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Fingal ( ) is a county in Irelandmarker, one of the three administrative counties formed from County Dublinmarker in 1994. With its county seat located in Swords, it has a population of a nearly quarter of a million.

Etymology

The Vikings referred to the area as Dyflinarskiri, the hinterland of Dublin. . The original name, however, derived from the old Gaelic Fionn Gall, meaning fair strangers, denoting the Norse, whereas south county Dublin was called Dubh Gall, meaning dark or black strangers, denoting the occupying Danes . Early Anglo-Norman versions of the name include the similar Fiehengall, Fynnegal, Fyngal, and Finegal, which led to the mis-identification with Fine Gall.

Fingalian is an extinct language, a hybrid of Old English and Old Norse, with Gaelic influences, which was spoken by the people of Fingal until the mid-1800s.

History

The first administrative identity going by a variant of the original name was the grant of the Lordship of Fingal, a Prescriptive Barony, confirmed by letters patent from King John to Walter de Lacymarker and his heirs in perpetuity, in 1208, and based on the latter's father Hugh de Lacy's holding the same on a basis of grand serjeanty for his services as bailiff to the King. The lordship of Fingal was a paramount superiority over several sub-infeudated smaller baronies (such as Castleknockmarker, Santrymarker, Balrotherymarker), and thus eventually accrued vicecomital attributes leading to the granting of the first viscountcy in Ireland in 1478 to a Preston, Lord Gormanston, the Premier Viscount of Ireland, who at the time was the main landowner in the area, and a direct descendant of Walter de Lacy. That viscountcy was called after Gormanston as the latter was the principle seat and Manor of the Prestons at the time, having been acquired upon their relinquishment of occupancy of the Manor of Fyngallestoun. The Viscounts Gormanston continued to retain the Lordship of the latter under reversion..

The heraldic crest for Fingal reads "Flúirse Talaimh is Mara" meaning "Abundance of Land and Water". The motto reflects the strong farming and fishing ties historically associated with the area. It also features a Viking longboat, which represents the arrival of the Norse in Fingal, where they became integrated with the existing Irish.

In 1210, Fingal was included in County Dublinmarker, one of the first twelve counties created by King John during the shiring of Ireland. Over the centuries, Fingal included several other baronies, namely Coolockmarker,Finglasmarker, Feltrim, Howthmarker, Shankill, and Swordsmarker. A peerage title as Earl of Fingall was created in 1628, by King Charles I of England, and granted to Lucas Plunkett, Baron Fingall, whose first wife, Elizabeth O'Donnell of Tyrconnell thus became 1st Countess of Fingall. The Plunketts also intermarried with the Prestons, Viscounts Gormanston. The title went extinct upon the death of the 12th and last Earl in 1984, along with a peerage barony of the same name, not to be confused with the titular prescriptive barony of Fingal, long retained by the Viscount Gormanston as an incorporeal hereditament in gross, until passed to the late Patrick Denis O'Donnell.

County status

The area of Fingal, which had been recognised in various historical accounts throughout the Middle Ages (most notably the Annals of the Four Masters), was raised to county status on 1 January 1994, through the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1993 and more formally in the Local Government Act, 2001, with the division of old County Dublin into three new counties. Under the latter law, Fingal is determined and listed as a county.

Fingal covers the coastal area north of the city of Dublinmarker along the Irish Seamarker and south of the River Delvin to the River Liffeymarker, and it is bordered by County Meathmarker, County Kildaremarker and South Dublin County.

Fingal County Council, the local government authority, has its main offices in Swordsmarker and Blanchardstownmarker.

Sport

Fingal is home to League of Ireland side [[Sporting Fingal] [65333] who play out of Morton Stadiummarker [65334], Ireland's national athletics atadium and 2003 Special Olympics venue. Fingal GAA play in division 3B of the Allianz National Hurling League and in the Keogh Cup.

Economy and society

Fingal is Ireland’s primary horticultural region, producing 50% of the national vegetable output and 75% of all glasshouse crops grown in the country. However, the areas of production are coming under severe pressure from other development and the rural towns are increasingly becoming dormitories for the Citymarker. Howthmarker harbour is the biggest fishing harbour on the east coast and the fifth largest in the country[65335].

