A former Guinness estate, the Park was created in 1835 and has lots of water features and grottoes because of the river which flows through it.
At 240 acres, this is the second-largest park in Dublin. It used to be part of an estate belonging to the Guinness brothers, who bought the land in 1835 and named it St Anne’s after a Holy Well of the same name which is on the land. Sir Arthur Edward Guinness expanded the gardens, planting evergreen oaks and pines around the estate. His wife, influenced by French chateau gardens and the styles of the Victorian era, also contributed to the garden design. Their nephew, Bishop Plunkett, owned it next but sold part of it and the house to the Dublin Corporation in 1937, having decided it was too big to maintain.
The park has lots of water features, which are mostly natural. The Naniken River crosses the park and feeds water into the Duck Pond, and you’ll find a Pompeian water temple on the banks there. The river is also the central point for 10 different follies, some which are in better condition than others. But their ruined state only adds to the park’s wild feel. The Dublin City Council has also been working on creating wildflower meadows and has refurbished the Rose Garden which was built by Bishop Plunkett. It holds an annual Rose Festival in July and has hosted International Rose Trials since 1981.
As well as lots of grounds to explore, the park has a café-exhibition-shopping space called the Red Stables, built in the Tudor style. There’s a small golf course for pitch and putt fans, and tennis courts and sports pitches.