Given just how close the two towns are positioned – just over 4 miles separating the two – there’s always been a strong connection between Kilcoole and Greystones.
Truth be told though, as with many a deep-rooted town, Kilcoole has a flavour and spirit all of its own.
You can see it in the face of Michael Kuntz. Of Elaine Cassidy. Of Bill Foley, Tom Fortune, Terry Meakin and James & Esther Gammell. The connection runs tribal deep in a town that has always lived somewhat by its own rules, surviving on the outskirts, happier doing their own thing in the shadows.
Which must be why JP Donleavy decided to call the place home during a particularly productive time for the writer of The Ginger Man and A Fairytale Of New York. You’ll find his home on the Ballydonarea Leap. Not that Donleavy’s now-fallen cottage delivered quite as many stories as the melting pot that was Kilcoole House.
And talking of writers, you can read through some 1930s Kilcoole schoolchildren’s local stories handed up to teacher Thomas Butler here.
It was also in Kilcoole, of course, that 600 rifles and ammunition were brought ashore for the Irish Volunteers back in August 1914, as Ireland braced itself for the somewhat inevitable Rising two years later. A monument down at the seafront railway station commemorates the event, and the town is clearly proud of its role in this significant moment in Irish history, with centenary celebrations both in 2014 and 2016. Heck, even the kids got involved.
Not that Kilcoole is all about the history. There’s that beautiful stretch of seafront, of course, with its lush wildlife and its Little Terns bird sanctuary. Plus, for a town so small, there’s an incredible amount of art produced in Kilcoole, from JP Donleavy writing The Ginger Man whilst living here to one of RTE’s finest TV shows, Glenroe, calling Kilcoole home from 1983 to 2001. There’s also the aforementioned Elaine Cassidy, star of The Others, Harper’s Island and No Offence.
It’s in the world of music though that Kilcoole seems to shine the brightest, with, in recent years, bands such as Heathers, Adebisi Shank, Ememies, Croupier, Birds and Kidd Blunt – many coming out of the acclaimed Hive Studios – offering up, for the most part, some cocky young math rock to counter the old-school cock-waving blues rock of perhaps the town’s most acclaimed guitarist and singer,Brian Meakin. The latter is often backed by his ridiculously talented siblings. Paddy excepted, of course.
As for Kilcoole’s beginnings, its name came from the church that’s still just about standing in the town centre, whilst its future looks particularly bright these days, with the recent announcement of a €44,200 Town Renewal Scheme grant just as work on the town’s state-of-the-art new children’s playground finally gets underway.
Kilcoole Hurling Champs – anyone know the year? The players?
Kilcoole Senior Champsions 1954
St BrIgids School Kilcoole 1945 with Detty Hatton [right]
Derrick Gilbert and Liam Foley Kilcoole 1980. Pic Jack Clarke
Barry Gammell & Liam Foley stray beyond the border
With God On Kilcoole’s Side. Source Chris Dobson
Pinie Whelan, Cecil Gilbert, Filly Corcoran, George Gammell, Pat Gammell & Seamus Finn. Pic Chris Dobson
Michael Kuntz gets up to some cosplay 2016
Failte Isteach May 2016
Kilcoole Intermediate Hurling Champs 1992
Kilcoole From The Sea
Kilcoole Gunrunning Plaque
Kilcoole Gunrunning Centenary
The lay of the plan…
Aerial View of Kilcoole Main Street
Aerial View of Lott Lane, Kilcoole
Opening of Kilcoole Community Centre
Opening of Kilcoole Church 1968
James & Esther Gammell
A grand Kilcoole wedding
The young John Foley getting into the swing of things
The forever young Pat Gormley
Ann Foley’s Holy Communion
Anne Gammell & friend
Bella Byrne’s Pub in full flight
Byrne’s Pub 1970s Ger Darcy, Liam Foley & Joe Bush
Central Bar (now The Mollys) 1960. Back row Jimmy White, Peter Gammell, Nancy McGuire, Paddy Gammell, Christy Doyle. Middle Joey Hunt, Noel Delaney. Front Joe Delaney. Source Chris Dobson
Kilcoole Main Street Snow 1982 Pic Chris Dobson
Kilcoole Under Snow 1982 Pic Chris Dobson
Cuniffe’s, now The Thrift Shop
Dan Hatton with Danny & Jimmy
David and Adrian Hunt plus Thomas Gormely head to Queen at Slane
Gammells, Foleys & Coughlans ruling the roost
Glenroe Deli RIP
St Anthony’s Church opening 1968
Heading north into Kilcoole
Holy Faith Convent Kids May 1960
Holy Faith Convent May 1962
James Cullen & Colette Coughlan’s Big Day
Railway Men Ned Caughlin, Ned Killbride, Johnnycake Roycroft (Inspector), Tom Brady, Patsy Vickers, Bert Lang, Seamie Shannon, Colm Delaney, Pat Byrne (Whacker), Billy Doran, Joe McCormick, Tony Doyle. Pic Chris Dobson
Jim Hutchinson working on his chin tan
Jim Kearns & Dan Hatton 1935
John Greene presents Willie Gahan with a wedding clock. Ahem.
Kilcoole characters, and no mistake
Kilcoole Gunrunning 50th 7AUG66
Kilcoole Railway Station 1950s. With goats. Of course.
Major flooding Dec 1989
Miley’s Farm Shop
O’Driscoll’s shop June 1966
Peter Kilbride rocking the garden
The Scotts of Ballygannon
Upper Green resident David Gahan
Well how do you do, old Will McBride…?
William & Winifred Foley
William Foley’s 1945 FF receipt
Willie Gammell & kids early 1930s
Let’s do The Time Warp…
And, sure, feck it – again!
Many of the old images of Kilcoole here from our own archives, but also we must give a big shout-out to Chris Dobson, one of the town’s finest photographers, who has long been pulling together old photos of his hometown on his Facebook page here. You can also check out our recent celebration of Chris’ wonderful work here.
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