From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
RINGSEND, a small town, in that part of the parish of ST. MARY, DONNYBROOK, which is in the county of the city of DUBLIN, in the province of LEINSTER, 1 ½ mile (E.) from the General Post-office: the population is returned with the parish. This place, according to O'Halloran, was originally called Rin-Aun, signifying, in the Irish language, "the point of the tide," from its situation at the confluence of the Dodder with the Liffey: its present name is either a singular corruption of the former, or may perhaps have arisen from the large blocks of stone into which rings of iron were inserted for mooring vessels, previously to the construction of the present mole.
The town is built upon the eastern bank of the Dodder, and has a mean and dilapidated appearance, having fallen into decay since the discontinuance of its extensive salt-works: its southern portion, which is a few hundred yards detached, is called Irishtown, and is in a less ruinous condition; it is much frequented for sea-bathing, from its proximity to Dublin. There are also hot and cold sea-water baths; the Cranfield baths, which are here much frequented, are said to have been the first hot sea water baths erected in Ireland. Iron-works were established here by the grandfather of the late proprietor, Mr. C. K. Clarke by whom they have been recently disposed of: the articles manufactured are steam-engines and all kinds of machinery, iron boats and utensils of various kinds. There are also glass-works, a chymical laboratory, and a distillery.
The Grand Canal Company have docks to the west of this place, opening a communication between the canal and the river Liffey. Ship-building is carried on, and many of the inhabitants are employed in the fishery. Along the whole of the shore are strong embankments to keep out the sea, which at high water is above the level of the town; and similar precautions are taken to prevent inundation from the river Dodder, which frequently overflows its banks. In 1649, Sir William Ussher, though attended by many of his friends, was drowned in crossing this dangerous stream, over which a bridge of stone was afterwards erected; but the river suddenly changed its course and rendered it useless, till the stream was again forced into its former channel.
In 1796, the corporation for improving the port of Dublin diverted the stream into a new channel through the low grounds between Irishtown and Dublin; and in 1802 the bridge was destroyed by a flood, and a handsome bridge of granite, of one arch, was erected, over which the road by the docks to Dublin is carried.
A church was built in Irishtown, in 1703, under an act of the 2nd of Queen Anne, on account of the distance from the parish church and the difficulty of access from the frequent inundation of the roads. It is an endowed chapelry, in the diocese of Dublin, and in the patronage of the Crown, and is designated, by the 10th of George I., the "Royal chapel of St. Matthew, Ringsend." There is a R. C. chapel in Irishtown, in connection with which is a boys' school, and in the village of Ringsend is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A day school for boys, a Sunday school, an infants' school, a dispensary, and a shop for supplying the poor with necessaries at reduced prices, are all kept in one large and neat building, erected in Irishtown in 1832, at an expense of £800, defrayed by subscription.