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Templeogue - Walking Tour

Welcome to this historical walking tour of Templeogue from South Dublin County Council. Taking in sites of significant importance to Irish and local heritage, our walk will take roughly one hour and twenty minutes. Please use pedestrian crossings and apply the safe cross code when crossing roads during the tour.

Getting to Templeogue is straightforward by both public transport and by car. By bus, the 15, 49, 65 or 65B all serve Templeogue Village from Dublin city centre. If you are travelling by car, Templeogue is well sign posted from the M50 motorway. Take junction 11 and follow the signs to the village. There is limited on-street parking in Templeogue Village. However, you will find a pay and display car park at the rear of Hollingsworth Cycles.

The Templeogue Inn, better known in Dublin as The Morgue, is the village’s only pub. The clocktower on the building houses a working model steam tram, which references the pub’s history. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tram passed through Templeogue so close to the road that many deaths occurred. The remains of those unfortunate enough to have crossed paths with the tram were often sheltered in the pub until they were removed. Hence, the pub acquired the permanent, morbid nickname.

With your back to the pub, walk 100 metres to your right and take the right-hand turn after Hollingsworth Cycles. Follow this lane, which will lead you to Riverside Cottages.

This crescent of cottages was designed by one of Ireland’s most prominent architects, Thomas Joseph Byrne. His work had far reaching results in a broad range of aspects of Irish life in the first half of the 20th century. These cottages were designed as part of his work for the South Dublin Rural District Council where he was involved in the improvement of standards and design of local authority housing. During a busy career, he also worked for the Local Government Board, the Local Government Department and the Office of Public Works. He was heavily involved in the reconstruction of important public buildings such as the Four Courts and the Customs House after the War of Independence and the Civil War. He also played a pivotal role in the development of Dublin Airport.

Retrace your steps back to the Templeogue Inn. From here, walk towards Templeogue Bridge to the west. Keep walking past the Templeogue Inn in a westerly direction. 

Roughly 100 yards on your left, where there are now shops and the Templeogue Tennis Club, is the site of the old Dublin to Blessington Steam Tramway depot. The tram operated between 1888 and 1932 and ran from Terenure to Blessington, linking up with city trams and the Blessington to Poulaphouca line. The tram was a critical infrastructure lifeline for business and the rural economy at the time. As well as passengers, agricultural produce and other commodities were ferried to the city while provisions were ferried out. It was also central to enhancing the lifestyles and widening the social experience of the residents of Dublin as they took holidays and day trips out of the city.

Continue walking in the same direction towards Templeogue Bridge. After about 400 yards on the opposite side of the road, you will notice the entrance to Templeogue Lodge on your right-hand side. While the house is no longer standing, the massive entrance still survives and leads into a modern suburban garden.

Continue on towards Templeogue Bridge. When you come to a crossroads, the bridge will be to your left.

Templeogue Bridge was first erected around 1800 under the direction of Mr. Birmingham of Delaford, details of which were recorded on an oval stone tablet set into the parapet. This had latterly become so weathered as to be undecipherable. The bridge was an attractive three-arched structure and below, 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 River, which flows beneath, were forced to use a ford half a mile further up river. On the Butterfield side of the bridge was Bridge House. Sheltered by a plantation, this was the home of the poet, Austin Clarke. After his death in 1974, there was a proposal to preserve the house and the library of 6,500 books as a memorial to him. Unfortunately, long term plans were in operation to demolish the house and widen the road. As a result, both the bridge and Bridge House were cleared away and a new bridge opened in 1984, which was named after Austin Clarke.

Cross the road and continue walking by the river wall for about 300 metres.

On your left, with its back to the road and facing towards the Dodder and the mountains, stands Kilvare. 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 succeeded Foot in living here. 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 which stood nearby on the opposite side of the modern day road. In 1922 Kilvare became Cheeverstown Convalescent Home for Little Children, and is now Cheeverstown House, a centre for those with intellectual disabilities. The old house has been completely renovated and there are many workshops erected in the grounds.

Continue walking for 400 metres until you come to a roundabout. Cross the road here. Just beyond the roundabout, on your left, there is a lane which leads to Spawell House.

