One of Dublin's most interesting outdoor attractions, this 27-acre parcel of public land remains lush and green throughout most of the year. The main entrance to the green is located at the gate facing Grafton Street, known as Fusilier's Gate.
Located in the Old City, it served as a common village area until it was enclosed in 1664. At that point, it was mainly used as a public punishment centre for criminals. From 1814 to 1880, the land was turned into a private park, which was not a popular decision among the citizens. In 1870, Sir Arthur Guinness, also known as Lord Ardiluan, pursued an act of parliament that made St Stephen's Green a free access public parcel for all citizens to enjoy. Guinness saw to it that the parklands were re-landscaped, complete with lush lawns, flower beds, a man-made lake and a Victorian bandstand that hosts occasional free concerts to this day.
Stephen's Green Today
Strolling paths crisscross the acreage, and a variety of waterfowl nest here. Statues abound, including a bust of James Joyce sculpted by Henry Moore, and a memorial to Yeats. Also interesting and whimsical is a gathering of bronze female figures known as The Fates. On the north side of St. Stephen's Green is an area once known as Beaux Walk. In the 18th century, it was made up of a row of townhouses containing a group of highly popular gentleman's clubs. Today, the noted Shelbourne Hotel is located there.
Wolfe Tone Monument
Near Merrion Row stands a huge monument to Wolfe Tone, created in 1967 by Edward Delaney. This semicircle of huge stone columns is nicknamed "Tonehenge". It is dedicated to the memory of Theobald Wolfe Tone, born in 1763, and an alumni of Trinity College. Tone was widely known and revered as a revolutionary who made many valuable contributions to the battle for the independence of his country. St Stephen's Green is a restful oasis in the middle of city life, and contains items of interest for all "visitors to Dublin, even including a sensory garden for visually impaired visitors to enjoy.
Fusilier's Gate at St. Stephen's Green. Image by Jim Nix.