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.


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.’

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..

Christmas Long Ago – Interviews with Parents and Grandparents

End of season - dark crystals
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Alexey Kljatov via Compfight

Christmas past and present.

Some students interviewed parents and grandparents

about Christmas when they were young. They remembered.


‘Trying to be good.

Asking for a surprise.

Letters to Santa being sent up the chimney (not advised nowadays)

or by post to the North Pole.

Shouting up the chimney to Santa.

Counting the days on the Advent calendar’.


They also remembered

‘Making a wish when stirring the Christmas cake mixture.

Putting a few pennies in the plum pudding mix.

The moving crib.

Making paper chains.

Midnight mass.

It was great going out so late!

Going to Mass in new clothes.

Leaving Santa something to eat and drink.

Spiced beef.


Being excited and finding it hard to get to sleep.

Trying to stay awake to see Santa!

The wind whistling in the chimney made me afraid

in case I would be awake and Santa wouldn’t leave presents.

The excitement of waking up early to see what Santa had brought.

Big thick colouring books and markers

and spending the day happily colouring in.


A family time.

Seeing all the family together in one place.

A special dinner with turkey, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts and gravy.

Christmas pudding for dessert.

Selection boxes. We didn’t get sweets every day back then.

We had no TV!


They said:

Christmas simpler then. It’s very commercialised now.

I wish I was a little girl again!

It’s better now because I have children!”


Thank you to the parents and grandparents

who shared their memories with us.

From the Archives – Timeline of the Life and Times of Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed

Click HERE to see a timeline of the life and times of

Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed.

Mechanical watches Vladimir Yaitskiy via Compfight


An Orange in Your Stocking – Christmas Memories from a Grandmother

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: postbear eater of worlds via Compfight

It was just after the Second World War

in the early forties when Robyn’s granny

was about seven or eight. She said:

“Fruit that grew in hot countries

like bananas and oranges was scarce.

These could only be got if a cargo ship

made it through from Lisbon in Portugal.

These ships had to come through the Bay of Biscay

and many vessels were lost making the trip.

So it was a big treat when someone got…

an orange in their stocking.


This is not to say Christmas was not the most magical of times.

For weeks even months preparations were being made.

The Mammies were arranging with the butcher,

the baker and other shop keepers to keep stuff for them.

There were no supermarkets then

and very little money so people would go to these shops,

pick out what they wanted and pay a little for them every week,

so when Christmas week arrived everything was paid for.

The children had jobs to do too.

They would go to the woods

and gather holly and ivy to decorate the house.

We also collected for the neighbours

who had nobody to do it for them.

If they gave you a penny, it would be riches indeed,

but if they didn’t, it didn’t matter

as we had such fun gathering it.

To us they were wonderful times

and even if everything changes,

the message of Christmas remains the same.

Christ was born to us in a stable

bringing joy to the world and goodwill to man’.

Famous People – Colonel Frederick Burnaby & Elizabeth Whitshed

Greystones - The Burnaby HotelCreative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

Lots of places in Greystones are called after Colonel Burnaby.

Who was he?

Colonel Frederick Burnaby was a Victorian celebrity:

a soldier, adventurer, and writer.

He and his new wife Elizabeth Whitshed travelled

to North Africa on honeymoon,

but due to delicate health,

Elizabeth returned to Greystones.

She then moved to Switzerland for health reasons.

Colonel Burnaby was killed in action

(near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885.

These are from the archives:

See more also from the archives:

Click HERE to see a timeline for Colonel Frederick Burnaby

and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed.

Christmas Traditions in Ireland – A Grandmother’s Memories of Christmas Long Ago

Photo Credit: seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight

‘Christmas in Ireland was very much a family festival

when sons and daughters who were working away from home

returned home for Christmas.


Many families looked forward to a letter or parcel

from family members who had gone to America.

This was sure to contain not only good wishes

but also a present of money.


Shopkeepers gave a Christmas box to thank families

for shopping with them. This was often a box of biscuits or a bottle of port.


A candle was lit and placed in the window on Christmas Eve.

The eldest member of the family helped the youngest to do this.

