Ireland day 0141. Wednesday 16 February 2022- Phoenix

Ireland day 0141. Wednesday 16 February 2022- Phoenix
Today’s summary Went into Dublin for a late lunch at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre then walked through the park to Guinness Storehouse for careers evening
Today’s weather Very wet and windy in the morning.   Dried up in mid afternoon to leave a bright and blowy end to the day.   Mild about 14C
Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Phoenix to Guinness

A couple of days ago I was eulogising about the merits of not working but curiously this enthusiasm doesn’t seem to extend to my wife.   Buoyed up by her stellar performance at the Malahide Wonderlights over Christmas, Val has been champing at the bit to have a go at something new ever since.   So our main objective for today was to attend a jobs fair being run at the Guinness Storehouse – one of Dublin’s top tourist attractions – this evening.

Evening events can be a bit inconvenient in that they leave you wondering how you will most usefully fill the day before they start, but today we had no such problem.   This was because, despite many daytrips into Dublin since we arrived, we had yet to visit one of its other main attractions – Phoenix Park.

If you were to fly over Dublin at night, you would see what appears to be a huge black chunk bitten out of the western quadrant of the city’s otherwise brightly lit sprawl.   This is Phoenix Park, and it’s one of the world’s largest enclosed city parks.   It’s twice as big as Central Park in New York and five times the size of Hyde Park in London.   So it was a pretty glaring omission from our itinerary and something that we intended to correct today.

Phoenix Park was created as a royal deer park in 1662 by James Butler, first Duke of Ormond.   There is still a herd of fallow deer maintained on the park – the animals are directly descended from the original herd introduced 350 years ago.   It has seen many changes of purpose and ownership but nowadays (well since the 1800s) has been managed for the benefit of the wider public by the ever-excellent Office of Public Works.  Its history goes back much further if you look more closely – the first known residents were from the Neolithic era, who built a burial chamber in the park some 5,500 years ago.   More recent inhabitants include the President of Ireland and the US ambassador.

We left Malahide to head for our park visit just as the rain was beginning to come down.   By the time we had arrived at Pearse station and were waiting for the bus, it had turned into a full-blown deluge.   Fortunately the waterproof gear came in handy so we weren’t actually soaked to the skin by the time the no. 39 arrived.   The bus was warm and dry (ish) but absolutely packed.   A real Covid hothouse, if ever I saw one.   Just hope those vaccinations haven’t worn off yet!.   And joyfully by the time the bus set us down at the Park entrance, the worst of the rain had passed and the weather was definitely looking up a bit.

Having survived the rain and the bus journey, we thought we deserved a cup of tea in the excellent Phoenix Café in the Ashtown Castle visitor centre.   But the cup of tea suddenly expanded a bit into sausage rolls, scones, cakes and flapjacks.   It was simply wonderful though I really don’t know why I was so hungry.

After a quick look round the modest visitor centre, we walked down Chesterfield Avenue – the main drag which runs most the length of the park, from west to east.   There’s lots more to see and do in the Park – not least of which is the highly-rated zoo – so we will doubtless be back at a later date to check it our more thoroughly.   But this afternoon, with the careers fair in mind, we walked more purposefully to the eastern exit then across the river to the hinterlands south of the Liffey where the Guinness brewery and the Storehouse visitor attraction are situated.

The Storehouse itself is interesting and well laid out.   We will probably come back in the next week or two to pay a proper visit – as I would guess 99% of all visitors to Dublin do at some point in  their stays.   But for tonight, I waited patiently downstairs while Val went up to the careers event on the top floor.   Whilst I was waiting I got chatting to one of the receptionists down there who told me that the Storehouse – like most of Ireland – is suffering from a huge shortage of staff at the moment.   Some of the Guinness attractions can’t open simply because they can’t get enough staff.   It seems that the whole world has been turned on its head by Covid – and pretty much everywhere is suffering from labour shortages at the moment (though quite where everyone who was working before Covid has gone is a bit of a mystery).

Anyway, Val duly reappeared – there are some promising opportunities here it seems, though it may be a short while before they are recruiting properly in the areas she is most interested in.   So I guess we will just have to pay a few more visits to the Storehouse which, trust me, won’t be a great hardship.

Anyway by that stage I was beginning to feel hungry again (how can that be) so we jumped on a no. 40 to Tara Street where, as luck would have it, a non-stop train to Malahide was just waiting to depart.   We were back at the flat in double quick time and out of nowhere Val conjured up jacket potatoes and fish fingers which made a wholly satisfactory and nutritious end to a day which itself was both wholesome and rewarding.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Just coming in through the Ashtown entrance to Phoenix Park Inside the visitor centre, at Ashtown castle.   There’s a fabulous café there too.   The whole thing is run by the OPW and is very good.
Ashtown castle – regretfully we didn’t have time to look around today.   It was built sometime between the 14th and 17th centuries Walking down Chesterfield Avenue – the main road that runs the whole length of the middle of Phoenix Park.   As you head east, you pass Áras an Uachtaráin, the Residence of the President. It’s been occupied by Michael D. Higgins since 2011 and he has to stand down by 2025 at the latest
The bottom (eastern) end of Chesterfield Avenue – at this point you are not far from the north shore of the Liffey, and only just across the river from Heuston station.   The distant tall whitish building in the centre-right is the Guinness brewery The rather canyon-like approach to the Guinness Storehouse
The Wellington Testimonial towards the eastern end of Phoenix Park.   It’s 62m / 203ft tall, making it the tallest obelisk in Europe.   It commemorates the First Duke of Wellington – commander at the Battle of Waterloo and twice British prime minister.   He as born in Dublin in 1769
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 6676 m
Max elevation: 56 m
Min elevation: 3 m
Total climbing: 110 m
Total descent: -123 m
Total time: 03:15:23
Download file: Phoenix Park To Guinness Storehouse corrected.gpx

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