Welcome to Visit Fingal Places
The Walkfo guide to things to do & explore in Fingal

Visit Fingal PlacesVisit Fingal places using Walkfo for free guided tours of the best Fingal places to visit. A unique way to experience Fingal’s places, Walkfo allows you to explore Fingal as you would a museum or art gallery with audio guides.

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Fingal County Council is the local authority for the county. It is located in the province of Leinster and is part of the Dublin Region. In 2016 the population of the county was 296,214, making it the second-most populous county in Ireland. When you visit Fingal, Walkfo brings Fingal places to life as you travel by foot, bike, bus or car with a mobile phone & headphones.


Fingal Places Overview: History, Culture & Facts about Fingal

Visit Fingal – Walkfo’s stats for the places to visit

With 14 audio plaques & Fingal places for you to explore in the Fingal area, Walkfo is the world’s largest heritage & history digital plaque provider. The AI continually learns & refines facts about the best Fingal places to visit from travel & tourism authorities (like Wikipedia), converting history into an interactive audio experience.

Fingal history

Terminology and etymology

The name “Fingal” derives from the medieval territory of Fine Gall (tribe or territory of foreigners), the Viking settlement north of Dublin. The Vikings referred to the hinterland of Dublin as Dyflinarskiri. Fingallian is an extinct language, a hybrid of Old and Middle English and Old Norse with Gaelic influences.

Legal history

In 1208 the Lordship of Fingal was granted to Walter de Lacy by King John of England. Not until the Norman invasion of Ireland did the settlement and its hinterland become an administrative area. The modern county was established on 1 January 1994 with the division of the administrative county of Dublin under the Local Government (Dublin) Act.

Early Gaelic history

Ptolemy identified Eblana (Dublin) as the capital of a people called the Eblani. In later centuries the territory north of the river Liffey was known as Mide or Midhe, i.e. “the Kingdom of Meath” Bregia comprised five Gaelic triocha-cheds (equivalent to cantreds) or the later baronies.

Vikings and Hiberno-Norse

By 841 AD a Scandinavian settlement had been established at Dublin; this was abandoned in 902, re-established in 917, and developed thereafter. The Norse Kingdom of Dublin stretched, at its greatest, from Drogheda to Arklow. It was so established by the 11th century that it was regarded even amongst the native Gaelic population as a minor kingdom ruled by Hiberno-Norse kings.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion

With the arrival of the Anglo/Cambro-Normans in 1169, the territory of the old Gaelic Kingdom of Meath was promised in around 1172 to Hugh de Lacy by King Henry II of England. At that time, Meath extended to most of the current county of Fingal (including as far as Clontarf, Santry and the barony of Castleknock), County Westmeath and part of County Kildare. Fingal was therefore implicitly included in the grant of “Meath” either as part of Meath proper or under the additional element of that grant “and for increase to the gift, all fees which he has or shall acquire about Dublin”. This element of the grant related to his role as Bailiff and was copied into the Gormanston Register. Strongbow was probably also assigned some fees within the royal demesne of Dublin, as in the case of Hugh de Lacy’s custodianship of Dublin, in payment of his services. This appears evidenced by several grants which he made in his own name within the city to St. Mary’s Abbey, and his foundation of a hospital of St. John of Jerusalem at Kilmainham. Therefore, both Strongbow and Hugh de Lacy exercised lordships within the royal demesne of Dublin. In addition to Dublin city, the royal demesne itself also consisted of the royal manors of Crumlin, Esker, Newcastle, and Saggart, in the south-west of the county, and the royal demesnes of O Thee (O’Teig), O Brun (O’Broin), and O Kelly (O’Ceallaigh) in the south-east of the county, which were rented from the Crown by Irish-speaking tenants. Over half of the land in the county of Dublin was granted to religious houses and priories, as well as archbishops and monasteries, and minor lay lords. In such way too, an estate was given to the Irish chieftain MacGillamocholmog, who held sway over the territory of Cualann (Wicklow) when the Anglo-Normans arrived. De Lacy parcelled out most of this land to his vassals, who were to hold these lands from him, as he had held the Lordship of Meath from King Henry, by military tenure. D’Alton also provides a reference to the enumeration of these grants given in Hibernica, by Harris (pp. 42–43). Hugh de Lacy was appointed Viceroy in 1178, and again in 1181 after a brief period of royal disfavour. By virtue of his grant of Meath, Hugh de Lacy was appointed a Palatine Count in that territory and divided it amongst his various vassals who were commonly called “De Lacy’s Barons”. These were: Hugh Tyrell, Baron of Castleknock; Jocelyn de Angulo, Baron of Navan and Ardbraccan; De Misset, Baron of Lune; Adam de Feypo, Baron Skryne; Fitz-Thomas, Baron of Kells; Hussey, Baron of Galtrim; Richard de Fleming, Baron Slane; Adam Dullard or Dollard, of Dullenvarty; Gilbert de Nugent, Baron Delvin and later Earl of Westmeath;Risteárd de Tiúit, Baron of Moyashell; Robert de Lacy’s descendants, Barons of Rathwire; De Constantine, Baron of Kilbixey Petit, Baron of Mullingar; Meyler FitzHenry of Maghernan, Rathkenin, and Ardnocker. As Burke points out, to some of these there descended the De Genevilles, Lords of Meath; Mortimer, Earl of March (and later Lord of Trim, from De Geneville); the Plunkets, of Danish descent, Baron of Dunsany and of Killeen, and later Earl of Louth and Earl of Fingall (by letters patent); the Prestons, Viscounts Gormanston and Viscount Tara, the Barnewalls, Baron Trimlestown and Viscount Barnewall; the Nettervilles, Barons of Dowth; the Bellews, Barons of Duleek; the Darcys of Platten, Barons of Navan; the Cusacks, Barons of Culmullin; the FitzEustaces, Baron Portlester. Some of these again were succeeded by the De Baths of Athcarn, the Dowdalls of Athlumny, the Cruises, the Drakes of Drake Rath, and others. In 1184, Prince John, then Lord of Ireland and Earl of Mortain gave half the tithes of Fingal to the episcopal see of Dublin, which grant was confirmed in 1337 by King Edward, and in 1395 by King Richard II when in Dublin. This John was none other than the same who featured so prominently in the tales of Robin Hood during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart (Coeur de Lion) absent on the Third Crusade. In 1189, on the breaking up of Robin Hood’s company, Robin Hood’s great companion Little John, is said to have exhibited his feats of archery on Oxmanstown Green in Dublin, until having been detected in a robbery, he was hanged on Arbour Hill nearby. Another Robin Hood-type, known as McIerlagh Gedy, is recorded as a notorious felon responsible for many thefts and incendiary acts in Meath, Leinster, and Fingal, and was taken prisoner, brought to Trim Castle and hanged. Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath, son of Hugh, gained seisin of the Lordship of Meath by charter in 1194 during Richard I’s exercise of the Lordship of Ireland, having previously been a minor when his father Hugh de Lacy died in 1186. Walter succeeded to all Hugh’s lordships, including of Fingal, which by grant of King John in 1208 was subsequently confirmed in perpetuity under the same terms as the palatine Lordship of Meath, and no longer limited by the original conditions linked to service as bailiff of Dublin.

