Famous and infamous residents of the area around St. Stephen’s Green included Thomas ‘Buck’ Whaley, Arthur Wellesley, John Philpot Curran, and ‘Copper Faced’ Jack Scott. In 1814, control of the St. Stephen’s Green Park passed over to the Commissioners for the local householders, who redesigned its layout and replaced the walls with railings. After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria suggested that the park be renamed Albert Green and have a statue of Albert at its centre-a suggestion roundly rejected by Dublin Corporation and the people of the city, much to the chagrin of Victoria. William Sheppard designed the current landscape of the park and, thanks to the largesse of Sir A.E. Guinness; St. Stephen’s Green was officially opened to the public on Tuesday, 27 July 1880. By way of thanks, the city commissioned a statue of Guinness, and he can now be seen facing the Royal College of Surgeons on the Green’s west side.
Like the city where it is located, St. Stephen’s Green Park has played witness to many of the turbulent episodes of Irish history, with the most famous being role it played in the 1916 Easter Rising. During the Rebellion, a group of insurgents, under the command of Michael Mallin, and his second in command Constance Markievicz, established a position in St. Stephen’s Green. They confiscated vehicles to establish road blocks on the streets that surround the park, and dug defensive positions in the park itself. This proved unwise when elements of the British army took up positions in the Shelbourne Hotel and from where they could shoot down into the entrenchments. The rebels, finding themselves in this precarious position, withdrew to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the Green to carry on the fight but, nevertheless, the rising ultimately failed. In one famous incident, gun fire was temporarily halted to allow the ground’s man feed the local ducks.