Before Marino Estate

It is believed that the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 was fought across the lands along the coastline of Clontarf, which includes what is now Fairview Park.

In the 1750s, James Caulfield, the Earl of Charlemont (1728-1799) lived at Marino House (pictured). The entrance to the estate was at the present Marino Mart, where the gates decorated with dragons and the motto from Charlemont coat-of-arms, were located. The original gates are now at the entrance to Marino Institute of Education.

James Caulfield inherited the estate in 1755 and built Marino House and the Casino (pictured), also extensively developing the land and gardens.

The house, which was situation at the present-day junction of Carleton Road and Brian Road, was demolished in 1923.

1920s Development

In response to the critical problem of substandard living conditions and overcrowding in Dublin city, the new Irish State embarked on an initiative to provide housing for workers.

Dublin Corporation bought the land at Marino (between Malahide Road, Griffith Avenue, Phillipsburgh Avenue and Fairview) in 1915, but the outbreak of WW1 delayed their plans to build for four years.

Various plans influenced by the early garden suburb movement in England were drawn up. Architects were moving away from high density housing design to suburban planning with good quality housing with gardens and open spaces. Similarly designed housing to Marino was built in Hampstead (which inspired the design of Marino) and Bedford Park in London.

A final plan was agreed and building commenced in 1924 on the section of the site between Malahide Road and Fairview Strand, to provide 428 houses.

The houses contained a living room, parlour, scullery, larder, bathroom, WC and coal cellar. They were built in blocks of eight, six, five, three and two. Different materials and design features were used to create variety. See preliminary plans from 1919 for the estate (pictured). For more, see the Dublin City Council page on the scheme.

From 1924 until 1927 the next two phases of the scheme were built, and the completed scheme provided 1,283 houses (plus 79 houses on Phillipsburg Avenue which were developed for purchase).

The Housing Committee of Dublin Corporation decided on the criteria for allocation of houses. Large families were given priority and all tenants had households with at least eight people.

The Marino scheme houses were sold in 1925 for between £400 and £440 with a term of 40 years at 5 percent per annum. This price depended on the type and situation of the house.

Final Touches

Houses were designed with a front garden of 14 feet (4m) and a back garden with an average length of 150 feet (46m). This was because it was expected many tenants would have an agricultural background and an interest in growing vegetables.

The final stage of development was the provision of recreational space and the two circles, Marino Park and Croydon Park were developed in 1929. Marino Park had football pitches and changing rooms and Croydon Park had a tennis court and pavilion.

The church and schools were completed in the immediate years and also shops, library, technical school, and health centre.

Between 1930 and 1968, by availing of a tenant purchase scheme, the majority of tenants became owners of their homes.

Marino Elevation by Horace O’Rourke (1919)

Marino Housing Scheme was Dublin Corporation’s first large-scale suburban development. It was followed by schemes in other areas of Dublin, although financial restraints meant that following schemes were comprised of smaller houses of lower quality.

Marino residents today include many of the families of the original tenants. It has become a diverse community where people of different ages, backgrounds and ethnic origins continue the community spirit for which Marino was always famous.


Joseph Brady & Ruth McManus: Marino at 100: A garden suburb of lasting influence. Irish Geography (2018)

Dublin City Council: Marino Garden Suburb. Dublin City Archives (2017)

Joe Lee: Marino, Bloody Fields to Garden Suburb. Local History Dissertation (2003)

Rhona McCord: A Garden City – The Dublin Corporation Housing Scheme at Marino, 1924. The Irish Story (2011)

Ruth McManus: Dublin, 1910-1940: Shaping The City and Suburbs. Four Courts Press (2002)