Merrion Square
Merrion Square is a Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

 on the southside of Dublin city centre. It was laid out after 1762 and was largely complete by the beginning of the 19th century. It is considered one of the city's finest surviving squares. Three sides are lined with Georgian redbrick townhouse
A townhouse is the term historically used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in many other countries to describe a residence of a peer or member of the aristocracy in the capital or major city. Most such figures owned one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year...

s; the West side abuts the grounds of Leinster House
Leinster House
Leinster House is the name of the building housing the Oireachtas, the national parliament of Ireland.Leinster House was originally the ducal palace of the Dukes of Leinster. Since 1922, it is a complex of buildings, of which the former ducal palace is the core, which house Oireachtas Éireann, its...

 (seat of the Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

), Government Buildings
Government Buildings
Government Buildings is a large Edwardian building enclosing a quadrangle on Merrion Street in Dublin, Ireland, in which several key offices of the government of Ireland are located...

, the Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum (Ireland)
Ireland's Natural History Museum , often called the Dead Zoo a branch of the National Museum of Ireland, is housed on Merrion Street in Dublin, Ireland...

 and the National Gallery
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland houses the Irish national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the centre of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square, beside Leinster House, and another on Clare Street. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later...

. The central railed-off garden is now a public park.

The Wellington Testimonial to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was originally planned to be located in Merrion Square. However it was built in the Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 16 km perimeter wall encloses , one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the seventeenth...

 after opposition from the square's residents.

Until about the 1950s, the houses in the square were largely residential, but today most of them are used for office accommodation. The Irish Red Cross
Irish Red Cross
The Irish Red Cross Society , commonly referred to as the Irish Red Cross , is the National Red Cross Society in the Republic of Ireland. It was established by Nurse Elizabeth O'Herrin either on 1 July or 1 August 1939 on the approach of the Second World War...

, the Central Catholic Library
Central Catholic Library
The Central Catholic Library is a library located in Dublin, Ireland. It was founded by Fr. Stephen Brown, S.J. on June 25, 1922 with the goal of helping the laity to educate themselves. It is a voluntary subscription library and open to visitors six days a week...

, the Irish Traditional Music Archive
Irish Traditional Music Archive
The Irish Traditional Music Archive – Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann is a national public archive, information centre, and resource centre for everyone with an interest in the contemporary art forms of Irish traditional song, instrumental music, and dance, and in their history.-Collections:The...

 and the Irish Georgian Society
Irish Georgian Society
The Irish Georgian Society aims to encourage an interest in and to promote the conservation of distinguished examples of architecture and the allied arts of all periods in Ireland...

 have their headquarters on the square. The poet W. B. Yeats lived at No 82, and Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847; often referred to as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century...

 at No 58, now home to the Keough-Naughton Center of the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

. The National Maternity Hospital is on the North terrace. A number of houses in the square have plaques with historical information on former notable residents, including A.E. (George William Russell
George William Russell
George William Russell who wrote under the pseudonym Æ , was an Irish nationalist, writer, editor, critic, poet, and painter. He was also a mystical writer, and centre of a group of followers of theosophy in Dublin, for many years.-Organisor:Russell was born in Lurgan, County Armagh...

) and Sheridan Le Fanu
Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era....


The recognised world class Irish American sculptor Jerome Connor
Jerome Connor
Jerome Connor was an Irish sculptor.-Life:...

, best known for his work Nuns of the Battlefield
Nuns of the Battlefield
Nuns of the Battlefield is a public artwork by Irish artist Jerome Connor, located at the intersection of Rhode Island Ave NW, M St & Connecticut Ave NW in Washington, D.C., United States. "Nuns of the Battlefield" surveyed in 1993 by the Smithsonian for their Save Outdoor Sculpture! program...

 in Washington DC, designed the public art piece, "Eire" which is in the square.

Until 1972 the British Embassy was based at No 39; however following the Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (1972)
Bloody Sunday —sometimes called the Bogside Massacre—was an incident on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, in which twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders were shot by soldiers of the British Army...

 shootings in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 a crowd of over 20,000 people converged on the site in protest and the building was burnt to the ground.
The park in the square was called "Archbishop Ryan Park", after Dermot Ryan, the Catholic archbishop
Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic)
The Archbishop of Dublin is the title of the senior cleric who presides over the Archdiocese of Dublin. The Church of Ireland has a similar role, heading the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. In both cases, the Archbishop is also Primate of Ireland...

 who transferred ownership to the city. The square was leased to the Archdiocese of Dublin by the Pembroke Estate in 1930 to permit the building of a Cathedral on the site to replace to the pro-Cathedral
St Mary's Pro-Cathedral
St Mary's Church , known also as St Mary's Pro-Cathedral or simply the Pro-Cathedral, is a pro-cathedral and is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.-Status as "pro-cathedral":...

. Despite efforts over the next 20 years to advance the project, no progress was made and the site was transferred to the city of Dublin in 1974. Now managed by Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council is the local authority for the city of Dublin in Ireland. It has 52 members and is the largest local authority in Ireland. Until 2001, it was known as Dublin Corporation.-Legal status:...

, it contains a statue of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

, who resided in No. 1, Merrion Square from 1855 to 1876, many other sculptures and a collection of old Dublin lamp standard
Street light
A street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road or walkway, which is turned on or lit at a certain time every night. Modern lamps may also have light-sensitive photocells to turn them on at dusk, off at dawn, or activate...

s. In 2009, Dermot Ryan was criticised in the Murphy Report
Murphy Report
The Murphy Report is the brief name of the report of an investigation conducted by government of Ireland into the Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin...

; in January 2010, Dublin City Council sought public views on renaming the Park. In September 2010, the City Council voted to rename the park as Merrion Square Park.

External links

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