Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo#6 in Best Things To Do in Dublin
When the hustle and bustle of the city gets to be too much, seek refuge in Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in any European capital city. Spanning 3 miles (and encompassing more than 1,700 acres), Phoenix Park features plenty of lush green lawns, shady wooded areas and cool, clean lakes. The park once upon a time was the royal hunting park (in the 1600s) and opened to the public in 1747. To this day, visitors can encounter fallow deer.
Travelers can start out at the park's Visitor Centre & Ashtown Castle to learn about the history of the park and tour the medieval tower that dates back to the 17th century. The park is also home the 78-acre Edwardian estate, the Farmleigh house, which still acts as a working farm as well as a Victorian walled kitchen garden. Recent visitors called the park beautiful, clean and peaceful.
The biggest attraction within the park is the Dublin Zoo. The zoo dates back to 1831, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. The 70-acre zoo is home to more than 400 animals in a variety of large habitats. Popular exhibits include the Humboldt penguins and western lowland gorillas. Recent visitors praised the zoo for its size, cleanliness and obvious commitment to the care of its animals.
You'll find Phoenix Park west of the city center, just north of Kilmainham Gaol. Phoenix Park is open all day every day, and you don't have to pay to wander. The park also offers guided cycling and Segway tours for a fee. Various attractions hold different hours, so check the park's website for more information.
The zoo is open every day starting at 9:30 a.m. with seasonal closing hours. Zoo admission costs 18 euros (about $21) for adults and 13.50 euros (roughly $16) for children ages 3 to 16. If you book online, tickets are slightly cheaper. Special rates are available for groups.
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#1 Trinity College and The Book of Kells
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland's oldest and most notable college. Among its alumni are such renowned writers as Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. Today, visitors from around the world come to explore the college's verdant campus and towering Gothic-style halls.
But the real reason to visit is to take a gander inside the Old Library. These hallowed halls house an amazing collection of literature. Of all the books at the Old Library, the most famous and priceless one is the "Book of Kells." This illustrated version of the gospels was created around A.D. 800 by Celtic monks. The manuscripts' pages come to life with vibrantly hued depictions of Christ and his followers, bordered by intricate Celtic knots and other designs. Whether or not you're religious, previous visitors agreed that seeing the "Book of Kells" in person is truly a sacred experience. Although some visitors complained of crowds in the library, most agreed the "Book of Kells" is a must-see.
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