The 19thC feature has changed appearance a number of times over its 120 year history.
Installed as a decorative drinking fountain at the centre of the Earl of Meath’s setpiece Coombe housing development, the elegant canopy on Gray Street was erected in the 1890s by The Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company (of which Lord Meath was an active early promoter). The fountain was cast in the Macfarlane Foundry in Glasgow from a common style that also found its way to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire). And the delicate tracery of the orginal cost iron can still be seen on its identical twin in Dun Laoghaire – a monument installed to mark the visit of Queen Victoria to Ireland.
During the War of Independence the eagle finial at the top of the dome was destroyed with a shot from the Black and Tans. in 1929 the drinking font was replaced with a statue of the Sacred Heart to commemorate the Centenary of Catholic Emancipation.
The fountain once again changed form when a furniture lorry collided with the structure in 1978. It remained in a sorry state until it was restored by replacing the open fretwork canopy with a much more simple solid copper dome in preparation of the Papal visit in 1979. This is the design you see today. A very attractive feature of the pleasant crossroads of Gray Street and Reginald Street.