Shankill, Dublin

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Shankill is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°13′34″N 6°07′26″W / 53.226°N 6.124°W / 53.226; -6.124Coordinates: 53°13′34″N 6°07′26″W / 53.226°N 6.124°W / 53.226; -6.124
CountyDún Laoghaire–Rathdown
Dáil ÉireannDún Laoghaire
 • Suburban6.4 km2 (2.5 sq mi)
29 m (95 ft)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST (WEST))
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)1
Irish Grid ReferenceO249220

Shankill (Irish: Seanchill, meaning 'Old Church') is an outlying suburb of Dublin, Ireland, situated in the administrative area of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. Located in the south-east of the historic County Dublin, close to the border with County Wicklow, it has a population of 14,257 (2016 census). It runs from the coast, between Loughlinstown and Bray, inland towards the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. Shankill borders Rathmichael, as well as Loughlinstown, Killiney, Ballybrack and Bray in County Wicklow. It is part of the Civil Parish of Rathmichael, and contains the formerly separate district of Shanganagh, and in its southern parts, the locality of Crinken.


The name Shankill is believed to derive either from the Irish Sean-Chill, meaning Old Church, or Sean-Choill, meaning Old Wood.


The townland of Shankill was originally located on lands further northwest at Puck's Castle but today the area of Shankill is usually understood to lie towards the coast, while the inland reaches form Rathmichael (historically Shankill was absorbed into Rathmichael civil parish), with an area of around 6.5 square kilometres (1,600 acres).[citation needed] Carrickgollogan Hill (278m) lies to the west, with the Ballycorus Leadmines to the northwest, and Loughlinstown and Killiney to the north. The town of Bray, County Wicklow lies to the south.

Shankill village today consists primarily of a main street with shops, cafes, a public house, a post office, credit union and other retail outlets, with immediate housing developments, and scattered housing for several kilometres around.


Bilingual welcome stone in English and Irish

Early history[edit]

Shankill features a number of antiquities, including ráths and cromlechs.

Around 1230, there were forests that were cleared under the orders of the then owner of Shankill, Archbishop Luke. Courts for serious crimes in the style of assizes were conducted at Shankill during this period. To keep the native Gaelic Irish out, barriers and fortified gates protected parts of the townland. The manor of Shankill was overrun by the native Irish and completely destroyed a century later. In response to these incursions, a large garrison was re-instated. The Irish were restrained from entering and the land was eventually re-let as grazing land.

Middle Ages[edit]

The Lawless family features prominently in the history of Shankill. In 1408, family members took control of the seigniory of Shanganagh and, by 1480, several branches of the family were residents of Shankill.

Between 1400 and 1600, a number of fortified structures - whose remains can still be seen to this day in Shankill and Rathmichael - were built: Shankill Castle, Shanganagh Castle and a strong house known locally as Puck's Castle. The Walsh family, which came to prominence in the 16th century, built several further defensive structures in Shankill.

From 1640 onwards, the native Irish were subdued in a series of confrontations, leading to greater agricultural use of the lands. Around this time, Shankill was absorbed into the parish of Rathmichael.

The Walshes quit the lands of Shankill primarily due to the Act of Commonwealth[clarification needed] which redistributed landowners and tenancies. After this, the Lawless families regained possession for the third time of lands around Shankill. The last Lawless died in 1795, whereupon the lands became the possession of the third Sir William Domvile, resident of nearby Loughlinstown House. The Domvile family had been granted the lands surrounding Loughlinstown under the Restoration.

19th century[edit]

The Domviles[edit]

Shankill and Rathmichael were the property of Sir Charles Compton William Domvile (1822–1884). Domvile was known as an uncompromising and ruthless landlord and sought to change the usage of land from the smallholdings that existed at the time of his inheritance of the estate. At this time Shankill was a rural village, but Domvile intended to build grand Georgian-style housing developments, squares and streets to gentrify the area, thereby making it attractive for wealthy Dublin city-based professionals to live in. During Domvile's time, new roads and streets were laid out, as well as water mains which feed a relief tank from Vartry Reservoir, continuing on to Stillorgan reservoir. However, Domvile was an impetuous man and acted unreasonably with his tenants and prospective buyers of estates on his holdings. His personal debts mounted as a result of his financing two large estates at Shankill and Santry, ultimately resulting in his bankruptcy.

