From modest beginnings as an earl’s lawn, the gardens went on to host the splendour of the Dublin Exhibition Palace in 1865 with almost one million guests visiting from across Europe. While under the ownership of the Guinness family the site was transformed into a cultural centre for Dublin’s citizens, a tradition still very much alive today as the gardens play host to some of the to some of the Ireland’s biggest music and comedy acts each summer.
Designed by Ninian Niven in 1865. Many of the original landscape features are still in place, or have been restored and conserved since 1995. These include the yew maze, the rosarium, and the fountains.
The site was selected by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness as the location for the Dublin Exhibition Palace and Winter Garden which were opened in 1865 by the Prince of Wales.
On September 25th 1871, Sir Arthur Guinness, son of the late Benjamin Lee, and his brother Edward Cecil re-purchased the site. For the next ten years public events continued as before – from banquets, concerts and exhibitions to flower shows, meetings and circuses.
On a small number of occasions each year, the gardens provide an amazing and intimate setting for concerts and shows. More than this would interfere with the conservation of this important historic garden.