Lord Ardilaun (Sir Arthur Edward Guinness) and Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin

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On the west side of Saint Stephen's Green the visitor to this fine Dublin park will find a grand statue to Lord Ardilaun or Sir Arthur Edward Guinness, great-grandson of the famous brewer and founder of Guinness.

Many users of Dublin's tram, the Luas, will undoubtedly see his sedentary position from just inside the park.

The statue was erected to the businessman, politician and philanthropist in 1892.

He bought Saint Stephen's Green and after some landscaping it was opened to the public of Dublin in 1880, the park had previously been a commons and by law a place for the citizens from at least the 17th century but in the years preceding his philanthropic gesture it had become a private park, access to which was only possible to those wealthy enough to rent keys to the locked gates; the poor of Dublin had no access to this fine central park in the city.

Indeed the city authorities had planned to sell off the park for development in the early years of the 19th century but were prevented from doing so and it became a private place from 1814 after having become quite neglected. In the 18th century the park and its surrounds were the place to be seen, especially after Grafton Street was built in 1703, but by the early 19th century control was handed over to the local householders who closed it to the public.

Saint Stephen's Green first had professional gardeners in 1670.

Lord Ardilaun's father, the grandson of Arthur Guinness, also has a statue, in this case outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral as he spent a considerable amount of money refurbishing the important building in the 1860s.

Ardilaun is derived from the Irish for High Island or Ard Oilean and he acquired vast areas of land in County Galway close to Cong including Ashford Castle.

And what better time to view the statue than now in spring, surrounded by colourful crocus flowers as in the image here above.

Last modified on Monday, 02 March 2020 01:45
Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.


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