Now a private house, Spawell House was originally built in 1703 as an inn called ‘The Domville Arms and Three Tuns’.  The name “Spawell” originated from the medicinal spring situated in the grounds of Spawell House which was discovered early in the 18th century. In the 1700s this was a popular resort frequented by Dublin’s elite. In an advertisement which appeared in the Dublin Gazette on April 22, 1732, the proprietor of the Spa, Patrick Daniel 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 visitors. Even a weekly eight-page newsletter 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 at 2 pence per bottle. This spa was frequented over a number of years up until about 1750 when the water lost its medicinal properties and sank into oblivion.  

The historian Handcock, 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 River.

The ford, which was the only means of crossing the Dodder prior to the building of Templeogue Bridge, was situated just to the east of Spawell House. Cherryfield House, former home of the comedian Dave Allen, was located just behind Spawell House. The lands of these houses are now a public park and playing fields for Ballyboden St. Enda’s GAA club, and are managed by South Dublin County Council.

At 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. The old graveyard can be accessed through a gate at the entrance to the new portion of the graveyard.

Templeogue graveyard is the site of an early monastery which gave the townland its name. A list of saints in the Book of Lecan includes Molcae tigi Molocal – in documents of the 13th 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. In 1615, the church was reported to be utterly in ruin. Externally, the building measures 17.68 x 5.72 metres. The east gable is complete and contains a late splayed window. The north wall is about 50cm 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 three metres high. The west wall has a doorway about midway with steps leading up to it and there are three early cross-inscribed slabs in the burial ground, one of which is deeply sunk within the church.

Now, retrace your steps back to the Spawell roundabout, and turn left back towards Templeogue Village. After about 350 metres you will arrive at Templeogue House, which is on your left hand side.

Just before the entrance to Templeogue House, inside the railings, stands a rustic gothic arch, now almost invisible under vegetation. The City Watercourse, which was the main supply of water to the city, ran through the grounds of the house. A branch of the course was carried through the arch to form an impressive cascade.

In the 14th century, the lands of Templeogue were occupied by the Harolds, but passed to the Talbots in the 16th century who held them for about 200 years. The landowner of Templeogue had the duty of maintaining the City Watercourse for which he received a tribute of corn from mills using the water. In 1655 there was a castle here, a tuck mill and a house, as well as a number of cottages. The population was 40 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, and 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 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. 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 were 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.

The importance of the watercourse as a source of water to the citizens of Dublin can be gauged from an incident in 1738. Sir Compton Domville, then resident at Templeogue House, was able to have his nephew, Lord Santry, a member of the Hell Fire Club, saved from execution for the murder of one of his servants by threatening to block off the watercourse. The threat was successful as the citizens had no other supply.

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 in Templeogue until 1780 but when the house was in a bad state of repair, he moved to Santry, taking many ornamental features, including the circular temple, with him. The house was taken by a Mr. Gogerty around 1820, who was permitted to cut down timber on condition that he repaired the house. He did this by demolishing it and building the existing structure into which he reincorporated 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. Mature trees are now planted along each side. The fields have been built on and the last traces of lakes and monuments have been 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 was located here as far back as 1394 when William, heir to Robert Meones, quit his claim 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. It was operated by the Burkes early in the 19th century, but was subsequently burnt down and later rebuilt. Afterwards, it passed into the hands of J. C. Colville, and then to Wm. McConchy and Co. in 1879. It had been lying derelict for many years before it was demolished.

Continue walking 400 metres along Templeogue Road until you come to the crossroads at Templeogue Bridge. Turn left here and walk for about 750 metres until you come to the green area at Cypress Lawn. The house at the rear of the green area is Cypress Grove House.

Cypress Grove Road, which you have just walked along, 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 18th century by a Mr. Paine – it later became the residence of Sir William Cooper, Master in Chancery and Member of Parliament. He 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 the Orrs, who were merchants; the Duffys who had a print works in Ballsbridge; and Mr. Charles King. From 1908 to 1925 the house was occupied by Mr. G.H. Stepney who changed the name of the house 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 White Father Missionaries of Africa and is maintained in good condition. Three of the original cypress trees still stand to the east of the house.

This brings us to the end of our walk. We hope you enjoyed it. From here, simply retrace your steps to the start of the walk.

A guided walk such as this can only hope to give a flavour of the rich history and heritage of Templeogue. Please visit source.southdublinlibraries.ie or www.southdublinhistory.ie to download more walking tours like this one and for further information on the area, or visit the Local Studies Collection at the County Library in Tallaght.

Please see www.southdublincountyhistory.ie, www.southdublincountylocalstudies.ie and www.southdublincountyimages.ie for more information.