Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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Le FanuThe official name of the Ballyfermot Dublin City Council park, known to the locals as The Lawns,  is Le Fanu Park and a nearby road also carries the same unique name.  

But who was Le Fanu, and why is his unusual name used in Ballyfermot?

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (24 August, 1814 – 7 February, 1873) was a newspaper publisher and writer who is best remembered for his classic ghost stories.  Born at 45 Lower Dominick Street in Dublin, his family were a mix of Huguenot, English and Irish ancestry.  His great-uncle was the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 

When Joseph was quite young, his family moved to the Royal Hibernian Military School, Phoenix Park, as his father, a Church of Ireland clergyman, was appointed there as chaplain.  His experiences in the area as a young child resulted in the Phoenix Park, the church and village of Chapelizod and the surrounding countryside that is now Ballyfermot, all featuring in Le Fanu's writings, perhaps most famously in The House by the Churchyard.

Le Fanu was a mentor to Bram Stoker (author of Dracula).  Bram Stoker wrote theatre reviews for Le Fanu’s newspaper, The Dublin Evening Mail.

“But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths.”
J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla.

Catherine Scuffil, Historian in Residence, Dublin South Central


For other works by Sheridan Le Fanu, see the DCPL catalogue.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Dixon Slide Collection at Dublin City Library & Archive


Le Fanu Park

This photo shows the ancient church which was located in what is now Le Fanu Park, at Le Fanu Road, Ballyfermot. This photo is from the Dublin City Photographic Collection (click to enlarge)

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