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Raheny - Dublin - Old Saints Church

circa 1910

Raheny is situated on the coast of County Dublin, about 8 km from Dublin city centre and 7 km from Dublin Airport, and is within the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council, formerly Dublin Corporation. The Fingal County Council boundary lies nearby. Nearby areas include Killester, Clontarf, Artane, Kilbarrack, Coolock, Donaghmede, and the skyline is dominated by Howth.


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Photo Details

  • County: Dublin North
  • Town: Raheny
  • Scene: All Saints Church
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)


  • Digitally remastered
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Read about Raheny below


Raheny (Ráth Eanaigh or Ráth Eanna in Irish) is a quiet northern suburb of Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. It is an old area, referenced back to 570 AD (Archdall, Mervyn) but after years of light settlement, with a main village and a coastal hamlet, grew rapidly in the 20th century, and is now a low-density suburb with a village core.

Location and Access

Raheny is situated on the coast of County Dublin, about 8 km from Dublin city centre and 7 km from Dublin Airport, and is within the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council, formerly Dublin Corporation. The Fingal County Council boundary lies nearby.

Nearby areas include Killester, Clontarf, Artane, Kilbarrack, Coolock, Donaghmede, and the skyline is dominated by Howth. Raheny is bisected by the Howth Road (R105) and the R809 (Watermill Road, Main Street, Station Road) and is also accessed from the Malahide Road (R107), the coastal James Larkin Road (R807) and the R104 (including the Oscar Traynor Road and Kilbarrack Road). There is a station at the village centre, serving the DART suburban railway system and the Dublin-Belfast main line, and parts of Raheny are served by other stations, Harmonstown and Kilbarrack, on this line. Raheny is also served by Dublin Bus (routes 29A, 31, 32, 32A, 32B, and the rare 105 and 129, and at night, 29N and 31N) and has one of Dublin's relatively few taxi ranks.

Historical Features

At the heart of Raheny lie the remains of a large ancient ringfort (or Rath) from which the area gets its name. The Rath extends under the centre of the modern village, from beside the Santry River, including some marshy ground, to the Roman Catholic Church, Windsor Motors, the Scout Den and the two St. Assam's Churches. Some excavations were carried out in the 1970's, giving an idea of its size (probably c. 110m across) and structure. The old church complex at the village plaza may reflect a remnant of the rath.

Raheny was also the site of two holy wells. The first of these, dedicated to St. Ann, gave the name to St. Anne's Park. The site of this well is still visible by the Old Pond in the park, but it has been dry for several decades. The second well, dedicated to the patron saint of the area, St. Assam, lay in the field which now holds the Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace. When last recorded, it was marked by a depression in the ground but was later covered over, and its waters diverted into the Santry River.

In a sign of prosperity, Raheny also had a water mill near the mouth of the Santry River and two windmills, as well as a stone quay.

There was a hamlet, a 'second Raheny', Raheny-on-the-Strand, at the point known as the 'Whip of the Water', where the Howth Road met the sea. There was a beach road here, later washed away, then succeeded by the tram line to Howth. The current coastal road is a much more recent construction.


Several explanations exist for the origin of the name Raheny: one (from Ráth Eanna) is that that it means the ringfort of Eanna, an early local chief, another (Ráth Eanaigh) is that the name derives from 'Eanaigh' an old Irish word for marsh or swamp. Yet another (MhicNamara, deriving from Rath Ain Abha) comes from 'Noble Fortress of the Sea'. It is a matter unlikely ever to be fully resolved, as the origins of names were lost. Locally, most use Ráth Eanna while officialdom now tends towards Ráth Eanaigh.

Until the mid-20th century, many local residents pronounced the English language name as something more like Rahenny, or Ratheny.

Although there are a range of similar names (such as Rahanna), the name Raheny is nearly unique in Ireland, occurring in just one other locality, a portion of the rural town of Lusk. This once-significant monastic and civil centre in north County Dublin is not far away but no connection is known.


