Ballsbridge or Ball's Bridge (Irish: Droichead na Dothra, meaning
"Dodder bridge") is a neighbourhood of the city of Dublin, the capital
of the Republic of Ireland. The area is largely north and west of a
three-arch stone bridge across the River Dodder, on the south side of
the city. The sign on the bridge still proclaims it as "Ball's
Bridge", in recognition of the fact that the original bridge on that
location was built and owned by the Ball family, a well-known Dublin
merchant family in the 1500s and the 1600s. The current bridge was
built in 1791.
Ballsbridge was once part of the Pembroke Township.
2 Popular culture
3 Buildings, structures and parks
5 See also
18th century maps show that the area of
Dublin that is now Ballsbridge
was originally mud-flats and marsh, with many roads converging on a
small village located around the bridge, and known already as
Ballsbridge. Situated on the Dodder, this village had a ready source
of power for small industries, including by the 1720s a linen and
cotton printers, and by the 1750s a paper-mill and a gunpowder
By the early 1800s
Ballsbridge was a small settlement on a major road
Dublin city with the port at Dalkey, where most of the
shipping freight was landed, due to the shallow waters of the Liffey
The land around
Ballsbridge was rural, and mostly belonged to the Earl
of Pembroke. After the Royal
Dublin Society (RDS) moved into its
present site near
Ballsbridge in 1879, the
Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke began to
develop these lands into suburban residential housing. The RDS held
their first show on their new premises in the early 1880s. In 1903
the lands formerly known as the ‘Forty Acres’ were given to the
city by the
Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke to establish Herbert Park. (The Earl of
Pembroke's surname was Herbert.) In 1907 the
Exhibition was held in Herbert Park.
Until 1965 there was a well-known botanical garden on Landsdowne Road
near Ballsbridge. The garden belonged to Trinity College, which had
leased land from the Earl of Pembroke. In 1960 the original lease from
the Pembroke Estate expired and was not renewed. After reducing their
size considerably, in 1965 Trinity decided to close the botanical
gardens at that location and to open a new garden at Dartry. Two
hotels now stand on the site.
In 1916, the Mount Street bridge, which spans the Grand Canal at the
foot of Northumberland Road, was the site of an important battle
during the Easter Rising. The O'Rahilly, one of the leaders of
the Rising, lived at 40 Herbert Park. Another resistance leader, Eoin
MacNeill, who refused to participate in the Rising, lived down the
road at 19 Herbert Park. During the Irish war of independence, Michael
Collins, Commander-in-Chief of the Irish National Army and later a
government minister, had a study in the house of Miss Hoey at 5 Mespil
Road, from where he carried out intelligence work.
The date of 16 June 1904, now commemorated as Bloomsday, was chosen by
James Joyce for the setting of his novel Ulysses because it
was the date on which he lost his virginity to his girlfriend Nora
Barnacle - Joyce was renting a room at the time in a house at 60
In the 1940s and 50s the writer
Brendan Behan lived in Ballsbridge, as
did the poet
Patrick Kavanagh (notably at 63 Pembroke Road); their
busts are on display at the two big pubs along Pembroke Road,
Searson's and the Wellington. Kavanagh wrote his famous song On Raglan
Road about a girl he met on that street in 1944.
Buildings, structures and parks
The bridge itself forms the heart of the
Ballsbridge suburb which
extends northwards towards the Grand Canal along Northumberland Road
up to Haddington Road and Shelbourne Road, southwards along the
Merrion Road towards Merrion and along
Anglesea Road towards
Donnybrook, and westwards to encompass the area around Pembroke Road,
Clyde Road, Elgin Road and Herbert Park.
Herbert Park, a public park, is thirty-two acres in size and is
divided by a road, also called Herbert Park, and forms part of
Ballsbridge's nebulous border with Donnybrook.
Dublin Society (RDS) has its grounds here, and the Lansdowne
Road headquarters of the
Irish Rugby Football Union
Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is on the
Ballsbridge and Irishtown. The corporate headquarters
Allied Irish Banks
Allied Irish Banks (AIB) are also located in Ballsbridge.
Ailesbury Road, along with adjacent
Shrewsbury Road comprise the blue
(most expensive) properties in the
Dublin edition of the board-game
Shrewsbury Road was the sixth most expensive street in the
world in 2007.
Many of Dublin's embassies and diplomatic residences are located in
the southern part of
Ballsbridge on and around Ailesbury Road. The
British, American, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Israeli embassies are
all located in the
Ballsbridge area of Dublin.
The U.S. embassy, an iconic cylindrical building, is a major landmark
in present-day Ballsbridge. It was designed in 1955 by John M.
Johansen, Professor of Architecture at Yale university. The project
was 9 years in incubation and the building was inaugurated in 1964,
shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The DART train passes nearby, stopping at
Lansdowne Road and
Ballsbridge is serviced by the following bus routes:
Ballymun to Monkstown
7 Cherrywood to Dublin
Loughlinstown to Dublin
Palmerstown to Sandymount
27X Clare Hall to Belfield
A number of services have been withdrawn due to
Dublin Bus' Network
Direct route restructuring programme.
St Bartholomew's Church, Dublin
List of towns and villages in Ireland
^ At least three generations of the Ball family were elected mayors
and sheriffs of Dublin, including Walter Ball (d. 1598). See Eneclann
Irish Genealogy and History Research Services, "History of
Ballsbridge", published by Sherry Fitzgerald realtors, accessed 23
^ a b c d e Eneclann Irish Genealogy and History Research Services,
"History of Ballsbridge", published by Sherry Fitzgerald realtors,
accessed 23 January 2017.
^ Paul O'Brien, Blood on the Streets, the Battle for Mount Street
Bridge, pp.22-23; Max Caulfield, The Easter Rebellion,
Dublin 1916, p.
^ "The beauty who inspired Kavanagh's "Raglan Road"". The Independent.
29 June 2004.
^ Clark, Andrew (5 December 2010). "The roof falls in on Ireland's
Millionaires Row". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 5
^ "Four call outs for Army Bomb Disposal Team". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 21
August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
Dublin Bus. [permanent dead link]
Residential areas of Dublin
North of River Liffey
South of River Liffey