LivingTravelMerrion Square, Dublin: The Complete Guide

Merrion Square, Dublin: The Complete Guide

Just steps from St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square is a public garden in Dublin. The small park is Dublin’s most beloved Georgian square, meaning that every building on three sides of the park has been designed in red brick Georgian architecture. Merrion Square is the best preserved of Dublin’s five Georgian squares (the others are St. Stephen’s Green, Fitzwilliam Square, Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square).

Merrion Square has been one of Dublin’s most exclusive addresses since the day it was developed. With former residents and famous landmarks, here’s the complete guide to Merrion Square.

The history of Merrion Square

Merrion Square was first developed in 1762 and remains an excellent example of Dublin’s more formal architecture, as well as the city’s aristocratic past. The square was born due to its proximity to the palace built by the Duke of Leinster (which is now the Parliament of Ireland).

Three sides of the park are surrounded by uniform Georgian buildings. The townhomes were built separately for 30 years, but each had to follow strict design instructions to ensure a similar style was used for each.

Until the 1960s, the park was private and only residents were allowed access. The square was turned over to the Dublin Corporation and the city helped restore the park in Georgian style. The park within the plaza was originally named “Archbishop Ryan Park” in honor of the Catholic archbishop who transferred the area to the city. However, it was renamed Merrion Square Park in 2010.

The exclusive square has been home to some of Dublin’s most famous residents. Oscar Wilde lived at 1 Merrion Square, and WB Yeats called 82 his home (but complained that the buildings were drab and 18th-century in style). In addition to the well-to-do artists, the square also attracted politicians and judges. Daniel O’Connell, a key figure in Irish history, lived at 58 Merrion Square.

Things to do in Merrion Square

Merrion Square is primarily a public green space in the center of Dublin. The small park is open during daylight hours and has open lawns and orderly flower beds. The manicured square is a popular spot for a short walk and a green break in the heart of Dublin. The square is particularly frequented by students from nearby Trinity College who come to rest on the lawns on sunny days.

The most famous attraction is the colorful statue of Oscar Wilde perched on a rock in the northwest corner. Another landmark within the park is the Rutland Memorial. The stone monument was once a fountain dedicated to Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland. It was designed to provide water for the poor of the city, and the water flowed from two bronze lion heads that have now been removed.

On Thursdays, a market appears at lunchtime in the square and several stalls offer a wide variety of street food from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm Are you more interested in art? Artists have been known to display their work on the park’s exterior railings, particularly on Sundays.


There are limited facilities in Merrion Square, but the park has a small playground for children that was renovated in 2014. Given Oscar Wilde’s connection to the square, the playground has a theme based on his tale The Selfish Giant .

There are also trails for quiet walks and a central flower garden.

Note that there are no public toilets in Merrion Square, but you can use these facilities at the nearby National Museums, which offer free admission.

What else to do nearby

Three sides of Merrion Square are lined with Georgian buildings. Many of the Georgian buildings that surround the square are privately owned (most are offices), however it is possible to visit a few. No. 63 Merrion Square, for example, is the most intact Georgian building retaining the most original character and the back garden has even been redesigned in Georgian style. It is owned by the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and sometimes hosts public events and conferences.

The fourth side of the square faces the Natural History Museum, Leinster House, and the National Gallery of Ireland.

The National History Museum is part of the National Museum of Ireland and has several permanent exhibits of animals and plants (taxidermy) that have shaped Irish wildlife throughout the centuries.

Leinster House was once the home of the Duke of Leinster in Dublin, but it has served as the House of Parliament for Ireland since 1922. Guided tours are available to the public, but be sure to bring official identification to gain access to this important building. of the government.

The National Gallery of Ireland has a beautiful collection of art, part of which was donated by George Bernard Shaw. The art museum emphasizes Irish artists and displays the work of famous and lesser known national artists. Best of all, the permanent collection is free to visit.

Within walking distance is Trinity College, one of Dublin’s must-see places. Here you can stroll through the beautiful university grounds, take a tour to visit the library, or book a visit to see the famous Book of Kells.

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