Ballymun (Irish: Baile Munna) is an area on Dublin's Northside in
Ireland, the modern development of which began in the 1960s to
accommodate a housing crisis in inner city areas of Dublin. The area
became well-known for its high-rise tower blocks and flat complexes.
It has several sub-districts such as Sillogue and Poppintree, and is
in close proximity to
In 1997, a regeneration plan was announced, which led to demolition of
the flats and their replacement by new low-rise housing and some civic
amenities, but also saw the loss of most of the area's shops. The
regeneration has cost about one billion euro to date.
Ballymun tower blocks
2.1.1 Hotel Ballymun
2.2 Regeneration of Ballymun
2.3 2018 Metro Hotel
Ballymun in the media
5.1 Television and film
8 Notable residents
9 See also
11 External links
Ballymun lies on the plains of southern Fingal (the historic area, not
the modern administrative council), sloping from northwest to
southeast, from the catchment of the
Santry River through that of the
Wad River. The
Santry rises in Harristown and Dubber, northwest of
Ballymun, and crosses and drains the northern parts of the district.
The Wad is the area's main watershed, with branches most notably
around Poppintree; it flows southeast, eventually reaching the sea at
Ballymun neighbours Finglas,
Glasnevin and Santry.
Ballymun was historically a rural area. The nearest village was
Santry, dependent on the Domville family.
By the 1960s Dublin’s housing stock was not only under pressure from
a rising population but was also poorly maintained. House collapses in
Bolton Street and Fenian Street in 1963 led to the death of four
Dublin Corporation to adopt ‘emergency measures’
to deal with the crisis. In 1964, in a response to this housing
crisis in inner city areas of the capital, plans were made to build
high-rise flat complexes; construction started in 1966 and were
completed by the following year. The seven 15-storey towers were named
after Irish Republican revolutionaries, to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The flat complexes consisted of
five 8-storey "districts" (Balbutcher, Balcurris, Coultry, Shangan and
Sillogue) and three 4-storey "districts," two of which were part of
Shangan and Sillogue, the third being located in Sandyhill. The
Poppintree area of
Ballymun was constructed in the late 1970s.
Some social problems occurred in the early years, as families which
had grown up in dense city terraces close to Dublin's retail core,
found themselves at the edge of the city, with few amenities beyond a
travelling shop. Over time,
Ballymun became notorious for a number of
social problems, such as drug abuse and unemployment, and was impacted
by negative media coverage of the area.
Ballymun district is not substantially in the townland
historically called "Ballymun"—instead, it occupies several nearby
townlands, the most significant of which is Stormanstown. Due to what
were seen to be undesirable associations, some say[who?] that the area
has shrunk since the completion of the tower blocks. For instance, in
the early days of
Dublin City University (DCU), then called NIHE,
Dublin, this institution was sometimes referred to as being in
Ballymun (part of the "
Ballymun Project"), or
sometimes in Whitehall, while today it is referred to and has a postal
address in Glasnevin, even though it has not changed location. Indeed,
much of the present day central
Ballymun lies on lands once in the
northern reaches of the
Albert Agricultural College
Albert Agricultural College estate, the
forerunner of the present-day DCU.
Streets have also been renamed—for example,
Ballymun Avenue (which
was previously Collins Avenue Extension) was renamed
after a local plebiscite in the 1970s.
Ballymun tower blocks
Among the opprobrium heaped on Ballymun, the deployment of the flats
has been described by the environmental journalist Frank McDonald, in
his book The Construction of Dublin, as the Irish state's 'worst
planning disaster'. However, at the time of its construction, Ballymun
was a sought after location and prospective tenants had to pass an
interview to get housing there. There were three types of flats: seven
fifteen-storey towers; nineteen eight-storey blocks; ten four-storey
blocks. The flats were built in the 1960s under the authority of Neil
Blaney, the then
Fianna Fáil Minister for Local Government.
According to geographer Joe Brady of University College Dublin, Dublin
Corporation were skeptical about the
They were made an offer by... Blaney which they couldn't refuse. He
offered to build them 2,500 housing units at a time when their own
housing development program had to be ramped up and when you had the
additional misfortune of the collapse of the tenement blocks in Fenian
Street which meant that
Dublin Corporation was bounced into dealing
with all of its condemned houses at once... They would have taken
anything from anybody at that point.
The first tenants moved in between August 1966 and December 1966. By
February 1969, when the National Building Agency's contract for
Ballymun ceased and control of
Ballymun was handed to Dublin
Corporation, there was a total of 3,021 dwellings, all of which was
publicly owned social housing.
