Shanganagh (Shankill) (Cont.)
Shankill Village Main Street, long an unprepossessing strip of commercial premises, did not exist before 1920. Improvements in recent years by way of landscaping, cobble paving, pretty litter bins, flowers etc. have won Shankill several commendations and awards in the national Tidy Towns competition, including “Best Urban Village” (2007). The street is probably best known as the location of the highly popular Brady’s pub / Mick Ryan’s Bar, a most excellent hostelry with friendly staff and great grub.
Quinn’s Road, extending eastwards from near Shankill Village, provides access to numerous housing estates, and is also the location of the highly rated Shankill Tennis Club grounds, where a leafy lane leads to a very pleasant part of Shanganah Park on the low sea cliffs and down to the rocky seashore, where reefs exposed at low tide are sometimes used as resting places by seals.
Longnon, a medieval fishing village reputedly sited some 200 yards from the modern Quinn’s Road access onto the beach, has left no trace, presumably obliterated by coastal erosion.
Shanganagh House was variously home to the manufacturer Richard Manders (who died in the Pyranees in 1864), the Anchor Brewery owner Matthew D’Arcy (who also lived on Merrion Square and later moved to Kilcroney House near Bray), the pharmaceutical merchant Samuel Boyd (who renamed the house Shanganagh Park), the racehorse breeder Frank Field, and Dr M Baradi (from whom the mansion was compulsory purchased by Dublin County Council in 1970). As Shanganah Park House it is now run as a community centre, partially surrounded by 1970s housing developments.
Shanganagh Park, part of the former Hopper estate, now features facilities and playing fields for various sports, including a baseball diamond, and prettily landscaped parkland extending eastwards to the sea cliffs.
Shanganagh Cemetery is an interesting old multi-denominational graveyard, still in use.
Shanganagh Castle, a late C18th mansion south of Shankill Village, should not be confused with the medieval structure of the same name near Mill Lane. (Photo by Suckindiesel)
Shanganagh Castle was acquired late in life by General Sir George Cockburn (1763 – 1847), who had fought in Gibraltar against the Spanish in 1781 and in Sicily against the French in 1812.
General Cockburn was a noted classicist, travel writer and collector of antiquities, mainly carved stones, tiles and ceramics which he kept in a specially dedicated Monument Room; these, including an ancient sarcophogus, have been in the care of UCD since 1936. (Read more here)
The grounds include the ruins of the ancient church of Kiltuck, where in 1836 the General arranged for the Kiltuck Cross to be joined by the Rathmichael Cross (the men who moved the old monument were said to suffer terrible luck thereafter); the crosses stood together until 1910, and as a result are sometimes confused.
Between 1969 and 2002 the property was used as an open prison for juvenile delinquents.
Crinken Cottage is the castle’s former gatelodge.
Crinken, an ill-defined area south of Shankill Village, is regarded by some locals as part of Bray. Within recent memory it was little more than countryside, with a few scattered mansions. It has been transformed by the construction of Crinken Glen housing estate and other urban developments, and is now bisected by the MII.
St. James’ church, Crinken (CoI) was founded in 1840 as a Trustee church committed to an evangelical ministry; established against the wishes of the parish incumbent, it was duly built one statutory mile from St Paul’s church, Bray.
The erection of the church was largely financed by two evangelical Christian widows, Mrs Margaret Clarke (eldest daughter of Bank of Ireland founder William Harkness‘ 17 children), who lived for a time at Woodbrook, and her friend Mrs Hannah Georgina Magan, of Killyon Manor, Co. Meath, who resided from time to time at neighbouring Corke Farm (and is buried in the church crypt), both much influenced by JN Darby and RJ M’Ghee.
The first minister was Rev. John Winthrop Hackett (1804 – 1888), whose nearby Memorial Hall was converted into a masonry outlet in 1984.
The church, with seating for 500, was damaged by fire in 1921, but retained its impressive crypt.
Over the years the tiny congregation has strongly resisted amalgamation with Rathmichael, and is currently experiencing growth under a dynamic Australian rector. Its website describes it as a Church of Ireland church in Shankhill (sic) but elsewhere refers to St. James Bray.
South of Crinken, the former Woodbrook Estate has long been a prestigious golf club, while parts of the former Corke Abbey and Old Conna estates have been developed piecemeal into housing and other facilities in Little Bray and Bray Commons.
Like its namesake district in Belfast, Shankill has its own Falls Road (although this could be said to be in Rathmichael, and the demographic and economic profiles differ enormously). Community groups and schools in both Shankills hold occasional football or other sporting events to promote North-South relationships. For his work in this field, “southern” Shankiller Charlie Martin received an honorary MBE in April 2006.
Local Railway History
The former railroad between Dublin’s Harcourt Street Station and Bray, opened by William Dargan in 1854 and foolishly closed by Fianna Fáil minister Todd Andrews in 1958, is still visible in parts, notably from Stonebridge Road and the old main road bridge just north of Shankill Village, beside which the eccentric former station house and post office are now idiosyncratic private residences.
