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Ballyfermot (Irish: Baile Formaid) is a suburb in the city of Dublin, Ireland. Located seven kilometres west of the city centre, south of the Phoenix Park, it is bordered on the north by Chapelizod, on the south by Walkinstown, on the east by Inchicore, on the north-west by Palmerstown and the south-west by Clondalkin. The River Liffey lies to the north, and the Grand Canal, now a recreational waterway, lies to the south. Ballyfermot is designated as postal district Dublin 10.
The 12th century saw the Cambro-Normans expand west from Pembroke in South Wales into Leinster. The Papal Bull Laudabiliter of Adrian IV, and encouragement by his successor, Pope Alexander III urged a Norman invasion of Ireland. An expeditionary force led by Richard De Clare (Strongbow) with a retinue of about six hundred were dispatched with the consent of Angevin King Henry II of England. They arrived at Wexford in 1169 by invitation from Dermot Mac Murrough Ri of Leinster. Diarmuid was at war with the Ard Ri, Ruari O'Conor and Tighernan O'Ruairc, Prince of Breffni who together had unseated him.
After the Treaty of Windsor in 1175, through feudal land grants and intermarriage, the Cambro Norman knights came into possession of land in south and west Dublin. Family names associated with the area at this time included Mac Giolla Mocolmog (FitzDermot), O'Cathasaidhe, Fitzwilliam, Le Gros (Grace), O'Dualainghe, Tyrrell, O'Hennessy, O'Morchain, Dillon, O'Kelly, De Barneval (Barnewall), and Newcomyn (Newcomen).
Ballyfermot Castle, started as a moat and bailey. Located northwest of the intersection of Le Fanu and Raheen Roads, it was the centre of the Upper (west) and Lower (east) Ballyfermot townships. Built in stone by Wolfram De Barneval it was a stronghold against the formidable O'Byrnes and O'Tooles. These aboriginal Gaelic families had been discommoded from their lush home territory around Naas. They were driven south into the wooded Dublin hills. Unlike their intermarried Mac Giolla Mocolmog relatives, now called FitzDiarmuid in Hiberno-Norman, they had not integrated into the evolving society. They frequently raided, rustled and burned local bawn enclosures from their inaccessible hillside encampments. beyond Brittas and Bohernabreena.
Ballyfermot Castle was inherited by the Newcomen family, who enhanced it and held it into the mid-seventeenth century. It's political importance subsequently declined with the Newcomens. Still a substantial home farm, part of it was rebuilt. It housed a school managed by headmaster William Prosser in the latter eighteenth century. Samuel Lewis (publisher) in his celebrated work A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland places a Captain Lamplin as living there in 1834. The castle defence wing to the south and east is reputed to have been destroyed by fire. Closeby, Ballyfermot House, known locally as 'the tiled house', was built by the Verveer family. It stood on the great park to the north of the castle's aquaculture pond. Built in the early eighteenth century, the house had a quirky slated façade in the Dutch style. It was home to Lt. Joseph Lampier and his wife Bridget Cavanaugh of Goldenbridge around the Lewis publication period.
The nineteenth century newspaper publisher and writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, proprietor of the Dublin Evening Mail lived in nearby Chapelizod when not in residence his city townhouse at Merrion Square. Ballyfermot and Chapelizod feature in his novel The House by the Churchyard and some of his other works. This Georgian house still adjoins Church Lane next to St. Laurence's parish churchyard in Chapelizod. The eighteenth-century church, alongside the original medieval bell tower, is still in use. It serves the united parish of Ballyfermot, Palmerstown, and Chapelizod in the Church of Ireland. Le Fanu Road is named after him, as is Le Fanu Park, referred to locally as The Lawns. Le Fanu was a mentor of the writer Bram Stoker author of Dracula, who did the theater reviews for his newspaper The Dublin Evening Mail.
