F. Erlington (Francis Elrington) Ball.

A history of the County Dublin; the people, parishes and antiquities from the earliest times to the close of the eighteenth century (Volume 2) online

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Poolbeg Lighthouse hrst showed its light. That structure was
commenced in 17(51, and has remained, as a writer of that, period
predicted, "a lasting testimony (if the al)ility, ikj less in design


an in e.\ecnti<m, of the undertaker, ^Ir. Jolm Smith "' (}).

The; Lighthouse lOn the ;South Wall.

From a Plate preserved in the British Musevm.

Ringsend at the beginning of the eighteenth centuiy is desciilnd
as being a eh an. healthy and Ix'antifnl village, with hmises on the
walls of which vines were trained ; and iati r <in .Mis. |)(lany speaks
of llingsond. wiiere she went tn liny shells U^v lui- gnitln, in emi
ncction with a description of the cnviitins (jf Dublin whicli aioused
iier admiration. it was tluii iiiliahiled, in addition to seamen, by
officials belonging lo thr port ol' Dnhhn, and to|- thnr convcnK iice,
as the Pai-isli ('liiiich of l)onnvbi-ooU was often inaccessibh' owing
to Hoods caused bv lain and liiLjIi tides, the Uoyal ('ha|ii'l of St.
.M;iitlicw, coiiiiiioiiK' known as liishtown ('linich, was eie<'ted, in

(') l',liukci"s Sk<!lclicH. pp. -'I. r>:{. .VI. 71. 71. 7'.i. 17s. Isl, (os, .||r,, ii'O;
ll.ili'liiy'rt " ScuiKliniivi.in Kiiii'-Imiii .,t Diil.liii." pp. •_' 1 1 •_'17.


what was then an adjacent village. The shore near Ringsend was
famous for shrimps and cockles, and there was also an oyster bed,
the produce of which could be partaken of in their purity at the
sign of " the Good Woman," and these good things, as well as
horse races and sea-bathing, made the place a favourite outlet for
the citizens of Dublin. As the port improved the Lords Lieutenants
usually embarked and disembarked at Lazar Hill ov George's Quay,
but occasionally they did so at Ringsend. Thus we find landing
therein 1709 Thomas, Earl of Wharton; in 1737, William, Duke
of Devonshire; in 1761, George, Earl of Halifax; in 1763, Hugh.
Earl of Northumberland, who spent some hours in the Surveyor's
House before proceeding to Dublin, and ordered £10 to be dis-
tributed amongst the poor of Ringsend; and in 1765, Francis, Earl
of Hertford (i).

Towards llie close of the eighteenth century Ringsend is said to
have been in a very melancholy condition and to have resembled
a town which had experienced all the calamities of war. Over-
whelming floods from the mountains had descended upon it, and as
they had carried away the bridge over the Dodder which had been
rebuilt in 1727, the inhabitants were cut off from direct communica-
tion with Dublin except by means of a narrow and dangerous
wooden structure. A drawing of this temjjorary erection made by
a contemporary of Francis Grose, John James Barralet, is here
reproduced. It has been pronounced to have artistic merit, and
a critic has said that there is considerable vitality if no very literal
truth in the figures which enliven it. A new stone bridge described
as of handsome design was afterwards in 1789 erected at the small
cost of £815, a misplaced economy, to which was due, doubtless, its
destruction in tuni in 1802 by another disastrous inundation (-).

After the construction of the South Wall, or Pigeon House Road,
vessels began to start from the point where the- Pigeon House
stands. This building, now the Electric Lighting Station of the
Coi-poration of Dublin, and until recently a fort and military
barracks, derives its name from a wooden house which was built
early in the eighteenth century on the piles near its site. This

(1) "Autobiography and Correspondence of Marv Granville, Mrs. Delanv,"
vol. iii., p. 95; Blacker's Sketches, pp. 70, 74, 79, Ufi, HiO, 412, 41(i. 417, 423.

(•^) Blacker's Sketches, pp. 81, 87, 427 ; " Dictionary of National Biography,"
vol. iii., p. 273.





