The Square is one of the oldest areas of Skerries. It still retains much of the random layout characteristic of early unplanned villages. The cobbles, which once surfaced the road, show through in places. The narrow paths have cut kerbstones. The corner formed by The Square and Thomas Hand Street was known as Walkers’s Corner, after the man who made nails there. This was also the meeting place in the old village, where people gathered to chat in the evening. At harvest time labourers gathered here, with reaping hooks hanging from their coats, to be hired.
The Hoar Rock
The Hoar Rock is reputed to have been the home of smugglers, which was seen as a reputable trade in olden days. It was from here that Percy French, while on a visit to the town, was supposed to have been inspired to write “The Mountains of Mourne”.
Quay Street, formerly known as Strand Street North, ran along the North Beach, while The Quay of Skerries lay between the Dorn and The Harbour. A row of bollards along this quay was used to moor the Skerries hookers, as the fishing boats of the day were called.
Balbriggan Street was once the home of the Skerries farming community, and was lined on both sides by farmyards. Some of these still exist.
The Cross was possibly the graveyard for the old village along Quay Street, as its name and number of bones found there would substantiate. There was a lone thorn bush growing there. Lone thorn bushes were always treated with superstition and this tree was no different. Coffins were carried around it three times as funerals passed.
Between Church Island and Red Island lies Colt Island. It takes its name from an old local belief that horses, which grazed here would be rejuvenated and become young again.
This was the site of an old malting house, where barley was malted. It was owned by Darcy’s brewery – now long gone – of Dublin. Generations of children jeered the workers by shouting:
Darcy’s stout is good no doubt, but Guinness stout is better.