11 May St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Originally one of three ancient commons in the old city, St Stephen’s Green was enclosed in 1664. The 22 acre green was laid out in its present form in 1880, using a grant given by Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. Landscaped with flowerbeds, trees, a fountain and a lake, the green is dotted with memorials to eminent Dubliners, including Ardilaun himself.
There is a bust of James Joyce and a memorial by Henry Moore dedicated to WB Yeats. At the Merrion Row corner stands a massive monument by Edward Delaney to 18th century nationalist leader Wolfe Tone – it is known locally as “Tonehenge”. The 1887 bandstand still has free daytime concerts in summer.
The busiest side of the Green is the north, known during the century as the Beaux’ Walk and still home to several gentleman’s clubs.
The most prominent building is the venerable Shelbourne Hotel. Dating back to 1867, its entrance is adorned by statues of Nubian princesses and attendant slaves. It is well worth popping in for a look at the chandeliered foyer and for afternoon tea in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge.
St Stephen’s Green is a must-see attraction on your tours of Dublin.