Ráth Eanaigh

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°22′49″N 6°10′30″W / 53.3803°N 6.17498°W / 53.3803; -6.17498Coordinates: 53°22′49″N 6°10′30″W / 53.3803°N 6.17498°W / 53.3803; -6.17498
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Dublin
  Dáil Éireann Dublin Bay North
  EU Parliament Dublin
(Civil Parish, excluding sea)
  Town 3.88 km2 (1.50 sq mi)
(village centre)
20 m (70 ft)
Population (2006)
  Urban 18,000+ (census areas are not a match for districts)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Area code(s) 01, +353 1
Website www.raheny.com

Raheny (Ráth Eanaigh in Irish) is a northern suburb of Dublin, Ireland. It is centred on an historic settlement, referenced back to 570 AD (Mervyn Archdall) but after years of light population, with a main village and a coastal hamlet, grew rapidly in the 20th century, and is now a mid-density Northside suburb with a village core.

Location and access

Raheny is situated on the coast of County Dublin, about 8 km from Dublin city centre and 7 km from Dublin Airport, and has been for centuries within the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council, formerly Dublin Corporation. The historic county (now Fingal County Council) boundary lies close by. Nearby areas include Killester, Clontarf, Artane, Kilbarrack, Coolock and Donaghmede, and the skyline is dominated by Howth Head.

Raheny today, in the context of Dublin, by satellite

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,[1] 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.

Raheny and neighbouring districts, early 20th century

Historical features

The Rath

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.

Religious sites

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.

"Blue plaque" scheme

Large panels describing highlights of the area's historical and natural sights in English and Irish, and with maps of the central village area, stand either side of the central crossroads. In addition, in 2006 the Raheny Business Association placed blue historical plaques, with wording co-ordinated with the Raheny Heritage Society, on or near 15 historical buildings.


There was, at least by the 19th century, a hamlet, a "second Raheny", Raheny-on-the-Strand, at the point known as the "Whip of the Water", where the Howth Road (and Fox Stream) met the sea. There was a beach road here, later washed away, then succeeded by the tram line to Howth. The current coastal road, the James Larkin Road, is a much more recent construction.

Mills and quay

In a sign of prosperity, Raheny in the 18th century also had a water mill near the mouth of the Santry River and two windmills, one on the Howth Road, one on Belmont hill, as well as a stone quay.

The Crescent Cottages

Eight crescent cottages situate 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.


Several explanations exist for the origin of the name Raheny: one (from Ráth Éanna) is that it means the ringfort of Éanna, an early local chief, another (Ráth Eanaigh) is that the name derives from eanach, an old Irish word for marsh or swamp. Yet another (deriving from Rath Ain Abha) comes from "Noble Fortress of the Sea".[2] It is a matter unlikely ever to be fully resolved, as the origins of names, especially in areas within the Pale, were lost. Locally, most use Ráth Éanna while officialdom now tends towards Ráth Eanaigh. Until the mid-20th century, many local residents pronounced the English language name as something more like Rahenny, or Ratheny.

Although there are a range of similar names (such as Rahanna), the name Raheny is nearly unique in Ireland, occurring in just one other locality, a portion of the rural town of Lusk. This once-significant monastic and civil centre in north County Dublin is not far away but no connection is known.


In addition to the Santry River (historically Skillings Glas), Raheny is also crossed by the Naniken River (previously parts of it named Ballyhoy after a townland through which it passes), the Fox Stream and the Blackbanks Stream, all monitored by Dublin City Council. Both the Fox and Blackbanks Streams flow from the limestone area above Station Road (which used to hold caves and quarries), one either side of the steep Mount Olive hill on Station Road. The Fox Stream runs through Walmer lands, under Tuscany Downs, but is today smaller than historically, as some of its flow is diverted by pipe before the railway, into the already larger Blackbanks Stream. According to a chronicle of the ceremony of "Riding the Franchises", the Fox Stream used to mark the northern boundary of Dublin City.

A major feature is the nearly 5 km beach known as Dollymount Strand, on the nature reserve of North Bull Island, shared with Clontarf. Parklands include the two largest Dublin municipal parks, North Bull Island itself and Saint Anne's Park (formerly the home of the Guinness family of brewing and later banking fame), which is also shared with Clontarf, as well as Edenmore Park (with a pitch and putt course and playing fields), Springdale Road Park (along the Santry River) and many small green areas.

There is excellent walking and cycling on the sea front (one can walk or bike from Howth to Dún Laoghaire, with problems only in the Docklands area), on North Bull Island, in St. Anne's Park and around the leafy streets.

