RAHENY | DUBLIN STREET IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPHED BY WILLIAM MURPHY

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WILLIAM VISITS RAHENY



MY VISIT TO RAHENY 5 AUGUST 2017

Today I got lost to some extent. I got the wrong bus [to Malahide] and when I realised that the bus was heading away from Killester I asked the bus driver for directions to Raheny or Killester but unfortunately he he was not sure and made a best guess which was totally wrong. Later I discovered that Killester Station was close to where I got off the bus.

Raheny is situated on the coast about 8 km from Dublin city centre and 7 km from Dublin Airport. It is administered by Dublin City Council. The county boundary with Fingal lies close by. Nearby areas include Killester, Clontarf, Artane, Kilbarrack, Coolock and Donaghmede, and the skyline is dominated by Howth Head.

Raheny is bisected by the Howth Road (R105) and the R809 (coming from Bull Island, in turn 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).

Raheny railway station, opened on 25 May 1844, overlooking the village centre, serves the DART suburban railway system and the Dublin-Belfast main line, and parts of Raheny are served by other DART stations, Harmonstown and Kilbarrack, on the same 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 a taxi rank. There are three service stations, one at each end of the area and one at a motor dealership in the village centre. The one in the centre of the village does not sell fuel, however.

Much of the district is situated on gently rising ground, with a bluff overlooking Bull Island at Maywood and Bettyglen, and further rises from the village centre to the station and then to Belmont, a hill which once featured a windmill. Opposite and beyond Belmont was once an area of sunken land with limestone quarries but this was landfilled, much of it with urban refuse, and later levelled and converted into a city park, Edenmore Park.

At the heart of Raheny lies 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 1970s, giving an idea of its size (probably c. 110m across) and structure. The old church and graveyard complex behind the village plaza may reflect a remnant of the rath, as does some embankment behind the Scout Den.

During the 19th century, significant changes to the village, especially the centre, occurred, as a result of work on the Howth Road by the Telford Engineering Company; prior to this, the road entered the village at the bottom of the central hill, turning sharply coastwards at the top of Main Street. Works to straighten the road resulted in reduction of the old rath.

The ruined St. Assam's Church, dating from a 1712 reconstruction of a 1609 building, is believed to be the successor to early religious settlement. The later St. Assam's Church, opposite it, was built in 1864, in the period when Roman Catholics regained the right to have their own churches.

Raheny was also the site of two holy wells. The first of these, St. Ann's Well, gave its name to St. Anne's Park. The site of this well is still visible under a stone cupola by the boating lake in the park, but it has been dry for several decades, despite efforts by municipal authorities to restart it. 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, in the 20th century, covered over, and its waters diverted into the Santry River.

The "Celtic-style" cross on display in the village (now on the main plaza but previously placed in at least three other locations) is a memorial to a 19th-century missionary from the area to India, paid for by locals in India.

Eight crescent cottages located on Station Road near the junction with the Howth Road are among the oldest buildings in the village, having been built around 1790 by local resident Samuel Dick, then Governor of the Bank of Ireland. The cottages served as residence for men who worked on Mr. Dick's estate. The cottages are informally known as the 'Doh-Ray-Mee' cottages. The cottage nearest to the Station House pub was once the village post office.