Cabra is an inner suburb on the northside of Dublin city in Ireland. It is approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) northwest of the city centre, in the administrative area of Dublin City Council. It was commonly known as Cabragh until the early 20th century. Largely located between the Royal Canal and the Phoenix Park, it is primarily a residential suburb, with a range of institutions and some light industry. Cabra is served by bus, tram and mainline rail; it lies across Navan Road, one of the main roads from central Dublin to the orbital motorway.
Cabra is located southwest of the Royal Canal, except for one small piece of land between canal and railway line, and northeast of the Phoenix Park, and runs southeast to northwest, from Phibsboro at Doyle's Corner and around the sixth Royal Canal lock, and Grangegorman at Hanlon's Corner, to Ashtown and Pelletstown; across the canal are the districts of first Glasnevin and then Finglas. The area is often divided into Cabra East and Cabra West, with a notional line of division being the railway line coming from the Phoenix Park Tunnel and going to Connolly Station.
The Bradogue River, a tributary of the Liffey, rises underground at the southern edge of the district.
From about 1480, the manor of Cabra was held by a branch of the Plunket family, another branch of which was later ennobled as Earls of Fingall. The branch which held Cabragh had their main residence at Dunsoghly Castle near Finglas.
There are three contiguous townlands called "Cabra", each in a different civil parish: Grangegorman, Glasnevin and Castleknock. The three met at the gate lodge of Cabragh House, today the location of the roundabout at the meeting of Ratoath Road and Fassaugh Avenue and the Canon Burke Senior Citizens Flats complex. Completed in 1598, Cabragh House was first occupied by the Segrave family. The mansion was then the home of the "hanging judge" Lord Norbury, until he died in 1831 and the Segrave family managed to reacquire it. Charles Segrave, whose son was the famous racing driver Henry Segrave lived there until 1912. The big house was bought by Dublin Corporation by way of a compulsory purchase order in 1939 for the construction of local authority housing, and the historic house was razed to the ground.
The Industrial Revolution brought the construction of the Royal Canal in 1790 and the laying of one railway line (a Great Southern and Western branch), both through the northern part of the area, while another railway line (the Great Western from Broadstone Terminus) ran through the heart of the area. The Great Southern and Western branch line even had a side line for the North City Mills on the border of Cabra and Phibsboro. Due to the proximity of Broadstone, there were no local railway stations, the nearest being beyond Phibsboro, Glasnevin Station northeast of Cross Guns (then Westmoreland) Bridge.
From about 1880 to 1930, Cabra was a prominent market garden centre and a giant lairage, where cattle being brought to market at Hanlon's Corner were kept in pens and grazing fields; there was a set of cattle sidings on the GW&W Railway line to the east of Carnlough Road. Until the 1920s, when large scale housing developments took place, the area mostly comprised fields and open countryside on the edge of the city. Many of the people who moved to the new suburb were from the city centre slums.
Quarry Road was originally called Quarry Lane, after a small quarry which was situated near where the current statue of Our Blessed Lady is located at the roundabout with Fassaugh Road (originally Fassaugh Lane.) This quarry was filled in the early part of the 1900s and the family who lived in the Homestead grew cabbages on the reclaimed land.
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