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Archbishop Ryan Park, Merrion Square

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"The Victims", a statue group in the Archbishop Ryan Park

© 2005 Bernd Biege licensed to About.com, Inc.

In a Nutshell:

The Archbishop Ryan Park is the park to relax in if you have just visited stately Merrion Square and the Government Buildings. Or the National Gallery. Though the many works of art in the park itself will make you think it is an al fresco extension of the gallery.

Where Will I Find Archbishop Ryan Park?

The park is in the middle of Merrion Square and sometimes known simply under that name as well.

How do I get to Archbishop Ryan Park?

Many bus lines stop at or very near Merrion Square, as do most tour buses. The DART station Pearse Street is not too far away either.

When is Archbishop Ryan Park Open?

Roughly during daylight hours - opening times vary but the park should be open by 9 a.m. The park will be locked up in the evening, refer to the information boards next to the gates to avoid embarrassing situations.

A Short History of the Park:

Originally reserved for the residents of Georgian Merrion Square (laid out in 1762), the park served as a refuge for famine victims in the 19th century. Later it came into the possession of the Catholic church (1920s). The original plan for this prime piece of real estate was to build a cathedral on the grounds. But these ambitious plans never came to fruition and in 1974 Archbishop Ryan presented the park to the City of Dublin.

What can I Expect in Archbishop Ryan Park?

The park is formal and laid out in a clear design - it is nearly impossible to get lost here. Contained within the park are a large number of monuments, from the chair dedicated to comedian Dermot Morgan ("Father Ted") to the multi-colored statue of Oscar Wilde reclining on a rock (affectionately dubbed "The Fag on the Crag" by Dubliners). One monument is not obvious and sometimes puzzling visitors: A raised area of grassland in the south-eastern corner is not an ancient burial site, a disused air-raid shelter is buried underneath it. There is a children's playground in the north-western corner, otherwise the park seems to be the domain of urban white-collar workers taking a break. Take time to enjoy the Georgian houses on Merrion Square proper. And on weekends stroll along the railings and admire the paintings offered for sale.

Is Archbishop Ryan Park Secure?

Generally yes - some (nearly always harmless) street-people may occasionally frequent the fringes and dense shrubbery.

Food and Drink in Archbishop Ryan Park:

There is none - but streets around Merrion Square provide plenty of opportunity to grab a sandwich and coffee.

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