St Stephen’s Green (Irish: Faiche Stiabhna) is a city centre public park in Dublin, Ireland. The current landscape of the park was designed by William Sheppard. It was officially re-opened to the public on Tuesday, 27 July 1880 by Lord Ardilaun.The park is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street, and to a shopping centre named for it, while on its surrounding streets are the offices of a number of public bodies as well as a stop on one of Dublin’s Luas tram lines.
How to get there and Opening Hours
St Stephen’s Green Park is open all year round. Monday – Saturday: 7.30am – dusk. Sunday and bank holidays: 9.30am – dusk. Approximate times of dusk are 4.30-6pm (Jan-Feb), 6.30-8.30pm (Mar-Apr), 9pm (May-July), 7-8.30pm (Aug-Sep), 4-6.30pm (Oct-Dec).
St Stephen’s Green Park is located in St Stephen’s Green Square, in Dublin 2. The main entrance is through the Fusiliers’ Arch, at the top of Grafton Street.
Most buses serve the city centre, and stop near St Stephen’s Green Park. Check the Dublin Bus website for up to date schedules. The Luas tram green line also terminates at the park; get out at the stop for ‘St Stephen’s Green’.
It is often informally called Stephen’s Green. At 22 acres (8.9 ha), it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. Others include nearby Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square. The park is rectangular, surrounded by streets that once formed major traffic arteries through Dublin city centre, although traffic management changes implemented in 2004 during the course of the Luas works have greatly reduced the volume of traffic.
These four bordering streets are called, respectively, St Stephen’s Green North, St Stephen’s Green South, St Stephen’s Green East and St Stephen’s Green West. Until 1663 St Stephen’s Green was a marshy common on the edge of Dublin, used for grazing. In that year 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 new buildings in 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.
Fusiliers’ Arch, erected in 1907 In 1814 control of St Stephen’s Green passed to Commissioners for the local householders, who redesigned its layout and replaced the walls with railings. After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria suggested that St Stephen’s Green be renamed Albert Green and have a statue of Albert at its centre, a suggestion rejected with indignation by the Dublin Corporation and the people of the city, to the Queen’s chagrin.
Access to the Green was restricted to local residents, until 1877, when 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 Park, Raheny and at Ashford Castle. He later paid for the laying out of 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 Department of External Affairs (now the 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, his second-in-command Kit Poole, and Constance Markievicz, established a position in St Stephen’s Green.
They numbered between 200 and 250. 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 northeastern 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.During the Rising, fire was temporarily halted to allow the park’s groundsman to feed the local ducks.
Layout of the Park- Wikipedia
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 19th century. Architectural history professor Christine Casey states that this restoration obscures what would have been its most impressive feature to 18th century visitors, its large size. The grounds are roughly rectangular, measuring (approximately) 550 by 450 metres, and are centred on a formal garden.
By 1758, the tree lined walks around the park had been named, Beaux Walk to the north, Leeson’s Walk to the south, Monck’s Walk to the east, and French Walk to the west.
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 waterfall, spanned by O’Connell bridge, and fronted by an ornamental gazebo. The lakes in the park are fed from the Grand Canal at Portobello.
There is also a playground (separated into junior and senior areas) which was refurbished in 2010.
The park once featured a statue of King George II on horseback by John van Nost, erected in 1758, until it was blown up in 1937 by Irish Republicans, the day after the coronation of George VI.
Other notable features include:
- the Fusiliers’ Arch at the Grafton Street corner which commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Second Boer War.
- a fountain representing the Three Fates inside the Leeson Street gate. The statue was designed by Joseph Wackerle in bronze in 1956. It was a gift from the German people in thanks for Irish help to refugee children following World War II. Up to five hundred children found foster-homes in Ireland in a project named Operation Shamrock.
- a seated statue of Lord Ardilaun on the western side, the man who gave the Green to the city, facing the Royal 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 the 1798 rebellion.
- 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.
- a memorial bust of Thomas Kettle, a fatality of the Great War. The attempt to erect a commemorative portrait bust of Kettle was beset by controversy until it was finally placed, without official unveiling, in the centre section.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is a large indoor shopping centre located at the top of Grafton Street on the Southside of Dublin. It is named after St. Stephen’s Green, a major city park situated across the road from its main entrance. Its street address is Stephen’s Green West.
Located in the heart of the most prestigious shopping and cultural area of Dublin city centre, Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre hosts a wide variety of top retailers, including household names like Dunnes Stores, Argos, Boots, Eason, United Colors of Benetton, Mothercare, Elverys, Golden Discs and TK Maxx.
Leading home grown retailers, such as Best Menswear, Raidar and Tribe carry all the premium names and brands found in any of the top European shopping destinations. We also cater to those with slightly more eclectic tastes, with stores such as Asha, Cactus, and Retro Nation stocking everything from Goth fashions to quirky gifts.
Also a one stop shopping destination for tourists, visitors from overseas can find all kinds of high-end gifts and souvenirs at a variety of Irish craft and gift stores, including, The Donegal Shop, Carroll’s Irish Gifts and Celtic Spirit. For those wishing to take a break from shopping or sightseeing, Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre has a huge variety of top quality cafes, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes