Thank you to the organisers of the La Touche Legacy Seminar

Greystones Aaron van Dorn via Compfight

We would like to thank the organisers of the La Touche Legacy Conference for inviting us to the opening of this year’s conference. In particular we would like to thank George Jones and Rosemary Raughter for giving of their time and advice.

Links to Powerpoints re the Giffords/Kitty Kiernan and Sinead De Valera and their links to Greystones

  1. First there is a short powerpoint about Grace and Muriel Gifford

and their husbands Joseph Mary Plunkett and Thomas MacDonagh

Two Sisters; Their Story & Their Place in History-2luytx0

This powerpoint is about their links with Greystones

The Gifford Sisters Muriel and Grace Connections with Greystones-2ahtyz0


2. Then there is a powerpoint about Kitty Kiernan and Sinead De Valera

Two Women; Their Story & Their Place in History-1kfk8kf

Did you know when Greystones Library was built …

… some people thought it was NOT a good idea?

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY IN GREYSTONES [COUNTY WICKLOW]-121966Creative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

We LOVE Greystones Library and were very surprised to hear this.

You can read more about when Greystones Library was first built

and what people said HERE on the ‘Our Wicklow Heritage’ website

in an article called ‘The Library That Wasn’t Welcome’

by local historian Rosemary Raughter.

Games and Activities – What was Ireland like in the time when St. Patrick came

Click HERE to learn what Ireland was like in the time St.Patrick came to Ireland.

Review by Seán: In this activity you click on the pictures at the bottom of the page and click and drag them into the main picture if you think you would find them in a settlement of that time. I liked the way you get to build a settlement. I liked the picture filled up and the way it turned out.

Hazel "Catkins"Creative Commons License postman.pete via Compfight

This is the hazel tree. The walls of the houses the people built.

were made of hazel branches woven into ‘wattle and daub’.

Scroll down this LINK to learn more about ‘wattle and daub’.





Saints – St.Patrick

St Mary's of the AngelsCreative Commons License Alex Balzanella via Compfight

It is St. Patrick’s Day on Friday 17th March.

You can learn about St. Patrick HERE on the BBC Northern Ireland website.

You can see the same activity HERE in Irish. However the videos only work

in the UK and Northern Ireland.

This is the work we have done

Filing ExeterAnna via Compfight

This is a history project. We had lots of history resources in the school. There were essays and projects students had done over the years and notes that teachers had made about local history. Though some  work was saved online most of it was on paper. Students doing local history projects and teachers preparing for lessons had to spend time going through lots of boxes of stuff to find information. 

The papers were old, dusty and messy. There was a risk we would lose this information. People might think it was rubbish and throw it out. It would be better if we put it altogether online. Then students and teachers could find the information more easily. Then students could find the information on their laptops. Teachers could put the information on the whiteboard for their classes. We think the posts on local history will save on teachers having to photocopy information and the blog will make the lesson more interesting for the students.

We hope that other schools in the area will be interested in our history blog. Though a lot of it is about Greystones, we connect local history to times like the Stone Age and the Vikings, etc. We hope when we tweet a link about something we put on the blog, people will discover our site, find it useful come back to visit and tell other people about our site.

We have a menu on top and the categories and contents on the side bar too. We hope people will be able to find things easily. We like to include links on our pages so that people who visit one page are encouraged to travel deeper into our blog and find out more about history. 

To make it fun for students we added videos, online games and activities. We have reviewed a lot of these so you will know which are the best one. 

We have collected lot of the work on the blog from teachers in the school, the history stored on paper in the school, students in the school at the moment and work left behind from students who have left the school, parents and grandparents.  So we had a lot of typing to do.  We call this section From the Archives. Sometimes choosing the photos to go with the posts took longer than typing out the post but choosing the right photo was fun.

We are also trying to put new work about local history on the blog too. As time go by we hope to add to this blog. We hope to include student work that ties in with local history like art and drama and podcasts.

We have done a lot of googling. This has been like a treasure hunt. What we have found can be very random. We have found interesting links about the history of Greystones, stone age times, the Bronze Age and the Vikings right up to the present day. We have added these links, games and activities to the blog. We think this has been the most exciting part of doing this work.

We would like to thanks teachers that have now retired from the school. They had a great interest in the History of Greystones and put a lot of these resources together. So thank you Mrs.McGloin, Mrs.Doyle and Mrs.Foy. Take a bow.

Links for Teachers – Record of Protected Structures – Wicklow County Council Area, 2016

Saorstát Eireann/King George V Irish post wallbox (1910's / 1920’s) - Durrow, County OffalyCreative Commons License Stuart via Compfight

There is a list of protected structures in Greystones on pages 16-23 of the link at the bottom of this page.


Among the structures on this link

are a number of post boxes around Greystones

that date from a time when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.

If you see VR on the post box, that stands for Queen Victoria

so it is a postbox put up between 1853-1901.

ER VII on a post box stands for Edward VII (put up between 1901-1910)

GR on a post box stands for George V so it was put up after 1910

and before Ireland became independent in 1922.

These postboxes would originally have been painted red.


Record of Protected Structures – Wicklow County Council Area, 2016

Please note the postbox in the photo on this post is not taken in Greystones

however it is an Irish postbox.


Questions for Students:

Can you see the letters on this postbox.

From looking at the letters can you tell when this postbox dates from?


Keep an eye out for the postboxes in your neighbourhood.

Do they have any markings on them that show when they were put up?

Famous People – Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan planned to live in Greystones.

This is the  house across the road from our school

on Trafalgar Road in Greystones.

Chloe and Kelyn’s Granny and Grandad live there.

It is called Brooklands.

In the summer of 1922 Michael Collins and his fiancée

Kitty Kiernan planned to buy this house,

once they were married.

Tragically Michael Collins

was killed in an ambush

in West Cork on 22nd August 1922 .

Michael Collins is a famous Irishman.

He was a leader in the Irish struggle

for independence.

Links for Teachers – Greystones – 1911 Census

Greystones Aaron van Dorn via Compfight

Click HERE to see the 1911 Census for Greystones. Greystones doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the census for 1901 Click on this LINK to a telling census entry from James Joseph Hazlett which may or may not be a ‘sign of the times.’

From the Archives – Suffragettes in Greystones

Suffragette ATCsCreative Commons License Nancy Williams via Compfight

Usually Irish suffragettes didn’t hold demonstrations

like women in the rest of the United Kingdom.

They felt that they wouldn’t have had

enough members to make an impact.
Suffragettes ecolabs via Compfight
In the United Kingdom, women suffragettes

had various methods of protest.

They included the militants

chaining themselves to railings,

setting fire to mailboxes and buildings,

going on hunger strike while imprisoned

smashing windows

However on 25th October 1910,

they did protest when they met the Chief Secretary for Ireland,

Augustine Birrell at Greystones Harbour.

Birrell was not in favour of getting the vote for women.

You can read more about what happened in this article

by Rosemary Raughter of Greystones Archaeological & Historical Society

on the ‘Our Wicklow Heritage’ website.


A Simple Activity to learn about the Victorian kitchen

Click HERE to learn about the Victorian kitchen

and Click PART 2 at the top of the link to read

about how the Victorians cooked.

Both these activities are from © NGfL / GCaD Cymru

Review: Seán thought that this was very simple indeed and while you might learn some stuff and see how our kitchens are very different to Victorian kitchens, he said it wasn’t very exciting and we agree.

1910 Christmas Baking - Gold Medal Flour clotho98 via Compfight


Placenames – Charlesland

Ridge and Furrow - Ploughed soil in Devon CropShot via Compfight

Charlesland gets its name from the old English words ‘churl’s acre’.

