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Irish: Poll Glas
Poleglass is located in Northern Ireland
 Poleglass shown within Northern Ireland
County County Antrim
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
List of places
Northern Ireland

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Poleglass (from Irish: Poll Glas, meaning "green hollow")[1] is an area of West Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is the name of a townland, a modern electoral ward,[2] and a housing estate. The townland is situated in the civil parish of Derriaghy and the historic Barony of Belfast Upper.[3] It is mainly an Irish nationalist area.

Due to its proximity to both Belfast and Lisburn, it has become popular with commuters. This has led to the swift growth of housing in the area and a sharp rise in house prices. Addresses in Poleglass are classed as being in Belfast, and the telephone numbers in the area generally start with '90' as with the rest of Belfast.

Early history

The area currently known as Poleglass has a long history of human habitation, with a ringfort having existed in the area yielding artefacts from the early Christian era.[4] A thirteenth century silver coin was also excavated, suggesting an extended period of habitation.[5]

By the early 20th century the area had become part of the green belt between Belfast and Lisburn and was largely uninhabited.[6] Cloona House was a stately home located in the area however until it was taken over by the Ministry of Defence in 1940. Subsequently passing into the hands of the local Catholic Church it has been used for a community projects and since 2011 has been occupied by Colin Neighbourhood Partnership.[7]


Poleglass was one of a number of housing schemes established in the forty years or so after the Second World War as an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding of the Catholic areas of west Belfast, in particular the lower Falls Road, which underwent extensive redevelopment during the period.[8] The building of the estate was first mooted in 1973 but its location within the boundaries of Lisburn, a town at the time with a significant Protestant majority, led to vehement protests from loyalists. Building did not begin until 1979 and as a result of pressure from both Unionist politicians and the Ulster Defence Association the original Department of Environment plan for 4,000 houses had been scaled back to 1,563.[9] The first areas, Old Colin and Colinmill, opened in 1980 with the first residents moved in on the morning of 28 November 1980.[citation needed]

By the year 2000 Poleglass had expanded to around 2,000 dwellings.[10] This expansion was necessitated by the demolition of parts of the Divis flats on the lower Falls, with the residents rehoused in Poleglass.[11] It is made up of small estates, such as Glenbawn, Merrion Park, Woodside, Glenwood, Glenkeen, Laurelbank, Old Colin, Colinmill, Springbank, Colinbrook, Colinvale, Ardcaoin and Brianswell. Each of these vary in their size and age, some being fairly recent developments, others being original housing from when Poleglass first emerged.[citation needed] Notable landmarks include the Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, Footprints Women's Centre, the Church of the Nativity and Colin Glen Forest Park. The home of youth team Colin Valley football is situated behind the Olde Mill and they have won several trophies world-wide. Most memorably, they were winners of the Holland Youth Cup 1997.[12] The Colin Valley senior side are also based at Good Shepherd Road in Poleglass. They compete in the intermediate sections of the Northern Amateur Football League.[13]


In keeping with a number of social housing areas in Northern Ireland Poleglass has gained a reputation for the anti-social behaviour of gangs of "hoods" who indulge in such acts as joyriding. During the late 1990s a "Neighbourhood Watch" scheme was organised by local residents, with activities such as night-time patrols, the blocking of small streets to prevent access to joy riders and curfews for large groups of youth undertaken. The scheme, which was endorsed by Sinn Fein, was criticised by some as vigilantism with claims made by the families of some youths that they were forced out of the estate although members of the Neighbourhood Watch rejected these allegations.[14] This followed an incident in September 1996 when the Provisional Irish Republican Army expelled seven men aged between 17 and 30 from the area after they had been accused of a spate of arson attacks on vehicles.[15]

Summary justice in the form of punishment beatings and knee cappings dealt out to transgressors by paramilitaries have continued to be a feature of life in Poleglass after the end of the Troubles. One such attack occurred in August 2008 when a 20-year-old man was discovered after being shot in the legs.[16] In 2011 a 46-year-old man was seriously injured in the area in a case treated by police as attempted murder although no suggestion was made that this attack was connected to paramilitaries or punishment attacks.[17]


