History Trail to Rathdown in Greystones

At the end of the Summer Term, Ms. Ahern brings classes on History Trails.
We went on one today. This is what we learned.

Photo by A.Fulmer
Rathdown is the old name for this whole area (or barony).
To prove this we can find a reference to Rathdown in a famous history book
Rath means ring and dun means fort.
This book says that Rath Dinn was built in 503 BC by Heremon
who was the first Milesian king of Ireland. 
(The Milesians were Celts who came from Spain).
Very little is known of  Rathdown from that time
till the time of the Norman invasion.
It is known that there was an early Christian settlement in Rathdown
because the remains of an old church have been found
under the North West corner of the old church.
The shape of the enclosure around the church
tells that this was early Christian as well.
Photo by A.Fulmer
The Vikings came here too as the Viking Kings of Ireland
held land here along the coast between Dublin and Arklow.
Coolagad  the hill behind Lidl is a Viking word
as are the words Wicklow and Arklow.
Some people living here have Viking family names
however we don’t know who lived in Rathdown itself.
In 1169 at the time of the Norman invasion Rathdown
was owned by a man called Donal Mac Giollamoholmog.
He was married to the daughter of Diarmuid MacMurrough King of Leinster.
When Dublin had been captured by the Normans
and was again under attack by O’Connor from the West
and the Vikings from the East,
it is said Donal Mac Giollamoholmog sat watching the battle
until he saw the Normans winning.
Photo by A.Fulmer
Only then did he decide he was backing the winning side
(remember his daughter was married to the Diarmuid, King of Leinster who was with the Normans).
So because he helped the Normans he was allowed to keep his castle at Rathdown;
anybody on the losing side would have had their lands taken.
He became a tenant of the King of Leinster. 
Donal MacGiollamomholog and his family held on to their lands for many years
though they did not always have a peaceful existence
as some clans gave them trouble especially  the O’ Byrnes and the O’ Tooles.
Ralph MacGiollamoholmog from the same family
had the castle in 1301  then sadly  it was burnt down by the O’Byrnes and O ‘Tooles.
Ralph died and his wife married a man called Albert De Kinley 
who lived in Kindlestown Castle. Albert then owned both castles
until John MacGiollamomholog (son of Ralph) grew up.
The last mentioned member of that family was a man called Fitzdermot, he was there in 1408.
By 1482 the Earl of Kildare owned Rathdown.
When Henry the Eighth ruled England he granted the castle
and the lands to a man called Peter Talbot. This was in 1536.
In 1622 Bernard Talbot succeeded to it but it’s thought that by then
it was in ruins as it had been under attack by the O’Byrnes of Glenmalure.
Author's own
A survey was done in 1656 and it said that the castle was in ruins
but that there were cottages in the village of Rathdown.
Later the castle was owned by Richard Edwards and his wife Elizabeth.
Finally the La Touches acquired the land.
Later the castle and the area around St. Crispin’s Cell 
was bought by a Captain Tarrant (1771).
He lived in a farm nearby and it is he who finally demolished the castle,
knocked down the tombstones, took up the bones in the church yard
and put them all into a pit.
The cottages there today have some of the stones from the castle in their walls.
A bridge over the stream was built using some of the stones too.
Author's own
Archaeologists have studied the area and say that if you fly over it
you can see evidence of a moated castle, a mill, a lime kiln, communal houses,
old roadways and the foundations of many houses.
This evidence is in the form of crop marks and you can read about crop marks HERE
Thanks you Ms. Ahern for all this information and bringing us on such an interesting walk.
We learnt so much.
Thanks to Amanda for the photos and to Catherine for coming too.
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