queens University. The Botanic Gardens has played a vital role in preserving Victorian heritage in Belfast and has often been a popular meeting spot for local students, residents, and tourists.

This Irish park is known for its exotic tree species and amazing plant collections, often attracting nature lovers of all ages. Botanic Gardens’ most notable feature is, without a doubt, the Palm House Conservatory. Inside the Palm House, you’ll discover a variety of tropical plants, colourful hanging baskets and seasonal displays. It’s also one of the earliest examples of a glasshouse made from curved iron & glass. 

During the summer, the park comes alive with people enjoying games, chilling in the sun, and simply walking around appreciating all the lovely greenery.

4. Coole Park

This next Irish park, located in the beautiful County Galway, has inspired some of Ireland’s talented artists of the last century. Coole Park has been a much-loved place for playwrights JM Synge & Sean O’Casey and the inspiration behind W.B. Yeats’s Poem ‘Coole Park’ in 1929. Coole Park offers a magical and peaceful landscape; you’ll soon understand why the place inspired W.B. Yeats with its captivating beauty!

If you wish to uncover more about the park’s history stop at its visitor centre and tearooms. Inside the visitor’s centre, you’ll find an amazing multi-media exhibition, offering a fascinating look at life in Coole over the last 100 years. Also, it is a must-stop for the tearooms to enjoy some of its delicious local and seasonal meals and sweet treats.

Coole Park is perfect for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy nature at its best.

5. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park – Belfast’s Most Popular Park

Back to Belfast for Lady Dixon Park, another popular Irish park famous for its incredible rose gardens. The best time to visit Lady Dixon Park is in July when their annual Rose Week celebrations occur. Rose Week attracts thousands of people from around Ireland and afar to enjoy the beautiful displays of roses and many fun activities.

In 1959, Lady Dixon donated the park to the people of Belfast in honour of her late husband, Sir Thomas. The locals cherished it and enjoy wandering around its 128 acres. Lady Dixon is filled with gardens, rolling meadows, woodlands, a children’s playground, and many plants and animals. It has many open spaces, perfect for a family picnic and playing games.

Also, check out its Japanese garden with water features, which will take you away to another world.

 6. Killarney National Park

On a list of the most unique parks in Ireland, we can’t forget to mention Killarney Park, Ireland’s oldest national park. The park is mesmerising in every way, both in scope and diversity. With over 26,000 acres, visitors will not be disappointed by what’s on offer, including McGillycuddy Reeks, the highest mountain range in the country.

The unique combination of mountains, lakes and waterfalls makes for a stunning scenic experience. But many visitors draw to the park for Muckross House and Gardens. It is a splendid 19th-century Victorian house, fully furnished with artwork and original pieces from the period.

The park is also famous for recreational activities such as mountain trails, canoeing, and boat trips to the lakes. It’s a great spot to get lost in and enjoy the peace and quiet of the great Irish outdoors.

7. Powerscourt Estate

Powerscourt House & Gardens | Enniskerry | County Wicklow | Ireland | Places to See in Ireland

Although not so much a park as an estate, we still think this place deserves a mention as it has some incredible features that attract visitors. Powerscourt Estate is one of the leading tourist attractions in Ireland, featuring the highest waterfall in Ireland and beautiful gardens.

Over 47 acres, Powerscourt Gardens offers visitors a glorious blend of gardens, terraces, statues, and hidden walks. You must experience the Japanese Garden, a stunningly peaceful and tranquil oriental garden. There’s a lovely concept behind the garden to help people better understand the world around them.

The most spectacular feature is definitely the Powerscourt Waterfall, which stands at an incredible 398 feet tall. The waterfall is the perfect setting for summer days when visitors can enjoy picnics and barbeques. A children’s playground is nearby to keep the young ones entertained.

8. St. Stephen’s Green

Parks in Ireland
St. Stephen’s Green

The historic St. Stephen’s Green is located in the heart of Dublin, providing an escape from the bustling Irish city. It’s another one of our favourite parks in Ireland, with an oasis of green spaces where we can chill and enjoy the nice Irish weather.

As you wander the park, you’ll notice many vital figures such as Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardiluan, and Countess Constance Markieviez. Many of the park’s monuments are in recognition of Irish History. The park was initially opened in 1880 for the people of Dublin and has maintained its Victorian layout to this day.

If you’re visiting Dublin, St.Stephen Green is an ideal place to take a break from exploring the city’s attractions. Kids will also enjoy the popular children’s playground, where they can run about and have fun. St. Stephen’s Green is filled with Dubliners and tourists soaking up the Irish sunshine during the summer.

These are just some of the amazing parks in Ireland we recommend visiting this summer or any time of the year. Do you have a favourite Irish park? Let us know in the comments below 🙂

Also, check some of our other blogs which might interest you:

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