A General History of Rathmines by Tom Harris

Photo Credit: flitter1 Flikr
Photo Credit: flitter1 (Flikr)
Photo Credit: flitter1 Flikr
Rathmines Clock Tower – Photo Credit: flitters1 (Flikr)

Rathmines has a long and winding history which dates back to the 14th century. “Cuallu” or “Cuallan” is what Rathmines was known as at this time. The word “Cuallu” or “Cuallan referred to to the land owned or the estates of the Archbishop of Dublin.

In August 1649 a battle of the ages occured in Rathmines. Known as “The Battle of Rathmines”, Irish Confederates and English Royalists took on an English Parliamentarian army. It was a series of events that were part of the Irish Confederate War’s. However, the English Parliamentarian army succeeded in this battle resulting in the arrival of Oliver Cromwell to Ireland.

Rathmines Road Lower – Photo Credit: borisindublin (Flikr)

The Rathmines Town Hall and clock tower were designed by Sir Thomas Drew and completed in 1899. A town council was created here for the Rathmines Township. The Rathmines Township originates from the Act of Parliament, 1847. Covering the areas of Rathmines, Rathgar, Milltown, Ranelagh and Sandymount, the township operated as a hub for local government over time.

In the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s Rathmines became known as “Flatland”. There were large houses in Leinster Square, on Leinster Road and Grosvenor Square where students would stay. At this time Rathmines was poverty stricken.

Rathmines College – Photo Credit: Esther Moline (Flikr)

Then by the 1990’s with the boom, wealthier Irish men and women began to settle here. Rathmines now contains “The Swan Leisure Centre” with gym facilities, “The Swan Centre” hosting an Omniplex, not to mention the many cafe’s and Rathmines College of Further Education.

Tom Harris has been an English teacher in Rathmines College for many years. He is part of the Historical Society of Rathmines and Rathgar. The society traces back through these area’s histories.

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