Philip Cairns' house

Missing Person House in Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland

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Philip Cairns' house

This is the house where Philip Cairns was living when he went missing.

It is situated at 38 Ballyroan Road in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

At about 1:30 p.m. on October 23rd, 1986, the 13-year-old left this house to return to school.

At the time, he was a first-year student at the Coláiste Éanna secondary school in Hillside Park.

The route in question is 1.2 km long, so it should have taken him roughly 10–15 minutes to walk it.

Sadly, Cairns never made it back to school that day. After turning the corner to walk down Ballyroan Road, he was never seen again.

Despite a large-scale search and a huge amount of publicity, no trace of the teenager has ever been found.

Rivers, lakes, and forests were all combed by volunteers.

Six days after he went missing, his schoolbag was discovered in a nearby alley.

Investigators believe that it was placed there a number of days after Cairns went missing, as the bag was dry despite recent rainfall.

The placement of this bag may have been done to mislead the investigation—an act that is commonly referred to as "staging".

Although there were dozens of reported sightings of Cairns in the aftermath of his disappearance, all of them turned out to be false leads.

To this day, it remains one of Ireland's most well-known missing persons cases.

Philip Cairns last seen location

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


38 Ballyroan Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, D16 VW93, Ireland

The Eircode is D16 VW93


To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:

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GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the house are:

53.291497, -6.308337

Details about the general area

Ballyroan is a suburb of Rathfarnham in Dublin. It is in the south of Dublin, close to Marlay Park.


Photos of the house and other related images.

Philip Cairns' route

Philip Cairns route

This is the route that Cairns was supposed to take on October 23rd, 1986.

At the time of his disappearance, he had only recently started secondary school.

As you can see, the lane where his schoolbag was discovered is very close to his home on Ballyroan Road.

The lane where his schoolbag was found

Philip Cairns lane

Cairns' schoolbag was found in this lane that connects Devlin Drive with Anne Devlin Road.

The discovery was made six days after he went missing.

It is believed that someone placed the bag in the alley at a later date, as it was dry despite recent rainfall.

Coordinates: 53.291175, -6.303821

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His house in the 1980s

Philip Cairns' house 1980s

This photograph shows what Cairns' house looked like on the day of his disappearance. The garage with the orange door no longer exists. In 2012, it was converted into an extension.



Volunteers searched for the 13-year-old in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.


Gardai stopping cars

The Irish police canvassed the area by stopping motorists and showing them Cairns' photograph.

At the start of the investigation, there were reports that a woman in Tipperary had picked up a child matching his description. The boy claimed that he was from Waterford and that he had spent the previous night sleeping in a guest house. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a false lead.

Ballyroan Road

Ballyroan Road

That afternoon, he would have walked down Ballyroan Road.



This Google Street View image of the property was taken in 2009. This was before the garage was converted into a pitched roof extension.


Philip Cairns' schoolbag

This colorized photograph shows a member of the Irish police kneeling down beside Cairns' schoolbag. The bag was missing two religion books and a geography book.

Eamonn Cooke

Eamonn Cooke

In 2016, a woman contacted the police and told them that she believed a former pirate radio DJ and convicted pedophile named Eamonn Cooke had murdered Cairns.

The woman, who was a victim of Cooke, was so terrified of him that she stayed silent until she learned that he was dying.

The woman said that she was in Cooke's car when they picked the 13-year-old up and drove to the DJ's pirate radio station at 58 Inchicore Road in Kilmainham.

At the time, she was just nine years old.

While they were at the studio, an argument broke out, and Cooke hit Cairns over the head with an object.

When the incident occurred, she became upset and left the room. However, she later returned and saw the young boy lying on the floor.

After seeing blood, she reportedly fainted. Later, when she came to, she realized that she was in the back of Cooke's car and that Cairns was gone.

Cooke confirmed parts of the woman's story to detectives. However, at the time, he was receiving palliative care and suffering from dementia. Furthermore, he did not reveal the location of Cairns' remains.

Cooke died just as investigators believed that he was finally going to confess.

Although he was suffering from dementia, he confirmed key details when asked an open-ended question. Most of his information also matched up with the woman's story.



Investigators were able to retrieve "touch DNA" from the schoolbag using new technology. However, testing failed to link it with Cooke or any other person of interest.

It is hoped that this DNA will one day uncover the identity of the person who placed the bag in the lane.

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This location belongs to the following categories:

Missing PeopleUnsolved Cases

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