Kings Inns Park

Kings Inns Park

If you’re an ISI student taking a break from studying English in Dublin, why not head down to Kings Inns Park?

Kings Inns Park
Kings Inns Park

Kings Inn Park is very close to ISI, some 10-15 minutes walk from both of our properties. Though Kings Inns Park is not open on weekends, it is open every Monday to Friday until 7:30pm. It is a great place to enjoy a coffee on a bench from one of the many nearby cafes and admire the fine statues.

Brief History of Kings Inns Park

The Kings Inns buildings themselves were founded in 1541, Ireland’s legal school, under the charter of the Tudor King Henry VIII of England. The buildings still standing there today were designed by the famous architect James Gandon. The public park was a later addition. One route to Kings Inns Park takes you there via Henrietta Street, which was once Dublin’s finest Georgian street. Today, no. 14 Henrietta Street is now a museum, and excellent tours occur there, giving one a real insight into life as it was once lived in the Dublin tenement buildings at the time.

Henrietta Street view of Kings Inns Park
Henrietta Street view of Kings Inns Park

Kings Inns Park as a filming location

While the legal chambers themselves are very seldom open to the public, the buildings and the grounds have proved to be a popular filming location over the years. Many movie and television productions have been shot here, among them Ordinary Decent Criminal, The Professor and the Madman, Evelyn, Penny Dreadful, and many more. The sight of crowded buses filled with film crews has become a familiar one in Kings Inns Park over the years. The chances are that you have seen this location in a film without knowing it! Most recently, in 2021, the Disney production Disenchanted (sequel to their previous Enchanted) was filming here – or so it has been rumoured…

The Hungry Tree of Kings Inns Park

The Hungry Tree of Kings Inns Park
The Hungry Tree of Kings Inns Park

The so-called ‘Hungry Tree’ is a striking example of nature asserting its dominance over the manmade. It is located near the south gate of Kings Inns Park. One may see the rare spectacle of a healthy tree seemingly absorbing or eating an unlucky bench located very close to it! The bench seems to be literally lifted off its feet as the tree ingests it – a very singular and perhaps unique phenomenon. The tree is about 80-90 years old and much loved by Dubliners.

Kings Inns is also the partial setting for the short story ‘A Little Cloud’ from James Joyce’s famous collection, Dubliners. In this passage, the protagonist Little Chandler leaves the legal chambers and encounters some impoverished children on the street:

…He emerged from under the feudal arch of the King’s Inns, a neat modest figure, and walked swiftly down Henrietta Street…A horde of grimy children populated the street. They stood or ran in the roadway, or crawled up the steps before the gaping doors, or squatted like mice upon the thresholds…He picked his way deftly through all that minute vermin-like life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral mansions in which the old nobility of Dublin had roistered.

So there you have it! Next time an ISI student takes a break from studying English in Dublin, they could not do better than heading down to the nearby Kings Inns Park. It’s a fascinating area rich in cultural and historical associations. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.