PopOlder people will often remark on how small Lucan was when they were children going to school, and indeed many generations of Lucanians lived through very little change in their lifetimes - until the late 1960s / early 1970s, when the modern estates began to appear.

The first government census of Ireland was taken in 1821, and at ten-year intervals after that up to 1911. No census was taken in 1921, because of the War of Independence. The first census of the population in the Irish Free State was taken in 1926. While many of the early documents were destroyed in troubled times, we still have a good picture of the past.

From older rolls, we know that the population of Lucan back in the 17th and 18th centuries averaged around 500 souls, mostly working on the Lucan Estate and surrounding farms.

There was a gradual increase up to 1831, and then the numbers more than halved, for some reason we haven't yet discovered. The famine ran from 1845 to 1852, while the population was more or less static over those years.

The late 1800s proved a boom time for Lucan with Shackletons and Hills flour and milling industries bringing new families to the area, which saw two new national schools built in St. Mary's Church Yard in 1864. In 1867, the Presentations Sisters took over the girls school, with the numbers of children ever increasing.

Since 1926, the numbers increased gradually, gathering pace during the 1970s/80s, and simply exploding in latter years. While the 2021 national census has been deferred for a year, we can only imagine what the number might be.

I can safely say that I grew up in the same Lucan as my mother and grandparents, but my children and grandchildren are having a much different experience.

Mary Mulhall

July 16, 2021 - 8:05pm

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