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Kimmage (Irish: Camaigh uisce, "Crooked water-meadow", probably referring to the meandering course of the River Poddle), is a small residential suburb located on the south side of Dublin, Ireland. It is in the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council.
Kimmage is in the middle reaches of southern Dublin, outside the ring of canals, but before the ring motorway or the Dublin mountains. It is surrounded by Crumlin, Greenhills, Harold's Cross, Rathfarnham, Templeogue and Terenure. Kimmage is divided between postal districts Dublin 12 and Dublin 6W.
The name Kimmage comes from the Irish camaigh uisce, which means winding water. In this case it is the water of the River Poddle, a Liffey tributary, which provided the major water supply to medieval Dublin. Rising at Tymon west of central Tallaght, it flows through Templeogue before reaching Kimmage, then north to the city after dividing at Mount Argus. One stream flows through via Crumlin and Dolphins Barn to join the River Liffey after Mullinahack, a millrace near Usher's Island. The other stream flows via The Coombe underground around Dublin Castle and into the Liffey further east near Merchants Quay.
Features and facilities
The major Kimmage landmark is the KCR, Kimmage Cross Roads. The crossroads are considered to denote the southern boundary with Terenure, intersecting Terenure Road West, Kimmage Road West, Fortfield Road and the Lower Kimmage Road. The KCR is also the location of a petrol station and a convenience shop built in the 1960s.
Shopping, Pubs, and Local Economy
The KCR Pub is located close to the KCR. The Stone Boat, named for the feature which separated the Poddle from the City Watercourse, has a lounge and bar and a room for rental. The Four Provinces (formerly the Black Horse Inn) on Ravensdale Park was opened in 2019 by the local microbrewery Four Provinces Brew. Co., themselves established in 2014 and located to the rear of the pub on Ravensdale Lane. The main shopping area is Kimmage village on the Lower Kimmage Road. It includes convenience stores, beauty salons, barbers, takeaways, and a garage. The SuperValu shopping centre on Sundrive Road includes 12 shops.
Close by is Kimmage Manor the location of The Holy Ghost Fathers College which prepared priests for the religious life, now the Kimmage Development Studies Centre. Kimmage Manor Church parish church is on its grounds.
There was a local cinema in Kimmage: 'The Apollo'. Originally called 'The Sundrive Cinema' it was refurbished and renamed in the late 1950s. It has been demolished and replaced with office blocks and apartments. The Stone Boat pub is another of the area's bars. It is named for the boat-shaped century engineering improvement to the diversion fork of the River Poddle. The pub, originally owned by Peter Summers, was then called The Turk's Head, and his shop next door, Pennies From Heaven, had an array of gaming machines, especially one-armed bandits, that took one pre-decimal penny (1d) per play – winners therefore received the "pennies from heaven".
The divided Poddle fed the millrace at the end of the pond in the grounds of the nearby monastery of Mount Argus. In the 1950s and 1960s this two-storey building housed St Gabriel's Boys Club, which was well supported by the local community when they staged Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
The residential area between Ferns Road and Kildare Road was architecturally designed in the shape of a Celtic Cross, with a mirror image each side of Armagh Road. Locally this road was considered as dividing Crumlin and Kimmage. The majority of these roads were named after mediaeval monasteries such as Clonmacnoise, Clonard, Kells and Monasterboice.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s the park facing the end of Stannaway Road was known locally as the 'Tip'. In the austere years after World War II it was usual to see people digging for cinders to use as fuel in their homes. Such was the level of unemployment, strict rationing and dire poverty at that time that coal and turf were beyond the means of some residents and cinders the only available fuel. The Tip had a water-filled quarry which froze over in the winter. In one tragic incident, three children drowned when they fell through thin ice. The quarry was dragged for several days to no avail.
The formerly Cafolla-owned chipper is still operating under different ownership and is situated next to the shop at the corner of Blarney Park (formally Greene's Drapers). The third shop to the left of the cinema was named MA Henry, known by the locals as "Ma Henry". It was run by two ladies of the old school who were very strict about selling cigarettes, and in the 1950s when cigarettes were in short supply it was as if a miracle had occurred if MA Henry sold you a packet of fags. But in order to get the cigarettes, one had to also buy a packet of razor blades. The pastor in St Agnes Church was a brother of MA Henry. Next to MA Henry' was a small cycle repair shop, now a barber's shop. The shop adjoining the cinema was a dry cleaners, IMCO.
