Jessica and I have tried to figure out exactly where the border starts and stops for our different neighborhoods in our postal code and I found this great map in a book that a friend had on her coffee table — but unfortunately, it doesn’t shed much more light on the subject. Every time I tell people I live in Irishtown, they say “oh, Ringsend” and I say, no, that Irishtown is its own area (but everyone still calls it Ringsend). The history of both areas is really rich and I can imagine that there was more distinction way back when and then they’ve probably grown and merged into one another.
According to Wikipedia, Irishtown lies a short distance outside the medieval city walls of Dublin. Dublin was originally a Viking city and after 1171, when an Anglo-Norman army seized it, Dublin became the centre of English rule in Ireland. The native Gaelic Irish were therefore viewed as an alien force in the city. By the 15th century, Gaelic migration to the city had made the English authorities fearful that English language and culture would become a minority there.The Irish population were only allowed to trade inside the city limits by daylight. At the end of the days trading they would leave and set up camp in what was to become known as Irishtown. This is also has relevance to the expression, “beyond the pale” – the pale was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages and the areas outside of this were beyond the pale.
Ringsend was originally a long narrow peninsula separated from the rest of Dublin by the estuary of the River Dodder. The English name “Ringsend” is a corruption of “Rinn-abhann”, which in the Irish language means “the end point of the tide” – the end spit of the land.
The debate still ensues but in the meantime, it’s nice to have this map of the area.