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Irish: Tamhlacht
County Dublin
Tallaght Centre, South Dublin, 2007.jpg
Central Tallaght
Grid reference: O093265
Location: 53°17’19"N, 6°21’26"W
Population: 69,454  (2011)
Post town: Dublin
Postcode: D24
Dialling code: 01
Local Government
Council: South Dublin
Dublin South-West
Website: http://www.tallaghtcity.ie

Tallaght is a town, parish and townland in County Dublin. The old village area, dating from at least the 1st century, held one of the earliest settlements known in the southern part of the island, and one of mediæval Ireland's more important monastic centres.[1]

Up to the 1960s Tallaght was little more than a small village, linked to several nearby rural areas in the parish - the population was estimated at 2,500.[2] Suburban development began in the 1970s and a town centre area has been developing since the late 1980s. There is no legal definition of the boundaries of Tallaght, but the electoral divisions known as "Tallaght" followed by the name of a locality have, according to the 2011 census, a population of 69,454.[3]

The village core of the district is located north of, and near to, the River Dodder, and parts of the broader area are close to the borders of the city of Dublin, County Kildare and County Wicklow. Several streams flow in the area, notably the Jobstown or Tallaght Stream (a tributary of the Dodder River), and the Fettercairn Stream (a tributary of the River Camac), while the Tymon River, the main component of the River Poddle (Liffey tributary), rises in Cookstown, near Fettercairn.


The place name Tallaght is said to derive from támh-leacht, meaning "plague pit" in Irish, and consisting of "támh", meaning plague, and "leacht", meaning grave. The earliest mention of a Tallaght is in Lebor Gabála Érenn (the Book Of Invasions), and is there linked to Parthalón, said to be the leader of an early invasion of Ireland. He and many of his followers were said to have died of the plague. The burials that have been found in the Tallaght area, however, are all normal pre-historic interments, mainly from the Bronze Age, and nothing suggesting a mass grave has so far been recorded here. The Annals of the Four Masters record the legendary event as follows:

Naoi mile do ecc fri h-aoin-sechtmain do muinter Parthaloin for Shenmhaigh Ealta Eadoir .i. cúig míle d'feroibh, & ceithre míle do mnáibh. Conadh de sin ata Taimhleacht Muintere Parthalain. Trí ced bliadhain ro caithsiot i n-Erinn."[4]

In translation:

"Nine thousand of Parthalón's people died in one week on Sean Mhagh Ealta Edair, namely, five thousand men, and four thousand women. Whence is named Taimhleacht Muintire Parthalóin. They had passed three hundred years in Ireland."[5]

The name in Irish, Tamhlacht, is found at other places, such as Tamlaght in Magherafelt District, Northern Ireland,[6] though the mention of Eadoir, probably Binn Éadair (Howth) in the passage below, suggests that Tallaght is the more likely location for this tale.

Upon Mount Seskin (the tallest of the Tallaght Hills) can be seen numerous stone structures. The one that lies a top this mountain is commonly referred to as "The Hell Fire Club" and was built by a man called Speaker Conolly. It was built upon a passage tomb; this one known locally as a "fairy ring", an ancient monument similar to Newgrange. Thus was created the perfect location for very many myths and legends, as the destruction of these structures, for any reason, is said to bring bad luck. Today all across the countryside of Ireland can be found random mounds of earth. Such "fairy rings" are avoided by farmers, as they would rather leave them than risk the wrath of the "good people", the "Sí".

Places near Tallaght featured in the ancient legends of the Fianna, a band of warriors that roamed the country and fought for the High King at Tara. In Lady Gregory's 'Gods and Fighting Men', mention is made of, in particular, Gleann na Smól: in Chapter 12 "The Red Woman", on a misty morning, Fionn says to his Fians, "Make yourselves ready, and we will go hunting to Gleann-na-Smol."[7] There they meet Niamh of the Golden Hair, who chose Oisín from among all the Fianna to be her husband, told him to come with her on her fairy horse, after which they rode over the land to the sea and across the waves to the land of Tír na nÓg.



The documented history of Tallaght dates back to early Christendom in Ireland but the many archaeological sites in the area suggest the presence of Bronze Age and perhaps even earlier settlers in the area.

