Oscar Wilde Monumnent

Merrion Square is the centre of Georgian Dublin located just south east of Trinity College. It was laid out between 1762 and 1764. Three sides of it remain the finest example of Georgian Architecture in Dublin with delightful examples of Georgian doorways, the fourth side being occupied by Leinster House. Up until about 50 years ago, Merrion Square was largely residential but today it is mostly offices. In the past, though, Oscar Wilde's parents lived in Number 1, now the American college, and William Butler Yeats lived in Nos. 52 and 82. Other famous residents include Sheridan Le Fanu (No. 70) and Daniel O'Connell (No. 58).

Originally a private square for residents, it was purchased by the Catholic Church as a possible site for Dublin's first catholic cathedral, but they ran out of funds and it was given to the people of Dublin. A statue of Oscar Wilde is found in the exquisitely manicured gardens of Merrion Square and also the jester's chair dedicated to Dermot Morgan (the star of the ITV series "Father Ted"). The Boulevard Gallery similar to New York's Greenwich Village or Paris's Montmartre, the fence around Merrion Square doubles as a display railing on summer weekends in an outdoor display, this is a chance to "meet-an-artist" as well as to browse or buy.

On the corner of Mount Street and Fitzwilliam Street is Number 29. The former home of a wine merchant's widow has been lovingly restored in every detail to depict a middle class Georgian household. Built in 1794, ambling around this house is a great way to pass an afternoon.

On the west side of Merrion Square, Leinster House is flanked by the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Natural History. The National Gallery of Ireland houses the national collection of Irish art and European master paintings. Admission to the permanent collection is free. The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History has approximately ten thousand animals on display which have been drawn from the museum's collections of over two million specimens. These collections have been accumulating for over two centuries. Today this zoological museum encompasses outstanding examples of wildlife from Ireland and the far corners of the globe, some still to be seen today and others long extinct. Alongside the National Museum of Natural History are Government Buildings, the magnificently restored offices of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and government. They are open to the public on Saturdays. At the corner of Kildare Street the former Kildare Street Club can be admired - look at the curious carvings at the windows, from squirrels playing the lute to monkeys playing pool.

Many of Dublin's best hotels lie in the area around Merrion Square and there is a good selection of restaurants, bars and clubs to keep you entertained.

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