Here a churl means a member of a kind of farmer,

either a labourer or an owner of a small farm,

especially in the Middle Ages.


In 2003 parts of a musical instrument were found at Charlesland.

You can see them HERE and read more about them on THIS LINK

Placenames – Delgany (This post includes link to a walking trail)

ThornsCreative Commons License Tim Praschberger via Compfight

Deilgne, the Irish name for Delgany may have come from;

(a) dealg: a thorn (so Delgany might have been a thorny place).

(b) It may have been the name of a person

(b) or dearg: the colour red

The soil around the whole village is of a reddish colour.

This is particularly noticeable after rain.

Delgany village has a great website.

You can see it HERE

It includes a walking trail which you can see

if you click THIS LINK

Placenames – Victoria Road

The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons 1838 Plate 39Creative Commons License CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange via Compfight

In the second half of the 19th century Church Road, Trafalgar Road and Victoria Road were built. Victoria Road was called after the Queen Victoria. You can read more about her HERE Queen Victoria made four official visits to Ireland: 1849, 1853, 1861 and 1900. The railway station in Greystones opened on 30 October 1855. Many houses were built in Greystones after that time.

Holy Rosary Church, Greystones

Holy Rosary


This is the Holy Rosary Church in Greystones. Holy Rosary is beside our school.

In 1895 Bishop Donnelly, the Parish Priest of Bray and Greystones,

rented land for the church from Mr. La Touche for £25 per year.

At first the church was an iron pre-fab.

This building was destroyed by a storm in 1903.

A wooden chapel was built by Mr. Kinlen.

He began work on the building that is there today began in 1903.

Early photos show a church with a copper spire.

This was removed by the builder Bill Lendrum

because it was thought it might topple over.

You can read more about the history of the church

in the Centenary Parish Magazine 2008, available on the Greystones Guide HERE

and HERE on the Greystones Archaeological and Historical Society

You can read about the inside of the church HERE on the Holy Rosary website.

There are beautiful stained glass windows in Holy Rosary Church.

Two of them are by Evie Hone.

The work was done in 1948.

Click on THIS LINK to learn more about Evie Hone.

From the Archives – Saints – St.Brigid


St Brigid of Kildare Lawrence OP via Compfight


Legend has it that when Brigid was born, angels sang in the sky over the place she was born. St. Brigid – father was a pagan chief. He didn’t believe in God. Brigid’s mother was a servant who knew about God and believed in God.

Brigid was born near Faughart, a village a few miles north of Dundalk. Brigid was minded by a foster mother because her mother worked in Connaught, far away from where Brigid lived. She helped her foster mother around the house. Any free time she had was spent in the nearby forest with the wild animals living there. She was very fond of animals. Legend tell us she once tamed a wild boar (pig) and another time she tamed a wild fox.

She was very kind to the poor people that called to the door and was always giving away her father’s things. When she was about twelve,  Brigid was waiting outside the King of Leinster’s fort for her Dad when she met a poor man. He was covered in rags and mud. What do you think St. Brigid did? Yes she just had to help him. There was nothing else in the chariot, so she took her Dad’s sword and gave it to the man.

Legend has it that her Dad was furious.  Luckily the King of Leinster was there. He believed in God like Brigid did and understood why Brigid had done what she had done, so the King gave her Dad an even better sword and told her Dad to forgive her. 

St. Brigid was told she couldn’t visit her Mum in Connaught but she went right ahead and did just that. Her Mum had a job looking after the druid’s cows at the druid’s farm.

St Brigid worked with her Mum helping her, making cheese and butter. Poor people called to the door and she gave away food to them. A very surprising thing happened. No matter how much food Brigid gave away there always seemed to be more food there. The Druid realised that there was something special about Brigid, so he tried to give her all his cows.

She said she didn’t want that. Instead she wanted her Mum to come home with her! So this story has a happy ending. Brigid’s family was back together.