Organisations and media

The village plaza near Raheny's centre, by Dublin City Council and the RBA

Many of the local business interests, and some civic entities, are members of the active Raheny Business Association (RBA), a form of chamber of commerce. The active Raheny Tidy Village Group, mentioned above, receives sponsorship from local businesses and groups, especially from the RBA, which also provides it with a co-ordinator.

Environment and Tidy Towns

Raheny has had for many years a voluntary Tidy Village Group, which drives activities for the Tidy Towns competition, and has helped the area win a number of civic awards. In 2006, the Raheny Business Association began to sponsor a part-time paid Coordinator to help the group in its work. Consistently scoring well in the Tidy Towns competition, Raheny received a Highly Commended rating in 2008, and the detailed report noted potential, with some further organisation, to win the competition outright.

The following year, 2009, the Raheny won the 'Best Urban Village' award and was also one of four areas of Dublin City to receive a commendation in the overall Tidy Towns competition.[3][4]

In 2014 Raheny again won the 'Best Urban Village' award in the Tidy Towns competition.[5]

Amenities and business

A feature of Raheny is Dublin's second busiest municipal library branch, near the village centre. Adjacent to the library is Carvill Rickard solicitors which is on the site of the first Catholic School in the village built by William Sweetman in c1820. The district also holds St. Francis Hospice and St. Joseph's Hospital (administered by Beaumont Hospital Board), as well as a small local health centre, a Credit Union, a Garda Síochána station, located opposite the national school complex on All Saints' Drive, and one of Dublin's three driving test centres, at the St. Anne's shopping plaza.

Local amenities include many shops and several small shopping plazas. There are several financial institutions, a fitness club and multiple doctors, dentists and specific and alternative health providers. The area's swimming pool, separate from but adjacent to St. Paul's College, closed to the public in 2006.

Raheny Shopping Centre

Raheny Shopping Centre is a busy shopping plaza located in the centre of the village, on the Howth Road beside the Santry River. The anchor unit is a Supervalu store. Also part of the shopping centre complex are an AIB Bank, Ulster Bank, cafe/restaurant, doctor's clinic and several diverse retail units. Across from the shopping centre proper are several other retail units and service outlets. A solicitor's firm, Barron Morris solicitors is based here. Dublin bus routes 31 and 32 serve the shopping centre's 'Raheny Village' stop.


Until recent years, Raheny had one of just a few hotels in the north suburbs; this shortage was reduced by the building of a range of hotels near Dublin Airport, 7 km away. The Sheiling Hotel, in the former Fox Hall, and a part of the small Regency Hotel group, ceased operation in early 2008, after planning permission had been granted, after an appeal, to redevelop the main house, a protected historic structure, as flats, with additional apartment blocks adjacent. See Note 1

In addition, the district features a range of bed-and-breakfast establishments.

There are several pubs, the best known including the Cedar Lounge, the Station House, the (Raheny) Inn and the Watermill, and eating places include the Watermill and three restaurants, one of the three old schoolhouses in the village centre, at the top of Main Street, one on Watermill Road, in the former Raheny Hardware building, and one in St. Assam's, as well as a coffee shop with dinner service, under the main shopping centre.

Religious institutions

Raheny has Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland (Anglican) churches, one of the former massively overlooking the centre of the village (with feature belfry and baptistry), the latter beautifully sited on the approach to the village centre from the city.

The central Roman Catholic Church is the Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace, of the Catholic Parish of Raheny. The building, completed in 1962, was designed by Peppard and Duffy architects, at the behest of John Charles McQuaid to accommodate the burgeoning flock. The Church opened Sunday, July 22, 1962. The main entrance is framed within a large triangle inset with numerous smaller triangles, recalling traditional motifs from Romanesque Irish churches. The facade and the bell-tower are built with green limestone.

Our Lady's now little-used and substantially smaller predecessor, St. Assam's Church, is situated directly opposite. Regular worship ceased there when Our Lady's opened. The building is a 'Protected Structure'.

The district is also served by the pyramid-style church of Kilbarrack-Foxfield Parish, by St. Benedict's, of Grange Park Parish, and by St. Brigid's, of Killester Parish, and by the chapel at the Capuchin Friary. A number of other Roman Catholic religious orders also have local presences. Prior to the restoration of local worship, Rahenyites had for centuries to attend Mass in Coolock or, later, Clontarf, or in local houses.

