A track record of achievement


‘50 Years of Community Spirit in Ashbourne’
1970 – 2020

Most people will know that the town of Ashbourne is 200 years old in 2020. Thanks to the great work of Ashbourne Historical Society and their magnificent publication “Ashbourne Landscape, Lives, and Lore”. The town of Ashbourne is spread out over a number of townlands including Killegland, Dunreagh, Milltown, Ballybin, Cookstown, and Rath, and although Ashbourne may be the town without a townland, there is no doubt that it has many other redeeming features.

The population of Ashbourne remained fairly static from the mid 1800’s famine time until the late nineteen sixties, and even have dropped a little in the 1960’s. It was probably about 1970 that Ashbourne’s “recent history” really started, i.e. 50 years ago.

The 1961 Census recorded the population of Ashbourne at 152 people, and this decreased to 139 people in the 1966 Census population, and it remained below 200 people in 1971. The “village” was “all-to-one-side” with most of the commercial elements of Ashbourne located on the east side of Fredrick Street, (known also as the N2), and indeed so also was most of the population.

No doubt Ashbourne was truly a “village” at that time, and no doubt those that were lucky enough to be living there at the time were able to enjoy the comforts of village life, without any urban pressures, while being only 10 miles from the centre of Dublin City.

Around 1970 the development of “Garden City” began and the population of Ashbourne was set to explode and continued to rise throughout the 50 years 1970 to 2020. The “explosion” in population over the years is summarised in the following Table:

Census of Population for Ashbourne 1961 – 2016 (https://www.cso.ie/en/census)


1961 1966 1971 1979 1981 1991 2011 2016
Population 152 139 197 2,014 2,325 4,411 11,355


Obviously when the development of the Garden City started in the 1970’s this was quickly followed by an influx of new residents from all over Ireland. Every one of the 32 Counties were soon represented by new families who choose Ashbourne as their home. The relaxed lifestyle of the 197 residents of Ashbourne was no doubt turned upside down as the needs of the new residents became very apparent.

However, the warm “Ashbourne Welcome” was rolled out and old and new residents came together in a strong Community Spirit that is still evident in Ashbourne today. The population rose sharply after 1971 and the needs of this growing population were apparent to all. In the best traditions of the Ashbourne Community Spirit where there was a need there was an answer. The answers were not always easy to find and in many cases needed the support and cooperation of Local and National Authorities. Schools were high on the list of needs. Then followed the “wants” with people wanting to enrich the social, recreational, sporting, commercial, and religious needs of a fast growing community.

Membership of existing Sports and Social Clubs, (and there were many), and of other recreational Organisations benefitted from the huge increase in population, many who had also come from outside of Ireland. There was great enthusiasm for and interest in “getting to know people” and this is where the Ashbourne Community Spirit shone brightest.

Massive Community support, backed up by Local and National Authorities, saw at least three new primary schools, a new Church, and a new Community Centre being built in Ashbourne in the early years. As the time progressed and the population continued to grow the Community Spirit never waned. New members for all of the existing activities were abundant and enthusiastic, and new interests were introduced by many of the new residents. Other needs and wants of the Community were also identified and the range of social, sporting and leisure interests quickly expanded. The Community Spirit allowed these needs and wants to be addressed and enhanced with each new family that arrived in a massive wave of Community Activity that rose up and flourished throughout those 50 years.

The strength and diversity of the many Sporting, Cultural, and other organisations that are now available in Ashbourne is brilliant. A quick alphabetical listing of some of these groups and organisations, are listed below, to emphasise this fact. e.g. 6th Meath Ashbourne Scouts,  Ash2020 Bicentenary CLG., Ashbourne  Baseball, Ashbourne & Ratoath Golfing Society, Ashbourne Archery Club, Ashbourne Badminton Club, Ashbourne Boxing Club, Ashbourne Bridge Club, Ashbourne Brownies (Sráid Fredrick Pack), Ashbourne Ceilí Club, Ashbourne Chamber, Ashbourne Community Alert, Ashbourne & District Community Council, Ashbourne Community Games, Ashbourne Cricket Club, Ashbourne First Responders, Ashbourne Foróige, Ashbourne Girl Guides (Ward Pack), Ashbourne Golf Club, Ashbourne Guide Company (Killegland Co.), Ashbourne Handball Club, Ashbourne Historical Society, Ashbourne ICA, Ashbourne IFA, Ashbourne Indoor Bowls, Ashbourne Jiu Jitsu, Ashbourne Judo Club, Ashbourne Kick Boxing, Ashbourne Ladybirds (Noníní Group), Ashbourne Ladybirds (Rosóg Group), Ashbourne Lions Club, Ashbourne Men’s Shed, Ashbourne Nature Watch, Ashbourne Players Drama Group, Ashbourne Playspace, Ashbourne Playspace Network, Ashbourne Public Greenspace Working Group, Ashbourne Red Cross, Ashbourne Rugby Club, Ashbourne Running Club, Ashbourne School of Music, Ashbourne School Of Dance, Ashbourne Senior Citizens, Ashbourne South Community Alert, Ashbourne Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Ashbourne Tennis Club, Ashbourne Tidy Towns, Ashbourne United FC, Ashbourne Wheelers Cycling Club, Ashbourne Youth Café, Ashbourne Youth Reach, Ashburners Cycle Club, Battle of Ashbourne Commemoration Committee, Broadmeadow River Ashbourne, Donaghmore / Ashbourne GAA, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Donaghmore Community Alert, Killegland Athletic FC, Meals-On-Wheels, Millenium Garden Committee, Milltown Sportsfield Trust, Parish Choir, Performance Martial Arts, Special Olympics, St Andrews Athletic Club, St. Vincent DePaul, Taekwondo Club, Trad Ash., etc.

With the passing years the Ashbourne Community Spirit has allowed existing Clubs and Organisations to draw volunteers from a much larger pool of enthusiastic supporters. Every indication is that this Community Spirit will survive and continue to grow into the future.

Any mention of the benefits of Community Spirit in Ashbourne must always record the appreciation of the entire Community for the inputs of groups such as Parents Associations, Festival Committees, Second Level Schools Committees, Swimming Clubs, Ashbourne & District Credit Union, etc., who probably kick-started our wonderful Community Spirit. and the more recent work undertaken by other groups such as Ashbourne Suicide Awareness and Prevention, and the many Residents Associations and other voluntary groups that have done, and in many cases continue to do, exemplary work on behalf of the Community.

Of course none of the great works and successes of any of these organisations would have been possible without the support of our many business people and organisations. Their support can never be forgotten and the immense value of their support is very much appreciated by the Community. Thank you all.

Tom Keenan