Harry Warren traces the history of the structure at the junction of Reginald Street and Gray Street in the Liberties from its inception as a momento to mark the visit of Queen Victoria to Dublin to its reincarnation as a shrine to the Sacred Heart.
The Liberties area in Dublin is always worth a stroll, apart from it being a vibrant location in the heart of Dublin there are multiple items of religious, cultural and historical interest to be enjoyed.
Just off the busy shopping area of Meath Street, there are two intersecting streets, Reginald Street and Gray Street leading onto the Coombe. The charming red brick houses in this part of the Coombe were built by the Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company in 1880-1882, chaired by the Victorian philanthropist, Sir Edward Cecil Guinness. Originally many of the houses were rented by the employees of the nearby Guinness brewery.
At the junction of Reginald Street and Gray Street there is a fine ornate structure with a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at its centre. It is nice to see that in these days of advancing secularisation there are still many religious statues dotted around Dublin, particularly Marian statues, but this one is special, a statue of Jesus and it bears closer examination.
The statue is centred on beautiful wrought ironwork set on an octagonal limestone base. In my over active imagination the ironwork always reminds me of a miniature Victorian band stand. I have heard it referred to as the Fountain, the Catholic Emancipation Monument or especially by local residents, simply as the Sacred Heart statue.
Now a very well cared for religious shrine, frequently decorated with fresh flowers. It was originally a water fountain and it has an interesting history.