8th to 12th centuries

With the foundation of the monastery of Tallaght by St Maelruain in AD 769 we have a more reliable record of the area's early history. The monastery was a centre of learning and piety, particularly associated with the Céli Dé spiritual reform movement. It was such an important institution that it and the monastery at Finglas were known as the "two eyes of Ireland".[8] St Aengus, an Ulsterman, was one of the most illustrious of the Céli Dé and devoted himself to the religious life. Wherever he went he was accompanied by a band of followers who distracted him from his devotions. He secretly travelled to the monastery at Tallaght where he was not known and enrolled as a lay brother. He remained unknown for many years until his identity was discovered by Maeilruain. They may have written the Martyrology of Tallaght together, and St Aengus also wrote a calendar of saints known as the Féilire of Aengus.

St Maelruain died in 792 and was buried in Tallaght. The influence of the monastery continued after his death, as can be judged by the fact that, in 806, the monks of Tallaght were able to prevent the holding of the Tailteann Games, because of some infringement of their rights.

In 811 the monastery was devastated by the Vikings but the destruction was not permanent and the annals of the monastery continued to be recorded for several following centuries. After the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1179, Tallaght and its appurtenances were confirmed to the Diocese of Dublin and became the property of the Archbishop. The complete disappearance of every trace of what must have been an extensive and well organised monastic settlement can only be accounted for by the subsequent history of the place, the erection and demolition of defensive walls and castles, and the incessant warfare and destruction that lasted for hundreds of years.

13th to 20th centuries

Throughout the greater part of the 13th century a state of comparative peace existed at Tallaght, but subsequently the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles, in what would become County Wicklow, took offensive action and were joined by many of the Archbishop's tenants. As a result of this the land was not tilled, the pastures were not stocked and the holdings were deserted. In 1310 the bailiffs of Tallaght got a royal grant to enclose the town. No trace of these defensive walls survive and there is no evidence of their exact location, except, perhaps, for the name of the Watergate Bridge which spans the Dodder on the Oldbawn Road.

The continuation of such raids prompted the construction, in 1324, of Tallaght Castle, and it was finished some time before 1349. Tallaght had become an important defensive site on the edge of the Pale. A century later it was reported to be in need of repair.

The 17th and 18th centuries brought many changes to Tallaght. Many mills were built along the Dodder and this brought new prosperity to the broad area, which saw the building of many houses.

When Archbishop Hoadley replaced Archbishop King in 1729 he found the castle in ruins, and had it demolished, building himself a palace at a cost of £2,500. By 1821 the palace too had fallen into ruin and an Act of Parliament was passed which stated that it was unfit for habitation. The following year it was sold to Major Palmer, Inspector General of Prisons, who pulled the palace down and used the materials to build his mansion, Tallaght House, as well as a schoolhouse and several cottages. Tallaght House is now incorporated in St Joseph's Retreat House, situated in the grounds of St Mary's Priory.

An ancient tower was spared in the demolition of the palace and was later incorporated into the buildings of St Mary's Priory, where it still stands today. It contains a spiral staircase and was originally four storeys high but is now reduced internally to two. Attached to the castle was a long building which was used in the archbishop's time as a brewery and later as a granary and stables. When the Dominicans came, it was converted into a chapel and was used as such until 1883 when the new church dedicated to Fr Tom Burke (now the older part of the parish church)was built.

The Dominicans came to Tallaght in 1855/6 and soon established a thriving priory that was also a seminary for the formation of Dominicans in Ireland and on missions in Trinidad and Tobago, South America, Australia, India, and elsewhere. The cramped accommodation of Tallaght house was replaced by the austere priory in phases of 1864, 1903 and again in 1957. All are bleak, and remain so, but the work that goes on in these buildings is various and dedicated: St Joseph's retreat house, the Tallaght parish, St Catherine's counselling centre, at least two publishing enterprises, individual writing and international research in several domains. Most recently Tallaght Priory has seen the birth of an institute for distance learning, started in 2000 but adapting well to new challenges and the possibility of outreach to a generation awake to the possibilities offered by the internet. This is validated through the Institute for Technology, Tallaght, the priory's closest neighbours.

The grounds of the Priory, the old palace gardens, still retain many features from the historic past such as the Archbishop's bathhouse, the Friar's Walk and "St Maelruain's Tree", a Persian walnut of the eighteenth century. They are an essential part of the retreat experience for those who come to St Joseph's Retreat House, and also for the life of the community that is otherwise so busy.

