Yesterday Jean and I headed for the 07:00 train to Dublin for a day out. We planned on a visit to Dublin Zoo (Click Here) and Farmleigh House (Click Here). Iarannród Eireann staff were as friendly and helpful as ever and the train departed on time. We arrived in Dublin on schedule and took a taxi to the zoo.
There are three designated disabled parking spaces at the main entrance and more to the rear if required. Our first stop on entering the zoo was at the Meerkat Restaurant for a cuppa, after the 2½ hour train journey. The meerkats can be watched while enjoying a cuppa. They are cheeky energetic chaps who will keep the kids occupied for a few minutes. The chocolate chip cookies were exceptional. The accessible toilet facilities were clean and spacious with all the requisite rails etc. The zoo is totally accessible and is a great experience for all ages, old and young, big and small. The speed and manoeuvrability of the sea lions is fantastic to watch, especially as you can see them from the viewing area under water or the platform looking down into the water. We saw a tiger gracefully padding across his enclosure and a pride of lions lazily sunning themselves in their own enclosure. Some of the monkeys were not as easy to spot on their islands as some are quite small.
The flamingos provided a beautiful burst of colour.
The day was warm and dry and a lot of the animals refused to waste any energy by parading in front of a large number of fascinated children and their accompanying parents and teachers. The elephants had no misgivings about moving around in the heat and were eating their lunch as we passed their enclosure.
A number of the access paths are a bit on the steep side but the nature of the land on which the zoo is built restricts unaccompanied wheelchair access. In any event I feel that a visit to the zoo is best when accompanied. There are a number of accessible toilet facilities scattered around the zoo. We rambled around for a couple of hours before leaving for Farmleigh House.
My sister Anita met us at the entrance gate where we loaded up and headed for Farmleigh which is also located within Phoenix Park. On the way over we passed Áras an Uachtaráin and the American Ambassador’s residence. After parking in one of the many designated disabled
parking spaces in the Farmleigh parking area we headed directly for The Boat House Café for a bit of lunch. The three of us cleared our plates and headed up to the house for the guided tour. The tour was very informative and well worth doing. The tour was of the ground floor only and there were so many ‘wow’ factors it would be difficult to isolate one but for me it has to be the library. The shelves are filled with actual books which can be made available for worthy research pieces. The quality of the woodwork and craftsmanship is outstanding.
Actually the quality of the workmanship throughout the ground floor is exceptional. There is a perfectly wheelchair accessible toilet in the courtyard. We then headed back to the Boat House where we had a cuppa and dessert before heading back to the train station for the journey home. But Farmleigh is more than a big house and a café; there are acres of gardens and beautiful mature trees. I would recommend setting aside at least a half a day for a more extensive exploration. Farmleigh is a national treasure and should be enjoyed by all.
A brilliant day out.