Killester Garden Village

Killester Garden Village
Dublin, Ireland

The Killester Garden Village in Dublin, Ireland, is the largest Irish WW1 ex-servicemen housing estate on the island of Ireland, with a total of 289 houses. The estate was built from the Garden City concept, purposely for the well-being of these returning Irish Great War veterans who settled here with their families from 1923, in a perfect blend of nature and city. The estate is a semi-rural, low density design with large communal spaces and large back gardens. It was built from 1920-1923 under both British and Irish Administrations. Additions to the estate, including an extra section and a community hall named the Legion Hall, were added on in the early 1930s. The Killester Colony provided 'Homes For Heroes'.

Garden City Type: Mixed (housing association / municipality / other)
Country: Ireland
City: Dublin
Address: Killester Garden Village
Years of construction:

The start of the Killester Garden Village was constructed by the Local Government Board under British Adminstration from 1920-1922. In 1922 the Irish Free State was created and the transfer of power occurred as the British Adminstration left. The Killester Garden Village was continued to be built up until 1923 when it was completed, comprising of the

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Initiator/client: Local Government Board (British Adminstration)
Architect or related:
John Purser Griffith

John Purser Griffith (October 5, 1848 – October 21, 1938) was a civil engineer. He was born at Holyhead, North Wales, the only son of William Griffith and Alicia Evans. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was awarded his Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1868. In 1871, he became Assistant to Bindon Blood Stoney at

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Heritage status: Yes
Brownen Maher, a City Councillor in the area, tabled an amendment to the City Council’s Development Plan in 2004, in recognition of the historical importance of the housing development which was built by the Soldiers and Sailors Land Trust for First World War soldiers and their families. The area known as The Demesne, Middle Third and Abbeyfield
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General condition of Garden City: Good condition

General description

100 years ago this year, the largest Irish WW1 ex-servicemen housing estate on the island of Ireland was completed, comprising of 247 bungalows. The Killester Garden Village was the flagship estate for returning Irishmen from what some dubbed ‘the war to end all wars’.

Under the Irish Land (Provision for Sailors and Soldiers) Act of 1919 the British Government started to build housing for the Irish WW1 ex-servicemen in Ireland. The plans started for the Killester estate, which was modelled off the Garden City concept. It comprised of low density, semi-rural housing with large front and back gardens, recreational spaces, woodland, and communal spaces. Construction began in Killester in 1920 for 247 bungalow houses in this concept, while in the background the War of Independence was raging on. The Killester estate, totalling 39 acres, was broken down into three sections: The Demesne, Middle Third and Abbeyfield. It was intended that the estate be broke down into military hierarchy, with Commissioned Officers in The Demesne, Non-commissioned Officers in Middle Third and Soldiers and Sailors in the largest section of Abbeyfield. The plan was scuppered when houses were swapped and allocated at a first come, first served basis.

The estate has its own train station, which was built in 1923 and is now Killester DART Station. A bus company was also set up to serve the new community, ironically named ‘Contemptible Bus Company Ltd’ after the ‘Old Contemptibles' who were the first

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Architecture / Urban planning

The Killester Garden Village was well ahead of its time when built in the early 1920s as it was based on Ebenezer Howards Garden City Concept. This concept was to create new (suburban) towns of semi-rural, low-density houses with large recreational spaces and affordable housing. Its vision was a perfect blend of nature and city.

This concept was the perfect housing model for the Killester veterans, as many of these ex-servicemen suffered with ‘Shell-shock’ from the battlefields, something we now call PTSD. Many of the veterans here in Killester also suffered with physical disabilities from the frontlines. The Killester Garden Village provided a unique place for the ex-servicemen and their families, being a quiet and peaceful area surrounded by nature – a nice environment compared to the trenches of the Somme or headlands of Gallipoli.

In 1923, the estate was a mixture of detached bungalows and semi-detached bungalows in three styles.*

The Type A bungalow was semi-detached and had a floor area of 675 square feet. The ground floor comprised a living room (178 square feet), a scullery kitchen (86 square feet), and a bathroom/toilet (35 square feet). The first floor had two bedrooms measuring 152 square feet and 110 square feet.

The Type G bungalow was also semi-detached and had a floor area of 841 square feet. The ground floor comprised a living room (172 square feet), a scullery kitchen (95 square feet), and a bathroom/toilet (44 square feet). The first floor had three

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Residents and the Community

The Killester estate had a huge mix of ex-servicemen living here, some British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force). The majority of the Killester ex-servicemen were serving before WW1 and a handful had served in the Boer War! Interestingly enough one Killester ex-servicemen, Alexander John Walker, was an Antarctica explorer before the war, serving onboard the Scotia on the Scottish expedition of 1902-1904 led by William Speirs Bruce! There were also a about a dozen Killester ex-servicemen who joined the new National Army from 1922, one for example was a Patrick Barrington, who served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in WW1, then joined the National Army and was based at the Curragh Camp. There was also one Killester ex-servicemen, the battle-hardened Regimental Sergeant Major Samuel Leech, who the National Army sought as an military advisor. Daniel McAuliffe, another Killester ex-servicemen, was alleged to be in the IRA during the War of Independence and even assisted Sam Maguire in raiding British Army depots. Killester mainly remained unscathed during both the War of Independence and Civil War, apart from one notable incident: the killing of Anti-Treaty Volunteer Michael Neville, a native of Co Clare, by the National Army in 1922, near the Killester Graveyard.

So far we have found three Killester ex-servicemen awarded the Military Cross, one the Military Medal and a handful being awarded Distinguished Conduct Medals, Distinguished Service Medals

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Killester Garden Village Committee

Killester Garden Village Committee

Residents' organization