What an exciting week it’s been for The Happy Pear! We opened the doors of our very first Dublin-based café and food shop in the heart of Clondalkin village and we couldn’t be happier about it!
Ever since we started The Happy Pear journey, back in 2004, we have wanted to inspire as many people as possible to live a happier, healthier life and enjoy being part of a community, and we are thrilled that we are now able to take this dream beyond Greystones.
We feel really honoured and privileged to be a part of the wonderful community of Clondalkin and the South Dublin County Council’s latest tourism and heritage development. In addition to our fantastic new café and food store, there is an interpretive centre and exhibition space, as well as beautiful herbaceous gardens with a stunning outdoor dining area. And, to top it all off, Clondalkin is home to one of Ireland’s most unique historical and cultural features, the mighty Round Tower!
The Round Tower has been in Clondalkin for over 1,000 years, and was built in the centre of an early medieval monastery in the late 600s or 700s. No one knows for certain why the towers were built or what they were used for. It is thought that they were most likely used as bell towers or sacred places to store the belongings of saints or holy people associated with each monastery. The tower is a massive 27.5 meters high and, measuring just four meters wide at the bottom, it truly is an impressive sight.
Like others around the country, the Clondalkin Round Tower has a raised doorway and four windows at the top, each of which faces towards the four compass points; north, south, east and west. Inside the tower, there were once six floors, which were all connected by ladders. There are now five floors and the original openings for the door and all its windows still survive.
Lots more can be learnt about the Round Tower at the interpretive centre, where an interactive multimedia exhibition tells the story of over one thousand years of Clondalkin’s history and heritage. The exhibition explores Clondalkin’s fascinating medieval origins, as well as revealing some intriguing clues to the town’s Viking past. Little ones can even have a go at building their own Round Tower and imagine what Clondalkin was like centuries ago, by dressing up in costume. Best of all, admission to the exhibition is completely free, so be sure to check it out when you come to visit us!
Of course, our friendly staff will be there to serve you all of your favourite healthy delights each day (Monday – Sunday) from 8am to 8pm for the summer months, and we look forward to welcoming you to our newest home!
Thank you to everyone who has been out to visit us already. We have been overwhelmed by the great support we have received since we opened and we love seeing all your pictures on social media, so make sure to keep tagging us in your snaps!
Did you know??
Now for some lesser-known facts about Clondalkin from the town’s historical geniuses, Bernardine Nic Giolla Phádraig, Co-ordinator of the Clondalkin Round Tower Heritage Group, and Brian Ó Gaibhin, Áras Chrónáin Irish Cultural Centre. Both Bernardine and Brian are a mine of information when it comes to Clondalkin’s fascinating history and have shared with us five fun facts, which we think you will find very interesting. Thanks guys!
- Clondalkin is the birthplace of many a well-known face: Aidan Turner, of BBC’s Poldark fame; Dubs manager, Jim Gavin; television presenter and comedian, Graham Norton; television presenter, Mary Kennedy, and boxer Bernard Dunne, are all Clondalkin natives.
- Clondalkin is home to one of the biggest Irish speaking populations outside of the Gaeltacht areas. Over 1,200 children receive their education totally through the Irish language, from preschool through to second level.
- One of the gunpowder mills in Clondalkin exploded in 1787 and destroyed the medieval church across from the Round Tower. The explosion shattered windows in Dublin city’s Usher’s Island and propelled an unsuspecting cat all the way to Ballyfermot. These events were all reported in one of Dublin’s penny newspapers that day. Amazingly, the Round Tower remained unscathed!
- One of the oldest GAA clubs in the country, Round Towers GAA, was founded in 1884.
- Clondalkin’s Round Tower is the most slender of all Ireland’s round towers. It is also the oldest and one of the best-preserved of them all.