So where would you find a pyramid in Dublin? It was a question that our teacher asked one day and none of us had an answer. After some serious head scratching from the class he told us but we had to see it to believe. That was a while ago, and the memory of my first sighting of the Pyramid, atop Killiney Hill, is a fond one.
Killiney Hill is one of two hills, the other being Dalkey Hill, that are within Killiney Hill Park which was opened to the public on 30th June 1887. A committee was set-up to raise the necessary funds to buy the land and open the place to the public as part of the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (50th). With much hard word the asking price of £4,000 was collected by various events, raffles and public subscriptions and paid to the owner Robert Warren in late June. The land had always been a popular spot for picnics and walks, and the committee was mindful of Sir Charles Cameron’s (Dublin City Health Officer) comments that the benefits of ‘opening up new lungs in the city would be incalculable’.
Colonel John Mapas owned the land in 1740 and built Mapas House soon afterwards. After the particularly harsh winter of 1741-42 he arranged for workers to build an obelisk on top of the hill. This helped keep workers busy and for them to get some much-needed money. The men also erected the wall that still surrounds the park. (An older obelisk in Stillorgan was built in 1727 and, although different in style and setting, it is worth checking out.) The obelisk stands 173 metres (510 feet) above the sea, from where the viewer can enjoy a fantastic 360 degree panorama. On a clear day it is possible to look to the East and see the coast of Wales.
Just below the obelisk is the Pyramid, a set of steps erected by Robert Warren, where the viewer can sit, relax and take in the sweep of Dublin Bay with the beautiful Sorrento Terrace and Dalkey Island beyond. There is much to see from here, but the park is also popular with walkers and those interested in local flora and fauna.
As part of the dlr Summer of Heritage 2018 there are Free Guided Tours of the Obelisk and Hill Park on Thursdays from 1-5pm, until 30 August