The old constabulary barracks on the main street was the scene of the engagement known as the Battle of Tallaght, which occurred during the Fenian rising on 5 March 1867. On that night the Fenians moved out to assemble at the appointed place on Tallaght Hill. The large number of armed men alarmed the police in Tallaght who sent warning to the nearest barracks. There were fourteen constables and a head constable under Sub-inspector Burke at Tallaght, and they took up a position outside the barracks where they commanded the roads from both Greenhills and Templeogue. The first body of armed men came from Greenhills and, when they came under police fire, retreated. Next a party came from Templeogue, and were also dispersed. In 1936 a skeleton, sword-bayonet and water bottle were found in a hollow tree stump near Terenure. It is thought that these were the remains of one of the Fenians who had taken refuge there after the Battle of Tallaght and either died of his wounds or was frozen to death.

In 1888 the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway opened and it passed through Tallaght Village. This provided a new means of transporting goods and also brought day-trippers from the city.

Modern development

Arena Buildings

While no plan was formally adopted, Tallaght was laid out as a new town, as set out in the 1967 Myles Wright masterplan for Greater Dublin (this proposed four self-contained "new towns" - at Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Blanchardstown - all of which were at that time villages surrounded by extensive open lands, with some small settlements). Many of the social and cultural proposals in this plan were ignored by the Dublin local authorities, and contrary to planners' suggestions, Tallaght and the other "new towns" were not provided with adequate facilities. Characterised by the same problems associated with poorly planned fringe areas elsewhere, during the 1970s and 1980s Tallaght became synonymous with suburban mismanagement.

While it was absorbed into the larger suburban area of Dublin (including becoming the postal district Dublin 24 in the 1980s), Tallaght has developed a distinctive identity, arising largely from its rapid growth during recent decades, and now has a thriving local arts, cultural, sports, and economic outlook.

Tallaght's Civic Square contains the seat of the local authority, County Hall, a newly renovated and well-equipped library facility, a theatre building and a "cutting edge" 4-storey arts centre named RUA RED (which opened on 5 February 2009). Rua Red is south Dublin's hub for creative activity. The Dublin city council provides an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in Music, Dancing, Art, drama and literature.[9] Along with other local libraries and arts groups, it also has another theatre building, and a homegrown youth theatre company. It is also the home to the Tallaght Swim Team, Tallaght Rugby Club, the National Basketball Arena, Shamrock Rovers F.C., and several notable martial arts schools and Gaelic Athletic Association clubs.



Tallaght is centred eight miles south-west of Dublin, in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. While there is no formal definition as such, it can be described as beginning south-west of Templeogue, running west towards Saggart, towards Bohernabreena and Glenasmole in the south, Firhouse to the south-east, Knocklyon to the east, and to the southern edges of Clondalkin in the north-west and Walkinstown in the north-east. It lies outside the M50 Dublin orbital motorway, and in effect forms an irregular circle either side of the N81 Dublin-Blessington road.

The rural villages of Saggart and of Rathcoole lie west of Tallaght, along with the air force aerodrome at Baldonnell. There is also still considerable open land, some still farmed, in this direction.


Luas tram in Tallaght

Tallaght is connected to Dublin by Dublin Bus services, and by the Red Line of the Luas light rail system, which opened in September 2004. Though the first stop (Tallaght Cross) of the Red Line is called 'Tallaght', the entire 'Red 4' zone (with the exception of the terminus at Saggart) lies within the broader Tallaght area

Tallaght is not well connected to the county's other towns and suburbs, as public transport predominantly runs through Dublin city centre; this has led to high levels of car dependence.

A Luas extension from Tallaght to Citywest and Saggart has now opened. This is a 2½-mile extension, funded by a Public Private Partnership with property developers. Identified as Line A1, this €150 million spur off the Red Line at Belgard runs to Saggart. Originally intended to be a spur off the proposed Red Line to Fortunestown, it was later decided to extend it to Saggart. Construction started on 9 February 2009, with the line completed by early 2011. Passenger services on the 4.2 km light rail link started in early 2011. It serves communities such as Cairnwood, Ambervale, Belgard Green, Fettercairn, Kilmartin, Brookview and Ardmore.


"Greater Tallaght" comprises Tallaght village and a range of areas that were formerly small settlements (Jobstown, Old Bawn, Kilnamanagh) and rural townlands, all developed in recent decades.

