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Ballyfermot (Irish: Baile Formaid) is a suburb in the city of Dublin, Ireland. Located seven kilometres west of the city centre, south of the Phoenix Park, it is bordered on the north by Chapelizod, on the south by Walkinstown, on the east by Inchicore, on the north-west by Palmerstown and the south-west by Clondalkin. The River Liffey lies to the north, and the Grand Canal, now a recreational waterway, lies to the south. Ballyfermot is designated as postal district Dublin 10. Cherry Orchard is also a suburb within Ballyfermot. Ballyfermot is also a civil parish in the barony of Uppercross.
Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre
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The 12th century saw the Cambro-Normans expand west from Pembroke in South Wales into Leinster. The Papal Bull Laudabiliter of Adrian IV, and encouragement by his successor, Pope Alexander III urged a Norman invasion of Ireland. An expeditionary force led by Richard De Clare (Strongbow) with a retinue of about six hundred were dispatched with the consent of Angevin King Henry II of England. They arrived at Wexford in 1169 by invitation from Diarmait Mac Murchada, Ri of Leinster. Diarmait was at war with the Ard Rí, Ruari O'Conor and Tighernan O'Ruairc, Prince of Breffni who together had unseated him.
After the Treaty of Windsor in 1175, through feudal land grants and intermarriage, the Cambro Norman knights came into possession of land in south and west Dublin. Family names associated with the area at this time included Mac Giolla Mocolmog (FitzDermot), O'Cathasaidhe, Fitzwilliam, Le Gros (Grace), O'Dualainghe, Tyrrell, O'Hennessy, O'Morchain, Dillon, O'Kelly, De Barneval (Barnewall), and Newcomyn (Newcomen). In 1307 the manor of Ballyfermot was held by William Fitzwilliam and his wife Avice, who leased part of it to Thomas Cantock, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Ballyfermot Castle, was constructed on the site of a Norman mott and bailey. Located northwest of the intersection of Le Fanu and Raheen Roads, it was the centre of the Upper (west) and Lower (east) Ballyfermot townships. Built in stone by Wolfram De Barneval in the fourteenth century, it was a stronghold against the formidable O'Byrnes and O'Tooles. These aboriginal Gaelic families had been discommoded from their lush home-farms around Naas. They were driven south into the wooded Dublin hills. Unlike their intermarried Mac Giolla Mocolmog relatives, now called FitzDiarmuid, they had not integrated into the evolving Hiberno-Norman society. They frequently raided, rustled and burned local bawn enclosures from their inaccessible hillside encampments beyond Brittas and Bohernabreena.
The Castle was inherited by the Newcomen family, who enhanced it and held it into the mid-seventeenth century. Its political importance subsequently declined with the Newcomens. It housed a school managed by headmaster William Prosser in the latter eighteenth century. Samuel Lewis (publisher) in his celebrated work A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland places a Captain Lampier and his wife Bridget (Cavanaugh of Goldenbridge) as living there in 1834. The castle defence wing to the south and east is reputed to have been destroyed by fire. Ballyfermot House, known locally as 'the tiled house', was built by the Verveer family. It stood on the great park to the north of the castle's aquaculture pond. Built in the early eighteenth century, the house had a quirky slated façade in the Dutch style.
The nineteenth century newspaper publisher and writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, proprietor of the Dublin Evening Mail lived in nearby Chapelizod when not in residence his city townhouse at Merrion Square. Ballyfermot and Chapelizod feature in his novel The House by the Churchyard and some of his other works. This large Georgian house still adjoins Church Lane next to St. Laurence's parish churchyard in Chapelizod. The eighteenth-century church, alongside the original medieval bell tower, is still in use. It serves the united parish of Ballyfermot, Palmerstown, and Chapelizod in the Church of Ireland. Le Fanu Road is named after him, as is Le Fanu Park, referred to locally as The Lawns. Le Fanu was a mentor of the writer Bram Stoker author of Dracula, who did the theatre reviews for his newspaper The Dublin Evening Mail.
A short distance from the castle site at the south-east end of Le Fanu Park is a mound which covers the ruins and churchyard of the rectory church of St Laurence. It is believed to have roots in Celtic Christianity, perhaps a minor branch of the Tallaght Maelruain or Kilnamanagh monasteries. It was connected to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem at Kilmainham in the thirteenth century. The churchyard ruins survived into the nineteen sixties. This church served Ballyfermot and the surrounding townlands into the late seventeenth century.
