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Irish: Glas Naíon
County Dublin
Church, Glasnevin, Dublin (geograph 1890442).jpg
Glasnevin's 'pyramid church'
Grid reference: O153371
Location: 53°22’19"N, 6°16’2"W
Local Government
Council: Dublin
Dublin North-West

Glasnevin is a is a village of County Dublin clasped within the townscape spreading out from Dublin itself. It stands beside the River Tolka.

The village is to the north of Dublin, in the Barony of Coolock. While primarily residential, Glasnevin is also home to the National Botanic Gardens, the national meteorological office and a range of other State bodies. Dublin City University has its main campus and other facilities in and near the area.


Glasnevin was established on the northern bank of the River Tolka where a stream, from which Glasnevin may be named, joins the river. The village today spreads across both banks of the Tolka. Three watercourses flow into the Tolka in the area: the Claremont Stream or Nevin Stream flows south from Poppintree and what is sometimes called the "Cemetery Drain" comes north from the southern edge of Glasnevin Cemetery. In addition, a major diversion from the Wad River comes from the Ballymun area, joining near the Claremont Stream.[1]

The boundaries of Glasnevin stretch from the Royal Canal to Glasnevin Avenue and from the Finglas Road to the edges of Drumcondra. It is bordered to the north-west by Finglas, north-east by Ballymun and Santry, Whitehall to the east, Phibsboro and Drumcondra to the south and Cabra to the southwest.[2][3]



Glasnevin was reputedly founded by St Mobhi (sometimes known as St Berchan) in the sixth (or perhaps fifth) century as a monastery. His monastery continued to be used for many years afterwards: St Colman is recorded as having paid homage to its founder when he returned from abroad to visit Ireland a century after St Mobhi's death in 544. St Columba of Iona is thought to have studied under St. Mobhi, but left Glasnevin following an outbreak of plague and journeyed north to open the House at Derry; there is a long street (Iona Road) in Glasnevin named in his honour and the church on Iona Road is called St Columba's.

Middle Ages

A settlement grew up around the monastery, which survived until the Viking invasions in the eighth century. After raids on monasteries at Glendalough and Clondalkin, the monasteries at Glasnevin and Finglas were attacked and destroyed.

By 822 Glasnevin, along with Grangegorman and Clonken or Clonkene (now known as Deansgrange),[4] had become parts of the grange (farm) of Christ Church Cathedral and it seems to have maintained this connection up to the time of the Reformation.

The Battle of Clontarf was fought on the banks of the River Tolka in 1014 (a field called the bloody acre is supposed to be part of the site). The Irish defeated the Danes in a battle, in which 7,000 Danes and 4,000 Irish died.

After the Anglo-Norman conquest of the 12th century, Glasnevin came under the jurisdiction of Finglas Abbey. Later, Laurence O'Toole, Archbishop of Dublin, took responsibility for Glasnevin and it became the property of the Priory of the Most Holy Trinity (Christ Church Cathedral).

In 1240 a church and tower was reconstructed on the site of the Church of St. Mobhi in the monastery. The returns of the church for 1326 stated that 28 tenants resided in Glasnevin. The church was enlarged in 1346, along with a small hall known as the Manor Hall.

Early Modern Era

During the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Abbey of Glasnevin) were forcibly closed and fell into ruin. Glasnevin had at this stage developed as a village, with its principal landmark and focal point being its "bull-ring" noted in 1542.

By 1667 Glasnevin had expanded - but not by very much; it is recorded as containing 24 houses. The development of the village was given a fresh impetus when Sir John Rogerson built his country residence - "The Glen" or "Glasnevin House" - outside the village.

A Protestant church was erected in 1707, built on the site of the old pre-Reformation church and named after St Mobhi. The church was largely rebuilt in the mid-18th century. The attached churchyard became a graveyard for both Protestants and Roman Catholics.

