Visit Dublin's most iconic squares

Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

With their distinctive characters, each square provides its own take on the city.

Placed close to all the hotspots they're perfect for taking a break and people watching. A treat to visit anytime, these diverse spaces also become outdoor venues throughout the year for cultural, arts and family friendly events. Scattered throughout the capital, meet the most popular local Dublin squares to escape the busyness of the city centre.

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St Stephen’s Green

Opened in 1880, St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s most well known Georgian square. A peaceful haven next to bustling Grafton Street, it’s a leafy hub in the heart of the city centre. The park is filled with 15 public sculptures, including a bust of literary giant James Joyce.

As a cultural spot, you might hear lunchtime concerts at the bandstand or time a trip for the annual Peoples Art Exhibition. Find The Little Museum of Dublin at the park’s north end for a whirlwind tour of local history through donated objects. The museum also does a Green Mile walking tour of the park daily. To the south side of St Stephen’s Green is the Museum of Literature of Ireland (MoLI). After seeing exhibitions on Irish writers and their work, pause for a snack at the Commons Café and enjoy it in the Courtyard Garden outside on fair days.

Media captionWander through St Stephen’s Green.

Mountjoy Square

In a central location on the northside, this small but perfectly formed square is surrounded by Georgian homes. If the street scene here looks familiar, it was one of the Dublin locations used in the movie 'Once'. Inside the park, look out for two trees surrounded by mosaics depicting traveller life, commissioned by the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre. 

Mountjoy Square has captured the imagination of Dublin’s literary giants for centuries. James Joyce featured it twice in 'Ulysses' and playwright Sean O’ Casey based the setting of his 'Dublin Trilogy' on his former tenement home at number 35. The square is only a few streets across from the James Joyce Centre and contemporary Olivier Cornet Gallery.

Merrion Square

Step back in time at Merrion Square, where the architecture has remained unchanged for over two hundred years. The west side of the square has the Natural History Museum, National Gallery and Leinster House. Once the largest aristocratic residence in Dublin, the latter now hosts the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament).

The square has seen its share of famous faces, with poet WB Yeats and author Oscar Wilde both being former residents. As you walk through the square’s park, keep an eye out for a cheeky statue of Wilde at the northwest entrance. The green space also hosts cultural events throughout the year, with a family-friendly summer highlight being the Dublin Maker event in July.  

Media captionJourney back in time at Merrion Square.

Parnell Square

Sitting at the end of O’Connell Street, Parnell Square is the oldest Georgian square in the city. With its well preserved historical feel, the square provides treats for heritage and culture lovers at the Garden of Remembrance and nearby Hugh Lane Gallery.

From here, it’s only a 5 minute walk to the main northside shopping area of Henry Street. You can browse the big department stores or explore the traditional stalls on nearby Moore Street, where a market has run for over three hundred years.

Temple Bar Square

In the heart of bohemian Temple Bar bordered by Crown Alley and Fownes Street, this square is associated with independent shopping, traditional pubs and restaurants. In the past the area was a medieval suburb, but it’s now a lively neighbourhood and hugely popular draw for visitors.

Whiskey experts should head to The Norseman, where a 21 year old Redbreast dram is waiting. While live music lovers can stop off at The Auld Dubliner or Quays Bar. Throughout the year, the square hosts a wide range of events including the Temple Bar Trad Festival in January and the Dublin Circus Festival in April.

Media captionPay the iconic Temple Bar Square a visit.

Meeting House Square

Meeting House Square in Temple Bar was designed in 1991 and is surrounded by some of the city's most vibrant cultural organisations. It’s the film, art and photography hub of Dublin with the Photo Museum Ireland, Irish Film Institute and National Photographic Archive all nearby. Rain or shine, the square’s retractable canopy of giant umbrellas means it’s tailor made for live events.

Every weekend, the Temple Bar Food Market plays host to artisan cheeses, baked goods, fresh produce and more. Come for a snack and stay for the neighbourhood’s rich culture.

Media captionEnjoy one of Dublin’s newer public spaces at Meeting House Square.

Mayor Square

Mayor Square shows off a more cutting-edge side to the city. It’s surrounded by Dublin’s modern architectural additions including the Samuel Beckett Bridge, IFSC House and the Convention Centre. For an area that's undergone immense urban renewal, it stays true to its roots with history museums like EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum nearby.

This social spot is filled with pre show diners before heading to a gig at the nearby 3Arena. Give modern Korean tapas at Drunken Fish a whirl or try The Spencer Hotel’s East Restaurant for a cocktail by the river. 

Media captionMarvel at Dublin’s contemporary architectural additions in and around Dublin's Docklands.

Grand Canal Dock

With a nickname like Silicon Docks, this area has made a name for itself by hosting tech giants like Google and Airbnb. You can relax over a meal in one of its restaurants, or grab a takeaway latte from The Art of Coffee and explore an enclosed harbour that’s great for a lunchtime stroll. For theatre lovers, be sure to check out the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

Media captionTake a stroll along Grand Canal Dock.

Explore Dublin city

Now that you’ve had an introduction to the city’s fantastic squares, find out about all there is to explore nearby. Discover more Things to Do in Dublin.