The soda fountain had a jukebox which at the time was regarded as state-of-the-art technology. Older folk often referred to it as a Nickelodeon, which came from the lyrics of a hit song Music! Music! Music! ("Put another nickel in, in the Nickelodeon") by the American singer Teresa Brewer.
Stannaway Road originally ran from Sundrive Road, up to and just beyond Cashel Road, where the scheme ended with a wall across the roadway that was demolished in the 1940s/1950s when an extension to the original scheme commenced. Blarney Park also had a similar wall separating the Dublin Corporation houses from a private scheme. In the 1950s residents in the Corporation houses objected to being cut off and broke a hole through. The hole was gradually made larger and the Corporation deemed the wall unsafe and eventually demolished it. Access through the private section then became the norm. The Corporation devised a privatisation policy in the 1970s and sold council homes to the existing tenants.
Captain's Road (then called Captain's Lane) runs from the top of Windmill Road in Crumlin to Kimmage Road. There were only a few houses between the schools (St Columcille CBS and the girls' convert opposite) on Armagh Road and St Agnes Church. Most of the area here was regarded as being almost in the country by local people. Captain's Lane was a well known area for children to go 'blackberrying', picking the abundant wild crop in August before it developed 'devil's spit'.
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. (October 2016)
Larkfield, an old mill and farm in Kimmage owned by the family of Joseph Plunkett was used as a clearing station for arms imported in the 1914 Howth gun-running and used in the 1916 Easter Rising. An Irish Volunteers secret camp, the Kimmage Garrison was established by Plunkett and his brother George Oliver Plunkett. IRB members with engineering skills came from England and Scotland and lived rough for three months while they manufactured bombs, bayonets and pikes for the coming Rising on the site that is now the SuperValu shopping centre.
On Easter Monday, 1916, Captain George Plunkett waved down a tram with his revolver at Harold's Cross, ordered on his volunteers armed with shotguns, pikes and homemade bombs, took out his wallet and said "Fifty-two tuppenny tickets to the city centre please". Arriving at the Irish Citizen Army headquarters, Liberty Hall, they were organised into four companies, and with the other volunteers, with James Connolly and Patrick Pearse at the head, marched to seize the General Post Office, where they fought throughout the Rising, finally retreating into Moore Street. The mill was replaced by the SuperValu supermarket in modern times.
- Larkview Boys FC are a senior football team from the area who play in the Leinster Senior League. Former Republic of Ireland Brian Kerr (football manager) played at junior level for the club.
- Lorcan O'Toole Park is the main sports ground in the area located at Stannaway Road. Crumlin.
- Old County Pitch & Putt Club (founded 1966) is based within Lorcan O'Toole Park with the championship course surrounding the GAA pitch.
- Reds United were a popular soccer club for which many Kimmage residents played in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Kimmage was one of the two cheaper properties on the Irish version of Monopoly (along with Crumlin), but has now been removed in favour of Rathfarnham in the newer edition. Kimmage's working-class lifestyle is recorded in a popular Irish folk song of the same name, covered by the Dubliners.
- Whoredom in Kimmage is a non-fiction 1994 book by Rosemary Mahoney about women in the Ireland of the 1990s.
Notable people associated with Kimmage
- Brendan Behan grew up in Kildare Road; his family were relocated from a city centre tenement to what was then countryside – as he later joked, "To Hell or to Kimmage" (Oliver Cromwell is said to have sent Irish aristocrats from their lush Munster, Leinster and Ulster land "To Hell or to Connacht", offering them the choice of death or exile)
- Gay Mitchell, Fine Gael MEP and 2011 presidential candidate
- Joseph Plunkett (1887–1916); one of the seven leaders of the Easter Rising and signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, had a family property at Larkfield on Sundrive crossroad that was a training ground for the rebels before the Rising
- John Charles McQuaid (1895–1973) studied as a noviciate at the headquarters of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Kimmage; he was later Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of All Ireland
- Aengus Finucane (1932–2009), missionary and a pioneer for Concern Worldwide
- Denis Fahey (1883–1954), founder of the right-wing Catholic organisation Maria Duce, served as a Senior Scholasticate of the Irish Province of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Kimmage in 1912
- Christy Brown lived on Stannaway Road, Crumlin for some time
- Frederick Shaw, Irish Conservative Baronet and large and hated landlord, lived in Kimmage Manor
- http://www.xiles.biz/profile.html, 1916 Kimmage Garrison