By this time, Glasnevin was an area for families of distinction - in spite of a comment attributed to the Protestant Archbishop King of Dublin that "when any couple had a mind to be wicked, they would retire to Glasnevin". In a letter, dated 1725 he described Glasnevin as "the receptacle for thieves and rogues [..] The first search when anything was stolen, was there, and when any couple had a mind to retire to be wicked there was their harbour. But since the church was built, and service regularly settled, all these evils are banished. Good houses are built in it, and the place civilised."[5]

Glasnevin National School was also built during this period.

19th and 20th centuries

In the 1830s, the civil parish population was recorded as 1,001, of whom 559 resided in the village. Glasnevin was described as a parish in the barony of Coolock, pleasantly situated and the residence of many families of distinction.[6]

On 1 June 1832, Charles Lindsay, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and the William John released their holdings of Sir John Rogerson's lands at Glasnevin, (including Glasnevin House) to George Hayward Lindsay. This transfer included the sum of 1,500 Pounds Sterling. Although this does not specifically cite the marriage of George Hayward Lindsay to Lady Mary Catherine Gore, George Lindsay almost certainly came into the lands at Glasnevin as a result of his marriage.

When Drumcondra began to rapidly expand in the 1870s, the residents of Glasnevin sought to protect their district and opposed being merged with the neighbouring suburb. One of the objectors was the property-owner, Dr Gogarty, the father of the poet, Oliver St John Gogarty.

George Hayward Lindsay's eldest son, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Gore Lindsay, was in possession of his father's lands at Glasnevin when the area began to be developed at the beginning of the twentieth-century. The development of his lands after 1903/04 marked the start of the gradual development of the area.

Glasnevin remained relatively undeveloped until the opening up of the Carroll Estate in 1914, which saw the creation of the redbrick residential roads running down towards Drumcondra. The process was accelerated by Dublin Corporation in the 1920s and the present shape of the suburb was firmly in place by 1930. Nevertheless, until comparatively recent years, a short stroll up the Old Finglas Road brought you rapidly into open countryside.

The start of the 20th century also saw the opening of a short-lived railway station on the Drumcondra and North Dublin Link Railway line from Glasnevin Junction to Connolly Station (then Amiens Street). It opened in 1906 and closed at the end of 1907. Glasnevin railway station opened on 1 April 1901 and closed on 1 December 1910.[7]

About the village

The village has changed a lot over the years, and is now part of Dublin city.[8] It is now populated by a mix of young families, senior citizens and students attending Dublin City University.Template:Or-inline

As well as the amenities of the National Botanic Gardens and local parks, the national meteorological office Met Éireann, the Fisheries Board, the National Standards Authority of Ireland, Sustainable Energy Ireland, the National Metrology Laboratory, the Department of Defence and the national enterprise and trade board Enterprise Ireland are all located in the area.

National Botanic Gardens

The Curvilinear Range of glasshouses at the National Botanic Gardens
Main article: National Botanic Gardens

The house and lands of the poet Thomas Tickell were sold in 1790 to the Irish Parliament and given to the Royal Dublin Society for them to establish Ireland's first Botanic Gardens. The gardens were the first location in Ireland where the infection responsible for the 1845–1847 Great Famine was identified. Throughout the famine research to stop the infection was undertaken at the gardens.

The 48 acres which border the River Tolka also adjoin the Prospect Cemetery. In 2002 the Botanic Gardens gained a new two-storey complex which included a new café and a large lecture theatre. The Irish National Herbarium is also located at the botanic gardens.

Hart's Corner

Approaching Glasnevin via Phibsboro is what is known as Hart's Corner but which about 200 years ago was called Glasmanogue, and was then a well-known stage on the way to Finglas. At an earlier date the name possessed a wider signification and was applied to a considerable portion of the adjoining district.


At the start of the 18th century a large house, called Delville], known at first as 'The Glen', was built on the site of the present Bon Secours Hospital, Dublin. Its name was an amalgamation of the surnames of two tenants, Dr Helsam and Dr Patrick Delany (as Heldeville), both Fellows of Trinity College.

When Delany married his first wife he acquired sole ownership, but it became more well known as the home of Delany and his second wife, Mary Pendarves; a widow whom Delany married in 1743, and an accomplished letter writer.

