Dundrum – Corner of the Pale

Like many small villages in and around Dublin, Dundrum grew slowly and quietly until the introduction of the Dublin South East Railway in 1854. This was constructed by William Dargan, Ireland’s first ‘railway mogul’. The line was operated until 1958 when it closed amid much controversy, only to be reopened with the introduction of the LUAS in 2004. The elegant, new bridge, named after the line’s creator, reflects the nature of change and rebirth that the area has seen.

William Dargan Bridge, Dundrum, Dublin

In 1971 a modern shopping centre opened across the road from the Dundrum train station. It was the second of its kind in the country (Stillorgan S/C being the first) and dominated the neighbourhood for years.

In response to the recent level of construction in the area new roads were built which bypass the old village. Holy Cross church is still a refuge of peace, and along with the red-brick terraces, standing for over a century, give the main street a quiet, almost timeless air. The 17th century St Nahi’s Church is an interesting place where you can see the baptismal font used for the christening of Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, and the grave of George Johnstone Stoney, the Irish physicist who introduced the term electron as the ‘fundamental unit quantity of electricity’.

St. Nahi’s Church

The library, which now almost sits under the new bridge was opened in 1914. It was one of many libraries funded by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and it is still a busy place even in the expanding digital age. The contrast between the old building beneath the towering new bridge conjures up a sense of progress with an acknowledgement to the past. For a village that was once at the corner of the Pale – the area established by Henry II between 1171-72 and where English rule was established – Dundrum is now very much at the centre of things and moving forward.


Leave a comment

Filed under Architecture, Dublin, History, Ireland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s