Firhouse (Irish: Teach Giúise) is a suburb of South Dublin, Ireland, developed from what was historically a rural village. It is located just east of the River Dodder and is in the postal district of Dublin 24.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Location and access
- 4 Representation
- 5 Amenities
- 6 Education
- 7 Religion
- 8 Sport
- 9 Village status and planning
- 10 See also
- 11 References and footnotes
- 12 External links
The pronunciation of Firhouse is as contentious an issue as its origin among the local population, some using "Fir" and some "Fur", though the use on historical maps, which tended to be phonetic, of "Furhouse", suggests the probable form.
The origin of the place-name may derive from the Irish word "fir", which means "of the man". It may also come from a manor that was located at the top of the laneway joining Scoil Treasa and Scoil Carmel. Like much of the rest of the area, this laneway, which led up to the main house, was lined with fir trees.
Firhouse was historically the site of a small rural settlement near the river bank. In the 14th century, a weir, the City Weir or Great Weir, was made in the Dodder there, named for Balrothery, the district on the north bank opposite, and much of the Dodder's water was diverted to the course of the River Poddle, to supply the then-small Dublin city.
Firhouse was the site, in 1816, of the hanging of the Kearneys, a father and two sons. Following the disappearance of gamekeeper John Kinlen, a bloody axe was found near the Kearneys' pub in Firhouse and they were convicted of the killing. A gallows was built at the scene of the crime, outside their pub, for their hanging. When the son, William, fell through the gallows, it was discovered that he was too tall to be strangled by the rope around his neck, so a hole was dug under the gallows, the hangman then pulled down on his legs and held onto him until he was dead. No public reference to this bloody incident can be found in modern Firhouse.
While there was no bridge near in a south westerly direction until the 20th century, a bridge was made just north of the village. The settlement grew further in the 19th century, and a number of mills existed in the vicinity, including a paper mill across the river. By the 1910s, the village already extended for half a mile, with a school, church, convent, public house and two smithies, but the population remained small until suburban development began in the 1960s and 1970s.
A brief history of Firhouse (as "Fir-house") is included in "The History and Antiquities of Tallaght in the County of Dublin", a comprehensive account of the large historic ecclesiastical and later civil parish of Tallaght. Handcock in fact refers to two villages of Fir-house, the main settlement and another he calls "the village of Upper Fir-house." The scholar Gerry Smyth has written a cultural history of Firhouse in his book Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination.
Location and access
Firhouse is located close to the foothills of the Dublin Mountains in an area that was predominantly rural a few decades ago. It is situated on the eastern bank of the River Dodder, 2 km downstream from Tallaght village and a little upriver from Templeogue. Development only began in recent decades, although there were previously a number of mills.
Firhouse is in the Dublin South–West Dáil Éireann constituency. For local government, Firhouse and Knocklyon areas west of the M50 are in the Tallaght South local electoral area for county council elections. As of the next general election Dublin South-West will include Rathfarnham, Knocklyon, Ballyboden and Edmondstown joining Templeogue, Firhouse, Greenhills and Tallaght.
There are two community centres, Firhouse Community and Sports Complex, which is home to various sporting teams, as well as the local scouting den, and The Park Community Centre, which has recently opened up in Ballycragh park.
Firhouse also has two shopping centres, Firhouse shopping centre, and Old Court shopping centre, and is within walking distance of both Old Bawn shopping centre and Woodstown shopping centre. Between Firhouse and Old Court shopping centres, there is a supermarket, a credit union, a post office, a Chinese restaurant, a "Spar" shop and a "Paddy Power's". The local pubs are Scholars, The Speaker Conolly, Mortons, The Firhouse Inn, and Delaneys.
Facilities of Tallaght town centre, including local government amenities and a major shopping complex, are within 1-4 kilometres, and those of Knocklyon and Templeogue are within about the same distance.
Firhouse is in the Rathfarnham Garda District.
