5 of the Best Gardens in Dublin City
Looking for an oasis of calm and peace from the hustle and bustle of city life? The Life of Stuff is here to help you plan your next adventure when it comes to festivals, events and what’s on in Dublin. And now we bring you ‘Five Gorgeous Gardens to Walk in Dublin City‘? Balance is everything. Remember ya gotta nourish to flourish!
We’re lovers of peace at The Irish National War Memorial Gardens. And wild about nature at The National Botanic Gardens. There’s more water than land at ‘The Basin’ on Blessington Street. Our hearts are far from sunken at The Royal Hospital Kilmainham Hospital Gardens. To round it up there’s a walk fit for a King or Queen at the Dublin Castle Gardens. And for more walking inspiration read: ‘The 5 Best Romantic Walks and Strolls in Dublin City‘
Table of Contents
The Irish National War Memorial Gardens
Islandbridge, Dublin 8
image source: William Murphy
Designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who designed Heywood House in Laois, and working with OPW chief architect TJ Byrne, The Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin 8, were built to commemorate those from Ireland who had died whilst serving during the first World War.
Opened in 1940, the gardens today are still as beautiful – if not more, as they have matured and settled into nature. Take a walk around the sunken Garden of Remembrance, see the Stone of Remembrance and the impressive granite Bookrooms. Enjoy the ponds, flowers and plant life, along the terraces to the pergolas, out onto the lawns and walk along the tree-lined avenues. During the autumn enjoy the crunch of leaves under foot. And throughout the finer weathered days expect to see rowers and nature on the water of the River Liffey that meets the Gardens edge.
Getting to the gardens will take about 50 minutes when walking from O’Connell Street. but there are a number of buses that can get you to the Islandbridge and Phoenix Park areas too. Or you could use a DublinBike to get around – the nearest bike station being Kilmainham Gaol.
Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Open to the public since 1800, The National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin Dublin 9 is indeed an ‘oasis of calm in the city’. Walking from O’Connell Street will take about 40 minutes but a number of buses pass by that will half this time.
The beautifully maintained gardens contain The College of Amenity Horticulture and several stunning wrought iron glasshouses. All planted with an abundance of plant species from around the world. These include the award-winning glasshouses The Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House.
Take a walk around the gardens at any time of year and you’ll see sundials, statues including Socrates and Craobh, a bandstand, The Chaintent pergola, and The Viking House. Particularly gorgeous in Spring when the blossoms have bloomed, and Summer when plant life is at its most colourful. And after you’ve walked, talked and soaked in the nature, flora and fauna along the tree-lined paths and lawns – get thee to The Garden Tearoom for a sweet treat to round off your garden walk.
Blessington Street Park (The Basin)
Blessington Street, Dublin 7
image source: William Murphy
Blessington Street Basin in Phibsborough Dublin 7 started life as a drinking water reservoir known as the ‘Royal George Reservoir’ for the north of Dublin City. And was used as such from from when it opened in 1810 until the 1860’s, when a new reservoir was built in Wicklow to supply the growing demand. From the 1860’s up until the mid 1970’s it continued to be a supply of water but to the Jameson Distillery in Bow Street and the Powers Distillery in John’s Lane. And it’s from its final years as a reservoir that it became a public park. But not a well-known one, and so somewhat of a secret gem. As the basin gets its water from the Royal Canal it was even suggested in the 1980’s that the area become a place for trout fishing.
However it wasn’t until 1993 and 1994 that the Blessington Street Basin was fully renovated and reopened as the ‘secret garden‘ we know today. Within easy walk of O’Connell Street, this walled retreat in the city is worth your ramble. From it’s natural beauty in the trees, plants and flowers and wildlife that make it their home. To the water feature, fountain and walkway that allows you to explore it.
Royal Hospital Kilmainham Gardens
Military Road, Dublin 8
Formally named ‘The Masters Gardens’, the gardens at Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin 8; Ireland’s oldest classical building, are more locally known as ‘The Sunken Gardens‘. With the Royal Hospital Kilmainham opening in 1684, the gardens followed, opening in the early 1700’s.
The gardens did fall in and out of disrepair over the past 250 years. However just as the beautiful Royal Kilmainham Hospital building was restored in the 1980’s – opening in 1991 as the wonderful Irish Museum of Modern Art. So too did the gardens get a new lease of life under the Office of Public Works and the supervision of Senior Landscape Conservation architect Elizabeth Morgan.
And it’s thanks to this restoration that today the gardens are a beautiful example of both 17th and 18th Century styled landscaping. Their restoration focusing on neither century, mainly because no design plans nor recorded landscaping works exist for the original gardens.
image source: William Murphy
See the turreted Garden Lodge, designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearse, one of the architects who designed the former Houses of Parliament, now known as the Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin. Walk along its tree-lined paths. Keep an eye out for numerous statues, beautiful plants and flowers, and picturesque moments. And if nature spotting is your thing you can download maps from the IMMA website to help identify the plant-life in the garden. Later when you’ve walked the walk, a visit to the IMMA is a must – and if tea and coffee beckons, there’s also a café on site too.
Dame St, Dublin 2
A walk around the grounds at Dublin Castle is worth your time at any time of the day. But for a romantic walk the best time is just before dusk. Start your walk at the Palace Street entrance, and take your time walking through the 13th Century castle grounds. Surrounded by beautiful architecture that’s almost 800 years old isn’t the only joy of Dublin Castle. There’s also the The Castle Gardens.
Beyond wrought iron gates and past a quaint ‘four seasons’ garden you’ll find Dubh Linn Garden. So called because it stands on the site of the original Viking site of ‘Dubh Linn’ or ‘Black Pool’. The Dubh Linn Garden with its spiral sea serpent patterns leads to four smaller gardens, one in each corner. Three of the four have become memorial gardens, each representing a different commemoration; journalist Veronica Guerin, the Special Olympics and the Garda Memorial Garden.
If time permits pay a visit to the Chester Beatty Library. Or consider a Castle tour that includes the State Apartments and Chapel Royal. There are also tearooms and a Terrace Café on site. And if visiting during the summer months expect the Dubh Linn garden to be busy with locals and visitors alike lunching and soaking up the sun.
More Gorgeous Gardens in Dublin City to Visit:
St. Patrick’s Park – Bull Alley St, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
Iveagh Gardens – St Stephen’s Green, Park, Dublin 2
St Stephen’s Green Park & Gardens – Dublin 2
- The Hellfire Club, Montpelier Hill – Dublin - February 26, 2020
- What’s On: Festivals this March 2020 on the Island of Ireland - February 25, 2020
- What’s On – Things to Do in Dublin this March 2020 - February 25, 2020