The district was originally a village known as Cullenswood just outside Dublin, surrounded by landed estates. On Easter Monday in 1207, a celebrating group of English inhabitants of Dublin were attacked here by Irish raiders from county Wicklow. Three hundred people were said to have been killed. In the 1520s and 1530s Cullenswood was held by the de Meones family, who also owned, and gave their name to, nearby Meonesrath, now Rathmines.
The name Ranelagh applies to many geographical features. The stretch of road joining Sandford Road (which begins at the corner of Anna Villa) to Ranelagh Road (which begins at the railway bridge) is known as Ranelagh or Ranelagh Village.
The whole surrounding area is also popularly known as Ranelagh, stretching from Charlemont Bridge on the Grand Canal at the northern end of Ranelagh Road down to the junction with Milltown Road at the southern end of Sandford Road, and from Leeson Street to the East towards Rathmines to the West.
At the centre of Ranelagh is “Ranelagh Triangle”, semi-officially “the Angle”, which is the junction of Ranelagh Village and Charleston Road at Field’s Terrace. Nearby restaurant “Tribeca” references these geographical features (i.e., Tri-angle Be-low Ca-nal). To the North of the Triangle is the “Hill Area” of Ranelagh, which was the scene of Lee Dunne’s novel, “Goodbye to the Hill”. Ranelagh contains many fine Victorian streets such as those surrounding Mount Pleasant Square.
The townlands of Ranelagh North and Ranelagh South are in the civil parish of St. Peter’s and in the barony of Uppercross. They are bounded on the north by Harcourt Road and Adelaide Road, on the east by Sussex Road and an old irregular boundary from there to Chelmsford Road, on the south by Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh Village, Charleston Road, Oakley Road and Dunville Avenue, and on the west by Beechwood Park, Belgrave Square East, Mountpleasant Avenue Upper, Bessborough Parade, Rathmines Road Lower and Richmond Street South. The area, popularly known today as Ranelagh, also includes parts of the adjoining townlands of Cullenswood, Sallymount and Milltown.