Europe, Ireland

Georgian grace and a learning place

No Comments 10 February 2011

Georgian grace and a learning place

During his 2003 visit to Dublin, the Monkey rambled through a few of the city’s historic squares. He also dropped by one of the capital’s leading universities. Fancy a brisk autumn walk?


Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, Ireland
Dublin’s layout includes a number of well-preserved Georgian era squares. Elegant brick townhouses were built around a central garden. Often, only the residents of the surrounding homes had keys to enter the garden. Here, the Monkey poses atop a solar-powered parking meter in Fitzwilliam Square, which went up between 1791 and 1825. Today, the doors and fanlights of the Georgian townhomes enjoy a certain popularity, and are much photographed.

Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland
The Monkey goes back to nature in the pleasant garden at the heart of Merrion Square, another treasure of Georgian urban planning in Dublin. Laid out in 1762, the square covers 12 acres. Two of Ireland’s literary giants lived on Merrion Square: Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats.

Georgian door, Dublin, Ireland
The Monkey gets in on the action of one recent history’s more curious cults: the Georgian door craze. There is undeniable appeal to the simple symmetry of these portals, and in a funny way they act like the neckties for the buildings, adding a splash of color (red, green, yellow, blue) to the monotone red-orange of the mostly brick townhomes.

Grand Canal, Dublin, Ireland
Near Fitzwilliam Square, the Monkey took a break by the gentle running water of the Grand Canal. Construction of the Grand Canal began in 1755, and it stretches from Dublin into the interior of Ireland through a series of locks like this one. Today, there is considerable interest in reviving the canals and other inland waterways for touristic and commercial purposes.

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College Dublin is one of Ireland’s premier institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1592 on the basis of a charter from Queen Elizabeth I, the university became a centerpiece of the Anglo-Irish Protestant community, rivaling its English cousins Cambridge and Oxford. Among its most renowned graduates are the satirist Jonathan Swift, the United Irishmen rebel leader Wolfte Tone, novelists Samuel Beckett and Bram Stoker, the first president of Ireland Douglas Hyde, and (later) the first female president of Ireland Mary Robinson. Here the Monkey enjoys the interplay of architectural styles in two of the buildings that make up part of Trinity College’s expansive library.



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Ireland

   FAST FACTS


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Population:

4,156,119 (2008)

Land area:

68,890 sq. km.

Capital:

Dublin (pop: 495,781; 2005)

Economy:

In 2006, Ireland ranked 8th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 29th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $52,892.89. Public debt accounts for 24.9 percent of total GDP, while 7 percent of Irish are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

English, Gaelic

Monkey's name:

The Monkey, Ap (Ah-p)

Fun fact:

Ireland’s 1845-1850 potato famine is an infamous historical tragedy that resulted in some one million deaths and mass emigration. But it is also a travesty. While a blight did wipe out potato crops, a staple food of the Irish peasant, Ireland’s farms still produced sufficient food to feed the population. Unfortunately, much of that food was exported to Britain by colonial landlords. Thus the suffering caused by a natural disaster was augmented by profit-oriented human decisions—an unfortunate trend that continues around the world today.



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