A short distance from the Castle site at the south-east end of Le Fanu Park is a mound which covers the local historical site containing the ruins and chuchyard of the rectory church of St. Laurence. It is believed to have originated as a minor establishment of monastic Celtic Christianity, perhaps a minor branch of the Tallaght Maelruain or Kilnamanagh monasteries. It was connected to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem at Kilmainham in the thirteenth century. The churchyard ruins survived into the nineteen sixties. This church served Ballyfermot and the surrounding townlands into the late seventeenth century.
Among the local people buried here are members of the Newcomen and Barnewall families. Sir Robert Newcomen who died in 1629 and his son Sir Beverley Newcomen, Admiral of Ireland, who died in 1637 while taking soundings at Waterford harbour were buried here. His mother Elizabeth (Barnewall of Drimnagh Castle) who died in 1643 is buried as is his widow Margaret (Usher of Donnybrook Castle). She subsequently married Sir Hubert Adrian-Verveer. The Newcomens, Barons of Newcastle Lyons were influential in Irish governance, military and legal circles. They resided at Ballyfermot Castle which stood in the nearby park. The great park lay to the north and west of the castle. This noble family intermarried with the Barnwalls of Drimnagh, the Plunketts of Malahide and the St. Lawrences of Howth. M.P's for the Westmeath constituency of Kilbeggan, they also married into the Fitzgeralds of Maynooth, and the Nugents, Husseys, Tuites and Nagles of East and West Meath.
Area manor houses of note include Johnstown House (St. John's College), Colepark House, Sarsfield House, Sevenoaks, Floraville, Auburn Villa and Gallanstown House. The Ballyfermot townlands were transferred from the Barony of Newcastle to the Barony of Uppercross in the late nineteenth century (Ireland Local Government Act 1898).
The dairy and stud farms in the townlands of Ballyfermot were acquired by the authorities in the 1930s. They were developed into suburban housing estates needed to alleviate the post war housing shortage. This development, along with estates at Drimnagh, Crumlin, Walkinstown and other pockets in the south city, and Cabra, Finglas and Donnycarney along with smaller pockets in the north city provided modern accommodation to facilitate the Dublin City Council public/private housing programs. Initially leased to waiting lists, these modest but high quality very well constructed homes were sold to their residents in the early seventies, prior to the similar Thatcher initiatives of the eighties in the U.K. The first estate was built in the late forties at Ballyfermot Lower. South of Sarsfield House and Ballyfermot Road it was originally called the Sarsfield Estate. The street names reflect this historical theme. Gradually, the adjacent townlands to the south of Ballyfermot Road and north of Grange Cross - Ballyfermot Upper, Blackditch, Cherry Orchard, Raheen and Gallanstown were similarly developed. Johnstown, a townland of Palmerstown, South Dublin County, located around Johnstown House (St. John's College De La Salle) south of Chapelizod was developed for residential housing. Now divided along the Drumfin / Glenaulin Sports Park perimeter, the west portion was retained by Palmerstown, while the eastern portion became the township/electoral district of Drumfin in Dublin City (Local Government Act 1993), and included in postal district Dublin 10.
The area is now a centre of national commercial distribution, with easy access to the national trunk roads. Ballyfermot is bordered to the north by the N4, to the south by the N7 and to the west by the M50. There is also relative ease of access to the city centre. Some of the major Irish motor distributors are based in Ballyfermot. They include Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, J. C. Bamford (JCB), Harris Assembly and Hilux. They are centred around Kylemore Road, home to many large companies including Thornton's Recycling, C&C, FBD, and Royal Liver Insurance. The industrial estates include Park West and JFK. There are several hotels in the area. Days Hotel at Park West and Sheldon Park on Kylemore and Bewleys at Newlands are popular. A community based CCTV monitoring scheme for Ballyfermot was launched in early 2003. This is part of the Department of Justice Town Centre CCTV monitoring initiative.
Currently, Dublin Bus (routes 40, 79, 79A, 76, 76A, 18, 26.) and Dualway (123) serve the area. An hourly commuter train service is offered by Irish Rail, to Heuston station at Kingsbridge. The local station is Cherry Orchard/Park West Station, which is located on the Park West Road on the western perimeter of Ballyfermot. A proposed Dublin Metro route passes to the south. The Luas light rail system also serves Ballyfermot. The south side stop is near the Kylemore and Naas Road intersection.
