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Finglas (; Irish: Fionnghlas, meaning 'clear streamlet') is a northwestern outer suburb of Dublin, Ireland. It lies close to Junction 5 of the M50 motorway, and the N2 road. Nearby suburbs include Glasnevin and Ballymun; Dublin Airport is seven km (4.3 mi) to the north. Finglas lies mainly in the postal district of Dublin 11.

Finglas is the core of a civil parish of the same name in the barony of Castleknock.


The name Finglas (Irish: Fionnghlas), meaning clear streamlet, is derived from the Finglas River, which passed through the historic settlement.



The centre of Finglas lies on a rise overlooking the valley of the River Tolka, at an altitude of 59 metres (194 ft). The Tolka runs through western and southern Finglas, and forms part of the boundary between Finglas and Glasnevin. Flowing from the north is the stream, the Finglas River, for which the area is named, forming in turn from branches from the townlands of Grange and Kildonan to the north. After meeting a tributary, the St. Margaret's Road Stream, the Finglas flows through the village centre in a culvert, and along the eastern side of Finglas Road, joining the Tolka at Finglas Bridge. To the west of the village centre rises the Finglaswood Stream, which joins the River Tolka via an Integrated Constructed Wetland near a small civic golf course.


Early history

Finglas was originally the site of an Early Christian abbey, the origin of which has been associated, from early times, with the name of St. Cainnech, or Canice, the patron of Kilkenny, said to have founded it in 560 A.D. According to an ancient legend, the ground on which Finglas stands had been sanctified by St. Patrick, who is said to have uttered a prophecy that a great town would arise at the ford of hurdles in the vale beneath. The Nethercross from the first abbey can be seen today in the old graveyard.

St. Canice is said to have been born at Glengiven near Derry. Several primary schools and churches in the area have been named after Canice, including the local Church of Ireland church (built in 1843) and Roman Catholic church (built in 1920 on the site of a much earlier mass house).

Early modern period

The Finglas or Finglass family, who were prominent in the legal profession and in politics in the sixteenth century, took their name from the district.

In 1649, the Duke of Ormonde used Finglas as a staging post for his army before launching an unsuccessful Siege of Dublin.

Following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, Finglas was used as a camp for four days by William of Orange en route to Dublin city. While there he issued the Declaration of Finglas, offering a pardon for many of James II's defeated supporters.

20th century onwards

In 1932, Ireland's first commercial airport was set up at Kildonan in Finglas. It was the site for the first Irish commercial aircraft, a Desoutter Mark II aircraft "EI-AAD", and the first commercial air taxi service, the Iona National Air Taxis and Flying School.

In the 1950s, Finglas was developed with extensive housing estates, to rehouse many north inner-city Dublin residents. Many of these estates, particularly in Finglas West, were named after prominent Irish republicans from early 20th-century Irish history, including Barry, Casement, Plunkett, Mellows, McKee, Clune and Clancy.


In the village centre is a range of shops, including one of the first-established Superquinn stores (since rebranded as SuperValu), banking facilities, pubs and restaurants. To the north are several light industrial estates.

Charlestown Shopping Centre and Clearwater Shopping Centre, are located outside the village core, to the north and south of Finglas respectively.

Finglas is home to one of Dublin's four Road Safety Authority Driving Testing Centres, which is located in Jamestown Business Park.

The Finglas Maypole Arts Festival was launched in 2019. In its first year, the festival committee was part of a steering group that got the first blue plaque in Finglas – to honour the uileann piper Séamus Ennis.


There are 13 primary and national schools in the Finglas area, and 6 secondary schools. Coláiste Íde College of Further Education is located in Finglas West and offers third level courses.


The Rugby Union club Unidare RFC and the GAA club Erins Isle are based in the area. Soccer clubs include Tolka Rovers F.C., Valley Park United, WFTA Football Club, Willows FC and Finglas Celtic FC, Rivermount Football Club and Beneavin F.C.


Finglas is served by a number of bus routes operated by Dublin Bus and Go-Ahead Ireland. These include the 9, N4, N6, 40, 40B, 40D, 40E, 83, 83A,140 & 220. The main route serving the area is the number 40 which runs between Charlestown Shopping Centre and Liffey Valley via Dublin city centre. A new route, the 40E, was also introduced from Tyrellstown to provide a direct link to the extended Luas Green Line in Broombridge. Other routes serving the area include the 17A which runs between Kilbarrack to Blanchardstown, the 140 which runs to Rathmines via the city centre and the 83 which runs to Kimmage via Glasnevin and the city centre. It is also served by the 88N Nitelink service. Two Bus Éireann routes also serve Finglas, passing along the main Finglas Road, including the 103 from Duleek/Kilmoon Cross/Ashbourne to the city centre.

Representation and governance

Finglas is in the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council, and for local elections it is part of the Finglas-Ballymun local electoral area.

Finglas is part of the Dublin North-West constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann.

The civil parish of Finglas is a civil parish in the barony of Castleknock.

Notable people

Finglas has been the home of a number of notable figures, including:

  • Dermot Bolger, writer and poet, whose novels The Woman's Daughter and Night Shift are set in Finglas
  • Bono, lead singer of U2
  • Achmet Borumborad, con-artist who operated in late 18th-century Dublin
  • Charles Bowden, Irish criminal
  • Gerard Byrne (born 1958), Irish artist
  • Declan Cassidy filmmaker, television producer and author
  • Patrick Clarke (filmmaker) The opening scene from Beyond the Pale (film) was shot in Erin's Isle GAA Club
  • Christy Dignam, Joe Jewell, and Alan Downey, Aslan musicians
  • Martin Doherty, volunteer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army
  • Regina Doherty, Fine Gael Senator and former Minister for Social Protection
  • Eamon "The Don" Dunne, Irish crime boss
  • Dessie Ellis, Sinn Féin TD
  • Séamus Ennis, uilleann piper
  • Mairead Farrell, radio and television personality
  • Pat Fenlon, Football manager
  • Tony Fenton, Today FM DJ
  • Patrick Finglas (died 1537), Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
  • John Fogarty CSSp, Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit
  • Niamh Kavanagh, Eurovision Song Contest 1993 winner, and Irish representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010
  • Dick McKee, volunteer for the Irish Republican Army
  • Colm Meaney, actor
  • Brendan O'Carroll, comedian and actor
  • Stephen O'Rahilly, endocrinologist and scientist researching obesity and diabetes
  • Spiral, a former Big Brother contestant, who wrote, performed and released a song about Finglas

And in sport:

  • Irish international footballers: Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton, David O'Leary, Alan Moore, Mark Kinsella, Stephen Kelly, and footballers John Keogh, Cliff Byrne, and Derek Brazil.
  • All Ireland winning Dublin GAA players: James McCarthy, Charlie Redmond, Barney Rock and Jason Sherlock

In popular culture

The BBC sitcom, Mrs. Brown's Boys, is set in Finglas.

See also

  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Dublin)


Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Finglas by Wikipedia (Historical)