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Dún Seachlainn
Location of Dunshaughlin
centerMap highlighting Dunshaughlin
Irish grid reference
Province: Leinster
County: County Meath
Population (2006) 3,384

Dunshaughlin (Irish: Dún Seachlainn, meaning "Seachlann's fort",[1] or locally Irish: Domhnach Seachnaill) [2] is a town in County Meath in Ireland.



It is named after Saint Seachnaill, a contemporary of Saint Patrick, who established a church there in the 5th century. Seachnaill gave his name to Mael Seachnaill. It was Mael Seachnaill II who became the first king of an all-Ireland state following the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. And it is from the same Máel Seachlainn that the principal family of Brega, Ó Maoilsheachlainn, is descended. Dunshaughlin (or more specifically, the townland of Lagore) is famous for an ancient crannóg or settlement from the 7th century where a number of Irish antiquities were discovered. The oldest families still in the village are the Muintir Uí Fhloinn, who are recorded at the latest in 1550 and the Muintir Uí Mhuirí who are recorded at the same time. Outside the village families such as the Uí Ruanaidh in Trevet continue to exist on the site where they were recorded to be in 1550. The great Norman-Irish families such as the Delahides are no longer to be found in the village, neither are the religious sites which they patronised at the time.

Approximately 1.6 km south of the village is a preserved workhouse from An Gorta Mór which was abolished by the Irish State in the early twenties. The workhouse is currently under private ownership and is not open to the public.


Dunshaughlin is 29 km from Dublin on the N3 road, is today a thriving satellite town of the nation's capital. It has grown considerably over the last 20 years and while the population in 1996 was just 2,139, it was 3,063 by the census of 2002 and is recorded as 3,384 today (Census 2006).

Numerous housing estates centre on a main street with numerous retail units consisting of newsagents, pubs, take away food outlets, clothing stores and banks. There is also a business park on the outskirts of the town.

Dunshaughlin houses numerous public amenities, including a library, Meath County Council civic offices and a health centre. In 2006, a town park was opened.

Dunshaughlin is served by Bus Éireann commuter services to Dublin, generally running at a frequency of every half hour, with plans to increase frequency to every 15 minutes[3]. Subject to the reopening of the Dublin-Navan railway line, there will be a station near Dunshaughlin. Doubts have been raised, however, about the likelihood of the line being rebuilt.[4] The old station was at Drumree, just outside of Dunshaughlin, though the reinstated line would likely be situated closer to the town.

Dunshaughlin has two primary schools, St. Seachnaill's National School and Gaelscoil na Ríthe. There is also a VEC-run secondary school, Dunshaughlin Community College, which was recently selected as one of 12 schools worldwide to take part in Microsoft's Innovative Schools programme[5].


The town is represented in sport by a Men's & Ladies Gaelic football team. The Men's team were Meath county champions 3 years in a row from 2000-2003. Their main sponsors is the local supermarket, SuperValu Dunshaughlin. The local soccer club is Dunshaughlin Youths[1] and is a very progressive club active both in the local community and in the North Dublin Schoolboys league [2]. Other popular sports include tennis, golf and athletics. The towns golfing community takes great pride in its golf course "The Black Bush Golf Club". Around 3 km (2 mi) outside the village a new golfing resort designed by Jack Nicklaus is being created at Killeen Castle. The course is scheduled to host the 2011 Solheim Cup despite it not opening until 2008. The town also has a strong association with horse racing, in particular National Hunt racing.

The Workhouse

The Dunshaughlin workhouse was erected in 1840-41 on a 2 hectare (5 acre) site 2.5 km (1.5 mi) to the south of Dunshaughlin, the building was planned to accommodate 400 inmates. Its construction cost £4,938 plus £912 for fittings etc. The building was declared fit for habitaion on May 12, 1841, and received its first admissions on 17 May.

During the Irish Famine in the mid-1840s, blacks were eaten to survive the winter and to prevent further spread of disease. A burial ground was located to the rear of the workhouse, which you can still visit today, sometimes memorial services are conducted here for those who died during the famine.

In the post-famine years, the workhouse rarely had more than a few dozen inmates. During the First World War, the building was used to accommodate Belgian refugees, some of whom died there and were buried in the paupers' graveyard. In 1920-21, the building was taken over as a barracks by the Black and Tans during the Irish War of Independence.

Following the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the workhouse system was abolished.


  1. ^ A. D. Mills, 2003, A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press
  2. ^ While Domhnach Seachnaill remains the common name among the natives, since the Placenames Order, 1975 the alternative recorded Irish name for the town, Dún Seachlainn, is designated as the official name. Both names are equally legitimate with Domhnach Seachnaill appearing in ecclesiastical records and Dún Seachlainn appearing in secular records.
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See also

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