From Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

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Description of County Dublin | Father Burke Memorial Church, Tallaght | Parliament House | Rotunda | O'Connell Statue | O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin | Grattan Statue | College Green | St. Stephen's Green | Merrion Square | Viceregal Lodge | Malahide Castle | Dublin Map

NAME.—The city which gave name to the county, got its own name from the river. The Liffey, near where the old city stood, formed a pool which was called Dubh-linn, meaning "black pool" (dubh, black; linn, a pool); and the name is applicable to the river at this day. The more ancient name was Ath-cliath (pronounced Ah-clee), the ford of hurdles, from the old hurdle bridge by which the Liffey was originally crossed (ath, a ford; cliath, a hurdle).

SIZE AND POPULATION.—Length, from the summit of Kippure Mountain, south of Dublin city, to the river Delvin, near Balbriggan, 32 miles; breadth, from Howth Head to Clonee, near Lucan, 16 ½ miles; area, 354 ½ square miles. Population, 418,910.

SURFACE.—On the south this county is skirted by mountains; the rest of the county is level, or interspersed with low elevations, all in grass or in cultivation.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS.—Kippure (2,473) stands 12 miles nearly due south of the city, and belongs partly to Wicklow, the boundary line passing over its summit. Two miles northwest from this is Seefingan (2,364), also on the boundary. These two mountains tower over the head of Glennasmole, on the west side of which, 4 miles further north, is Knockannavea (1,289), and 2 miles west of this are Saggart Hill (1,308) and Knockandinny (1,025), over the village of Saggart. Six or seven miles south of Dublin are a number of hills, forming a beautiful screen, visible from almost every part of the city, the chief of which are Killakee Mountain (1,761), Glendoo Mountain (1,929), and Prince William's Seat (1,825), all three on the boundary line with Wicklow; Tibradden (1,540) and Kilmashogue Mountain (1,339) project forward toward Dublin. The Two Rock Mountain (1,699) and the Three Rock Mountain (1,479) slope down toward the east directly to Kingstown. The beautiful hills of Dalkey and Killiney (474) rising directly over the sea, form the terminating spur of the range.

From the summits of all these hills there is a magnificent view of the great plain of Dublin, with the Mourne Mountains in the distance to the north. They are pierced by several ravines, of which the most striking are the Slade of Saggart, through which is carried the road from Dublin to Blessington; the Gap of Ballinascorney, leading west from Glenasmole; Glendoo or Glencullen, between Tibradden Mountain and Glendoo Mountain; and the Scalp, an extraordinary gorge cut right through the hill on the road from Dublin to Enniskerry.

COAST LINE.—The coast is considerably broken by inlets. The greater part is sandy, but there are in several places low cliffs of limestone; and at Howth and Dalkey the shore is precipitous. In some parts the strand is very beautiful, for instance at Balbriggan; and the "Velvet Strand" between Malahide and Howth is one of the finest strands in Ireland.

HEADLANDS.—The two rocky peninsulas of Rush and Portraine lie at the opposite sides of the inlet of Turvey. The promontory of Howth rises to the height of 560 feet, and presents a succession of splendid sea cliffs nearly the whole way round; and at Dalkey and Killiney is another series of fine cliffs terminating in Sorrento Point, opposite Dalkey Island. Howth, Dalkey and Killiney are noted for their fine views both seaward and landward.

ISLANDS.—The Skerries group, off the town of Skerries, consists of St. Patrick's Island, on which is a very ancient church dedicated to St. Patrick; Shenick's Island; and Colt's Island. About 4 miles from the coast at Skerries is the Rockabill rock, on which is a lighthouse. Lambay Island, 2 ½ miles from Rush, is 418 feet high, and presents rocky cliffs to the sea nearly the whole way round; it contains 596 acres, much of which is pasture land. The rocky, picturesque little island of Ireland's Eye lies a mile off Howth, and contains the ruins of the church of the Three Sons of Nessan, belonging to the seventh century. The little island of Dalkey contains a Martello tower, and also a very ancient church ruin.

BAYS AND HARBORS.—Beginning on the north, the little harbor of Loughshinny lies a mile north of Rush. Immediately south of Rush, straight opposite Lambay Island, is Rogerstown or Turvey Bay; next is Malahide Bay, and just north of Howth, Baldoyle Bay, all three well sheltered, but so shallow and sandy as to be of little use. Howth Harbor is artificial, and was erected at great expense; but it is now little used except as a rendezvous for fishing vessels. Dublin Bay, celebrated for its fine scenery, is inclosed on the north by the Hill of Howth, and on the south by Dalkey Hill, 6 miles asunder; it is 6 miles deep, and its shores are thickly studded with beautiful towns and villas. There is an artificial inner harbor formed by two Avails, the South Wall and the Bull Wall, which keep out the heavy swell, and prevent the accumulation of sand. At Kingstown there is a very fine artificial harbor. Near this is the little harbor of Bullock. Killiney Bay has a fine curved sandy beach which extends south to Bray.