The California Hills Park is the largest recreational park in the area. The name originated as a colloquialism - there were few designated play facilities in the very early days and the California Hills was the name used by local movie going kids who played 'Cowboys and Indians' there. The name later became official by popular public request. The park covers part of the great esker and overlooks the Liffey Valley from the south. From Le Fanu and Kylemore Roads to the east, it falls away into the landscaped valley of a Liffey catchment. It runs west toward Glenaulin and Drumfin Roads which adjoin the park as it stretches in a crescent to Palmerstown. The Chapelizod Bypass runs North West alongside. Kylemore Road joins the motorway near the West County Hotel. California Hills Park has superb views north over the Strawberry Beds to the Phoenix Park. The Farmleigh clock tower at Castleknock is a prominent landmark. Adjacent to the California Hills is Drumfinn Avenue Park, known locally as "The Gaels". This park is used for football, golf practice, cross country runs and walks and includes a children's play area. There is an entrance to the park beside the Ballyfermot Leisure Co-Op, near the G.A.A. Sports Park, on Gurteen Road.
The magnificent Irish National War Memorial, Memorial Gardens and Park, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, are accessible from the Sarsfield Road via East Timor Park.
Other parks located in the area include Le Fanu Park, Glenaulin Sports Park, Markievicz Park, East Timor Park, and Cherry Orchard Park. Cherry Orchard Park area is the proposed site for a new Village Centre. Le Fanu Park houses the Ballyfermot Leisure Centre and The Base.
The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal (Ireland) was conceived as a state-of-the-art facility for commercial and personal transportation. It was constructed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Grand Canal is now a recreational waterway. It passes along the south side of Ballyfermot. Verdant towpath walkways extend continuously to Hazelhatch, Co. Kildare. A historic bridge crosses the canal near the seventh lock at Killeen.
Cherry Orchard Hospital houses the National Infections Monitoring Centre. The centre played a pivotal role in diagnostics and control during the Foot and Mouth Crisis. It also monitors the Bird Flu epidemic. The hospital also plays a major role in the analysis and diagnoses of MRSA. MRSA is a major health hazard for Irish hospitals. During April and May 2009 the hospital played a major role in the monitoring and control of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) outbreak of 2009.
The Ballyfermot Medical Clinic is closed but a new Primary Care and Mental Health Centre has been opened beside Cherry Orchard Hospital. Services include GP, Community Nursing, Physiotherapy, Dental, addiction and community welfare. Mental Health facilities include a day hospital, day centre and outpatients clinic. This is run by the HSE
The Hermitage Medical Clinic is located in close proximity to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, just off the N4 motorway. The Hermitage Hospital is a 101 bed private facility with specialised medical teams who provide medical, surgical and advanced radiotherapy care to patients. The hospital is privately run. Its principal investors are Sean Mulryan, Larry Goodman, John Flynn and George Duffy M.D.
Cloverhill Courthouse and Remand Centre are located between Clondalkin, Palmerstown, and Ballyfermot in Dublin 10. Wheatfield Prison is located on the same site adjacent to the Courthouse.
- De La Salle National School
- Mary Queen of Angels National Schools
- St. Louise's Junior & Senior National Schools
- Dominican School Campus includes St. Michael's, St Raphael's and St Gabriel's N.S.
- St. Ultan's National School
Social and cultural
Mary Byrne , is a local singing success. In 2010 Mary appeared on the U.K. X Factor. Buoyed by her acclaim, she left the Tesco supermarket checkout for the airwaves, the small screens and stardom. This gifted vocalist is building a fine mid life career. Her recordings, video's and personal appearances are in demand at home and abroad.
The Ballyfermot Community Festival takes place annually. It has developed into a major event over the last few years. Pubs and restaurants in the area include Downeys, O'Sheas, Chasers, Tim Youngs, Decies County, and Fowlers County Bar.
