St Stephen’s Green on New Year’s Eve

St Stephen’s Green Park.

Harry Warren writes:

St. Stephen’s Green is arguably the prettiest of Dublin’s parks, looking at its elegant design and beautiful gardens it’s hard to believe that it was once a marshy bogland on the edge of the city. It was a “common”, where people brought their livestock to graze free of charge.

In 1663, the city government closed off the centre and the rest of the land was used for development. Private homes were built to surround the edge and what was left of the green space was kept for the wealthy residents who used it and developed it as a private park for their exclusive enjoyment.

Despite many attempts by civic minded folk to open the park to the public it remained in private ownership until 1887.The city passed a new act at the urging of A.E. Guinness (of Guinness brewery fame) to open the park to one and all. Guinness paid for the modern redesign of the park and it formally opened to the people of Dublin in 1880 with some fanfare.

During the 1916 Rising, the park became a battleground when rebel freedom fighters dug trenches and blocked off the roads forming a stronghold against British troops.

Surprisingly in the midst of the carnage of battle, both sides called a short ceasefire to allow the groundskeepers to come and feed the ducks in St. Stephen’s Green pond!

Today unfortunately the duck population has been decimated by seagulls and very few ducks are to be seen in comparison to even a few years ago.

St Stephen’s Green is named after a church (and a leprosy hospital) also called St. Stephen’s which were founded in the area in the 13th century.

Pics by Harry Warren

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9 thoughts on “Harry’s Dublin

  1. d

    Thanks for that Harry. Nice photos.

    Obviously not a fan of Diageo, But the Guinness family seemed to have been quiet good. I heard they once made a bequest to the state that so so big, it accounted for a considerable amount of Irish State Debt.

  2. Bebe

    Love those images Harry. Swan reflection on water is excellent, Thanks for sharing as it’s wonderful to read a little historical piece on the park. I’ve only visited a few times when in Dublin. If lockdown has taught us anything it is to appreciate what is on our doorstep. There are sites of historical or archaeological significance within each community, sadly often unappreciated by us.

    Happy new year to you !

  3. Harry

    A Very Happy & Healthy New Year to d and Bebe and thanks very much for the kind words :)
    Yes d, the history of the park in general is very interesting as there are so many facets to it but that is for another day.
    And Bebe, the Guinness family were very genuine philanthropists both publicly and much less well known privately.

  4. johnny

    -it was a rent/rates dispute around number parking spaces,years after Ralph Slazenger had flipped it ,i was counting them.
    -got caught by security,claimed i forgot where i’d porked my motor,guard filled me in on history of site…
    -was intrigued always by the deal,requested the full file,read it,in it was a valuation report prepared by a white shoe chartered surveyors firm on Fiitzwilliam Sq,the surveyor that wrote it went on to work for NAMA:)

      1. johnny

        -the partner who i was reporting to was chairman of a rival rugby club,i was playing Leinster at the time,he should have left it on the pitch,it soured me on them,they offered pay me during final year of uni,pay off any loans,if i signed…
        took the city (london) offer-thanks for asking:)
        great story for Harry-the Mississippi Steamer beached on the green….h/t Frank McDonald.

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