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Irish: Cill Iníon Léinín
County Dublin
Killiney Bay.JPG
Killiney Bay
Grid reference: O240261
Location: 53°15’54"N, 6°6’49"W
Population: 10,600  (2002)
Postcode: A96
Dialling code: 01
Local Government
Council: Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown
Dún Laoghaire

Killiney is an affluent seaside resort village in County Dublin, now hemmed in as a suburb of Dún Laoghaire. It stands to the south of neighbouring Dalkey, and north of Shankill. Its name is from the Irish Cill Iníon Léinín meaning 'Church of the Daughters of Léinín'.

The place grew around the 11th century Killiney Church, and became a popular seaside resort in the 19th century.

About the village

Killiney Hill Park was opened in 1887 as Victoria Hill, in honour of Queen Victoria's 50 years on the British throne. The park has views of Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay, Bray Head and the mountain of Great Sugar Loaf (1,660 feet), stretching from the Wicklow Mountains right across to Howth Head. The Park's topography is steep, and its highest point, at the obelisk, is 558 feet above sea level. On clear days, the Mourne Mountains of County Down can be seen.

Killiney Hill Park was once part of the estate of Killiney Castle, now a hotel.

Other attractions include Killiney Beach, Killiney Golf Club, a local Martello Tower, and the ruins of Killiney Church, the church around which the original village was based.

The coastal areas of Killiney have for marketing purposes been compared to the Bay of Naples in Italy. This comparison is reflected in the names of surrounding roads, like Vico, Sorrento, Monte Alverno, San Elmo and Capri.

Since early 2010, a pod of bottlenose dolphins has been seen occasionally in Killiney Bay.


The village of Killiney takes its name from the site of the Nuns' Abbey. Leinin, a local chieftain, and his seven daughters converted to Christianity, and together they went on to found a monastic community on Marino Avenue West. Today the family are commemorated in the stained glass windows of the Church of St Alphonsus and Columba in Ballybrack, just a couple of minutes' walk away. Although the establishment of the first church dates back to the sixth century, its current roofless ruin dates from the 11th century. This tiny chapel on Marino Avenue West marks the historical centre of Killiney village, and can still be viewed today.

For many centuries the major part of the district was the property of the Talbot de Malahide family, some of the original followers of the 1170 Norman invasion.

The obelisk on top of Killiney Hill records the famine of 1741 and the relief works made for the poor which include the obelisk and the many walls which cover the top of the hill.

By the 19th century, the areas to the north and east of the village were owned by Robert Warren, who developed many of the Victorian residential roads. The Warrens also sold the land required to extend the Dublin and Kingstown Railway to Killiney and ultimately Bray. Killiney beach was a popular seaside destination for Dubliners, and John Rocque's 1757 map shows bath-houses near White Rock, on Killiney Beach. The coastline became even more popular once the railway opened, and the opening of Victoria Park in 1887 and the opening of Vico Road in 1889 appear to have increased this popularity further. Victoria Castle (later renamed Manderley Castle) was also built in honour of Queen Victoria, specifically of her accession to the throne. This is currently owned by County Donegal-born singer Enya.

Killiney remained a near-rural area from 1900 until the late 1940s, despite its proximity to Dublin city. From the early 1960s, the economy began to expand, and thus Dublin's reach into areas in its hinterland like Killiney.

20th-century development

Killiney Bay from Vico Baths

In the first half of the 20th century, North Killiney still consisted of a small village at its centre and a number of suburban roads lined with large houses. A few modest cottages were occupied by working-class locals and bohemian residents such as George Bernard Shaw, whose house, Torca Cottage, is close to the boundary with Dalkey.

South Killiney consisted of farmland, uncultivated hillside and woodland, a few large country houses (Ballinclea House, in particular, owned by the Talbot de Malahide family[1] and destroyed by fire in the early 1970s, and Rochestown House, near to the contemporary Killiney Shopping Centre), the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny and Killiney Golf Club, a nine-hole course founded in 1903.

Killiney's population grew substantially in the decades following the Second World War (euphemistically known as 'the Emergency' locally), as the urbanisation of Ireland and the suburbanisation of Dublin progressed.

The population, as recorded by the Census of Ireland, peaked in 1996 at approximately 10,800 and has fallen by about 12% since then, as falling average family sizes have outpaced residential construction.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Killiney)


  • Pearson, Peter: 'Between the Mountains and the Sea' (The O'Brien Press, 1998) ISBN 0-86278-582-0