Monday 21 October 2019

Ireland's Favourite Local Attraction revealed: 'It's got everything, even a president!'

Winner: Phoenix Park, Dublin

Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park

Reader Travel Awards 2019

"It's got everything, even a president!"

Dublin's 709-hectare Phoenix Park, famously one of the world's largest city parks, has an equally big place in readers' hearts. "It has everything right in the city," you explained. "It's free. It has the zoo, Farmleigh, playgrounds and is perfect for relaxation, picnics... and cycling in the fresh air."

"Best place for a run in Ireland," you told us. You also recommended "so many walks... best of all in autumn." This is "a big bit of country practically in the inner city", you said - gushing about the playing fields, tea rooms, Furry Glen and deer "that just brighten your heart when you see them".

Dublin's back garden first opened to the public in 1745 and you also mentioned its heritage, particularly in guided tours of Ashtown Castle and Áras an Uachtaráin.

Top 10 Local Attractions

  1. Phoenix Park
  2. Glendalough
  3. Malahide Castle
  4. Kilkenny Castle
  5. Marlay Park
  6. National Gallery
  7. Wells House
  8. Botanic Gardens
  9. Little Museum of Dublin
  10. Hook Lighthouse

"Every day the Phoenix Park changes yet stays the same," one reader said. "The colours, the landscape, the meeting of paths with the deer and the silent hopes of catching a glimpse of Mickey D Higgins and his two dogs in the breaks of the trees unveiling the Áras. My favourite place in the whole world."

"I'm delighted with the news of this award for The Phoenix Park, and to acknowledge the nominations for Kilkenny Castle and Newgrange," said Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.

"These nominations are a welcome recognition of the professionalism and dedication of the OPW staff involved," the Minister added.

Phoenix Park "soothes the soul", readers added, dubbing it a "respite" in "the lung of Dublin". That notion of "space" in a busy city centre came up again and again. Even on weekends, it seems to have a spot for everyone (it does crowds pretty well too, as Ed Sheeran, the Bloom festival and Pope Francis's visit attest).

"This place is a melting pot of cultures, traditions and nature," you said. "Animals, people, events, experiences, love, life and limbo. It is a majestical piece of heaven and a slice of quiet calm in the middle of a very busy city."


NB: The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2019 are sponsored by Iarnród Eireann. Read the full list of winners here.

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