1) a.

c ~




house was called Pidgeon's House from its occupation by a watcli-
inan of the name of Pidgeon, and became a well known place of
resort for boating parties from Dublin. To his ordinary occupa-
tion Pidgeon added the supply of refreshments to such as visited his
sea retreat, and so many came that he eventually set up a boat
himself for the conveyance of his customer's to and from the shore.
When the piles were superseded by the South Wall a stone
dwelling, at first known as the Block House, took the place of
Pidgeon's abode, and the Lords Justices, with the Lord Mayor of
Dublin and the Directors of the Ballast Office, on making, in 1764,
an inspection of the works, partook there of a cold repast. Subse-
quently the Block House, reverting to the older name under the
corrupted form Pigeon House, became the famous starting j)lace
for the English packet boats, which has been immortalised in the
works of Lever and other writers of fiction, and from it the sea^
tossed passengers, after escaping from the revenue ofiicers, or the
plucking of the Pigeon House, as it was called, were conveyed to
town in a vehicle known as a Long Coach, the discomfort of which
has been pathetically described by one who^ endured it (i).


Where Upper Baggot Street now stands was to be seen in the early
part of the nineteenth century the ruins of a mediaeval castle, the
chief residence of the manor of Baggotrath — a manor which in-
cluded, as already mentioned under the history of Merrion, not only
a gi-eat portion of the lands forming the Pembroke Township, but
also those on which Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, and the
adjoining streets are built.

These lands, like those of Merrion, lay within the liberties of the
citizens of Dublin. They extended in the thirteenth century on
the west to the lands of the Convent of St. Mary de Hogges, now
College Green, on the north to the Steyne, or bank of the Liffey, on
the east to the Dodder, which separated them from the lands of
Richard de St. Olof, now known as Simmonscourt, and on the

(1) Blacker'.s Sketches, pp. 80,87, 94, 178, 'iH5, U5 ; lJubUn Peniin Juunud,
vol. ii., p. 99, vol. iii., p. 281.


soutli to tlie lands of the See of Dublin, now known as Cullens-
wood, and to the citizen's common pasture, called the green of St.
Stephen. Soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion, Baggotrath, then
known as the Rath near Donnybrook, was gi'anted by the Crown to
TheobaUl Waltei-, the first chief butler, ancestor of the Ormonde
family, but in the succeeding century it was held by tenants, whose
title was derived from the Corporation of Dublin. The lirst of
these were Ralph de IMora and William de Flamstead, and they
were succeeded in 1255 by no less a person than ^Taurice Fitzgerald,
afterwards Justiciary or Viceroy of Ireland, an ancestor of (he
Leinster family. From ]Maurice FitzGei'ald, who was under a
covenant not to build a village, which might burden the coinmon
lands of the citizens, the lands passed to Philip de Ilyndeberge,
whose grandson, Nicholas de Hyndeberge, conveyed them in 1280
to the faniily from which the district takes its name.

The first of the house of Bagod to occupy them appears to have
been Sir Robert Bagod, Chief Justice of " the Bench " in Ireland.
He was a man of activity and ability, and, as his friend, the Bishop
of Bath and Wells, testified, of devoted loyalty to the Crown, lie
was succeeded successively in the possession of Baggotrath by his
son, who bore the same Christian name, and was also a Knight and
Justice of " the Bench "' ; by his grandson, Hervey Bagod, Arch-
deacon of Glendalough, and by his great grandson, William, son of
Sir William Bagod. In the deed of conveyance to Sir Robert
Bagod no castle is mentioned as standing in the Manor of the Rath,
which is described as consisting of three carucates ajid fin-ty acres
of land, with a site for a mill and a mill-race fed by the Dodder,
but the erection of one was at once undertaken by Sir Robert
Bagod. Leave to cut timber for building, as well as iirt'. wood, in
the forest at Maynooth was gi'antod to him by Nicholas do Ilynte-
berge, and in a gi'ant made by him of portion (if the lands, he
reserves the riglit to quariy for stone, fur building and fencing.
At the time of his death, in liii^C), Sii- Kdhci't Hagod's son and
successor was residing in the castle, which was supplied with iiiuch
fuiniture and plate, and, as a long inventory of the cro])s and stock
.shows, fai-ming the lands (^).

