There is a prehistoric burial tomb known as Brennanstown Portal Tomb, Glendruid cromlech/dolmen, or The Druids’ Altar near Cabinteely.
Excavations between 1957 and 1999 some 700m south-east of Cabinteely suggests that the area was of "considerable status and importance" from the 6th-7th centuries, with possible evidence of a church, ancillary buildings, possible workshops and cemetery.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Cabinteely grew up around a tavern (Irish: Cabán tSíle, meaning "Sheila's Cabin") located on crossroads on the main road linking Dublin with the South.
Cabinteely sits at the meeting point of the three medieval civil parishes of Tully, Kill and Killiney, in the half-barony of Rathdown. The ruins of Kill Abbey/Grange Church are near Deansgrange. The modern suburb of Cabinteely is still split between these civil parishes. The ruined 9th century Tully Church and graveyard lies within the modern parish of Cabinteely at Laughanstown
. Two high crosses
from the 12th century stand in nearby fields, and a wedge tomb, all protected as National Monuments (#216).
It is likely the modern Church of Ireland parish of Tullow, with a church nearby in Foxrock, is related to that civil parish of Tully. Similarly the modern Church of Ireland parish of Kill has a church in Deansgrange.
Cabinteely house was built in 1769 for Robert Nugent, Lord Clare, and the surrounding demesne wall still mostly exists today (running along the Old Bray Road, Brennanstown Road, and Cornelscourt Hill).
It later passed into the possession of the O'Byrne family of Wicklow, who were prominent in Cabinteely since the 1660s (the family originally lived in Marlfield House). William Richard O'Byrne (1823–1896), MP and author of the Naval Biographical Dictionary, owned and lived in Cabinteely House. Joseph McGrath purchased the house in 1933. Cabinteely House finally passed into possession of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 1984.
Cabinteely was described in the 1837 book, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, as having “several handsome seats [houses]...adorned with thriving plantations and presents many natural beauties”.
The Ordnance Survey Ireland map 1837-1842 shows Cabinteely Village with "Post Office, R.C. Church, and Police Barrack". The townland of Cabinteely at that time only included Cabinteely Demesne and Marlfield House (today in the St. Gabriels estate), whereas the modern suburb now includes neighbouring townlands such as Rochestown, Kilbogget, Brennanstown, and Laughanstown.
The Ordnance Survey Ireland map 1888-1913 shows Cabinteely Village with "P.O., Presbytery, St.Brigid's R.C. Church, Smithy, Constab. Bk., Court Ho., Dispy." among others, and Dublin Corporation's watermain running directly through the Village.
Cabinteely barracks was attacked numerous times during the civil war.