An aristocratic park just a few blocks from St Stephen's Square, Merrion Square is bordered on three sides by well-preserved Georgian townhouses with the National Gallery, Natural Museum of Natural History and Leinster House on the remaining end. The prestigious square was also home to distinguished Dubliners such as Oscar Wilde's parents, and writers W.B. Yeats and Sheridan LeFanu.
The rows of stunning Georgian houses are some of Dublin's best examples of this architectural style and boast colourful front doors complete with ornate doorknockers, intricate fanlights and even footscrapers for its formerly well-heeled residents. Today, these houses are mainly used as offices. Within the square, which was laid out between 1762 and 1764, the townhouses are complemented by Merrion Square Park with 4.75 hectares of contoured grass areas, well-maintained lawns and flowerbeds, which can be discovered via sunken meandering paths dotted with sculptures, old lamp posts, the Rutland Memorial and a playground. The square, which was once enjoyed by privileged keyholders only, was designated a public park by the council in 1974.
Every Sunday, the railings on the west, north and east sides of Merrion Square are adorned with colourful paintings for sale by almost 200 artists. A popular drawcard, Merrion Square Open Air Art Gallery is open from 10am to 6:30pm and the waiting list to display and sell artworks is up to 18 months. The square is also home to various events throughout the year and also offers free wi-fi. For a peek inside a Georgian house and an insight into daily life from 1790 to 1820, the Georgian House Museum at No. 29 offers a free tour from the basement to the attic to explore rooms furnished with original artifacts from the era.
To get to Merrion Square, buses 15X, 49X, 50X, 65X and 77X go to the south and east sides of the park.