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Rathgar is situated in south Dublin. It lies beside Rathmines, Terenure, Dartry and Harolds Cross. Other nearby suburbs are Ranelagh, Rathfarnham, Milltown, Kimmage and Crumlin. The Grand Canal lies directly north of Rathgar. It lies within the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council, and straddles the postal boundary of Dublin 6.
Rathgar, in the Middle Ages, was a farm belonging to the Convent of St Mary de Hogges, at present-day College Green. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Rathgar was granted to the Segrave family: they built Rathgar Castle, ownership of which subsequently passed to John Cusack, who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1608. The castle remained in the possession of the Cusack family for over a century, but gradually decayed and was a ruin by the end of the eighteenth century. No trace of it remains today: it is thought to have been located at what is now 44-49 Highfield Road.
The village began to develop in the eighteenth century: Rathgar Avenue is probably the oldest street, while Highfield Road was developed in 1753. Zion Church and Christ Church Rathgar were built in the 1860s, by which time Rathgar was a sizeable community.
Rathgar is largely a quiet residential suburb with good amenities, including primary and secondary schools, nursing homes, child-care and sports facilities, and good public transport to the city centre. The housing stock largely comprises red-brick late Georgian and Victorian era terraces and much of the area lies within an architectural conservation zone. One of the main schools in area is The High School, Dublin, which moved to the area from its original location on Harcourt Street. Other schools include Stratford College on Zion road, founded in the 1950s by members of the Jewish Community in Dublin. Dodder Park is located in Rathgar.
Rathgar has a variety of retail outlets. It maintains a village feel and has a delicatessen, 2 butchers, a bike shop and a wine shop within 20 yards of the main cross. There is also Rathgar Pharmacy, Rathgar Hair Studio and a number of fashion and interior boutiques. There is also a small Supervalu supermarket. Local restaurants include Bijou (Modern Irish), Lumanti of Nepal (Nepalese), Howard's Way and Kanum (Asian).
St. Luke's Hospital, Highfield Road, specialises in cancer treatments. This is currently under threat of closure and many of the local residents are opposed to this. Mount Carmel General and Maternity hospital is located on Orwell Road.
Rathgar has a number of notable architectural features, notably Christ Church Rathgar (part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland) at the junction of Rathgar Road and Highfield Road in the village centre. The Roman Catholic Church of The Three Patrons (named after the three Patron Saints of Ireland: St Patrick, St Bridget and St Columba) on Rathgar Road is known as "The Servants' Church" because in the late 19th and early 20th century it was the place of worship for the large number of servants who worked and lived in the large houses in the area. While externally the church is of little note internally it is noteworthy. Both can be seen in the external links section below. The Church of Ireland Theological College and the Zion Church of Ireland at the junction of Zion and Bushy Park Road are also in Rathgar.
The Embassy of the Russian Federation is located in extensive grounds in southern Rathgar, with the Consular Office by the gates.
RSA Driving Test Centre
The Road Safety Authority ( RSA ) operate driving tests from their premises on Orwell Road. Several of the Rathgar driving test routes cover much of the surrounding area.
Notable people associated with Rathgar
- Ulick O'Connor
- George William Russell
- J.M. Synge
- David Marcus
- Éamon de Valera
- Seumas O'Sullivan
- Mary Lou McDonald
The suburb's most famous son is James Joyce, who was born in Brighton Square.
Arnold Bax rented a villa in Bushy Park Road for a short time. He described the view in his autobiography:
from the back windows of the incongruously named "Yeovil" there was... a clear vista of parklike wooded country and beyond that of the complete ring of the untamed Dublin Mountains. On any clear day one's eye could wander along that amphitheatre of beloved slopes, over Niall Glundubh's cairn on Tibradden, past haunted Kilmashogue, down into the sylvan hollows of Glendhu, up again along a red-brown fringe of leafless trees to the sinister ruins of Kilikee brroding over Dublin's south-western suburbs - "the Hellfire Club," monumental to the arrogance and violence of the eighteenth-century Irish gentry - until finally one's gaze rested upon Seefin, a pearl-grey phantasm of a mountain, its summit gleaming maybe with the snowdrifts of last week's blizzard. And deep in those folded hills, thirty miles away, was hidden Glendalough of the Seven Churches, an enchanted place of holy gloom.
—Arnold Bax, Farewell My Youth
Éamon de Valera's presidential office was moved to 53, Kenilworth Square in 1921 when his house in Blackrock was raided. It was in this house that Arthur Griffith presented Lloyd George's proposals for the Anglo-Irish Treaty to de Valera four days before the Treaty was signed in London.
- Christ Church Rathgar website
- Tribute to David Marcus, Irish Times
- Mary C Bromage book De Valera and the March of a Nation
- Peterkin, Tom (2007-01-09). "Ireland 'welcomed Hitler's henchmen". London: www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
O'Connell, Angela. The Servants' Church: History of the Church of the Three Patrons in the Parish of Rathgar. Dublin: Parish Development and Renewal Core Group, Church of the Three Patrons, 2004. 106p. Class no. 29 L.H. (Dublin) / 129
- Irish Architecture - Buildings of interest in Rathgar
- http://www.christchurchrathgar.org (Christ Church Rathgar, Presbyterian church)
- http://www.dublintourist.com/towns/rathgar/ (Tourist Information)
- http://rathgarresidentsassociation.ie/ (Residents Association)
- http://pix.ie/explore/tag/rathgar (Some pictures of the area)