Hey ISI students! Next time you want to take a break from studying English in Dublin, you might consider heading to Saint Patrick’s Park!
Saint Patrick’s Park was founded in July 1902 by King Edward VII. The park gets its name from its proximity to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a very historical building whose spire has been recently renovated. The cathedral is famous for its association with Jonathan Swift, who was the Dean of the cathedral from 1713 until his death in 1745. He was a prolific author, and is best known for A Modest Proposal, A Tale of a Tub and especially Gulliver’s Travels, which became a popular children’s book worldwide (despite being intended by the author as a very adult and grownup satire!).
The Christmas carol service in the cathedral is particularly popular. Many concerts are held there, and there is a strong musical tradition.
Next to the park and the cathedral, in Saint Patrick’s Close, sits Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School and Choir School – the latter is the oldest school in the country, founded in 1432 – sixty years before Christopher Columbus landed in America! The musical tradition is continued here, and music is strongly emphasised on the school’s curriculum.
A plaque in the park marks the site where there was a holy well – it was here in the fifth century that Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, is reputed to have blessed and baptised many people and converted them to his faith.
Things to do and see in Dublin
Saint Patrick’s Park is very centrally located and extremely convenient to get to. It’s a great place for coffee or a picnic and a catchup chat with a friend.
In a southeastern corner of the park, you will find the Tram Cafe on site, which serves very good coffee and food. Seats and benches are plentifully provided and there’s plenty of room to chill out and relax in the sun. There is a children’s playground in the park and also many elaborate fountains.
Towards the east side of the park, there is a long frieze (known as ‘The Literary Parade’) with sculpted images in relief of many of Ireland’s great writers: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, James Clarence Mangan, Oscar Wilde, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, Eilis Dillon, and, of course, Jonathan Swift, the Dean of the Cathedral and the one most closely associated with this locality.
So next time you’re an ISI student taking a breather from studying English in Dublin, give Saint Patrick’s Park a chance! It’s an oasis of peace and placidity in the middle of a metropolis. Enjoy!