Fingal itself is the fifth largest local government area in Ireland by population. The largest urban center in Fingal is Blanchardstownmarker, and the second largest Swordsmarker, with other important centres of population at Balbrigganmarker, Castleknockmarker, Howthmarker, Malahidemarker, and many other Dublin residential suburbs[65336].

The Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and Dublin International Airportmarker are located within the county[65337]. The headquarters of Aer Lingus and Ryanair are located in the county, by the airport.

In 2006 Fingal County Council was lauded by prominent Irish construction industry figures, politicians and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs for becoming the first local authority in Ireland to introduce mandatory sustainable building requirements. The policy, which relates to all construction in 8 parts of the county—including roughly 13,000 new homes—stipulates that the amount of energy and CO2 emissions associated with the heating and hot water of all buildings must be reduced by at least 60% compared to Irish Building Regulations, with at least 30% of the energy used for heating and hot water coming from renewable sources such as solar, geothermal or biomass[65338].

According to the Irish National Census returns for 2006, published by the Government's Central Statistics Office, Fingal is the youngest and fastest growing county in Ireland, with the most economically active population, thus in the fastest growing economy in the European Union.

Towns and villages

Fingal varies enormously in character, from densely-populated suburban areas of the contiguous Dublin metropolitan to remote rural villages and almost-unpopulated agricultural townlands.



Fingal County Council is also responsible for the northern-most parts of Ballymunmarker, Santrymarker and Finglasmarker. The part of Kilbarrackmarker now known as Bayside, along with Sutton and Howth, were transferred from the city of Dublin in a somewhat controversial move. Clonee, a former rural area of Meath now with a heavily built-up hinterland, crosses the boundary between the old County of Dublin and County Meathmarker, while Ongar is an adjacent newly-created residential development in western Clonsilla seeking to develop a "village" amenity.

County Council

Fingal County Council has 24 directly elected members. The current Mayor is Ciaran Byrne. The members since the local election in 2009 are:

Labour: 9 (up 3)
  • Tom Kelleher* (Swords)
  • Gerry McGuire* (Swords)
  • Michael O'Donovan* (Mulhuddart)
  • Peter Coyle* (Howth-Malahide)
  • Peggy Hamill* (Castleknock)
  • Ciaran Byrne* (Balbriggan)
  • Patrick Nulty (Mulhuddart)
  • Cian O'Callaghan (Howth-Malahide)
  • Ken Farrell (Balbriggan)


Fine Gael: 6 (up 1)
  • Anne Devitt* (Swords)
  • Alan Farrell* (Howth-Malahide)
  • Joan Maher* (Howth-Malahide)
  • Eithne Loftus* (Castleknock)
  • Kieran Dennison (Mulhuddart)
  • Tom O'Leary (Balbriggan)


Fianna Fáil: 4 (down 1)
  • Eoghan O'Brien* (Howth-Malahide)
  • Darragh Butler* (Swords)
  • Mags Murray* (Castleknock)
  • David McGuinness (Mulhuddart)


Socialist Party: 3 (up 1)

Independent: 2
  • David O’Connor*
  • May McKeon* (IFF)


