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Clontarf Today

Clontarf, Dublin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clontarf (Cluain Tarbh in Irish, meaning "Bulls' Meadow") is a coastal suburb on the northside of Dublin, Ireland. It is most famous for giving the name to the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 during which Brian Boru, High King of Ireland defeated the Viking invaders. This battle, which extended to districts over several miles, is seen as marking an end to the Irish-Viking Wars.
Clontarf lacks a single "village centre" but has a range of commercial facilities in several locations, adjoins Fairview, Marino, Killester, Artane and Raheny, and is in the postal district Dublin 3.

Clontarf is home to a wide range of businesses, many of whom are members of the local Chamber of Commerce. There is a supermarket on Vernon Avenue, and there are, for example, a number of public houses, restaurants, convenience stores, bank branches, pharmacies and medical practitioners.

Clontarf is also home to the famous Central Remedial Clinic (whose swimming pool has some public access hours) and to the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital of Ireland (since 1876), as well as a major centre of the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Within Clontarf is the area known as Dollymount, formed in the 19th century, which gave its name to the beach on North Bull Island.

Famous people from the area include Brian O'Driscoll, the current Ireland rugby captain, film director Neil Jordan, academic Declan Kiberd, singer and television presenter Bryan Smyth andGerry RyanRTE 2fm DJ.

St Anne's Park lies between Clontarf and Raheny. The Bull Island, also shared with Raheny, is connected to Clontarf by an historic wooden bridge. The Bull Wall and breakwater, related road and path, and Bull (Wooden) Bridge belong to the Dublin Port Company and are closed for a day each year to assert this. At the end of the breakwater is a statue of Our Lady to watch over mariners.

When Erwin Schrödinger moved to Dublin, he lived in Clontarf, on Kincora Road. He allegedly scandalised neighbours by (a) setting up a menage-a-trois in the house (b) airing duvets out of the windows every morning.

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, was born on The Crescent in nearby Fairview and a museum has opened in the local Westwood Club to celebrate this.

Clontarf was the original home of the Grove Social Club disco which ran from 1967 to 1997. It started in 1967 in Mount Prospect Avenue in Clontarf, Belgrove Football Club (from which the club got its name). It moved to St. Pauls College, Sybil Hill, in 1975 when the old pavilion was burnt down.

Along the coastal promenade, there is a circular rain shelter, which forms a cap over a former lead mine, which ran out under the shallow waters of the bay, as recorded in Cosgrave's "North Dublin"; it was closed due to persistent flooding.


A settlement at Clontarf has been dated to at least the 12th century and in the 19th century remains from earlier times were thought to have been found. A manor house and small associated village was located on the slight ridge overlooking the sea where the Clontarf Castle Hotel is now situated. The manor house was rebuilt many times, with the current hotel dating largely to the early 19th century. The tower house on the site is a 19th century replica of an original structure on the site. The adjoining ruined church is the old Church of Ireland parish church, dates to the mid-17th century and includes what may be the earliest use of red brick in Ireland.

The manor and church of Clontarf were held by the Templars and then the Hospitallers, and there was a Holy Well in the area, near what is now The Stiles Road, until recent times. Another spring, named for Brian Boroimhe, of uncertain age, still exists, on Castle Avenue near the sea.

There used to be an island, called Clontarf Island, off the coast of Clontarf near the mouth of the River Tolka, as shown on maps such as that of John Rocque in 1753,[1], with a single dwelling, and at some periods (notably in the 19th century), bathing facilities. The island was also used as a refuge from plague in 1650. Construction work on the Great South and North Walls in Dublin Port changed the flow of water in Dublin Bay, threatening its existence, though it was eventually destroyed by a large storm in 1844.

In the 18th century another settlement within Clontarf district developed, around 1km to the east of the existing village. This was known locally as 'the Sheds' and was essentially a poor settlement of fishermen and small farmers, living in basic cabins and with drying sheds for fish. It is prominently marked on navigation maps for Dublin Bay dating to the 18th century. However, as with many such 'informal' settlements in Ireland, it became the site for a 19th century Roman Catholic church - the Church of Ireland St. John's Church, and the Roman Catholic St. Anthony's are closer to the original settlement - and then outgrew the original village.

By the late 19th century Clontarf was becoming urbanised, initially as a holiday resort for wealthy Dubliners, but rapidly as a suburb of the city. For a time, Clontarf was an Urban District incorporated in its own right but lost this formal status at the start of the 20th century. By the mid 20th century it was fully absorbed into the city and would now be considered part of the inner suburbs.

Sport and social organisations

Clontarf has many sporting facilities including rugbycricketsailingfootball and Clontarf GAA club. The area also has two tennis clubs -Clontarf Lawn Tennis Club based on Oulton Road and Clontarf Parish Lawn Tennis Club on Seafield Road, which has been recently re-developed and is attached to Clontarf Church of Ireland. Clontarf's open-air seawater swimming pool, once a popular recreational destination, with hot and cold baths, is now derelict, with various developments considered. Clontarf Cricket Club, based on the same premises as the rugby club, was the venue for the final of the 2005 ICC Trophy cricket tournament. It hosted various cricket internationals over the year most recently against the West Indies in the summer of 2007.

Along with numerous sporting facilities the suburb also has a number of non-sporting local facilities in St Anne's Park (which it shares withRaheny). These include an Arts Centre in the Red Stables, featuring artists' stores and studios, a coffee shop and markets on some weekends, along with a large rose garden which is located alongside the Gaelic Athletic Association pitches. Clontarf is also home to the City Council Traffic Training Facility.

The seafront along Clontarf remains a highly popular spot for runners, walkers and cyclists and features an Easter Island Moai Statue which is located just across the road from a local pub.

The Clontarf Scout Troop was established in 1931. Clontarf also has two Boys Brigade companies - the (12th) attached to Clontarf Church of Ireland and the (39th) attached to the Presbyterian parish and a Girls Brigade company (5th Company Clontarf Presbyterian) attached toClontarf & Scots Presbyterian Church. This company will be 100 years old in 2008 and will be the first active company in the world to reach this age.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. 


    © William Murphy 2011