The rather magnificent old Shanganagh Valley Viaduct crosses Cherrywood Road near the current end of the Lúas extension, which largely follows the old Harcourt St line and may eventually reach Shankill and even Bray. (Photo – Shane Hayes)
The original Kingstown-Bray railroad, inaugurated in 1852, ran five metres from the sea cliffs in some places. A coastal wall was built from Killiney to Bray to try to stop the erosion, remnant of which can still be seen scattered along the beach. Shankill was accessible via a so-called halt, similar to the incongruous platform in Woodbrook Golf Club.
Nowadays most of the line is safely inland, and Shankill is served by a hideous, ill-planned and inconveniently situated blockhouse, opened with great ceremony in the late 1970s, in time for the 1984 inception of the DART.
Notable Private Houses in the Shankill / Rathmichael area:
While residents on Old Connaught Avenue, Ferndale Road, Allies River Road and Ballybride Road seem undecided as to whether they live in Little Bray, Old Conna, Crinken or Rathmichael, property owners on Rathmichael Road, Bride’s Glen Road, Mullinastill Road and Falls Road doubt between Rathmichael, Loughlinstown and Shankill. These and neighbouring roads are lined by some impressive houses and lovely gardens, as are the old Bray Road, Shanganagh Road, Corbawn Lane and the lane at the seaward end of Quinn’s Road.
Ferndale House was the home of David Plunket (1838-1919), grandson of William Plunket, 1st Baron Plunket and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was a barrister on the Munster Circuit, becoming a QC in 1868, and as Conservative MP for Dublin University 1870-1895, served as Solicitor General for Ireland under Disraeli. On his retirement he was created 1st (and last) Baron Rathmore of Shanganagh in the County of Dublin in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
Cuilin on Allies River Road is an exceptionally handsome house dating from c.1800, set on beautiful grounds with formal gardens and woodlands.
The Old Glebe House, surprisingly described by Lewis (1837) as “an inferior residence“, is one of the oldest houses in South County Dublin, built c.1700 by Dr John Lyon, a friend of Dean Jonathan Swift, who may have written part of Gulliver’s Travels while staying here.
Mullinastill House, a former mill, has been used as a set for several films.
Shankill House, built c.1760, is an outstanding Georgian residence with beautifully landscaped gardens in Rathmichael.
Abingdon Manor has a 2-acre garden that has features in several specialist magazines and on TV.
Charmwood, a Tudoresque residence in Rathmichael, was built in 1997.
Rosedale House and Locksley House are twin Victorian country mansions built in the 1860s by Guinness master brewer Penny.
Arisaig, Woodbank, Cremorne, Coltsfoot and Knockoulart, neighbouring houses on the old Bray Road, are said to be named after racehorse bred by Frank Field of Shanganagh Park, who acqured large tracts of land in the area and trained many winners.
Athgoe Park, built c.1860, is now the Beechfield Nursing Home.
Eaton Brae House, a lovely 19th mansion, has been “tastefully modernised” and subdivided into separate living units.
Dunsandle, constructed c.1820 at the seawards end of Corbawn Lane, was named after a prosperous estate in County Galway. It is now divided into Dunsandle and Saint Alphonso’s.
Clontra is a Victorian Gothic mansion built for Dublin barrister James Anthony Lawson QC (later Attorney General of Ireland, Judge of the High Court and Privy Councillor), was designed by Deane and Woodward, with interior murals by John Hungerford Pollen. Set on 15 acres of beautiful grounds at the seaward end of Quinn’s Road, with a pretty gate lodge and spectacular marine views, the property was recently sold for an astronomical sum. A painting by Gary Blatford can be viewed here.
Castle Farm farmyard features a mock Round Tower made of red bricks.
Crinken House has reputedly been used over the years as both a prison and a hotel. (Photo)
Several other houses of architectural merit have been destroyed in recent years, and almost all the older residences have experienced some degree of threat from predatory developers.
Dorney Court, originally called Clare / Clear Mount, was a magnificent house built in 1832 and demolished in 1984 to make way for a barracks-like Garda Station on a new housing estate. Its centenial woods, including a stand of Sequoia trees, were only partially saved by parliamentary intervention.
The Shankill Shopping Centre, a neat mall near St Anne’s church, was built c.1980 on the site of Clonasleigh, a country house erected in the early 1900s by solicitor Frederick Walsingham Meredith (1859-1924), President of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland 1910/11. (The house name has been retained by a nearby road with 16 houses off Corbawn Lane). The reasonably-priced supermarket, friendly pub and other shops were forced to close to make way for a planned Celtic Tiger style development that never saw the light of day due to the intervening Crisis. The Shopping Centre is now a classic case of urban blight, with local residents seriously inconvenienced by speculative greed.
A list of “Protected Structures” in the area is available here.
Several places in and around Shanganagh are mentioned in the stirring 1744 Ballad The Kilruddery Hunt.
Bray Head from Shankill Beach (Photo by Shankill)