Known as the Rutland Fountain, it was erected in 1791 to the designs of Francis Sandys, the fountain was either instigated and built in commemoration of Lord Lieutenant Charles Manners, Duke of Rutland, who died from fever in 1787.
This stone structure, with a central arch and a pair of short screen walls on either side, commemorates Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1784 but died three years later while still in office.
The monument was more than just an elegant testimonial. It also performed an extremely useful service to the neighbouring streets; it was a fountain that provided fresh drinking water to houses where, despite their grandeur, running water would not be installed for around another fifty years or so.
Given the structureâs positioning on salubrious Merrion Square, one cannot imagine that it was much of a philanthropic gesture for the poor of the city, perhaps serving more the convenience of service staff of surrounding mansions. Francis Sandys was also responsible for the obelisk-shaped drinking fountain on Jamesâs Street of similar date.
Built almost entirely of Leinster granite, the fountain is dressed with a mixture of Portland stone and more delicately detailed Coade stone elements in the neoclassical taste.
In a severe state of neglect by the mid-20th century, this was the disheveled appearance of the fountain in 1966.