Among the local people buried here are members of the Newcomen and Barnewall families. Sir Robert Newcomen who died in 1629 and his son Sir Beverley Newcomen, Admiral of Ireland, who died in 1637 while taking soundings at Waterford harbour were buried here. His mother Elizabeth (Barnewall of Drimnagh Castle) who died in 1643 is buried as is his widow Margaret (Usher of Donnybrook Castle). She subsequently married Sir Hubert Adrian-Verveer. The Newcomens, Barons of Newcastle Lyons were influential in Irish governance, military and legal circles. They resided at Ballyfermot Castle. This noble family intermarried with the Barnwalls of Drimnagh, the Plunketts of Malahide and the St. Lawrences of Howth. MPs for the Westmeath constituency of Kilbeggan, they also married into the Fitzgeralds of Maynooth, and the Nugents, Husseys, Tuites and Nagles of East and West Meath.
Area manor houses of note include Johnstown House (St John's College), Colepark House, Sarsfield House, Sevenoaks, Floraville, Auburn Villa and Gallanstown House. The Ballyfermot townlands were transferred from the Barony of Newcastle to the Barony of Uppercross in the late nineteenth century (Ireland Local Government Act 1898).
The dairy and stud farms of Ballyfermot were acquired by the authorities in the 1930s. They were developed into suburban housing estates needed to alleviate the post war housing shortage. This development, along with estates at Drimnagh, Crumlin, Walkinstown and other pockets in the south city, and Cabra, Finglas and Donnycarney along with smaller pockets in the north city provided modern accommodation to facilitate the Dublin City Council public/private housing programs. Initially leased to waiting lists, these modest high quality, well constructed homes were sold to their residents even prior to similar government initiatives in the United Kingdom. The first estate was built in the late nineteen forties at Ballyfermot Lower. South of Sarsfield House and Ballyfermot Road it was originally called the Sarsfield Estate. The street names reflect this historical theme. Gradually, the adjacent townlands to the south of Ballyfermot Road and north of Grange Cross - Ballyfermot Upper, Blackditch, Cherry Orchard, Raheen and Gallanstown were similarly developed. Johnstown, a townland of Palmerstown, located around Johnstown House (St John's College De La Salle) south of Chapelizod was developed for residential housing. Now divided along the Drumfin/Glenaulin/Sports Park perimeter, the west portion was retained by Palmerstown, while the east portion became the township/electoral district of Drumfin in Dublin City (Local Government Act 1993), and included in postal district Dublin 10.
During the 1970s Ballyfermot suffered from a lack of facilities and opportunities for its residents however these conditions have improved over time.
In local government elections Ballyfermot is part of the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh Ward. Since the last local elections in 2014, the local elected representatives on Dublin City Council are:
- Bríd Smith (Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit)
- Paul Hand (Independent)
- Vincent Jackson (Independent)
- Daithí Doolan (Sinn Féin)
- Daithí de Róiste (Fianna Fáil)
- Greg Kelly (Sinn Féin)
The area is now a centre of national commercial distribution, with easy access to the national trunk roads. Ballyfermot is bordered to the north by the N4, to the south by the N7 and to the west by the M50. There is also relative ease of access to the city centre. Some of the major Irish motor distributors are based in Ballyfermot. They include Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, J. C. Bamford (JCB), Harris Assembly and Hilux. They are centred around Kylemore Road, home to many large companies including Thornton's Recycling, C&C, FBD, and Royal Liver Insurance. The industrial estates include Park West and JFK. There are several hotels in the area. Days Hotel at Park West and Sheldon Park on Kylemore and Bewleys at Newlands are popular. A community based CCTV monitoring scheme for Ballyfermot was launched in early 2003. This is part of the Department of Justice Town Centre CCTV monitoring initiative.
Currently, Dublin Bus (routes 40, 79, 79A, 76, 76A, 18, 26.) and Dualway (123) serve the area. An hourly commuter train service is offered by Irish Rail, to Heuston station at Kingsbridge. The local station is Cherry Orchard/Park West Station, which is located on the Park West Road on the western perimeter of Ballyfermot. A proposed Dublin Metro route passes to the south. The Luas light rail system also serves Ballyfermot. The south side stop is near the Kylemore and Naas Road intersection. A Luas line to Lucan proposes passing through the centre of Ballyfermot village before going on to serve Liffey Valley and Lucan village.