Feudal administration

The first known administrative provision related to the original name was a palatine grant of the Paramount Lordship of Fingal, confirmed by letters patent from King John. This feudal barony or Prescriptive barony was granted to Walter de Lacy and his heirs in perpetuity in 1208. The grant was based on Hugh de Lacy, Walter’s father, having held the same on a basis of grand serjeanty for his services as bailiff to the King. The grant describes the scope of administrative responsibility, and the limits of powers delegated. The gist of the grant is recounted as follows: Grant and confirmation to Walter de Lascy, on his petition, of his land of Meath; to hold of the King in fee by the service of 50 knights; and of his fees of Fingal, in the vale of Dublin; to hold in fee by the service of 7 knights; saving to the King pleas of the Crown, appeals of the peace, & c., and crociae, and the dignities thereto belonging; the King’s writs to run throughout Walter’s land. Further grant to Walter of the custody of his fees, although the lords thereof hold elsewhere in capite; saving to the King the marriages of the heirs of those fees. As mentioned above, by the time King John granted Finegal as part of his inheritance to Walter, Walter’s father Hugh had already sub-infeudated parts thereof to his vassals (e.g. the Castleknock barony, granted by Hugh de Lacy to Hugh Tyrell, etc.). Therefore, Finegal was already a superior lordship (or paramount barony) when originally granted, consisting of lesser baronies (and their several manors), even though some of these may have been granted by Hugh in his capacities as Bailiff or as Viceroy, and later confirmed as held of the Crown in capite, and in perpetuity. The lordship of Fingal was, therefore, a paramount superiority over several sub-infeudated smaller baronies (such as Castleknock, Santry, Balrothery), and thus eventually accrued vicecomital attributes. In addition, several other baronies existed as feudal holdings or were created within the geographical territory of Fingal (such as Finglas; Swerdes Swords; Santry, Feltrim), and in other parts of Dublin: Howth and Senkylle (Shankill in southern Dublin). A later, related, development was 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 a major landowner in the Fingal area, and a direct descendant of Walter de Lacy. That viscountcy was called after Gormanston as the latter was the principal 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., and the prescriptive barony of Fingal was also retained by the Viscount Gormanston as an incorporeal hereditament in gross, until passed to the late Patrick Denis O’Donnell. Geographically, Fingal became a core area of the Pale, and that part of Ireland most intensively settled by the Normans and in due course the English. Records during the period 1285–92, of rolls of receipts for taxes to the King indicate Fingal as a distinct area, listed along with the baronies or lordships of Duleek, Kells, and Loxuedy, as well as Valley (Liffey), and sometimes under, sometimes separate from Dublin. Later records of rolls of receipts e.g. “granted to the King in Ireland of the term of Trinity a.r.21 (1293)” for the period 1293–1301 also include references to Fingal listed as a lordship, again along with the baronies of Duleek and Kells, and Dublin City, and Valley, all listed under Dublin County. Several other references also exist in the chancery records of the 14th century. The feudal system was finally completely abolished in the Republic of Ireland under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act (No. 27 of 2009) passed by the Oireachtas on 21 July 2009. The Act accordingly abolished feudal tenure, but preserved estates in land, including customary rights and incorporeal hereditaments. A peerage title as Earl of Fingall was created in 1628, by King Charles I of England, and granted to Luke Plunkett, 1st Earl of Fingall, Baron Killeen, whose first wife, Elizabeth Plunkett née FitzGerald, thus became Lady Killeen The Plunketts also intermarried with the Prestons, Viscounts Gormanston. The Fingall Estate Papers, acquired by the Fingal County Archives, do not however relate to any properties in Fingal, but rather to lands in Meath. That Fingall title became 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 previously mentioned.

