In the centre of Dublin, you can find a natural oasis in the form of St Stephen’s Green. Elegantly landscaped, this rectangular 22 acres park is filled with bright colours during the autumn season making it a stunning backdrop for a walk. It’s the ideal place when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre, whether just for an hour or a whole day.
The park is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street, and to a shopping centre named for it, while on its surrounding streets are the offices of a number of public bodies, some of the city’s most visited indoor attractions as well as a stop on one of Dublin’s Luas tram lines.
Make sure to explore every corner of the park because there are number of interesting facts and views:
- One of the enthralling aspects of the park can be found on the north-west corner is a garden for visually impaired; with scented plants, which can withstand handling, and are labelled in Braille.
- Further north again (and spanning much of the length of the park) is a large lake. Home to ducks and other water fowl, the lake is fed by an artificial water fall, spanned by O’Connell bridge, and fronted by an ornamental gazebo. The lakes in the park are fed from the Grand Canal at Portobello.
- To the south-side of the main garden circle is more open heath surrounding a bandstand, and often frequented by lunching students, workers and shoppers on Dublin’s sunnier days.
- And for the family with kids, there’s also a playground.
Apart from its beautiful landscape, the park features several sculptures of the people who contributed to the evolution of the park:
- the Fusiliers’ Arch at the Grafton Street corner which commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Second Boer War.
- a fountain representing the Three Fates inside the Leeson Street gate. The statue was designed by Joseph Wackerle in bronze in 1956. It was a gift from the German people in thanks for Irish help to refugee children following World War II. Up to five hundred children found foster-homes in Ireland in a project named Operation Shamrock.
- a seated statue of Lord Ardilaun on the western side, the man who gave the Green to the city, facing the Royal College of Surgeons which he also sponsored (again, see History above)
- the Yeats memorial garden with a sculpture by Henry Moore
- a bust of James Joyce facing his former university at Newman House
- a memorial to the Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa near the Grafton Street entrance
- a bronze statue at the Merrion Row corner of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the leader of the 1798 rebellion.
- a memorial to the Great Famine of 1845–1850 by Edward Delaney
- a bust of Constance Markievicz on the south of the central garden (see History above)
- a statue of Robert Emmet standing opposite his birthplace (now demolished) at No 124.
- a memorial bust of Thomas Kettle, fatality of the Great War. The attempt to erect a commemorative portrait bust of Kettle was beset by controversy until it was finally placed, without official unveiling, in the centre section.
Please note St. Stephen’s Green closes according to daylight hours.
Have you visited St. Stephen’s Green yet? Please feel free to share your thoughts.