Video of Balbriggan, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Many locals however have traditionally felt that Baile Brigín means "Town of the
Little Hills", due to the relatively low hills that surround the town. This translation
is not well founded as it appears to be derived from a phonetic deconstruction of
a suggested spelling.
It seems more likely that the town’s name is derived from the word Brecan, as the
area was known in pre-Norse invasion times as Breaga, populated by a tribe or clan
known as the Bregii and the aforementioned River Bracken.
There is no consensus about the "foundation" of the town, other than there may always
have been a small settlement of fishermen, weavers and some sort of agricultural
An 18th century traveler described Balbriggan as "... a small village situated in
a small glin ("glen") where the sea forms a little harbour – it is reckoned safe
and is sheltered by a good pier. The village is resorted to in Summer time by several
genteel people for the benefit of bathing."
Balbriggan owes its rise from a small fishing village to a place of manufacturing
and commercial importance to the late Baron Hamilton, who, in 1780, introduced cotton
manufacture, for which he erected factories.
The River Bracken, also known as the Matt River, which flows through the town, once
formed a lake known locally at "The Canal" or "Head"(of water). The water was sluiced
through a canal and tunnels down to the Lower Mill where it turned a waterwheel to
drive the cotton manufacturing machinery. The retaining wall of the reservoir collapsed
in the 1960s and the area was reclaimed through land-fill in the early 1980s to create
a public park.
The town is coastal and has a famous sandy beach. It was a holiday destination for
people from Dublin city and is the location of a Sunshine Home which aims to provide
a holiday to underprivileged children from Dublin
Balbriggan (Irish: Baile Brigín) is a town in the northern part of Fingal in County
Dublin, Ireland. The 2006 census population was 15,559 for Balbriggan and its environs.
According to P.W. Joyce the name arises from "Baile Breacain" which literally means
"Brecan's Town". Brecan is a common medieval first name and there are several other
Brackenstowns in Ireland. There is also a possible link to the local Bracken River,
in which case the name could derive from breicín "little trout".