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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.