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Lucan - New Communities

The growth of the outer Dublin suburbs has its origins in Myles Wright’s “The Dublin Region” report, published in 1967. This plan was implemented in 1971 through the Dublin County Development Plan.

Wright himself drew much inspiration from the 1898 book by Ebenezer Howard “Tomorrow, A Peaceful Path to Real Reform”, later republished in 1902 as “Garden Cities of To-Morrow” [sic]. In the book Howard describes new “Garden City” towns with populations of around 5000 people in each, where the best aspects of city and country living could be combined for the benefit of everyone. This somewhat utopian ideal is described in his own words:

'There are in reality not only, as is so constantly assumed, two alternatives - town life and country life - but a third alternative, in which all the advantages of the most energetic and active town life, with all the beauty and delight of the country, may be secured in perfect combination. Human society and the beauty of nature are meant to be enjoyed together.'

Ebenezer Howard, 1898

Howard, bizarrely, has his own Facebook page even though he died in 1928!

Lucan was included in Myles Wright’s plan along with Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown.

Here are some snapshots giving a thumbnail sketch of the dramatic increase in the population of Lucan over the years – the first big increase is between 1966 and 1976 as the Wright plan is being implemented:

1901                1,115

1961                1,657 (Lucan-Dodsboro)

1966                2,100

1976                12,451.

2006                37,600

2011                46,514

The 2011 figure above is from preliminary census results from the Central Statistics Office.  The same preliminary results also show that the second-fastest growing Electoral Division in the whole country was Lucan-Esker with 4,000 more inhabitants since 2006.

Today Lucan, like its sister parish Palmerston, is split between the “New” and “Old” parts. In Lucan’s case the split had its genesis in Dublin County Council’s 1976 proposal for the construction of a £2m bypass to take traffic away from the village. This bypass was opened in 1988 and had the desired effect on traffic volumes in Lucan Village, but had the additional effect of “orphaning” the historic Spa Hotel from its historic setting and leaving the old village and the new housing estates to the south as separate entities.

The growth of these estates has meant that infrastructure for the new communities has had to follow. New schools in the midst of these estates include Archbishop Ryan National School, Gaelscoil Naomh Padraig, Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School, Scoil Aine Naofa and Saint Thomas’s Junior National School. 

September 2000 saw the opening of a new RC church in Lucan South: the Church of Divine Mercy in the old townland of Balgaddy. This replaced a temporary church housed in a prefabricated building dating from 1985. St. Patrick’s RC church now has a huge catchment area encompassing the Adamstown, Dodsboro and Esker areas.

Adamstown deserves special mention here by virtue of the fact that when the development of “New Lucan” was in progress, there was some valid criticism at the time that infrastructural development was lagging behind the construction of the new estates. This led the authorities to manage the new Adamstown Strategic Development Zone (SDZ)’s development from the bottom up. SDZs are developments where infrastructure must take place in tandem with housing. Adamstown Planning Scheme won the principal award at the Irish Planning Institute's 2005 Awards. Infrastructure works commenced on 7 February 2005, and on 16 February 2006 the first houses went onto the market. Adamstown now has its own railway station, primary school and second-level college.