History in some of the Districts, suburbs of Dublin and County Dublin — FACT FILE — IRELAND

The area is steeped in history and below are some brief details about the area.

Blackrock Why the name Blackrock? There seems to be some debate about the name but the most convincing argument is that the name comes from an outcrop of limestone rock on the coast which turned black when wet from the tide. The village itself was small. The 1659 Census, conducted for Oliver Cromwell, records only fourteen residents, two English and twelve Irish. The land in the area was agricultural, most of it belonging to the Mount Merrion estate of Earl Fitzwilliam and some to the Stillorgan estate which belonged to the Allen family.

The power of the Church, particularly after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, is particularly evident in the huge landholdings that it enjoyed. The Cistercians of St Mary’s Abbey, near Capel Street, controlled vast areas on the outskirts of Dublin in medieval times and one of them was known as Newtown. After the Reformation, everything changed of course and although the ownership of land was often shared between the Church and the nobility in a highly complicated way in medieval times, monastic estates were now firmly in secular hands.

The fact that Newtown was renamed Blackrock in the early 1600s reflects this. The new order was keen to put the past behind it. However, the stone cross in the centre of Blackrock, which dates from medieval times, survived and served an interesting purpose. It marked the boundary of the jurisdiction of the Corporation of Dublin and the riding of the franchises, a form of beating the bounds, by the Mayor and Corporation was an annual event until well into the eighteenth century. They paid a yearly visit, in full regalia, to the cross at Blackrock.

Blackrock is very much a nineteenth century creation as we know it today. The oldest buildings in the village, both dating from the early eighteenth century, are the old Garda Station and the old house, next door, which forms part of the Blackrock Market. Eighteenth century Blackrock was dominated by the local estates. Mount Merrion Avenue was originally the driveway to Lord Fitzwilliams house overlooking Dublin Bay. The sole relic of Stillorgan Park is rather less dramatic — the obelisk which stands near the top of Carysfort Avenue.

The opening of the Dublin to Kingstown railway by William Dargan in 1834 meant that Blackrock became easily accessible from the city and the pace of development quickened. Anglesea Avenue and Sydney Avenue were built to coincide with the railway while the rather grander Prince Edward Terrace and Idrone Terrace, with its uninterrupted sea views, came a little later in the 1840s. One unusual feature of these houses is the fact that they were built without stables; it seems that the railway really did revolutionise the lifestyle of the middle classes of the time. Idrone Terrace was an early example of a speculative build project, conducted by Kingstowns leading apothecary, Dr Henry Kavanagh. The 27 houses took almost as many years to be build.

In 1832 Leighs Road-Book of Ireland recorded Blackrock as having a population of 1,400 and noted that it was the most celebrated sea-bathing place in the vicinity of the capital, a position which would soon be usurped by Bray, the Brighton of Ireland. Nevertheless, Blackrock's proximity of the city would always prove to be an advantage. A mere five years later, in 1837, Lewis would note, in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, that Blackrock’s population had risen to 2,050. Lewis did not think much of the village, comprising 308 irregularly built houses but was much more impressed by Lord Cloncurrys Maretimo (the maritime classical temple of which is still glimpsed by Dart passengers), the Regency Blackrock House and the very grand Carysfort House, now the Smurfit Business School.

Drumcondra takes its name from a ridge of land (droim) which stretches from Ballybough to Glasnevin and the tribe which occupied the area in the second century AD, the Condraighe. From medieval times until the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII the lands of Drumcondra belonged to the Abbey of St Mary in the area of modern Capel Street. Hugh ONeill, prior to the Flight of the Earls, was married in the chapel of Drumcondra Castle which is now St Josephs School for Visually Impaired Boys. The Coghill family were granted much of the land in the area and Marmaduke Coghill built Drumcondra House (now All Hallows College) in 1727 to a design by Sir Edward Lovatt Pearce. He also commissioned a Corinthian temple by Alessandro Gallilei, the architect of Castletown in Co Kildare. Both buildings still stand. Belvedere House (not to be confused with the Earl of Belvederes town house in Great Denmark Street) is probably the oldest house in the area and was started in the closing years of the seventeenth century, again for the Coghills. It is now home to St Patricks Teacher Training College.

The village itself was centered on Tolka Bridge and lay on the Great Drogheda Road. The fast-flowing waters of the Tolka leant themselves to various industrial uses, including bleaching, dyeing and milling (as remembered in local names like Millbourne and Millmount Avenue). However, by 1800 Drumcondra had an unenviable reputation as a haunt of highwaymen and robbers who, it is said, used to hide in the extensive woods that once covered much of the area. One raparee used to hide in a hollow tree and consistently evaded capture.

