The park, which covers 1,752 acres (707 hectares) in the Irish capital, has been the venue for everything from outdoor rock concerts, to motor racing and papal visits – it even has some ‘skeletons’ in its undergrowth.
Around 40 Viking graves were discovered in the 19th century at the edge of the park, making it the biggest Viking cemetery outside of Scandinavia, while it was also the scene of the notorious Phoenix Park murders in 1882.
Phoenix Park started life as a royal deer park for King Charles II and fallow deer herds have been kept in the park ever since.
It is a popular outdoor space for Dubliners and visitors alike. With almost one-third of the park covered in trees, the open space is home to half of the mammal species and 40 per cent of the bird species found in Ireland.
Perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic on a sunny day, the park also has amenities to suit the more active.
There are two cricket pitches, seven pitches for Gaelic games, 12 for soccer, a polo grounds, a model aeroplane arena, a seasonal cross-country circuit, bike hire services and a universal access playground.
Dublin Zoo, one of the world’s oldest, takes up one corner of the park offering 28 hectares of gardens, lakes and wonderful natural habitats for over 600 animals.
A number of important buildings are also to be found within the Phoenix Park, the most notable of which is Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland.
The park also hosts many monuments of archaeological importance stretching as far back as Neolithic times, including burial mounds, dwelling sites, a star shaped fortification and the 18th century Magazine Fort.
A number of Victorian gardens also decorate the park including the People’s Flower Gardens and the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden demonstrating Victorian horticulture at its best.
Throughout 2012 the park will host events ranging from vintage car displays, to art in action days, family days, concerts, duathlons, charity walks, motor races, cycle events and fun runs.
To mark the 350th anniversary it is also undergoing some upgrades.
A new arboretum is to be created and the Frame Yard at the Victorian Walled Garden will be restored.
Visitors can learn more about the park’s history in The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre which has a historical interpretation and an audio-visual presentation of the park through the ages.