Anyone who’s a lover of Jane Austen and Bath will love Dublin’s Merrion Square with its splendid Georgian architecture on three sides. These tall, stately homes housed some of the city’s finest and most creative minds over the past 200 or odd years.
Poet and playwright W B Yeats for instance once lived at number 82 and Oscar Wilde spent his childhood at number 1 Merrion Square. Bram Stoker was a regular visitor to Lady Wilde’s salons and the 19th century politician and ‘liberator of the Catholics’ Daniel O’Connell wrote many of his emancipation speeches at his desk in number 58 Merrion Square.
Architecture and culture abounds in the Square The square – which only celebrated its 250th anniversary last year - is worth a visit just for the distinguished former residents in itself (look out for the blue plaques) and the presence of the National Gallery of Ireland, Natural History Museum and the garden of Leinster House on the fourth side. But where the square gets really exciting is when the annual festival September on The Square begins.
During this time a peek in to some of those beautiful drawing rooms is permitted on the odd occasion – even though entrance (and general nosiness) is forbidden for the rest of the year. That was definitely the part we liked best – the uncovering of some incredible interior design. In September, guided tours round the Square will also introduce you to the history of its stately architecture and tales of the families and characters who once lived within certain establishments. These are aptly named Weekend Wonder events. Look out too for Georgian dancing on the square and even a Georgian meal.
Live Dublin Culture at Merrion Square in September Other visitors to Merrion Square may be more in tune with the lunchtime music every Tuesday in September. On the four Thursdays in the month there’ll be talks. Meanwhile, the best thing about the Merrion Square September events is that – with the exception of the meal – none of them cost a penny (or rather a Euro).
And talking of the meal, that’ll be held once again at number 66 Merrion Square and we’re kind of hoping this year’s hosts will be Queens of Neon and Wildside Catering once again. During the remainder of the year the Square boasts a Sunday Open Art Gallery where you could find yourself mixing and mingling with some of Ireland’s great future artists.
Meanwhile as your making your way towards the Square it wouldn’t do any harm to turn swiftly left at the O’Callaghan Mont Clare Hotel and make your way towards the Sweny Chemist. For if you’ll do you’ll bump in to the statue of possibly Dublin’s most famous literary son – James Joyce. Seems you can’t go anywhere in this city without a reminder of its literary talent. Not that we’re complaining. Far from it.
If you’re planning a cultural break to Dublin in September then take a look at our hotel website to make sure you don’t suffer the stress of last-minute booking. Images via www.veneer.com
Susan is super passionate about hotels and in a past life was a travel writer and hotel critic. As a Dublin native she also loves everything about the city and wants to share her knowledge on all the best bits.