(") "Till XoiMiati Sctflfiiii'nt in Lcinstci'," hy •Tanics .Milh, .lounuil, U.S.A./.,
vol. xxis., |). lOS; r.laikci's Skctclifs. p. (11; " Spciial l{f|)iirL of the 'I'lial in
tlic, case of the ('ur|)i>ratiiin nl Duliiiii nr.siis tlie l!i:.'lit llini. Siilin y llirlicrt."
JJubliri. iKfil ; l'tiU:nl Jlolts, ^^. .', ; l'leauii<l .Meinoiamla Hulls ; I'.iil lei's '• K. .jister
of All Hallows"; Sweetman'tt Calendar; (Jilbert's " Calinilar of .\iRieiit ]{e(uiil.>s
of JJubliii."


After the lands, described as then containing two carucates, with
the castle and a mill, had been for a time held by Walter, son of
Richard Passavaunt, and by Sir John Cruise and Stephen, Bishop
of Meath, acting as custodians under the Crown, they came into
the occupation of William Fitzwilliam, son of Richard Fitzwilliam,
of Moroton, near Swords, the most important member of the Fitz-
william family of that period. He was a man of high position and
influence, and held, amongst other oflices, those of Constable of
Wicklow Castle, Sheriff of the Counties of Dublin and Meath, and
Guardian of the Steyne, or sea approach to the metropolis. From
1379 to 1400 the castle was occupied by him, and then after passing-
through the hands of James Cotenham and Sir John Stanley, it
came, in 1403, into the possession of Sir Edward Ferrers. Ferrers
was a warrior and statesman, who rendered signal service to the
Crown during the Viceroyalty of the boy Lord Lieutenant, Prince
Thomas of Lancaster, and who, as Constable of Wicklow Castle, in
the custody of which he succeeded William Fitzwilliam, kept the
O'Byrnes in check. He was given, as a mark of the royal favour,
a grant out of the payments* made to the Crown by the City of
Dublin, which relieved Baggotrath of rent to the Corporation.
Ferrers made the castle his home, and soon after he became the
owner, license was given to his servants to* go by sea to* Wicklow and
bring from thence building materials for its repair. After his death,
as he left an only son, who died, after a visit to the English Court,
in 1428, Baggotrath passed to his widow, Johanna, who was after-
wards twice married, first to John Eustace of Newland, and,
secondly, to Sir John Bacon.

As executor of her will, executed on her death-bed in the Castle
of Baggotrath on New Year's Eve in the year 1441, James Corn-
walsh, then Chief Baron of the L'ish Exchequer, came into pos-
session of Baggotrath. Tliis acquisition was attended with fatal
consequences to him. The family of Sir Edward Ferrers resented
Cornwalsh's occupation of a castle which they thought rightfully
belonged to them, and William Fitzwilliam, the then owner of Dun-
drum, who had mai'ried Sir Edward Ferrer's daughter, Ismaia,
determined to take the castle from him. With a gi'eat multitude
of armed men in warlike array he descended, on the 28th September
in the following year, upon the castle, and finding there the Chief
Baron, who had come up from his residence at Dunboyne to hold
the Michaelmas sittings of his Court, did, as was alleged, traitorously
and feloniously murder him. Either the charge was not well



fdundecl. or the provocation was considered an excuse for the (lut-
rage, ior a pardon was speedily granted to William Fitzwilliani
anil his wife, and Baggotrath, which was afterwards confirmed to
him by Sir John Ferrer's nephew- and heir, John Hall, remains in
the possession of his descendants to the present day (i).

Baggotrath Castle in 1792.

