Foxrock is a leafy suburb in South County Dublin situated between the sea at Dún Laoghaire and the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, approximately 12 km from Dublin city.
The suburb of Foxrock was developed by William and John Bentley and Edward and Anthony Fox, who, in 1859, leased the lands of the Foxrock Estate from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Richard Whately, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, with the aim of creating an affluent garden suburb.
The development was facilitated by the existence of the Harcourt Street Railway Line built in 1854, putting Dublin City within commuting distance. The developers donated a site to the Dublin Wicklow and Wexford Railway Company for Foxrock railway station, which opened in 1861. In 1862, the following advertisement was placed in The Irish Times:
“Beautiful building sites for mansions and pretty villas – Foxrock estate. The improvements recently made on this property, and still progressing, together with its natural attractions render these sites unrivalled for suburban residences. The scenery (green and mountain) from Brighton Road just finished, leading from the hotel at Foxrock station to Carrickmines, is magnificent. The land, being undulating, affords perfectly sheltered positions on Torquay Road, to the railway station at Stillorgan and Foxrock, as well as others elevated and more bracing. The rents required are exceedingly moderate: leases for 900 years are granted. Bricks, stones, lime and sand from the estate are sold at reduced prices to tenants. Stage coaches and omnibuses ply regularly between Foxrock station and Kingstown. Fare 3 pence and 4 pence. There is cheap and excellent shopping at Foxrock market. The railway subscription only £7 per annum. Apply to W.W. Bentley, Foxrock, or Bentley and Son, 110 College Green.”
The racecourse was completed in 1888, while the golf club opened in 1898.
Due to a slower than expected initial take-up of lots, the founder/developers of Foxrock were bankrupted and did not live to see its successful development into a prosperous suburb.
13th April 1906 to 22nd December 1989
Samuel Beckett, Foxrock’s most famous resident, was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director and poet who was born in Cooldrinagh on Kerrymount Avenue, Foxrock. He spent most of his adult life in Paris and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.
The family home, Cooldrinagh, was a large house and garden complete with tennis court built in 1903 by Samuel’s father, William. The house and garden, together with the surrounding countryside where he often went walking with his father, the Foxrock railway station and Harcourt Street station at the city terminus of the line, all feature in his prose and play
Beckett had one older brother, Frank Edward Beckett (born 1902). At the age of five, Beckett attended a local playschool, where he started to learn music, and then moved to Earlsfort House School in the city centre near Harcourt Street. In 1919, Beckett went to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh (which Oscar Wilde had also attended). A natural athlete, Beckett excelled at cricket as a left-handed batsman and a left-arm medium-pace bowler later playing for Dublin University.
Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”. He was elected Saoi of Aosdana in 1984.
A plaque was unveiled in honour of Samuel Beckett on the village green in the heart of Foxrock village by his niece, Caroline, on 13th April 2014. Two seating areas were also created and inscribed with two of his most famous works – ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Come and Go’.