Drumcondra was sometimes referred to as Clonturk or the Meadow of the Swine and the name survives in Clonturk Park and Clonturk House, now a home for blind men. In 1819 a French entrepreneur tried to establish a pleasure garden at Clonturk House (which stands on what is now Ormond Road), having been inspired by the success of similar ventures in London’s Vauxhall and, closer to home, at Ranelagh. Although the project was helped by the upgrading of the Great Drogheda Road in 1817, it fizzled out within a few years. A point of interest about Clonturk House is the balustrade which now forms its boundary; it came from the original Carlisle Bridge and was moved there when this structure was replaced by the present OConnell Bridge.

The suburbanization of north Dublin lagged behind that of the Southside by several decades, a reflection of the shift in fashion in that direction which had been given impetus by the Duke of Leinster in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The development of housing in Drumcondra only got under way in the 1870s and the timing meant that it developed a character quite different from that of its southern counterparts. Drumcondra was to be a home for the new white collar workers, the clerks and bank tellers. It is no coincidence, then, that Drumcondra was to be the most Catholic of Dublin suburbs for some time and also one of the most nationalist. William Martin Murphy, owner of the Dublin Tramways Company, Clerys and the Freemans Journal, was the main developer in the area. It was his particular vision that saw Drumcondra created essentially as a suburb for clerks and the skilled working class.

Drumcondra was absorbed within the city boundary in 1900 and in 1913 was chosen as the site of a new garden suburb which would combine affordable housing within easy reach of the city centre with open spaces and local amenities. Although this plan of Dublin Corporations was never fully implemented, nevertheless 4,000 houses were built immediately after the end of the First World War.

Dún Laoghaire was known as Kingstown till 1920. It has had several changes to its name in it’s history being Dunleary until 1821 when a completely new town developed to the east as a result of the building of the present large harbour and the construction of the railway when it was renamed Kingstown It is located 13km (8 miles) S.E. of Dublin City Centre.

It is one of Ireland's major passenger ferry ports (Holyhead, Wales – Liverpool, England) and has a spectacular Harbour with a very long harbour wall (west pier) to walk around decorated with bandstands’ from a former era and a lighthouse at the end.

The town has developed greatly after suffering a lot in the 1970’s recession and in the 1980’s the Bloomfields Shopping centre was built. The main “High Street” still retains all the charm of old buildings and interesting shops.

Howth is a fishing and yachting port, and popular suburban resort 15km north-east of the city centre on the north side of Howth Head, Howth Head has fabulous views of Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains and Boyne Valley beyond and the scenery on the drive from Sutton is comparable to that of the South of France.

In the bay itself is the rocky bird sanctuary and monastic island of Ireland's Eye. It hosts many different species of seabirds, which makes it a place of great interest for nature lovers. The Island also has a long safe sandy beach, which is ideal for picnics, swimming and relaxing in the peace and quiet away from the mainland. The ruins of ST. Nessans Church dating back to 700 AD and a Martello tower from the 19th century are also located there for all to explore. Boat trips can be taken there in the summer.

Howth has a 15th-century Castle overlooking the port that has distinct sides to it. It underwent a lot transformation in the 1990’s with a new yachting marina in the centre and on one side is the fishing fleet and plant and fish shops and on the other much smaller craft are moored.

Lucan — which means in Irish the place of the elms has always been a significant place; not in size, admittedly, but rather because of where it is. Not only has Lucan always been a strategic crossing point on the course of the River Liffey but it lay on the ancient Dublin to Galway road, An Sli Mor. Famed for its salmon weirs, strategically important (especially after the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169), and decidedly picturesque, Lucan has long been on the map.

The village was originally centered on the Lucan Estate and demesne which was created by successive Anglo-Norman owners. Originally granted to Alard Fitzwilliam in 1204 it passed from his to the dePeches, then to Robert of Nottingham, from him to the FitzGeralds, Earls of Kildare whose stronghold was not far away at Maynoth and to the Sarsfield family, Earls of Lucan.

The Sarsfields put a great deal of time, money and effort into the Lucan Estate which had been rather neglected when it had formed a fairly peripheral part of the FtizGeralds vast lands. By the sixteenth century they had developed a significant manorial centre there. It is interesting to think that the estate, estimated to have been between 1,500 and 2,000 acres supported a whole village community along with the Sarsfield family.

