Unmissable



One of Dublin’s best-known – and most visible – public monuments: the Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park. Originally conceived in 1813 (in other words, two years before the Battle of Waterlook), this enormous obelisk faced in granite ashlar measures 220 feet from base to apex and is 120 feet square at the base. Designed by Sir Robert Smirke, funds of £20,000 for the monument were raised by public subscription. Work began in 1817 and was completed three years later, albeit without the three pedestal bas-reliefs. Finally unveiled in 1861, these represent, on the west, the 1799 Siege of Seringapatam (actually overseen by Wellington’s elder brother Richard Wellesley who was then Governor-General of India), on the south a celebration of the 1829 Catholic Emancipation (achieved while Wellington was Prime Minister) and on the north, the Battle of Waterloo. The east face carries a laudatory inscription to Wellington in Latin and English. The original intention was for an equestrian statue of the duke flanked by guardian lions to be placed in front of this side of the monument, but although the pedestals were erected, the figures never materialised.


6 comments on “Unmissable

  1. Henry says:

    I believe it was, until the building of the Washington Monument the tallest obelisk in the world? Also, it’s probably lucky that the planned equestrian statue of the Duke was never erected as it would most probably have been destroyed, officially or otherwise.

  2. Patrick says:

    I would love to know what the Irish Aesthete’s opinion is on the symmetry or shape of the top/ capital of this obelisk. I’m no expert but I believe it is a mistake. I wonder if the original drawings are still in existence? Perhaps the builder made a miscalculation? Imagine this monument with a much better proportioned gold leaf covered capital .

  3. Vincent Delany says:

    Probably Dublin’s most aloof monument- ignored by everyone who passes it. If it were in a more central location- Dubliners could relate to it.

  4. God to learn the IRA didn’t destroy this as they did Nelson’s.

  5. Lawrence says:

    Patrick. I remember being told that the monument was struck by lightning at some stage. This may explain the top of obelisk.

  6. Kenneth Mitchell says:

    There is a blocked up room in the base that was used a local freemason Lodge for a while

Leave a Reply