Merrion Square, the heart of Georgian Dublin, has an exciting cultural and events programme happening this year which is positioning it as a “go-to” place for national and international culture seekers. Enabled by Fáilte Ireland, the stakeholders and community around Merrion Square have come together to build awareness of the area’s rich history and heritage, and to stimulate civic pride. This is especially apt for 2012 as Merrion Square is celebrating its 250th anniversary.
Merrion Square has an abundance of strengths from its strong Georgian heritage, cultural institutions, leisure facilities, and its political, social and scientific history. Mapped out 250 years ago in 1762, it has fine Georgian Houses on three sides and the garden of Leinster House and The National Gallery and Natural History Museum on the 4th.
Today many of the houses are predominantly used as office space but there is a wealth of history attached. Oscar Wilde lived as a child at 1 Merrion Square, where Bram Stoker also spent a lot of time attending Lady Wilde’s salons, while W. B. Yeats lived at No 82, and Daniel O’Connell at No 58.
The Square is well known for its Sunday Open Art Gallery and is home to diverse organisations such the National Maternity Hospital, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, the Irish Architectural Archive, the Irish Georgian Society, the Society of Antiquarians, the College of Anaesthetists and the Irish Red Cross. It has a stunning public park at the centre of the Square which provides an appealing and relaxing atmosphere for locals and visitors alike, and now has a mobile café operated by Tir na nOg called “Coffee in the Park” situated near the East entrance.
September on The Square activities included walking tours, mid-week lunchtime music performances and talks in key buildings as well as special events on Culture Night and Open Day. The programme gave visitors unique opportunities to see inside key buildings on the square, and to experience events in some of Dublin’s most beautiful rooms.
September on the Square was followed by Supper on the Square on the 10th of November, a unique dining experience held at No 63 Merrion Square and hosted by the Queens of Neon and Wildside Catering. You’ll find photos of this extravagantly mischievous evening here.
Soon enough, it was time for Christmas on the Square as No 45 Merrion Square hosted a hugely successful Irish Design Pop-Up Shop on the 1st of December, with nearly 2,000 visitors coming to do their Christmas shopping and enjoy The Merrion Hotel’s mulled wine for the day.