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Dublin's Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park within any European capital city, celebrates its 350th anniversary this year. Due to its size (1,752 acres -- five times that of London's Hyde Park), the Irish government is lobbying the United Nations to classify the park as a Unesco World Heritage Site. But the vast cosmopolitan oasis also serves as a unique portal to a fascinating past. Park beginnings Phoenix Park was established in 1662 as hunting grounds for visiting British royalty by the Duke of Ormonde. He stocked the park with deer and erected a wall along its perimeter, keeping the animals in and the commoners out. The park was finally opened to the public in 1745 by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. According to the book Phoenix Park: A History and Guidebook, written by Brendan Nolan, the park's name comes from a nearby spring. The Irish for clear spring water is fionn uisce, which eventually turned into "phoenix". Today, hundreds of deer still live in the park, descendents from the Duke of Ormonde's herds. Other major attractions include the Phoenix Monument (built when the park first became public), the Dublin Zoo, Áras an Uachtaráin (the current residence of the President of Ireland), the Papal Cross (marking the Pope's visit to Dublin in 1979) and the Victorian People's Flower Garden.