Continuing the Parks Series...
Two miles due west of City Centre, just south of the River Liffey is the Kilmainham (kill-MAIN-um) neighborhood (NAY-ber-hood). It is one of Dublin's most historic, and not for all pleasant reasons. In fact, is there any neighborhood in Dublin famous because of something really pleasant and peaceful? Dublin really has a turbulent past, and a turbulent present depending on your location and time of day.
One of the fixtures of Kilmainham is the former Royal Hospital Kilmainham, formerly a British military veterans retirement home, now the Museum of Modern Art. On a recent visit to the neighborhood, I didn't have time for a walk through the museum, but I did want to visit the attached gardens, one of the nicest public parks in Dublin.
|Looking North from the South Edge|
The gardens were part of the original hospital grounds in the seventeenth century. The trendy style at the time was that of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris. This garden was and is laid out and maintained like a mini Versailles. The above photo is looking north across the whole park from the Royal Hospital building. In the distance, the white obelisk is the Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park, north of the River Liffey.
|Rods and Cones|
|Paths, Benches, and, Carefully Trimmed Hedges|
|Fountain of the Clay People, Royal Hospital Kilmainham Behind|
At the south edge of the garden is my favorite spot. I call it the Fountain of the Clay People. To the sci-fi/fantasy nerd in me, the fountain looks to show humanoid figures made of clay or mud rising from the fountain. In the fantasy genre, they would be Clay Golems. I'm sure it has some other significance and is probably dedicated to people who died horribly, but I didn't write down the title or the significance.
|Clay Golem (D&D)|
I feel like this should have a Dublin rhyming nickname, like The Hags with the Bags, The Tart with the Cart, The Stiletto in the Ghetto, The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, and many others not to be used on a family-friendly blog.
...Maybe The Golems at the Garden? nope- rhyming, not alliteration.
...The Horror at the Tor-er...? That's not a word. I'm not good at this. Better leave it to those cheeky Dubliners to devise sarcastic rhyming names for their monuments.
Totally Unsolicited Travel Tips
- The Royal Hospital is adjacent to Kilmainham Gaol. If you visit the gaol on a hop-on/hop-off bus tour and you have some extra time, give the gardens a look. Just cross South Circular Road and enter the very out-of-place-looking tower gate. A long, straight footpath leads right to the Hospital building. The gardens are just north (left) of the hospital entrance.
- For tourists, the cheapest trip to this neighborhood (not considering the 40-minute walk from City Centre) is the Luas Red Line. Take it going west from City Centre and exit at Heuston Station. Take St. John's Road west along the station, then Military Road south the the hospital entrance. In this case, the gardens will be to the right of the hospital entrance.