The Church of Ireland church, for the Anglican Parish of Raheny (now in Union with the Parish of Coolock), All Saints Church, which was built at the expense of Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun of the Guinness family, See Note 2 has some wonderful architectural features and is considered by many as being one of the most beautiful churches in Dublin. Before this church was built, Raheny Parish was served by the older church in the centre of Raheny, an earlier St. Assam's Church, dating back to 1712, and previously to 1609 and before. All Saints' has a Rectory in the grounds, as well as a community hall and a well-preserved gate lodge for the verger. In April 2010, it was announced that the church required extensive roof repairs and funds were raised to complete this.

There is also a large Plymouth Brethren meeting hall in "new" Bettyglen. Methodist and Presbyterian worshippers are served by churches in Clontarf.


The district has a boys' secondary school, St. Paul's College, Raheny (attended by approximately 600 pupils in 2006) and one of Ireland's largest girls' secondary schools, Manor House, as well as Ard Scoil la Salle, on Raheny Road, a mixed second level facility.

There is a primary school complex just behind the village centre, with a mixed junior school, Scoil Ide, and distinct boys' and girls' senior schools, Scoil Assaim and Scoil Aine respectively, as well as a shared assembly hall, used for many community events. There is also a mixed primary school, Springdale National School, on Springdale Road, overseen by a Board of Governors, with an endowment which includes rent from some of the area's historic buildings at the Crescent. There is a special national school at St. Michael's House and another general primary school in the Grange Park locality.

The locality of Edenmore has its own school facilities.



Association football

Youth groups

CGI Guide Promise Badge

The 73rd Raheny Scout Group, a unit of Scouting Ireland, meet at their den on the banks of the Santry River, opposite the Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace on the Howth Road.[7] Raheny Guides, also known as Buion An Leanbh Prague of the Catholic Guides of Ireland, have been in existence since 1966, meeting on a Wednesday evening. The Cygnets (age 5-7) meet in the CARA Hall and the Brigins (age 6-10), Guides (age 10-16) and Rangers (age 14-19) meet in Scoil Aine School Hall.[8]

Resident representation

A range of residents' associations have been established over time but many have faded as housing areas have matured. One of those still functioning, the St. Anne's Residents' Association (SARA), with some allied bodies, operates a community hall on All Saints' Drive, while the Grange Woodbine Association has hall facilities on Station Road. An umbrella body, the Federation of Raheny Residents, was very active up to the 1980s but has been little seen in recent times, aside from working on a (decorative but working) millennium clock, sited in the village centre.

Many other voluntary groups operate in the area, some secular, such as the mentioned Raheny Heritage Society, Scout and Guide units, and Tidy Village Group, as well as the Raheny Drama and Variety Group, and Raheny Toastmasters, and some church-related, such as the local conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

A special form of community organisation is the Maywood Avondale Bettyglen TV Association (MABTVA), which provides a local TV cable service (most of Dublin is served by one of two large TV cable systems), using its own receiving station, situated at the back of the old Bettyglen Estate.

Community media

The "Raheny News", a local voluntary production founded in 1975, is a four-page newsletter, printed on distinctive green paper, and aimed at keeping residents of Raheny informed of current happenings, is produced weekly throughout most of the year by a group of local people, with some support from the Roman Catholic parish. Founded originally by the late Fr Cornelius O'Keefe along with a few local volunteers, Mrs Madeleine Meyler & Mrs Lily Leslie. The Raheny News celebrated 40 years in production in 2015. Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes also produce bulletins. Another local paper, "The Raheny Informer", is published monthly.[9]

Raheny is part of the service area of community radio station NEAR FM. From time to time, postcards of the area are published.


In Dáil Éireann, Raheny is part of the 5-seat Dublin Bay North constituency. Until the 2016 general election it was split between the constituencies of Dublin North-Central and Dublin North-East. The splitting of the district, which also gives electoral stations either side of the village centre (generally at the library and at the National Schools complex), was a source of local anger for many years.

Long-serving politicians for the area include Seán Kenny (politician), a Dublin City Councillor from 1979 until 2011 when he was elected for the second time in Dáil Éireann (the first occasion having been in the 1990s) and former minister Michael Woods, who lives in neighbouring Kilbarrack. Past figures include the late ex-Taoiseach Charles Haughey, and Councillor Niamh Cosgrave, of Foxfield, the latter in a rare move having been removed from the City Council for non-attendance.

Localities and housing

The civic district (civil parish) of Raheny comprises at least the townlands of Ballyhoy, Bettyville, Charleville, Edenmore, Foxlands, Glebe, Maryville, Mountolive (or Mount of Olives), North Bull Island, Raheny North, Raheny South and (the) Snug. Some historic records also note the village centre as a distinct entity, "Raheny Town". Foxlands now contains Avondale, Maywood and Bettyglen, while Mountolive (and parts of Swan's Nest) now include several roads and estates, notably "Tuscany Downs" whose naming caused ministerial comment and public discussion about inappropriate naming conventions.[10]

The civil parish is still maintained in law, and its boundaries were last reviewed during 1985, with their extension to a greater part of Dublin Bay.