Poleglass is served by the Metro arm of Translink bus services as part of the 81a and 82a services from Belfast city centre[18] as well as the 10C service along the Falls, Andersonstown and Stewartstown roads and the 10b service along the Falls Road, Andersonstown Road, Shaws Road, Glen Road, Suffolk Road & Stewartstown Road.[19] Translink Ulsterbus services 104, 530, 531 and 532 serve the Bell Steel Road side of the estate going to Twinbrook, Lisburn and Spurcefield.

The West Belfast Taxi Association, which provides a hackney carriage "taxibus" service to the outlying estates beyond the Falls Road, also connects the city centre with Poleglass.[20]

Adjacent areas

Poleglass is bordered on the east by the Stewartstown Road, which originates in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast. There are two main areas of housing on this road apart from Poleglass i.e. Twinbrook and Lagmore. Notable residents of Twinbrook have included Bobby Sands who led an IRA active service unit on the estate from his parents' Laburnum Way home before his imprisonment prior to his death on hunger strike.[21] Twinbrook has also long been home to several Irish Traveller families.[22] Like Poleglass, Twinbrook gives its name to an electoral ward in the Dunmurry Cross area of Lisburn City Council.[23]

The Lagmore housing estate lies to the south of Poleglass, close to the Derriaghy area of Lisburn. Lagmore is a more recent development than Poleglass or Twinbrook and indeed as of 2012 houses are still being built on the estate.[24] Its Catholic church, Christ the Redeemer, was only created as a breakaway parish from St Luke's Twinbrook in 1997[25] whilst the local primary school of the same name dates to only 1999.[26]

See also


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  2. Councillors in the Dunmurry Cross Area
  3. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  4. Seán P. Ó Ríordáin, Ruaidhrí De Valera, Antiquities of the Irish countryside, Taylor & Francis, 1979, p. 33
  5. Raymond Gillespie, Early belfast: the origins and growth of an ulster town to 1750, Ulster Historical Foundation, 2007, p. 35
  6. William J. V. Neill, Urban planning and cultural identity, Routledge, 2004, pp. 190–191
  7. Colin Neighbourhood Partnership at Cloona House
  8. Scott A. Bollens, On narrow ground: urban policy and ethnic conflict in Jerusalem and Belfast, SUNY Press, 2000, p. 244
  9. Seán Hutton, Paul Stewart, Ireland's histories: aspects of state, society, and ideology, Routledge, 1991, p. 140
  10. Bollens, p. 245
  11. Donna M. Lanclos, At play in Belfast: children's folklore and identities in Northern Ireland, Rutgers University Press, 2003, p. 165
  12. Colin Valley FC Honours
  13. Colin Valley F.C. at NAFL site
  14. Heather Hamill, The hoods: crime and punishment in Belfast, Princeton University Press, 2010, pp. 25–27
  15. Julia Hall, To serve without favor: policing, human rights, and accountability in Northern Ireland, Human Rights Watch, 1997, p. 133
  16. Anna Eriksson, Justice in transition: community restorative justice in Northern Ireland, Taylor & Francis US, 2009, p. 38
  17. Trio bailed over Poleglass murder bid
  18. Falls Road and related bus routes
  19. Metro Service 10
  20. Streets of Fear
  21. David Beresford, Ten Men Dead: The Story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike, HarperCollins UK, 1987, p. 62
  22. Anna Eriksson, Justice in Transition: Community Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland, Taylor & Francis, 2009, p. 157
  23. Dunmurry Cross Electoral Area
  24. Now parents can’t get kids into primaries
  25. Christ the Redeemer Parish, Lagmore, Belfast – A Growing Parish by Aoife Hegarty
  26. Christ the Redeemer Primary School

External links