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Swords, Dublin

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Swords, Dublin

Conor Grimes :)

Sord Cholmcille
North Street, Swords
Motto: Your Swords, an Emerging City[2]
Conor Grimes :) is located in Ireland
Conor Grimes :)
Conor Grimes :)
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Region Dublin
County Fingal
EU Constituency Dublin
Dáil Constituencies

Dublin North,

Dublin West
Local Electoral Areas Swords, Malahide
Founded 560
County Town 1994
Emerging City 2008
City TBA
Founded by St Colmcille
Named for (possibly) St Colmcille's Well
County Hall Main Street, Swords
Electoral Divisions
 • Type Local Authority
 • Body Fingal County Council
 • Mayor Kieran Dennison (Fine Gael)
 • Deputy Mayor Ted Leddy
 • County Manager David O'Connor
 • Deputy County Manager Michael Lorigan
 • Director of Planning Gilbert Power
 • Swords Local Electoral Area 114.02 km2 (44.02 sq mi)
 • Urban[5] 11.35 km2 (4.38 sq mi)
 • Metro[6] 15.99 km2 (6.17 sq mi)
Area rank 1
 • Swords CT 10.21 km2 (3.94 sq mi)
 • Kinsealy-Drinan CT 1.14 km2 (0.44 sq mi)
  Source: CSO Sapmap Viewer
 • Length 5.15 km (3.20 mi)
 • Width 4.04 km (2.51 mi)
Highest elevation[8] 60 m (200 ft)
Lowest elevation[9] 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)[10]
 • Swords Local Electoral Area 68,583
 • Rank 1
 • Density 531/km2 (1,380/sq mi)
 • Density rank 1
 • Urban[11] 42,738
 • Urban density 3,765/km2 (9,750/sq mi)
 • Swords CT 36,924
 • Swords CT density 3,615/km2 (9,360/sq mi)
 • Kinsealy-Drinan CT 5,814
 • Kinsealy-Drinan CT density 5,101/km2 (13,210/sq mi)
  Source: Census 2011
Demonym(s) Fingalian
Ethnic or Cultural Background[12]
 • White Irish 30946
 • White Other 7089
 • Asian or Asian Irish 1169
 • Black or Black Irish 1142
 • White Irish Traveller 96
 • Roman Catholic 34021
 • Orthodox 1335
 • Protestant 944
 • Other Christian 850
 • Muslim 569
Time zone WET (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Postal Hub DUBLIN K67
Postal Sorting Office SWORDS
Dialing Code +353(0)1
Geocode O184469
ISO 3166 code IE-D
Vehicle registration D

Swords (from Irish: Sord Cholmcille) is the county town of Dublin in County Dublin, Ireland. It is variously defined as an expansive satellite town within commuting distance of Dublin proper, and as an emerging city in its own right. It is about 13 km north of Dublin city centre. The name "Swords" may also be applied to the townland,[14] the civil parish or to the local electoral area. At the 2011 census the total urban population of greater Swords was 42,738 but when local electoral area definitions are taken into account, the population is 68,583. It lies in Dublin's K67 postal code routing area, commonly known as eircode in Ireland.

Fingal County Council's Strategic Vision for Swords is to create a sustainable new city. They have referred to Swords as an "emerging city" and project that the population of Swords will rise towards 100,000 by the year 2035.[15] The town is the seventh largest urban area in the country, and the second largest in County Dublin.

In 2012, Swords was named the third best town in Ireland to live in. The survey conducted by Retail Excellence Ireland took into account safety, retail, dining, entertainment, events, car parking and overall attractiveness of the town.[16] Since the mid-1990s Swords has seen improvements in shop fronts, public buildings and footpaths and the restoration of Swords Castle. In 2003 the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Survey scored Swords the worst litter blackspot in the country.[17] Following a huge improvement to litter in the town, in their 2011 survey Swords was declared the second cleanest town in Ireland.[18]


  • History 1
    • Cleanliness 1.1
    • Historical society 1.2
  • Geography 2
    • Landscape 2.1
    • Townlands and baronies 2.2
    • Urban layout 2.3
    • Climate 2.4
    • Demographics 2.5
      • Formal status question 2.5.1
  • Transport 3
    • Roads 3.1
    • Bus 3.2
    • Rail 3.3
    • Metro 3.4
    • Dublin Airport 3.5
    • Knocksedan Heliport 3.6
  • Features and historical attractions 4
    • Swords Castle 4.1
    • St. Colmcille's Well 4.2
    • St. Columba's Church, Belfry & Round Tower 4.3
    • Old Vicarage 4.4
    • Old Borough School 4.5
    • St. Colmcille’s RC Church 4.6
    • The Courthouse 4.7
    • Teachers' residences 4.8
    • Carnegie Library 4.9
    • Fingal County Hall 4.10
  • Leisure facilities 5
    • Ward River Valley Park 5.1
    • Swords Town Park (with Swords Castle) 5.2
    • Balheary Park 5.3
    • Broadmeadow River Linear Park 5.4
    • Proposed Swords Regional Park 5.5
    • National Show Centre 5.6
  • Sports 6
    • Badminton 6.1
    • Basketball 6.2
    • BMX 6.3
    • Boxing 6.4
    • GAA 6.5
    • Golf 6.6
    • Hockey 6.7
    • Martial Arts 6.8
    • Orienteering 6.9
    • Soccer 6.10
    • Tennis 6.11
  • Events 7
    • Fingal Horticultural Show 7.1
    • Flavours of Fingal Agricultural Show 7.2
    • Dog shows 7.3
    • Fingal 10k Road Race 7.4
  • Economy 8
    • Retail 8.1
    • Aviation 8.2
    • Logistics 8.3
    • Pharmaceutical 8.4
    • Food and Horticulture 8.5
  • Education 9
    • Primary 9.1
    • Secondary 9.2
    • Third level 9.3
    • Further education 9.4
    • Other 9.5
  • Religion 10
    • Christianity 10.1
    • Islam 10.2
  • Notable residents 11
  • Local Politicians 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


