Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Stephen's Green (Irish: Faiche Stiabhna) is an inner-city public park in Dublin, Ireland. The park is within the city centre, adjoining the nearby shopping area of Grafton Street.
The park is rectangular, surrounded by streets that once formed major traffic arteries through Dublin city centre, although traffic management changes implemented in 2004 have greatly reduced the volume of traffic.

St. Stephen's Green History
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 1800's (see History above).
The grounds are roughly rectangular, measuring (approximately) 550 by 450 metres, and are centred on a formal garden.
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 water fall, spanned by O'Connell bridge, and fronted by an ornamental gazebo. The lakes in the park are fed from the Grand Canal at Portbello.
To the south side of the main garden circle is more open heath surrounding a bandstand, and often frequented by lunching students, workers and shoppers on Dublin's sunnier days.
Other notable features and include:

the Fusilier's Arch (first termed "Traitors Gate" by Redmondites) at the Grafton Street corner which commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who lost their lives in Second Boer War.
a group representing the Three Fates inside the Leeson Street gate (a gift from the German people in thanks for Irish help to refugees after World War II)
a seated statue of Lord Ardilaun on the western side, the man who gave the Green to the city, facing the 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 1798. Flanked by monoliths, it was immediately nicknamed 'Tonehenge'.
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. Park layout
Iveagh House on the South side was created from the joining of two earlier houses (numbers 80 and 81) by Benjamin Guinness in the 1860s. It was donated to the Irish State by the Guinness family in 1939, and now houses the main offices of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.
Also on the South side of St. Stephen's Green are Newman House (numbers 85 and 86, after John Henry Newman) and University Church. These are home to the Catholic University of Ireland, which was founded in the 19th Century. It is linked with University College Dublin, but is no longer active educationally in its own right.
The Unitarian Church, Dublin, built in the Gothic revival style, is located on the West side of St. Stephen's Green.
Also on the West side is the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (number 123), home to one of the Republic of Ireland's five medical schools.
On the West side, at the top of Grafton Street, is the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, built in October 1988. It was, at the time, Ireland's largest shopping centre. Its style was intended to represent a conservatory on the side facing the Green and to mirror the brickwork design of the opposing Gaiety Theatre on South King Street.
Opposite the shopping centre, forming an entrance to the park, is the Fusilier's Arch, erected in 1907. This commemorates members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers killed in the Second Boer War.
On the North side of St. Stephen's Green, there were three but are now two clubs (originally gentlemen's clubs): the Hibernian United Services Club (number 8, closed in 2002), the Stephen's Green Hibernian Club (number 9, originally the Stephen's Green Club, prior to its merger with the Hibernian United Services Club) and the University and Kildare Street Club (number 17). This side of the Green also has the historic hotel, The Shelbourne.
Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, one of Ireland's best-known fee-paying schools for girls, is located at number 53, on the East side of the Green.
St. Vincent's Hospital, now located in a suburb on the southside of Dublin, was formerly located in buildings on the East side of St. Stephen's Green and on Leeson Street.

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