Rathmines is an inner 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. It is situated in the city's D6 postal district.
Rathmines has thriving commercial and civil activity and is well-known across Ireland as part of a traditional "flatland" - providing rented accommodation to newly arrived junior civil servants and third level students coming from outside the city since the 1930s.
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, is often said to have a cosmopolitan air, and has a diverse international population and has always been home to groups of new immigrant communities and indigenous ethnic minorities.
The Rathmines Township was created by Act of Parliament in 1847, and its area was later renamed "Rathmines and Rathgar" and expanded to take in the areas of Rathgar, Ranelagh, Sallymount and Milltown. The township was initially responsible only for sanitation, but its powers were extended over time to cover most functions of local government. It became an urban district under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, but was still usually called a "township". Initially the council was made up of local businessmen and other eminent figures; the franchise was extended in 1899 and the membership changed accordingly. The former Town Hall is still one of Rathmines' most prominent buildings with its clock tower. It was designed by Sir Thomas Drew and completed in 1899. It is now occupied by Rathmines College.
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 a local electoral area of Dublin City Council, electing four councillors; the boundaries of the electoral area have varied over the years.
Rathmines is well known for the large army barracks which is located there, Cathal Brugha Barracks (known in the past as Portobello Barracks), home to many units of the Irish Army including the 2nd Infantry Battalion.
Another well known feature is the prominent copper dome of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners Church. The original dome was destroyed in a fire in 1920 and replaced by the current dome when reopened in 1922. The dome was to be used in St Petersburg but the political and social upheaval in this city caused it to be diverted to Dublin.
Rathmines Library was opened on 24 October 1913 following a grant of £8,500 from Andrew Carnegie, to a design by architect, Frederick Hicks.
Rathmines is also home to two well-known primary and secondary schools, St Mary's College (C.S.Sp,) and St Louis Primary and secondary school. Kildare Place National School, situated on the grounds of the Church of Ireland College of Education is also a highly reputable Church of Ireland sponsored primary school on Upper Rathmines Road.
Recently a new multiplex cinema has been added to the local shopping centre which is the first one in Dublin catering for Digital cinema . This has three screens with plans for a fourth, it shows up to date movies and features 3D movies.