Handcock: The History and Antiquities of Tallaght

Pdf Handcock, William Domville. The history and antiquities of Tallaght. Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co., 1899.
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William Domville Handock's The History And Antiquities of Tallaght published in 1899 used ancient sources such as The Annals Of The Four Masters and The Martyrology of Tallaght and other sources including the notes of his grandfather, the recollections of his father and many other anecdotes. The author was anxious to record the changes in the local area in the preceeding two hundred years before the knowledge was lost.

Handock describes how new roads, new boundaries, buildings and plantations altered the face of the countryside. Parts of Tallaght were once wooded but in the late 19th century were no longer while marshes were reclaimed. Some lands were enclosed and cultivated in the past but had since returned to heath and furze. He describes how the work of Austin Cooper who created illustrations of ruined castles and churches a century before was believed lost but was eventually recovered by his grandson. He also used the preserved letters of the antiquarian Professor O'Curry of the Royal Irish Academy who visited ancient sites in Tallaght in 1837. The village area, dating from the 17th century, was one of the earliest settlements known in southern Ireland. During the medieval period it was an important religious centre.

It is believed that Tallaght was inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age but a reliable history of the area begins with the foundation of the monastery of St. Maelruin in 769 A.D. In the 9th century the monastery was attacked by the Vikings who established the nearby settlement of Dubh Linn or Dublin.

Following the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century Tallaght became part of the Diocese of Dublin and the property of the Archbishop. However raids by the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes prompting the building of Tallaght Castle to defend the area. The English controlled Pale would remain insecure until the final Gaelic defeats in the 16th and 17th centuries. By the 18th century the Dodder River featured a series of mills and the area prospered with new houses built.

After 1729, Tallaght Castle by then a ruin was demolished by the Archbishop and replaced with a palace which in turn also became a ruin by 1821. Major Palmer built Tallaght House on the site the following year.During the failed Fenian uprising of 1867, an engagement known as the Battle of Tallaght took place between Fenians and the police. The Fenians were dispersed by the police who fired into the body of armed men.

The village of Tallaght was linked to Dublin city by the Dublin and Blessington Steam tramway in the late 19th century and it would continue to operate until 1932. In the late 20th century Dublin city and Tallaght grew dramatically in size. Until the 1960s Tallaght had only been a village in common with west Dublin villages such as Clondalkin, Blanchardstown and Lucan. In time housing developments began followed by major commercial developments in the 1980s. In the early 21st century Tallaght has become the second largest town in the Dublin area and is linked once again to Dublin city centre by the Luas or Dublin light rail system.


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