Doon, County Limerick
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Aerial view of Doon
|Elevation||150 m (490 ft)|
Doon (Irish: Dún Bleisce) is a village in east County Limerick, Ireland, close to the border of County Tipperary. It is also a civil parish and a Roman Catholic parish. The village of Doon is situated in the former barony of Coonagh. The civil parish is situated in the baronies of Coonagh and Owenbeg.
Origin of the name
In Irish Dún Bleisce. Dún means fortification and the Ordnance Survey map of the area records eight ring forts. The main such ring fort is located behind the Church of Ireland Church outside the village. The Bleisce part is more difficult to explain. Speculation on the origin of the name revolves around three theories. The first theory is that the name is derived from a stream – in Irish fleisc - which flows through the village. The second is that Bleisc was the name of a swine herder for a local chieftain. The third is that Bleisc was "a woman of ill repute", a harlot whose "dún" was a favourite haunt of soldiers of the Crown.
The first mention of the name Dún Bleisce was in the Annals of Inisfallen in 774 and for hundreds of years the village was known by this name. In 2003, the Placename Commission recommended that the official translation for Doon be changed to An Dún as it “was the appropriate Irish name for the village”. After a sustained campaign by locals which included a motion being adopted by Limerick County Council in November 2006 to request the name be changed back, the locals got their wish. The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O'Cuiv, approved the reversion saying that the alternative Dún Bleisce had an "attested historical basis".
Doon has two primary schools and two secondary schools.
- Convent Primary School was founded in 1865. It was the brain-child of Rev. Patrick Hickey P.P. who invited Mercy Sisters from Kinsale to come to Doon which they did in February 1865. The school was opened in 1868, with an additional storey added in 1878. A small boarding school was started for those children who were too far away to attend daily.
- CBS Primary School. In July 1864, Rev. Patrick Hickey PP died leaving some property in his will to be used to purchase a house and school in Doon for the Christian Brothers. In 1870 Br. Walsh of Sexton St., Limerick selected two acres as a site for the monastery and school. In 1874 the school was opened by Br. Bruno Goode. A new Primary School building was opened in September 1967.
- St Joseph's Secondary School for girls was built in 1930. In 1940 a girl's Secondary school was built. New school buildings were added to accommodate the increasing numbers. In Sept 1961 the final permanent school building was opened.
- St. Fintans CBS for boys. Around 1908 the "classical school" was launched under the direction of Br. Alban O'Donoghue and was given the name "St. Fintan's Collegiate School", Doon, which gradually developed into a secondary school. This was rehoused in its current location around 1984..
Doon GAA club was founded in 1888 and has provided several players to the county (Limerick) and provincial (Munster) hurling squads. The current ground was opened in 1994 and the dressing rooms were built in 2002. The team has reached the final of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship twice, losing to Ballybrown in 1989 and Patrickswell in 2000. In 1973 a Doon player, Willie Moore, was present in the Limerick team which beat Kilkenny to win the all-Ireland hurling final. Doon has given Birth to many great hurlers down the years some of which include Pat Ryan (S) and Dean Coleman. Darragh O'Donovan of Oola Co.Limerick claims to be one of Doon's greats however some renowned critics seem to think otherwise. Doon lost their greatest hurler, Damien Kiely to nearby rivals Cappawhite in 2013. He hopes to return to Doon one day to win a county championship. He is now in a West U.21 Final. A "B" one at that. Some say Damien Kiely once fought a polar bear for penguin meat, and won in the fifth round. Some say he also scored a one-hundred yard point blind-folded because "it'd look good for the CV".
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- Saint Fintan who founded a monastery in Doon is remembered on January 3rd.
- John O'Dwyer, an officer in Sarsfield's army, after the flight of the Wild Geese became Commander in Chief of the Austrian army, a Count of the Austrian Empire and defended Belgrade against the Turks. He is commemorated as "Scan O'Duibhir a Ghleanna" in the famous Irish poem.
- Jimmy Buckley is one of the top entertainers on the country and Irish music scene.
- William McCarthy a distinguished past pupil of Doon CBS was from Coolbane, Doon, a grand-uncle of the former Australian Ambassador, His Excellency, Terence McCarthy. William was later to become Br. Mark McCarthy, 2nd assistant to the Superior General of the Christian Brothers. He was to play a major role in developing education, not only in Ireland but also in Australia.
- William James Deere known as Willie won an All Ireland Minor Championship medal with Limerick in 1940.
Places of Interest
Castle Garde, originally built by the O'Briens, was restored in the early 1800s by Waller O'Grady, to a design of the architects James Pain and George Richard Pain. The design offers many notable features such as the circular keep, square-plan tower, and crenellated parapets. The carved statues, inside the gate house, are particularly fine and unusual features, representing Bacchus, Venus and Athene. The stone head to the main door represents Brian Boru.
- Doon Co. Limerick
- Dún Bleisce Townlands & Placenames
- Doon CBS Primary School
- St. Fintan's CBS Secondary School
- St. Joseph's Convent of Mercy
- Central Statistics Office Ireland and Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website. Post 1996 figures include Doon South and Doon West.
- Placenames of Ireland Database. accessdate=12 February 2014 "Doon (town)".
- Placenames of Ireland Database. accessdate=12 February 2014 "Doon (civil parish)".
- "Annals of Inisfallen". UCC - Annals of Inisfallen. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "Jimmy Buckley". Jimmy Buckley - Biography. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Castle Garde". NIAH - Buildings of Ireland. Retrieved 2011-09-15.