Patrick Sarsfield was created Earl of Lucan by James II and is celebrated in song and story as a daring military commander during the Williamite War. He was described by a contemporary as a man of huge stature, without sense, very good natured and very brave... Sarsfield was on the losing side at the Battle of Aughrim in 1691 but managed to negotiate the Treaty of Limerick. He was killed in 1693, in exile, at the Battle of Landen in Flanders. And so the Sarsfields connection with Lucan came to an end. In Sarsfields lifetime the population of Lucan was estimated at 120 adults, a figure that should be seen in the context of Dublin city’s 8,780. William Pettys Down Survey, conducted in the 1650s, has Lucan recorded as comprising a very fair house, a chapel, and some thatched houses and cabins and a good stone bridge crossing the River Liffey.

The very fair house which had been standing in the 1650s was probably Sarsfields castle which, after his exile and death, fell into poor repair and was replaced by a smaller structure. This in turn was knocked down in 1770 and replaced by the Palladian house that still stands there today.

Lucan House was built by the unusually named Agmondisham Vesey a member of the Cromwellian settler family with extensive landholdings in both Laois and south Dublin (where the de Vesci estate is still an important ground landlord). Vesey’s father had married the last of the Sarsfields, the great Patricks niece; their daughter, in turned, married a Bingham from whom the famous — or infamous — Lord Lucan who vanished in 1974 was descended. Agmondisham Vesey was by his fathers second wife and had no direct Sarsfield connection.

It was not until the 1960s that Lucan became home to a significant number of commuters but its popularity soon soared. Between 1965 and 1971 the population doubled to 4,345 and by 1981 it had reached 11,963. In 1967 the Hill House estate was developed, providing 120 houses which sold for between £3,800 and £4,200. Between 1969 and 1973, the rate of development was rapid with a further 1,000 houses being built. Lucan, while retaining its own sense of identity and something of a village community, was firmly established as part of the Dublin suburbs.

Malahide is still known as a “village”. It is located north of Dublin. Malahide's roots go back to 6000BC. The Danes made encroachments in the 8th century and established a base, and finally in the 12th century, the Normans made their appearance with the installation of Sir Richard Talbot as Lord of Malahide Estate in 1174.

Remarkably this lasted for eight hundred years up to the death of Milo Talbot in 1973. Malahide Castle that is situated a few kilometres out of the own is run by Dublin County Council now. In the 18th and early 19th century Malahide was very much a thriving industrial centre. Industries included a silk factory, cotton manufacturing, salt works and cod liver oil manufacture. With rail links in coming the 19th century the development of Malahide as both a residential and tourist town.(These links have formed modern day DART connections) Malahide still retains its Old World charm and elegance, even though the size of the town has gown so much since the early 1990’s.

Marino in North Dublin is famous for the Casino. This neo-classical building was designed b y Sir William Chambers for Lord Charlemont as a garden pavilion at his Marino Estate. This is the only part of the estate to survive and was being constructed from 1755 to the mid 1770’s. After years of neglect a 1930 Act of Parliament was introduced to allow it to be taken into state ownership. It has been completely restored in the last few years. It is very small – three floors of accommodation.

Ranelagh is so close to the city centre as to be an inner suburb, people still refer to it locally as the village. But for how long has it been a village? There seems to have been some kind of settlement here for centuries. The name Ranelagh itself is Norse in origin which suggests that the Vikings, whose settlement of Dubh Linn, the black pool was only a couple of miles away, were aware of the place.

This may have been because of the reputation of the area known in Irish as Cualu — later Anglicized to Cullenswood — of which Ranelagh formed a part. It was known for the quality of its ales so it is quite possible that the village had an inn from early times. There has been a public house continuously on the site of the Four Provinces for at least 150 years.

The thoroughfare of Sandford Road and Ranelagh village itself seem to have been part of the Bealach Dubhlinne or Dublin Way which pre-dates the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169. In 1209 a notorious massacre was perpetrated in Cullenswood in the region of what is now Sandford Road. A large number of the citizens of Dublin, many of them recent settlers from England, went there to see a hurling match. They were set up by a horde of Irish clans from the mountains and five hundred were killed. This may have amounted to a quarter of the male population of the city. Black Monday, as the massacre came to be known, was commemorated annually for many years by the mayor and citizens who used to hold a feast on the site of the killings. A Tudor source states that this was done under heavy guard so that the mountain enemie dareth not to attempt to snatch so much as a pastrye crust from thence.

