This is a short nearly 7km walk that takes in part of the Phoenix Park and War Memorial Gardens.
It’s no craic.
Measures we have to follow seem to change every week. It’s a job in itself keeping up with it all. The most severe precautions include not travelling more than 5km from your home for exercise.
So unlike my other posts that involve way marked hikes or climbing mountains, I’ve been thinking about the great walks that are available in my area of Dublin. I’m really lucky in that I’m living right beside the Phoenix Park. I’ve got this wonderful amenity right next to me. One of my favourite walks to take advantage of this encompasses both the Phoenix Park and the War Memorial Gardens across the river Liffey. I set out the details below of the Phoenix Park and War Memorial walk!
Where to Park in the Park?
I like to start off this walk near the 15 acres. Parking is always difficult in Phoenix Park especially when the weather is nice. There is a small car park beside some changing rooms in front of the playing pitches. If you input “Dynamo Dublin Football Club” it will bring you to the right place.
The Fifteen Acres
It’s not clear when the Fifteen Acres got its name but probably in the 1700’s. It was originally 15 acres used for military drills and exercises around the chief secretary’s lodge (now the American Ambassador’s house). It now includes a variety of playing pitches,the papal across and the area around the ambassador’s house – and is much larger than 15 acres!
After parking up, it’s time to start the walk. There is a path way along the pitches and you need to head east and follow this path towards Magazine Fort. This is a great place for deer spotting so keep your eyes peeled.
The alternative is to walk along Military Road. The advantage of this is that you get some nice views out over the Liffey.
Either way, head towards the Islandbridge Gates of the Park.
Crossing the Liffey
Cross the busy Chapelizod Road and then turn right at the next traffic lights. This will bring you across a bridge over the River Liffey. This is a good spot to stop and take in the views of the river.
From here, keep an eye out for a signpost for the War Memorial Gardens which is the second right after crossing the bridge.
There is usually a nice little coffee truck as you enter the Gardens if you feel like you deserve a treat already! After entering the Gardens you follow the roadway with the hurling pitches on your left. It’s then a tough choice. Ultimately you are aiming to follow the life westwards towards Chapelizod and as such you need to go through the little getaway at the far side of the War Memorial Gardens. Go left to walk through the rose gardens or go right to walk along the river bank itself. My advice is to take your time and do a full circuit of the War Memorial Gardens so you can do both!
History on the Phoenix Park and War Memorial Walk
This will also give you a good chance to learn some of the History of the War Memorial Gardens. The Gardens are dedicated to the nearly 50,000 Irish soldiers who died in World War 1. Given that the Gardens were built in Dublin shortly after Ireland’s own revolt from British rule, there was some controversy at the time to its establishment. A nice method of dealing with this controversy was by the fact that the labour used to build the memorial was drawn equally from Irish veterans of the British army and veterans from Ireland’s war of independence against the British. The majority of work took place between 1931 and 1938. Ironically, the Gardens never officially opened around that time because of the outbreak of World War 2. Rather, they were officially opened in 2006 – on the 90th anniversary of the battle of the Somme.
Walking towards Chapelizod will mean the river is on your right and there is a nice pathway the whole way there. Keep an eye out for rowing boats on the water as there are a number of boating clubs on the opposite bank.
The scenic stroll along the river bank then brings you into the village of Chapelizod. Turn right onto St. Laurence’s Road after the pathway finishes. Chapelizod offers another opportunity to pick up a coffee or a treat. There are a few options here (on both sides of the river).
Back to the Northside
As you cross the bridge back over the Liffey, take a minute to look at the lovely back gardens and patios that hang over the river.
Continue to walk up towards the Mullingar House pub and take a left at this junction. Then it’s a quick right up Park Lane which leads to a lovely pedestrian entrance back into the Phoenix Park.
From here it’s a gentle stroll (plus a couple of hills!) back to where you parked your car. Nearly 7km done on the Phoenix Park and War Memorial walk.