Early Christian Period

The early Christian period beginning from the 5th century arrival of St. Patrick left us many ancient small stone churches probably replacing original wooden buildings, including one on Dalkey Island dedicated to St. Begnet and others around the area. Tully or Tulach na nEaspaig has associations with St Brigid of Kildare.

When the Vikings founded their settlement at Dublin in 917 they almost certainly also began to spread their occupation out through the Rathdown area. There have been found in this area a number stone slabs referred to as “Rathdown Slabs” which by their decoration may represent a mixture of Celtic Christian art and the old Viking art styles as they became integrated into Irish Christianity.

The Normans arriving in 1170 became the new rulers and attempts to drive them out by Irish alliances including Domnall MacGiollaMoCholmóg ruler of north Wicklow and Rathdown failed. Henry II gave Leinster to Strongbow, holding Dublin himself. The clever Domnall MacGiollaMoCholmóg married Strongbow’s daughter Dervogilla, the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, thereby making himself Strongbow’s brother in law and remained a significant landowner. Submitting to Henry I immediately on his arrival in Ireland he retained lands including parts of Rathdown. The greatest landowner in the area was the Archbishop of Dublin who retained his lands after the invasion. He had a manor established at Clonkeen (Kill’o the Grange) He also had Killiney Loughlinstown and Shanganagh. Various other monastic orders held lands here.

The Anglo Normans built castles in the area to defend against raids from the native Irish to the south in Wicklow particularly the O’ Tooles and Byrnes. All this led to the development of the Pale, a fortified ditch with many castles to defend the outskirts of Dublin city and its surroundings a part of this fortification still survives near Ballyogan. As Dublin’s harbour silted up and was so dangerous in bad weather Dalkey began to develop as a safe place to land both goods and passengers. Fortified store houses – the many castles of Dalkey were constructed to hold securely the valuable merchandise landed there.

In 1602 the Barony of Rathdown was divided in two by the establishment of the county boundary between Dublin and Wicklow. Thus our area became ‘The Half Barony of Rathdown’. The rebellion of 1641 was supported by many Catholic Landlords including the Walshes of Carrickmines. On 26th March the Walshes castle at Carrickmines’ was attacked by Sir Simon Harcourt and Lieutenant-cornel Gibson with horsemen and infantry using large cannons. The castle wall was demolished by the cannon and the castle taken and all those inside, men women and children were slaughtered. Harcourt who had been wounded died the next day at Mt. Merrion.

When Cromwell arrived in Ireland one of those disposed of his lands and castle was Walter Cheevers of Monkstown Castle. Lt Gen Edmund Ludlow Cromwell’s master of horse in Ireland acquired the castle. He had been one of the signatories of the death warrant of the king, Charles I. On the restoration of the monarchy, the Cheevers, returned. In 1690 following his defeat at the battle of the Boyne, it is said locally that James retreating south stayed overnight at Pucks Castle, subsequently seized a boat at Killiney and sailed to Wicklow and eventually to Waterford and France. The eighteenth century was a time of relative peace in the area and many fine houses were built.

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