Hidden Parks in Dublin – Ranelagh Gardens

This little garden is snuggled in between the Luas tram bridge and surrounded by a number of streets of the south city village of Ranelagh. It is a quiet oasis in one of the busiest areas of the city. Ranelagh is a sought-after village close to the city centre. 

Dublin has a wealth of hidden parks to enjoy, Ranelagh Gardens is one

The area has a mixture of housing stock from the 18th century to the most contemporary modern. The lanes of Ranelagh are interesting to explore and there are some fine Georgian squares. It is hard to believe as the bumper-to-bumper traffic passes by there is this little treasure of a park to enjoy. 

The gardens were originally pleasure garden, developed in 1775 and named after Lord Ranelagh of Wicklow. He also owned the famous Ranelagh Gardens by the Thames in London. At one end of the park, you will see a statue to a Richard Crosbie. Look closely and you will see he is standing on a balloon with a propeller on his hat.

He is famous for being the first aeronaut to ascend in a hot air balloon in Ireland. He took off from these gardens in 1785. His journey took him quite a distance in those days, from Ranelagh, across the Liffey and to the seaside town of Clontarf on the north shore of Dublin Bay. Though he had intended to fly all the way to Wales. There was a pub in Ranelagh called the Richard Crosbie Tavern in honour of his feat, and it is now the Supervalu supermarket. 

For many years the gardens were hidden from public sight when they became part of the convent of the closed order of Carmelite nuns. When the convent was sold in the 1970s parts of the grounds were used for housing. 

Dublin City Council took over the remaining part of the gardens and created a lovely peaceful place to sit and watch the wildlife. The small lake is home to ducks and waterhens that use the little wild island for shelter.  

The park hosts community events through the year and hopefully the outdoor Ranelagh Arts Festival will return again next year. There is a children’s playground with lots of equipment for children to enjoy. Around the lake is seating to relax and while away a some time in the sun.

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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