RIVERS.—The Liffey enters this county at Leixlip; and from this to its mouth at Ringsend is about 12 miles. The Dodder rises on the slopes of Kippure, and for the first part of its course flows through Glennasmole, a very fine valley 6 miles long, celebrated in ancient legend, and now well cultivated and inhabited: after a most picturesque course the Dodder joins the Liffey at Ringsend. The Tolka, which rises in Meath, passing by Glasnevin, flows into Dublin Bay, near Clontarf. The Broad Meadow Water and the Ward River, both of which rise in Meath, flow into Malahide Bay. The pretty little river Delvin forms for nearly its whole course the northern boundary, separating Dublin from Meath. On the south the Bray River separates the counties of Dublin and Wicklow.

TOWNS.—Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is situated at the mouth of the Liffey. What is called the "City" has a population of 249,602; but Dublin has far outgrown the limits of the "City" and if Rathmines, Rathgar, and the Pembroke Township be included, as they ought to be, the population is about 300,000. Kingstown 18,586), on the south side of Dublin Bay, a flourishing town, formerly called Dunleary, is the mail packet station between Dublin and England, and the chief station for the steamers plying to Holyhead and Liverpool. Near Kingstown, on the Dublin side, is Blackrock (8,902), and on the other side is Dalkey (3,234), both very beautifully situated. Adjoining Dalkey is Killiney, in a still more lovely situation on the slope of Killiney Hill.

North of Dublin along the coast are the following: Clontarf (4,210), the scene of the battle in which the Danes were defeated by Brian Boru in 1014: Howth (909), on the north side of Howth Hill, with its fine abbey ruins; near which is Baldoyle (577), on the shore of Baldoyle Bay: Malahide (670), whose castle, a very fine and most interesting baronial residence, is still inhabited by its lords. A little inland is Swords (1,088), once an important ecclesiastical center, and still retaining the ruins of a church, a round tower, and the remains of the archiepiscopal palace. The long straggling street of Bush (1,071) comes next; and 3 miles inland is Lusk (357), chiefly remarkable for its church ruins and round tower. Skerries (2,227), an important fishing station, stands in a beautiful situation, its main street running parallel to the shore: and lastly, Balbriggan (2,443), celebrated for its hosiery.

On the Liffey, above Dublin, is Chapelizod (1,583), most picturesquely situated; and higher up Lucan (691), which was formerly the residence of the Sarsfield family, and gave the title of earl to the celebrated Patrick Sarsfield, the defender of Limerick. Immediately west of Dublin, and near the Liffey, is Kilmainham (5,391); and 4 miles west of this is the village of Clondalkin (379), which is remarkable only for its perfect round tower. Near Dublin, in the south, is the little town of Terenure (1,143), which is fast becoming incorporated with Dublin; and a mile further on is the faded village of Rathfarnham (746). Dundrum (492), 3 miles south of the city, is now growing to be a favorite suburban residence. That portion of Bray lying in the county Dublin has a population of 2,148.

MINERALS.—At Ballycorus, 3 miles from Bray, there is a lead mine, which yields also silver.

ANCIENT DIVISIONS AND DESIGNATIONS.—The old district of Cualann belonged chiefly to Wicklow, but it extended north to within a short distance of Dublin. The level district lying between Dublin and Howth was anciently called Moy-Ealta-Edar, or the plain of the bird flocks of Edar (from Edar or Howth). That part of the county lying north of Howth was called Fingall, i.e., the finè or tribe of the Galls or Danes; and to this day it retains the name, and the people are called Fingallians. The Hill of Howth was the ancient Ben-Edar, i.e. the Ben or peak of Edar, a legendary hero. Criffan, king of Ireland in the first century, had his residence on Howth, and his palace, Dun-Criffan, stood near where the lighthouse now is.

Description of County Dublin | Father Burke Memorial Church, Tallaght | Parliament House | Rotunda | O'Connell Statue | O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin | Grattan Statue | College Green | St. Stephen's Green | Merrion Square | Viceregal Lodge | Malahide Castle | Dublin Map

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