This week I decided to explore St. Stephen’s Green located within Dublin’s center. The amount of greenery and beauty of the park was undeniable from the first moment I viewed it. I noticed it appears to be a very popular place when the weather is nice for people to gather and enjoy the scenery. I found many of the sculptures, and even the fountains, to be among some of the prettiest pieces of architecture in the park. However, upon further searching, I think my favorite area of the park was the lake surrounded by massive trees and shrubbery. Just in the distance, you can begin to see the buildings that make up Dublin. Even in this tranquil scene, the urbanization of the city can be found. This fact can be noted by the sale of the land surrounding the park in order to build more houses. This effectively walled off the park so that now, when enjoying the scenery of the lake on a nearby park bench, one must only turn around to be reminded of the metropolis that surrounds the entire area.
This reminded me of the urbanization touched on in Dublin: A Cultural History, by Siobhán Kilfeather. At one point in the book, Kilfeather notes that the location of the new Custom House in Dublin was largely opposed due to fear surrounding values of homes which resulted in a strike during the construction. These fears revolving around property signify the social issues resulting from the increasingly modernizing city. Like the homes behind the lake at St. Stephen’s Green, the city can be seen expanding in order to accommodate some at the expense of others. So while sitting on a bench looking at ducks swimming in the lake beneath massive branches of trees can bring a sense of peace, the city sits right behind me forcing me to remember the price of being in a large metropolitan city.