Dublin Made Easy: Marlay Park

by Rachel Darcy

Nestled in the heart of South Dublin’s suburbs, Marlay Park has become synonymous with summertime gigs, but there’s much more it has to offer.

The park measures a whopping 121 hectares and offers beautiful views of the Dublin Mountains. It has a number of amenities making it a lovely day out for everyone.

Massive, luscious green fields are perfect to have a kickabout, or for lounging in the sun with a 99 from one of the ever-popular ice cream trucks. If that’s not your thing, the park offers trails through forest-like areas; so it’s like a walk through country woodland, without ever leaving the county.

The 16 bus drops you right outside the door, or there’s also ample parking with two massive car parks.

There’s loads on offer in this south suburban gem, but here’s three of our favourite things.

The Fairy Tree

An illusive landmark of sorts in Marlay, the Fairy Tree is popular with far flung visitors and locals alike.

Buried deep in the heart of the wooded area of the park, the hunt for the Fairy Tree is somewhat of a tradition.

Families stroll deep into the woodland beyond streams and stone bridges, wandering to find the illusive tree hidden away for the perfect outdoor treasure hunt.

The tree itself has a number of twigs and variations of moss decorating the trunk, with growths and carvings on the tree and its top giving a fantastic fairytale illusion.

It’s definitely something that needs to be seen with your own eyes to truly appreciate how lovely it is.

A favourite with kids and adults alike, it’s worth a wander around Marlay for.


Marlay Park is home to not one, but two playgrounds – one more modern affair complete with giant climbing frame, and an older style, traditional wooden playground.

Both are located at the College Road entrance to the park, but are worth the exploration for, especially if you have energetic kids needing some entertainment during the Summer.

The main attraction is the playground located across from Marlay’s well-loved tennis courts. There’s something for everyone, even for adults; massive swings, a huge jigsaw, slides and a range of other playground activities – it’ll be hard to make time everything!

The wooden playground is smaller, but is always packed with children eager to explore using the different activities on offer.

It’s akin to the old Marlay playground that’s long since closed, but a more minute version.

Weekend Market

The weekend market in Marlay has long since been a staple attraction for the park, selling a range of foods, accessories, books and beyond.

Running every Saturday and Sunday (weather dependent in some cases), there’s a whole range of local fare on offer.

Fruit and veg, gluten free items, dog biscuits, cakes and pizza, to name but a few of the stalls that set up outside Marlay House every weekend, with a large amount of seating located nearby in the Courtyard and on the massive field to enjoy your gourmet feast.

The market is free to walk through, but the delicious smells will invite you (and your stomach!) in to try some of the food out.

There’s often more than just food on sale, with handmade clothes and jewellery regularly available, as well as second-hand books and flowers.

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