This was done to show that Joseph and Mary,

who found no room at the inn in Bethlehem,

were welcome in the house.


It was believed that at midnight on Christmas Eve,

cows and donkeys knelt to honour the Baby Jesus

and that at that moment, they could talk.

The animals were given an extra feed on Christmas Eve.


Christmas Day was spent at home.

It was very much a family festival

and people didn’t visit unless specially invited to do so.


On Stephen’s Day the branch of a tree was decorated

and the ‘wren boys’ went from house to house

singing in the neighbourhood in return for treats.


These are my memories of Christmas

in Ireland in the 1940s and 50s.

In ways it seems so long ago

but in other ways it only seems like yesterday..’

The Harbour


Romain Al’l via Compfight
Greystones always had a natural harbour.

In 1897, a man made harbour was built.

It was a disaster.

It was built facing North/North East.

Storms came in from the North and North East.

Boats were smashed against the harbour wall

The insurance companies wouldn’t insure a boat in Greystones harbour.

So the harbour was empty of fishing boats.

The harbour was used for small boats

belonging to summer visitors and water sports.


Then a harbour wall was built

and in 1968 the base of the Kish lighthouse

was towed into the harbour to provide more shelter for the boats.

But the big fishing boats never returned.


Then in the new millennium there were plans to build

a marina costing more than 300 million.

There were plans for a new harbour and beach,

a public park and a boardwalk,

new shops and apartments

and new facilities for water sports.


But the recession came and the money ran out.


The new harbour is built and recently a sailing club was added.

Slowly but surely it is turning from a concrete place

to a place with trees and places to sit.


This history of Greystones harbour has been

a story of a battle against the sea and plans that have gone wrong.

We hope this story will have a happy ending.
Untited Pavel Tishkin via Compfight

We found information about the harbour in
A Centenary Booklet for St.Patrick’s Church (1964) by Samuel French
We also used ‘Greystones; Its Past’ written by James Seery in 1989

Greystones Harbour, Civil&Maritime Works – Sean Mason – Engineers Ireland

More about Greystones Harbour

Noose Mike Dean via Compfight

This project is about Greystones Harbour.

The Centenary Magazine for St Patrick’s Church from 1964 said that from 1939-1964

“The harbour having ceased to serve any commercial purpose has fallen into decay. The groyne has gone.”

“What is a groyne?” you may ask.
It is a sea wall built to stop erosion.

But what is erosion?
It is the gradual breaking down of the land, in this case the coast.
About one-third of the pier had been washed away.
The boat slip and the dock was all that was left.

But from 1954 work was done so the rest of the pier was safe,
and the seafront looked good for tourists.

So you can understand what had happened to the harbour,

we need to go back a lot further in time.
There was always a natural harbour at Greystones.
It was the only safe harbour for fishermen to pull into from Bray to Wicklow.
But a harbour wasn’t built there to start with.
There wasn’t even a town or a village where the natural harbour was.
The nearest village was north at Rathdown.

There was lots of herring to be caught at Greystones.
It was called a ‘good fishing place’ not a town or a village.

Over the years there has been a lot of erosion by the sea between Greystones and Bray.
A lot of the coast was washed away.

Fishermen and the people of Greystones wanted a harbour
to help the fishing industry,
so that they could import coal
and Bangor slates to build for the tourists who came to sail and fish.

“Between 1885 and 1897 the Commissioners of Public Works constructed at a cost of £20,678 14s. 8d:
1. A concrete pier 200 feet long measured on the wharf coping and 35 feet wide exclusive of the parapet. Two flights of steps were provided in the wharf and six mooring posts.
2. A concrete boat slip 156 feet long or thereabouts and 20 feet wide.
3. An inner dock for small boats around which the approach road to the pier was diverted.
4. A concrete groyne 345 feet long or thereabouts.”

Very quickly after the pier was built it became obvious that the harbour gave no safety to boats.
Its entrance faced north northeast. Storms usually came from this direction, so that large waves rolled right into the harbour and put the boats moored or anchored there in danger. In storm force winds they were trapped and could not put to sea to ride out the storm.