The net outcome of Domvile's actions was to halve the population of Shankill and Rathmichael during the 1860s. He evicted over 100 tenants, during a period of grinding poverty, and many were forced to re-negotiate their tenancies at usurious rates. Many of the evicted ended up in the local workhouse, the Rathdown Work Union, which is now the site of Loughlinstown Hospital.

The new Shankill[edit]

A landowner with holdings adjacent to the Shankill townland, Benjamin Tilly, granted quarter-acre holdings to some of the evicted tenants. Tilly's land straddled the townland border into Shanganagh, and thus the new holdings along the Shanganagh Road became known as 'Tillystown'. In 1871, there were over 60 houses, and around the start of the 20th century, this village became known as Shankill proper.

In 1911, a tract of land to the west of Shankill, known as 'New Vale', was developed as labourers' cottages.

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

Shankill initially comprised large agricultural tracts broken into smallholdings for tenant farmers, and larger, grander estates with fine country houses, many of which still exist today. Large housing estates - of varying size and quality - have been built on many of these estates. Recently, additional tracts of land have been sold to developers who have built higher-density housing than the larger-plot housing estates constructed in the 1970s.

Local antiquities and features[edit]

Puck's Castle
Ballycorus Chimney
Shanganagh Castle (18th century)
St. James's Church, Crinken (1840)

There are several antiquities in the area, including ruined churches and standing stones. The ruins of several castles and defensive-type structures remain, including Puck's Castle, Shankill Castle, Shanganagh Castle and a Martello Tower.

Some houses of architectural note include: Clontra, a coastal Gothic mansion near Corbawn Wood and Quinn's Road; Crinken Castle House, Crinken, and Shanganagh House, an imposing mansion now surrounded by local authority housing estates. Clontra was built for Dublin barrister James Anthony Lawson QC (later Attorney General of Ireland, Judge of the High Court and Privy Councillor) and designed by eminent 19th-century architects Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward in their trademark Italian medieval style. They are better known for their work on the Kildare Street Club and the museum building at Trinity College Dublin.

The local library is itself of note, formerly a courthouse built in the Victorian style of granite and mock Tudor features. There are also some follies such as a mock round tower built of red brick in the Castle Farm Farmyard.

Traces of Dublin's industrial heritage remain, in particular, the lead-mine chimney at Ballycorus. Other features of note include the 'upside down' houses by the Harcourt Street railway line bridge, which was the site of the original post office, and has its guest rooms downstairs, and its kitchen and living room upstairs. Shankill was accessible via the original Kingstown-Bray train line, which is now five metres from the sea in some places. A coastal wall was built from Killiney to Bray to try to stop the erosion, traces of which can still be seen along the beach. The medieval village of Longnon was sited some 200 yards (180 m) east of Quinn's Road beach but was obliterated by coastal erosion.


Ballycorus Leadmines[edit]

Site of a lead ore smelter, a mile-long stone flue and a granite chimney on Carrickgollogan hill, which is visible from much of southeast Dublin.[2]

Carnegie Library[edit]

Tudor-style library, architect R. M. Butler, 1912.[3]


Clonasleigh, a house replaced by Shankill Shopping Centre (now upgraded and re-opened) was lived in by Frederick W. Meredith, once President of the Law Society, in the early 1900s. The name has been retained locally in Clonasleigh, a road with 16 houses, off Corbawn Lane, located close to the original house.


Gothic mansion designed by Deane and Woodward, 1860, interior murals by John Hungerford Pollen. On 15 acres (61,000 m2) of parkland by the coast, adjacent to Corbawn Wood estate.[4]

Dorney Court[edit]

Originally called Clare Mount, built c. 1832, this fine Victorian house was demolished in 1984. Its site is now that of Shankill Garda Station. The grounds still contain a few Sequoia and Scots Pine trees following the felling of many of them in 1984.

Ferndale House[edit]

Large estate on several acres, seat of David Plunket, 1st Baron Rathmore.

