DUBLIN S – Central & Western
South DUBLIN’s Central Districts include Milltown, Churchtown, Goatstown, Dundrum, Balally, Sandyford, Leopardstown, Carrickmines, Stepaside, Kiltiernan and Glencullen.
South DUBLIN’s Western Districts include Rathfarnham & Ballinteer, Rockbrook, Templeogue, Tallaght & Ballyboden.
Balally (Baile Amhlaoibh – “Olafs’ Town”), Dublin, Ireland, is a residential area at the southern end of Dundrum, Dublin between Dundrum village and the Sandyford Industrial Estate in Sandyford.
Balally Parish itself reaches from Ardglas to the M50 motorway. It has 2 primary schools (St. Olaf’s National School and Queen of Angels) and 2 secondary schools (St. Tiernan’s and Wesley College). Balally is part of the conurbation of Greater Dublin, in the county of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. The area contains a Luas tram station, located near the southern entrance to the new Dundrum Town Centre.
It was originally farmland and is located at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. It consists of: Balally Drive, Balally Hill, Balally Grove, Balally Close, Balally Park, Balally Avenue & Balally Road, and Sandyford Road. It has been re-connected to Sandyford Road at Balally Hill after access was closed off due to cars cutting through the estate to beat the traffic congestion.
The area is named after Olaf (Amhlaoibh), the first King of Viking Dublin, who is reputed to have built a fort in the locality. The place name Baile Mhic Amhlaoibh, meaning “the town of the son of Olaf” was anglicised as Balally.
The local primary school, St. Olaf’s National School, has more than 350 students. The Church of the Ascension of the Lord, the local Roman Catholic church, was built in 1982.
It is serviced by the buses: 44, 44B, 44C from Townsend Street, Dublin City Centre, and 114 from Blackrock Dart Station but there is no Sunday service on 114. The 116 also serves the area, going from Lesson Street once a day Monday to Friday in the afternoon and once in the morning to Parnell Square.
Naomh Olaf is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club and Balally Celtic is the local Football club.
Kiltiernan / Kilternan (Cill Tiarnáin – “Church of Tiarnáin”) (Dublin Bus 44) is nowadays a commuter suburb surrounded by ever-diminishing countryside as Dublin City’s outskirts sprawl to engulf the entire County and beyond.
The most notable buildings in the area are the CoI parish church (1826), the timber-built “Blue Church” of Our Lady of the Wayside (RC), and the Golden Ball pub. Kilternan lacks a traditional Main / High Street or village centre.
Kilternan Golf and Country Club possesses the only artificial ski slope(s) in the Republic of Ireland.
Kilternan Dolmen, aka “The Giant’s Grave”, is a National Monument, currently inaccessible because it is on private land.
The Scalp (meaning crevice, chasm or cleft) was formed by the melting waters of a glacier. The west side of the narrow rocky valley and the dense pine woods of the Killegar summit contrast strikingly with the naked granite outcrops and boulders of the steep slopes below.Barnaslingan Wood on the eastern slope is a pleasant spot for a ramble. The view from the north was a great favourite of Victorian photographers. The Scalp straddles the border betweenCo. Dublin and Co. Wicklow.
Ballyboden (Baile Buadáin – “Homestead of the Boden family”) (pop. 5200) is a Dublin suburb best known for its sports clubs. Ballyboden parish (RC) claims to be “in one on of the most scenically beautiful parts” of County Dublin.
Whitechurch parish (CoI) includes a Moravian cemetery, the burial ground for a Protestant sect from what is now the Czech Republic who arrived in Ireland in the 1700s and for many years had a church in Kevin St but have long died out.
Killakee is the modern name of a scenic district high in the Dublin Hills with impressive views of the city, coastline and countryside.
In 1184 Prince John granted the manor of Creevagh / Cruagh to the See of Dublin, a gift confirmed by King Edward III in 1337 and by King Richard II during his visit to Dublin in 1395. For centuries the area was known as “the Harolds’ Country” from the powerful clan of that name who dominated the district south of Dublin on the borderland of the Pale (and whose name is remembered in Harold’s Cross).
In addition to Killakee Mountain (536m), hills in the area include Cruagh Mountain (522m), (467m) and Glendoo / Glendhu Mountain (Log na hEala – ‘Hollow of the Swan’) (586m); none is of interest to climbers as they have no discernible summits, though the top of nearby Tibradden (Sliabh Thigh Bródáin – “Mountain of the House of Bródán”) has both a genuine megalithic tomb and a C19th mock prehistoric passage grave, with a long narrow entrance to a circular chamber.
