Dublin is famous for its many architectural wonders, and many visitors are amazed by the great squares surrounded by Georgian houses on four sides with the now-famous Georgian Doors.
|Start:||The Grand Canal at Baggot St|
|Finish:||St. Stephen’s Green|
|Time:||Allow 2 hours not including interior visits.|
This walk concentrates on many of Dublin’s loveliest 18th century streets, squares, and landmarks, many of which provide an attractive setting for the city’s cultural and literary attractions. Start your walk at Baggot Street, by the:
- Grand Canal
Built in the 18th century to connect Dublin to the Shannon River and the Irish midlands, this is a major example of engineering skills of the period. The towpath on either side of the canal has a rustic character, with terraces of small brick houses, wildfowl and swans on the water, and a series of curved 18th century bridges. At:
- Baggot Street Bridge
Stroll northwest up Baggot Street, which is so named because it is where Baggotrath Castle stood until the early 19th century. Continue up:
- Lower Baggot Street
and you will see perfect specimens of Georgian doorways and homes, turn left onto Upper Fitzwilliam Street and stroll around:
- Fitzwilliam Square
was built in the 1820s. It was the last and smallest of the great Georgian squares to be developed, and its park is the only one of its kind to remain private, for the use of square residents.
- Number Twenty-Nine
is located at 29 Lower Fitzwilliam Street on the corner of Upper Mount Street. This museum re-creates what a Georgian house looked like. On the other side of Upper Mount Street is:
- St. Stephen’s Church
Also known as the “Peppercanister Church” because of its dome’s appearance. Across the street is the east side of:
- Merrion Square
Laid out in the 1760s and open to the public this is considered the core of the best preserved section of Georgian Dublin, it is the setting for many historic and well-tended town houses. Over the years, many were the residences of Dublin’s leading citizens. Walk around the square and you will find plaques commemorating former residents such as Daniel O’Connell (no. 50); William Butler Yeats (no. 82); George Russell (no. 84); and Oscar Wilde and his parents (no.1). If you come during the summer months you will most likely see many artists selling their paintings along the railings outside the park, as pictured here. On the west side of Merrion Square are several importing buildings starting with:
- The National Gallery of Ireland
This purpose-built gallery was opened to the public in 1864. It houses many excellent exhibits, with more than 2,000 works on display. Although there is much emphasis on Irish Landscape art and portraits, every major school of European painting is well represented.
- Leinster House — Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament)
This is the rear of Dáil Éireann, the front can be found on Kildare St. Originally built for the Duke of Leinster in 1745, the building’s Kildare Street façade resembles that of a large town house. Bought by the Royal Dublin Society in 1815. The government obtained it in 1922 for parliamentary use and bought the entire building two years later. Visitors can arrange to tour the main rooms, including the Seanad chamber, and can sit in the public gallery in the Dáil.
To the left is:
- Natural History Museum
This museum is crammed with antique glass cabinets containing stuffed animals from around the world. The Irish room on the ground floor holds exhibits on Irish wildlife. Inside the front door are three huge skeletons of the extinct giant deer, better known as the “Irish elk”. Also on this floor are shelves stacked with jars of bizarre creatures such as octopuses, leeches and worms preserved in embalming fluid.
This street leads to the north side of:
- St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green was enclosed in 1664. The 9 hectare (22 acre) park was laid out in its present form in 1880. Landscaped with flowerbeds, trees, a fountain and a lake, the green is dotted with memorials to eminent Dubliners. The 1887 bandstand is still the focal point for free daytime concerts in summer.
Along the Green is one of Dublin’s landmarks:
- The Shelbourne Hotel
This is one of Dublin’s finest hotels, which dates back to 1824.