When one thinks about studying abroad, the image of nonstop travel and adventure can come to mind. While yes, I have been on LOTS of amazing adventures in my two months abroad so far, I have also, well, had to focus on the study part of study abroad. There are usually at least two days each week that I don’t spend much time (if any) outdoors, and if that continues for longer than that, I know I need to reconnect with nature and breathe some fresh air. Here are some of my favorite places in Dublin to walk, lounge, or just have a nice time touching grass for a change.
Just a block south of St. Stephen’s Green, Iveagh Gardens was one of the first green spaces that I visited in Dublin. During free time between orientation sessions, me and a few others found ourselves in the gardens, and had a little walkabout, sitabout, and took a few photos (of course). There are statues, a fountain, a flower garden or two, and a waterfall. And I kid you not, it has the softest grass I’ve ever touched. It’s a very chilled-out space—I have spent time reading or calling friends/family back home while lounging on the grass, and had a couple of nature photoshoots there.
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is a well-known site in Dublin, and deservedly so! I didn’t make it there until a few weeks into the term, when I walked there with an old family friend. In the center, there are green spaces with gardens, old fountains, and benches for busy on-the-goers to sit down (and seagulls to attempt to pull off food heists). There are also gazebos and banks to sit by a small lake, where lots of ducks like to swim. And for those who have a niche for the cottagecore, there are old houses! For a relatively small area, it really has everything. One of my favorite SSG memories is when a friend and I went there after class, and sat on the bank there, reading and writing stream of consciousness until the park closed.
The park is probably best-known for the statue of Oscar Wilde, which is a must-visit for sure. The rest of the park is also really nice, with open field space, a playground, and foliage reminiscent of many parks in my hometown. I was walking through the park when I had an unexpected hour off between activities, and I ended up strolling through Merrion Square, where I found myself sitting for a while, just taking in the energy and greenery around me, and it broke me out of both a reading and writing slump that I’d been in. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colors, as well as on cloudy days when said colors really pop.
This is a must-see when weather permits. There are all sorts of plants and trees native to Ireland, plus creeks and rivers, complete with ducks, crows, and magpies. I went in mid-October, during the perfect balance of warm-enough temperature for plants/animals and changing colors of trees matched the sky in a perfect harmony. One of the highlights is the rose garden, where every color and shape of rose sits in a circular patch, which I could spend hours wandering around. I also found myself spending a long while watching the ducks wade through the pond that snaked around the trees in another area of the park. It’s the perfect nature reset, and a great place for creative inspiration.
This place takes the cake any day! It’s a large park that one can spend literally all day exploring, with wooded areas, hills, and open fields, all fitting 707 hectares inside an 11-perimeter wall. People can be seen walking, running, biking, playing sports, and chilling around in the park, and it hosts several community events throughout each season. It’s also a great place to just wander around at sunset! The park has a few different landmarks—a large Papal cross and the Wellington Monument, to name two, and there are a large amount of deer that pass through. Seeing one or two deer is always a treat, but if you’re lucky, you’ll look up to see dozens grazing about the edge of the park. It’s truly one of the best places to escape, to recharge and reconnect.
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he/him -- I'm studying Creative Writing and Studio Art at Knox College, class of 2025! I mostly dabble in cartooning, poetry, creative nonfiction, portraits, and humor writing. Outside of my majors, I play guitar and electric bass and sleep a lot.