Simon Harris TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) today, signed an agreement with the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) underpinning responsible dog ownership and guidelines at National Historic Properties in the greater Dublin area.

The Office of Public Works is responsible for thirty three historic properties countrywide and its role is to protect, manage and present these important buildings and landscapes for current and future generations. These sites welcome over 15 million visitors a year. The OPW also recognises, along with the DSPCA, that people benefit from companionship and assistance provided by dogs. However, there are specific areas and seasons when exclusions or restrictions may apply for allowing dogs on sites.

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) was established in 1840 and is Ireland’s largest animal welfare organisation.

The joint agreement outlines various principles such as acknowledging the importance of the amenities for all users; ensuring clear and consistent information at all sites and the promotion of responsible dog ownership through activities and education.

Speaking at today’s event in St. Stephen’s Green Park, Minister Harris commented “We all know that owning and walking dogs is an activity that benefits the physical and mental well-being of dogs and their owners. My Office, the Office of Public Works, is particularly keen on welcoming all visitors to our wonderful sites and ensuring that there is clear and consistent information on areas and facilities that are well-suited to the needs of dogs and their owners. We also recognise that other visitors may not be as comfortable around dogs and certain restrictions such as on-lead rules or exclusions will apply in those instances”.

Brian Gillen, Chief Executive of the DSPCA also said “We very much welcome this collaboration with OPW in encouraging responsible dog ownership on their sites. DSPCA appreciate that access to public amenities is important for dog owners. We look forward to working with the OPW to improve onsite facilities and to provide a positive framework for engagement with owners. Our ‘King of paws’ academy will provide training classes to help dog owners and dogs enjoy the access to the OPW sites.”

Minister Harris added “I welcome the agreement and joint promotion of these principles with the DSPCA and I look forward to the many initiatives organised with them such as the DSPCA’s ‘King of Paws’ event in Arbour Hill on Saturday 7 March. I have no doubt that this joint partnership approach will lead to a greater reciprocal understanding by our visitors when enjoying the wonderful parks and gardens in the months ahead”.

Guide Dogs are permitted in all areas.

Details of the sites covered by these Guidelines are as follows:

  • St Stephen’s Green
  • Iveagh Gardens
  • National War Memorial Gardens
  • Grangegorman Military Cemetery
  • Arbour Hill Cemetery
  • Phoenix Park
  • Royal Hospital Kilmainham
  • National Botanic Gardens
  • St Enda’s Park
  • Rathfarnham Castle
  • Garden of Remembrance
  • Castletown House

The Code of Conduct for Dog Owners at National Historic Properties in the Dublin region can be found at and