St Stephen’s Green is a blooming haven right in the center of the south side of Dublin. Located just at the top of Grafton Street, the main pedestrian shopping street, this Dublin City park is a perfect escape from the nearby bustle. A pond in the center of the park is always home to swans, ducks, and other birds. During a walk through the park you are sure to see local families feeding the ducks some bread, so bring some along yourself if you want to join in. The manicured gardens have plenty of benches, and on a sunny day there’s almost no better place in the city for a picnic.
Fountains, winding paths, tall trees, and intricate landscaping are all characteristics of St Stephen’s Green. The park is divided into several areas with different functions; if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax on a bench, you will find the perfect spot. On the other hand, the center of the park is often quite bustling with life, especially during lunch time. An ornamental gazebo is a great place to relax during a brief rain shower, and there is even a playground area reserved for sports and children’s play. This Dublin City park often hosts free concerts at lunch time as well, which are always a pleasant entertainment option if you happen to be in the area.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is located at one corner of the park, just across the road from the Fusilier’s arch. This indoor mall has a variety of stores, coffee shops, and a food court. There is also a grocery store, called the food hall, downstairs in the department store Dunnes. If you’re looking to create a cheap but gourmet picnic, head into Dunnes at Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre for some supplies. On a sunny day, the mall is also a popular place to purchase ice cream to bring out into the park.
St Stephen’s Green is one of the most prestigious addresses in the city. The five-star Shelbourne Hotel is located on the green, as are gourmet restaurants including Shanahan’s and Bentley’s. The park itself has modest beginnings, and during the seventeenth century it was little more than a marshy area on the edge of Dublin. Today it is surrounded by bustling traffic on all four sides, and it contains many statues commemorating local heroes. A bust of James Joyce, statue of Robert Emmet, bust of the Countess Constance Markiewicz, and a Dublin Famine Memorial all adorn different areas of the park.
For many locals, their favorite part of this Dublin City park is the central formal gardens. No matter what time of year you visit, you are sure to encounter gardeners diligently planting different varieties of flora. Daffodils are the first bloom in the spring and different hues of various flowers remain all summer long. It’s hard to believe crossing the road from the bustle of Grafton Street and the Stephen’s Green shopping centre that such a quiet sanctuary could be next door. Many transport lines, including buses and the LUAS tram, leave from St Stephen’s Green, meaning that it is easy to reach other top attractions in the city from this central location.