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Lucan - Walking Tour

Walking Tour:

Taking in the Griffeen River, Around Lucan Demesne and the Liffey.

Lucan Village and its Neighbourhood.

Map:

Getting There

Dublin Bus:

- 25 from Wellington Quay ( Dublin City-Centre )

- 66 & 66A from Wellington Quay ( Dublin City-Centre )
- 67 & 67A from Wellington Quay ( Dublin City-Centre )
- 239 from Blanchardstown Centre ( Dublin 15 - no Sunday Service )

By Car:

Lucan Village is signposted from the N4. Parking is pay and display Monday to Friday, free on Saturdays and Sundays.

Please use pedestrian crossings and apply the Safe Cross Code when crossing roads.

Distance: Approximately 2 km. The walk will take 30 to 40 minutes at a leisurely pace.

A printable version of this walk, including photographs, is available. Please click HERE

Alight from the bus (after descending Lucan Hill) outside the Topaz petrol station. Proceed towards Courtney’s thatched pub. On the left as you walk you will see a single storey house with a porch. At the time of writing it is unoccupied. It was originally built by the Lucan Tramway company. Later it was the residence of headmaster of the local boys’ school. Cross. Take an immediate left. Walk for approx 200 metres to Moat Hill House j. This guesthouse’s grounds contain the remains of a 7th to 12th Century ring fort. Unfortunately only one of the slopes of the hill is visible as the area is private property and is inaccessible to the public.

50 metres further on, past the entrance to the apartment block car park, you will see the remains of an old circular wall, commonly misidentified as the remains of a castle. These are actually the remains of an 18th century water mill which used a tributary of the Griffeen river as its power source.

Make your way back towards Courtney’s pub. To your left and immediately below, you will see the Griffeen River. The river rises in Saggart and enters the Liffey on the outskirts of Lucan Village.

Looking ahead, and slightly left behind a rubble wall as you walk towards the village, you will see a house with castellated parapets, octagonal piers and Gothic windows. This is Griffeen Lodge. Built around 1812, it was once the home of Custom House and Four Courts architect James Gandon.

You can see a related outbuilding in the same style (with cruciform windows) just behind Courtney’s thatched pub. This was the last working forge in Lucan and was operational until the 1950s

Head towards the pedestrian lights outside Courtney’s and cross the road immediately ahead towards Lucan Town Park (the Village Green). The entrance to this small park is at the corner. Go down the semi-circular set of stone steps.

This is an oasis of tranquility, cleverly recessed below the roadway, and is a pleasant location for a quick rest under the shaded wooden gazebo before proceeding.

Go back out of the park the same way you entered and immediately right along the wall of the park. At the telephone box look across the road towards an imposing grey limestone building with telecommunications masts to the rear.

This is Lucan Garda station. Built in 1810, it served as an RIC barracks until 1922 when the then armed Royal Irish Constabulary were replaced by the unarmed Garda Siochána.  The building has been heavily refurbished over the years, most recently in the 1980s, but the façade remains relatively unscathed.

Continue walking along the wall over which can again be seen the Griffeen River.

The wall in this photo was raised in height in 2008 (much to the disappointment of local duck-feeding children!)  after the Griffeen flooded the village for the nth time.

The river has great biodiversity. Look carefully in summer and you are likely to see trout, eels, herons and of course ducks which are resident all year round.

The Vesey Arms pub, across the road, is a fine example of Edwardian architecture.

Its name derives from local nobleman the Rt. Hon. Agmondisham Vesey (b. circa 1673, d. 23 March 1738) who allowed an inn on the site to bear his family crest. The inn became a Royal Mail collection point and provided food and refreshments for weary travellers en route to Galway, Sligo and the West.

To the side of the Vesey Arms is a laneway at the end of which is a locked gate. Through this gate are visible some of the oldest buildings in the village – Sarsfield’s Castle and ruin of the  Church of the Blessed Virgin

Cross again to the wall alongside the Griffeen River and near the bridge the weir will be revealed. The weir is a favourite haunt of the local heron which waits patiently, and perfectly motionlessly, for fish to accumulate at the weir drop before picking them off.

Looking up from the weir you will see Lucan’s redbrick Methodist Church. There has been a church on this site since 1832. The one you see here dates from 1877.

Cross now to the far wall of the bridge. At the top of the leftmost part of the bridge will be seen a carved stone block carrying the inscription:

This bridge built by Agm Vesey

for ye public

in ye year 1773

Continue along the path veering left and you will see, as you walk, a circular bricked-up hole in the limestone rubble wall.

