Merrion Square

A grand Georgian garden square with serious literary pedigree.

TravelCurious Tip

Merrion Square is an easy walk from Trinity College through an attractive area of Dublin – they make a great pairing for a day out in the city.

When Merrion Square was first laid out in 1762 as a fashionable new development for wealthy aristocrats, the area surrounding it was little more than farmland on the southern edge of Dublin. It is some measure of the sheer growth of the Irish capital, then, that this pretty little urban oasis now occupies an expensive area in the centre of the city. Originally, the park that occupies the middle of the square was private, accessible only to the key-holding residents who surrounded it. In the 1970s, it was opened to the public, and now you are free to wander among the trees and flowerbeds at your leisure. Exploring the small park, you will come across a bust of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, as well as a statue of Oscar Wilde reclining nonchalantly on a boulder. Together with the poet and playwright W.B. Yeats, Wilde once occupied one of the fine Georgian red brick houses which occupy three sides of the square.

Bloody Sunday Avenged

These days, the once-residential properties are now largely used for commercial purposes, as well as housing the French and Slovakian embassies. The British Embassy formerly stood at No. 39, until the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland in 1972, after which a crowd of 20,000 angry protesters descended on the site and burned it to the ground. Still, despite their change in occupancy, the architecture of the houses remains unblemished, and is well worth a visit for a glimpse of where the Irish aristocracy once spent their days.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dublin
Trinity College
Ireland's most prestigious university, retaining a tranquil collegiate atmosphere in the midst of the city.
The Book of Kells
Ireland's most treasured medieval manuscript, dating back to the 9th century.
Grand Canal
An iconic canal bank, lovely to walk along.
St Stephen's Green
Maintained in its original Victorian design, St Stephen's Green is a park beloved by locals.
Trinity College Library
Wander through the endless rows of historical novels.
Grafton Street
The most popular shopping street in Dublin!

Related Tours

Dublin's Literary History: A Private Walking Tour
Explore the literary history of Dublin, a city that has produced many famous writers and poets over the centuries – see where they took their inspiration on this private, off the beaten track walking tour. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy a private walking tour of Dublin's rich literary history.
  • Begin in Merrion Square, with a statue of the legendary Oscar Wilde who lived here.
  • Learn about the lives of other famous Irish writers who have called Dublin home - including William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett.
  • Visit several historic bookshops throughout the city, where you will be able to shop for books by the Irish greats, such as Ulysses and Sweny’s Pharmacy.
  • Admire the statue of Yeats in St Stephen's Green.
  • Pop into several pubs throughout Dublin, where noted literary greats used to hang out for a pint, like Toners – favoured by Yeats, and the Dave Byrnes Pub, where Joyce spent time and which appears in his major work Ulysses. 
  • Stop in at the legendary Bewley's on Grafton Street, a very old grand café with mahogany furniture and stained glass windows, where James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett and Sean O’Casey all visited.
  • Finish by crossing the river to the famous Winding Stair Restaurant & Bookstore. 

Ireland, the Emerald Isle, is famed for its lush green rolling landscapes and it's capital city Dublin for its stunning architecture and turbulent political history, so it is no surprise that the country has produced so many famous literary figures! On your private walking tour of beautiful Dublin, with its stunning architecture, wonderful traditional pubs and cafes and antiquated bookshops, you’ll see where figures such as Wilde and Joyce, Yeats and Stoker lived, studied, socialized, and wrote. 

You will begin your private tour in Merrion Square, where many houses have plaques detailing the names of the rich and famous who once lived in the area, including Dublin’s most famous son, the writer and dramatist Oscar Wilde. There is a statue of him in the middle of the square. Wandering on, you’ll spy a statue of Yeats in St Stephen’s Square, and stop in at St Patrick’s Cathedral, where you will hear about the illustrious writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, who had a lifelong connection to the cathedral's Dean and is buried there. Whilst pausing at his tombstone, you will hear about some of Swift's triumphs and greatest controversies. 

Next, find yourself stepping back into the 18th century with a visit to Marsh’s Library. Unchanged for three centuries, this perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment—with its original oak bookcases— houses more than 25,000 rare and obscure books.

On your literary tour of Dublin, you will visit Sweny’s Pharmacy and the literary pub Davy Byrne’s, both famous for their appearance in James Joyce's Ulysses, and are bursting with interesting tidbits about the famous novelist and poet.

UNESCO recognises Dublin as a City of Literature, reflecting the city’s rich and varied history of writers and writing. During your tour, you will meander through the streets, libraries, and book stores which are woven into the stories and lives of Ireland's most celebrated Irish thinkers. From Nobel Literature Prize winners WB Yeats, GB Shaw and Samuel Beckett to its beloved James Joyce, Dublin is brimming with stories of its favourite authors waiting to be heard. 
Full-Day Highlights of Dublin Private Driving Tour
Explore the scenic highlights of Dublin, the beautiful capital city of the Emerald Isle, and learn all about the culture and history of Ireland and her people on this full-day driving tour. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the comfort of a private car on this full-day excursion. 
  • Learn about Dublin's extensive history with your private driver-guide. 
  • Visit 14 Henrietta Street, a perfectly preserved Georgian Building and Tenement Dwelling (tickets included).
  • Stop by Dublin’s many famous landmark sights, including Trinity College, O'Connell Street, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, Phoenix Park and more!
  • Visit the historic and iconic St Patrick’s Cathedral (tickets included) and learn all about the famous patron saint of Ireland – celebrated the world over.
  • End the tour with tickets to the Guinness Storehouse you will be free to explore at your own leisure. Guinness in the panoramic Gravity Bar included.
Note: This tour is only bookable online for up to 3 guests. For larger groups, please get in touch with us.

Learn all about Dublin’s 1,000-year history, from the first Viking settlers to the Norman arrival and the building of the city into what you see today on this full-day driving tour of Ireland’s capital city. Highlights of this tour include the beautiful Georgian squares and parks of Dublin, the Grand Canal Dock, Trinity College area, Temple Bar, O’Connell Street, the Guinness and Jameson areas, the historic Phoenix Park, and Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral and much more.

Your tour includes a visit inside the historic St Patrick’s Cathedral, which dates back to 1211 AD and was lovingly restored in the 1800s by the Guinness family. From St Patrick’s Cathedral, make your way across Dublin to the perfectly preserved Henrietta Street – dating from the Georgian era of the 1700s. You’ll visit number 14 – a remarkable historical townhouse that tells the story of Dublin in the 1800s. This site is closed on Monday and Tuesdays so alternatively, your guide will take you on a tour of the atmospheric Glasnevin Cemetery which has a fascinating history with the burials very much a who's who of Irish history! 

No trip to Dublin would be complete without a taste of Guinness! Your tour ends at the Guinness Storehouse – where you will be free to explore at your own pace and finish with a well-deserved pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar with its stunning panoramic views over the city. Slainte! 


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