On 14th October 1892, there was a storm. Three men ran out on the pier to cast off the mooring ropes of a schooner called ‘The Mersey’, so that she could be beached. As they were returning a huge wave broke over the parapet and the three of them were swept into the harbour and drowned. This tragedy put all Greystones into mourning as nearly every person was related to the victims of the disaster.

Again in October 1911 three schooners, the ‘Vellenhellie’, the ‘Reciprocity’, and the ‘ Federation’ were tied up in the harbour when an unexpected storm arose. They had to be scuttled or run ashore and were all wrecked. Luckily the crews were rescued by the rocket apparatus.

Since that date no insurance could be got for boats coming to Greystones and the pier was left to fall into disrepair. This meant that the local fishermen couldn’t to compete with the trawlers landing their catches much nearer to the Dublin markets. Meanwhile Greystones was developing from a small fishing village to a seaside resort. Greystones men become tradesmen and builders instead of fishermen.

We found information about the harbour in

We also used ‘Greystones; Its Past written by James Seery in 1989

Famous People – Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed

White pyramid No_Mosquito via Compfight

Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed lived at Killincarrig House in Greystones. She was born in 1861. Her father was Sir St. Vincent Hawkins Whitshed.  He died when she was eleven. When she was eighteen she went to London in 1879 to be presented at the court of the English Queen, Victoria. She met Colonel Frederick Burnaby and they got married soon after.

She was very impressed by Colonel Burnaby. He was a celebrity of the time. He was six foot four, a soldier, an adventurer, traveller, balloonist and writer. At the time of his marriage Burnaby was working for the eldest son of Queen Victoria. He was in charge of the horses belonging to the Prince of Wales. They traveled to North Africa after their marriage. But Elizabeth became ill. In 1880, she returned to Greystones to have her only child Harry St. Vincent Augustus Burnaby.

In 1882, the doctor advised Elizabeth to go to live in Switzerland. It was thought that the climate in Switzerland would be good for her health. This seemed to work because the following winter Elizabeth climbed Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Switzerland. Elizabeth went on to become a famous lady mountaineer, a writer, a photographer and an expert on the Alps. You can read more about that time in her life if you click on this LINK . There is also a lot of information about Elizabeth HERE on the Our Wicklow Heritage in an article by Rosemary Raughter, of the Greystones Archaeological and Historical Society.

Elizabeth Whitshed called the Burnaby Estate in Greystones after her husband. There is a road in the Burnaby called Whitshed Road. Elizabeth lived to be 73.

School Long Ago – Classroom Display

Can you guess how old Teddy is?

This is a reader from 1934.

How is it different from the readers we used today?

The children in the infants classes in our school

used wear a smock like this one to protect their clothes.

Grandparents may remember writing on a small blackboard

with a stick of chalk instead of using a copybook.

Children used play hopscotch using an empty polish tin.

The History Corner is an interesting place to visit.

Holy Faith Convent – A School Long Ago


The convent was built in 1906.

In 2015 the convent was sold to the Department of Education.

There are plans to use the convent to give us more room in which to learn and to play.

In 2013, while an extension was being build to the school,

a number of classes went back in time and went to school in the convent.

Click below to see…

More than 100 Years of The Holy Faith Sisters in Greystones


In 1903 Rev. Nicholas Donnelly

Parish Priest of Bray and Greystones,

asked the Holy Faith Sisters

to take charge of a school at Blacklion.


It was situated to the left of

the entrance to Applewood Heights.

The Sisters already had convents in

Newtown since 1892

and in Kilcoole since 1897.


From 1903–06 Sisters Mary Dionysius, Joanna and Anthony

travelled from Kilcoole each day by pony and trap

to teach in Blacklion School.

They were driven by one of their students.


In 1906 the Sisters came and built a convent

beside the church in Greystones

on land bought from the La Touche family.


Sisters Mary Winifred, Peter, Bertrand and Reginald

stayed in Kilcoole Convent

for a two weeks or so until the convent at Greystones was completed.

Seven pupils were enrolled at first but these numbers gradually grew.