|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2010)|
Rolestown, or Rowlestown (Irish: Baile Róil), is a small village six miles (10 km) north-west of Swords along the R125 in County Dublin, Ireland, about halfway between Swords and Ashbourne. It is located around two parallel roads joined together by an intersecting road which crosses the Broad Meadow River by an old cut stone bridge.
Rolestown lies either side of a flood-plain of the Broadmeadow River Valley. The northern part of the village is located on elevated ground. The area centred on the graveyard, old corn mill, bridge and approach to the gates of Rowlestown House, is characterised by distinctive heritage buildings and mature trees.
The settlement is located between the R125, which leads to Oldtown and Garristown, and the R106, which leads to Ballyboughal and the Naul to the north, and Dublin Airport to the south.
The settlement lacks a core as it is mostly a townland and consists primarily of ribbon development, mainly one-off housing in the form of bungalows.
Traditionally, the Rolestown area has a distinct relationship with the town of Swords, located 7 km away. Many of the local council housing estates built in the Swords area were used to house families from the Rolestown/Kilsallaghan area. Most Rolestown families send their children to secondary schools in Swords, and many Swords residents play Gaelic football for Fingal Ravens GFC in Rolestown.
Rolestown originated as a small river settlement at a crossing point of the Broadmeadow River several hundred years ago. The 1658 census of Ireland recorded 41 inhabitants of Rolestown (of 120 persons in the Clonmethan area, which included Rowlestown). Around 1700, lands were given to the Catholic Church for a chapel, garden and paddock.
The 1837 (First Edition) Ordnance Survey Map indicated that the village had grown sufficiently for a National School to be constructed on the edge of the village.
The church called Killossery (the church of St. Ossier in Irish) was built near the banks of the river in the seventeenth century. The parish of Killossery consisted of 2500 acres (10 km²) and over 380 inhabitants in the nineteenth century. The parish was so large at one point that it included all of Rolestown and Lispopple. The current church (pictured above) is named St. Brigid's Church and was built in 1850's, and had some extensive repair work done in the late 1990s. The Big House (Rowlestown House) originally belonged to the Corbally family.
The old castle in Killsallaghlan, an area of Rolestown, is surrounded by a wood, hence its name Coill Saileacháin (the Sally Wood). The castle was destroyed in 1641.
Rolestown only has a National School, a primary school for 4 to 12/13-year-old children. The original old school building excluding prefabricated classrooms was originally built to accommodate the immediate area of Rolestown/Kilsallaghan.
Local businessman, Pat McDonagh, has generously sponsored the building of a new state-of-the-art school has been built to replace the old school.
The school has students from several different peripheral towns and villages such as Greenogue, Swords, Ballyboughal and Oldtown. The local primary school holds a funday every Summer where there are games and competitions for the school's pupils to do.
There is no public open space currently provided in the village. The primary school has a small junior playing field and a hard surface basketball court to the side of the building. In the surrounding area a number of private leisure facilities are available, including a GAA pitch and club house. There is also a bar/pub with an adjoining restaurant and hotel. There used to be a local shop and petrol station but has been closed for a number of years. There is a church hall which serves many purposes. It holds classes on drama, badminton, Tae Kwon Do, soccer, traditional Irish dancing and other local community activities like the local Catholic church committee meetings, Irish Countrywomen's Association (I.C.A.) meetings and local fund-raisers such as the sale-of-work and several cake sales throughout the year. There has been a Historical Association formed in the past few years with the purpose of documenting the history of the parish and area. The drama society puts on a traditional pantomime every year in mid-January.
The 41B Dublin Bus Service serves Rolestown. The bus goes from the city centre through Dublin Airport and Swords, Dublin, terminating in Rolestown.[where?] There are no other public transport services passing through or running close to the village. It is anticipated[by whom?] that the growth of the village as proposed will lead to improvements in the bus services.
The Lawn Gates
At the end of the T-junction (after crossing Rolestown Bridge which goes over The Broad Meadow stream towards the local hall) a pair of old white gates lie at the entrance of a field. This field sits in front of the aforementioned Rolestown House. Here, up until the late 1950s and early 1960s, carnivals were held each year. These included sheep-shearing competitions, sheepdog trials and fancy-dress competitions. The carnival was lit with lights going all the way up the field to a large marquee-style tent where at the end of the carnival a dance would be held at night.