Brief Introduction to Douglas Area
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 owner.
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Historical documents indicate that the Douglas area began to develop as an urban settlement in the early part of the 18th century.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.
St. Columba’s 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.