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Irish: Baile Formaid
County Dublin
Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre, Dublin - - 553449.jpg
Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre
Grid reference: O100337
Location: 53°20’32"N, 6°20’55"W
Postcode: D10
Dialling code: 01
Local Government
Council: Dublin
Dublin South-Central

Ballyfermot is a suburb of the city of Dublin, all within County Dublin. It is found four and a half miles west of the city centre, south of Phoenix Park, bordered on the north by Chapelizod, on the south by Walkinstown, on the east by Inchicore, on the north-west by Palmerstown and on the south-west by Clondalkin.

The River Liffey flows to the north, and the Grand Canal, now a recreational waterway, lies to the south.

Ballyfermot is also a civil parish in the Barony of Uppercross.


The name Ballyfermot is rendered in Irish as Baile Formaid[1] and sometimes as Baile Thormaid.[2] The name is derived from the Middle Irish baile ("farmstead" or "town"),[3] and the Old Norse personal name Þormundr.[4]


In 1307 the manor of Ballyfermot was held by William Fitzwilliam and his wife Avice, who leased part of it to Thomas Cantock, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Ballyfermot Castle, was constructed on the site of a Norman motte and baily. Located northwest of the intersection of Le Fanu and Raheen Roads, it was the centre of the Upper (west) and Lower (east) Ballyfermot townships. Built in stone by Wolfram De Barneval in the fourteenth century, it was a stronghold against the formidable O'Byrnes and O'Tooles. These aboriginal Gaelic families had been discommoded from their lush home-farms around Naas. They were driven south into the wooded Dublin hills. Unlike their intermarried Mac Giolla Mocolmog relatives, now called FitzDiarmuid, they had not integrated into the evolving Hiberno-Norman society. They frequently raided, rustled and burned local bawn enclosures from their inaccessible hillside encampments beyond Brittas and Bohernabreena.

The Castle was inherited by the Newcomen family, who enhanced it and held it into the mid-seventeenth century. Its political importance subsequently declined with the Newcomens. It housed a school managed by headmaster William Prosser in the latter eighteenth century. Samuel Lewis in his celebrated work A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland places a Captain Lampier and his wife Bridget (Cavanaugh of Goldenbridge) as living there in 1834. The castle defence wing to the south and east is reputed to have been destroyed by fire. Ballyfermot House, known locally as 'the tiled house', was built by the Verveer family. It stood on the great park to the north of the castle's aquaculture pond. Built in the early eighteenth century, the house had a quirky slated façade in the Dutch style.

The nineteenth century newspaper publisher and writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, proprietor of the Dublin Evening Mail lived in nearby Chapelizod when not in residence his city townhouse at Merrion Square. Ballyfermot and Chapelizod feature in his novel The House by the Churchyard and some of his other works. This large Georgian house still adjoins Church Lane next to St. Laurence's parish churchyard in Chapelizod. The eighteenth-century church, alongside the original mediæval bell tower, is still in use. It serves the united parish of Ballyfermot, Palmerstown, and Chapelizod in the Church of Ireland. Le Fanu Road is named after him, as is Le Fanu Park, referred to locally as The Lawns. Le Fanu was a mentor of the writer Bram Stoker author of Dracula, who wrote the theatre reviews for his newspaper The Dublin Evening Mail.

A short distance from the castle site at the south-east end of Le Fanu Park is a mound which covers the ruins and churchyard of the rectory church of St Laurence. It was connected with the Knights Hospitaller at Kilmainham in the thirteenth century. The churchyard ruins survived into the nineteen sixties. This church served Ballyfermot and the surrounding townlands into the late seventeenth century.

Among the local people buried here are members of the Newcomen and Barnewall families. Sir Robert Newcomen who died in 1629 and his son Sir Beverley Newcomen, Admiral of Ireland, who died in 1637 while taking soundings at Waterford Harbour were buried here. His mother Elizabeth (Barnewall of Drimnagh Castle) who died in 1643 is buried as is his widow Margaret (Usher of Donnybrook Castle). She subsequently married Sir Hubert Adrian-Verveer. The Newcomens, Barons of Newcastle Lyons were influential in Irish governance, military and legal circles. They resided at Ballyfermot Castle. This noble family intermarried with the Barnwalls of Drimnagh, the Plunketts of Malahide and the St Lawrences of Howth. MPs for the Westmeath constituency of Kilbeggan, they also married into the Fitzgeralds of Maynooth, and the Nugents, Husseys, Tuites and Nagles of East and West Meath.

Area manor houses of note include Johnstown House (St John's College), Colepark House, Sarsfield House, Sevenoaks, Floraville, Auburn Villa and Gallanstown House.

