Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Tallaght Castle

THE first mention we find of the ecclesiastical Province of Dublin is in the 7th century.

In 1152 it was made an archbishopric.

In 1214 the bishopric of Glendalough, which had been founded in the 6th century, was incorporated with Dublin.

It is 64 miles in length from north to south and 46 in the greatest breadth; containing the entire county of Dublin, most of County Wicklow, and part of two others.

The Archbishops had a Dublin residence at 16 St Stephen's Green.

Tallaght Castle, painted for Archbishop Cleaver (1745-1819)

TALLAGHT CASTLE, according to the Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, was originally a castellated edifice of considerable strength, and eventually a modernized and plain mansion.

Alexander de Bicknor, Archbishop of Dublin, 1317-49, established Tallaght Castle in 1324; though it was erected as a means of protection for the town rather than an archiepiscopal residence.

In the mid 1400s, improvements were made by Archbishop Tregury, leading to an increase in usage by subsequent Archbishops.

Archbishop Hoadly built a palace on the remains of the original castle from 1727-29.

The grounds had a brewery, granary and stables.

The structure itself was a spacious but long and narrow building, made of grey stone, and remarkably austere.

The interior contained many apartments of ample proportions, though none were highly embellished.

The hall, entered by a flight of stone steps, measured 21 feet square, and was lit by two tiers of windows.

The dining-room was 25 feet long by 21 feet in width, and was adorned was the archiepiscopal coat-of-arms, "impaled with a shield quarterly, charged in the first quarter with a pigeon".

These arms bore the date 1729, and above was the crest, a "hawk perched on a round ball".

Underneath the armorial bearings was the inscription "JOHANNES HOADLY, HANC DOMUM REFECIT."

The great drawing-room or saloon, measuring 33 feet by 21, contained the only portrait in the palace - a full length of Archbishop Hoadly, who was translated the the See of Dublin in 1729.

The library was a small room with a large window, from which, as with all the windows of the reception rooms, very fine views were afforded of Montpelier Hill, County Dublin, and the adjacent tract of beautiful scenery.

The gardens were designed with "unpleasing formality"; though the historian would have derived some gratification from finding the remains of a tower, an integral part of the original palace.

By 1760 some of the buildings were said to have become dilapidated.

Archbishop Fowler, translated to Dublin in 1778, surrounded the demesne with a wall and made other improvements; though it was judged that the situation of Tallaght was unfavourable to residence of the Archbishops; and the palace was, eventually, forsaken by its dignified owners.

Tallaght, in the 18th century, was said to be "rendered ... undesirable by the depredations of outlaws and robbers, who have peculiarly infested this neighbourhood."

In 1803, the anglican Archbishops of Dublin ceased to reside at Tallaght.

An Act of Parliament was passed in 1821 which declared that the palace was unfit for habitation.

In 1822, it was sold to Major Palmer, Inspector-General of Prisons, who pulled most of the palace down and used the materials to build his mansion, "Tallaght House", as well as a schoolhouse and several cottages.

A tower from the original castle was left untouched and later was incorporated in the current priory building.

When the Dominican friars took a lease out on the property in the 1840s one of the buildings was converted into a chapel.

This was replaced by a purpose-built church in 1883.

Part of the house burned down in the first decade of the 1900s.

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