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In its earliest form, the park was land used for hunting wild animals. The Phoenix Park owes its origins to the Duke of Ormonde, who introduced deer onto the walled area he used for hunting during the mid-17th century. The word later came to signify the enclosed land around the homes of the wealthy, by definition an exclusive domain which only a privileged few could access. As time went on, the idea of the park as a public space emerged; the Georgian squares of Dublin were perhaps halfway between public and private space, as they were the preserve of the families who lived in the houses surrounding the central square. Some of Dublin’s earliest parks were created this way, becoming, over time, more open to the ordinary citizens of Dublin. Several of our parks have dark beginnings, as burial places, or even, in the case of St Stephen’s Green, as a place of execution – a fact which adds a whole new dimension to the idea of the park as place of public entertainment. Read more »