Marlay Park is a 121 hectares (300 acres) suburban public park located in Rathfarnham in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Ireland. Lying about nine kilometres (5.5 miles) from Dublin city centre. The parkland comprises woodlands, ponds and walks. Recreational spaces include a nine hole par three golf course (reopened in 2010 after redesign and rebuild), tennis courts, six football pitches, five GAA pitches a cricket pitch, two children’s playgrounds and a miniature railway run by the Dublin Society of Model and Experimental Engineers. There is also a craft courtyard with home craft shops and a coffee shop.
Dublin County Council acquired the land in 1972 and developed it as a regional park. Opened in 1975, it is now administered by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Dublin Bus serves the park directly with the 16 bus, but the following bus is within walking distance: 14 directly to the city centre. The 75 bus goes to Dún Laoghaire. Since 2000 Marlay Park has become a popular music venue with a capacity of 32,000, featuring both renowned national and international performers. The park's name is commonly misspelled as Marley, most notably in nearby housing developments (see below).
Marlay House was built by Thomas Taylor and was known as ‘The Grange’. David La Touche, first governor of the newly established Bank of Ireland acquired and extended the house in 1764 and renamed it for his wife Elizabeth Marlay, daughter of George Marlay, Bishop of Dromore. The house, a fine example of Georgian architecture, has many elaborate features including plasterwork by Michael Stapleton. Marlay was sold in 1864 to Robert Tedcastle, a well known Dublin coal merchant, whose family lived there until 1925 when Robert Ketton Love bought the house for £8,325. He lived there until his death in 1939. His son, Philip Love, a market gardener who was once Ireland's largest tomato producers, was also a racehorse breeder whose famous horse Larkspur won the 1962 Epsom Derby. He died in August 1970 and in 1972 it was bought by Dublin County Council for £500,000. The park was officially opened by Taoiseach, John A. Costello on 29 June 1975.
A 1.82 hectare (4.5 acre) walled garden was built near the house around 1794, and consists of a restored regency ornamental and kitchen gardens. The ornamental garden boasts an extensive display of period plants, ranging from herbaceous borders to shrub beds. The Head Gardener's house, orangery, arbour and water features combine to create a distinctive atmosphere. Located just over the wall, the kitchen garden houses a fine collection of regency fruit trees, vegetables and associated bothys.
Daily tours of the gardens are available in the summer months and by appointment at other times. Tea, coffee and other refreshments are available, year round, in the former gardener’s house.
Marlay Craft Centre
A number of small craft workshops are located in the courtyard adjacent to Marlay House including, weaving, glass cutting, bookbinding, furniture restoration, copper craft, pottery, jewellery and embroidery. One of these was originally the residence of Evie Hone whose stained-glass workshop was located in the library of Marlay House itself.
Marlay Park is the official starting point of the 132 km Wicklow Way a long-distance walking trail, that begins at the car park adjacent to Marlay House. The trail wanders through the park before tunnelling under the M50 motorway to begin its first ascent southwards towards the Dublin hills and the Wicklow Mountains to Clonegal, County Carlow.
Marley Grange, developed in the 1970s, is one of several housing developments adjacent to Marlay Park and contains six roads named "Marley": Avenue, Drive, Walk, Close, Grove and Wood. Residents assume that the developer misspelled the name when naming the roads.
During the Summer the park holds many concerts and events, some of the more popular artists have been : Foo Fighters, Green Day, Radiohead, Muse, The Killers, Westlife, Van Morrison, Sting, David Gray, Meat Loaf, UB40, The Waterboys, R.E.M., Oasis, Coldplay, The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, Underworld, Metallica, Macklemore and many others.
- The Coronas, Villagers, Joanna Newsom, Roger Daltrey, 2 Many DJ's, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Bell X1 all performed under canvas in 2011.
- Kasabian, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, The Cribs, Maverick Sabre, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, David Guetta, Rizzle Kicks and Example all performed in outdoor shows in 2012.
- "Marlay Park Facilities". Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- "History Of Marlay House". Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "Dublin Bus Route 16". Dublin Bus. 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "An Overview of the Wicklow Way". WicklowWay.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-27. Retrieved 2008-08-22.