Douglas is a very large suburban area two miles from city centre,
south of Cork city. It has a population of over 20,000 and has a
beautiful old village atmosphere particularly in the East and West
Villages where there are many shops, supermarkets, public houses,
boutiques, restaurants, a cinema, etc. There are two major shopping
complexes in Douglas, Douglas Court Shopping Centre in the East Village
area, whose major anchor tenant is Dunnes Stores, and Douglas Shopping
Centre which spans between the east and west villages, whose major
anchor tenant is Tesco and recently, Marks & Spencer. There are many
thriving businesses in Douglas, and in West Village, there is a light
Industrial/Commercial centre which in the old Douglas Woolen Mills which
closed in the 70’s but which has been given a new life with the many
industries that have located there. There is also a light
Industrial/Commercial centre in the old Morrough’s Mills in Donnybrook.
Douglas is contained within two different councils. The Tramore
Valley River divides the two areas. The area of Douglas north of the
river is in the City Council area, the area south of the river is in the
Cork County Council area.
Douglas Community Park runs parallel to
East and West Douglas Villages, and takes up a 5-acre span between the
two villages. Douglas Community Assoc. Ltd. has managed the community
park, in co-operation with Cork Co. Council since 1980 when they
acquired it through CPO (Compulsary Purchase Order) from the private
Douglas– A short history
Now a thriving suburb
of Cork, the evolution of Douglas from a village on the outskirts of the
city can be traced back to the establishment of several mills in the
area. Its name is derived from Dubhglas – meaning a dark stream. It
still flows through the village and is an estuary of the River Lee on
which Cork City is built.
Historical documents indicate that the
Douglas area began to develop as an urban settlement in the early part
of the 18th century. This coincided with the opening of the Donybrook
Mills in 1726, which produced sail-cloth and famously supplied sails to
the Royal Navy. Weavers and textile workers came to work in the area,
joining skilled workers from Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Further mills were opened in the 19th century and included one operated
on the site of what is known as St. Patrick’s Woollen Mills. Most of the
mills ceased business in the early 20th century, but the Donybrook Mills
and St. Patrick’s Woollen Mills continued in existence until the late
1970’s. Nowadays, both mills house a sizable number of small business
units of a varying nature. Some of the houses built for the mill workers
are still in existence, including a terrace near the junction of the
Grange Road and Donnybrook Hill.
Douglas developed as a suburb
throughout the later part of the 18th and the 19th century, when a
number of ‘big houses’ were built in the area. These included Donnybrook
House, Castletreasure House, Grange House, Maryborough House (now a
hotel), Douglas Hall (one of the few remaining examples of a
slate-fronted house in Ireland) and Mount Vernon.
Catholic Church was built in 1814 and St. Luke’s Church of Ireland
church was completed in 1889. At one stage, the village was served by a
tram route from the city centre. It was operated by the Cork Electric
Tramways and Lighting Company from 1898 until 1932, when it was replaced
by a bus service.
Douglas underwent significant development from the
second half of the 19th century, with the construction of new housing
estates gradually transforming greenfield sites which originally
separated Cork city from ‘the village.’
In time, schools,
shopping centres, hotels and a cinema were built to cater for the needs
of an expanding population, which also required the construction of a
new Catholic church – St. Patrick’s, in 1991- on the Rochestown Road.
The land on which the Rochestown Park Hotel was constructed was formerly
occupied by the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society.
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