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Check out Saint Stephens Green a georgian square in Dublin

By damian, Sunday, 16th December 2012 | 0 comments
Filed under: Did you know, Free Stuff, See & do Dublin.

Saint Stephen’s Green Dublin Ireland – Dublin’s Georgian squares
St. Stephen’s Green is located in a central position in south-east Dublin.

 

It’s probably Ireland’s best known public park situated in Europe’s most extensive square. It’s also the largest park in a Georgian square with its 22 acres (89.000 m²).

Today St. Stephen’s Green is a hugely popular place where the Dubliners like to enjoy a walk along its 3.5 km of pathways and kids can have fun in the playground. During the spring/ summer months is possible to appreciate the spectacular bedding of flowers and plants around the ornamental lake and even enjoy a music concert at lunchtime. There is also a scented garden for the visually impaired.

St. Stephen’s Green is the earliest of Dublin’s great squares and the result of a very ambitious project. In the 1660s, during the Restoration period, Dublin was experiencing an extraordinary growth with its population almost doubled and making it the 2nd biggest city in the British dominions. At this time James Butler, first Duke of Ormond, decided to redesign Dublin as a capital. His first ambitious project was to create Europe’s largest square in a town still living in medieval times. Until then the Green was used a marshy commonage for cattle and sometimes for public executions.

In 1664 the central portion of the park was laid and the Dublin commission started the construction of different buildings around the perimeter.

The Green took its name from the nearby hospital of St. Stephen, a medieval institution for lepers, open until 1698. In the early 1800s the park was such in a terrible state that the only solution was to rent it to the residents and close it to the large public. In 1880 Sir Arthur Guinness, Lord Ardilaun, provided the necessary funds to reopen the park and give it back to the city of Dublin and its people. He also provided funds to redesign it with some necessary landscape gardening and give it the present Victorian layout.

In memory of this episode a statue of Lord Ardilaun is located in the Green .

AROUND THE GREEN

THE FUSILIERS ARCH (1907)

This arch is situated at the north- west entrance of the Green was laid to commemorate the officers and men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who lost their lives in the Boer War (1899/1900). It’s also known as the “Traitors arch”.

ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN SHOPPING CENTRE

This big shopping centre is located on the west corner of the square , in line with one of Dublin shopping axes, Grafton street. The white iron work and glass look makes the shopping centre look like a giant green house. Before its opening in 1988, there was the famous Dandelion Market where U2 started playing their early gigs.

THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS

The college was founded in 1784 and since then it has established the power to control the practice of surgery and provide high levels of surgical education and postgraduate education. It was also the first institution in the British Isles to admit women in 1885. The present granite façade was designed by William Murray in 1825.

There are 3 statues on the pediment: Hygiea, goddess of health (left), Asclepius, god of medicine (centre) and Athena, goddess of wisdom and war (right).

During the Easter Rising in 1916 a contingent of the Citizen Army led by Countess Markievicz had to find refuge in the College of Surgeons after an attempt to hold St. Stephen’s Green, digging trenches in the park but oblivious that it was overlooked on all sides.

STATUE OF ROBERT EMMET

The statue by Jerome Connor is located beside the railings of the Green facing the Royal College of Surgeons.

Robert Emmet (1778-1803) was born at n.124 Stephen’s Green. He was the leader of the United Irishmen at Trinity College. In 1802 he professionally organised an insurrection.

His famous eloquent self defence at his trial became a nationalist inspiration : “ Let no men write my epitaph….When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not until then, let my epitaph be written.”

UNITARIAN CHURCH

Located on the west side of the Green , it was built in Gothic Revival style.

NEWMAN HOUSE ( N. 85/86 STEPHEN’S GREEN)

N.85 was designed by Richard Castle (1690-1751) for Captain Montgomery Regiment of Foot. Richard Castle was an Irish Palladian architect whose buildings were massive, solid and correct but soon considered old fashioned. One of the greatest feature of n. 85 is the Saloon which takes the entire length of the first floor and it is ornated by splendid stucco works by the great Swiss Lanfranchini brothers, including figures of Apollo and the muses.

The building was also one of the first houses to be faced in in stone.

In 1865 Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), an important and illuminated religious figure of his time, bought the adjacent n. 86 and joined the two house together. He, along with the Catholic hierarchy, decide to establish a University for Catholics in Dublin, as an alternative to the protestant education provided in trinity College. Cardinal Newman was the first rector of the University College Dublin (UCD).

UNIVERSITY CHURCH

In 1855 Cardinal Newman thought it was essential to have a church beside the University so he started an ambitious project.

The red brick Byzantine entrance is an anticipation of the unusual interior which features multicoloured Irish marbles. Cardinal Newman spent too much on this project and ended up in debts.

IVEAGH HOUSE ( N.80 STEPHEN’S GREEN)

N.80 was built in 1736 by Richard Castle, who created one of the most opulent private Dublin town house of the time.

In 1862 Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness united n.80 with n.81 and the building took its name from the nearby Iveagh Gardens.

Today the Iveagh House is the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (N.52 STEPHEN’S GREEN)

The Ombudsman acts as a trusted intermediary between the public with complaints against the Department of State, local authorities,health boards and An Post.

THE HUGUENOT CEMETERY

It was built in 1693 for the Huguenot community which was quite large in Dublin at the time. The Huguenot were French Calvinists who found refuge and freedom in Ireland since the 1650s after being persecuted in mainland Europe.

STATUE OF THEOBALD WOLFE TONE AND FAMINE MEMORIAL

The statue by Edward Delaney is placed on the north east entrance of the park.

Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798) sought to rectify the inequities of the Parliament. He was strongly influenced by the French Revolution and he even tried to form an alliance with French rebels but the mission failed and he was sentenced to death but he took his life instead. His legacy is in his writings. The statue is surrounded by standing stones which give the statue the nickname of “Tonehenge”.

THE SHELBOURNE HOTEL It is one of the best known Victorian landmark in Dublin. The doors of this fashionable meeting place for Dubliners officially opened in 1824, hosting events like the Royal Dublin Society Horse Show. The present building was designed by John McCurdy in 1867 based on the layout of a London hotel. On the first floor there is the Constitution room where in 1922 the Constitution of the Irish free State was drafted.

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