Rathmines: Rathmines (Ráth Maonais in Irish) is a suburb on the southside of Dublin, about 3 kilometres south of the city centre. It effectively begins at the south side of the Grand Canal and stretches along the Rathmines Road as far as Rathgar to the south, Ranelagh to the east and Harold's Cross to the west.
Town: Rathmines / Portobello
Scene: Main St with Town Hall
Date: circa 1950
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Read about Rathmines below
Rathmines (Ráth Maonais in Irish) is a suburb on the southside of Dublin, about 3 kilometres south of the city centre. It effectively begins at the south side of the Grand Canal and stretches along the Rathmines Road as far as Rathgar to the south, Ranelagh to the east and Harold's Cross to the west.
Rathmines is an Anglicisation of the Irish Ráth Maonais, or directly translated to English, Fort of Maones (sometimes Maoghnes). Like many of the surrounding areas, it arose from a fortified structure (a ráth) which would have been the centre of civic and commercial activity from the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. Rathgar, Baggotrath and Rathfarnham are further examples of Dublin placenames deriving from a similar root.
Rathmines has a long history stretching back to the 14th century. At this time, Rathmines and surrounding hinterland were part of the ecclesiastical lands called Cuallu or Cuallan. This is reflected in the name of a nearby area called Cullenswood. Cuallu is mentioned in local surveys from 1326 as part of the farm of St Sepulchre. There is some evidence of an established settlement around a Rath as far back as 1350.
In more recent times, Rathmines was a popular suburb of Dublin, attracting the wealthy and powerful seeking refuge from the poor living conditions of the city from the middle of the 19th century. Rathmines sits on a site overlooking the city and is a portal to the hills to the south and west of Dublin. The area is characterised by a long main road from the canal bridge to the town hall. Rathmines is the central urban area of south west Dublin comprising as far west as Kimmage and as far east as Donnybrook and is served well by public transport.
Rathmines has thriving commercial and civil activity and is well-known across Ireland as part of a traditionally known 'flatland' - providing reasonably priced accommodation to newly arrived junior civil servants and third level students coming from outside the city from the 1930s to the present day. In more recent times, Rathmines has diversified its housing stock and many houses have been gentrified by the wealthier beneficiaries of Ireland's economic boom of the 1990s. Rathmines, nonetheless, exudes a cosmopolitan air and has a diverse international population and has always been home to groups of new immigrant communities and indigenous ethnic minorities.
Rathmines was originally part of the Barony of Uppercross, one of the many baronies surrounding the old city of Dublin, bound as it was by walls, some of which are still visible. Arguably, Rathmines is best known historically for a bloody battle that took place there in 1649, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, leading to the death of perhaps up to 5,000 people. The battle of Rathmins took place on August 2 1649 and led to the routing of Royalist forces in Ireland shortly after this time. Some have compared the Battle of Rathmines - or sometimes Baggotrath - as equal in political importance to England's Battle of Naseby.
Dartry Road in Rathmines was the scene of the still-conroversial killing of republicanmember Timothy Coughlin by police informer Sean Harling on the evening of January 28, 1928. It happened opposite 'Woodpark Lodge', where Harling lived at the time.
Rathmines is well known for the large army barracks which is located there. Cathal Brugha Barracks (known in the past as Portobello Barracks) is home to many units of the Irish Army including the 2nd Infantry Battalion. For more information about the history of Cathal Brugha Barracks visit this webpage.
One of Rathmines' most prominent buildings is the Town Hall and its clock tower. This building, now occupied by Rathmines Senior College, once housed a town council for the Rathmines Township, made up of local businessmen. The Rathmines Township was created by act of parliament in 1847, and its area was later expanded to take in the areas of Rathgar, Ranelagh, Sandymount and Milltown. The township was initially responsible only for sanitation, but its powers were extended over time to cover most functions of local government. The township was incorporated into the City of Dublin in 1930, and its functions were taken over by Dublin Corporation, now known as Dublin City Council. Rathmines is still a local electoral area of Dublin City Council, electing four city councillors.