In addition to the Santry River (historically Skillings Glas), Raheny is also crossed by the Naniken River, the Fox Stream and the Blackbanks Stream, all monitored by Dublin City Council. Both the Fox and Blackbanks Streams flow from the limestone area above Station Road, which used to hold caves and quarries. The Fox Stream runs through Walmer lines, under Tuscany Downs but is today smaller than historically, as some of its flow is diverted by pipe into the Blackbanks Stream. According to a chronicle of the ceremony of 'Riding the Franchises', the Fox Stream used to mark the northern boundary of Dublin City.

A major feature is the beach at Dollymount on the nature reserve of North Bull Island. Parklands include the two largest City Council parks, North Bull Island and St Anne's Park (formerly the home of the Guinness brewing family), which is shared with Clontarf, as well as Edenmore Park (with a pitch and putt course and playing fields) and many small green areas.

There is excellent walking on the sea front (one can walk from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, with problems only in the Docklands area), on North Bull Island, in St. Anne's Park and around the leafy streets.

Amenities and Business

Local amenities include many shops, including a small shopping centre, based around a Supervalu store, and a number of sports clubs, including the famous Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club (Running, Track and Field), the noted Raheny GAA Club and Raheny United F.C., a local soccer club formed from the joining of two earlier clubs. The area was also once home to St. Vincent's GAA. Out on Bull Island, there is also a golf club, St. Anne's, with a modern clubhouse.

The area also holds St. Francis Hospice and St. Joseph's Hospital (administered by Beaumont Hospital Board). There is also a Credit Union, a Garda Siochana station, and one of Dublin's three Driving Test Centres.


Until recently, Raheny had one of just a handful of hotels in the north suburbs; this shortage has been reduced in recent years by the building of a range of hotels near Dublin Airport, 7 km away. However, the Shieling Hotel is still operating. In addition, the district features a range of bed-and-breakfast establishments. There are several pubs, the best known including the Station House, the Inn, the Watermill and the Cedar Lounge, and one restaurant, in one of the old schoolhouses in the village centre.

Local Organisations

Many of the local business interests, and some civic entities, are members of the active Raheny Business Association (RBA), a form of chamber of commerce. The RBA helps to sponsor the work of the Raheny Tidy Village Group, which has helped the area win a number of civic awards.

A range of Residents Associations have existed but many have faded as areas have matured. One, the St. Anne's Residents Association (SARA), with some allied bodies, does operate a community hall on All Saints Drive, while the Grange Woodbine Association has a hall on Station Road. An umbrella body, the Federation of Raheny Residents, was very active up to the 1980's but has been little seen in recent times, aside from working on a Millennium Clock, now sited in the village centre. Many other voluntary groups operate in the area, some secular, some church-related.


The neighbourhood has a boy's secondary school, St. Paul's College, Raheny (attended by approximately 600 pupils ) and a girl's school, Manor House, as well as Ard Scoil la Salle, on Raheny Road, a secondary school with male and female students. There is a primary school complex, with a mixed junior school, Scoil Ide, and distinct boys' and girls' senior schools, Scoil Assaim and Scoil Aine respectively. There is also a mixed primary school, Springdale National School, on Springdale Road, overseen by a Board of Governors, with an endowment which includes some of the area's historic buildings.


Raheny also has Catholic and Church of Ireland (Anglican) churches, one of the former massively overlooking the centre of the village, the latter beautifully sited on the approach to the village centre from the city. A Garda station is located opposite the primary school complex. The Church of Ireland church, built at the expense of the Guinness family, has some wonderful architectural features. The local pubs include: The Inn, The Cedars, The Station House and The Shieling, at the hotel of the same name.


The 'Raheny News', a four page bulletin, printed on distinctive green paper, and aimed at keeping residents of Raheny informed of current happenings in the area, is produced weekly throughout most of the year by a group of local people. Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes also produce bulletins.