In 2007, the now vacant, Thomas Clarke Tower was temporarily
transformed into a hotel as part of an art project.
Regeneration of Ballymun
Ballymun under construction
The creation of
Ballymun Regeneration Limited as a limited company
Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council initiated the beginning of the
demolition of the
Ballymun flats and the emergence of a "new town" of
Ballymun. As of 2008[update], six of the seven towers (Pearse, Ceannt,
Macdermott McDonagh, Connolly, and Clarke) as well as three
eight-storey blocks and seven four-storey blocks have been demolished
by DSM, with the residents generally rehoused in new "state of the
art" housing in Ballymun. The new housing is a mixture of public,
private, voluntary and co-operative housing. The residential aspects
of the "new Ballymun" were largely completed by 2013. A documentary
Ballymun Lullaby was released in February 2011 and
includes scenes detailing the regeneration of
Ballymun as well as its
impact on the culture of its populace.
The regeneration project, despite well-publicised questions about
accountability and democratic participation, also delivered many other
amenities, including reworked park areas, a major City Council office
facility, Health Service facilities, a public leisure centre, the Axis
arts centre, student accommodation, a new hotel, and some renewed
retail facilities. A film of the leisure centre by filmmakers Joe
Lawlor and Christine Molloy, LEISURE CENTRE, was made in 2007 and
starred hundreds of
Ballymun residents. However, for a variety of
reasons, the regeneration saw the departure of many shops, most
notably the virtual emptying of
Ballymun Shopping Centre, with the
result that, as happened when
Ballymun was first built up, the more
than 17,000 residents have to travel to other districts for major
grocery, and virtually all non-grocery, shopping.
As part of the New Ballymun, a major tree-planting project called
Amaptocare has been run, with more than 600 people sponsoring around
700 trees, and providing inscription texts which are engraved on
plaques near the trees. Sponsors were informed that the all trees
would be identified on a glass panel at Ballymun's central plaza,
which was completed by 2013, but the panel has, as of 2017, not yet
2018 Metro Hotel
A multistorey hotel fire occurred in the building containing the Metro
Dublin and two floors of apartments, on 21 March 2018. The fire
broke out at approximately 8.00 pm and affected the top seven floors
of the building. At least 12 units of
Dublin Fire Brigade attended the
building, and confirmed that the hotel was successfully evacuated.
Dublin Fire Brigade reported soon after the fire was extinguished that
there were no reports of any casualties or people unaccounted for.
This included approximately 150 guests who were staying in the
hotel. The fire broke out in a private residence on the 13th floor
above rooms for hotel guests.
The 15 storey hotel- and apartment-building was built as part of the
Ballymun renewal, developed in 2006 by Pierce Contracting and a group
of investors who included businessman Paddy Kelly. The hotel was
built as part of the
Ballymun Renewal Scheme. The hotel was designed
by Shay Cleary Architects for Pierse Contracting and was originally
operated by the Days Inn Hotel group. It was scheduled to open on the
9th June 2006. In 2007 a charter plane with 118 passengers and
crew narrowly avoided crashing into the hotel ater its pilot mistook
the lights of the 16 storey building for the runway at
The red lighting on the hotel's roof combined with its white internal
light was mistaken for the approach lights of the airport's runway.
The incident occurred at 11.34pm on the night of August 16, 2007, when
the McDonnell Douglas jet was carrying 112 passengers and six crew on
a charter flight from Lisbon to Dublin. In April 2014, the 88
bedroom Metro Hotel was put on the market in the region of €2.5
million. Along with the hotel, the sellers sought €3 million for 30
two-bed apartments on the upper floors of the property. In July 2016,
planning permission was refused for the retention of masts and antenna
on the hotel.
Ballymun Shopping Centre was the main source for shopping throughout
much of Ballymun's first 40 years. However, due to regeneration,[why?]
the centre has slowly emptied - in 2014 the anchor store, a Tesco
supermarket, closed and was not replaced. As of 2017, the shopping
centre still stands but only a handful of units remain occupied.
On the site of a former large underpass roundabout, a brand new civic
complex was built, including The Axis, with the local health centre
and Garda station also moved here, although their defunct buildings
remain across the road. City Council offices are here, although the
offices handling some services, such as driver licencing and motor
Two hotels, Travelodge and Metro are located in this area, as well as
a gym and leisure centre (the old
Ballymun swimming pool was
demolished in 2016 after being defunct for a number of years). A Bank
of Ireland branch was demolished in 2017 and replaced by an AIB branch
near the health centre.
A number of green spaces, parks and playgrounds have been built around
IKEA store is located fairly near.
