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The ruins of a church are found near to the remains of what would once have been one of the largest ringforts (ráth) in Ireland. The church is believed to be dedicated to a saint called Mac Táil, which was later corrupted as “Michael”. The modern Irish name Ráth Mhichíl appears to be derived from the English corruption. Thus, Rathmichael is more likely to have come from Ráth Mhic Táil, meaning "Mac Táil's Ringfort".
At the west end of the church are the remains of a round tower, 2 metres (6.6 feet) high. It has a circumference of 51 feet (16 metres). The tower is known locally as "The Skull Hole", a reference to the occasion when skulls and bones from the adjoining burial ground were deposited there rather than being re-interred when the graveyard was cleared to create additional space. There is a story of an underground passage that leads from the round tower to the sea and of a piper who descended into the passage playing his instrument never to be seen again. The remains of a passage – possibly a souterrain – have been found close to the tower.
Location and nature
Rathmichael is an affluent suburb, characterised by extensive tracts of low-density dwellings, with large houses and gardens interspersed with open areas. It rises to the west towards the hill of Carrickgollogan in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. The chimney of the disused lead mines and the ruins of Puck's Castle on the northern flank of Carrickgollogan overlook the area
There are two schools, Rathmichael Parish National School which lies in the Church of Ireland Parish of Rathmichael and St. Annes National School.
Aravon Preporatory School, which closed in 2013, was the oldest school of its kind in Ireland, being 151 years old.
Also present are Old Conna Golf Club (on Ferndale Rd.) and Rathmichael Church and graveyard, in the Church of Ireland.
- Pádraig Harrington, international golfer and winner of the 2007 and 2008 British Open and the 2008 USPGA tournaments, lives in Rathmichael.
- Michael Fingleton, former chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society lives in Rathmichael with his wife Eileen.
- Corlett, Christiaan (1999). Antiquities of Old Rathdown. The archaeology of south County Dublin and north County Wicklow. Bray, County Wicklow: Wordwell. ISBN 1-869857-29-1.
- Ball, Francis Erlington (1905). A History of the County Dublin (pdf). Part 3. Dublin: Alex Thom & Co. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- Pearson, Peter (1998). Between the Mountains and the Sea. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County. Dublin: O'Brien Press. ISBN 0-86278-582-0.
- Donnelly, Most Rev. N. (1977) [first published 1905 as A Short History of Some Dublin Parishes]. Short Histories of Dublin Parishes. Part V: Parishes of Sandyford; Glencullen; Killiney; Little Bray; Cabinteely. Dublin: Carraig Chapbooks.
- Pearson, p. 44.
- Donnelly, p. 183-184.
- Corlett, p. 141.
- Ball, p. 92.