- Where is Greystones?
- Is it by the sea or inland?
- Who were the first people to live near Greystones?
- Where did these Stone Age people live?
- How do people know that there were Stone Age people in Rathdown?
- What evidence did they find?
- Why did they settle in Rathdown?
- What kind of houses did they live in?
- Draw a picture.
- What did they eat?
- What did they hunt?
- What did they gather?
- Who helped them to hunt?
- What did they give the wild dogs in return?
- How did the wild dogs become tame?
- Why are Stone Age people called Stone Age people?
- Why did the Stone Age people start to farm?
- What animals did they keep?
- How did they stop the animals from escaping?
- What came after the Stone Age?
- What did the people use bronze for?
- Why was bronze better than stone?
- King Heremon built a ring fort at Rathdown.
- Rath is a word that means ring fort.
- What came after the Bronze Age?
- What did people use iron for?
- Why was iron better than bronze?
- Why did the Vikings come to visit Rathdown?
- Why did the Vikings come from the cold, cold lands to the North.
- How do we know there were Vikings living in Wicklow.
- What does Wicklow (Vyking Alo) mean in the Viking language?
- Windgates comes from a Viking word. Gata means r_ _ _ in Viking.
- There was a battle between the Irish and the Vikings at Delgany in 1021. Who won it?
- The O’Byrne’s and the O’Tooles were called the wild Wicklow tribes.
- What did they do to the castle at Rathdown?
- Dermot McMurrough was King of Leinster.
- He wanted to be king of all Ireland.
- Who did he invite to help him fight this battle?
- The chief Norman was called Strongbow.
- Why do you think he was called this?
- The Normans lived at the castle at Rathdown.
- They made it stronger.
- How did they do this?
- All this time who was living in Greystones?
- Why was Greystones called The Grey Stones?
- Who gave Greystones its name?
- Greystones was a good fishing place, so who went to live there?
- ***Where did Frederick Burnaby live in Greystones?***(This is a trick question)
- Why is Frederick Burnaby famous?
- His wife was Elizabeth Whitshed. Why was she famous?
- What turned Greystones into the big town it is today?
- Do you like living in Greystones? Why?
- If you had a time machine when in history would you like to visit Greystones? Why?
- Will the Story of Greystones have a happy ending?
- What do you think Greystones is going to be like when you are a grown up?
- How can you make Greystones a better place?
Killincarrig Castle was a manor house
built about 1620.
This manor seemed a popular place
for both soldiers and rebels to stay over the centuries.
During the Eleven Years War (1641-1653)
the castle became a stronghold
by the Catholic Confederates.
After that in 1649, legend has it that Oliver Cromwell
an English leader came to stay.
He was considered to be a hero in England,
but a villain in Ireland, responsible for
great loss of life in Ireland.
The legend says that Cromwell
spent a night in Killincarrig Castle
and that he posted some troops there
while he went south in search of his horse
which had been stolen by the Irish rebels.
On the same trip, he ransacked Kindlestown.
Later in history, during the 1798 rebellion,
the Irish rebels hid there after to avoid getting caught!
Some of us have visited this ruin.
It is in a lady’s back garden and is a protected structure.
Evidence of Killincarrig’s past has been found
such as old muskets, pistol balls, gunpowder measures
and other such equipment which were found in
and around the castle.
We think we are lucky to live in a place
that has such a rich and interesting history.
Greystones was put on the map
with the coming of the railway.
The railway was built between 1854 and 1856
and joined Bray to Greystones.
Building the railway was a difficult job
because the railway line had to pass through solid rock.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) was the engineer.
Tunnels were blasted through the rock using explosives.
The train station was built on the line
dividing the properties of two landowners:
the La Touche Family of Bellevue House to the East of Greystones
and the Hawkins-Whitshed family of Killincarrig House to the North.
It was only when the railway was officially opened in 1855
that many more people came to live in Greystones.
Many of them worked in Dublin and went there by train.
This is still true today.
The Dart first came to Greystones in 2000 AD
and Greystones continues to grow.
Click on this LINK to see some great pictures of the Greystones railway on the Greystones Guide.
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 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
The village at Rathdown did well from 1308 under the Normans:
the Le Brun and then the FitzGerald families.
In 1534, a castle,
and a fresh water spring were recorded at Rathdown.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Leo Swan reported that photographs taken from the air showed signs that there was once a large village there.
In the Middle Ages there were about five hundred people living at Rathdown, and further south at Greystones was deserted.
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
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.
So the question is why do you think
people long ago decided to live at
Rathdown rather than Greystones?
We think these early settlers chose to live in Rathdown
• Because it was more sheltered,
(Greystones would be wild and windy.)
• There was the sea and a fresh water spring nearby.
• They could eat the birds and animals in the wood.
• It was on a hill. They could see their enemies coming.
We think these early settlers chose to live
north of Greystones because it was more sheltered.
There were the advantages of living beside the sea
and having a fresh water spring nearby.
Woodland birds and animals
could have been a source of food.
Teachers can find more Stone Age resources
by clicking on THIS LINK.