The California Hills Park is the largest recreational park in the area. The name originated as a colloquialism - there were few designated play facilities in the very early days and the California Hills was the name used by local movie going kids who played 'Cowboys and Indians' there. The name later became official by popular public request. The park covers part of the great esker and overlooks the Liffey Valley from the south. From Le Fanu and Kylemore Roads to the east, it falls the landscaped valley of a Liffey catchment. It runs west toward Glenaulin and Drumfin Roads which adjoin the park as it stretches in a crescent through Palmerstown. The Chapelizod Bypass runs North West alongside. Kylemore Road joins the motorway near the West County Hotel. California Hills Park has superb views north over the Strawberry Beds to the Phoenix Park. The Farmleigh clock tower at Castleknock is a prominent landmark. California Hills includes s Drumfinn Avenue Park, known locally as "The Gaels". This large park is used for football, golf practice, cross country runs and walks and includes a children's play area. There is an entrance to the park beside the Ballyfermot Leisure Co-Op, near the GAA Sports Park, on Gurteen Road.
The magnificent Irish National War Memorial, Memorial Gardens and Park, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, are accessible from the Sarsfield Road via East Timor Park.
Other parks located in the area include Le Fanu Park, Glenaulin Sports Park, Markievicz Park (also known as the Match Box by some older residents), East Timor Park, and Cherry Orchard Park. Cherry Orchard Park area is the proposed site for a new Village Centre. Le Fanu Park houses the Ballyfermot Leisure Centre and The Base.
The Grand CanalEdit
The Grand Canal was conceived as a state-of-the-art facility for commercial and personal transportation. It was constructed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Grand Canal is now a recreational waterway. It passes along the south side of Ballyfermot. Verdant towpath walkways extend continuously to Hazelhatch, County Kildare. A historic bridge crosses the canal near the seventh lock at Killeen.
Cherry Orchard Hospital houses the National Infections Monitoring Centre. The centre played a pivotal role in diagnostics and control during the Foot and Mouth Crisis. It also monitors the Bird Flu epidemic. The hospital also plays a major role in the analysis and diagnoses of MRSA. MRSA is a major health hazard for Irish hospitals. During April and May 2009 the hospital played a major role in the monitoring and control of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) outbreak of 2009.
The Ballyfermot Medical Clinic is closed but a new Primary Care and Mental Health Centre has been opened beside Cherry Orchard Hospital. Services include GP, Community Nursing, Physiotherapy, Dental, addiction and community welfare. Mental Health facilities include a day hospital, day centre and outpatients clinic. This is run by the HSE.
The Hermitage Medical Clinic is located in close proximity to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, just off the N4 motorway. The Hermitage Hospital is a 101-bed private facility with specialised medical teams who provide medical, surgical and advanced radiotherapy care to patients. The hospital is privately run. Its principal investors are Sean Mulryan, Larry Goodman, John Flynn and George Duffy GP.
Cloverhill Courthouse and Remand Centre are located between Clondalkin, Palmerstown, and Ballyfermot in Dublin 10. Wheatfield Prison is located on the same site adjacent to the Courthouse.
- De La Salle National School
- Mary Queen of Angels National Schools
- St Louise's Junior & Senior National Schools
- Dominican School Campus includes St Michael's, St Raphael's and St Gabriel's N.S.
- St Ultan's National School
Social and culturalEdit
Mary Byrne (singer), is a local singing success. In 2010 Mary appeared on the British version of The X Factor. Buoyed by her acclaim, she left the Tesco supermarket checkout for the airwaves, the small screen and stardom. This gifted vocalist is building a fine mid-life career. Her recordings, videos and personal appearances are in demand at home and abroad.
Billy French is a local writer, poet, historian and playwright . One of his most popular books was The Journeyman: A Builder's Life. Published by Wolfhound Press, it is about growing up in Dublin which wasn't easy in the 1940s, but having a family trade helped. Old Dublin comes to life as Billy talks the reader through his years from builder's apprentice to man-about-town journeyman. His life is full of colourful characters including Christy Brown and family, Brendan Behan, Noel Purcell, Patrick Kavanagh, Mick McCarthy and the famous Embankment, and of course, Luke Kelly and the Dubliners. This intriguing book gives the reader a rare picture of Dublin as a growing town soon to become the capital city of today. His heart-warming memoirs and experiences bring to life Dublin as it used to be in ' the rare ould times.' He was a frequent contributor to RTÉ Sunday Miscellany and won numerous awards for his play "Time to Go". Another of Billy's books was "Growing up in Crumlin Village", a history and personal memoir of the old village in the 1930s. Billy also spearheaded the book about the social history of Ballyfermot .
