Rising High

Now surrounded by suburban development but originally set within an extensive demesne overlooking the city, this is the Stillorgan Obelisk, erected in 1727 for Joshua Allen, second Viscount Allen. The obelisk is believed to have been designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce and is sometimes claimed to have been inspired by Bernini’s monument in the Piazza della Minerva, Rome. However, since the latter obelisk rests on the back of an elephant, more likely inspiration came from the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, also designed by Bernini and erected in 1651 in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Constructed from cut granite, the Stillorgan obelisk rises 100 feet above a base of rough granite boulders. This holds a large vaulted chamber with double flights of steps rising up to a viewing platform from which doors provided access to a room at the base of the obelisk. This was, seemingly, intended to be a burial chamber for Lady Allen, but since she outlived her husband by 15 years, only dying in 1758, it has also been proposed that the viscount instead interred his favourite horse here.