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Excerpt from Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland for the metropolis of Dublin (pub. 1837). For links to more snapshots of pre-famine local history for Dublin city parishes, see below.

The Phoenix Park, situated westward of the city, and north of the Liffey, is 7 miles in circumference, comprising an area of 1759 acres enclosed by a stone wall.

  • Its name is derived from the Irish term Finniske, "a spring of clear water," now corrupted into Phoenix.

A lofty fluted Corinthian pillar resting on a massive pedestal, and having on the abacus a phoenix rising from the flames, was erected near the Lord Lieutenant's lodge by the Earl of Chesterfield when chief governor.

The Vice-regal Lodge was purchased from Mr Clements, by whom it was built, and was originally a plain mansion of brick.

  • Lord Hardwicke, in 1802, added the wings, in one of which is the great dining-hall;
  • the Duke of Richmond, in 1808, built the north portico of the Doric order, and the entrance lodges from the Dublin road; and
  • Lord Whitworth added the south front, which has a pediment supported by four Ionic columns of Portland stone, from a design by Johnston, and the whole of the facade was afterwards altered to correspond with it:
  • the demesne attached to the lodge comprises 162 acres.

The Wellington Memorial occupies an elevated position:

  • It consists of a massive truncated obelisk, 205 feet high from the ground, resting on a square pedestal 24 feet high, based on a platform 480 feet in circuit, and rising by steps to the height of 20 feet.
  • On each side of the pedestal are sunken panels intended to receive sculptures in alto relievo, representing the principal victories of the duke;
  • and on each side of the obelisk are enumerated all his battles, from his first career in India to the victory at Waterloo.
  • In front of the eastern side of the pedestal rises another of small proportions, for an equestrian statue of the duke after his decease. It has been so far completed at an expense of £20,000.

The park contains residences for

  • the ranger,
  • the principal secretary of state,
  • the undersecretary at war,
  • and the undersecretary of the civil department.

The Powder Magazine, erected in 1738, is a square tort, with half bastions at the angles, surrounded by a dry ditch, and entered by a drawbridge; in the interior are the magazines, which are bomb-proof and well secured against accidental fire. It is defended by ten 24-pounders.

Near the Vice-regal Lodge a level space of about 50 acres, cleared of trees, is used as a place of exercise and reviews for the troops of the garrison.

The park also contains

  • the buildings of the Hibernian School for Soldiers' Children,
  • the buildings erected by the Ordnance for the trigonometrical Survey of Ireland,
  • the Military infirmary, and
  • the garden of the Zoological society.

Near one of the entrances to the Vice-regal Lodge, in a wooded glen, is a chalybeate spa surrounded with pleasure grounds, and furnished with seats for invalids, fitted up at the expense of the Duchess Dowager of Richmond for the accommodation of the public.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

GO TO Dublin City in 1837 (Main Index)

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