The town's origins date back to 560 AD when it was founded by Saint Colmcille (521–567).[19] Legend has it that the saint blessed a local well, giving the town its name, Sord, meaning "clear" or "pure". However, An Sord also means "the water source" and could indicate a large communal drinking well that existed in antiquity.[20] St. Colmcille's Well is located on Well Road off Swords Main Street. Sord may also refer to a "sward", an 'expanse of grass'.[21] The most ubiquitous landscape indicators of Early Christian Settlement are the ecclesiastical enclosures. In Swords case the street pattern has been influenced by the circular alignment of the settlement. The medieval town developed in a linear pattern along the Main Street in a north – south direction. Swords has one of the best examples of this settlement pattern in the Dublin region. The round tower, 26m in height, is also an indicator of early Christian settlement. At the northern end of the street stands Swords Castle, 200m northeast of the ecclesiastical site, which was built in the early 13th century. A short distance north of the Castle is an elevation known as Spittal Hill, where a hospital once stood.[22]

In 1994, Swords became the county seat of the new county of Fingal after the breakup of the former County Dublin; in 2001, it also became the administrative centre for Fingal, upon the completion of Fingal's County Hall.

In June 2006, the R.N.L.I. Ireland officially opened its new all-Ireland headquarters at Airside Business Park, within greater Swords. The new Irish H.Q. was officially opened by President Mary McAleese. In attendance at this Presidential ceremony was Admiral Sir Jock Slater, RN, a former British First Sea Lord then serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the R.N.L.I..


The cleanliness of Swords has hugely improved in recent years. In 2003 the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Survey scored Swords the worst litter blackspot in the country.[23] Following a huge improvement to litter in the town, in their 2011 survey Swords was declared the second cleanest town in Ireland.[18]

Historical society

Swords Historical Society was founded in 1982, and its volunteers have worked to record, promote and preserve all aspects of the heritage of the greater Swords area. The Society's Museum and Heritage Centre at the Carnegie Library on North Street is run by volunteers and is open weekdays from 1 p.m. to 4.30p.m. There is a collection of old photos and artefacts on display and their oral history project has produced the annual 'Swords Voices' publication. Now in its eighteenth year the publications have chronicled the memories of local people, thus creating a unique social history of the area.[24]

Main Street, Swords in 1940



Swords is situated roughly in the centre of the county of Fingal. The Ward River, from Meath, runs west to east to near the centre of the town, and then turns to run north, before flowing into the Broad Meadow Water or Broadmeadow River. The Broadmeadow, also from Meath, borders the north of the town. It runs from Dunshaughlin in the west and across the north of Swords, before receiving the Ward and flowing into the wide Broadmeadow Estuary, then into the Irish Sea past Malahide. The estuary is crossed by a railway embankment and bridge from Malahide.

Swords is surrounded by a green belt. Dublin Airport has prevented the town from expanding further south and the large Broadmeadow Estuary and town of Malahide limit expansion further east. To the north and west of Swords there is sparsely-populated, relatively flat, farmland.

Townlands and baronies

Swords Demesne is the name of the townland in the heart of the urban town of Swords.[14] It is one of 58 such geographic units in the civil parish of Swords. The parish is one of seven such parishes in the barony of Nethercross, although part of the parish lies in the neighbouring Barony of Coolock.[25] There are 10 townlands in the electoral division of Swords which is not co-terminous with the parish.

Urban layout

Swords Main Street at Malahide Road junction

The main retail area is located in the centre of the town, and includes the Main Street, with the Pavilions and Swords Central shopping centres, Swords Plaza and Swords Town Mall. Most civic faciities are also in this central area, with some subsidiary shopping and civic centres in surrounding housing areas.

The west of the urban area is mainly residential, with the neighbourhoods of Applewood, Rathbeale and Brackenstown to the north of the Ward River and Knocksedan, River Valley, Rathingle and Boroimhe to the south side of the river.

The main business and industrial areas are located to the east of the town centre, along the R132 dual carriageway. These include Balheary Industrial Park, Swords Business Campus, Swords Business Park, and the Airside campus (Business Park, Retail Park and Motor Park). The neighbourhoods of Seatown, Holywell and Drynam are also to the east of the town core.


The climate of Swords is, like the rest of Ireland, classified as a maritime temperate climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system. It is mild and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. The hottest months of the year are June, July and August with temperatures of around 17 – 20 degrees. Swords gets rainfall all year round and the wettest months are October to January.

Climate data for Swords (Dublin Airport) (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.5
Average high °C (°F) 8.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
Record low °C (°F) −9.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 62.6
Average rainy days 17 15 17 15 15 14 16 16 15 17 17 17 191
Average snowy days 4.6 4.2 2.8 1.2 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 2.9 16.6
Average relative humidity (%) 80.6 75.7 71.0 68.3 68.0 68.3 69.0 69.3 71.5 75.1 80.3 83.1 73.3
Mean daily sunshine hours 1.9 2.7 3.5 5.3 6.2 5.8 5.3 5.1 4.3 3.3 2.4 1.7 3.9
Source: Met Éireann[26]


Fingal County Hall.

Swords has developed into one of the largest urban areas in Ireland. The town's population boom began in the 1970s with the construction of the sprawling Rivervalley Estate, then Ireland's largest private housing development, ahead of Kilnamanagh Estate in Tallaght North. It continued during the 1990s and 2000s, with many new residents moving to the area due to its proximity to work at Dublin Airport and various industrial estates.

At the 2011 census the total urban population of greater Swords was 42,738. This wider area of Swords had a population density in 2011 of 3765/km2, making it the most densely populated urban area in Ireland.[27]

Fingal County Council have referred to Swords as an "Emerging City", and have suggested that the town's (or city's) population may reach 100,000 by 2035.

Formal status question

Unlike most large towns in Ireland, Swords does not have a town council and so any legal boundaries. Within Greater Dublin, Tallaght (originally a small country village) and Clondalkin (a monastic settlement turned small town), built up deliberately as "new towns", have similar issues.

Towns which do not have legal boundaries are classified as Census Towns for statistical reasons and are assigned boundaries by the Central Statistics Office, purely for statistical use. However, when the CSO assigned boundaries to the Swords "census town" they excluded the Drynam and Holywell housing estates, and considered them as a separate census town of "Kinsealy-Drinan". The "Swords" "census town" had a population of 36,924 (the third largest such unit in Ireland), and the "Kinsealy-Drinan" "census town" had a population of 5,814. The two census towns are part of the same broad urban area, and are both within the "Swords development boundary" as defined by Fingal County Council.[28] When put together they have a total population of 42,738, well ahead of Irelands "official" largest town, Drogheda (38,578). The reason that two census towns were identified is probably because of an area of undeveloped land between them at Barryparks. This land has been left undeveloped because Fingal County Council has reserved it for commercial use to allow Swords develop its own "city centre." There is an issue with the CSO's own guidelines which say that borders will be extended to include all occupied dwellings within 100 metres of an existing building.[29] According to the CSO's own SAPMAP viewer, there is definitely less than 100 meters between the two "census towns," down to only 10 metres at one point.[30] This problem can't be resolved until at least the next census in 2016, although it could also be resolved by applying legal boundaries to Swords, covering the entire developed urban area.



Swords has good road links due to its proximity to Dublin city, which is the main focus for the Irish road network. The M1 Dublin-Belfast motorway passes along the eastern edge of the town and is the main route to/from Dublin City, Drogheda, Dundalk and Northern Ireland. The M50 Dublin semi-orbital motorway passes to the south of the town and provides connections with all of the other main roads out of Dublin (N2, N3, N4, N7, N81 and M11). The R132 dual-carriageway by-passes the centre of Swords, and runs south to Dublin Airport and north to Balbriggan. The proposed Swords Western Ring Road dual carriageway will run from the M1 at Lissenhall, north of Swords, along the western edge of Swords to the M2 motorway at Cherryhound. It will improve access to the western side of Swords and will also create a full ring road. Other main roads from Swords include the R106 to Malahide and Portmarnock, R108 to Ballyboughal and Naul, R125 to Ashbourne and the M2 motorway, R126 to Donabate and Portrane and R127 to Lusk and Skerries.

M1 Motorway Junction List (Swords area)
Northbound exits (read up) Junction Southbound exits (read down)
M1 continues towards Drogheda, Dundalk and Belfast M1 from Belfast, Dundalk and Drogheda
Balbriggan (R132) Lusk, Rush (R132)
Lusk services Lusk services
Skerries, Rush, Donabate (R132 (R126)) Swords (North), Malahide, Donabate (R132 (R126))
Swords (Centre) (R125) No exit
Dublin Airport, Swords (South) (R132) Dublin Airport, Swords (South) (R132)
Start of M1 motorway Malahide (N32), ALL OTHER ROUTES (M50 )
Motorway continues as M50 for Dublin and Dublin Port
R132 Dual Carriageway Junction List (Swords area)
Northbound (read up) Junction Southbound (read down)
R132 continues towards Balbriggan R132 from Balbriggan
Services Turvey Roundabout Donabate, Turvey Avenue (L2136)
Bealinstown, Batter Lane Tesco Roundabout Tesco Ireland Distribution Centre
Belfast, Balbriggan (M1 ) Lissenhall Interchange Donabate (R126), Dublin (M1 )
Ennis Lane, Emmaus Retreat Centre Estuary Centre
Town Centre, Applewood, Ashbourne (R125) Estuary Roundabout Fingallians GAA, Swords Wastewater Treatment Plant (L1241)
No right turn Seatown Road
Town Centre, Swords Castle, Rathbeale Road Seatown Roundabout Seatown, Broadmeadow Estuary, Swords Recycling Centre
No right turn Swords Business Park
Town Centre, Pavilions Shopping Centre Malahide Road Roundabout Malahide (R106), Kinsealy, Drynam (L2065)
Pavilions Shopping Centre No right turn
Town Centre, Highfields Pinnock Hill Roundabout Airside Retail Park, Holywell, Dublin (R125 (M1 ))
Boroimhe, River Valley (L2300) Nevinstown Cross Airside Retail Park, Holywell (L2203)
No right turn Kettles Lane, Kingdom Hall (L2060)
Naul, St. Margarets (L2020) Cloghran Roundabout Baskin, National Show Centre
No right turn Stockhole Lane
Dublin Airport Terminals 1 & 2 Airport Roundabout Dublin, Belfast (M1 )
Dublin Airport Terminals 1,2 & Cargo Corballis Cross Red Long Term parking, ALSAA
Ballymun, Blue Long Term parking (L2015) Collinstown Cross Dardistown Cemetery
R132 from Santry R132 continues towards Santry


The town's Main Street is served by over 600 scheduled bus services daily, on Dublin Bus routes 33, 33a, 33b, 33n, 41, 41a, 41b, 41c, 41n, 41x, 42n, 43, 102 and 142, Bus Éireann routes 101 and 101n, and Swords Express routes 500, 500x, 501, 501x and 502. Buses operate between Swords and Dublin city centre approximately every 5 minutes throughout the day, through a combination of Dublin Bus routes 33, 41, 41b, 41c, 41n, 41x & 43,[31] with a journey time of about an hour. The Swords Road Quality Bus Corridor is the busiest in the country, with buses operating on average every 58 seconds during peak times.[32] Swords Express[33] operate express services through the Dublin Port Tunnel which take about 35 minutes. Other buses serving Swords include Dublin Bus route 102 to Malahide, Portmarnock and Sutton, route 33b to Donabate and Portrane, routes 33 and 33a to Lusk, Rush, Skerries, and Balbriggan and Bus Eireann route 101 to Balbriggan, Julianstown and Drogheda. Connect Bus and Coach operate route H1 every 20 minutes between Dublin Airport and the Travelodge Hotel in Swords.

There are a large range of long distance bus services from the Atrium Road and Coach Park in Dublin Airport[34] to various locations throughout the country operated by Bus Éireann[35] and other private companies, including 50 daily services to Belfast (route 1/X2 & Aircoach[36]), 12 to Derry (route 33 & John Mc Ginley[37]), 11 to Letterkenny (route 32 & John Mc Ginley), 9 to Donegal (route 30), 3 to Sligo (route 23), 1 to Ballina (route 22), 52 to Galway (route 20, Citylink[38] & gobus[39]), 14 to Limerick (route 12 & JJ Kavanagh[40]), 24 to Cork (GoBé & Aircoach), 6 to Clonmel (JJ Kavanagh), 21 to Waterford (route 4/X4 & JJ Kavanagh) and 31 to Wexford (route 2, Ardcavan[41] & Wexford Bus[42]).


Swords has no railway services. The nearest railway stations are Malahide Station and Donabate Station. Malahide is served by the frequent Dublin area rapid transit service to Bray, through the city centre. Both Malahide and Donabate are served by Dublin – Drogheda commuter services.


The Dublin – Swords route is the busiest bus corridor in the country, and there are plans for a new light rapid transit line along the route. The future Metro North line is proposed to run from St Stephen's Green in Dublin City Centre to Swords via the Mater Hospital, Drumcondra Railway Station, Dublin City University, Ballymun and Dublin Airport. Due to the financial situation, the €2.5 billion project has been deferred, to be reconsidered should funding become available. 2011 was originally set as the completion date but it is now not expected to even start construction until 2015 at the earliest. It was planned to carry over 34 million passengers a year and have capacity for 20,000 passengers an hour in each direction. Trains would run up to every 2 minutes during peak times.

Three stops have been proposed in or near the Swords area:

  • Estuary – at the edge of Balheary Park, would serve passengers for north Swords and the Applewood and Balheary areas
  • Swords – planned to run in the median of the R132 adjacent to the Pavilions Shopping Centre and Barrysparks future development lands, would serve passengers for the town centre and Brackenstown and Swords Manor areas
  • Fosterstown – adjacent to Airside Retail Park, would serve passengers in River Valley / Boroimhe / Holywell areas – would also include a 300-space "park-and-ride" facility
  • Airport – between Terminals 1 and 2 in Dublin airport, to serve air passengers and workers

A further three stops were originally proposed but were refused planning permission. The reasons were mainly because of a lack of development in the area, so these stops could possibly be built in the future following development in the relevant areas:

  • Belinstown – originally proposed to include a 3000-space "park-and-ride" facility just off the M1, for passengers travelling from places north of Swords
  • Lissenhall – north of Estuary stop
  • Seatown – between Estuary and Swords stops, refused because Estuary and Swords stops were considered close enough for passengers

Belinstown was originally proposed as the location for the metro depot, which would have created a lot of jobs for the Swords area. But planning permission was refused for all of the line north of the Estuary Stop, including the depot. It is now proposed to locate the depot in Dardistown, south of Dublin Airport.

Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport, the main airport in Ireland, is located at Collinstown, several kilometres to the south of Swords. The airport has direct flights to Britain, Europe, North America, North Africa and the Middle East. Aer Lingus and Ryanair are the largest operators from the airport. In 2011, 18.7 million passengers passed through the airport, making it the busiest on the island airports by total passenger traffic. There are approximately 50 daily departures from Dublin to all six London airports (Stansted, Luton, Gatwick, Heathrow, London City and Southend). As of 2014, Dublin – London is the world's 2nd busiest international air route, behind Hong Kong - Taipei.[43] There are over 40 daily departures to other UK airports.

Knocksedan Heliport

Knocksedan Heliport is a private heliport on the western side of Swords, run by Celtic Helicopters. The heliport has four hangars and they provide a helicopter wash facility and Jet A1 Fuel.[44] Irish Helicopters also use the heliport. They provide aerial crane, filming and survey services, helicopter charter and maintenance, spraying and special project services.[45]

Features and historical attractions

Some historical attractions are listed below. Many of these are promoted by Swords Historical Society.[24]

Swords Castle

Constable Tower, Swords Castle

Swords Castle was built as the manorial residence of the 1st Archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn, around 1200 or a little later in Swords, just north of Dublin. It was never strong in the military sense, but covers a large pentagonal walled area of nearly 1.5 acres (6,000 m²) with a tower on the north, probably the Constable's residence, and an impressive gateway complex on the south. The warder may have occupied the quarters to the left of the gate, while to the right was the janitor's room with the priest's room overhead. The adjoining chapel, built in the late thirteenth century, was probably used as the Archbishop's private oratory.

Other buildings, recorded in an inquisition in 1326, have now vanished, including the great hall on the east side of the enclosure. The Archbishop abandoned Swords once a new palace was built at Tallaght in 1324 – a move no doubt encouraged by damage sustained during Bruce's campaign of 1317. The stepped battlements suggest some form of occupancy during the fifteenth century, but by 1583, when briefly occupied by Dutch Protestants, it was described as "the quite spoiled old castle". It was used as a garden in the nineteenth century and sold after the Church of Ireland was disestablished.

Swords Castle is undergoing a significant redevelopment and is intended to become a tourist attraction. The newly renovated castle was used as a film location for the production of TV series The Tudors in spring 2010.[46] Swords Castle and Courtyard is open to the public from Monday to Friday by appointment only by calling 01 890 5600.[47]

St. Colmcille's Well

On Well Road, and also known as St. Columb's Well. In a locked chamber. Reputed to be where Swords got its name when St. Colmcille blessed the well of clear water, 'Sord' being the Irish for 'clear or pure'.

St. Columba's Church, Belfry & Round Tower

St. Columba's church and round tower

The round tower is the surviving remnant of St. Colmcille's monastic settlement. The only remaining relic of the medieval church is its belfry, from c. 1300, which is open to the public in summertime, when fine days afford the visitor a view of four counties from the tower's height. The original church is said to have fallen into ruin sometime in the seventeenth century. The new church of early Gothic style was built in 1811 on the foundations of the old.[48] The Sexton's Lodge is also of architectural interest and was built in 1870. The body of Brian Boru was said to have been brought there in 1014 to be waked after the Battle of Clontarf, while on the way to be buried in Armagh.[49]

Old Vicarage

Dating from around 1730, now apartments with part of original building retained.

Old Borough School

Main Street, now a public house. It was built in 1809 with fund awarded after the Act of Union from the Borough of Swords was disenfranchised. Designed by noted architect of the time, Francis Johnston. The story of the school is well documented.

St. Colmcille’s RC Church

On Chapel Lane, a pre-Catholic Emancipation church built in 1827 on a site donated by James Taylor of Swords House. The graveyard contains many interesting headstones, including one for nationalist politician Andrew Kettle, who was known as "Parnell’s Righthand Man."

The Courthouse

Swords courthouse

North Street, built 1845 in Classical style, design by Alexander Tate.

Teachers' residences

North Street – built in 1890. Now part of Fingal Community College.

Carnegie Library

North Street, built in 1909. Redbrick building typical early 20th century. Now houses Swords Museum/Fingal Genealogy Centre.

Fingal County Hall

The award-winning modern Fingal County Hall by Bucholz McEvoy architects dominates the northern end of Main Street. It is built on the site of Swords House, the home of the Norman family of Taylors of Swords. Records show the family came there in the 13th century and built a 'Mansion House' in 1403.

Leisure facilities

Ward River Valley Park

The Ward River Valley Park is a linear park on the banks of the Ward River approaching town. It covers an area of 89 ha. (220 acres) between Swords town centre and Knocksedan Bridge. Features of interest include some 12th-century fortifications, woodland habitats, wetlands and rolling grassland. There are viewing points, picnic sites, sports pitches and tennis courts.[50]

Swords Town Park (with Swords Castle)

View of Swords Castle from Town Park

Swords Town Park is a small park situated in the centre of the town of Swords, along the Ward River.[51] It has tennis courts and a playground. Swords Castle lies within the park. It is the former residence of the Archbishop of Dublin and it is the only fortified residence of the Archbishop to survive in a reasonable state today (see above).

Balheary Park

Balheary Park is north of the town centre near the confluence of the Broadmeadow River and the Ward River, which flow, respectively, on the northern and southern edges of the park. It meets Swords Business Campus / Balheary Business Park on three sides, and has some playing pitches which are used by St. Colmcille's GAA club. In mid-2006, Fingal County Council built a skatepark and adjoining basketball courts/football court in Balheary Park. The park contains a bowl, a vertwall, a spine, some quarterpipes, and a section of boxes in the middle of the park.

Broadmeadow River Linear Park

The Broadmeadow Linear Park is a small park north of Applewood along the Broadmeadow River. Fingal County Council plan to extend the park eastwards to Balheary Park and westwards into the proposed Swords Regional Park.[52]

Proposed Swords Regional Park

A 65 ha. new regional park for Swords is to be formed north-east of Swords, stretching from the Rathbeale Road to the Broadmeadow River. The park will be immediately west of Oldtown and adjoining and ultimately extending into the Broadmeadow River Valley Linear Park. The Park will serve Swords and its hinterland, and will comprise active recreational and passive activities, commensurate with the Council's vision for the emerging city of Swords.[53]

National Show Centre

A little south of Swords, the National Show Centre is a modern exhibition and conference venue near to Dublin Airport.[54] It is owned by the Irish Kennel Club, who use it as their main venue for dog shows in Ireland.



  • Forest Badminton Club
  • River Valley Badminton Club


  • Swords Basketball Club


In September 2013 a local campaign group approached Fingal County Council about the construction of a BMX track in the town. Fingal County Council said it has identified an area of the Ward River Valley that would be suitable for a BMX track, which could be developed quite quickly into a basic facility and improved over time. Prior to any works happening, the first stop is the formation of a club which would be fully insured and act to manage the facility.[55]


Swords Boxing Club is located in the former Carnegie Library on North Street. The club was established over 50 years ago and hosts many tournaments.

Fingal Boxing Academy is affiliated with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, was the first boxing club in Ireland to train female boxers and has trained several national champions. The club is located in Rivervalley, Swords.


There are three GAA clubs located in Swords:


There are several golf courses close to the town, namely Swords Open Golf Course, Forrest Little Golf Club, Roganstown Golf and Country Club and Balheary "Par 3" Golf Course. There are also several driving ranges in the area with the Drynam Golf Centre being the first Driving Range in the country with automated tees.


  • Swords Hockey Club, Ladies club based in ALSAA Sports Grounds

Martial Arts

  • Castle Taekwondo Club, Balheary Scout Hall[56]
  • Ilyo Tae Kwon Do and Kick Boxing Club, St. Colmcille's GAA Hall, Glen Ellen[57]
  • Hokubu Dojo Shotokan Karate Club, Seatown Business Park[58]
  • Swords Judo Club, Loreto College, Rivervalley[59]
  • River Valley TaeKwon-Do Club, River Valley Community Centre, River Valley[60]
  • Shika-do Karate, Holywell Community Centre, Holywell[61]


Fingal Orienteers have mapped the Ward River Valley park, and the surrounding estates of Swords Manor, Brackenstown, River Valley and Knocksedan, and regularly hold orienteering events in the area.[62] They are also working on a new International Sprint Standard Orienteering map of the Applewood and Glen Ellan areas.


  • Swords Celtic FC, established in 1962, this club is the most successful in the town. The club has four Senior teams playing in the Leinster Senior League and over 30 schoolboy/girl teams playing in the NDSL Leagues. The main pitch and clubhouse are located at Balheary, Swords, the club also has two floodlight seven a side pitches.
  • Swords Manor FC, Brackenstown Road[63]
  • Swords Rovers FC, Balheary[64]
  • Rivervalley Rangers, established in 1981 and home to legendary local players such as Liam Walshe, Paddy Blake and Gerry Dunne.


  • Swords Tennis Club, Swords Town Park


Fingal Horticultural Show

The Fingal Horticultural Society holds their annual flower show in Swords every August.[65] It includes competition classes in Cut Flowers, Hanging Baskets, Pot Plants, Flower Arranging, Fruit, Vegetables, Cookery, Wine Making, Photography, Painting and Handcrafts, as well as special classes for children. The Fingal Horticultural Society also hold an annual Garden Competition, Allotment Competition and Pub Frontage Competition in Swords.

Flavours of Fingal Agricultural Show

The first Flavours of Fingal Show took place on the 21 and 22 July 2012 in Newbridge House near Donabate. The Flavours of Fingal Show combined the sights and sounds of an agricultural show. The farm section of the two-day show featured a program of livestock and sheep competitions, equestrian contests and other agricultural displays. Meanwhile, the historic walled garden of Newbridge House hosted the food producers section of the show and features an array of favourite local delights, cooking demos and all things food in Fingal. Also on offer over the course of the weekend were family and musical entertainment and a programme of walks, talks and festival antics.[66]

Dog shows

In 2012 over 80 dog shows were held in the National Show Centre.[67] The Celtic Winners Dog Show, held on St. Patrick's Day, is the most prestigious dog show in the country.

Fingal 10k Road Race

The first ever Fingal 10k Road Race took place on 22 July 2012 around the streets of Swords. It was part of the Dublin Race Series and over 4200 people entered. Michael MacDiarmada was the winner in a time of 00:31:31 and Siobhan O' Doherty was the first woman over the line in a time of 00:35:30. The event went well and since it has been run ever year.[68]


Pavilions Shopping Centre


Swords is the home to a large retail and business park called Airside Retail and Business Park, on the southern fringe of the town, hosting many employers, including the European Headquarters of Kellogg's. Ingersoll Rand also has its corporate headquarters in the Airside Business Park.[69] East of the town, running parallel to Swords bypass, lies the large Swords Business Park, where The Hertz Corporation have a Shared Services Centre.

Swords also has a wide range of shops, banks, pubs and other businesses. These include one very large modern shopping centre, the The Pavilions Swords, off the R132, the recent extension of which has a multi-screen cinema; it also has branches of Penneys, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores. Several smaller shopping centres also exist.


Swords is the closest town to Dublin Airport and the airport has provided a lot of employment to the area. In 2011 the airport handled over 18.7 million passengers and served over 171 routes with 62 airlines.[70] The airport serves as an operating base for Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional, Air Contractors, CityJet, Orbest Orizonia Airlines, Ryanair and Thomson Airways, and as a maintenance base for Aer Lingus, CityJet, Dublin Aerospace,[71] Eirtech Aviation,[72] Etihad Airways[73] and Ryanair.

The Irish Aviation Authority[74] operate the Dublin Air Traffic Control Centre on the airport.

The headquarters of the Dublin Airport Authority and Ireland's four largest airlines are located in or near Swords. The Dublin Airport Authority, who manage Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports, employ over 3,000 people and have their headquarters on the airport campus.[75] Aer Lingus,[76] Ireland's flag carrier, have their headquarters on the Dublin Airport campus. CityJet, part of the Air France-KLM group, has its headquarters in Swords Business Campus[77] and Air Contractors, part of the ASL Aviation group, has its head office on the Malahide Road in Swords.[78]

On Monday 27 January 2014 Ryanair,[79] Europe's largest low-cost airline, officially moved into their new €20m, 100,000 sq ft Dublin Head Office in Airside Business Park, having outgrown their previous office based within Dublin Airport.[80] The building was officially opened on Thursday 3 April 2014 by Taoiseach Enda Kenny,[81] Minister for Finance Michael Noonan[82] and the Lord Mayor of Dublin[83] Oisin Quinn.[84]


In 2007 Tesco Ireland opened their new €70 million distribution centre in Lanestown, between Swords and Donabate. With a building footprint of over 68,000 m2 and a total volume of 1.55 million m2 the Tesco Ireland distribution centre is the largest building on the island of Ireland and the 8th largest building in the world. The building is over half a kilometre long and could fit 16 jumbo jets. It employs over 600 people and can process 1.5 million cases a week. It has 106 loading bays and supplies 106 stores up to 6 times a day.[85]


Swords is the home to several international chemical producers and pharmaceutical giants, including Opec.

  • Local website
  • Swords history
  • Swords, Dublin at DMOZ

External links

  1. ^ Official Placenames Database of Ireland
  2. ^ Fingal County Council Swords Strategic Vision 2035
  3. ^ Fingal County Council
  4. ^ Swords Total Area – Swords Local Electoral Area Central Statistics Office
  5. ^ Swords Urban Area – Swords and Kinsealy-Drinan Census Towns Central Statistics Office
  6. ^ Swords Metro Area – Swords Development Boundary Fingal County Council
  7. ^ Swords Dimensions Ordnance Survey Ireland
  8. ^ Swords Max Elevation Ordnance Survey Ireland
  9. ^ Swords Min Elevation Ordnance Survey Ireland
  10. ^ Swords Total Population – Swords Local Electoral Area Census 2011
  11. ^ Swords Urban Population – Swords and Kinsealy Drinan Census Towns Census 2011
  12. ^ Swords Ethnic or Cultural Background Census 2011
  13. ^ Swords Religion Census 2011
  14. ^ a b Placenames Database of Ireland Swords Demesne
  15. ^ Your Swords, an Emerging City, Strategic Vision 2035 Fingal County Council
  16. ^ Retail Excellence Ireland Survey 2012
  17. ^ Irish Business Against Litter Survey, 2003
  18. ^ a b Irish Business Against Litter Survey 2011
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Hickey, Raymond, 2005: Dublin English: evolution and change
  22. ^ Barrysparks Local Area Plan – Environmental Report Fingal County Council
  23. ^ Irish Business Against Litter Survey 2003
  24. ^ a b Swords Historical Society
  25. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland Nethercross
  26. ^ Met Eireann
  27. ^ Census 2011 Population Density
  28. ^ Dashed red line
  29. ^ Appendix 2
  30. ^ Boundary layer: settlements
  31. ^ Dublin Bus timetables
  32. ^ Canal Cordon Traffic Count Dublin City Council (page 20)
  33. ^ Swords Express timetables
  34. ^ Buses from Dublin Airport
  35. ^ Bus Eireann timetables
  36. ^ Aircoach timetables
  37. ^ John McGinley timetables
  38. ^ Citylink timetables
  39. ^ gobus timetables
  40. ^ JJ Kavanagh timetables
  41. ^ Ardcavan timetables
  42. ^ Wexford Bus timetables
  43. ^ [1]
  44. ^ Celtic Helicopters Knocksedan Heliport
  45. ^ Irish Helicopters Knocksedan Heliport
  46. ^ Swords Castle – The Tudors Evening Herald
  47. ^ Swords Castle – Visiting Information Fingal Tourism
  48. ^ St. Columba's Round Tower Fingal Tourism
  49. ^
  50. ^ Ward River Valley Park
  51. ^ Swords Castle and Town Park
  52. ^ Broadmeadow Linear Park (Section 3.1.2)
  53. ^ Swords Regional Park (Section 3.1.3)
  54. ^ National Show Centre
  55. ^ Swords BMX Track
  56. ^ Castle Taekwondo Club
  57. ^ Ilyo Tae Kwon Do and Kick Boxing Club
  58. ^ Red Dragon Shotokan Karate Club
  59. ^ Swords Judo Club
  60. ^ [2]
  61. ^ [3]
  62. ^ Fingal Orienteers
  63. ^ Swords Manor FC
  64. ^ Swords Rovers FC
  65. ^ Fingal Horticultural Society
  66. ^ Flavours of Fingal
  67. ^ Irish Kennel Club Show Dates search Cloghran
  68. ^ Fingal 10k
  69. ^ "Contact Us." Ingersoll Rand. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Global Headquarters 170/175 Lakeview Drive Airside Business Park Swords, Co. Dublin Ireland."
  70. ^ Dublin Airport – Airlines and Destinations
  71. ^ Dublin Aerospace
  72. ^ Eirtech Aviation
  73. ^ Etihad Airways
  74. ^ Irish Aviation Authority
  75. ^ Dublin Airport Authority
  76. ^ Aer Lingus
  77. ^ CityJet
  78. ^ Air Contractors
  79. ^ Ryanair
  80. ^ Ryanair Official website News Article
  81. ^ Enda Kenny
  82. ^ Michael Noonan
  83. ^ Lord Mayor Of Dublin
  84. ^ Oisin Quinn
  85. ^ Tesco Ireland Distribution Centre
  86. ^ MSD Ireland
  87. ^ Bristol-Myers Squibb Ireland
  88. ^ Lonza Swords
  89. ^ FoodCentral
  90. ^ Keeling's Group
  91. ^ Keeling's Farms
  92. ^ Keeling's Multiples
  93. ^ Chiquita Bananas
  94. ^ Total Produce
  95. ^ Total Produce – Top Irish Agribusiness Companies
  96. ^ Fyffes Swords
  97. ^ Uniplumo (Ireland)
  98. ^ Gaelscoil Bhrian Boroimhe
  99. ^ Swords Educate Together National School
  100. ^ Thornleigh Educate Together National School
  101. ^ St. Cronan's Junior National School
  102. ^ St. Cronan's Senior National School
  103. ^ St. Colmcille's Boys' National School
  104. ^ St. Colmcille's Girls' National School
  105. ^ Holy Family Junior National School
  106. ^ Holy Family Senior National School
  107. ^ Holywell Educate Together National School
  108. ^ Scoil an Duinnigh
  109. ^ a b Proposed Mooretown Primary Schools Page 2
  110. ^ Fosterstown Primary School Page 39
  111. ^ Loreto College Swords
  112. ^ Coláiste Choilm C.B.S. Swords
  113. ^ Fingal Community College
  114. ^ St. Finian's Community College
  115. ^ Proposed Mooretown Secondary School Page 2
  116. ^ Swords Institute of Business and Technology (IBAT College)
  117. ^ Accounting Technicians Ireland
  118. ^ Portobello Institute
  119. ^ Potential Lissenhall University Campus page 89
  120. ^ National Learning Network – Swords
  121. ^ Fingal Adult Education Service – Swords
  122. ^ Swords Youthreach
  123. ^ Pitman Training – Swords
  124. ^ Irish College of English – Swords
  125. ^ Chris Mee Safety Engineering
  126. ^ Census 2011 Central Statistics Office
  127. ^ St. Colmcille's Church
  128. ^ St. Cronan's Church
  129. ^ St. Finian's Church
  130. ^ Church of the Visitation
  131. ^ Church of the Immacuate Conception
  132. ^ Our Lady Queen of Heaven Chapel
  133. ^ St. Columba's Church of Ireland
  134. ^ Swords Baptist Church
  135. ^ Lighthouse Baptist Church
  136. ^ Apostolic Faith Church
  137. ^ Churchtown Trust Churchtown Trust Prayer Room
  138. ^ St. Ignatius Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Congregation
  139. ^ Kingdom Hall, Kettles Lane
  140. ^ Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre
  141. ^ Swords Mosque


