WHEN THERE WAS STILL A WATER FEATURE
Please be aware that these photographs were taken on the 16th April 2016 and that the circle has been restored but the water feature has been infilled. I plan to publish more recent photographs later in July or August .
Back in 2015 I was getting more than worried about the future of the “follies” in St. Anne’s park as most, if not all of them were in very poor condition.
When I visited in April 2016 there was still a basin at the Park, minus its central statue however the hedges were no longer in an overgrown state.
An account from 1873 (W. Heale, 1873) describes the yew circle in detail: “On the east side of this [Dutch style flower] garden is an amphitheatre some 150 feet in circumference; the outer portion is a well-kept Yew hedge with five entrances; equidistant from each entrance are four marble statues representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America; Australia is not yet represented. The centre is a costly marble basin with fountain and stocked with gold and silver fish.‟
In a quarter of the walled garden was a circular yew hedge with alcoves and arches in which stood allegorical Italian statues representing the five continents. These statues were reflected in the great circular marble basin which occupied the centre (Malins and Bowe, 1980). The 1939 auction catalogue included these statues: “Lot 1471 – 4 carved stone figures representing the continents, on square bases with carved mouldings‟ (Adam, 1939).
The description below refers to the Yew Circle as it was prior to my visit in April as it was anything but overgrown when I had visited in April of that year. The yew trees had been cut back to what appeared to be to an extreme degree.
The Yew Circle at St Anne’s Park in Dublin was created in the 1830s by Benjamin Lee Guinness, a member of the famous brewing family. The circle is made up of a circular yew hedge that was originally planted with five alcoves, each of which contained an Italian statue representing one of the five continents. In the centre of the circle was a fountain, which is now no longer extant.
The Yew Circle was part of the formal gardens that were once located at St Anne’s House, the Guinness family’s mansion on the site. The gardens were designed in the Italianate style, and they included a number of other follies, such as a Roman-style viewing tower and a cast-iron floral temple.
The Yew Circle fell into disrepair after St Anne’s House was demolished in 1939. However, it was restored in the 1980s, and it is now one of the most popular attractions in St Anne’s Park. The circle is still overgrown, but the five alcoves and the fountain base are still visible.
The Yew Circle is a fascinating example of 19th-century garden design. It is a reminder of the time when St Anne’s House was a grand estate, and it is a popular spot for visitors to the park today.
Here are some additional details [that no longer apply] about the Yew Circle:
The yew hedge is about 100 feet in diameter.
The five alcoves are each about 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep.
The fountain base is about 10 feet in diameter.
The statues in the alcoves represent the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia.
The Yew Circle is located in the northeastern part of St Anne’s Park.