Iveagh Gardens

Not far from St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin (two blocks away, in fact) is another park – less popular, but just as beautiful. It’s called Iveagh Gardens.

Iveagh Gardens entry

To get here, you walk straight past the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping center, and continue down the luas line into the Georgian buildings turned apartments. At the art gallery, You turn left on Clontarf street, go down a little slightly dodgy looking alley and past a parking lot to a stone and brick wall. Here you see a single brown non-descript sign in the ivy indicating this is Iveagh gardens. The park is about the same size as St. Stephen’s Green but there’s something here you don’t find in the Busy St Stephen’s green.

A feeling as if the hub-bub of the city has disappeared behind the stone walls.

To me, it’s magic.

Angel fountain

Here the birds sing. Here the water pours from the man made waterfall and fountains and makes a pleasant little churning that blocks out the nearby Tram, cars, and police. Here, the wind blows through the trees and you can hear the leaves rustle. Here you can walk, sit, lay on the grass – it’s not blocked off, and the way it’s divided is almost to encourage you to feel its spongy green masses.

Iveagh Gardens panorama - Rose garden

Here you can crunch down the pebbled pathways, wander through a maze, and sit on the sun warmed benches filling your nostrels with the scent of the rose garden and the earthy compost used to make them bloom.

maze with sundial center

Here you can think, contemplate, ponder.

You can lose yourself down a wooded pathway and bump into a Greek or Roman revival statue.

Greek Revival statue full

Here You can slow down.
You can take it all in.
You can have a picnic, you can have a nap.
You can have peace.
You can have quiet – in the middle of the city.
You can rejuvinate.

Yes. This is my favorite secret park in the heart of Dublin, and if you visit, remind me to take you here to experience the magic.


National Wax Museum

Great Blessings upon you as you go down the stairs...

The beginning of January, when it was still winter and quite bleak and bleary I came across a two for one offer for the Irish National Wax museum. It normally costs 10 euro entry per person, so I figured two for one was a good deal and couldn’t resist the thought of a warm museum on a cold wet day where you just wanted to get out of the house.

After a good bit of poking and prodding, I finally talked Tony into going to the wax museum on a very rainy gray Saturday in early February. In the beginning, he wasn’t too thrilled – and by the end – I’m glad I paid half price for the tickets – as I’m not sure I would have been too happy with the 10 euro price.

He's too happy to be a 'Freddy' Victim...
Silly Guy – he’s too happy to be a “Freddy” victim…

So, I show him how to do it right...
So I had to show him how to do it properly…

It wasn’t that the exhibits were bad – they were actually very well done and could have been really interesting. The problem was that the building itself has apparently moved (per the taxi driver that took me home) from a very large former cinema building to a now tourist heavy district (price raised and apparently so did foot traffic) – in one of the old buildings that were built in the late 1800’s for the Bank of Ireland. The result is that in order to fully use the space – they have exhibits starting in the basement – in the 8 foot x 6 foot safes, and to say the least, they’re quite crammed in. The thing is that these exhibits (to me at least) would have been the most interesting – because they were about the history of Ireland and famous people / events from the beginning of the Iron age all the way through the break away from the UK. In fact, at different points in the basement, the rooms were so full of statues that you could fit 2 people inside the vault comfortably – but any more than that, and you couldn’t see/read the signage that was posted and you couldn’t hear the piped in narration. Thus, in a crowded museum with a narrow basement hallway – we found ourselves turning sideways to pass, leaving rooms before we were done, and skipping exhibits in rooms that were too full of other visitors.

The main / upper floors, however, were a different story. On one of the floors, there was an entire area dedicated to the wonderful world of children’s fantasy. As you went up the stairs, you spiralled around a giant beanstock – and gazed up at Jack and Giant –

Fe Fi Fo Fum...

There was also a snow white mirror, several cartoon exhibits (including the simpsons, sponge bob square pants, and the teenage mutant ninja turtles…

Sponge Bob square pants

Me fighting Michaelangelo, Teenage mutant ninja turtle

As well as an animated sleeping Santa claus (complete with moving chest and snoring sounds).

Sleeping Santa

There was also a brief exhibit of famous Rock stars including Michael Jackson, Jimmy Hendrix, and Madonna and a few “movie” characters, including Freddy (above), several characters from Star Wars:

A photo take you, I think? (yoda, anikken)

Obi Wan fighting the Sith

One other thing to note is that there was also an entire section that seemed somewhat mis-placed. It contained a ton of exhibits on science and technology – including “green” power. (There were no statues here). It was interesting for the kids -and great fun – but being it was in one of the larger room type areas, I thought it was rather strange. I almost would have put these in the basement – and the statues from the basement into this area – as this was on the floor between the children’s fantasy room and the movie/rockers rooms.

On the bright side, we did have a good time (thankfully for only 5 euros each) before having dinner and heading back out of the city.