Wellington Monument, Dublin

The Wellington Monument (Irish: Leacht Wellington),[2] or sometimes the Wellington Testimonial,[a] is an obelisk located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland.

Wellington Monument
Ireland - Dublin - Phoenix Park - Wellington Monument 2.jpg
Wellington Monument (Wellington Testimonial) in Dublin's Phoenix Park
Coordinates53°20′56″N 6°18′11″W / 53.3490°N 6.3031°W / 53.3490; -6.3031Coordinates: 53°20′56″N 6°18′11″W / 53.3490°N 6.3031°W / 53.3490; -6.3031
LocationPhoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland
DesignerRobert Smirke
Height62 metres (203 ft)[1]
Beginning date1817
Opening date1861
Dedicated toArthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

The testimonial is situated at the southeast end of the Park, overlooking Kilmainham and the River Liffey. The structure is 62 metres (203 ft) tall, making it the largest obelisk in Europe.[3]


The Wellington Testimonial was built to commemorate the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellington, the British politician and general, also known as the 'Iron Duke', was born in Ireland. Originally planned to be located in Merrion Square, it was built in the Phoenix Park after opposition from the square's residents.[4]

The obelisk was designed by the architect Sir Robert Smirke and the foundation stone was laid in 1817. In 1820, the project ran out of construction funds and the structure remained unfinished until 18 June 1861 when it was opened to the public. There were also plans for a statue of Wellington on horseback, but a shortage of funds ruled that out.[5]


There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo – three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription.[1] The plaques depict 'Civil and Religious Liberty' by John Hogan, 'Waterloo' by Thomas Farrell and the 'Indian Wars' by Joseph Robinson Kirk. The inscription reads:

Asia and Europe, saved by thee, proclaim
Invincible in war thy deathless name,
Now round thy brow the civic oak we twine
That every earthly glory may be thine.

Cultural referencesEdit

The monument is referenced throughout James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The first page of the novel alludes to a giant whose head is at "Howth Castle and Environs" and whose toes are at "a knock out in the park (p. 3)"; John Bishop extends the analogy, interpreting this centrally located obelisk as the prone giant's male member.[6] A few pages later, the monument is the site of the fictional "Willingdone Museyroom" (p. 8).[7]



  1. ^ A testimonial is erected to a living person, as Wellington was when construction started[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, Dublin, Dublin City". buildingsofireland.ie. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Leacht Wellington / Wellington Monument". Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  3. ^ "1856 – Design for Wellington Testimonial, Phoenix Park, Dublin". Archiseek (Architecture site). 4 January 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ Garnett, P. F. (June–August 1952). "The Wellington Testimonial". Dublin Historical Record. 13 (2): 48–61. JSTOR 30105448.
  5. ^ "1861 – Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, Dublin". Archiseek (Architecture site). 5 February 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  6. ^ Bishop, John (1986), Joyce's Book of the Dark: Finnegans Wake, University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 34–35, ISBN 9780299108205
  7. ^ Tindall, William York (1996). A Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815603856.