Pembroke Estate had been in the hands of the Norman Fitzwilliam family since the middle ages, when it was known as the Fitzwilliam Estate. It extended from modern Merrion Square to the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. After the construction of Leinster House in the 1740s it began to be developed, and Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares were laid out by 1800. It continued to grow after the 1800 Act of Union that abolished the Irish parliament. By the 1820s the estate had sprawled beyond the Grand Canal, and by 1837 had acquired the longest classical terrace in the city, on the northern side of Pembroke Road. Eventually it extended out as far as Ailesbury and Shrewsbury Roads, but the Pembroke Estate is easily the largest and best-preserved district of Georgian Dublin. Its most unique feature, apart from the squares, is the distinctive dome of St Stephen’s Church on Mount Street Crescent, completed in 1824 and better known by its nickname: the Peppercanister. The Church occasionally hosts classical concerts, but there are no tours available. It is only open during services, usually held at 11am Sunday and 11.30am Wednesday, with an extra one at 11am on Friday in July and August.
During the late 1800s the southern townships of Dublin became notable strongholds for rugby union as it grew in popularity at the end of Victorian era: the location of the modern AVIVA Stadium on Lansdowne Road, the traditional home of Irish rugby, is a testament to that.
Hop off the CityScape Tour at: Stop 14 Pembroke Road (see Route Map)