From a. I'lalc in (horn's " Antiquities of Ireland.^'

The Castle of Baggotialh in the year 1 1S9 was in a miinons con-
dition, but it was subsequently restored, and, as mentioned in the
history of Men-ion, became the principal residence of Thomas Filz-
william, who was the great gx'andson of William Fitzwilliani, tho
son-in-law of Sir Edward Ferrers, and also of his son. Ricliard Fitz-
williani, who died there. After Sir Thomas Fitzwilliani, the son of
Richard Fitzwilliani, succeeded to the property wo liiid in 1547
Robert Jans, a meichant of Diihliii. and 111 iotil I'atiiek Sarsfield
sometime Mayor of the city, deseiihed as of Baggotrath. Before
the year loGlS the castle was in the oeeiip.il mii (if a sistcr of Sir
Thomas Fitzwilliani, Katiierine. widow of .loini Casheil, a Drogheda
iiiei-ch,-i lit . ;iiid iheri' in I o7 I she dicil ller will eoiit;iins iiineh

(') .Mciiioran.l;i :nu\ I'h:, KulN; I'mIciiI ll.Jh. |.|.. sf,. \i\<.\. I Si. •_''-'«, LViO. •_'.'. I .
•_'H;'. ; l'.l;i(kcr"s Sk.tclics. |)|). (i2, l(»!», ."{'.tM ; Calirid;!!- ..t I'ln^'lisli I'nlctil KnlU.
1422 i42!i, pp. iJ.j, JOl, 471, 478, r,K.i.


cui'ious infonnatiou as to the manners and customs of that time.
" To every dweller her tenant in Baggotrath to relieve their
poverty,"' and to every poor or religious house within the city of
Dublin, she leaves a ^^eck of malt and of peas ; to St. John's House
a double quantity, and to the religious house beyond the Liffey, in
order to obtain their prayers for her soul, "" a pan that breweth one
peck, with a harness, to remain for the easement of the poor";
she mentions various articles of jewellery and apparel, including a
great and a small ring, a heart of gold, a clasp and silver buttons,
a gown of purple with gi-een velvet trimmings and a little harness
girdle, a pair of tassels and a cloak, which she leaves to the parson
of Trim, who is to redeem it from the person then mending it ; and
concludes by bequeathing to her cousin, the Mayor of Dublin, John
Ussher, of whom we shall see under Donnybrook, " a couple of
beeves " for his kitchen, and to the Mayoress her second-best board
or table cloth (i).

About the year 1609 Baggotrath was held under the Fitzwilliams
by Sir Anthony St. Leger, a son of " the wise and wary " Lord
Deputy of that name, who held the positioii of Master of the Rolls.
Before 1615 the castle had passed from him into the occupation of
the Right Hon. Sir John King, the founder of the Kingston
family. King was an Irish administrator who earned much dis-
tinction on the commissions in connection with the early planta-
tions, and it was as a reward for his services that the vast estate
in Roscommon owned by his descendants was gi-anted to him. One
of his 3''ounger sons was the Edward King whose untimely fate by
the foundering of a ship in which he was crossing from Chester to
Ireland, in 1637, is deplored in Milton's Lycidas. At the time
of the Rebellion Baggotrath appears to have been taken possession
of by the militai-y authorities. Viscount Fitzwilliam com-
plained on more than one occasion of wastage of his lands
by the commander of the ordnance, and in June, 1642, 260
horses belonging to the transport were stationed there. These, the
night before they were to leave for the countiy, with reinforcements
just arrived from Chester, were candied off by a party of Wicklow
mountaineers, and the soldiers had to supply their loss by seizing
next day from friend and foe alike all the horses they could find
in the neighbourhood (2).

(1) :Morrin's " Patent and Close Rolls," Henry VIII.— Elizabeth, j)p. 13(», 4(i."i ;
Fiant P^lizabeth, No. i2\ ; Will of Katherine Fitzwilliani.

(2) "Dictionary of National Biography," vol. xxxi., pp. 128, 138, 139, \7A.
155 : Slacker's Sketches, p. 401 ; Letters to and from the Earl of Cork, preserved
in the Royal Irish Academy, f. (3-2, and copy in British Museum, Egerton Manu-
scripts, 80, p. 95.