Today the 1st February is St. Brigid’s Day. Our school is named after St.Brigid

You can learn more about St. Brigid HERE on the ‘Ask About Ireland’ website..



From the Archives – Applewood Past and Present

Barley / Gerste ICreative Commons License Christian Schnettelker via Compfight

A Project from 1995 (approximately)

by then students. Alison O’Doherty, Lorna Power & Claire Reade

‘The Owners

A tenant by the name of Thomas O’Mahony was one of the previous owners of Applewood Heights and St.John’s. The fee for the keep of the land was just a pound a week, a fortune at the time.

In later years the land of Applewood was owned by the Evans family, then by the Taylors who used the land to grow barley. In 1970 a group of German Scouts camped in Taylor’s field.

Louis McGuire was the auctioneer who sold the land on behalf of the Taylor family to various builders. Paddy Hickey provided the planning permission for the builders.

The first house was built is now No.36.

The Beginning of the Heights

Applewood attracted many young couples from Dublin. It was also a new opportunity for the people of Northern Ireland to get away from the war and bloodshed.

However, the first residents near the top of the estate were unfortunate due to low water pressure. This only enable them to use water at night. During the day it was unavailable.

At the moment there are 194 houses in Applewood. In the past 5 years 10 new houses (Applewood Drive) have been built.

The Price

The original selling price for the house was (according to locals) £8750, a great expense at that time. Today the houses are priced at £85,000.

The Residents Association

The Residents Association have worked hard resolving the following:

  1. Potholes in the roads
  2. Speeding through the estate
  3. Open spaces at each end of the estate

Interesting Facts

Two of the houses were built on sandpits.

One of the greens was a muddy swamp and while building one of the houses, a bulldozer sank into the swamp. It was pulled out by two other bulldozers.

Under the estate like most of Greystones is rock.

Applewood has always been said to have been an orchard, but in fact it was a barley field.

The estate of Applewood is now in its 22nd year.

Applewood was one of the first major estates in Greystones.’

St. Crispin’s Cell

shoemakerCreative Commons License Rosmarie Voegtli via Compfight

St. Crispin’s Cell was built around 1530AD.

It is believed it was the chapel attached

to Rathdown Castle.


St. Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers.

You can read more about St. Crispin’s Cell



Greystones Tidy Towns Committee

tidied the area up and it now looks

very smart..


You can read about that HERE 

and there is a You Tube video on Greystones

Guide showing St. Crispin’s Cell HERE.

The Famine in Greystones and surrounding areas


Greystones, as we know it,

was really only a small fishing hamlet before the famine.

It is not listed in the census of 1841

and the population of 1851 (93 people)

had increased to 238 by 1861.

When the Boat Comes inCreative Commons License Henry Hemming via Compfight

The Parliamentary Gazetteer 1844-45 says

‘but the fishermen of Greystones at least had fish

and there is no record of hardship’.

However Windgate shows a drop in population

from 185 in 1841

to 41 in 1851.

Ocean View Rich Childs via Compfight

Delgany, as a village, showed

a growth of population during the famine,

while the population in the

Delgany area overall dropped.

lever de soleil Pittou2 via Compfight

The La Touche Family had the following structures in place

to help people in need:

1. The Farm Shop which sold food at or below cost

was in existence since Elizabeth La Touche’s time.

A girl wearing a straw hat. Девушка в соломенной шляпке.Creative Commons License Sergey G via Compfight
2. There was a straw hat factory

there which employed the women.


Turning wheat into flour Canadian Pacific via Compfight
3. There was a flour mill

and a dispensary.

A dispensary is a place where medicines

are prepared and provided.

Saint Charles Apotheke, Vienna Kotomi_ via Compfight
4. They had the Adair fund

of £60 per annum to help the needy.

southwell the workhouse kitchen rations damian entwistle via Compfight
5. The better off did not have

to support the workhouse in Loughlinstown

but had responsibility for their own poor people.

knock knock garden beth via Compfight
6. A Famine Relief Scheme;

building the back road to Bellevue, was in operation.


