For the initial years of the Georgian era, the north side was the place to live. However, when the Earl of Kildare chose to move to a new large ducal palace built for him on what up to that point was seen as the inferior Southside, he caused shock. When his Dublin townhouse, Kildare House (renamed Leinster House when he was made Duke of Leinster) was finished, it was by far the biggest aristocratic residence other than Dublin Castle, and it was greeted with envy.
The Earl had predicted that his move would be followed, and it was. Three new residential squares appeared on the southside, Merrion Square (facing his residence's garden front), St Stephen's Green and the smallest and last of Dublin's five Georgian squares to be built, Fitzwilliam Square. Aristocrats, bishops and the wealthy sold their Northside townhouses and migrated to the new Southside developments, even though many of the developments, particularly in Fitzwilliam Square, were smaller and less impressive than the buildings in Henrietta Street.
While the wealthier people lived in houses on the squares, those with lesser means and lesser titles lived in smaller, less grand but still impressive developments off the main squares, such as Upper and Lower Mount Street and Leeson Street.