St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin

Friday, 10 February 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Dronepicr/cc-by-3.0

© Dronepicr/cc-by-3.0

St Stephen’s Green (Irish: Faiche Stiabhna) is a garden square and public park located in the city centre of Dublin, Ireland. The current landscape of the park was designed by William Sheppard. It was officially re-opened to the public on Tuesday, 27 July 1880 by Lord Ardilaun. The square is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street, and to a shopping centre named after it, while on its surrounding streets are the offices of a number of public bodies as well as a stop on one of Dublin’s Luas tram lines. It is often informally called Stephen’s Green. At 22 acres (8.9 ha), it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. Others include nearby Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square.

The park is rectangular, surrounded by streets that once formed major traffic arteries through Dublin city centre, although traffic management changes implemented in 2004 during the course of the Luas works have greatly reduced the volume of traffic. These four bordering streets are called, respectively, St Stephen’s Green North, St Stephen’s Green South, St Stephen’s Green East and St Stephen’s Green West.

© flickr.com - Nicolas Raymond/cc-by-2.0 © Dronepicr/cc-by-3.0 © flickr.com - William Murphy/cc-by-sa-2.0 © panoramio.com - johnpiaskowski/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Ralf Houven/cc-by-3.0 © flickr.com - Nicolas Raymond/cc-by-2.0
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© panoramio.com - johnpiaskowski/cc-by-sa-3.0
The landscaping of the park has undergone three major changes since its inception. Its first major change occurred in 1670: two rows of lime trees were planted around the perimeter, functioning as its first enclosure. The marshy ground was drained using a ditch at the perimeter. At this time, the park was only accessible to the wealthy residents who owned plots around the park. In 1815 the park was redesigned by the Dublin city surveyor Arthur Neville. In his redesign, he added winding pathways and iron fences. At this time, the park was still closed to the public. During the 1860s, the campaign to make the park publicly accessible was underway, and the city engineer, George W. Hemans, proposed a new design to make the park as walkable and as functionally practical as possible. This included creating four gates at each corner of the park that would be linked by the extant pathways designed by Neville. This plan was eventually abandoned, most likely due to the fact that Hemans was employed by Dublin Corporation. However, many of Hemans’ designs, like the addition of the gates and connecting pathways, were included in the final plans submitted by William Sheppard, the principal designer responsible for the landscape of the park as we know it today, and engineer A.L. Cousins, sponsored by Lord Ardilaun. Ardilaun also played a significant role in the planning and importing of the exotic trees and plants that would be installed in the park.

While the central park of St Stephen’s Green is one of three ancient commons in the city, its current layout owes much to the restorations of the 19th century. Architectural history professor Christine Casey states that this restoration obscures what would have been its most impressive feature to 18th-century visitors, its large size. The grounds are roughly rectangular, measuring (approximately) 550 by 450 metres, and are centred on a formal garden. By 1758, the tree-lined walks around the park had been named, Beaux Walk to the north, Leeson’s Walk to the south, Monck’s Walk to the east, and French Walk to the west. One of the more unusual aspects of the park lies on the northwest corner of this central area, a garden for the blind 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 waterfall, 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. There is also a playground (separated into junior and senior areas) which was refurbished in 2010. The park once featured a statue of King George II on horseback by John van Nost, erected in 1758, until it was blown up in 1937 by Irish Republicans, the day after the coronation of George VI.

Read more on St. Stephen’s Green Park, VisitDublin.com – St. Stephen’s Green, HeritageIreland.ie – St. Stephen’s Green and Wikipedia St. Stephen’s Green (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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