County Dublin

In the 1208 grant, the bulk of Fingal, considered to be “in the vale of Dublin”, was part of the County Dublin, when the latter was established as one of the first twelve counties created by King John during his visit to Ireland in 1210. In 1985, County Dublin was divided into three “electoral counties”, with “Dublin–Fingal” as the northern one. In 1994, the administrative county of Dublin was abolished, and three new administrative counties similar to the electoral counties replaced it.

Why visit Fingal with Walkfo Travel Guide App?

Visit Fingal PlacesYou can visit Fingal places with Walkfo Fingal to hear history at Fingal’s places whilst walking around using the free digital tour app. Walkfo Fingal has 14 places to visit in our interactive Fingal map, with amazing history, culture & travel facts you can explore the same way you would at a museum or art gallery with information audio headset. With Walkfo, you can travel by foot, bike or bus throughout Fingal, being in the moment, without digital distraction or limits to a specific walking route. Our historic audio walks, National Trust interactive audio experiences, digital tour guides for English Heritage locations are available at Fingal places, with a AI tour guide to help you get the best from a visit to Fingal & the surrounding areas.

“Curated content for millions of locations across the UK, with 14 audio facts unique to Fingal places in an interactive Fingal map you can explore.”

Walkfo: Visit Fingal Places Map
14 tourist, history, culture & geography spots


  Fingal historic spots

  Fingal tourist destinations

  Fingal plaques

  Fingal geographic features

Walkfo Fingal tourism map key: places to see & visit like National Trust sites, Blue Plaques, English Heritage locations & top tourist destinations in Fingal


Best Fingal places to visit

Fingal has places to explore by foot, bike or bus. Below are a selection of the varied Fingal’s destinations you can visit with additional content available at the Walkfo Fingal’s information audio spots:

Fingal photo Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle is located nine miles (14 km) north of central Dublin in Ireland. It has over 260 acres (1.1 km) of remaining parkland estate.
Fingal photo County Hall, Swords
County Hall (Irish: Halla an Chontae, Sord Cholmcille) is a municipal building in Swords in the county of Fingal, Ireland.
Fingal photo Swords Castle
Swords Castle is a historic castle located in Swords, Dublin. The castle is located in the city of Dublin. It is located on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland.
Fingal photo Fingallians GAA
Fingallians are one of the oldest clubs in Dublin. Founded in 1884, they are based at Lawless Memorial Park.
Fingal photo Rathbeale, Swords
Rathbeale is a neighbourhood in the town of Swords in Ireland. It developed in west Swords along a road which runs from Swords to the townland of Rathbeal. The neighbourhood has shops, including two supermarkets and housing estates.
Fingal photo Brackenstown, Swords
Brackenstown is a neighbourhood in the north Dublin suburb of Swords. It developed in west Swords on the north side of the Ward River. It has shops, including a supermarket and a pub, and is adjacent to a park.
Fingal photo Holywell, Swords
Holywell (Irish: Tobar Naofa) is a neighbourhood near Swords, Dublin, Ireland. It is the eastern part of the census town of Kinsealy–Drinan, separated from the western part by the M1 motorway. All the street names in the community include the common name Holywell.
Fingal photo Knocksedan, Swords
Knocksedan (from Irish: Cnoc Siáin) is a rural townland near the town of Swords in Ireland. It is situated along the Naul Road (R108) to the west of Swords on either side of the Ward River.

Visit Fingal plaques

Fingal Plaques 0
Fingal has 0 physical plaques in tourist plaque schemes for you to explore via Walkfo Fingal plaques audio map when visiting. Plaques like National Heritage’s “Blue Plaques” provide visual geo-markers to highlight points-of-interest at the places where they happened – and Walkfo’s AI has researched additional, deeper content when you visit Fingal using the app. Experience the history of a location when Walkfo local tourist guide app triggers audio close to each Fingal plaque. Currently No Physical Plaques.