Mullinastill House[edit]

Former mill house, listed structure, set for several film scenes.

Puck's Castle[edit]

The 'castle', actually a fortified house, was built in the late 16th century. It provided a refuge in 1690 for James II and his army fleeing the Battle of the Boyne. One explanation for its name is that a ghost or puca inhabited the castle.[5] In June 1867 the daughter of a local Englishman disappeared near the castle. Jane Eleanor Sherrard, daughter of Henry and Margaret Sherrard left her nearby home to pick flowers for the dinner table. When she failed to return home that evening the police were notified and a widespread search was conducted. The last confirmed sighting of Jane was by the local postman, who reported to have seen her picking flowers at the foot of the castle's northern wall. To this day the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain unknown.

Rathmichael Church[edit]

Commissioned by Charles Domvile in 1860, designed by Benjamin Woodward, in the Hiberno-Romanesque style. The Domviles had their own high-backed chairs, behind red velvet curtains.

Rosedale and Locksley[edit]

Twin Victorian country houses, built by Guinness master brewer Perry in early 1856.

Shanganagh Castle (1408)[edit]

Located near Mill Lane, at the northern margins of the area, built in 1408 by the Lawless family and inhabited by their descendants until 1763, the castle was left in ruins by a fire in 1783. Only limited elements remain within the grounds of a later house.

Shanganagh Castle (18th century)[edit]

Several kilometres from the first Shanganagh Castle, during the late 18th century, a mansion was built on extensive lands running to the border of Shankill with County Wicklow. It was later used as an open prison for juveniles between 1969 and 2002.[6][7] The site is now being developed by the local authority and Land Development Agency, with over 500 housing units planned, and the castle will be restored and reopened.

Shanganagh House[edit]

Later called Shanganagh Park, this Georgian-era mansion was built c. 1823 for William Hopper. Later residents included the Darcy brewing family and racehorse breeder Frank Field. It was compulsorily purchased by Dublin County Council in 1970; it now serves as a community centre and is surrounded by late 1970s council houses.[8]

Shankill Castle[edit]

Built by Archbishop Henry de Loundres in 1229; site of the ancient Shankill church. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in the area.[9][10]


Old Dublin & South East railway line[edit]

The original railway ran along the coast, seaward from the modern DART and railway line, connecting Killiney and Bray.

Old Harcourt Street line[edit]

The former railroad running from Dublin to Bray on an inland route; closed in 1958. The D&SER and Harcourt Street lines met at Shanganagh Junction.

Defunct link line[edit]

The Harcourt Street line continued seawards to meet the original D&SER line at Tyrell's land; this link closed in 1915 when the Shanganagh Diversion came into service.

The new D&SER line (modern line)[edit]

The coastal line was moved inland, from Ballybrack to Wood Glen, due to coastal erosion, the new line, the "Shanganagh Diversion", opening on the 1st October 1915. A new connection to the Harcourt Street line was made at a new Shanganagh Junction, and stations were reworked.




Shankill has a primary school, Scoil Mhuire (Roman Catholic), and Rathmichael adjacent has two, namely Rathmichael Parish School (Church of Ireland) and Saint Anne's National School (Roman Catholic).


Shankill has one Roman Catholic church, St Anne's, and a Church of Ireland (Anglican) church, St James', at Crinken (to the south), and Rathmichael, which has had a church for more than 800 years, also has a Church of Ireland church, simply named for the area.

Sport and leisure[edit]


The trailhead of the Dublin Mountains Way, a long-distance walking route (43 km trail) across the Dublin Mountains between Shankill and Tallaght begins at Brady's pub on the main street.


Sporting options in the area include soccer teams: Shankill FC, with schoolboy and schoolgirl sides.[11]


Shankill Tennis Club,[12] which opened a new clubhouse in 2007 and indoor courts in 2016, is located at the junction of Quinn's Road and Corbawn Drive.


Shankill Bowling Club - boasting an all-weather surface - is situated adjacent to the tennis club.


Shankill GAA Club re-formed in 2013 after a 20-year absence. As of 2021 the club fields ~30 teams across Gaelic football, hurling and camogie and caters for boys and girls of all ages through its academy, underage & adult teams.


