Phoenix Park

30 Nov

About a 15 minute walk away from where I live in Blackhall Place lays Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in all of Europe. Phoenix Park, or “Páirc an Fhionnuisce” in Irish, is home to many different attractions, and monuments. Most notable are the Dublin Zoo, Papal Cross, and the Wellington Monument The Dublin Zoo is the largest zoo in Ireland, and one of the most popular attractions in Dublin. At 182 years old, it is the third oldest zoo in the world. It also houses more than 700 animals. Dublin Zoo has been renowned for its conservation work as well, working with the European Endangered Species Programme, which works to help endangered species in Europe. Another significant part of Phoenix Park is the Papal Cross, a monument that was erected in 1979 for the visit of Pope John Paul II. Over 1 million people attended the open-air mass during that visit. The cross itself stands 115ft tall, surrounded by a large open field upon which the local Fallow deer graze. Fallow deer have been native to Phoenix Park since the 17th century, where they were hunted by the gentry. During World War II, the Fallow deer were almost eradicated from the park, when 1,200 were shot dead following pressure for space in the park. In 1942, only 38 deer remained. Now the deer population stands around 450, a number that is sustainable by the Office of Public Works and the Park itself. The Fallow deer sometimes meander near the Wellington Monument, an obelisk that stands 203ft tall and resembles the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.. The Wellington Monument was built to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. The obelisk was built in 1820, but remained unfinished until 1861 due to a lack of funding. Phoenix Park is a very prominent part of Dublin, rich with history. Living so close to it is an incredible privilege as it provides endless room for running, walking, and hanging out.

-Sachin MehtaImage

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