Official Website of Carrigaline Town

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The History of Carrigaline

Carrigaline is geographically located 12 Kms south of Cork City, at the mouth of the Owenabue River and at the Head of the Owenabue Estuary which forms part of Cork Harbour. The Locality lies within the Barony of Kerrycurrihy a name derived from the Ciarraige Cuircha, a clan who occupied the area prior to 1000AD. It was a very important Barony in early Norman Times. The landscape is dominated by the River and Estuary and gently rolling hills to the North and South of the Town.
For those who live in the locality Carrigaline is still referred to as the village. In so doing a lot is revealed about the nature of the people and the locality. It is still viewed as a small manageable friendly community where people are in first name terms with each other and have a strong sense of identity with the locality. This despite the fact that the population of town & hinterland has grown rapidly to approx. 16,000 in recent years. This rapid growth is not unique within the country however it is rare to find such development while still retaining the sense of identity and belonging to an area. At first glance there appear to be little reason for this unique position, certainly a vibrant community existed in the locality within what was a relatively small population up to the 1970s.

Few remnants remain of the pre Christian era. However, there is an important lios in Kilmoney, next to Liosbourne and Lios rua estates and this is now subject to a preservation order and is being developed as a leisure area. There are Souterrains near the Rock and evidence of pre-historic settlements along the shore edge. Also a lios near Owenabwee Heights and Carrigaline Middle.

The early Christian era influenced the development of the town and remains from that period include the settlements of Kilnagleary and Kilmoney Abbey. The name Kilnagleary is derived from the Irish Church of the Clerics and dates back to the time of St. Finbarr The monastery was located near the present Industrial Estate close to the Owenabwee and was very important. It would have been subject to Viking raids and also raids from the powerful Irish clans such as the O’Briens. One of the raids is mentioned in the Annals of Innisfallen. With the arrivals of the Normans and the building of Castle the abbey lost it’s importance and a church was built on the rock near the castle. The site of the abbey of Kilmoney was located near the residence of the Riordan family which is known as Kilmoney Abbey. The name may have derived from Cille Moine or the church of the bog or the church of Moine perhaps the name of it’s founder or local saint. The abbey was an offshoot of Gill Abbey in Cork. 

The present village of Carrigaline
The village of carrigaline took it's present position in the 17th century, around the bridge at the head of the Owenabue Estuary. Over time the new village took over from the old town at The Rock..

Agriculture, Industry and employment
Agriculture was the main industry in ancient times until corn and flax growing encouraged the development of Flax Mills and Flour Mills in the 19th century. Both Carrigaline Pottery and the Co-op Creamery were formed in 1928 and the Carrigaline Co-op Store was rebuilt in 2000 to become the largest of its kind nationally. In more recent years, industrial development at Carrigaline with the establishments of large plants such as Pfizers, Penn Chemicals- ADM, GSK and Novartis (formerly Sandoz) built at Ringaskiddy have provided employment for locals with many others working in Cork City. In the 1970's, Biocon (now Quest) established a local Biochemical Industry at Crosshaven Road. Hele opened a factory on the Crosshaven Road. The premises are now occupied by P.R.P. Ireland Ltd. KiInaglery Industrial Park and Carrigaline Industrial Park both situated on the Crosshaven road incorporate many large companies such as Pepsi and locally owned West Building Products (formerly Leo West Swish). Barry Collins Supervalu, owned by the local Collins family has extended over the eighties and nineties and is now the largest independent retailer in Ireland. Two local pharmacies Walshes and Phelans grew and developed over outlets around the county. In Carrigaline East Pat O’ Farrell and the O’Farrell family operate a successful cottage industry producing Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese.

Housing developments
The development of housing estates started in the 1970s, with Glenwood, Elmside and Mount Rivers Estate. Then in the eighties Ashbourne Court and Ardcarrig estates were constructed as well as large developments like Waterpark, Clevedon, Dun Eoin, Bridgemount and Herons Wood being constructed in more recent years.

