Shankill, Dublin

Shankill (Irish: Seanchill, meaning "Old Church") is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, situated in the administrative area of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. Located in the south-east of County Dublin, close to the border with County Wicklow, it has a population of 14,257 (2016 census).


Suburb of Dublin
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
 • Suburb of Dublin6.4 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


Bilingual welcome stone in English and Irish


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

Dark AgesEdit

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, 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 AgesEdit

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 - 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 centuryEdit

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.

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, 21st centuriesEdit

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.


The townland of Shankill was originally located on lands further Northwest at Puck's Castle. Today, the area of Shankill is usually understood to include both Shankill and Rathmichael[citation needed] (though historically Shankill was absorbed into Rathmichael parish, not vice versa), an area of around 6.5 square kilometres (1,600 acres).

The townlands are bordered roughly by the points between Carrickgollogan Hill (278m) to the west, the Ballycorus Leadmines to the Northwest, Loughlinstown Hospital to the North, stretching to the coast from Rathsallagh River to the Southern Boundary of Tyrell's Land.

The centre of Shankill Village today consists primarily of the main street with shops, cafes, a public house, a post office, credit union and other retail outlets.

To the north of Shankill is the suburb of Killiney and, to the south, the town of Bray, County Wicklow.

Local antiquities and featuresEdit

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 follys 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 completely obliterated by coastal erosion.

Ballycorus LeadminesEdit

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]

Dorney CourtEdit

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.

Carnegie LibraryEdit

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]

Ferndale HouseEdit

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

Mullinastill HouseEdit

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

Old Harcourt Street lineEdit

Former railroad running from Dublin to Bray; closed in 1958.

Defunct train lineEdit

A spur at Tyrell's land to the main Dublin-Bray line. Closed in 1915.

Puck's CastleEdit

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.

Rosedale and LocksleyEdit

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

Shanganagh CastleEdit

Located near Mill Lane, 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.

During the late 18th century, a mansion of the same name was rebuilt on extensive lands at the border of Shankill with County Wicklow. It was used as an open prison for juveniles between 1969 and 2002.[6][7]

Shanganagh HouseEdit

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 CastleEdit

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]

Rathmichael ChurchEdit

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.



Sporting options in the area include soccer teams: Shankill FC, with schoolboy and schoolgirl sides. Shanganagh Cliffs FC men's team

Shankill Tennis Club,[11] 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.

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.

Brady's of Shankill[12] is the main pub/restaurant/off-licence complex in the village. In June 2012, it was voted 'Best Local Pub In Ireland'.[13] 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[14] 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.[15] 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[16] 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 has three primary schools: Saint Anne's National School and Scoil Mhuire (both Roman Catholic), and Rathmichael Parish School (Church of Ireland).


Shankill has one Roman Catholic church, St Anne's, and two Church of Ireland (Anglican) churches, which are located at opposite ends of the village - Crinken (to the south) and Rathmichael (to the west) There are no evening masses on Confirmation Days and other Catholic events.

The other ShankillEdit

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 (St. Stephen's Green) in approx. 30 minutes.


The N11 national route used to run through Shankill, until the M11 bypass was built nearby.


  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". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Shankill Castle, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  10. ^ Shankill Castle, brief history Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^
  12. ^ Page Created by: admin. "Brady's of Shankill | John Brady Group". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Brady's wins top honours as Ireland's 'Local of the Year' -". 18 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Shankill Tidy Towns 2007 awards". Retrieved 24 August 2013.

External linksEdit