In about 1877 a sailing club was formed at the end of Corbawn Lane called the Shankill Corinthian Sailing Club for the promotion and encouragement of amateur seamanship. the membership came from the residents of the houses in the immediate vicinity.[13] They sailed in small open boats without centre-boards or keels which were light enough to be pulled up on the beach by two men. Among the members were Thomas B. Middleton, Thomas Geoghegan and W.E. Caldebeck The coastline was less eroded at that time and the rocks were probably not showing above the sand and gravel. The modest club survived for more than 10 years before many of the members relocated their sailing activities to Kingstown.

Recreation and Refreshment[edit]

Brady's of Shankill[14] is the main pub/restaurant/off-licence complex in the village. In June 2012, it was voted 'Best Local Pub In Ireland'.[15] Shankill is also served by convenience stores, a street food outlet, take-away restaurants and bookmakers, barbers, two pharmacies, as well as Envy Hair and Beauty salon[16] and a third pharmacy located in Shankill Shopping Centre, which is due to be knocked down and rebuilt into a state-of-the-art Lidl.[17] The local Credit Union has a substantial office on the main street. There is also a public library and, until relatively recently, one of Dublin's few remaining campsites. The latter has now been developed into an apartment complex.


In 2007, Shankill won the 'National Best Urban Village' award and two other awards[18] in the Tidy Towns Competition. Efforts by the Tidy Towns committee and residents' associations to improve the appearance and quality of the local environment are ongoing.

Shankill, Belfast[edit]

Like its namesake the Shankill district of Belfast, Dublin's Shankill also has its own Falls Road. Occasionally, the primary schools and community groups in both Shankills hold football or other sporting events to promote closer north–south ties.




Dublin Bus routes 7b, 145 and 155 connect Shankill with the city centre. The 45a connects the area to Dún Laoghaire and routes 84 and 84a link the area with Blackrock

The Aircoach service from Greystones to Dublin airport also stops at the main street Dublin Bus stop, although originally it was planned to stop outside Brady's of Shankill (aka Mickey Byrne's Bar; the stop still has this name despite being approximately 50 metres from the pub itself), en route to the airport.


Shankill station - located between Rathsallagh Park and Corbawn Lane - is the third-last stop on the southbound leg of Dublin's DART line.


The closest LUAS stops (Green Line) are at Cherrywood and Brides Glen, with regular connections bringing passengers into the city centre (Parnell) and Broombridge in approx. 30 and 40 minutes respectively.


The N11 national route used to run through Shankill, until the M11 bypass was built nearby. The area can now be accessed via coastal roads, or off the M11, or by a road at Crinken which overflies the M11. The other east–west connection, the Allies River Road, was cut by the M11, and no underpass was made.


  1. ^ "Census 2016 Profile 2 – Population Distribution and Movements". Central Statistics Office Census 2016 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. May 2017. The figure represents the sum of the populations of the Shankill-Rathmichael, Shankill-Rathsallagh and Shankill-Shanganagh electoral districts.
  2. ^ The Mining Company of Ireland Ltd., short history of mining operations at Ballycorus Archived 15 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ An Taisce catalogue of photographs of Irish Carnegie Libraries Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Clontra, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  5. ^ Pucks Castle, brief history & photos Archived 14 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Shanganagh Castle (18th century), brief history, old drawing & photo Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Shanganagh Castle (18th century), National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Shanganagh House, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Archived from the original on 18 November 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Shankill Castle, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  10. ^ Shankill Castle, brief history Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Shanganagh Cliffs FC men's team
  12. ^ "Shankill Tennis Club". Archived from the original on 30 November 2002.
  13. ^ Alfred and Vincent Delany 'The Water Wags 1887-2012' (Dun Laoghaire, 2012)p.15
  14. ^ Page Created by: admin. "Brady's of Shankill | John Brady Group". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Brady's wins top honours as Ireland's 'Local of the Year' -". 18 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  16. ^ "ENVY - nite club". Archived from the original on 12 December 2003.
  17. ^ "Lidl planning 'state of the art' Shankill store".
  18. ^ "Shankill Tidy Towns 2007 awards". Retrieved 24 August 2013.

External links[edit]