What (or indeed where ) is Mount Merrion?

To those of us who live there it is home – the place where we have grown up or where we have brought up our children. To others it may be a slightly puzzling place, an ill-defined residential area confused with, but separate from the Merrion of the Merrion Road and the Merrion of Dublin Bay.

Mount Merrion is a region of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County, a county which rejoices in the motto of “O cuan go sliabh” (“From the harbour to the mountain)”. Mount Merrion rises from the coast – hence its name. But being neither on the coast or in the hills it somehow doesn’t feature large in the accounts of the area. Until now, it has been largely overlooked.

As a locality, Mount Merrion doesn’t have a clearly defined village centre which many would consider essential to give it a focus. Moreover, it has an image of being that worst kind of residential development, a dormitory suburb. Yes - Mount Merrion was established as a dormitory suburban residential development to provide for the growing population of Dublin in the middle third of the twentieth century. But in a unique way it helped to define the suburban growth of Dublin just as had the establishment of what are now the inner suburbs of the city, established in the previous century. As a development, Mount Merrion exhibited, from the start, the essential features of that elusive planner’s ideal, the garden town. These characteristics exist to this day in Mount Merrion and are jealously preserved.

Critical to the development of Mount Merrion, was its clearly defined geographical identity within the boundaries of the 300 year old Fitzwilliam Estate. Resulting from all these factors, Mount Merrion has both a particular ambience and an identity which are hard to describe but which help to define its essential soul.

Mount Merrion didn’t shout its praises to the sky but preferred to quietly develop bonds of neighbourhood. These bonds have sustained the community through the difficult years of its establishment and through the many turmoils and economic down-turns of succeeding years. These bonds which are present in many definable, but equally importantly indefinable, ways have forged our community and sustained it to today.

So what is the story of Mount Merrion?

THIS IS THE STORY OF OUR MOUNT MERRION – LARGELY UNTOLD UNTIL NOW

 

Conal Hooper

 

a view of Dublin bay towards Howth Head, from Mount Merrion