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Templeogue - History

Templeogue was a small village isolated from Dublin City. The now ruined church or chapel in Templeogue graveyard, erected in 1273 to replace the inaccessible chapel of Kilsantan, appears to to be the earliest freestanding remains. It was recorded as a ruin around 1615 - the Talbots resident in Templeogue House were presumably not interested in maintaining what had become an Anglican church after the Reformation. The estates of Terenure and Bushy Park lay between the village and the modern Terenure crossroads. The construction of the long and straight Templeogue Road, originally built as a toll road, through these estates in 1801 made Templeogue a much more accessible place. Today, Templeogue Village is mainly a centre of new houses and shops. The old village has almost disappeared and most of the old terrace of slated cottages have been demolished, the few remaining ones being converted into workshops. Many of the old detached houses around the village have been swept away, their extensive gardens attracting the attention of property developers. The massive entrance to Templeogue Lodge still survives, leading into a modern suburban garden. The Blessington Steam Tramway depot formerly occupied the shopping area in front of Templeogue Tennis Club. Templeogue Village has only one pub, The Templeogue Inn, better known throughout Dublin as The Morgue. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the number 15 Blessington steam tram passed through Templeogue so close to the road that many deaths occurred. Corpses were often sheltered in the pub until taken away and the pub acquired the permanent, morbid nickname.

The bridge of Templeogue was first erected around 1800 under the direction of Mr. Birmingham of Delaford, details of which were recorded on an oval stone tablet let into the parapet. This had latterly become so weathered as to be undecipherable. The bridge was an attractive three-arched structure and below it the river passed over a series of steps which were constructed to prevent the foundations of the piers from being washed away. Before the bridge was built travellers wishing to cross the Dodder had to use a ford half a mile higher up the river.

On the Butterfield side of the bridge sheltered by a plantation was Bridge House, the home of the poet, Austin Clarke. After his death in 1974 there was a proposal to preserve the house and his library of 6,500 books as a memorial to the poet. Unfortunately long-term plans were in operation to demolish the house and widen the road. As a result both bridge and Bridge House were cleared away and a new bridge opened in 1985. This has been named after Austin Clarke.

Cypress Grove Road which faces the bridge occupies the site of a private avenue leading to the old house of that name. Cypress Grove House was built in the first half of the eighteenth century by a Mr. Paine and later became the residence of Sir William Cooper, Master in Chancery and Member of Parliament who died here in 1761. It was next occupied by the Countess of Clanbrassil from whom it passed to her grandson Viscount Jocelyn. The house was later occupied by Orrs, who were merchants, Duffys who had calico print works at Ballsbridge, and Mr. Charles King. From 1908 to 1925 the house was occupied by Mr. G.H. Stepney who changed the name to 'Alberta', but it was changed back to the original 'Cypress Grove' by the next owner, Patrick Walshe. The house is now owned by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) and is maintained in good condition. Three of the original cypress trees still stand east of the house.

The next old house on the same side is Templeogue House, now owned by South Dublin County Council. The lands of Templeogue were occupied in the fourteenth century by the Harolds, but in the sixteenth century passed to the Talbots who held them for about two centuries. The landowner of Templeogue had the duty of maintaining the City Watercourse which flowed within the townland for which he received a tribute of corn from mills using the water. In 1655 there was a castle here in repair, a tuck mill and a house out of repair, as well as a number of cottages. The population was forty and Theobald Harold was steward of the town. Henry Talbot was ordered to transplant to Connaught, but was later restored to his ancestral home at Templeogue.

In 1686 the lands were mortgaged for £3,000 to Sir Thomas Domville. Sir James Talbot supported the cause of James II in 1688 and was attainted, whereupon Sir Thomas Domville got possession of Templeogue. Domville erected a brick mansion on the site of the castle, incorporating the vaulted undercroft and two circular towers. It had an immense window across the front and a number of gables. His son, Sir Compton Domville, laid out the grounds and used the City Watercourse which flowed through the garden as one of the main features. The course was in a direct line with the front door of the house and the water was made to flow over a series of steps, on each of which stood a statue. A branch of the course was carried through a rustic Gothic arch so as to form an impressive cascade, and in one of the fields was a large earthen mound surmounted by a circular temple.

The Domvilles claimed the same rights over the Watercourse as was formerly held by the Talbots, and in addition to the tribute of corn from the mills received rents from the Chapter of St. Patrick's Cathedral and from the Earl of Meath who held the lands of St. Thomas Abbey. In 1738 Lord Santry, who was a nephew of Compton Domville was tried by the House of Lords for the murder of a servant at an inn during the Fair of Palmerston. The lords found him to be guilty but recommended mercy, and Sir Compton Domville used his influence by threatening that if the death sentence was carried out he would cut off the water supply from the city, which he could quite easily have done. Lord Santry was granted a reprieve and subsequently a full pardon.