The original village of Tallaght lies west of the Tallaght Bypass (N81). It stretches east-west from Main Road and Main Street to the Abberley Court Hotel at the end of High Street, and encompasses the Village Green shopping plaza, Tallaght Courthouse, Westpark, and many shops, restaurants and banks. It also houses Tallaght Youth Service and Tallaght's first newspaper printing house the Tallaght Echo. The area's Institute of Technology, Saint Mary's Priory, and Saint Maelruain's Church are located in the historic quarter of Tallaght village.

The newer "town centre" lies immediately to the south across the Belgard Road, encompassing Belgard Square, the main shopping complex (known as The Square also known as the Pyramid), the Luas Red Line terminus, Tallaght Hospital (including the National Children's Hospital), County Hall, the Civic Theatre, South Dublin County Library, Rua Red Arts Centre, and several bars, restaurants and hotels.

To the north-east of the village lies the Tymon North / Balrothery area, which comprised rural townlands until the 1970s. This district includes estates such as Bancroft, Balrothery, Glenview, Castle Park, Saint Aongus, Tymon, Bolbrook and Avonbeg. These parts are home to several sporting facilities, including the National Basketball Arena, a fitness centre, two swimming pools, an athletics track, and an astroturf soccer facility. Tymon Park is watered by the River Poddle, and is Ireland's second largest city park. It borders Greenhills and Templeogue, and it contains extensive sporting grounds, ponds, Coláiste De Hide and one of Ireland's largest playgrounds at the Tymon North entrance.

Old Bawn, formerly a small village in its own right, is immediately south of the village, bordered by Sean Walsh Memorial (also locally called Watergate) Park. To the east of Old Bawn, estates include Home Lawns, Mountain Park, Millbrook Lawns and Seskin View. To the south and south-west of the village lie Ellensborough, Aylesbury, and Killinarden (the latter comprising the residential areas of Deer Park, Cushlawn, Donomore, Killinarden Estate and Knockmore). Beyond these are rural lands, running towards the Wicklow Mountains.

In the north-west is Belgard Green, with Belgard Heights and Kingswood (built 1974) to the north, Kingswood is also sometime considered as Clondalkin and half holding a D22 postcode. Half of Kingswood is served by Clondalkin Garda Station. Kingswood and Belgard Heights are adjacent to Clondalkin, while Kilnamanagh is situated beside Greenhills and south west of Walkinstown and Crumlin. Tallaght Theatre is situated along the Greenhills Road.

Virginia Heights and Springfield are close to the area's centre, and further west of the town centre are the former hamlet of Jobstown, now with dense housing estates, and also the recently rural areas of Kiltalown, Brookfield and Fettercairn.

Rural areas

To the far west, are newer estates such as Deselby, Mountain View, The Belfry, Ardmore, Westbrook Lawns.


The Square is one of Ireland's largest shopping centres, with three retail levels and accessible by the Luas and extensive bus services. Anchor tenants at the centre include Tesco, Debenhams, Easons, Heatons and Dunnes Stores. There is also a 13-screen cinema.

Three hotels are located in the town centre: the Plaza Hotel near The Square, the Abberley Court Hotel at High Street, the Maldron Hotel at Whitestown Way, near Seán Walshe Park. The Glashus Hotel and Tallaght Cross Hotel were at "Tallaght Cross" but closed during the financial crisis.[10]

The "town centre" area holds offices of local and central government entities, including South Dublin Council, the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social and Family Affairs, the Health Service Executive (Eastern Region), County Dublin V.E.C., as well as local FÁS offices. It is also the location of the County Library, Rua Red - the County Arts Centre, the Civic Theatre, and many shops, bars, and restaurants.

The Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children's Hospital (commonly known as Tallaght Hospital) is located nearby.

Across the N81 dual carriageway, south of the town centre, is the 6,000 seat football ground called Tallaght Stadium. South of this is Sean Walsh Memorial Park.


Schools in Tallaght include: St Mark's National School, St Mark's Community School, Scoil Maelruain, St Martin de Porres, St Dominic's NS, St Aidan's, St Thomas', Holy Rosary NS, Scoil Treasa, Old Bawn Community School, Tallaght Community School, Killinarden Community School, Coláiste de hÍde gaelscoil,[11] St Aidan's Community School, Firhouse Community College and Mount Seskin Community School.[12]

Tallaght is the home of the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT), a tertiary college offering undergraduate degrees[13] as well as Higher Certificates and post-graduate professional qualifications.

