History Of Our Parish
Greenhills is a typical suburban parish in south-west Dublin which evolved over a period of about 30 years. The first houses of the parish on Greentrees Road were built in 1954. They were soon followed by the houses on Fernhill Road, St. Patrick's Road and St. Peter's Road. Those at the furthest end of the parish, in Greenpark, were built around 1975. Temple Manor estate was a later development. In those early years the area belonged to Crumlin parish. Then in 1964 it became part of the newly constituted parish of Walkinstown. There was a virtual population explosion in the parish between 1954 and 1975 with the influx of about 2,700 young married couples. So rapid was the growth that huge primary schools and eventually secondary schools had to be built in Greenhills.
An immense contribution was made in providing schools by the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul the Apostle. They purchased 50 acres of land known as "Taylor's Farm", which stretched from Limekiln Lane to Limekiln Road. On this land they built the parish girls schools. The Sisters also donated the land on which St. Peter's Boys Primary School was built
The early residents of these parts attended Mass in Crumlin and later in Walkinstown or at whatever church was convenient. The road system as we now know it was practically non-existent. In the midst of all the new development some of the old lanes and hedge rows remained. For some time there was no through road between Greentrees Road and St. Peter's Road and Walkinstown. Public transport didn't exist. Older people still tell stories of getting lifts to Mass or to the shops on the milk delivery carts. Eventually on 3 November 1968 the foundation stone for the Church of the Holy Spirit, Greenhills, was laid by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. The Sister's of Charity of St. Paul the Apostle donated 3.413 acres of land to the parish for the church. The Church was blessed and opened on 25th January 1971. Later that year the parish was handed over to the care of the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) with Fr. Pat Smyth, C.S.Sp. as parish priest.
Since the parish began in January 1971, it has gone through many changes. Nothing better illustrates this than a perusal of parish and school records, which act as a kind of index to the changes that have taken place. The first Baptism register was begun by Fr. Hanratty, C.C. on 31 January 1971. By the end of December 1971, 259 baptisms had been recorded. The following year there were 274 Baptisms, the highest on record for any single year. In 1973 Archbishop Dermot Ryan confirmed 408 children from the schools in Greenhills. This latter figure gives some idea of the school-going population. The numbers in primary school reached their peak in the mid 1970's. There were 1500 pupils in St. Peter's Boys Primary School, and 1600 girls in St. Paul's Girls Primary School. In 1981 the numbers confirmed were 306 and in the year 2001 the dropped to just 99. Of these, two thirds come from outside of Greenhills. In May 2006 St. Peter's school had only 234 pupils, it once catered for 1500, while St. Paul's junior and senior primary schools had 603 pupils between them. Eighty three children were baptised in the church in 2000 A.D. Of those who were baptised only 55 came from within the parish. There were 13 deaths in the parish in 1972, but in the year 2000 there were 63.
These figures tell their own story. Nearly all of those young married couples who moved into Greenhills between 1954 and 1975 had children of school going age. These children grew up together and gradually as they finished secondary school they began to move out to get jobs and eventually left the parish when they got married. This helps to explain the rise and fall in population that has taken place here.