Other housing developments in Raheny include St. Anne's, situated on parts of the former Guinness estate not retained as a public park, Cill Éanna and Ennafort, Avondale, Maywood, "New" and "Old" Bettyglen, Rathmore Park, St. Assam's and Foxfield, Ashcroft, Belmont, Grange Park and Grange-Woodbine. There are a number of housing units for older people, notably in St. Anne's and at Avondale, and a Garda retirement home.

Starting in the mid-2000s, Raheny, most of which was laid out with semi-detached and terraced houses with good gardens front and rear, has seen a surge in infill development, especially on corner sites, and the arrival of a small but growing number of apartment developments (the area previously had almost no apartment buildings).


'Doh Ray Me' cottages, Raheny

All of one and part of another of Raheny's townlands were largely developed by Dublin Corporation to form a new district of Edenmore, in one of its largest ever housing projects. Although still part of the overall district, and shown in addresses as Edenmore, Raheny, the new area, with its own schools, small shopping centre (including one of Dublin's highest-turnover pubs), church (Roman Catholic: St. Monica's), health centre and some sports teams, is increasingly distinct.

The locality of Harmonstown, straddling the boundary between Raheny and Artane, lies just over the railway line from the Ennafort housing development in Raheny.


Born in Raheny

Resident at some time

Went to school in Raheny

Points of note

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Raheny.


  • ^1 Application: ...Part of the Sheiling Hotel is a protected structure(Ref No. 4028 of the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011). The development will consist of the demolition of extensions to the original house and the conversion of the house to provide 2 no. 1 bedroom flats, 1 no. 2 bedroom flat and 2 no. 3 bedroom flats at ground, first and second floor level with private terrace at ground floor level. The development will also provide for the construction of 3 no. four storey apartment blocks to provide for 63 no. flats comprising 3 no. 1 bedroom flats, 39 no. 2 bedroom flats, 17 no. 2 bedroom flats including study, and 3 no. 3 bedroom flats and 1 no. 3 bedroom duplex flat with balconies, roof terraces and communal garden areas; the provision of 104 no. car parking spaces at basement level and 15 no. surface car parking spaces; and all associated infrastructure and site development works including landscaping and boundary treatments. A total of 68 no. residential units are to be provided. Access to the proposed flats will be from the Howth Road. Permission granted without reduction in density. Developer contribution to services etc. from City Council in high six digits.
  • ^2 Prior to the construction of All Saints', the Guinness family attended the church of the Parish of Clontarf.


  1. "Raheny station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
  2. Dublin, Cahill, 1922: Authentic Derivations of Place-Names in County Dublin Traced and Explained With the Aid of Real Evidence, MacNamara, M. A.
  3. http://www.tidytowns.ie/newsItem.php?id=261
  4. http://www.tidytowns.ie/newsItem.php?id=134
  5. http://www.seanhaughey.ie/politic-gallery/711/
  6. www.rahenyshamrock.com
  7. www.73rahenyscouts.ie
  8. Raheny Guides
  9. http://issuu.com/realissues/docs/raheny-informer-feb-2011
  10. Dublin: Irish Independent, Wednesday 12 January 1994, Tony O'Brien: "Estate Names Given Thumbs Down", and prior commentary in 1992
  11. Dublin, The Irish Independent, Sunday 4 August 2011, retrieved from 5 August 2011
  12. "Dáithí Ó Conaill Remembered". irishfreedom.com.
  13. Dublin: Irish Independent, Friday 7 May 1954, official notice of contested election in constituency of Dublin North-East, ref. Charles Haughey, Chartered Accountant, Howth Road, Raheny


  • www.raheny.com (as at 10 March and 17 April 2006)
  • Dublin: The Acorn (journal), Roman Catholic Parish of Killester and Raheny
  • Raheny Branch, Dublin Public Libraries, Local History File
  • Raheny, Dublin: 1990, Through countless ages: The story of the church and parish of All Saints, and the district of Raheny, Arthur Garrett
  • Raheny, Dublin: Raheny Heritage Trail, Raheny Heritage Society
  • Raheny, Dublin: Census Returns of Raheny and Environs, Raheny Heritage Society
  • Dublin, Cahill, 1922: Authentic Derivations of Place-Names in County Dublin Traced and Explained With the Aid of Real Evidence, MacNamara, M. A
  • Dublin, Ordnance Survey of Ireland: 2005, Map of Dublin District
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/24/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.