The Iveagh Gardens In Dublin: History, The ‘Waterfall’ And 2022 Concerts

Iveagh Gardens dublin
Photo via Shutterstock

The beautiful Iveagh Gardens are one of my favourite parks in Dublin City.

They’re set amidst the hustle and bustle (just off Harcourt Street) but, when you step inside, you’ll feel a million miles away.

OK, aside from the nearby traffic, that is. Although well known for the ‘Live at the Iveagh Gardens concerts’, this beautiful park is home to a nice bit of history, too.

In the guide below, you’ll find how to get into the Iveagh Gardens and what to see to where to visit nearby.

Some quick need-to-knows about the Iveagh Gardens

 Iveagh Gardens
Photo by Nataliia Pushkareva (Shutterstock)

Although a visit to the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location     

If you’re visiting Dublin, you’ll find Iveagh Gardens on Clonmel Street, just off Harcourt Street in the city centre. They are behind the National Concert Hall and one block south of St Stephens Green. The park is almost hidden by the surrounding buildings and the entrance is tucked away off Clonmel Street, between government buildings. 

2. Opening hours

The Iveagh Gardens are open daily all year round and admission is free. Monday to Saturday it opens at 8am, and at 10am on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Closing time is generally before dusk and varies throughout the year. More info here.

3. Parking

Parking is limited in the city centre and if you find a space you will have to pay for it. The nearest public car park is Mobypark car park next to the National Concert Hall on Earlsfort Terrace. There’s also Q-Park on St Stephens Green, just 5 minutes walk away.

4. A hidden gem in the city

OK, technically Iveagh Gardens aren’t ‘hidden’, but most visitors tend to miss it in their rush to reach the better-known St Stephens Green. Iveagh Park remains a quiet green oasis – the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while.

5. Concerts

Live at the Iveagh Gardens (i.e. the Iveagh Gardens concerts) take place again in 2022, with Fontaines D.C, James Blunt, Damien Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor set to play.

About the Iveagh Gardens

 

Maps in 1756 show the land as Leeson’s Fields, owned by Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown. The land was leased to the 1st Earl of Clonmell who owned Clonmell House on Harcourt Street. They became his private gardens, accessed by a subterranean tunnel beneath Harcourt Street.

The early days

In 1817 they became a public park known as Coburg Gardens and a new entrance was created from St Stephen’s Green. They were the site of a major riot in 1835. After that the site was left derelict.

In 1865, the land found new purpose as the site for the Dublin Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden. It was officially opened by H.R.H. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on 9 May 1865. The land was later acquired by the Guinness family and sold to Lord Iveagh. In 1939, he donated the land to the nation as a public park.

Iveagh Garden Design

Designed by Ninian Niven in 1865, the gardens were a blend of French Formal and English Landscape gardens. The layout and many original features remain today. 

Major restoration of the gardens took place in 1992 by the Office of Pubic Works. In 2019-2020 they were awarded a Green Flag, an international benchmark for the best public parks and green spaces.

Things to see and do at the Iveagh Gardens

1. Grab a coffee nearby  

donegal town cafe
Photo by Jaromir Chalabala/shutterstock

There are plenty of attractive places to find a coffee or bite to eat on Grafton Street. My personal favourite is Caffé Nero on Camden Street Lower, about 4 minutes’ walk away. 

The Harcourt Bar and Garden Lounge is perfect for cocktails, drinks and meals just steps from the entrance to Iveagh Gardens.

If you walk to St Stephens Green, you’ll be spoilt for choice. These Hands Coffee Shop is next to the Wells Bar. Baristas turn out a full spectrum of specialty coffees using tasty Imbebe beans. There’s also a Starbucks on Bishops’ Square. 

2. Then head for a ramble

Iveagh Gardens dublin
Photo via Shutterstock

Coffee in hand, you’re all set for a ramble. And you’ll find one of the best short walks in Dublin right here. You can easily spend an hour exploring Iveagh Gardens as there are plenty of nice features to discover and admire.

The gardens include sunken lawns surrounding pretty fountains, an American Garden, rose garden, yew maze, rockeries, rooteries and rustic grottoes.

There’s also a very interesting water feature. Don’t worry, there are plenty of benches for sipping your coffee and people-watching!

3. And make sure to stop at the ‘waterfall’

Iveagh Gardens
Photo by Nataliia Pushkareva (Shutterstock)

The highlight of Iveagh Gardens has to be the cascade water feature. Part of the original designs for the 1865 Dublin Exhibition and Winter Garden, it has 32 rock samples – one from each county in Ireland. The curving whitewater cascade adds to the sound and pleasure of the gardens.

Things to do near the Iveagh Gardens

One of the beauties of the Iveagh Gardens is that they’re a short walk away from many of the best things to do in Dublin.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Iveagh Gardens (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. St Stephen’s Green (5-minute walk)

St Stephens Green in Dublin
Photo left: Matheus Teodoro. Photo right: diegooliveira.08 (Shutterstock)

If you’ve got time on your hands, stroll along to St Stephen’s Green, another Victorian park laid out in 1880. Covering 22 acres, it has many meandering paths, a bandstand and a children’s playground. It also has a small lake, a fountain, several statues and memorials including one remembering the Great Famine.

2. Museum of Literature Ireland (7-minute walk)

museum of Literature
Photos courtesy Antoinette Reilly via Ireland’s Content Pool

Facing St Stephen’s Green South is the MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland) in Newman House. It includes many exhibits and artefacts about writer James Joyce who was a student at nearby University College Dublin. Some say the name MoLI alludes to his heroine Molly in Ulysses! The museum also brings together exhibits of Irish Literature spanning 1500 years.

3. Trinity College (15-minute walk)

Trinity college dublin
Photos via Shutterstock

Trinity College is Dublin’s leading university and accommodates 18,000 students and 3,000 staff in the centre of the city. Take a stroll around the 47-acre campus and research centre. Admire the fine architecture, cobbled quadrangle, chapel and library, home of the Brian Boru Harp, the symbol of Ireland. Don’t miss the Book of Kells and the amazing Long Room, too.

4. Food, pubs and city attractions

food dublin
Photos via Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud on Instagram

There are so many places to visit in Dublin city centre including museums, the cathedral and Guinness Storehouse. However, the best place to soak up the Irish culture and ambience is in a local pub or restaurant such as Davy Byrne’s on Duke Street, just around the corner from The Ivy. You’ll find more places to enjoy a drink, a bite or a full meal of Irish or international cuisine in the streets around St Stephens Green. Go exploring!

FAQs about the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Are dogs allowed in Iveagh Gardens?’ (only on leads) to ‘Who owns Iveagh Gardens?’ (the Irish State).

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

How do you get to Iveagh Gardens?

You’ll find Iveagh Gardens on Clonmel Street, just off Harcourt Street in the city centre. They are behind the National Concert Hall and one block south of St Stephens Green.

Are the Iveagh Gardens concerts back on?

Live at the Iveagh Gardens (i.e. the Iveagh Gardens concerts) take place again in 2022, with Fontaines D.C, James Blunt, Damien Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor set to play.

Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.

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