26 Nov

The History of Roebuck Park Through The Eyes Of Margaret Mooney

Mrs. Margaret Mooney of Farmhill Road has written a great memoir for us, which was launched at our Coffee Morning last Monday. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did. We would like to thank Mrs. Mooney very much for sharing her memories of the area with us all.

The History of Roebuck Park Through The Eyes Of Margaret Mooney
November 2017

To get to Goatstown in 1950 you took the number 62 single decker bus from Burgh Quay. It went through Ranelagh, Clonskeagh, and a winding narrow road to Goatstown, where we got off on Larchfield Road for Roebuck Park. We were all squashed on the bus (standing room only) where we met lots of neighbours. In that era Seán Lemass had been improving the status of our country and made provision for new housing estates in Dublin suburbia and provinces. Roebuck was one such estate. The Murray family originally owned the land where Roebuck Park sits today, and sold a number of acres for construction of affordable housing.

Roebuck Park House, 1960’s. Photo taken by Mrs. Margaret Mooney

When we got off the bus at Larchfield Road there was O‘Brien’s shop (on O’Brien’s farm) where you could buy milk and bread. Sheeran’s shop was the terminus for the 62 bus. We bought our newspapers and most items there. The Goat Pub was opposite, previously owned by Traynors. It was a bona fide pub, where you could drink after-hours (the official closing time being 11pm). It was a long time before Pat Quinn opened in Stillorgan Shopping Centre, and then we had Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt for our general shopping. We did have in the meantime our local shops forming. We had Tom Finnegan, Pharmacist, and we had Maurice Coakley’s newsagent and general provisions. We also had Griffith’s Post Office and general provision. Lynam’s now run Roebuck Park Post Office. In the news at the time (1953) Hillary and Tenzing successfully climbed Mount Everest, and there was a great interest in it.

In 1962 television became commonplace. We all had terrestrial aerials erected on the roofs of our houses. To get good reception it depended on the weather. We got a television set because my husband was in the electrical business. If there was interest in a football game we had all the neighbours in to view it. In the beginning we had a sitting room, dining room and kitchen, until it became the television room. This changed the order of the house.

As regards our neighbours, we all got on very well. When I had my first baby in 1957 my neighbour took her for the night to let me rest. Wasn’t that a good turn. We seemed to have more time then to be friendly with neighbours. Time went by more slowly.

At this time we were waiting a number of years for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to take over our estate, and provide us with footpaths and telephones. We badly needed it then. We had no telephone until 1958 – we were on a waiting list. At that time we had no fridge or washing machine. They hadn’t yet come into vogue. My husband said I could have one or the other.

Our estate looks so well today, with all due thanks to our Roebuck Residents’ Association. Back in the 1950‘s I don’t recall any garden centres. We went to Watson’s of Killiney to buy plants (dwarf conifers for example).

We always had a car provided by the firm my husband worked for, so transport was never a problem. Later we had a spare car, a Prefect, in the garage that I could use. There was very little traffic on the road then, or in the estate. A few Anglias, Morris Minors, Hillman Imps, and Baby Austins. No Hondas etc. in those days. We didn’t have much traffic overhead either. We didn’t have the big jumbo jets we have now.

Before Rosemount estate was built we used to walk through a lane on Farmhill Drive across the fields towards the end of Taney Road and up to Holy Cross Church Dundrum to mass on Sunday. Christchurch Taney was opposite Taney Rise, as we now know it. It had a large successful congregation. My husband attended it, and he loved it.

Think of schools. There was no such one as Our Lady’s Grove. St. Anne’s Convent Miltown and The Sacred Heart School Mount Anville Road were the nearest. Of course Dundrum Parish School was always there.

Just to mention, there was a sign in a field on Goatstown Road called Harlech which read “Beware of the Bull”. I have a photo to prove this.

 

Other memoirs, photos, essays etc. welcome!

19 Dec

Roebuck Park 1959-1960

Click for large version (PDF, 12MB)

A longtime Roebuck resident, Mr. Joe Fahy of Larchfield Road, has written a fascinating memoir for the Association. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. We would like to thank Joe very much, and to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Roebuck Park 1959-1960
by Joe Fahy

Autumn 1959: after a few months looking around north and south of the Liffey, Ann and I, newcomers to Dublin from Galway, were at a loss to find a suitable house within our financial means, until one day, a colleague in The Irish Independent advised me to have a look at a house in Larchfield Road. He himself was keen to buy it, but his fiancee would not take it, citing the very small kitchen.