Local primary schools are Scoil Carmel (a Junior National School), Scoil Treasa and Holy Rosary, and there is also a second-level school, Firhouse Community College.
Scoil Carmel and Scoil Treasa
These are National Schools, Scoil Carmel having Junior Infants - Second Class, thus ranging in age from 4 to 8, while Scoil Tresa takes 8 to 12 year olds.
This is a primary school located in Old Court. It was originally built in 1985, and in 2014, got a new school building on the same site. In 2012, both President Michael D. Higgins and TV presenter Ryan Tubridy visited the school, in order to visit their new library. Also located on the site is Holy Rosary Church, part of the Bohernabreena parish.
Gaelscoil na Giúise
Gaelscoil na Giúise is a multidenominational, co-educational gaelscoil opening in September 2013 for Junior Infants. The school will initially be located in the Firhouse Community Centre before being moved to a permanent site.
Firhouse Community College
The college was established in 1982 and currently attains around 700 students and 60 staff members. The school contains a theatre, physical education hall, a multi-sport arena and a large playing field which is around 800m long and is used for soccer & rugby matches for the home matches of the community college's official squads. The schools 4th years go on a school trip to Delphi, an adventure centre in Mayo. They also perform an annual play. Previous plays include Romeo & Juliet, Playboy of the Western World, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Wiz, Smike, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Grease. 
There is a Roman Catholic Parish entitled Parish of Firhouse which stretches out as far as Hunterswood and has a church named Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Various regions of Firhouse belong to the Parish of Ballyboden. Bohernabreena Parish also takes up much of the area, with a church in the mountains and another in Holy Rosary school. Adjacent to the Dodder valley stands the Victory Center a Christianity theological facility, however this is currently closed.
Firhouse Carmel Football Club (Firhouse Carmel F.C.), based at Firhouse Community Centre, caters for over 300 schoolboys and girls from the local area, in 22 teams. Playing grounds are at Carrigwood and Scholars pitches, and 2005 saw Brian Kerr open the purpose-built changing rooms at the Community Centre after years of fundraising. The club is sponsored by Reagans, SuperValu. Local Leinster Senior League side Firhouse Clover also avail of the clubhouse facilities when training at Firhouse Community College.
St Anne's GAA, located in Bohernabreena is another major club in the area, with camogie, hurling and Gaelic football teams. It also has a function room, where local events are often hosted, as well as a bar.
Firhouse also has a basketball club.
Firhouse Community College has active clubs including GAA and basketball.
Village status and planning
In 2001 the voluntary group Firhouse Village Community Council was given a mandate at a general meeting to have the title "Firhouse Village" recognised for the area. In pursuing this they obtained EU and National Development Plan grant aid for Firhouse Village Park. While there is no formal definition or legal status of "village" in Ireland, by its name and the fact that grant aid was obtained under the Village Urban Renewal Scheme and E.U. funding, some form of recognition by the local authority that Firhouse was a village in its own right can be inferred, as the Village Urban Renewal Scheme 2000–2006 allocated monies only to villages throughout Ireland outside Dublin City and County.
The most significant planning and development issue to concern Firhouse in recent years has been the decision of South Dublin County Council to grant permission for the rejuvenation of the core area with a mixed development of apartments, offices and retail outlets. The new planning laws that apply to villages that are not served by a rail or Luas line restricted the density of apartments applied for by one of the developers.
References and footnotes
- The History Show, RTE Radio One 12th June 2011, "Public executions through history"
- Dublin, 1889: Handcock, George Domville: "The History and Antiquities of Tallaght in the County of Dublin", 2nd edition
- Dublin, Ordnance Survey Office: Ordnance Survey Mapping, 1911 and 1935 editions
- Dublin, 1889: Handcock, George Domville: "The History and Antiquities of Tallaght in the County of Dublin", 2nd edition, Chapter 17
- 'The Location of Criticism, or, Putting the "I" into Ireland', in Gerry Smyth, Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 93-129
-  - Website for 146th Firhouse Scouts.