Local lore has this as being a so-called “Famine Hole” , used during the 1840s as a means for the residents of Lucan House to distribute alms to the local famine victims. However Mary Mulhall, in her excellent book “Treasures of Lucan” disputes this, stating that there is no historical evidence of it ever having been used for this purpose.

The mystery will have to remain unsolved for the time being…

Continue onwards for 40m as far as a pair of large gates (built c.1775) in the wall on the left. This is the principal entrance to Lucan Demesne.

Behind these gates is Lucan House, the residence of the Italian Ambassador. It was built by Agmondisham Vesey who started the building in 1772. The house replaced Lucan Castle (13th Century) which once stood here.  

Continue walking in this direction and two interesting buildings present themselves. One, on the left, is St Andrew's Lodge and Hall.  A circular plaque on the façade alludes to its original use as “Lucan Parish School”. It was built in 1827.

The former school’s Gothic appearance presents a pleasant visual echo of the church opposite; St. Andrew’s Church.  

Built in 1823 in the Gothic Revival style, St. Andrew’s is reputed to have been based on a design by James Gandon who owned the land on which it is built.

12 paces along the road from the school there is an alleyway which leads to the Liffey Weir. Head down the alleyway. Stand and absorb the spectacle of the Liffey as it thunders down the weir.

Over the weir can be seen a terrace of redbrick houses aptly called  Weir View cottages. These were built for employees of Hill’s Mills which is covered later in this walk. The weir itself is a popular spot for canoeists and is one of the most challenging parts of the annual Liffey Descent.

Continue along the newly-completed walkway along the Liffey’s bank towards the Liffey Bridge.

This bridge is the widest single-span stone arch in the country. Proceed up the metal stairs at the end and head across to the centre of the bridge. This bridge was built in 1814.

Look upstream from here and at the left you will see a car park with silver metal railings at the end. This car park is situated on an old road which ran through Lucan centuries ago. If you look carefully below the railings you can make out a small portion of an archway. This is all that remains of the former Coldblow bridge dating back to 1765. In its day it must have looked every bit as spectacular as the Liffey Bridge looks now.

Looking downstream you will see the chimney of Hill’s Mills .

In 1863, Mr. William Strangman Hill bought the iron mill and set up a textile mill in its place. This factory continued making tweeds and other fabrics until 1988, when the factory was closed down. It is now an industrial estate with many small businesses. At one time there were over 170 people working in the factory weaving, spinning, dyeing, pressing and rolling to produce high quality cloth.

The Hill family built a row of houses at Mill Bank. These houses are still to be seen when approaching the village from the strawberry beds. Next to Hill’s mills is the Shackleton mills. In 1860 Joseph Shackleton bought the corn mill and it milled flour right up to 1999. Joseph shackleton is from the same Quaker family as Ernest Shackleton, the Antartctic explorer.

The Shackletons established a coffee house (15) which formerly closed off the vista at the end of the bridge on which you are standing where the new road to Laraghcon is now.

The Coffee House  was a wooden structure bearing a passing resemblance to a Victorian train station. Its purpose was to give the employees a means of refreshment which didn’t involve them having to visit the pubs and taverns in the village. The coffee house was demolished in 1984 having fallen into disrepair.

Head back towards the village (towards the Ulster Bank and mini-roundabout). Lucan’s locally much-loved “Grove Cinema” (previously the “Premier Cinema”) stood on the site of the Ulster Bank and apartment complex.

Instead of heading right towards the village, go left heading out of the village. 50 metres on, looking across the street in front of Conrad’s Coffee Shop, you will see a cast-iron water hydrant, c.1880, with raised lion's head motif and acorn finial. This would have been an important piece of street furniture in its day. Not only because of its obvious role as a method of providing water, but also as a meeting-place for locals to gather and discuss the news of the day. If that hydrant could talk…!

Proceed up the hill for about 50 metres. Looking back you will see a vista similar to that captured by a photographer in a 1913 postcard from the Valentine Postcard collection entitled [res=90] “Lucan from the South”[/res].

The photographer ascended the hill opposite (now unfortunately overgrown with trees) to capture his view.

50m further on, on the left, recessed into the wall of the school, you will see the memorial to Fr. McCartan  who was murdered at this spot on the 3rd of June 1807 on his way home having had dinner in Palmerstown House. His murderers Thomas Weir (19) and Christopher Walsh (34) were hanged on the 27th of June 1807 near the scene of the crime at the crossroads where the traffic lights are today. The unfortunate clergyman rests within the walls of the ruin of St. Finian’s Church in nearby Esker.

This is where the walk ends. Across the road from here you will see the car park alongside Cunningham’s Funeral Home. The bus stop for buses heading back into the City Centre is in front of the car park. Those who came by car and parked in the village can descend the road in front of the funeral home and return to the start of the walk.