The event destined at the same time to invest Baggotratli with
liistorical importance, and to cause the demolition of its castle, the
Battle of Rathmines, which resulted in the overthrow of the Royalist

armv under the Duke of Ormonde bv the Dublin garrison of th

Parliament under the command of Colonel Michael Jones, took
place in the vear 1649. Ormonde, who had given up Dublin two
years before that time to the Parliament, had returned to Ireland
in October, 1648. He had landed at Cork, and after a long delay
at Kilkenny, spent in reconciling the conflict ing cleiui'nts of which
his armv was to bo composed, he had advanced on Dublin. in
the succeeding June he encamped at Finglas, whence, as we have
seen, a detachment of his forces made an attaek mi the outposts of
the besieged town at Ringsend. Towards the ciul of July Ormonde,
for the pr;rpose of more closely investing the town, iinivcd the
greater portion of his troops to the southern iiidc, and encann)ed
with them on the lands of Rathmines, near where Palmerston Park
now lies.

The Castle of Baggotratli was the strongest building near Dublin,
and its occupation by Ormonde would have been in the highest
degi-ee prejudicial to the besieged garrison. The lields lying
between it and the LilTey provided the only sustenance for their
horses, and it w^ould have been easy from it to raise earthworks
along the estuai-y of the river to prevent tlie landing of reinforce-
ments and provisions. Colonel Jones had, tlierefore, taken the pre-
caution of partly demolishing the castle. Notwithstanding its
condition, it was determined at a council of wai- held by Ormonde
on August 1st, that, if it were possible to fortify it in one night,
the work should be undertaken and troops ])laced in it. Several
of Ormonde's generals were at once sent ofT to make an inspi-c't ion,
and, as their report was favourable, a body of troops to the number
of L.^iOO men, with materials i'oi- constructing fortifications, under
the command of Major-General Patiick Purc(-ll, set out that night
for the ca.stlc. Owing to the Irt-arluiy uf the guides tin- troops
did not, reach Baggotratli until a little- lu'fore daylight, and when
Oi-monde rode down from Ratlnnines in tiu- morning he found n.it
only that the castle was not as strong as he had Ix'.ii led lo iu'lievo,
but also that owing to the shortness of the time and the m.nni-
pctenco of till- Engineer the work uf fort ilirat mn was little

Tlie design of Ormonde had Ix'cn m.nlc kmiwn !•> Cnkmci .bmes,
and from the high giound near the castle, Oi-m<uidr prrce-ived tiiat


he was getting his army into battle array under the protection of
earthworks behind Trinity College. A battle was certain, but
Ormonde thought it would not take place for some hours, and as
ho had sat up all night he went ofl' to his tent to take some rest,
ordering the army to stand to their guns. He had not long gone
when Colonel Jones descended on Baggotrath with 4,000 foot and
1,200 horse. The only protection which had been erected appears
to have been a rampart thrown across the road, and, although the
defenders fought gallantly, this was soon surmounted. The royalist
horse deserted the foot soldiers, and, most of them having been
slain or taken prisoners, Colonel Jones followed up his advantage by
advancing on Rathmines, where the final conflict was waged (i).

Although the village of Baggotrath, stated at the time of the
Restoration to have been inhabited by three persons of English
and twenty-nine persons of Irish descent, continued to exist, no
attempt was made to restore the Castle of Baggotrath, and it
remained in a state of ruin until the extension of Dublin in the
nineteenth century required its removal. The ruins have been
described by Austin Cooper, -who visited them in 1778, and who
mentions that a deep trench reminded the visitor of the scenes
that had been enacted there, but a picture by Francis Grose,
which is here reproduced, gives a better idea of its appearance ('-^).


DoNNYBROOK, or the Church of St. Broc, now the name of a suburb
to the north-west of Simmonscourt and south-west of Baggotrath,
was formerly the designation of a village of very ancient orig'in, and
at the time of the Anglo-Nonnan Invasion was also the designation
of a very large extent of lands. These lands, comprising six caru-
cates, and including those of Merrion and Simmonscourt, as well
as a townland called Forty Acres, on which Clyde Road is built.

