The very first visitors to Greystones,
came during the Stone Age.
They didn’t stay where our town is today,
but instead they stayed at a place now called Rathdown,
just to the north.
In the Bronze age King Heremon came
and built a fortification
in this sheltered spot in 1699BC.
Rath means fort in Irish.
This is where the area of Rathdown gets its name.
Many hundreds of years later the Normans built
a proper castle at Rathdown.
The Normans were invited to Ireland in 1169
by the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough.
You can read some background to that story and how
Dermot married his daughter to a Norman warrior
called Strongbow HERE
The Normans built Rathdown castle soon after they arrived.
The Book of Howth names John, grandson of Domhnall MacGiollamocholmog,
chief of the Uí Dúnchada clan,
as the first owner of the castle in 1270.
Coincidently, John was also son in law of Dermot MacMurrough.
Dermot MacMurrough was the King of Leinster and was infamous
because he invited Norman soldiers to Ireland to help him win back his Kingdom.
Infamous means he was famous for all the wrong reasons.
He invited the Normans and promised to reward them with land.
They arrived in 1169 and took power in Ireland.
You can read more about Dermot MacMurrough on the
The MacGiollamocholomog clan later
sensibly changed their names to Fitz Dermot.
This isn’t THE castle but this is what
it probably looked like as it was a Norman castle.
The wild Wicklow tribes, the O’Byrnes and O’Tooles
burnt down the castle in 1301.
However it was rebuilt again from 1308
by other Norman families.
In 1534, a castle,
and a creek were recorded at Rathdown.
Aerial photographs taken in 1970 were able to show signs
of the village and castle at Rathdown.
You can read about that HERE.
In the 19th century a crazy landowner
started dismantling the castle
to make walls and sheds on his farm.
His name was Colonel Tarrant
and we feel he has a lot to answer for,
as he destroyed our heritage.
Finally the last stones of the castle were used
to make a railway bridge in the 1850s.
Aerial photographs of the fields
where the castle once stood show
outlines of ancient fields, houses, paths and roads.