The dairy and stud farms of Ballyfermot were acquired by the authorities in the 1930s. They were developed into suburban housing estates needed to alleviate the post war housing shortage. This development, along with estates at Drimnagh, Crumlin, Walkinstown and other pockets in the south city, and Cabra, Finglas and Donnycarney along with smaller pockets in the north city provided modern accommodation to facilitate the Dublin City Council public/private housing programs. Initially leased to waiting lists, these modest high quality, well constructed homes were sold to their residents even prior to similar government initiatives in the United Kingdom. The first estate was built in the late nineteen forties at Ballyfermot Lower. South of Sarsfield House and Ballyfermot Road it was originally called the Sarsfield Estate. The street names reflect this historical theme. Gradually, the adjacent townlands to the south of Ballyfermot Road and north of Grange Cross - Ballyfermot Upper, Blackditch, Cherry Orchard, Raheen and Gallanstown were similarly developed. Johnstown, a townland of Palmerstown, located around Johnstown House (St John's College De La Salle) south of Chapelizod was developed for residential housing. Now divided along the Drumfin/Glenaulin/Sports Park perimeter, the west portion was retained by Palmerstown, while the east portion became the township/electoral district of Drumfin in Dublin City (Local Government Act 1993), and included in postal district Dublin 10.


The area is now a centre of national commercial distribution, with easy access to the national trunk roads. Ballyfermot is bordered to the north by the N4, to the south by the N7 and to the west by the M50 motorway. There is also relative ease of access to the city centre. Some of the major Irish motor distributors are based in Ballyfermot. They include Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, J. C. Bamford (JCB), Harris Assembly and Hilux. They are centred around Kylemore Road, home to many large companies including Thornton's Recycling, C&C, FBD, and Royal Liver Insurance. The industrial estates include Park West and JFK.

About the village


The California Hills Park is the largest recreational park in the area. The name originated as a colloquialism - there were few designated play facilities in the very early days and the California Hills was the name used by local movie going kids who played 'Cowboys and Indians' there. The name later became official by popular public request.

The park covers part of the great esker and overlooks the Liffey Valley from the south. From Le Fanu and Kylemore Roads to the east, it falls the landscaped valley of a Liffey catchment. It runs west toward Glenaulin and Drumfin Roads which adjoin the park as it stretches in a crescent through Palmerstown. The Chapelizod Bypass runs North West alongside. Kylemore Road joins the motorway near the West County Hotel. California Hills Park has superb views north over the Strawberry Beds to the Phoenix Park. The Farmleigh clock tower at Castleknock is a prominent landmark. California Hills includes s Drumfinn Avenue Park, known locally as "The Gaels". This large park is used for football, golf practice, cross country runs and walks and includes a children's play area. There is an entrance to the park beside the Ballyfermot Leisure Co-Op, near the GAA Sports Park, on Gurteen Road.

The magnificent Irish National War Memorial, Memorial Gardens and Park, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, are accessible from the Sarsfield Road via East Timor Park.

Other parks located in the area include Le Fanu Park, Glenaulin Sports Park, Markievicz Park (also known as the Match Box by some older residents), East Timor Park, and Cherry Orchard Park. Cherry Orchard Park area is the proposed site for a new Village Centre. Le Fanu Park houses the Ballyfermot Leisure Centre and The Base.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal was constructed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is now a recreational waterway. It passes along the south side of Ballyfermot. Verdant towpath walkways extend continuously to Hazelhatch, County Kildare. A historic bridge crosses the canal near the seventh lock at Killeen.


  • Football:
    • The Cherry Orchard Football Club
    • Ballyfermot United FC
    • St Patrick's Athletic F.C.
  • Gaelic Athletic:
    • Ballyfermot De la Salle GAA Club
    • Liffey Gaels GAA (clubhouse based at the border of Ballyfermot and Inchicore)
  • Boxing: St Matthew's Boxing Club
  • Equestrian sports: Cherry Orchard Equine Centre
  • Other sports: The Pigeon Club, rugby, badminton, martial arts, snooker, pool, bowling, squash, handball, racquetball, indoor go-karting, tennis, pitch and putt, fishing, boules, rock-climbing, River Liffey rowing, and table tennis are all represented by local clubs.


  • Church of Ireland:
    • St Laurence's Church, Chapelizod
  • Evangelical: several churches
  • Roman Catholic:
    • Church of the Assumption
    • Church of St Matthew

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Ballyfermot)


  1. Baile Formaid: Placenames Database of Ireland
  2. Hickey, Raymond (2005), Dublin English: Evolution And Change, John Benjamins Publishing, p. 147, ISBN 9789027248954 .
  3. Benjamin Hudson (2005), Viking pirates and Christian princes: dynasty, religion, and empire in the north Atlantic, Oxford University Press, p. 93 .
  4. Magne Oftedal (1976), "Scandinavian place-names in Ireland", in Almqvist, Bo; David, Greene, Proceedings of the Seventh Viking Congress. Dublin 15-21 August 1973, Royal Irish Academy, pp. 125–133 .
  • A history of the County of Dublin Part IV (1906, F. Elrington Ball)
  • A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837 Samuel Lewis)