A View of Cabra in the 1930′s by Joe Sheridan


Living in Cabra in 2013 I have often wonder what the physical lay out of the area was when the first people came to live in the new houses in the early 1930′s.

There are some great books written about Cabra like Bernard Nearys waiting on the twenty Two and his history of Cabra and Phibsborough which gives the reader some sense of the lay out of the area from the beginning. There is a map going back from 1641 to the nineteen and tewenty century which gives a great account on what the area look like physically before the houses were built in the 1930s.

(Pictured above: Cabra 1936. Beggsboro scheme on the right, Christ the King scheme Bottom right, Sailor and Solders houses bottom left, small bridge leading to pathway to Liffey junctions, Cabra West fields)

In a conversation with a friend of mine Kevin Jones about the early years of Cabra the question came up about the lay out of the area at that time. Kevin had good knowledge of the area in the 1930s. He told me he got a lot of this from his brother in law Joe Sheridan who was one of the first residents in the new houses Faussaugh Lane in 1932. Joe readily agreed and here are his memories of Cabra in early 1930.

(Pictured above: Christ the King Church been built in 1932)

I asked Kevin could he get Joe to talk to me about Cabra in the early thirties. Joe readily agreed and here are his memories of Cabra in the early 1930’s. Joe is 89 years of age and he moved to Cabra at eight years of age in August 1931. Cabra up to 1929 was an agricultural district with a number of big houses like Beggsboro on Faussaugh Lane, Homestead on Quarry lane, Cabragh House, Cabra Villa on Ratoath Road.

(Pictured above: Beggsboro House Faussaugh Road)

Dublin for over 150 years had suffered from appalling housing condition and shortage of housing. Over 20,000 families lived in one room tenements. In 1913 Dublin had the distinction of having the highest infant mortality rate in Europe. To start to alleviate the health and housing problems the new Irish state decided to build housing estates called garden cities on the outskirts of the then city.

The first estate built were Marino in 1925 and this was follow up in 1929  by the designation of three further  areas of Donnycarny, Cabra and  Crumlin. These first houses were called tenant purchase house.

(Pictured above: Crest of the Irish Sailor and Soldiers Land Trust. Photo curtsey of Ciarán Whelan)

The Cabra housing schemes were built in three sections. The first section of houses was on the Faussaugh road which was called Faussaugh Lane at the time. .The second section the Beggsboro scheme was started in 1930.Three years later the Annamoe scheme was started. In 1929 a small scheme of houses were built on Quarry road for ex-servicemen who fought in the First and Second World War.

This was done under The Irish Sailor and Soldiers Land Trust. The first section of houses consisted of the area that was built around Christ the King church. Work started in 1929 with the instillation of the roads and sewers. The names of the roads were assigned in June 1930. The contractor was John Kenny and Sons. By October 1931 641 house were built and of these 442 were occupied. The builder of the houses was H. & J. Martin and G. &T Crampton.  Joe Sheridan’s family was one of the first families into the houses.

(Pictured above: Christ the King housing scheme)

In 2012 I met Joe and he brought me on tour of the area. From Joes recollection this is what the physical lay out of the area was in 1930 .From his house facing onto the Cabra road there was two big houses were Doyle’s solicitors is now. Facing down the Cabra road to Dowth Ave there was no shops.

At the corner of Dowth Ave there was another two big houses. You can still see the roofs of the house at present over looking the shop were Tom Dinam sells his papers. On the opposite side of the Cabra road there were houses stretching all the way up to the Roosevelt cottages at present day Nephin road. Joe remembers the Bradog River flowing along the Cabra road in a ditch until it turned at Charleville road before it was eventually culver a number of years later.

Facing out to Halons pub there was just fields were the Annamoe housing scheme is now. Coming in from the new Cabra road was Quarry road or Quarry lane. This road was named after a slate quarry which was situated were the present roundabout is with the Bless Virgin Mary statue. Along Quarry road were two big houses. One was at the back of the present Cabra Grand were the bingo hall is at present.

There was a long drive way into it lined with trees. The two buildings were Barts pet shop and the bookies are today are the original buildings that were park of the out houses of the big house. At the top of the road were the present club house of Finbarrs s is was another house. There was a small bridge were Matt Whelan bridges is today and a small pathway going up to Liffey junction. Cabra West was just fields.

(Pictured above: Construction of Matt Whelan’s bridge 1939)

The only house on the left hand side looking towards Liam Whelan’s bridge was Beggsboro House. The rest was fields. At the side of Liam Whelan’s bridge Joe recalls a bungalow were the family there kept horses and coal. As we made our way up the new Cabra road Joe remembers the railway station at Carnlough road.

It was a set down station with a vanity room and toilets. It is from this station that Joe and 50 other children from Cabra went on their first summer day trip which was organized by the new Cabra purchase tenant association in 1932. That trip was to Gormanstown in Co Meath to the beach.

(Pictured above: The Cabra Purchase Tenants Association on their first outing to Glendelough 1932)

On reaching Cabra cross and Rathoath road Joe remembers the horse troff at the main entrance of Josephs Deaf School which is now built up. Rathoath road was only half the width of what it is now. Joe remembers walking along a narrow path along the wall which brought you up to Lord Norbury house at the present day Bogies roundabout.

There was a small lane way which started at the end of the Josephs school wall. There was a number of small cottage and yard with a water pump in it. These were called St Mary’s cottages. This laneway went in a bend towards the Navan road and came out just before were the Guard station is at present. Facing this entrance is the present side opening into the Bogies. Joe said this was the same entrance into the Bogies when he was a boy.

(Pictured above: Photograph taking from Bernard Neary Book ‘History of Cabra and Finglas’)

Across the road from the Guard station which is now a derelict site was the house called Cabra Farm. Bernard Neary in his book on Cabra says that a man name James Reid lived here. He was a poor law Guardian and on the board of Dublin County Council. He lived in a thatched long house. Joe remembers the house and said there was a big fire which destroyed the house in 1933 or 1934. A new house was built on the site.

Back down to the Bogies round about Joe described the lay out of the roads in the early thirties. Lord Norbury house was situated at the present Conon Burke flats. A small road way went in a circular route to a bungalow were the start of Ventry Drive is at the moment on Broombridge Road. On the top of the hill on Broombridge road on the right side facing towards the bridge was a cottage. At the junction at Bannow road was another cottage.

As we walk over Broombridge Joe pointed to were the junction of the Ballyboggen or Kings Road met. There was a wide space in front of a country house which had indent bays for churns which were left there for the milk collection.

(Pictured above: Broombridge, taken by Liam Kane)

As we made our way back over Broombridge Joe can remember as if it was yesterday that he and his friends use to dive off Broombridge in to the canal for a swim. It was there that I took the the picture of Joe on the Bridge were eighty years ago as a boy of eight he dive off the he bridge at this spot. Joe is still hail and hearty at the age of eight nine and still rambles around the area were he played and grew up eighty years ago. My thanks to Joe Sheridan and Kevin Jones for all the information and their time.