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Kilnamanagh, in Irish 'Cill na Manach' translating into 'Church of the Monks' referring to church and castle established to house Saint Kevin and his followers. Present day Kilnamanagh has close ties to Glendalough, the other resting place of St Kevin.
Unfortunately, the ancient Church of St. Kevin and castle located in Kilnamanagh were destroyed when the building of the housing estate commenced in 1974 by unscrupulous developers who were insensitive to the rich historical heritage which resided there. The well that was built by St. Kevin is now covered up, but there is still a small garden around the well for people to visit. The well and garden have been fenced in for fear of desecration. The gates that are locked and access is controlled by the local church. There are many references to St. Kevin and his followers in Kilnamanagh, the school, church and local sports teams are named after him. During the 1980s, many annual community events were held in the parish including the Sunday Fete and the annual cycle pilgrimage to Glendalough.
Former Dublin Senior footballer and current Westmeath Senior Gaelic Football team manager Paul Bealin began his career playing for St Kevin's GAA in the 1980s.
St Kevins Church was built in 1978, and over the years the adjoining presbytery has been residence for many priests which have included the following:
- Fr. Donal O'Scanaill, P.P.
- Fr. Ernest Neville, P.P.
- Fr. Pearce McLoughlin, C.C.
- Fr. Oliver Hanratty, C.C.
- Father Curran, P.P
- Father James Fingleton, P.P.
Kilnamanagh was one of the largest housing estate in Europe at the time it was built by Tom Brennan and Joseph McGowan who traded as Kilnamanagh Estates. It is still the largest private housing estate in Europe, consisting of 1,600 houses. On release to the market, the first tranche of 3-bedroom semi-detached houses were priced at £5,995. Kilnamanagh has a primary school (St. Kevin's), a shopping centre (Dunnes Stores), Credit Union and a well-established community centre which also has a bar. Kilnamanagh is close to The Square shopping centre, the third largest shopping centre in Ireland, which is expanding with an extra 400 shops in 2010. The Luas red line and M50 are located between Kingswood and Kilnamanagh within walking distance of the entire estate.
Kilnamanagh is divided into smaller neighbourhood areas such as Treepark (first built in 1980), Redwood (first built in 1974), Pinetree (first built in 1981 and is the only public housing scheme developed by the County Council), Elmcastle (first built in 1974), Parkhill (built in 1977), Birchview (built in 1972), and Tamarisk (built in 1975).
The first houses built which were at Birchview, adjacent to the Greenhills Road, were the only houses in Kilnamanagh that had wooden floorboards on the ground level with under floor heating, and was the only part of the estate to have a street gas supply since its construction in 1972. Most of the other parts of the estate eventually had a street gas supply installed around 1990, with the exception of houses in the Elmcastle neighbourhood which had timber floors and gas ducted heating since their construction in 1974. I lived at 333 Elmcastle Close in 1975 and those houses had wooden floors and gas heating.
Clubs, Associations and Societies
There is an active soccer club known as Kilnamanagh AFC. The community centre known as Kilnamanagh Family and Recreation Centre has built two 'astro parks' with floodlights and a grass pitch in August 2009. There is an active GAA club in Kilnamanagh. Formally known as St' Kevin's GAA club, it merged with St. Killian's GAA club from the neighbouring area of Kingswood to become known as St. Kevin's Killians. Kilnamanagh has Three GAA pithes in the middle of the estate. Kilnamanagh was well known for its Summer Projects in the 1980s involving all ages of the community to participate in excursions out from the area, arts and crafts, organised children's discos, cinema, etc. The projects continued for a number of years and were centred mainly at Saint Kevin's Primary School during the month of July every year. Set up by volunteers and parents from the area, it started in 1982 and ran successfully until 1989.
Businesses and Industries
Located between the Mayberry Road and Treepark is the Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre. At its peak during the 1980s, and before the opening of the Square Shopping Centre on the Belgard Road, Kilnamanagh Shopping centre was an extremely popular shopping destination for people from the surrounding areas. The biggest retailer in the Shopping Centre is Dunnes Stores, with other units occupied by An Post, A Car Spares shop, A butchers and a Chemists. Kilnamanagh has a Fuel Filling Station (Now called Topaz) located on its primary access route (Mayberry Road).