Just north of the River Liffey from Heuston Station is Dublin’s best known park - the largest enclosed urban park in Europe and twice the size of New York's Central Park. Its sprawling 712 hectares are dotted with ornamental gardens, numerous monuments, a cricket pitch, football pitches, polo club and nature trails.
Dublin Zoo is here, and the animal quota is further enhanced with grazing livestock, and a herd of wild fallow deer roaming the woodlands (take care if driving... they're liable to wander onto the road). The large white Papal Cross marks the spot where over one million people came to see Pope John Paul II celebrate mass in 1979. At 62m high, the Wellington Monument in the south-east of the park is Europe's largest obelisk.
Formerly belonging to the Guinness family, the 78 acre Farmleigh estate is home to the beautifully restored Farmleigh House (tel: (+353)(0)1 815 5900) where visiting VIPs overnight, important government meetings are held and the public can enjoy tours, events and occasional food markets. Across the road from the US Ambassador's Residence is perhaps the park's most significant building Áras an Uachtaráin (tel: (+353)(0)1 617 1000) – the official residence of the President of Ireland. In a tradition started by former President Mary Robinson, a light stays on in an upstairs window as a reminder of Irish exiles and emigrants. Free guided tours are held every Saturday with tickets available at the Park's Visitor Centre on a first come, first served basis. Headline concerts are also held sporadically at the Phoenix Park Marquee.