Cruagh Wood has about 6km of forest walks, taking in great views of Dublin. There is a beautiful mature Japanese larch woods near the car park, and access to Tibradden and thePine Forest.
Montpelier / Mount Pelier (383m / 1,257ft) is the closest to Dublin City of the group of hills – along with Killakee, Featherbed Bog, Kippure, Seefingan, Corrig, Seahan, Ballymorefinn, Carrigeenoura and Slievenabawnogue – that form the ridge that bounds the Glenasmole valley.
The Hell Fire Wood is a Coillte plantation on Montpelier / Mount Pelier, with 4.5km of woodland trails wending through a wide variety of conifers and broadleaf trees and a permanent orienteering course. Sika deer, badger, fox red squirrel, grouse and a range of other bird species inhabit the woods.
The Hell Fire Club
The Hellfire Club is the popular name for the hilltop ruin originally called Mont pelier / Mount Pellier (indeed, the hill is named for the house). Constructed c.1725 as a shooting lodge for the speaker of the Irish House of Commons, William Conolly (d. 1729), best known for his residence at Castletown House, Celbridge, County Kildare, the edifice has had various denominations over the years, including “Conolly’s Folly” and “The Haunted House”.
The summit was the site of a number of standing stones and a megalithic monument, described as consisting of a large slab surrounded by a stone wall. Many of the stones from this cairn were used in the construction of the house. Shortly after its completion, a powerful storm blew the slated roof away. Local superstition held that this was the Devil’s punishment for the desecration of the cairn. The roof was rebuilt with a sturdy stone arch that remains intact to this day.
The Irish Hell Fire Club (founded in 1735 by Richard Parsons, 1st Earl of Rosse, a notorious libertine fond of playing outrageous practical jokes on members of the clergy) is believed to have held some meetings at the house, although their regular meeting place was the Eagle Tavern on Cork Hill near Dublin Castle. Club members were rumoured to be devil worshippers, but in reality they were freethinkers who believed in neither heaven nor hell. They adopted their outrageous moniker in order to stir up controversy and annoy the more devout and strait-laced members of society. Imitative hellfire clubs sprang up in different parts of the country, most notably in counties Limerick and Kildare.
Members of the Dublin club included aristocratic young Anglo-Irish “bucks” such as Simon Luttrell, Colonel Jack St. Leger, and James Worsdale, an artist, playwright and womaniser who once, on a visit to Mallow, made a little too free with his landlady’s daughter, causing the irate mother to beat him through the town with a hot shoulder of mutton. Another of the club’s members was Richard Chapell Whaley, nicknamed “Burn Chapell” for his Sunday morning hobby of riding about setting fire to thatched Roman Catholic places of worship.
One of the club’s younger members, Henry, 4th Baron Barry of Santry, was a drunk who forced an ill and bedridden servant to drink a bottle of brandy, Santry drenched his bedclothes in alcohol and set them alight, burning him alive. He escaped punishment by buying the silence of witnesses. He was roundly hated in Dublin, and after he stabbed another servant in a drunken frenzy, Santry was convicted and sentenced to death. Influential friends secured a reprieve and he spent his final years in exile in Nottingham. He lived out his days plagued by depression and crippled by gout, having been abandoned by his former friends.
The bad press surrounding Santry’s trial helped to precipitate the demise of the club, which had already been shaken by the attempted arrest of another member for blasphemy. The Earl of Rosse died not long afterwards, while two other members were killed at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 (one was decapitated by a cannonball). Although the Dublin Hellfire Club was a distinctly short-lived entity, it cast a long shadow on the popular psyche. Over the ensuing decades, its name was bandied about with a sense of outrage mingled with awe.
Local folklore is full of lurid stories regarding their debauched activities, including wild non-stop drinking sessions, endless gambling and Black Masses conducted by defrocked priests as well as ritual sacrifices of black cats and at least one human being, a dwarf with a grotesquely swollen head. Another legend recounts that a fire broke out in the building when some spilled brandy was set alight, killing many members who were too drunk to escape.
According to one tale, the Devil posed as a stranger seeking shelter from a storm, joined a game of whist and dropped a card; when a fellow guest, bending to retrieve it, cried out on seeing that he had cloven hooves, Old Nick vanished in a puff of smoke.
This is very similar to a story associated with Loftus Hall on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford. The explanation could lie in the fact that a nearby hunting establishment built in 1763 by Henry Loftus, 1st Earl of Ely, initially called Dollymount (after the celebrated beauty Dolly Monroe, a niece by marriage), was subsequently renamed Mount Pelier House, causing confusion with the ruin on top of the hill.
