Upper Green (Goose Bank)

Upper Green during the 2016 centenary celebrations. Photo courtesy Chris Dobson

For many years Kilcoole has had the nickname of “Goose Bank”. Mention of this name is recorded as far back as 1938 when Sister M. Eithne, recalling the fairs that were held in Kilcoole up to the late 1800s, wrote that “the Upper Green was at that time called the ‘Goose Bank’.” What little traffic there was on the main road would have to wait for the geese to cross from the upper to lower green.

The Upper Green was the village’s original football pitch, where the local youth could be found most evenings. Later practices and games were moved to a farm field at Bullford. A permanent GAA ground was purchased in the 1980’s south of Kilcoole on the Newcastle road.

The Upper Green still exists today, though it has shrunk as houses have been built around three sides. Many structures were already present on the Green in the 1908 map. A water tank has long featured here, first underground, then later the present above ground tower. The water was pumped from the nearby Cannistown river and from thence fed to pumps throughout the village. A mains water system was installed in the 1950s.

The building behind the water tank was originally a Church of Ireland school. In 1824 it was a two-teacher school with 38 boys and 19 girls. In 1825 James Scott of Ballygannon built a new Female school and teacher’s residence with a slate roof, adjoining the existing thatched school. The building, much modified, is now a house.