Baldoyle (Baile D√ļill) comprises a small coastal village and wide surrounding area with suburban housing estates and farmland on the Northside of Dublin, in the part of the historic County Dublin now administered as Fingal, Ireland.
Location and Access
Baldoyle is located north east of the city, and borders Donaghmede, which was formed from its western part, Portmarnock, Sutton and Bayside. It can be accessed from the coast road from Dublin to Howth, which includes a cycle track, from Sutton Cross via Station Road, or from Donaghmede, or Portmarnock. Baldoyle is served by Dublin Bus and Irish Rail, the latter currently via the Sutton station on the Howth Branch of the DART, and in future by the Grange Road station on the Northern Branch.
The district name derives from¬†baile meaning¬†town and¬†dubh-ghaill meaning “dark stranger”, the name given by the¬†Gaels to the¬†Danes to distinguish them from the¬†Norwegians or “fair strangers” (finn-ghaill) who first settled in Ireland in 841-842.¬†While it is sometimes rendered as “Doyle’s town” with reference to the personal name Doyle which itself derives from¬†dubh-ghaill, there is no evidence for this usage.
Features and Development
Baldoyle village today has a coastal main street, with a Roman Catholic parish church and community hall, a branch library, and some shops, pubs and a secondary school for girls, St. Mary’s. Slightly inland, among the older suburban houses, are a small shopping precinct, a football club and other amenities. On the approach from the coast road is another large secondary school, Pobalscoil Neasain and the well-known pub, the Elphin, while on the road into Donaghmede is a light industrial estate. There are also two primary schools, St. Peter & Paul’s Boys Primary School, and St. Mary’s Girls Primary School.
Among the local residents are the retired members of the Congregation of the Irish Christian Brothers, whose retirement home is located in the town.
For most of the 20th century, Baldoyle was famed for its racecourse, which was one of three in the greater metropolitan area. Over the early 2000’s Baldoyle has been at the centre of a large house building programme, with the former Racecourse, long closed, having being sold to developers. The new developments have begun, as “The Coast”, facing a new local centre (previously marketed as “Capital North”) at the edge of Donaghmede, Clongriffin. The new rail station being constructed at Grange Road will serve Baldoyle, including Racecourse developments, and northern Donaghmede, including Clongriffin.
The old Race Course area and the Mayne River used to be good for wintering¬†Short-eared Owl¬†and¬†Green Sandpiper.¬†Merlin¬†and¬†Buzzard¬†also occur. This area featured prominently in the Flood Tribunal.
Baldoyle, with its sheltered waterside location, was a Viking base for many years, eventually suppressed by an attack by the King of Leinster.
A description of Baldoyle from Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Dublin, 1837 gives a useful summary of what was then a substantial rural fishing village: The village is pleasantly situated on an inlet or creek of the Irish Sea, to the north of the low isthmus that connect Howth, with the mainland: it comprises about 200 houses, and is much frequented in summer for sea-bathing. Some of the inhabitants are engaged in the fishery, which at the commencement of the present century employed nine wherries belonging to this place, averaging seven or eight men each; at present nearly 100 men are so, engaged. Sir W. de Windsor, lord-justice of Ireland, held a parliament here in 1369. The creek is formed between the mainland and the long tract of sand on the north of Howth, at the point of which, near that port, a white buoy is placed; it is fit only for small craft. The manor was granted to the priory of All Saints, Dublin, by Diarmit, the son of Murchard, King of Leinster, who founded that house in 1166.
The parliament mentioned above was held at Grange Church, better known as “Grange Abbey”, which now lies in Donaghmede and was partly restored in the late 20th century.
On 31 October 1973, one of the most spectacular and audacious escapes from an Irish prison took place when three of the Provisional IRA’s key personnel were airlifted to freedom in a seconded helicopter from Mountjoy Prison. The helicopter touched down at Baldoyle racecourse where the IRA members escaped in waiting cars.
Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information.