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