POINTS OF INTEREST
Europe's largest public park, which extends about 5 km (3 miles) along the Liffey's north bank, encompasses 1,752 acres and holds a lot of verdant green lawns, woods, lakes, and playing fields. Sunday is the best time to visit: games of cricket, football (soccer), polo, baseball, hurling (a traditional Irish sport the resembles a combination of lacrosse, baseball, and field hockey), and Irish football are likely to be in progress. Old-fashioned gas lamps line both sides of Chesterfield Avenue, the main road that bisects the park for 4 km (2½ miles), which was named for Lord Chesterfield, a lord lieutenant of Ireland, who laid out the road in the 1740s. The beautiful, pristine 1896 Victorian Tea Rooms near the Avenue still serve dainty dishes for the park visitors. To the right as you enter the park is the People's Garden, a colorful flower garden designed in 1864. Rent bikes (including tandems) at the main gate to get the most from the park's hidden corners.Within Phoenix Park is a visitor center, in the 17th-century fortified Ashtown Castle; it has information about the park's history, flora, and fauna. Admission to the center is free, and it runs guided tours of the park throughout the year. They also have the wonderful Phoenix Cafe beside the old walled garden.