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

Updated On: July 03, 2022

St Stephens Green Dublin, County Dublin

Looking for amazing 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 those Summer days 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.

Keep reading to find out our favourite parks around the country.

1. Phoenix Park, Dublin

Our top pick? The biggest enclosed park in any European Capital City: Phoenix Park in Dublin. No trip to Dublin would be complete without exploring this stunning attraction.

There’s so much for you to enjoy at Phoenix Park, from its amazing Dublin Zoo, to the beautiful Victorian flower gardens as well as Ashtown Castle & the historic residency of the Irish president.

Also, at Phoenix Park Visitor Centre you can learn about the incredible history and wildlife of the park, dating back as early as 3500 BC to the present day.

Phoenix Park Dublin, County Dublin
Wellington Monument, known as The Wellington Testimonial (Leacht Wellington in Irish). Phoenix Park, Dublin

It’s the perfect park in Ireland to get active, hire a bike and explore all 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

Taking a trip north, another great Irish park can be found 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 all of Europe. Tree enthusiasts, drawn to savour the uniquely shaped trees, travel from across the world to take in the collection.

But there are many other amazing features that will draw you to the park. The County Down attraction offers a blend of informal & formal design style with fountains, terraces, flowers beds & 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 popular and growing attraction ‘The Peace Maze’. First created in 2001, it’s the world’s second largest permanent maze and was created to honour the peace efforts made in Northern Ireland over the past decade.

Castlewellen Forest Park, County Down, Northern Ireland
Castlewellen Forest Park, Castle. Credit: Wikipedia Commons –

That isn’t all, there’s also a multi-activity centre, equestrian centre and a children’s play area on site. Castlewellan Forest Park is a must visit for all ages, young and old, 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

Next on our list of the best parks in Ireland? The charming Botanic Gardens in Belfast near Queens University.

Botanic Gardens has played a key role in preserving Victorian heritage in Belfast. It has often been a popular meeting spot for local students, residents and tourists alike.

This Irish park is known for its exotic tree species and amazing plant collections, often attracting nature lovers of all ages.

Belfast Botanic Gardens, County Antrim
Belfast Botanic Gardens Palm House. Credit – Wikipedia Commons,,_Botanic_Gardens,_Belfast.jpg

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 months, 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 also the inspiration behind W.B. Yeats 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, a must stop to the tearooms to enjoy some of it’s delicious local and seasonal meals and sweet treats on offer.

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

5. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Back to Belfast for another popular Irish park, famous for its incredible rose gardens; Lady Dixon Park.

The best time to visit Lady Dixon Park is during July when their annual rose week celebrations take place. Rose week attracts thousands of people from all 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. It has become a cherished park by the locals here, who enjoy spending time wandering around the parks 128 acres.

Lady Dixon is filled with gardens, rolling meadows, woodlands, a children’s playground and home to many plants and animals. It has many open spaces, a perfect place for a family picnic and playing games.

Also, be sure to check out its Japanese garden with water features; taking you away to another world.

 6. Killarney National Park

A list of the most amazing parks in Ireland, we can’t forget to mention Killarney Park; Ireland’s oldest national park.

The park is mesmerising in every way, both is 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 special combination of mountains, lakes and waterfalls makes for a stunning scenic experience.

But the draw to the park for many visitors is Muckross House and Gardens. A splendid 19th-century Victorian house, fully furnished with artwork and original pieces from the time period.

The park is also popular for recreational activities such as mountain trails, canoeing and boat trips on the lakes.

It’s a great spot to get lost in, as well as enjoying the peace and quiet of the great Irish outdoors.

7. Powerscourt Estate

Not so much a park but an estate, we still think this place deserves a mention as it has some incredible features to 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 offer those visiting a glorious blend of gardens, terraces, statues and hidden walks.

You must experience the Japanese Garden located here, a stunningly peaceful and tranquil oriental garden. There’s a lovely concept behind the garden to help people gain a better understanding of the world around them.

The most spectacular feature of all, is definitely the Powerscourt Waterfall, standing at an incredible 398 feet tall.

The waterfall acts as the perfect setting for summer days where visitors can enjoy picnics and barbeques. There’s also a children’s playground close by to keep the young ones entertained.

8. St. Stephen’s Green

Located in the heart of Dublin is the Historic St. Stephen’s Green, providing an escape from the bustling Irish city.

It’s another one of our favourite parks in Ireland, with an oasis of green spaces to chill and enjoy the nice Irish weather.

As you wander around the park, you’ll notice many important figures of Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardiluan, and Countess Constance Markieviez. Many of the park’s monuments are in recognition of Irish History.

The park was originally opened in 1880 for the people of Dublin, and still, to this day it has maintained its Victorian layout.

St Stephens Green Dublin, County Dublin
St Stephens Green Entrance Dublin, County Dublin

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 in the park where they can run about and have fun.

During the summer months, St. Stephen’s Green is filled with Dubliners and tourist soaking up the Irish sunshine.

These are just some of the amazing parks in Ireland we recommend visiting this summer or anytime 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:

Top 10 Amazing Places to Walk in London|Live Music in Belfast: A Local’s Guide to Entertainment| The Little Museum of Dublin|

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