We contacted the owners, Mr and Mrs. Condon, and we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase No.34. Mr. Condon threw in all his gardening implements for nothing. He and his wife went to live in England, but returned to Roebuck Park subsequently. They were a most gracious couple.

The same can be said of all the neighbours whom we got to know in the following years. A number of those who preceded us on Larchfield Road, or their families, are still here – Eileen Graham, the Walsh, Morris, Manahan, Dennehy, Stevenson, Rogers, Mooney, Robinson, Fay and Cullen families. All of those were here from the early 1950s, when the estate was built. The late Paddy Walsh told me he saw the sites being measured on green fields, and was able to point out where the old avenue to Roebuck Park House passed through our gardens.

At the time, many people thought that moving so far from the city was crazy – we were regarded as living in the sticks! Once past Bird Avenue, there was mostly open country. The 62 bus used rattle on up the narrow winding Goatstown Road, traces of which are still visible in Clonskea, at the end of Larchfield Road, and past the Goat Grill. As the double-decker turned a sharp right corner at junction of Goatstown Road and Roebuck Road, many passengers on the upper deck would fear it was going to turn right over! The bus terminated at The Goat, the last stop being right up against the high wall of Mount Anville convent grounds, which extended all the way around to the Lower Kilmacud Road.

There were very few cars on the road then, and many, including myself, took to the bicycle. In the city centre Garda points men directed traffic flows – there were no traffic lights in O’Connell Street. Cyclists were usually first up when the Garda signalled to stop! Traffic volumes started to pick up in the 60s, leading to more and more construction of roads and houses. For quite a number of years, though, Roebuck Park remained in the country, surrounded by fields, with a large farm existing opposite Larchfield Road, to which the children regularly resorted to see the cattle, and especially the O’Brien’s donkeys. The next big estate was Eden Park, and beyond that – nothing! We regularly walked across the fields to Dundrum and Rathfarnham, pushing a pram. There were also garden allotments where houses now stand on Taney Road.

I should say in the beginning, most residents in Larchfield Road, grew vegetables in their back gardens. Mr. Condon had left us a well-stocked garden, which we kept going for as long as we could, growing potatoes, cabbage etc. Eventually, with small children, and the pace of life picking up, most gardens were let into laws, and parts went under extensions. The road, of course, was bursting with young children, ranging in age from toddlers to teenagers. There were even some school bus services, and Mass buses on Sundays.

Residents were well served by the local businesses. The late Mr. Tom Finnegan in the Pharmacy was of inestimable help to parents of young families like ourselves – he was considered to be as good as any doctor in diagnosing children’s ailments, and he had customers coming from all over south Dublin – and it’s so good to see the business being carried on by John, Paula and all their staff. Other business families who served the estate over a number of years were the Griffins, the Coakleys, the Cowleys, the Leonards, the late Noel Walsh who ran a successful butcher shop for many years, and of course, the Lynam family, who have made such a great contribution to our well-being for decades!

In pre-television days, cinemas were the main sources of entertainment, and among the many venues we frequented were the Apollo, Dundrum (later replaced by an Arrow petrol station, then a Jet petrol station, and to-day’s Topaz). Then there was the Stella, Mount Merrion, now Flanagan’s furniture store, the Ormonde, Stillorgan, Classic, Terenure, Stella, Rathmines, and various others around the suburbs.

Dundrum itself changed almost beyond recognition. The McDougal family occupied the land where the first Dundrum Shopping Centre was built, and various changes were made to the road system. In June 1963, a cloudburst deluged the entire Dublin region – a tenement block in Fenian Street, around the corner from Holles Street Hospital, collapsed, killing two children, and houses fell in Bolton Street. That same afternoon, two adventurous youths paddled their canoes down Larchfield Road! Almost the entire tarmacadam surface of the recently-widened Goatstown Road was washed away, and huge slabs of the material piled up at the junction with Roebuck Road.

Over the years, we did think about moving elsewhere, and we looked at some new estates as they were developing, but in the end, the solid construction of our house, and more importantly, the friendliness of our neighbours of many years’ standing deterred us, and we have never regretted the decision to remain firmly implanted in Roebuck Park.


Click here to view a high resolution version of a photo of Roebuck Park from the 1950s. We believe this photo was taken by Rex Roberts, a photographer who lived on Larchfield Road.

Comments, photos and other memoirs welcome!


Update 2/1/16 – To see a cine camera clip of the flood of 1963, visit the Goatstown Facebook page. See the post dated December 23rd. There is another relevant post on December 28th – 2 photos of Goatstown in the 1970s.