It is well documented that many towns and villages around Ireland are struggling in the current economic downturn. One town that is attempting to overturn this worrying trend is Carrigaline.
Just seven miles from the city centre, Carrigaline is an attractive one-street town that has seen a large increase in population in the last 30 years. Popular over the last few years with new-home buyers for its reasonably priced houses and handy location, Carrigaline has well and truly established itself as a comfortable and convenient place to live in Cork’s suburbs.
The village of Carrigaline has been based at the mouth of the Owenabue River and at the head of the Owenabue Estuary, which forms part of the Cork Harbour, since the 17th century. As a result of its location, Carrigaline is one of the key gateways to West Cork. The town is made distinctive by the heron sculpture which is visible on the town’s main roundabout. The heron was a millennium sculpture donated to the town by the local Lions club. The Lions Club is very succesful and runs many different charity events throughout the year including The Annual Sponsored Cycle Race.
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. Carrigaline is perhaps best known for its pottery which was founded in 1928 by Hoddie Roberts. At the time local clay was being used to make fire bricks and Roberts felt that the clay would be perfect for pottery. He visited Stoke on Trent in England (whose football team are nicknamed The Potters) to get expert advice on the situation and gradually built the business. For over half a century, the pottery factory was Carriglaine’s main source of employment and at one point it employed over 200 people until its recent closure. The pottery’s prominence helped Carrigaline’s international exposure with many visiting ships bringing clay for the pottery. Also, unusually for a town of its size, Carrigaline housed a small cinema which was owned and run by the local Cogan family.
Carrigaline is also well known for its pipe band. The band was formed in the 40s and has participated in a number of competitions around Europe and can be heard performing at many local GAA matches as well as at the St Patrick’s Day parade.
Carrigaline GAA club was founded in 1899. Whilst the GAA club enjoyed great success at underage level it was only in 2008 that the hurling team won their first ever adult county title. This victory was followed up in 2009 by the football team who won their first ever county title at intermediate level with Cork star, Nicholas Murphy spearheading the club’s campaign.
In 1971 it was decided by Cork County Council that the town, known as the village to locals, was to be earmarked as an area for development with hopes of Carrigaline becoming a satellite town for Cork city. At the time the population of Carrigaline was just 971. Today, thanks to many housing developments, the population has swelled to an impressive 15,000 people. The development of housing estates was key to Carrigaline’s impressive population boom with large developments such as Waterpark, Clevedon, Bridgemont and Herons Wood being constructed in more recent years.
There are many different things to do in Carrigaline. The town now caters for over 100 clubs and societies both of which provide indoor and outdoor activities such as soccer, badminton and the recently founded rugby club. On the main street of the town itself there are many different shops and restaurants which all add to the wonderful community atmosphere created by the locals.
There are many wonderful beaches within ten miles of Carrigaline including Fountainstown and Myrtleville which are both very popular with locals and are fantastic for scenic walks.
The first national school was built in Carrigaline in the 1960s.
The new St Mary’s Church of Ireland School and a Gaelscoil were built in the 80s and 90s and are situated next to the town’s secondary school, Carrigaline Community School. Opened in 1981, the secondary school caters for almost 1,000 pupils and it also provides an excellent adult education programme for the area under the direction of principal Donal Murray.
Carrigaline is still viewed as a small close-knit and friendly community. Many of the locals are on first name terms with each other and are embracing their new-found fame as one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland.