Fingal is the third largest administrative county in Ireland, with almost 6% of the State’s population living in the county. It has the most rapidly growing population in the country, currently estimated at 300,000 people.

The county is a pulse of economic and entrepreneurial activity. Dublin Airport is located in Fingal and the county is also home to many light industry and manufacturing companies especially in the pharmaceutical, technological and food production sectors.

Urban and Suburban Fingal

Swords, Thornleigh, Holywell, Balbriggan, Blanchardstown, Coolmine, Meakstown, Charlestown, Balgriffin, Kinsealy, Mulhuddart, Ongar, Hansfield, Carpenterstown, Porterstown, Sheepmoor, Clonsilla, Castleknock, Hartstown, Corduff, Phibblestown, Kilbarrack, Malahide.

With its proximity to Dublin Airport and its rich natural and cultural amenities, Swords is widely acknowledged as the county town. Future growth estimates that it will soon have a population of 100,000. Exciting developments are already underway in the planning of a cultural quarter for the town beginning with the newly renovated Swords Castle and the opening of a Civic and Cultural Centre in 2020. The town is eager to see more arts activity and arts presence in its centre and environs.

Blanchardstown, with a population of approximately 120,000 is one of the largest commercial and residential areas in the country and has a significant population of international newcomers. The ethnic diversity of the residents in suburban Blanchardstown and its hinterland is well reflected in the young school going population. Through the Per Cent for Art Scheme and the provision of new primary and secondary schools in Dublin 15, the rich cultural heritage of the new residents of the area has been celebrated. Blanchardstown is edged by the Phoenix Park, the Tolka Valley, the Royal Canal and Dunsink Observatory. It has its own dedicated arts centre, Draiocht and a busy public library. The Blanchardstown Centre, the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology, the National Sports Campus and the National Aquatic Centre are key amenities of the area.

Balbriggan which has a population of 20,000 people, has a strong multi-ethnic identity. It is actively pursuing development of the town through the arts having had a previously strong studio presence in the area.

Balgriffin, Belcamp and Kinsealy rest to the edges of Malahide. South of the M50 are the new towns of Charlestown and Meakstown amongst others, and are characterised by housing developments and a large new retail centre.

Rural Fingal

The Naul, Ballyboughal, Oldtown, Garristown, Lusk, Balrothery, Balscadden, Rowelstown.

The protection of the unique rural profile of Fingal is high on the Council’s agenda. Controlling growth and careful planning of new developments, recognising the value of rural communities and re-affirming those communities’ contribution to the overall richness and value of this vast county are just some of the ways by which the Council protects and supports rural life in Fingal. The Council has put in place a number of measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, by implementing a range of progressive biodiversity practices and green infrastructural policies. It is also committed to protecting and conserving the County’s rich and diverse heritage in all its forms, preserving and activating places for future generations.

Rural Fingal is made up of villages most of which have a population of less than 1,000 people. The County is characterised by gently rolling countryside to the centre, extending upwards to the north of the county as you move towards Garristown and the Naul. The County’s quality soils are extremely suitable for cereal production and horticulture, and its location makes it ideal for food production and agri-business, which flourishes in areas such as Rush and Lusk. Fingal County Council has committed to maintaining the delicate profile of these areas as an essential part of the growth of Fingal both economically and culturally into the future. Key features of these towns include indigenous variations of vernacular architecture, and existing, well-used community halls like those in Rowelstown and Oldtown. Ballyboughal is celebrated for the Ballyboughal Hedgerow Society which delivers a number of educational talks on this important natural asset annually. The tradition of mumming also flourishes in this specific area.

Coastal Fingal

Sutton, Bayside, Howth, Baldoyle, Portmarnock, Malahide, Rush, Donabate, Portrane, Loughshinny, Skerries, Balbriggan.

Fingal boasts 88km of coastline. Prominent visual markers on the coast are the twelve Martello Towers, Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye, Shennick, St. Patrick’s Island and Rockabil. Previous coastal artistic activity has taken place with projects such as Fearghus Ó’Conchúir and Dan Dubowitz’s Tattered Outlaws of History, the annual, award-winning ‘Resort Revelations’ in Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane and an ongoing residency at the Loughshinny Boathouse.

Rush has a very active local community. On its main street there is a busy, award winning state of the art library and performance space. Rush was also once home to the impressive Kenure Park House of which only the portico remains. The local community has expressed its aspiration for cultural and social regeneration in the centre of Rush as there are a number of empty units along the main street which may have potential for arts activity.

Skerries, awarded Ireland’s Tidy Town Overall Winner in 2016, has a long established arts festival, ‘Skerries Soundwaves’, and was the site of the famous Red Island Holiday Park. Portmarnock, the County’s silver strand beach, is acknowledged as an area of outstanding natural beauty for the local and city visitor.

Malahide similarly is a pretty village which has grown in visitor numbers due to the major re-development of Malahide Castle. The village centre is currently developing a Public Realm plan to further enhance the town’s open spaces. Howth, a working harbour town, is also popular with tourists and day-trippers, walking the many scenic routes and the two piers, and taking boat trips over to Ireland’s Eye. Its Martello Tower houses the Museum of Radio and the Howth Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is a huge annual attraction each Spring. Sutton, Portmarnock, Balbriggan, Donabate, Portrane and Loughshinny all have much loved scenic beaches.

Infrastructure Fingal County Council’s Public Art Programme 2017—2021

© Infrastructure 2017