Fáilte Ireland, the country’s National Tourism Development Authority, has launched an initiative to “awaken” and promote Dublin’s Merrion Square as a unique and vibrant cultural destination.

Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, Merrion Square has an exciting cultural and events programme happening this year which is sure to position it as a “go-to” place for national and international culture seekers.

The Merrion Square community are coming together to build awareness of its rich history and heritage, and to stimulate civic pride. This is especially apt for 2012 as Merrion Square is celebrating its 250th anniversary.

 A Merrion Square Open Day will be held on August 25th followed by September On The Square, a month long series of events bringing visitors on an exciting journey of discovery through art, literature, music, history, architecture and family activities.

 Last year the museums and institutions on Merrion Square attracted 1.6 million visitors but Fáilte Ireland believes there is huge potential to increase this number.

 Fáilte Ireland Chief Executive, Shaun Quinn, said globally cultural tourism is the fastest growing tourism segment.

 “Merrion Square has all the elements necessary to make it a strong, vibrant and important cultural tourism centre. Right now Merrion Square is asleep and many of its treasures are hidden from view…Nurturing Dublin’s heritage and cultural assets in this way is critical to the long term prosperity of Dublin.”

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland said “Promoting the Merrion Square cultural quarter is a very important development that will create awareness of and enhance the public’s access to art, history and heritage.”
Events during the month long celebration will include:

 - A series of Weekend Wonders with themed programmes, all with a spirit of discovery to uncover the secrets of Merrion Square and its unique character.

- A dedicated Family Trail free of charge to encourage the young at heart to uncover Merrion Square's secrets.

- A series of pop-up evening events giving the opportunity to experience Georgian Living on the Square, the great period of socialising, ideas and culture that the Square was expressly developed to meet.

- Specific Sunday events will include a Wilde about Words day, where great thinkers, poets and innovators will come together inspired by the spirit, and writings, of Oscar Wilde and his family
Many of the events will be free of charge.

 See www.merrionsquare.ie for more information.