(' ) Carte's " Life of Ormonde " ; Gardiner's " History of the Comnion wealth and
Protectorate"; Carte's "Original Letters"; Gilbert's "History of the Irisii
Confederation and War in Ireland " ; Walsh's " History and Vindication of the
Loyal Fornuilary or Irish Remonstrance," p. (iOf) ; " A Letter from Sir Lewis
Dyve to the Lord IMarquis of Newcastle," London, KioO. and " Lieut. -Cf^nerai
Jones's Letter to the Councel of State of a Great Victory," London, l(i49, ])re-
served in the Thorpe Tracts in the National Library of Iieland.

(■-) Poll Tax Returns; Cooper's Note Book ; Grose's " Antii|iiitics of Ireland,"
]). 10; Blacker's Sketches, p. 312.


were then g-iveii, as has been ah'eady I'clated, to Walter de Ridele-
ford. Lord of Bray. While in possession of his family two portions
of the lands were granted away in fee, namely, the portion now
forming Simmonscourt, the alienation of which cut off Merrion from
Donuybrook and made Merrion a separate manor, and the portion
known as the Forty Acres, which was granted for the annual pay-
ment of a pound of pepper to the Priory of All Saints.

There was not any castle on the lands, which were divided into
farms held from "Walter de Rideleford by his men of Donnybrook,
but the village or town in which these men of Donnybrook dwelt
was for the period one of considerable size. In the fourteenth
centui-A' it was governed by a bailiff, and probably possessed walls
which afforded some resistance to the raids of the hillsmen. It
must, however, have largely depended, owing to the absence of a
castle, on outlying places for protection, and it was a short-sighted
policy that indiiccd the inhabitants in 135G to resist a rate to pay
for watchmen on the mountains to warn them when the Irish
enemies of the King were meditating an incui-sion. The establish-
ment of the Fair of Donnybrook, the gi'eat mart of the citizens of
Dublin in the middle ages, made it also a place of no small
importance. The license to hold this fair was issued to the citizens
of Dublin so early as the reign of King John in the year 1204. At
first the period for which the fair might last was eight days, and it
was appointed to be held on the vigil, day, and morrow of the In-
vention of the Holy Cross, which falls on May 3rd, and for five days
afterwards. The period was subsequently extended to fifteen days,
the profits from the tolls for two of those days, namely, Ihc vigil and
the day of the Invention of the Cross, being gi-anted to the Arch-
bishop of Dublin, and tlie date was changed in IL* I I to tlu' Trans-
lation of St. Tlmmas the .Maityr. in lL'7'.t. in the Traiislat inn df
St. Benedict the Abbot, winch Falls in July, and linally to the
Decollation of St. .Inlm the Baptist, on the L'Oth of August, on
which fiate it contiimcd to be held until the fair, in its sadly
degenerated foiiu, ceased to exist in the nineteenth century.

Besides Walter de Rideleford, who was succeedi-d at Dunnyltrook
by his eldest daughter, the wnfe of Hugh dc Lacy, Ivirl of Ulster,
there were others concerned in the lands nf the district. Chief n(
these was Waltir d'- L.nv. lucillnr df the i-;,iil nf rister, who
grantid lands in I )iinn vin "dk to one W'altei' Missel, in consideia-
t ion of the lent Im IIm ('inwn, which was the |i,i\iiien( l'<<v nne
archei- rendered at iln gate of huMin ("aslle. Anmngst <ither



persons inciitioned in connection with the ownership of the lands
in the thirteenth century are Heniy de Verneuil, who in 1222 had
co suit with Walter de Rideleford touching them ; Theobald le
Butler, or de Verdon, whose mother was grand-daughter and co*-
heir of Walter de Lacy; and Matilda le Butler, who exchanged
with William de London and Matilda, his wife, her interest in the
Manor of Wicklow for a messuage and 183 acres of land in Donny-
brook (1).

After being for a time at the beginning of the fourteenth cen-
tui-y in the possession of the Bagods of Baggotrath, who held also
the Forty Acres under the Priory of All Saints, and subsequently
in that of the FitzwilHams of Dundrum, the lands of Donnybrook
passed to the Ussher family on the marriage in 1524 of Alison,

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryF. Erlington (Francis Elrington) BallA history of the County Dublin; the people, parishes and antiquities from the earliest times to the close of the eighteenth century (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 16)