P.A. Meeran is a fictional local religious figure. He leads the Church of Meeran, a local religious sect in the area.
The Ballyfermot Community Festival takes place annually. It has developed into a major event over the last few years. Pubs and restaurants in the area include Downeys, O'Sheas, Chasers, Tim Youngs, Decies County, and Fowlers County Bar.
The Gala was the largest auditorium and bingo venue in the area until its closure in the 2010s. Plans have been made for the venue to be turned into a Dealz franchise which was approved on 26 October 2017. It also houses a large snooker hall. The Gala has seen many recreational uses since its heyday as the major local cinema and concert venue. It opened in 1953. People who grew up here have fond nostalgic memories of childhood Saturday matinees, complete with weekly episodes of Batman and Super Man. This serial movie was called 'The Follier Upper'. The De La Salle Boy's Band founded by the visionary Brother Victor F.S.C. played under the baton of maestro bandmaster Brother Cyprian F.S.C. at the annual 8 December Christmas 'Rocking Spotlight Concert' at the Gala.
The Ritz Ballroom at Grange Cross was a very popular venue in the early rock and roll era. It featured the capital's top rated rock bands. Major attractions included John Hardy's Blue Clavons and The Melochords featuring Dickie Rock. The Young Shadows and the Casino Showband featured aspiring young musical talent. They rehearsed and played gigs here at the Ritz Ballroom. Many of these very young early rock musicians were graduates of the De La Salle music programme and played with the popular De La Salle Boy's Band. Their entrepreneurial co-op pop cover bands formed to play at the local teen 'Hops'. The local Young Shadows and the Casino Showband (later the Indians) made their national debut live in black and white on RTÉ's Showband Show. Some of their members went on to successful international musical careers here and in the UK, the continent, USA, Canada and Australia.
The Fureys, an internationally renowned traditional Irish music family, grew up locally and began their professional career while living in Ballyfermot. Their success as a group and as individual artists put them in the charts throughout the world. Their father Ted Furey was a master traditional fiddler, a music teacher, and an eminent life member of Comhaltas Ceoltori Éireann.
There are an impressive variety of seniors activities available here. Many events and activities are sponsored by churches, pubs and clubs. Many successful events and outings are organised by the senior's groups themselves, with transportation assistance provided by Dublin Bus.
The BeerMats are a local folk & ballad band. They have toured around North America, UK and mainland Europe.
Ballyfermot Youth Service (BYS) is a youth service that has being running since 1985. BYS provides a range of services to the young people of Ballyfermot from outdoor education programmes, drop-in information centres, music and arts programmes, access to the European Youth in Action programme and a comprehensive Drugs Peer Education programme. The BYS is one of the biggest youth services in Ireland and helps organise numerous youth exchanges all over Europe for youth in the area to allow them to experience other cultures.
St Mary's Youth Club is a popular youth club. The new building is located opposite Spar on Claddagh Green. The youth club has been opened since 1958 and offers a great place for children over the age of 9 to meet new friends and do activities weekly. There is also an award-winning drama group for children aged 5 and upwards. More information is available at the club on any week night or search 'St Mary's Youth Club' on Facebook.
The Civic Centre shares space with the Ballyfermot Residents Association. A ground breaking Irish movement, B.R.A. has been a popular venue for local events since its inception in the seventies, and features a popular weekly disco.
Ballyfermot Public Library serves the area, which has several reading clubs. Details of these can be found in the Public Library, The Civic Centre, and the various community centres. The Library also hosts the Nature Club.
St Matthew's Community Centre is located adjacent to St Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot Upper (west) .
The Base is a popular youth centre and child care facility. It is located at Blackditch Road in Le Fanu Park. The Base is a multifaceted community centre and the first facility of its kind in Ireland. A full description of its many activities, facilities, structure and scope are available at www.thebase.ie
The Irish/Australian singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke has family connections with Ballyfermot.
