Oscar Wilde House
Lonely Planet review for Oscar Wilde House
In 1855 the surgeon William Wilde and his wife ‘Speranza’ Wilde moved into 1 North Merrion Sq – the first residence built on the square (1762) – with their one-year-old son Oscar. They lived here until 1878 and we imagine that the young Oscar’s genius was stimulated by the famous literary salon hosted here by his mother. The family lived here right through Oscar’s education at Trinity. In 1994 the house was taken over by the American College Dublin. The first two floors have been restored to an approximate version of their appearance in Oscar’s day and can only be visited on a guided tour. Across the road, just inside the railings of Merrion Sq, is a flamboyant statue of the man himself. Crafted from a variety of precious stones, it is an aptly colourful depiction of Wilde wearing his customary smoking jacket and reclining on a rock. Wilde may well be sneering at Dublin and his old home, although the expression may have more to do with the artist’s attempt to depict the deeply divided nature of the man: from one side he looks to be smiling and happy; from the other, gloomy and preoccupied. Atop one of the plinths, daubed with witty one-liners and Wildean throwaways, is a small green statue of Oscar’s pregnant mother.