Dublin taxi drivers have a secret: it’s called the Phoenix Park

As you pass through the gates, they’ll throw on calming music and take a deep breath

Daithí. Photograph: Ruth Medjber, ruthlessimagery.com

The taxi drivers of Dublin have a secret.

It’s a tough job dealing with drunk passengers and mind-numbing traffic, and listening to angry phone-in radio shows on the stereo as cyclists furiously pump their fists in your direction.

However, there exists a place you can go to free yourself from those dark, oppressive city streets, and that place is the Phoenix Park.

If you live around the north part of the Phoenix Park, you’ll know what I’m talking about. When you hail a taxi in the city centre at the dead of night, your driver will inevitably ask to go through the park.


As you pass through those hallowed gates, they’ll throw on a CD of calming music, taking a deep breath as they cruise through the quiet roundabouts, pausing for a moment to point out the deer sleeping along the side of the road.

Once, my new friend behind the wheel put on Vanessa Carlton's A Thousand Miles. It took all I could do not to hug him through the back of the seat.

The only thing that destroys this beautiful five-minute escape for our taxi drivers is when the park roads are blocked off for wild undertakings such as marathons and flower festivals.

They’ll drive through those welcoming gates as usual, hit the first roundabout, and, suddenly, garish orange cones appear to bring the whole thing crashing down. It wouldn’t be so bad if they knew going into the park that this stolen paradise is in disarray, but the powers that be neglect to put any warnings at any of the entrances.

If anyone from the Office of Public Works is reading this, I beg of you: when my beloved Phoenix Park is blocked off for events, place some kind of warning at the entrances, so that our faithful taxi drivers can avoid the heartbreak of having their favourite route torn away from them at the last minute.

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