The way the city grew.
The new wide streets and the squares reflected the importance
of Dublin. The expansion of the city towards the east and south-east
was particularly significant and that expansion was greatly
facilitated by the reclamation of land from the shallow estuary
of the Liffey. Already by the seventeen-twenties, the Dawson
the Molesworth Street areas were being developed. The Mansion
House was bought by the Corporation and despite later alterations,
happily much of original house remains.
before the end of the seventeenth century, plots of land were
being sold around the margins of St. Stephen's Green and on
the nearby Fitzwilliam Estate some of the most exciting building
work took place. From the seventeen-fifties onwards, for about
a century, great houses were put up around Merrion Square,
which was laid out as a private park. Then followed Fitzwilliam
Square and thoroughfares like Fitzwilliam and Baggot streets
gave a sense of space and dignity to the new quarter.
most cohesive estate in Dublin was laid out between 1760 and
1850. The land acquired by the Fitzwilliam family was leased
as a block from the City Corporation and as it was a single
block, this lent it a cohesiveness that was lacking in the
Gardiner Estate which was developed and bought in small parcels.
Their first project was Merrion street in 1758 which was laid
out to run parallel to Kildare Street and backing on to the
gardens and garden front of Leinster House (see picture),
home of the Earls of Kildare, and now our Government Buildings.
street narrows at the top where it meets St Stephen's green
- a typical happening in Dublin where there was no cohesive
planning between various estates. It was quickly built on
and plans were made for Merrion Square using Merrion street
as one side. The square was designed by James Ensor, the planner
of Rutland Square and was designed to be 1500 ft long. As
built it was 1150 x 650 and the positioning of exit streets
at the corners laid the plan for the rest of the estate. Of
this was laid Mount Street Upper and Mount Street Crescent
as well as Fitzwilliam Street.
Fitzwilliam Street (see picture), forms the eastern
side of both Merrion and the later Fitzwilliam Square and
is a long expanse of Georgian architecture terminated by Holles
Street Maternity Hospital. Holles Street was designed to run
off the square from the corner but was dislocated to allow
for the building of Antrim House, now the site of the Hospital.
Fitzwilliam Square was designed from 1789 but was not developed
until the first decades of the 19th century.