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St Stephen's Green Gate - Dublin City

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St Stephen

In medieval times, St. Stephen's Green was a marshy commons on the edge of Dublin, used for grazing. In 1663, Dublin Corporation seeing an opportunity to raise much needed revenue decided to enclose the centre of the common, and to sell land around the perimeter for building. The park was enclosed with a wall in 1664. The houses built around the Green were rapidly replaced by the Georgian style and by the end of the eighteenth century, the Green was a place of resort for the better-off of the city. Much of the present-day landscape of the square comprises modern buildings, some in a replica Georgian style, and relatively little survives from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Photo Details

  • County: Dublin City Center
  • Town: St Stephen's Green
  • Scene: Main Gate
  • Date: circa 1910

Specification

  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Read about St Stephen's Green below

St Stephen's Green

St. Stephen's Green is an inner-city public park in Dublin, Ireland. The park is within the city centre, adjoining the nearby shopping area of Grafton Street.

The park is rectangular, surrounded on by streets that once formed major traffic arteries through Dublin city centre, although traffic management changes implemented in 2004 have greatly reduced the volume of traffic. The new Luas tram system has one of its lines terminating next to the park. The Green line, terminates on the western side of the park. It is intended that the rail line through the interconnector rail tunnel will pass through an underground station there, and that the Metro North will terminate at that station

History

In medieval times, St. Stephen's Green was a marshy commons on the edge of Dublin, used for grazing. In 1663, Dublin Corporation seeing an opportunity to raise much needed revenue decided to enclose the centre of the common, and to sell land around the perimeter for building. The park was enclosed with a wall in 1664. The houses built around the Green were rapidly replaced by the Georgian style and by the end of the eighteenth century, the Green was a place of resort for the better-off of the city. Much of the present-day landscape of the square comprises modern buildings, some in a replica Georgian style, and relatively little survives from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1814, control of St. Stephen's Green park passed to Commissioners for the local householders, who redesigned the park layout, and replaced the walls with railings. Access was restricted to local residents. In 1877, Parliament passed an Act to reopen St. Stephen's Green to the public, at the initiative of Sir A.E. Guinness, a member of the Guinness brewing family who lived at St. Anne's, Raheny and at Ashford Castle. He later paid for laying out the Green in approximately its current form, which took place in 1880, and gave it to the Corporation as representatives of the people. By way of thanks the city commissioned a statue of him which faces the College of Surgeons. His brother Edward lived at Iveagh House, which his descendants gave in 1939 to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

During the Easter Rising of 1916, a group of insurgents made up mainly of members of the Irish Citizen Army, under the command of Commandant Michael Mallin and his second-in-command Constance Markievicz, established a position in St. Stephen's Green. They confiscated motor vehicles to establish road blocks on the streets that surround the park, and dug defensive positions in the park itself. This approach differed from that of taking up positions in buildings, adopted elsewhere in the city. It proved to have been unwise when elements of the British Army took up positions in the Shelbourne Hotel, at the North East corner of St. Stephen's Green, overlooking the park, from which they could shoot down into the entrenchments. Finding themselves in a weak position, the Volunteers withdrew to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the Green.

Park layout

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 1800's (see History above).

The grounds are roughly rectangular, measuring (approximately) 550 by 450 metres, and are centred on a formal garden.

One of the more unusual aspects of the park lies on the north west 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 water fall, spanned by O'Connell bridge, and fronted by an ornamental gazebo.

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.

Other notable features and include

  • the Fusilier's Arch (first termed 'Traitors Gate' by Redmondites) at the Grafton Street corner which commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who lost their lives in Second Boer War.
  • a group representing the Three Fates inside the Leeson Street gate (a gift from the German people in thanks for Irish help to refugees after World War II)
  • a seated statue of Lord Ardilaun on the western side, the man who gave the Green to the city, facing the 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 1798. Flanked by monoliths, it was immediately nicknamed 'Tonehenge'.
  • 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.
  • the water source for the lakes in the park are fed from the Grand Canal at Portbello.

Notable addresses

  • Iveagh House on the South side was created from the joining of two earlier houses (numbers 80 and 81) by Benjamin Guinness in the 1860s. It was donated to the Irish State by the Guinness family in 1939, and now houses the main offices of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Also on the South side of St. Stephen's Green are Newman House (numbers 85 and 86, after John Henry Newman) and University Church. These are home to the Catholic University of Ireland, which was founded in the 19th Century. It is linked with University College Dublin, but is no longer active educationally in its own right.
  • The Unitarian Church, Dublin, built in the Gothic revival style, is located on the West side of St. Stephen's Green.
  • Also on the West side is the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (number 123), home to one of the Republic of Ireland's five medical schools.
  • On the West side, at the top of Grafton Street, is the St. Stephen's Green Shopping centre, built in October 1988. It was, at the time, Ireland's largest shopping centre. Its style was intended to represent a conservatory on the side facing the Green and to mirror the brickwork design of the opposing Gaiety Theatre on South King Street.
  • Opposite the shopping centre, forming an entrance to the park, is the Fusilier's Arch, erected in 1907. This commemorates members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers killed in the Second Boer War.
  • On the North side of St. Stephen's Green, there are two clubs (originally gentlemen's clubs), the Hibernian United Services Club (number 8, closed in 2002) and the University and Kildare Street Club (number 17). This side of the Green also has the historic Shelbourne Hotel.
  • Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, one of Ireland's best-known fee-paying schools for girls, is located at number 53, on the East side of the Green.
  • St. Vincent's Hospital, now located in a suburb on the southside of Dublin, was formerly located in buildings on the East side of St. Stephen's Green and on Leeson Street

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