The Gala is the largest auditorium now the major Bingo venue in the area. It also houses a large snooker hall. The Gala has seen many recreational uses since its heyday as the major local cinema and concert venue. It opened in 1953. People who grew up here have fond nostalgic memories of childhood Saturday matinees, complete with weekly episodes of Batman and Super Man. This serial movie was called 'The Follier Upper'. The De La Salle Boy's Band founded by the visionary Brother Victor F.S.C. played under the baton of maestro bandmaster Brother Cyprian F.S.C. at the annual December 8th Christmas 'Rocking Spotlight Concert' at the Gala.
The Ritz Ballroom at Grange Cross was a very popular venue in the early rock and roll era. It featured the capital's top rated rock bands. Major attractions included John Hardy's Blue Clavons and The Melochords featuring Dickie Rock. The Young Shadows and the Casino Showband featured aspiring young musical talent. They rehearsed and played gigs here at the Ritz Ballroom. Many of these very young early rock musicians were graduates of the De La Salle music program and played with the popular De La Salle Boy's Band. Their entrepenural co-op pop cover bands formed to play at the local teen 'Hops'. The local Young Shadows and the Casino Showband (later the Indians) made their national debut live in black and white on RTÉ's Showband Show. Some of their members went on to successful international musical careers here and in the U.K., U.S.A., Canada and Australia.
The Fureys, an internationally renowned traditional Irish music family, grew up locally and began their professional career while living here in Ballyfermot. Their success as a group and as individual artists put them in the charts throughout the world. Their father Ted Furey was a master traditional fiddler, a music teacher, and an eminent life member of Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann.
There are an impressive variety of seniors activities available here. Many events and activities are sponsored by churches, pubs and clubs. Many successful events and outings are organised by the senior's groups themselves, with transportation assistance provided by Dublin Bus.
St Mary's Youth Club is a popular youth club and has been for many years. The new building is located opposite spar on Claddagh green. The youth club has been opened since 1958 and offers a great place for children over the age of 9 to meet new friend and do activicties weekly. There is also a drama group which has won many awards for children aged 5 and upwards. For more information drop into the club on any week night or search 'St Mary's Youth Club' on Facebook.
The Civic Centre shares space with the Ballyfermot Residents Association. A ground breaking Irish movement, B.R.A. has been a popular venue for local events since its inception in the seventies, and features a popular weekly disco.
Ballyfermot Public Library serves the area, which has several reading clubs. Details of these can be found in the Public Library, The Civic Centre, and the various community centres. The Library also hosts the Nature Club.
St. Matthew's Community Centre is located adjacent to St. Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot Upper (west) .
The Base is a popular youth centre and child care facility. It is located at Blackditch Road in Le Fanu Park. The Base is a multifaceted community centre and the first facility of its kind in Ireland. A full description of its many activities, facilities, structure and scope are available at www.thebase.ie
The Irish/Australian singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke has family connections with Ballyfermot.
The Cherry Orchard Football Club takes part in the FAI Carlsberg Senior Cup soccer competition. A number of players who started with this team have gone on to play professional soccer in the English Premiership and its associated Divisions. Footballers Andy Reid, William Flood, Alan Quinn and Glenn Whelan all played for Cherry Orchard. John Wilkes has been credited with nurturing some of Cherry orchard FC's most notable successes. Ballyfermot United FC shares the origins of Cherry Orchard FC with Joe Kelly. The Ballyfermot United FC Social Club is located close to Le Fanu Park. Other clubs include the Black Diamonds, Drummfin Celtic, C.I.E. Ranch, O.L.V, Clifden Celtic and the newly formed Orchard Celtic.
Orchard Celtic are performing successfully with two senior teams formed. The under twelves team have won the double in their second year. The under fourteens won The Hollywood Cup in 2011.
St Patrick's Athletic F.C. are located in nearby Inchicore, and Ballyfermot has a large number of Saints fans.
There are two vibrant and successful senior Gaelic Athletic Association clubs serving Ballyfermot.