In 1849 tar barrels were set alight on the roof of the landmark hilltop edifice to celebrate the arrival of Queen Victoria on a visit to Ireland.
The Steward’s House, a hunting lodge built c.1765 by the Connolly family, was first converted into a Dower House on the Killakee / Massy Estate, then a residence for the estate agent (who erected the belfry to call the workers), and later became Killakee Country House Restaurant, Art Gallery & Craft Shop, a well-liked establishment until its closure in 2001. It is said to have been used on occasion by the Hellfire Club, and took on a sinister reputation with the stoies of ghosts, a spectral black cat with flaming eyes, and the discovery in 1971 of a dwarfish skeleton buried with a brass statue of a demon; this may have been a publicity stunt for the opening of the new art gallery. It is now a private residence. (Photo by Joe King)
The Killakee / Massy Estate
These lands were first granted to Walter de Ridleford after the Norman invasion and later given by King Henry VIIIto Sir Thomas Luttrell, an ancestor of Hell Fire Club member Simon Luttrell. The Luttrell family held onto the estate until the C17th when it was relinquished to Dudley Loftus and then passed to William Conolly. In 1800, the Conolly family sold the estate.
Killakee House, of which only the remains of the garden walls are still visible today, was built at the beginning of the C19th by Luke White, a millionaire bookseller who also owned Luttrellstown Estate in Lucan. His second son, Colonel Samuel White, MP for County Leitrim, lived at Killakee in considerable style, and had the grounds spectacularly landscaped. The 2,900-acre estate descended through his youngest sister to Hugh Hamon Ingoldsby Massy (1827-1874), 5th Baron Massy.
Mark Bence-Jones recounts that Killakee was raided several times during theWar of Independence and the subsequent Civil War, and one case involved a dramatic hand-to-hand scuffle: “The man answered her (Lady Massy) abusively and then went for Massy, who had taken a revolver out of a drawer. Massy fired a shot over his head, but the man caught hold of Massy’s legs. There was a struggle; another shot rang out and the intruder fell mortally wounded. Massy, who had not intended to shoot to kill or even wound, was deeply distressed. He sent for the doctor and the priest. In the study, lit only by the small hand lamp, his wife prayed over the dying man.”
Hugh Hamon Massy (1894-1958), 8th Baron Massy, nicknamed the “Penniless Peer”, was declared bankrupt in 1924, and the contents of Killakee House were auctioned by the mortgagees. The beautiful Georgian mansion was demolished in 1941.
“Lord Massy’s estate”, aka Coill an Chaoich, meaning “Blind Man’s Wood”, was taken over by the Land Commission and laid out by the Director of Forestry in Ireland in the late 1930s, a German forfeiter called Otto Reinard. It is now a Coillte amenity woods with a nature trail and a permanent orienteering course.
On the northern slopes is another ruined building, known as Carthy’s or McCarthy’s Castle. This is all that remains of Dolly Mount – also known as the “Long House” and “Mount Pelier House” – a large hunting residence built by Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely towards the end of the eighteenth century. The building was originally two stories high with bow windows each side of the hall door, above which was the Ely coat of arms. At each side of the house was an arched gate from which extended a range of ancillary buildings, terminating in a three-storied tower with an embattled top and pointed windows. The interiors were noted for their marble chimney pieces and stuccoed ceilings. The earl’s first wife, Frances Monroe, was the aunt of Dolores “Dolly” Monroe who was a celebrated beauty and in whose honour the house was named Dolly Mount. The Ely’s subsequently abandoned the residence and the building soon fell into ruin, mainly at the hands of a tenant called Jack Kelly who wrecked the house in order to ensure his tenancy would not be disturbed. All, except for the tower at the western end, which is now known as Carthy’s Castle, was demolished in 1950.
In the land adjacent to Carthy’s Castle is Orlagh House which has been owned by the Augustinian Order since the mid-nineteenth century and is a retreat and conference centre run by the friars. It was built in 1790 by Mr Lundy Foot, a wealthy snuff merchant, who named the house Footmount. He was also a magistrate and was instrumental in condemning three members of the Kearney family to death for the murder of John Kinlan, the gamekeeper at Friarstown, near Bohernabreena, in 1816. Foot was subsequently murdered in 1835, an act that was attributed to relatives of the Kearneys. In fact, Foot was killed by James Murphy, the son of an evicted tenant farmer whose land Foot had bought following the eviction.
In a field opposite Orlagh House is a holy well associated with Saint Colmcille. A statue of the saint, designed by Joseph Tierney, was erected at the site in 1917. Pilgrims either drink the water or apply it to sore ears.
