Farmleigh house in the Phoenix Park was purchased from the Guinness family by the Irish government in 1999 for €29 million. A fantastic mansion on 78 acres which was in need of refurbishment, the purpose being to provide a venue for state occasions and a place for visiting dignitaries to stay. It is next door to Aras an Uachtarain home of the Irish president currently Michael D Higgins, from Galway, which you can also visit for free, if you are lucky? A limited amount of tickets are issued each Saturday at the phoenix park visitor centre. However Farmleigh is open all year round unless it is hosting government functions and it is also free!
If you visit around Christmas time, Farmleigh House is beautifully decorated in traditional style, but it is a pleasure all year round nonetheless with elegant staterooms, a magnificent, galleried, Jacobean, wood-panelled library and Victorian conservatory, complete with potted palms and exotic greenery. Outside there are restored and very well maintained formal gardens, including a Dutch sunken garden which has three descending terraces to an oval pool with a carrara marble fountain as its centrepiece.
There are regular free events for children including storytelling and puppet shows at Christmas. And for adults free ticketed musical events, artisan food markets, gallery exhibitions etc and the hugely popular annual gardening event. Bloom.O Please check website below for events calendar and opening times.
For more information on Farmleigh House please click here 10 other things to do and see in the area are....
1 Aras An Uachtaran a limited amount of tickets are allocated each saturday at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre for guided tours of the President of Ireland's home.
2 Phoenix Park Visitor Centre tells you all about the park which is the largest enclosed park (1752 acres) in Europe, there is also a cafe, toilet facilities and parking.
3 Victorian Kitchen Garden adjacent to the visitor centre, it is relatively new and proving to be very popular with the renewed interest in vegetable growing. You can meet and greet the gardeners on the 2nd saturday of every month during the summer.
4 Dublin Zoo is the oldest in Europe established in 1831, which is constantly being revamped to meet modern standards and practices in animal management and welfare.
5 The Furry Glen where some 450 deer roam, also the Wellington Monument and the Popes Cross all very familiar landmarks to Dubliners.
6 Victorian Tearooms (beside the Zoo) overlooking the bandstand (free concerts in the summer) in 'The Hollow’ with a playground so you can have a nice pot of tea in peace!
7 The People’s Garden a park within the park and a homage to the Victorian style of planting with lots of formal bedding arrangements, old fashioned but charming.
8 The Pope's Cross, erected to celebrate the visit of Pope John Paul in 1979.
9 The Wellington Monument a testimonial to the Duke of Wellington who is supposed to have been born in Dublin, is the tallest oblesik in Europe at 62metres. The bronze plaquea at its base are thought to have been cast from melted down cannons used in the Battle of Waterloo.
10 Hire Bicycles at the Park Gate and follow any of the 15kms of safe cycle ways / family / nature trails within the Phoenix Park.