Saint Thérèse of Lisieux giveawayboy via Compfight
In 1844 the Carmelite Sisters came to Delgany.

In 1846 they opened a school.

Their church was not built until 1853 owing to the famine.

FAMINE MEMORIAL AT CUSTOM HOUSE QUAY IN DUBLIN [ARTIST - ROWAN GILLESPIE]-122170Creative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

The Downs Village (north of the Willow Grove Pub)

did not fare so well.

In 1841 it was a thriving village with church and village green.

By 1851 it had no one living there.

Did they all die or was this a result of the village

being by passed by a new road shortly before the famine years?

Abandoned cabin at Foher cabin village in north Connemara. Ridges from ruined potato crops remain. Randy Durrum via Compfight

Kilcoole, Newcastle and Newtownmountkennedy

were engaged in growing potatoes

for the Dublin market (just as they are today).

The famine struck them very badly.

The 1841 Census for the Kilcoole area

showed a population of 215 people.

By 1851 this had dropped to 93.

In the same period Kilquade dropped from 327 to 88

and Kilpeddar East from 111 to just 10.

1_farthing_Columbia_nd_1ar85Creative Commons License Jean-Michel Moullec via Compfight

The church records in Newcastle tell of money

being collected for the relief of the poor.


Cholera Consultation: the Central Board of HealthCreative Commons License Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, UofT via Compfight

A fever hospital was set up in Newtown in 1832

when were was an outbreak of cholera.

This was probably filled to capacity during the famine.

Bray Joseba Gabilondo Markes via Compfight

Bray: Bray being near the sea had some fish to feed the people.

It also had many generous inhabitants.

But there still was a lot of hardship.

Frisch geerntete KartoffelnCreative Commons License Maja Dumat via Compfight

By 1846 the price of the potatoes was very high.

In the winter of 1846, men seeking employment

from the Poor Law Guardians were sent away.

There was widespread distress.

Creative Commons License Francesca S via Compfight

There were very stormy seas also. Fishing was impossible.

Fishermen’s cottages in Dock Terrace were destroyed.

Train tunnel Aaron van Dorn via Compfight

To get famine relief work you had to be certified as being destitute.

In 1847, 36 more men were laid off.

By August of that year work on the Bray Head Railway had started

and 500 men were employed.


During the worst part of the famine

local gentry set up Relief Schemes in Bray.

Chicken Noodle-Less Soup Sarah R via Compfight

Lady Plunkett of Old Connaught House set up soup kitchens.

Lord Plunkett increased wages from 10 shilling (50c)

to 12 shillings for a 60 hour week.

Old Money Howard Dickins via Compfight

Lady Meath of Killruddery and Mrs. Putland

distributed food and clothing.

The Putlands lived in San Souci (now Loreto Convent)

The Putland Road was build as a Famine Relief Scheme.

Crowds tried to waylay Mrs. Putland,

asking her for help every time she went out in her carriage.

"Famine"Creative Commons License Jennifer Boyer via Compfight

By 1841 there were 1123 people

living in the rural area around Bray.

By 1851 this had decreased to 799.

Many thanks to Mrs. McGloin

for this information about the famine in our area.

Mrs. McGloin was a much loved teacher in our school

who was very interested in local history and has now retired..

Placenames – Blacklion

Antique wooden beer mugCreative Commons License Thomas Quine via Compfight

Blacklyon (1760) was an inn.

It was said that there was also an inn

in Bray called the White Lyon.

There is great information here about the inn at Blacklion

on the ever informative Greystones Guide.

Click HERE to see what well known landmark

is now where the inn used be.

Please note: Please supervise children online.

