South Circular Road Islandbridge
Guest Blog Post
by Catherine Scuffil, MA (hons) BBS (hons)
Dublin City Council South Central Area Office Historian in Residence
Image credit: Illustration of Islandbridge (1960), Dublin City Library and Archive (DCLA) Vital 7 Repository
In a letter to the Irish Times in 1908, Mr. W. Henderson, Dublin, noted that it was proposed to rename the road which commenced where the South Circular Road (SCR) stopped at Kilmainham and runs to the Chapelizod Road. Part of this road at the time was called Richmond Hill, part O’Connell Road and the rest appeared unnamed. Some residents suggested that the whole be called Isoldes Road to commemorate the great love of Tristan and Isolde – from whom, it was claimed, Chaplizod gets its’ name. Isoldes Hill was at the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park (1). However, some time later, the road was included as part of the SCR and given the designation ‘Islandbridge’. It was characterised as a broad, vertical route commencing at the junction of John’s Road and continuing downhill towards the river Liffey reflecting evidence of the earlier broad highway proposed by the initial planners. It was also the municipal boundary between the wards of Kilmainham to the west and Ushers Quay to the east. The key building on SCR Islandbridge, and dominating much of the east side of the route was the artillery barracks built by the convicts from various jails, including those from the Richmond Bridewell at the SCR Dolphin’s Barn (2). Although still called the SCR, the road continued to the north side of the city, just past the crossing of the River Liffey at Sarah bridge. The SCR route terminated at the junction with Conyngham Road with the Phoenix Park providing the link to the North Circular Road.
1.Irish Times 15 October, 1908
2.O’Donnell, ‘Dublin Military Barracks’ p 144
Catherine Scuffil MA (hons) BBS (hons)
Dublin born and reared, Catherine’s interest in local history was formed at an early age encouraged by parents who also shared a love of Dublin. Living most of her life in Dublin 8, she was honorary secretary/founder member of the Dolphin’s Barn Historical Society (1986) and compiled and edited their publication By the Sign of the Dolphin (1993). Catherine completed the Certificate in Local History with the Dublin City Archive, Pearse Street following which she graduated with a Masters in Local History from NUI Maynooth. Catherine’s master’s thesis research has been published by Four Courts Press as The South Circular Road Dublin on the Eve of the First World War 1. Catherine is currently working as Historian in Residence with Dublin City Council for the South Central Area.
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