Ballyfermot De La Salle is the largest football club in the area. They originated in 1953 as Ballyfermot Gaels. They currently play their senior home games in the Drumfin/Glenaulin Sports Park, located on the west side of California Hills Park. They train and play junior fixtures at the facilities located behind the De La Salle Primary Schools on Ballyfermot Road.
Another club, Liffey Gaels, was founded in 1951. It was known as Rialto Gaels for over twenty years. In the 1970s it changed its name to SS. Michaels and James' to reflect the efforts of the teachers and students of these schools in the development of the club. In 1984, a local juvenile club Donore Iosagain amalgamated with SS Michaels and James' and the club was renamed the Liffey Gaels. Today their immediate catchment area runs from Ballyfermot through Inchicore and the parishes of St. Michael’s, St. James’, St. Catherine’s, Rialto and Donore Avenue. The Gaels play their home games Liffeyside at East Timor Park on Sarsfield Road in Inchicore.
Jimmy Keating, late of Le Fanu Road, Ballyfermot, was a trojan worker for this club. He was eventually elected life president. He died in Sep, 1996, leaving a fine, successful sporting club to his community. Jimmy was the manager of the senior teams in both football and hurling with Jack Whitney, Patrick (Paddy)Carolan & Bob Weathman. The club plays in the Kerry colours as a tribute to the first parish priest, Kerryman Charles Canon Troy who sponsored the club. Jimmy led the club to many successes on his watch, reaching the smooth turf of Croke Park on a number of occasions.
The Pigeon Club near Sarsfield Park reflects a local tradition. Rugby, Badminton, martial arts, snooker, pool, bowling, squash, handball, racquetball, indoor go-karting, tennis, pitch and putt, fishing, boules, rock-climbing, River Liffey rowing, and table tennis are all represented by local clubs.
Ballyfermot Leisure Centre is located on Le Fanu Road. The centre is the largest in the area. The facilities include:
- 25 metre six lane pool with moveable floor
- Six 5-a-side all weather football pitches
- Fully equipped gymnasium
- Steam Room
- Large aerobic studio
- Fully Marked Sportshall
Ballyfermot Leisure Co-Op (BLCO) is located on Gurteen Road adjacent to Mary Queen of Angels National School. The facilities include:
- Handball Alley
- Raquetball Court
- 2 Squash Courts
- Indoor Hardfloor Football Pitch
- Sports Tuition
Liffey Valley Fitness is located on the Colcut Road
Sheldon Park Fitness Centre is located on the Kylemore Road,
SanoVitae Health and Fitness Club is located in the Clarion Hotel complex close to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.
The Little Gym is also located in the Clarion Hotel complex.
Religious institutions serving the area include the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption and the Church of St. Matthew, St. Laurence's Church, Chapelizod in the Church of Ireland, and a number of Christian Evangelist denominations. There are also centres of spirituality and life awareness serving non traditional believers in the community.
Ballyfermot College of Further Education is sometimes referred to as the Rock School. Many current business, media and musical personalities have studied here. The Wiki site and the website give an outline of its history, facilities and curricula. Singer-Songwriters Mundy and Damien Dempsey both attended the Rock School
- Baile Formaid, Placenames Database of Ireland, retrieved 26 October 2012.
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- Oftedal, Magne (1976), "Scandinavian place-names in Ireland", in Almqvist, Bo; David, Greene, Proceedings of the Seventh Viking Congress. Dublin 15-21 August 1973, Royal Irish Academy, pp. 125–133.
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- "Roy - Episode 1.13. School Inspection - British Comedy Guide". Comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- Cherry Orchard FC Information
- Ballyfermot United FC Information
- "Ballyfermot DLS GAA". Ballyfermotdls.110mb.com. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Best Western Sheldon Park Hotel, Conference and Leisure Centre, Dublin 12, Naas Road, Ireland". Sheldonpark.ie. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
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- "Fun Activities and Kids Gym Classes for Toddlers, Kids and Children". The Little Gym. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
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- A Topographical Dictionary Of Ireland (1837 Samuel Lewis).