St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin


Last Sunday, after looking round Merrion Square I wandered the short distance over to St Stephen’s Green and did the same. The pleasant park was really bustling with people of all nationalities (it seemed) enjoying the sunshine. And with daffodils and other flowers planted in the flower beds having finally emerged, it really felt that Spring had arrived.

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St Stephen’s Green was originally a marshy common on the edge of Dublin, used for grazing. But in 1663  Dublin Corporation 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. As the South side of Dublin became fashionable Georgian style houses were built around the square. Unfortunately, relatively few of these original buildings remain today

Access to the Green was restricted to local residents until 1877, when the park was opened to be enjoyed by the general public.

This is the Fusiliers’ Arch  at the Grafton Street corner  over the entrance on the north west corner, at the bottom of Grafton Street, Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfare. Erected in 1907 it commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Second Boer War.



This statue of Wolfe Tone stands at the north east entrance.

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On the other side of the wall, inside the park, is a monument to the victims of the Irish Famine.

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Other Irish Patriots are commemorated by monuments in the park.

Countess Constance Markievicz, a revolutionary nationalist and socialist who was second in command of a group of rebels who occupied the park during the 1916 Easter rising.

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This statue of Robert Emmet, leader of the 1803 rebellion, stands opposite his birthplace at 109 St. Stephen’s Green (although the original building is lng gone).


Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was a leader of the Fenians and prominent member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.


There are also a number of monuments to notable writers.

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A very typical work by Henry Moore dedicated to the Irish Poet W B Yeats.

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A bust of James Joyce


This bust of the Indian nationalist and Nobel Prize winning poet Rabindranath Tagore, a friend of W B Yeats, was unveiled on the 17th October 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.


This fountain, featuring the Three Fates inside the gate at the south east corner of the park was a gift from the German people to thank the Irish for help provided to refugees after World War II.



In Bodenstown Cemetery

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Theobald Wolfe Tone is one of the most commemorated Irish patriots. He was born 20 June 1763. Although his family were Protestants, influenced by the ideals of the American and French Revolutions, he became an ardent advocate of Irish emancipation from British rule. He was one of the founders and leaders of the Society of the United Irishmen, an organisation which, as it’s name implied, included both Catholics and Protestants amongst it’s members. There are numerous statues of him in Ireland, including  one by Edward Delaney in Stephens Green, in Dublin, just outside the gate at the north east corner of the park (pictured above).

In 1798, anticipating support from Revolutionary France, the United Irishmen organised an uprising against British rule.  The first action took place in Clane where I’ve been staying this week.

The uprising was a failure and Tone was captured. He was sentenced to be be hanged on 12 November 1798 but before the sentence was carried out he attempted suicide by slitting his throat. He died on 19 November 1798  in Provost’s Prison, Dublin.

While I was in Clane I discovered that he was buried at Bodenstown cemetry, in the grounds of the now disused and derelict Parish Church, which is only a couple of miles from where I’m staying, just off the road from Clane to Salins and Naas. His family had originated from the area and he lived at Blackhall, a short distance from the cemetery, for a while. So one evening after work I drove over to the cemetery to visit his grave and monument.

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Every summer, Irish Republicans from various political and paramilitary groupings hold commemorations at his grave side.

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Tone was a patriotic Irishman who wanted to free his nation from foreign rule, but who opposed the sectarianism which was used to divide the Irish people and which still haunts that divided island today.

"To unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen in order break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, that was my aim".

There’s a ballad, Bodenstown churchyard, about Wolfe Tone. Here’s a version sung by the group named in his honour.