The college was founded in 1992 as the Regional Technical College, Tallaght. It has had a number of name changes since, briefly becoming Tallaght Institute of Technology before being renamed Institute of Technology, Tallaght. It was recently branded Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin (ITT Dublin).

ITT validates certificate, diploma and degree programmes in The Priory Institute neighbouring the Campus, at St Mary's Priory.


Ireland against Luxembourg at the National Basketball Arena
  • Shamrock Rovers F.C. are based in Tallaght and started playing in Tallaght Stadium in 2009.
  • Saint Anne's GAA, Saint Marks GAA and Thomas Davis GAA Club are local Gaelic Athletic Association clubs.
  • The National Basketball Arena lies east of the village.
  • Tallaght Swim Team is located at the Tallaght Sports Complex, Balrothery, beside Tallaght Community School.
  • Brookfield Celtic, one of Dublin's largest underage football clubs, were founded in Tallaght in 1999.
  • Glenanne Sports Club, a field hockey team are based in Tallght, playing their home games on the astroturf pitch located in St Marks Community School
  • The trailhead of the Dublin Mountains Way a long-distance walking route across the Dublin side of the Wicklow Mountains between Tallaght and Shankill begins at Sean Walsh Park near Tallaght Stadium.[14]
  • South Dublin Taekwondo are the only WTF (Olympic Style) Taekwondo club in Tallaght. They were founded in 2008 by head coach Master Robert Taaffe and are residents in the Tallaght Leisure Centre. There are several I.T.F style Taekwon-do clubs in the area.
  • Tallaght Rugby Football Club is located in Ballymana Lane but play out of Tymon park whilst development of the Ballymana grounds begins in 2013. They were founded as a youth team in 2002 with financial support from the IRFU before setting up a senior team in 2006.

Arts and entertainment

  • Tallaght Theatre, Tallaght's first Theatre, launched in 1975 as a non profit amateur dramatic group. Now one of Ireland's leading am dram theatre's, Tallaght Theatre remains in the heart of the community, situated on the Greenhills Road, Tallaght.[15]
  • The Civic Theatre became Tallaght's second theatre, built in 1999 beside the civic offices, Tallaght.[16]
  • Rua Red is one of the major buildings for the hosting of arts/entertainment events and groups.[17]
  • Tallaght Young Filmmakers are a youth film making group initiated by South Dublin Council's Arts Office in partnership with local young people.[18]
  • IMC at Tallaght is a cinema situated in the Square shopping centre.


On 12 July 1998, Tallaght welcomed the Tour de France.[19] Tallaght always held an annual Saint Patrick's Day parade, but for the past three years this once proud tradition has unfortunately been abandoned. It has also been home to 'Tallafest' and 'NOISE Festivals': youth arts festivals in film, dance and music organised by South Dublin Council every year. There is a farmers' market held every Friday from 10:00 to 16:00 in High Street.


Notable people from Tallaght include:

  • Al Porter, Comedian
  • Patrick Holohan, Mixed Martial Artist
  • Patrick Hyland, professional boxer
  • Paul Hyland, professional boxer
  • Eddie Hyland, professional Boxer
  • Dessie Baker, football player
  • Richie Baker, football player
  • Graham Barrett, football player
  • Ciarán Bourke, Former member of The Dubliners
  • Stephen Bradley, football player and manager
  • Jason Byrne, football player
  • Kurtis Byrne, football player
  • Richard Dunne (1979-), football player
  • Keith Fahey (1983-), football player
  • Evie Hone (1894–1955), artist, buried here
  • Robbie Keane (1980-), football player
  • Stephen Kenny, football manager
  • Kieran O'Reilly (1979-), actor, musician
  • Graham Gartland, football player
  • Jason Gavin, football player
  • David O'Connor, football player
  • Eric McGill, football player
  • Barry Murphy, football player
  • Mark Yeates (1985-), football player
  • Oisín Kelly (1915–1981), artist and sculptor
  • Kojii Helnwein (née Wyatt), model and musician
  • William Howard Russell (1820–1907), journalist, and possibly the world's first modern war correspondent
  • George Otto Simms (1910–1991), Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of All Ireland
  • Katharine Tynan (1861–1931), writer
  • Alan Joyce (1966-), CEO Qantas Airlines
  • Aidan Turner (1983-), actor (Mitchell in Being Human)
  • Shane O'Connor (1985), dart player
  • Nucentz, rapper, born here in 1987
  • Dean Gibbons, one sixth of boyband Home Town



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