Named for the Ball family of merchants that traded in the 16th and 17th century, Ballsbridge emerged from the marsh and mud flats of the Dodder valley and by the 1700s had a working cotton printer, paper mill and gun powder factory.
At the turn of the 19th century, it had become a stopping point in and out of Dublin city and in 1816, the area was bequeathed to the 11th Earl of Pembroke and became known as the Pembroke Estate. The Earl sought to turn the estate into an inner city suburb that would attract local gentry, merchants and professionals and began leasing parts of it to institutions and industry. In 1806, Trinity College developed the Botanic Gardens in the area for the use of staff and students, and in 1827, the Beggar’s Bush army barracks, established and used as a recruiting depot by the British army.
This influx required new infrastructure and, in 1870, Lansdowne Road and Ballsbridge railway station was opened. Lansdowne Football Club was founded in 1872, and six years later the first rugby international was played between Ireland and England, making it the world's oldest rugby union Test venue. Playing in poor weather conditions, Ireland failed to score and England won with 'two goals' and one try, in front of crowd of 2,000.