A Quiz about Greystones – over 50 questions

  1. Where is Greystones?
  2. Is it by the sea or inland?
  3. Who were the first people to live near Greystones?
  4. Where did these Stone Age people live?
  5. How do people know that there were Stone Age people in Rathdown?
  6. What evidence did they find?
  7. Why did they settle in Rathdown?
  8. What kind of houses did they live in?
  9. Draw a picture.
  10. What did they eat?
  11. What did they hunt?
  12. What did they gather?
  13. Who helped them to hunt?
  14. What did they give the wild dogs in return?
  15. How did the wild dogs become tame?
  16. Why are Stone Age people called Stone Age people?
  17. Why did the Stone Age people start to farm?
  18. What animals did they keep?
  19. How did they stop the animals from escaping?
  20. What came after the Stone Age?
  21. What did the people use bronze for?
  22. Why was bronze better than stone?
  23. King Heremon built a ring fort at Rathdown.
  24. Rath is a word that means ring fort.
  25. What came after the Bronze Age?
  26. What did people use iron for?
  27. Why was iron better than bronze?
  28. Why did the Vikings come to visit Rathdown?
  29. Why did the Vikings come from the cold, cold lands to the North.
  30. How do we know there were Vikings living in Wicklow.
  31. What does Wicklow (Vyking Alo) mean in the Viking language?
  32. Windgates comes from a Viking word. Gata means r_ _ _ in Viking.
  33. There was a battle between the Irish and the Vikings at Delgany in 1021. Who won it?
  34. The O’Byrne’s and the O’Tooles were called the wild Wicklow tribes.
  35. What did they do to the castle at Rathdown?
  36. Dermot McMurrough was King of Leinster.
  37. He wanted to be king of all Ireland.
  38. Who did he invite to help him fight this battle?
  39. The chief Norman was called Strongbow.
  40. Why do you think he was called this?
  41. The Normans lived at the castle at Rathdown.
  42. They made it stronger.
  43. How did they do this?
  44. All this time who was living in Greystones?
  45. Why?
  46. Why was Greystones called The Grey Stones?
  47. Who gave Greystones its name?
  48. Greystones was a good fishing place, so who went to live there?
  49. ***Where did Frederick Burnaby live in Greystones?***(This is a trick question)
  50. Why is Frederick Burnaby famous?
  51. His wife was Elizabeth Whitshed. Why was she famous?
  52. What turned Greystones into the big town it is today?
  53. Do you like living in Greystones? Why?
  54. If you had a time machine when in history would you like to visit Greystones? Why?
  55. Will the Story of Greystones have a happy ending?
  56. What do you think Greystones is going to be like when you are a grown up?
  57. How can you make Greystones a better place?

Placenames in Greystones named after Colonel Frederick Burnaby, his wife Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed and members of her family.

The Burnaby

The marriage of Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed explains the names of a lot of places in Greystones. Click HERE to read more about Colonel Burnaby and HERE to read more about Elizabeth.

There are many place called after Colonel Burnaby even though he only paid a short visit here. He died in 1885. Elizabeth was a landowner in Greystones. She owned the land on which the Burnaby Estate is built. She called the estate after Colonel Burnaby. It was built in the early 1900s.

There is the Burnaby Estate, Burnaby Park and The Burnaby Pub also in the town

Burnaby Avenue
Burnaby Court
Burnaby Heights
Burnaby Lawn
Burnaby Manor
Burnaby Mews
Burnaby Mill
Burnaby Park
Burnaby Way
and Burnaby Wood

In the Burnaby Estate there is

St. Vincent’s Road (called after Elizabeth’s father). Here it is in 1985:

Hawkins Lane

Whitshed Road (Hawkins and Whitshed were Elizabeth’s family names).

Portland Road ( The Duke of Portland was Elizabeth’s cousin). This is Portland Road in 1985:

Somerby Road after the town in Leicestershire where the family had connections,

Erskine Avenue after another family member

and Burnaby Road.

Here are some photos of Burnaby Park around 1985