Local Place Names
Carrigaline itself means Rock of the O' Lyons (family). Kilmoney Abbey is a historic building on the Captain's Boreen The Garrydhu is the big field south of the river. Ballea Castle overlooks the Ballea Bridge Lower with the famous White Horse painted on the rock under the Castle.
Ravenswood is a period house on the Ballea Road.

Education in Carrigaline
Education on a primary level is evident in the area since the 18th century. National schools were built in the 1960s. The eighties and nineties saw the building of the new St. Marys COI School and a Gaelscoil –both situated next to the Community School. Carrigaline Community School, caters for second level population of nearly one thousand students and a thriving adult educational programme for the locality. It was opened in 1981 and now has a staff of over sixty under the direction of principal Donal Murray. Irish President Mary Mcaleese visited the school for its 20th anniversary celebrations in 2001.

Recreation and leisure facilities.
Carrigaline now caters for over 100 clubs and associations with many indoor and outdoor activities. (See our Life & People section).On the coast, within 10 miles. are many beaches and inlets which boast water-based leisure facilities such as sailing, surfing and fishing. Local beaches popular with Carrigaline people are Fountainstown and Myrtelville both with 10 mins. drive from the town centre.


The population of Carrigaline in 1971 was 971 when the County Council identified the village as an area for development as a satellite town to Cork City with a green belt between the two centres of population.
Housing developments, consisting mainly of housing estates have occurred on the wings with the result that the main street has retained it’s village atmosphere although now very congested with traffic. A bye pas bridge was opened in the eighties as well as a community complex and a large community school. New Boys and Girls schools were also opened as well as a new Church of Ireland school and a Gaelscoil. The Hurling and football club expanded with new pitches and clubhouse. New Soccer pitches were opened were opened on the Ballea Road and a new Clubhouse was opened last year. The opening of Carrigaline Court Hotel opened up new opportunities for the business life of the town. The Heron on the Roundabout is a millennium sculpture present to the people of the town by the local Lions Club. On the down side a fine Pitch & Putt Course also opened in the eighties closed and a planned sporting complex including indoor facilities on the Crosshaven road appear to suffer from lack of funding. The town had a cinema in the seventies, the Oakwood, it is now the Library. Commercial development of the old Pottery site is at the planning stage, this includes a new Town Centre. A Children’s playground ahs just been opened on the old Pitch & Putt Course and plans for a people’s park wit two five a side facilities are advanced.
Population: of Carrigaline is 11,282 with over 16,000 in the vicinity. Carrigaline does not yet have a town council. Community Association performs many of the acts of the town council in it’s absence such as running Community Complex.Tidy Towns. Youth Club, Youth Club. Twinnng.

Pipe Band: 
The Town is famous for it’s pipe band founded in the forties after the emergency.It has participated in numerous competitions all over Europe and represented us several times at the famous Celtic festival in Lorient located a few miles from our twin town of Guidel. There is a fine Band Hall next to Church.

Sports Clubs
Successful GAA club, founded 1889,with excellent facilities especially with Youth Teams, Catering for approximately three hundred young people for age six upwards. Also Successful Soccer Club with own grounds and Club House and also catering for about three hundred young people from age six upwards. Approximately forty other clubs and societies including Basketball, Rugby, Tennis. See brochure produced last year detailing the clubs and their activities. . A very successful Lions Club who run many CharitableEvents during the year. Actively involved in the building of old peoples homes on Lower Kilmoney road, the old railway walks,

Role played by Local Authorities.
Area Office and Engineer based in Carrigaline. The Engineer lives locally. In the absence of a Town Council, we depend very much on County Council for all our facilities and day to day activities such as litter control, Road surfaces, collection of waste. Good relationship with County Council and many joint community/business/Council projects. Examples are Community Complex, Playground, Riverside Walk.

The absence of a defined town area makes such things as defining the exact population difficult. From a national census point of view Carrigaline is devided into three areas, Carrigaline Cork Rural, Carrigaline Kinsale Rural and Liscleary.