The Featherbed(s) is the name given to the desolate mountainous moorland of heather and bog, high above civilization. Here deer, sheep, and grouse live, city dwellers of rural origin like to cut turf nostalgically, and drug enthusiasts search for magic mushrooms in autumn. At least they get a bit of fresh air!
Montpelier Hill and Lord Massy’s Estate are also traversed by the Dublin Mountains Way hiking trail that runs between Shankill and Tallaght.
Tallaght was the location of an important monastery.
Brittas is a dormitory community with an unusually large number of leisure facilities such as golf clubs, riding stables etc. The surrounding area is popular for walking.
The Blue Gardenia is a good pub for both food and atmosphere.
Aquatic Village is an unusual and interesting exotic fish and pet shop.
Saggart is a “heritage village” on the outskirts of Tallaght.
Some say the village name derives from Teach Sagairt - ‘priest’s house’, while others contend it was originally known as Teach Sacra – house of Sacra. It was allegedly founded by a C7th monk later known variously as Mosacra and Saint Sacer, to whom a local church was long dedicated. The remains of an early Christian monastery can still be seen near the entrance to the burial ground opposite the church.
King Henry II confiscated the surrounding land from Dublin’s defeated Danes and created a number of Royal Manors. Tasagart, as it was then called, became a prebend of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in 1207, and was long governed by a Provost.
The local water mill was leased by Henry Ash in 1296 and later by Henry de Freyne.
Throughout the medieval period the O’Byrne and O’Toole clans of Wicklow continued to attack Dublin and surrounding settlements of the Pale. Saggart`s three castles were no defence, and the village was razed in 1311. In 1470 Saggart came to an arrangement with Esmond O’Toole.
A 1615 Church of Ireland “regal visitation” stated that the old church was in good repair, but 15 years later it fell down, and the Protestant parishioners, who then numbered about thirty, began attending Rathcoole church, a tradition that has continued to this day.
The striking Roman Catholic parish church dates from 1847.
Saggart was dominated by a foul-smelling paper mill on the River Camac from the late C18th until 1968.
Nowadays Saggart is best known for the Citywest business technology park and golf course. The Citywest Hotel regularly hosts large public gatherings, including televised award ceremonies and political rallies.
Items of interest in the vicinity include the Pilgrims’ Stone, a large C10th granite stone with a double Celtic cross in Saggart graveyard, the Boherboy Standing Stones, known locally asAdam and Eve, and the Raheen Standing Stone.
Saggart Hill / Slieve Thoul is still relatively undeveloped.
Slieve Thoul Wood is a pleasant place for a stroll, with some fine views.
Rathcoole / Rath Chumhaill is associated with Finn McCool / Fionn MacCumhaill, and reputed to have been constructed by his father.
Following the Anglo-Norman invasion the lands became the property of the See of Dublin and during the C14th century were owned by the Archbishop of Dublin. In later years the village was burned on several occasions, once by Fiach McHugh O’Byrne. Following a major battle nearby between government forces and insurgents, a garrison was established in Rathcoole in 1648. During the C18th the village was said to have a good coaching inn for travellers.
Rathcoole House, now derelict, was built c.1750 by the Clinch family. 18-year-old John Clinch was executed for his participation in the 1798 Rebellion, whereupon the remaining members of the Clinch family moved to their Dublin house; the Rathcoole property was occupied by the Sheil family until 1962.
Felix Rourke, a well known United Irishman, was born in Rathcoole in 1765. His father was a farmer who also kept the turnpike gate and a posting stage on the Naas Road. Felix fought on a number of occasions during the 1798 Rebellion, and also took part in Robert Emmet‘s rising of 1803, for which he was indicted for high treason, found guilty and hanged in Rathcoole on 10th September in that year.
A monument to commemorate the participation of Rathcoole locals in the 1798 Rebellion, unveiled in 1998, is situated beside the courthouse on the main street.
The former Johnstown Kennedy Estate has an extensive range of interesting old stone farm buildings, some with pinnacles, several featuring courtyards with high walls and imposing gateways. The octagonal stable is particularly striking. There is also a water mill with mill race and a cast-iron mill wheel in-situ. The remains of a later walled garden with ruined greenhouses, a gardener’s house and other structures, add a further dimension to this outstanding collection of estate buildings. A roadside forge has the initials E.K. and the date 1832 carved over the horseshoe shaped entrance.
Grainne Sugars’ Calliaghstown Riding Centre, one of the best known Equestrian Centres in Ireland, organises cross-country trail riding excursions and holidays in the surrounding countryside of Co. Kildare and Co. Wicklow.
The Naas Dual Carriageway