In 1751 Sir Compton Domville inherited Santry Court, but continued to occupy Templeogue House until his death in 1768. His nephew Charles Pocklington inherited his property and took the name of Domville. He lived at Templeogue until 1780 when, the house being in a bad state of repair, he left it and moved to Santry, taking with him many ornamental features, including the circular temple. About 1820 the house was taken by a Mr. Gogerty who was permitted to cut down timber on condition that he repaired the house. This he did by demolishing it and building the existing structure into which he again incorporated the original medieval vaulted undercroft and the two circular towers. The house was occupied from 1842 to 1845 by Charles Lever, the novelist.

The old house has been extended but the dry channel of the ancient City Watercourse still survives, in line with the front door and now planted along each side with mature trees. The rustic Gothic arch has also been preserved although it is many long years since any water cascaded down its mossy stones. The fields have been built on and the last traces of lakes and monuments cleared away. When the large mound upon which the temple stood was being removed in 1972 it was examined by an archaeologist from the National Museum in case it should prove to be an ancient burial mound, but no ancient features were found.

Close to the house was Templeogue Mill the walls of which were demolished in 1985 to clear the ground for the new Tallaght bypass. A mill is mentioned here as far back as 1394 when William, heir to Robert Meones quit claim to all his right to a watermill on the waters of Doder in Taghmeloge. A mill is also shown at this location on the Down Survey map of 1647. This mill was operated by the Burkes early in the nineteenth century, but was subsequently burnt down and later rebuilt. It passed into the hands of J. C. Colville, and about 1879 to Wm. McConchy and Co. It had been lying derelict for many years.

On the other side of the road to Templeogue House stands Kilvare, with its back to the road and facing towards the Dodder and the mountains. The river here forms a great loop which encloses the property on three sides. On Rocque's map of 1760 a house is shown here, but is not named. Mr. Geoffrey Foot, the brother of Lundy Foot of Orlagh, lived here in 1812. He built a massive wall along the bank of the Dodder to keep out floods. Archbishop Magee lived here next. In 1822 when the old Archbishop's Palace in Tallaght was sold, a number of fittings were said to have been transferred to Kilvare.

The next occupier was John Sealy Townshend, Master in Chancery, followed by John E. Roche. In 1880 the house was taken by John McConchy, a miller, and probably a relation of the family who operated the mill opposite. In 1922 Kilvare became Cheeverstown Convalescent Home for Little Children, and is now Cheeverstown House, a centre for people with learning disabilities. The old house has been completely renovated and many workshops erected in the grounds.

Spawell

This name originated in the medicinal spring which was discovered in a nearby field early in the eighteenth century. In an advertisement which appeared in the Dublin Gazette on the 22 April 1732 the proprietor of the Spa, Patrick Daniel of the Domville Arms and Three Tons at Templeogue, draws attention to the many amenities on offer, including a large room for ladies and gentlemen and a band of city music for dancing. The ceremonies started at 8 a.m. and continued all day. The spa was open from April to September.

A Master of Ceremonies was elected from among the gentlemen and rules drawn up to control the conduct of the visitors. Even a weekly newsletter of eight pages, called The Templeogue Intelligencer, was issued to keep up the interest of the fashionable patrons. For the benefit of those who were unable to attend in person the water could be supplied in the city at 2d. per bottle. This spa was frequented over a number of years down to about 1750 when the water lost its medicinal properties and sank into oblivion.

Handcock, the historian, writing in 1876 says that the well which was then covered over was situated in a semi-circular hollow, the slopes of which had been planted with elm trees. Near the well was a great hawthorn surrounded by a stone seat, and the well itself was drained through an underground culvert into the Dodder. All these are now gone and the well is at present fitted with an automatic pump which draws up the water for use on the farm. The Domville Arms and Three Tons was then in use as a farmhouse, but cannot now be identified.

Spawell House was occupied by the Kiernans from the middle of the nineteenth century down to 1906 and has since been in the hands of the Kennedy family who maintain it in excellent condition. The old City Watercourse flows through the lands and passes under the road near the entrance to Spawell.

On the other side of the Spawell roundabout at the junction of Wellington Lane is the old burial ground of Templeogue containing the remains of a medieval church. This is the site of an early monastery which gave its name to the townland. A list of saints in the Book of Lecan includes Molcae tigi Molocal and in documents of the thirteenth century the name is written Tachmelog (St. Melog's house or church).

No part of the church can be dated to the time of the original monastery but part of it may be earlier than the Norman Invasion. The church was reported in 1615 to be utterly in ruin.The building measures externally 17.68 x 5.72 metres. It was formerly much overgrown with ivy but has been in recent years cleared of ivy and repaired. The east gable is complete and contains a late splayed window. The north wall is about 50 cm high, uniform, and with no indication of a door opening. The south wall has a distinct kink about half way along with a buttress outside. The western end of this wall is about 3 m high. The west wall has a doorway about midway with steps leading up to it. This wall is about 1 metre high, but has a buttress built against it nearly 5 metres high which must have been erected before the wall fell. It is not at all certain that this doorway was original but a doorway in such a position would indicate an early date for this part of the church. There are three early cross-inscribed slabs in the burial ground, one of which is deeply sunk within the church.