Sutton — The origins of Sutton are obscure but there is evidence, from the Census of 1659, that there were nineteen people living there. By 1686 it seems that a new hamlet had appeared in the vicinity of the newly-built Strand Road and St Fintans Road. Sutton was, at one stage, in the possession of one John de Sutton, a kinsman of the St Lawrences and it seems more likely that the place name comes from him rather than from a corruption of the hill of Fintan, named in honour of the local holy man.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw Sutton put firmly on the map thanks to two local industries. The quarries of the area produced potters clay, blue limestone, manganese and marble. Artificial oyster beds were created, using stock sourced from Portugal and France, and the business thrived until the growth of Dublin port and its pollution of the bay put paid to it. Although Sutton only became a census town as recently as 1936 when a population of 296 was recorded, people have been living in the area since about 3000 BC. The Neolithic settlement about one kilometre from the present Sutton Cross makes Sutton, along with Howth and Dalkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited parts of the greater Dublin area. Terenure Today it is hard for anyone who knows it to imagine a time when the village of Terenure on Dublin’s south side was anything other than the constantly frenetic place that it is today. Centered around a ceaselessly busy crossroads, Terenure is a little like the Switzerland of Dublin; sooner or later everyone passes through it on their way to or from somewhere else. Terenure, Tir an Inir in Irish is believed to mean district of the yew trees. In 1800 the cottages at Terenure were named in maps as Roundtown but reverted later in 1867 to Terenure.

Yet according to a history of the area written by Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig only 40 years ago, this townland of Terenure, containing 560 acres, situated in the civil parish of Rathfarnham, barony of Rathdown, has not always been such a hive of activity. Far from it. The author’s researches led him to write that apparently nothing of note occurred in this townland down the centuries as it is not mentioned in the Annals, the Martyrologies or the topographical poems. In fact there was never a mention of Terenure until as recently as the 13th century when the name pops up, albeit spelled Tyrinwer or Tyrnwyre, in the Register of St John the Baptist, without Newgate, Dublin.

More than most towns, villages and suburbs in Ireland, the development of Terenure over the centuries has been very closely linked with the fortunes of a few families; in this case the Barnewalls, the Deanes and the Shaws. An ancient Breton family, the Barnewalls, arrived in England with William the Conqueror, who granted them large estates. One member of the family, Hugo, received the lands of Terenure, Kimmage and Drimnagh from King John in 1215, and thus began the Barnewalls centuries long link with Ireland.

Before the arrival of the omnibus in 1840, Terenure was a popular location for monied merchants wanting to build their own grand houses. On Terenure Roads East, West, North and South, many fine houses were built, each with its own stable and coach-house. As public transport later made Terenure accessible to those who could not afford their own private horse-drawn transport, somewhat less grand houses began to appear. At first, the fashion was for three-storey houses with granite steps up the hall door on the first floor, of the type still visible on Terenure Road East and parts of Highfield Road.

Later, in the 1880s and 90s, new roads took shape lined with two-storey, red-brick houses. The Classic Cinema was built c.1938 and was a great haunt in Terenure; it was situated in what is now, the Enterprise Centre. Pubs in Terenure have always been at the centre of village life. It is great to see the old family names return with Vaughans Pub reclaiming its old name.The trams were also central to life in Terenure and Templeogue Inn enjoyed the nickname of the morgue from the days when bodies knocked down by the trams were laid out on the premises. The trams were housed across from St Josephs Church and in 1946 the fare was two pence from town to Terenure in 1946. There were no official tram stops as such. The 15 tram served Terenure, and today the 15A & 15B bus route do the same. The last tram to Terenure came 1949. The No. 16 also ran through Terenure to Rathfarnham.

House building moved up to large scale in the 1920s and from being a village in the country surrounded by rather select housing, Terenure quickly became a built-up area. It was incorporated into the city in 1932. In 1934 members of the Air Corps were killed when a private plane crashed in Terenure, it was believed the pilot had been attempting to land in a quarry behind Terenure Road East. In 1941 a German bomb was inadvertently dropped on Rathdown Park and Lavarna Grove. The most impressive recreational area and park is without doubt Bushy Park, at one time owned by the Shaw Family, purchased for the city by Dublin Corporation in 1950. Music recitals took place during the summer according to local lore from a bandstand where there was once a pit where prisoners were kept while awaiting trial at the assize in The Yellow House on Rathfarnham And since then, Terenure has become bigger, but better too. The historians description of this once tiny and relatively uneventful village, written in 1954, is largely inapplicable today. So let Mr Mac Giolla Phádraig have the last word:

Terenure is now a flourishing suburb with places of worship, schools, public library, fine shops, banks, halls, playing fields, cinema and an excellent bus service. Situated on the Dodder, close to the Dublin foothills yet convenient to the city centre, Terenure is a very desirable residential quarter, and is still expanding.

The information provided here is given in good faith and should not be relied on for accuracy and has been contributed by a jmlvillas.com advertiser 04/06

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