They couple were friends of Jonathan Swift and, through him, of Alexander Pope. Pope encouraged the Delaneys to develop a garden in a style then becoming popular in England - moving away from the very formal, geometric layout that was common. He redesigned the house in the style of a villa and had the gardens laid out in the latest Dutch fashion creating what was almost certainly Ireland's first naturalistic garden.

The house was, under Mrs Delany, a centre of Dublin's intellectual life.[8] Swift is said to have composed a number of his campaigning pamphlets while staying there. He and his life-long companion Stella were both in the habit of visiting, and Swift satirised the grounds which he considered too small for the size of the house. Through her correspondence with her sister, Mrs Dewes, Mary wrote of Swift in 1733: "he calls himself my master and corrects me when I speak bad English or do not pronounce my words distinctly".

Patrick Delany died in 1768 at the age of 82, prompting his widow to sell Delville and return to her native @England until her death twenty years later.

The 'pyramid church'

The Pyramid Church

The Roman Catholic parish church[9] is known official as the Church of Lady of Dolours, but popularly as the Pyramid Church.

The church underwent some refurbishment work inside and in its grounds and car park during the first half of 2011. A timber church, which originally stood on Berkeley Road, was moved to a riverside site on Botanic Avenue early in the twentieth century. The altar in this church was from Newgate prison in Dublin. It served as the parish church until it was replaced, in 1972, by a structure resembling a pyramid when viewed from Botanic Avenue. The previous church was known locally as "The Woodener" or "The Wooden" and the new building is still known to older residents as "The new Woodener" or "The Wigwam".

Met Éireann

Met Éireann headquarters

In 1975 the new headquarters of Met Éireann, the Irish Meteorological Office, opened just off Glasnevin Hill, on the former site of Marlborough House. The Met Éireann building too was built in a somewhat pyramidal shape and is recognised as one of the most significant, smaller commercial buildings, to be erected in Dublin in the 1970s.


  • Gaelic games: Na Fianna CLG
  • Football:
    • Tolka Rovers
    • Glasnevin FC
    • Glasnaion FC
  • Basketball: Tolka Rovers
  • Tennis: Charleville Lawn Tennis Club, founded in 1894
  • Hockey: Botanic Hockey Club on the Old Finglas Road
  • Boxing: Glasnevin Boxing Club


  • Scouts: 1st Dublin (L.H.O) Scout Troop, located on the corner of Griffith Avenue and Ballygall Road East
Dublin City University Glasnevin Library

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Glasnevin)


  1. Doyle, Joseph W. (May 2013). Ten Dozen Waters: The Rivers and Streams of County Dublin (7 ed.). Dublin: Rath Eanna Research. p. 19. ISBN 9780956636362. 
  2. "Civil Parish of Glasnevin, Co. Dublin". 
  3. "Relation: Glasnevin (5504172)". 
  4. Mac Giolla Phadraig, Brian (September 1938). "14th century life in a Dublin Monastery". Dublin Historical Record 3 (1): 69-72. 
  5. Richard Mant (1840). History of the Church of Ireland. 
  6. Samuel Lewis (1837). Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. Lewis. 
  7. "Glasnevin station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Weston St. John Joyce (1920). "XXVI, "Glasnevin, Finglas and the adjacent district"". The Neighbourhood of Dublin (third and enlarged edition). "The village of Glasnevin has, of course, been much altered since [18th century resident] Dr. Delay's time, and is now included in the city" 
  9. {{cite web|url= | Glasnevin Parish]
  • 'The Parish of Glasnevin' from F.E. Ball's 'A History of the County Dublin' (1920)
  • 'Account of Glasnevin' from D'Alton's 'History of the County Dublin' (1838)
  • 'Glasnevin, Finglas and the Adjacent District' from The Neighbourhood of Dublin by Weston St. John Joyce (third and enlarged edition 1920)
  • 'The Tolka, Glasnevin and the Naul Road from North Dublin' by Dillon Cosgrove (1909)