The Cherry Orchard Football Club takes part in the FAI Carlsberg Senior Cup soccer competition. A number of players who started with this team have gone on to play professional soccer in the English Premiership and its associated divisions. Soccer players Andy Reid, William Flood, Alan Quinn and Glenn Whelan all played for Cherry Orchard. John Wilkes has been credited with nurturing some of Cherry Orchard FC's most notable successes. Ballyfermot United FC shares the origins of Cherry Orchard FC with Joe Kelly. The Ballyfermot United FC Social Club is located close to Le Fanu Park. Other clubs include the Black Diamonds, Drummfin Celtic, C.I.E. Ranch, O.L.V, Clifden Celtic and the newly formed Orchard Celtic.
Orchard Celtic are performing successfully with two senior teams formed. The under twelves team have won the double in their second year. The under fourteens won The Hollywood Cup in 2011.
St Patrick's Athletic F.C. are located in nearby Inchicore, and Ballyfermot has a large number of Saints fans.
There are two vibrant and successful senior Gaelic Athletic Association clubs serving Ballyfermot. Ballyfermot De la Salle GAA Club is the only GAA club active in the actual area of Ballyfermot, with Liffey Gaels GAA clubhouse based at the border of Ballyfermot and Inchicore and serves the parish of Inchicore.
Ballyfermot De La Salle is the largest Gaelic football club in the area. They originated in 1953 as Ballyfermot Gaels. They currently play their senior home games in the Drumfin/Glenaulin Sports Park, located on the west side of California Hills Park. They train and play junior fixtures at the facilities located behind the De La Salle Primary Schools on Ballyfermot Road. The club plays in the Kerry colours as a tribute to the first parish priest, Kerryman Charles Canon Troy, who sponsored the club.
Another club, Liffey Gaels, was founded in 1951. It was known as Rialto Gaels for over twenty years. In the 1970s it changed its name to SS. Michael and James's to reflect the efforts of the teachers and students of these schools in the development of the club. In 1984, a local juvenile club, Donore Iosagain, amalgamated with SS. Michael and James's and the club was renamed the Liffey Gaels. Today their immediate catchment area is Inchicore and the parishes of St Michael's, St James’, St Catherine's, Rialto and Donore Avenue. The Gaels play their home games Liffeyside at East Timor Park on Sarsfield Road in Inchicore.
Jimmy Keating, late of Le Fanu Road, Ballyfermot, was a trojan worker for this club. He was eventually elected life president. He died in September 1996, leaving a fine, successful sporting club to his community. Jimmy was the manager of the senior teams in both football and hurling with Jack Whitney, Patrick (Paddy) Carolan and Bob Weathman. Jimmy led the club to many successes on his watch, reaching the smooth turf of Croke Park on a number of occasions.
Cherry Orchard Equine Centre is an equine, education and training centre that offers a number of services to the local area located at Cherry Orchard Green, Ballyfermot. One of the main services it provides is horse riding lessons for children and adults in the community. It was established in 2001 in response to children not attending school in order to tend to the horses kept in Ballyfermot. There has always been an enthusiasm surrounding horses in the area. The problem of horses being kept in the Dublin suburb has spanned generations despite lack of proper facilities and horsemanship knowledge. This centre was established in order to combat this issue and provide people with the skills required to care for a horse.
The Pigeon Club near Sarsfield Park reflects a local tradition.
Rugby, Badminton, martial arts, snooker, pool, bowling, squash, handball, racquetball, indoor go-karting, tennis, pitch and putt, fishing, boules, rock-climbing, River Liffey rowing, and table tennis are all represented by local clubs.
Ballyfermot Leisure Centre is located on Le Fanu Road. Ballyfermot Leisure Co-Op (BLCO) is located on Gurteen Road adjacent to Mary Queen of Angels National School. Liffey Valley Fitness is located on the Colcut Road. Sheldon Park Fitness Centre is located on the Kylemore Road. SanoVitae Health and Fitness Club is located in the Clarion Hotel complex close to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre. The Little Gym is also located in the Clarion Hotel complex.
Religious institutions serving the area include the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption and the Church of St Matthew, St Laurence's Church, Chapelizod (Church of Ireland), and a number of Christian Evangelist denominations. There are also centres of spirituality and life awareness serving non-traditional believers in the community.
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