(*) denotes councillors who were re-elected at the 2009 local elections

References

  1. F.H.A. Allen and Kevin Whelan (editors), “Dublin City and County – From Prehistory to Present”, Geography Publications Dublin, 1992; page 89 [ISBN 0-906602-19-X]
  2. The original etymology of Fingal is well-explained in Charles Haliday, The Scandinavian Kingdom of Dublin, edited by John P. Prendergast, published by Alex. Thom & Co., Printers and Publishers, Dublin, 1881; pages 1, 18, and 20. [1]
  3. Robert Walsh,Fingal and its Churches – a Historical Sketch, Dublin and London, 1888; page 2
  4. Thomas Duffus Hardy (editor), Rotuli Chartarum in Turri Londinensi Asservati, published in 1837; page 178, volume 1, part 1. (Available in the Tower of London with copy in the Guildhall Library, London, it contains original text of the Grant of Fingal by King John in 1208). The grant describes the scope of administrative responsibility, and the limits of powers delegated
  5. John D’Alton, “History of Ireland”, published by the author in Dublin, 1845; Volume I, page 259
  6. Charles Kidd and David Williamson (editors), ”Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage 1995”, published by Debrett’s Peerage Limited, Macmillan, London, 1995 [ISBN UK: 0-333-41776-3; 0-333-62956-6; US: 0-312-12557-7], pages 534-535
  7. James Mills and M.J. McEnery (editors), The Calendar of the Gormanston Register, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, University Press, Dublin, 1916. The Gormanston Register is a collection of ancient manuscripts going back to the 12th century, belonging to the Viscounts Gormanston, and now lodged in the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin
  8. ”The Calendar of the Gormanston Register”, page 2
  9. Mary Rose Carty, History of Killeen Castle, by published by Carty / Lynch, Dunsany, County Meath, Ireland, April 1991 [ISBN 0-9517382-0-8]. This includes a history of the Earls of Fingall - page 18 refers to Lucas Plunkett, the 1st Earl of Fingall, and identifies his first wife as Elizabeth O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, 1st Countess of Fingall, daughter of Rory O’Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
  10. Charles Mosley, Blood Royal - From the time of Alexander the Great to Queen Elizabeth II, published for Ruvigny Ltd, London, 2002 (O'Donnell listed as Baron of Fyngal, page v) [ISBN 0-9524229-9-9]
  11. Local Government Act, 2001 Part one, schedule five, pp195.
  12. " compreg.pdf." Ryanair. Retrieved on 25 May 2009.
  13. " Contact Us." Aer Lingus. Retrieved on 25 May 2009.
  14. Fingal Commits - Local Authority adopts Radical Planning Requirements -:- Construct Ireland
  15. EU Energy Commissioner on Ireland's Energy Future -:- Construct Ireland
  16. Welcome to Fingal County Council


Bibliography

  • Fingal and its Churches - A Historical Sketch, by Robert Walsh, M. A., Dublin and London, 1888.
  • Rotuli Chartarum in Turri Londinensi Asservati, edited by Thomas Duffus Hardy, published in 1837. (Available in the Tower of London and in the Guildhall Library, London, it contains original text of the Grant of Fingal by King John in 1208).
  • The Calendar of the Gormanston Register, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, edited by James Mills and M.J. McEnery, University Press, Dublin, 1916. The Gormanston Register is a collection of ancient manuscripts going back to the 12th century, belonging to the Viscounts Gormanston, and now lodged in the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin.
  • History of Killeen Castle, by Mary Rose Carty, published by Carty / Lynch, Dunsany, County Meath, Ireland, April 1991 (ISBN 0-9517382-0-8). This includes a history of the Earls of Fingall - page 18 refers to Lucas Plunkett, the 1st Earl of Fingall, whose first wife was Elizabeth O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, 1st Countess of Fingall.
  • Blood Royal - From the time of Alexander the Great to Queen Elizabeth II, by Charles Mosley , published for Ruvigny Ltd, London, 2002 (O'Donnell listed as Baron of Fyngal, page v) ISBN 0-9524229-9-9
  • History of the County of Dublin, by Francis Elrington Ball, Dublin, 1902.
  • History of the County of Dublin, by John D'Alton, Esq., M.R.I.A. Hodges and Smith, Dublin, 1838.
  • Dublin City and County: From Prehistory to Present, edited by F.H.A. Aalen and Kevin Whelan, Geography Publications, Dublin, 1992 [ISBN 0-906602-19-X].
  • Seventy Years Young, Memoirs of Elizabeth, Countess of Fingall, by Elizabeth Burke Plunkett, Lady Fingall. First published by Collins of London in 1937; 1991 edition published by The Lilliput Press, Dublin 7, Ireland [ISBN 0 946640 74 2]. This Elizabeth was a Burke from Moycullen in County Galway, who married the 11th Earl of Fingall, and should not be confused with Elizabeth O'Donnell, 1st Countess of Fingal.
  • The Scandinavian Kingdom of Dublin, by Charles Haliday, edited by John P. Prendergast, published by Alex. Thom & Co., Printers and Publishers, Dublin, 1881.
  • Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage 1995, edited by Charles Kidd and David Williamson, published by Debrett’s Peerage Limited, Macmillan, London, 1995 [ISBN UK: 0-333-41776-3; 0-333-62956-6; US: 0-312-12557-7]


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