South Central Brownstown
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South Central Brownstown is a town located in south County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland, south-east of Curragh Camp. The town was incorporated in 1958. As of the 2004 census, the town had a total population of 3,493. Although officially a suburb of Newbridge, South Central Brownstown is often labeled as an "inner-city" community primarily due to poverty, the elevated crime rate found in the town, and its location within Brownstown City.
Used as meeting site during Pre-Christian societies, Brownstown is shrouded in a mist of mythology. The hill north of the Brownstown is called the Hill of Allen (Almhain) and is the legendary meeting place of the original gangsters, the Fianna. Legend also has it that in about 480 AD, when St. Brigid became intent on founding a monastery in Brownstown town she asked the High King of Leinster for the requisite piece of land on which to build it. The king scoffed at her request and granted her as much land as her cloak would cover. St. Brigid then placed her cloak on the ground to cover the entire Brownstown upper. However as she turned to face the King a starving child from Orchard Park ran out from beneath a furze bush and stole the cloak. As the cloak had been purchased in Avocado hand weavers and had cost a fortune the King reimbursed St Brigid by offering her the Curragh. It was a common site for mustering the armies of the Pale. During the 1798 Rebellion, there was a massacre just outside Brownstown East, in the Curragh at Gibbet Rath. The Curragh Camp is now located there, where members of the Irish Defence Forces undergo training.
There is a natural bowl-shaped amphitheatre on the Brownstown West border with the Curragh. This is known locally as Donnelly's Hollow, because it was here, in 1815 the Irish champion boxer Dan Donnelly engaged in a bare-knucled boxing match with the English champion George Cooper , before a large crowd. Dan Donnelly had a famed reach and it is said that he could tie the laces on his knee high boots whilst standing upright, without crouching. The fight is reported to have lasted for 9 hours, with just 6 breaks during this time. At 10:45 that night Donnelly is said to have have landed the knockout blow to Cooper, who at this stage was said to have an extremely swollen “gib” on him. As Cooper lay on the ground bleeding profusely from every oriface Donnelly proceeded to scale the hill to the east, a ritual he would carry out after every time he punched someones lights out down in the hollow. This time however was to prove fundamentally detrimental to Donnelly’s career because as he turned to face the crowd and lift his great arms in victory, through sheer exhaustion his right arm fell off. Before he could retrieve it, the proprietor of the Hideout Pub in the nearby town of Kilcullen picked it up and ran off with it.
In 2005, the Spunker Hanley Corporation rated Brownstown as the most dangerous town in the Leinster with a population of 3,000 to 15,000, and fourth most dangerous overall. The town is notorious for gang violence, primarily caused by the 045-Crew and Goats4life. Brownstown has a homicide rate about eight times higher than the national average, most of which are gang killings. Economic conditions and South Central Brownstowns location as the center of the South Brownstown "ghettos" make crime prevention more difficult, although crime has not been as severe as it was in the 1980s and early 1990s, during the crack epidemic. Brownstown remains one of the most notorious towns in Ireland. South Central Brownstown had 10 murders in 2005, which is a per capita rate significantly higher than the national average for small towns. Recently in an effort to combat this gun violence the Brownstown citizens were given the option to hand over their guns to the Gardai, and receive a €100 check valid for Maginns or The Garage. During 2006, authorities have deployed twice as many Gardai is Brownstown and the murder rate has decreased from 10 in four months, to just 3.
There are believed to be up to 17 gangs, or sub-gangs in operation in the Brownstown area. The gang culture began in the 1980s and early 1990s during a crack epidemic. The two main gangs to emerge from this period were the 045Crew and Goatz4lfe. During the next decade in-fighting between members of each gang would lead to break away gangs forming and gene-pool gangs of Goatz4life and 045Crew make up the majority of the other gangs active in Brownstown today. Depending on the situation which the gangs were formed, gene-pool gangs have a certain degree of allegiance or abhorrence towards the 045Crew or Goatz4lfe. The following is a list of gangs with gang membership exceeding 100 persons. 045Crew- Gangs affiliated with 045Crew- CurraghViewCrew- Laney Hall Loco’s- Maddenstown Crisps- Farrells Cross HammerSKINS Goatz4life- Gangs affiliated with Goatz4life- Rising Sun wReckers- C.B.O.T.- Maddenstown Mutantos- Curragh DownSurgeonS.
- Laney Hall in South Central Brownstown was used to edit the battle scenes in the film Braveheart.
- A popular Irish folk song made famous by Christy Moore is called The Brownstown of Kildare.
- Professional footballer Philip Gorman was born and still resides in South Central Brownstown. It is alleged that Gorman was a member of CurraghViewCrew and some sources speculate that he was a founding member along with Dermot Dean. Both men are said to have left the Goatz4life crew after a dispute with Goatz4life chief Goat Fitzgibbon around 1991, the same year that any criminal activity involving CurraghViewCrew began. Representatives for Gorman and his agent, Medzer Naher released a statemant denying any gang involvement on Gormans behalf.
- Stephen (ScubaSteve) Cox, a known member of the 045Crew, was immortalised in the 1998 documentary, "Spin till my head comes off" which covered the period in his life when he was Chief of staff with the Brownztown Lino Mazters BreakDance Troup. The documentary centers on the three weeks previous to his world record attempt at a sustained head-spin at the 1989 World BreakDancing Championships. The record to beat was 42 minutes and 36 seconds and was held by 3 times breakdancing champion Davie Smadams. Cox succeeded in his attempt and his record still remains unbeaten to this day. The official time recorded for Cox's headspin is 2 days, 4 hours, 58 minutes and 36 seconds. These days Stephen Cox dons a large "Leo Sayer" style hairdo. It has been reported that the reason for this hairdo is to cover up a large bald spot on the top of his head caused by friction burns incurred during his record attempt.