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(DISTRICT 105-I CHARTERED 8th October 1994)
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A SHORT HISTORY OF CASTLEKNOCK

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The village of Castleknock lies about one mile north of Phoenix Park between the River Tolka and the River Liffey. It's a picturesque little village with a church St. Brigid's completed in 1810 built on the site of a previous church and monastery dating back to Celtic times.

There is a fine hostelry in the village Myos where a blacksmith's forge once stood in times past. Not too far from this location is the renowned Castleknock College founded and managed by the Vincentian Order. Since the mid 1960's the rural aspect of Castleknock village has been to a some extent lost ,but not completely ,due to the development of new housing estates.

The title Castleknock also refers to the barony of Castleknock which stretches from Cabra to Clonee on the Meath border on the one hand and from Chapelizod to Finglas in the other direction. The old name for the locality was Cnucha. This was the name of the wife of Genam or Ruadraidhe who arrived with the Firbolgs in Ireland 3000 years ago. The Irish name Caislean Cnucha is rendered in English as Cnucha's Castle.

The father of Fionn MacCumhall leader of the legendary Fianna fell in the battle of Cnucha and according to legend is buried in the great mound of Tower Hill in the grounds of Castleknock College. Later St. Patrick visited the area and the local chieftain Morinus (Morriahtac) apparently been less than animated by the saint's preaching dozed off for a nap. Demonstrating that he himself did not have the patience normally ascribed to saints, St. Patrick cursed him to sleep until Judgement Day. His sleeping arrangements are said to rest under an adjacent mound topped by the ruin of a Norman castle.

This area around Castleknock College appears to have been occupied by Norsemen for a time and also was settled by some of our Celtic relations from Wales. It was in this location that the Irish High King Rory O'Connor made a last stand against the invading Normans.

The Norman castle of the Tyrrells still remains, though largely in ruins. Most of its stones were recycled for use by Luke Gardiner in building his house which later became the present Ordnance Survey headquarters. This castle was the scene of many great battles including Edward Bruce's attack in 1316 and the battle between Owen Roe O'Neill's forces and General Monks in 1641.

During these times of war and civil unrest the Great Scaldwood of Blanchardstown became home to a large population of wolves that had increased to such an extent that they had become a threat to valuable livestock. A major cull was initiated and the last wolf kill recorded in this area was in 1652.

The barony of Castleknock includes Ashtown, Blanchardstown, Cabra, Chapelizod, Clonsilla, Corduff, Dunsink, Mulhuddart and Phoenix Park and all these areas have exciting histories.

The foregoing is only a thumbnail sketch of Castleknock. For further study of the area a book entitled A Candle in the Window - A History of the Barony of Castleknock has much greater detail. Jim Lacey a member and past President of Castleknock Lions Club researched and wrote this extensive history of Castleknock. The book a best seller contains 144 pages of text and illustrations and has been widely acclaimed attracting favourable comment from historians. The book is available for purchase in Spar, Castleknock village and Roselawn Bookstore in Roselawn Shopping Centre or you may contact the author at jimlacey@eircom.net or at 087-2401308. The price of the book is €12.70 and all proceeds go to support Lions charities.


Lions Book on Castleknock

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