Tallaght Houses

Glebe House/St. Maelruan's

The first record we have of the Glebe House on the church lands at Tallaght is in 1479, when John Alleyn, Dean of St. Patrick's, leased to Simon Cower, Clerk, the Glebe of Tallaght Church for 59 years, "the lessee being bound to pay to the Dean eight silver pence yearly, and to build a house thereon of four couples, to keep the same stiff and staunch, and to make new ditches to the glebe" ( Handcock's History of Tallaght).

In 1743 Rev. Mr. Jones expended 52.14.8 on improvements at the glebe, and in 1787 a further 110.9.10 was spent: this building appears on Taylor's map of 1816. A holy well near the glebe house was covered over and piped to a pump in the glebe house kitchen. In 1791 Mr. Cochrane, the Vicar, had an auction and many of the old people who remembered the well, took the opportunity of attending the auction in order to get a drink of the miraculous water.

The Glebe House was rebuilt in 1825. The Rev. Mr. Lovett was the first occupant. He was succeeded in 1830 by the Rev. William Robinson. Rev Robinson served the parish of Tallaght for many years and on the 50th anniversary of the commencement of his ministry at Tallaght - at Easter, 1880 - the parishioners presented him "with a silver tray and an address. In the latter, they placed on record the kindness and unwearying care, both spiritually and temporally, which they had experienced from him, who had been the guide of their youth, the participator of their joys, the sympathiser in their griefs, and the comforter of their old age. They acknowledged with thankfulness the purity of the doctrine taught by him, and the good effect of his consistent and blameless life."

The house was described as square, with a pointed roof, not unlike a tea-canister. The garden was celebrated for roses and apples. The house changed hands many times first under lease and was sold into private ownership in the 1930's. While it was unoccupied in 1983 the Glebe House was so vandalised that it was reduced to a burned-out shell and had to be demolished in January 1984.

Tallaght House

Tallaght House was built for Major Palmer, Inspector of Prisons, in approximately 1824, on the site of the Archbishop's Palace, which had fallen into disrepair and was unfit for habitation. Major Palmer developed Tallaght village at that time, building the schoolhouse and several cottages and he had the roads repaired. The Archbishop's manor of 1179, its demesne, and the history of settlement in Tallaght are inextricably linked. Indeed, the history of the area stretches back further in time, to the foundation of St Maelruan's monastery in the eighth century. The Palace or Castle at Tallaght was an outpost of the Pale and had mixed fortunes :it was constantly under attack, particularly by the local Gaelic clans of O'Byrne and O'Toole.

Major Palmer sold Tallaght House in the 1820s to a Sir John Letaigne who developed the gardens, which had been created by Archbishop Fowler. Letaigne's garden remains to some extent today. Letaigne leased part of the demesne to the Dominican order in 1842, who built a Priory there. Tallaght House was demolished and the Dominican Retreat Centre stands in its place. The tower house of Tallaght Castle remains and is incorporated into the Dominican Priory. In the office of the Priory, Rinucinni's flag of the Confederation of Kilkenny is on display.

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