24 August 2012
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí, will this evening (6pm) officially launch a special exhibition of rare architectural drawings from the National Archives to mark the 250th anniversary of the creation of Merrion Square. This exhibition, in the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, is part of Fáilte Ireland’s initiative to promote Dublin’s Merrion Square as a unique and vibrant cultural and tourist attraction and will be followed by an Open day on the Square tomorrow (Saturday 25th August) and a month of activities throughout September.
The exhibition will contain maps and documents relating to the creation of the Square in 1762. The first drawings of the Square, commissioned by Viscount Fitzwilliam and drawn by Jonathan Barker are included in the exhibition. Some of the drawings are available to view here [Merrion Square – National Archives National-Archives-Drawing-2011-2-2-6 National-Archives-Drawing-2011-2-2-9 Drawings: National Archieves 4.4MB].
The Architectural Archive has been actively working with Fáilte Ireland to develop Merrion Square as a more vibrant cultural quarter in Dublin. In working to raise public awareness of the cultural gems in Merrion Square, it came to the attention of the Archive that 2012 actually marked the 250th Anniversary of the creation of Merrion Square and it was decided that now would be the perfect time to mount an exhibition of the original Pembroke Estate Papers held in the National Archives to mark this major milestone in the history of Dublin’s development.
Speaking today, the Lord Mayor emphasised:
“Normally when we speak of urban renewal, we think of new bricks and mortar. However, the participants in this Merrion Square initiative have shown that renewal can also take place through new ways of working together, working smarter and working with a common purpose. I am sure that those who originally drafted these plans for the Square 250 years ago would be immensely pleased with the civic spirit and public interest that this part of our city continues to inspire”.
Tomorrow, Saturday 25 August, will see Merrion Square celebrate a specially organised Open Day - a day of special events celebrating the rich and diverse heritage of the Square and its surroundings. Visitors will have an opportunity to see properties not often open to the public and enjoy special talks, walks, and music in a programme with something for everyone. For more information, anybody interested can visit [Merrion-Square-Open-Day-Flyer 1.40MB].
Next month there will also be themed “September in The Square” activities which will include walking tours, mid-week lunchtime music performances and talks in key buildings as well as special events on Culture Night (Friday September 21st). The programme will give people the opportunity to see inside key buildings on the square, and experience events in some of Dublin's most beautiful rooms. A full outline of the month’s activities can be accessed here [September-on-the-Square-Programme 820kB].
Speaking today, Mr Aidan Pender, Director of Strategic Development with Fáilte Ireland, pointed out:
“For us, this Merrion Square initiative makes great tourism sense. Last year alone, the museums and institutions on Merrion Square attracted over 1.6 million visitors but I believe there is huge potential to increase the number coming to this part of Dublin. These events will help us paint Merrion Square as a ‘go-to’ place for local and overseas culture seekers who will appreciate and enjoy its rich history, architecture and heritage. Furthermore, the lessons learnt from this project are already providing us with a model for renewal which we can replicate in other parts of the city and, indeed, the country”.
Merrion Square has an abundance of strengths from its strong Georgian heritage, cultural institutions, leisure facilities, and its political, social and scientific history. The Merrion Square initiative emerged from ideas that were generated during a Fáilte Ireland Innovation programme, aided by significant expertise and assistance from the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, where 37 stakeholders on the Square were invited to come together to unlock the potential of Merrion Square as a key cultural destination.
For further information please contact:
Alex Connolly – Head of Communications, Fáilte Ireland
086 7966320 / 01 8847884