There is a church in the old village centre.
There are a number of schools in each sub-district, including a
Gaelscoil (Irish-speaking) primary school. Trinity Comprehensive is
the only secondary school; this was formerly known as Ballymun
Ballymun is served by a number of
Dublin Bus routes to the city centre
including the numbers 4, 13 -  while the 17a and
220 both heading towards Blanchardstown, the former coming from
The area was also envisaged to have an underground stop on the planned
Metro North (
Dublin city centre to Swords) line of the
However the Irish Government have now shelved the entire 'Metro' plan
due to lack of available investment capital.
Journey time from
Ballymun to the airport is estimated be around ten
minutes by car, and to
Dublin city centre around twenty-five minutes.
Ballymun in the media
For decades, Ballymun's reputation has been damaged by a high level of
negative publicity in the media, usually focusing on crime and
drugs, whilst ignoring positive news.
Television and film
The 1992 film Into the West was set and filmed in Ballymun.
Other fictional works that were set in the area were the 1994 drama
mini-series Family and the 1982 short film One Day Time . Several
documentaries of the area have been made through out the years, most
of which were during the demolition of the last block of flats.
In September 2006, Gill & Macmillan published The Mun, by Lynn
Connolly. This is a memoir covering the history of
Ballymun from its
inception to the final regeneration of the town. The Mun was Lynn's
account of another side of Ballymun, of which she has fond memories.
She wrote of a side of
Ballymun not written of in the press stories
about drug dealing and gangsters; a community that thrived in spite of
the squalor. The Mun was Lynn's way of putting the story straight for
the decent people of Ballymun.
In April 2009, Irish publisher Gill & Macmillan published Ballymun
resident Rachael Keogh's account of her life as a heroin addict, Dying
to Survive. Rachael started taking drugs aged 12 and for the next 15
years was hooked on a variety of substances. In 2006, after repeated
attempts to get help, Rachael went to the media to publicise her
In 2010 New Island Books published 'The
Ballymun Trilogy' by the
Dublin playwright, Dermot Bolger: three plays that chart forty years
of life in
Ballymun and which were all premiered in Axis in Ballymun
before being staged in Britain, America, Poland and elsewhere.
Ballymun is a parish in the Fingal South West deanery of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.
There are a number of local sports groups, including:
For the GAA,
Ballymun Kickhams Gaelic Football Club and Setanta
Ballymun United Football Club and St Pats United / Ard
Celtic FC. Unidare RFC, who came runners-up in the 2007/08 Dublin
Metro League, doing so with a panel of players drawn heavily from the
Ballymun area; young players from
Ballymun now play at all youth
levels for the club.
Barney Rock, Gaelic footballer
Glen Hansard, musician
James McCarthy, Gaelic footballer
Philip McMahon, Gaelic footballer
Dean Rock, Gaelic Footballer
List of towns and villages in Ireland
^ a b Dublin, The
Dublin Inquirer, 31 May 2016 "In
Ballymun socks are
scarce these days"
^ Dublin, 2013: Doyle, Joseph W.; Ten Dozen Waters, 2013 (8th edition)
^ "'I personally don't want to see another
Ballymun again': the
lessons of urban planning and regeneration". Holinshed revisited. 27
May 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
^ "Housing in Dublin" (podcast). The History Show. RTE. 25 October
2015. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
Archived 31 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Brennan, Cianan (21 March 2018). "No reports of casualties as major
fire rages at building complex in north
Dublin city". The Journal.
Retrieved 21 March 2018.
^ @DubFireBrigade (21 March 2018). "#
Ballymun UPDATE: It is important
for us to give out correct and factual information. As of yet we have
no reports of any casualties or people unaccounted for" (Tweet) –
^ "'Serious fire' at hotel in Dublin". 21 March 2018. Retrieved 21
^ "Metro Hotel Up for Sale". Hospitality Ireland. 8 April 2014.
Retrieved 21 March 2018.
^ North West Area Committee Meeting Progress Report (PDF) (Report).
Ballymun Renewal Ltd. 16 June 2006. p. 10. Retrieved 21 March
^ "Crash narrowly avoided after pilot mistook hotel for runway". The
Examiner. Cork. 22 April 2009.
^ "Residents at
Santry Cross Vindicated on Masts – Reilly". Sinn
Féin. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
^ Example -
^ Example -
Ballymun making transit camp
^ Emerald Rugby Magazine, October 2007
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ballymun.
Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, with much about all aspects of the
Photos of the demolition of one of the flats
Residential areas of Dublin
North of River Liffey
South of River Liffey