If you are an ISI student looking to take a break from studying English in Dublin, you could perhaps consider checking out the National Botanic Gardens!
The Botanic Gardens are located just up the road from Glasnevin cemetery about 3km from the city centre and provide a peaceful alternative to the bustle of the city. Entry is completely free and they are open to the public all year round.
History of the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens were founded in 1795 by the Dublin Society, and continually expanded throughout the 19th century as more and more botanical specimens were installed. The massive glasshouses are of great
architectural interest and contain many varieties of rare and exotic plants from all round the world – some 20,000 species in total. The glasshouses were built in the 19th century and more recently extensively restored.
Flora and Fauna of the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens are rich in bird and animal life. There are many friendly and sociable squirrels you can share your nuts with, as well as hooded crows and magpies. There is a Japanese style bridge on the duck pond, in imitation of a waterlily painting by Claude Monet. A shy tortoise may sometimes be seen waddling along by the banks of the ponds. There are many tall and luxuriant trees from all over the world. There is also a coffee shop near the entrance of the Botanic Gardens that provides food and refreshments. The River Tolka flows through the Botanic Gardens.
The famous Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was a frequent visitor to the Botanic Gardens during his time in Dublin in 1948/9. He would often sit on the steps of the Palm House and write – today there is a plaque commemorating him on these very same steps. A statue of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates may also be found on the way to the rose garden which overlooks the River Tolka.
So taken all in all, next time an ISI student fancies an afternoon off from studying English in Dublin, you could hardly do better than take yourself to Dublin’s National Botanic Gardens! It’s totally free and always will be.