See also

Local Politicians

Notable residents

  • The Dublin Welfare Society manage a makeshift mosque in a Swords industrial estate[141]


  • Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre, Lissenhall (includes private chapel and 2 prayer rooms)[140]
  • Retreat centre
  • The Syriac Orthodox Church – meets as the St. Ignatius Jacobite Congregation in St Columba's Church (Church of Ireland), Church Road, Swords[138]
  • Apostolic Faith Church (meets in St. Columba's Parish Centre)[136]
  • Churchtown Trust, Rathbeale Road[137]
  • Welcome to Church, North Street Business Park
  • Other Protestant and evangelical
  • Swords Baptist Church, Drynam (under construction – meeting in St. Finian's Community College)[134]
  • Lighthouse Baptist Church, Seatown West[135]
  • St. Columba's Church of Ireland, Church Road[133]
  • St. Colmcille's Church, Chapel Lane[127]
  • St. Cronan's Church, Brackenstown[128]
  • St. Finian's Church, River Valley[129]
  • Church of the Visitation, Drynam[130]
  • Church of the Immacuate Conception, Balheary[131]
  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven Chapel, Dublin Airport[132]

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Swords. The town has six Roman Catholic churches. St. Colmcille's, the Church of the Visitation and Our Lady Queen of Heaven are all within Swords parish. St. Cronan's and St. Finian's each belong to distinct parishes, while the Church of the Immacuate Conception lies within Donabate parish. There are also a further eight Christian churches and a retreat centre.


Population by religion (Census 2011)[126] Persons
Roman Catholic 34021
Orthodox (Greek, Coptic, Russian) 1335
Church of Ireland, England, Anglican, Episcopalian 944
Apostolic or Pentecostal 201
Presbyterian 195
Other Christian religion 454
Total Christian religions 37150
Muslim (Islamic) 579
Other stated religions 1003
No religion 3006
Not stated 1000
Total Population 42738


There is also a FÁS training centre, the Fingal Adult Literacy and Education Centre, and a beauty college registered with ITEC & CIBTAC called Lenagh's College.

  • Pitman Training, Chamber Buildings, North Street[123]
  • Irish College of English, 27 Town Centre Mall[124]
  • Chris Mee Safety Engineering[125]


  • National Learning Network, Balheary Industrial Estate[120]
  • Fingal Adult Education Service, 7 The Plaza, Forster Way[121]
  • Swords Youthreach, New Boro' School, North Street[122]

Further education

  • Swords Institute of Business and Technology (IBAT College), Forster Way[116]
  • Accounting Technicians Ireland[117]
  • Portobello Institute[118]
  • Land has been reserved for a future university campus at Lissenhall in north Swords[119]

Third level

  • Loreto College (all-girls school), River Valley[111]
  • Coláiste Choilm C.B.S. (all-boys school), Dublin Road[112]
  • Fingal Community College, Seatown Road[113]
  • St. Finian's Community College, Castlefarm[114]
  • Mooretown Secondary School (due to open September 2016)[115]

There are four secondary schools serving the town:


  • Gaelscoil Bhrian Boroimhe, Glen Ellan Road[98]
  • Swords Educate Together National School, Glen Ellan Road[99]
  • Thornleigh Educate Together National School, Applewood[100]
  • St. Cronan's Junior National School, Brackenstown Road[101]
  • St. Cronan's Senior National School, Brackenstown Road[102]
  • Church of Ireland Old Borough National School, Church Road
  • St. Colmcille's Boys' National School, Chapel Lane[103]
  • St. Colmcille's Girls' National School, Chapel Lane[104]
  • Holy Family Junior National School, River Valley[105]
  • Holy Family Senior National School, River Valley[106]
  • Holywell Educate Together National School, Holywell Road[107]
  • Scoil an Duinnigh, Drynam[108]
  • Mooretown Primary School (due to open September 2016)[109]
  • Fosterstown Primary School (in planning)[110]
  • Second Mooretown Primary School (in planning)[109]

The town is served by twelve primary schools:



Total Produce,[94] Ireland's largest Agribusiness[95] have two large facilities in Swords. Their facility in Swords Business Park includes a distribution and ripening centre for Fyffes[96] Cape, Outspan, Green Ace and TOP Fruit products. Their "Uniplumo" facility on the Rathbeale Road,[97] has 46,000 square metres of glasshouses for growing plants, flowers and tomatoes.

The Keeling's Group, who employ over 1700 people, have their headquarters in FoodCentral and use a lot of land around Swords.[90] The Keeling's Farms division annually grow 2,500 tonnes of soft fruits/berries from 5 hectares of glasshouse, tunnel and field crops in Swords. They grow Bramley apples in 139 acres of orchards and lettuce in 8 acres of glasshouses. Inside FoodCentral they have the only pepper growing facility in Ireland. Their 5 hectare high technology glasshouse produces 1,500 tonnes of red, orange, yellow and green peppers annually.[91] The Keeling's Multiples Division have a 12,500 square metre refrigerated facility in FoodCentral. They operate a large banana ripening facility for Chiquita which ripens over 3 million bananas each week. They also have separate ripening rooms for "Ready to eat" lines, such as peaches, pears, plums and avocados.[92][93]

FoodCentral, marketed as "Ireland's national food park," is being developed south-west of Swords.[89] When complete it will cover an area of 113 hectares.

Swords is located in the heart of Fingal, sometimes promoted as "the Food County," and is surrounded by farms growing various crops, including potatoes, wheat and barley. However unlike the rest of Fingal, a lot of the food distributed from Swords has been imported from abroad.

Food and Horticulture

[88] employ 45 people in their European manufacturing facility for personal care and industrial biocides, also on Watery Lane.Lonza Group The [87] employ over 400 people in their Swords Laboratories bulk pharmaceutical plant on Watery Lane.Bristol Myers Squibb [86]

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