Rathfarnham Tours 

Interested? Phone us on +353(0)86-1245186 or E-mail us at rathfarnhamtours@gmail.com 


Rathfarnham Roads 

What to do in Dublin 

 Rathfarnham Tours offers Tours in Dublin, the Dublin Mountains and the Wicklow Mountains. We can provide you with an interesting tour (in German, English and/or Dutch/Flemish), accomodation and transport. We can also give you tips and advise if you want to visit Ireland. 

If you're interested in Ireland and would like to know more about it (or actually visit the country) feel free to send me an e-mail  or leave a voicemail at +353 (0)86-1245186. We will get back to you asap.

 We can also arrange accomodation for you. 

Alternatively, you'll find some recommended B&B's on http://www.killarney-bnb.com/search.html?county=Dublin&town=Rathfarnham .

If you would like a tour  around parts not included in our current tours, we can , of course, provide those as well.

Tour 1  

Tour 2 

Tour 3 

Bray- Greystones walk 

Glencullen Mountain Walk 

U2 tour 

Rathfarnham (Irish: Ráth Fearnáin, meaning Fearnain's Ringfort), is a residential suburb on Dublin's Southside. It is located to the south of Terenure, and to the east of Templeogue, in the postal districts of Dublin 14 and Dublin 16. It is within the administrative area of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County Council.

Rathfarnham is home to several notable historic buildings, including Rathfarnham Castle, Loreto Abbey, parks like Marlay Park , St. Enda's Park and Bushy Park and pubs like The Eden, Revels and the landmark Yellow House. There are also several golf courses. Padraig Pearse set up and ran St Enda's School for Boys in Rathfarnham, which is now a museum in his honour situated in St. Enda's Park.

The area of Rathfarnham includes Whitechurch, Ballyboden and Ballyroan.

Historical sites in the Rathfarnham townlands include : Kilmashogue , Mount Venus , Tibradden and Taylors Grange.

Rathfarnham is also home to the 13th Dublin and the 14th Dublin scout troops, the Rathfarnham Girl Guides [1],the Rathfarnham Concert Band [2] and the Ballyboden St. Enda's GAA Club [3].

Famous people associated with Rathfarnham


Military Road

Rathfarnham is the start of the infamous Military Road. This road through the Wicklow Mountains (still in use for mainly tourist traffic) was built at the beginning of the 19th Century to open up the Wicklow Mountains to the English Military to assist them in putting down the insurgents who were hiding in the Wicklow Mountains after the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It passed through Laragh on its way.

Construction commenced on 12th August 1800 and was completed in October 1809. The road started in Rathfarnham , outside the Yellow House in County Dublin, passed the head of Glencree, with a spur down that valley to Enniskerry, dipped down Laragh through the Glendasan Valley, over the hills into Glenmalure, and finishing at Aughavannagh. Sections well known would also include Featherbed Mountain, the section below Kippure Mountain, and Sally Gap. The total distance was 34 Irish Miles, of which the spur to Enniskerry was 5 Irish Miles. For those who are too young to have learned about this measure I must tell you that the Irish Mile was 2240 yards in length, compared with the English one of 1760 yards, therefore the length in English measure was 43 miles (the Irish Mile ceased to have legality on 5th January 1826).

The engineer in charge was one Alexander Taylor who was responsible for many other roads in the country, some of them in those days being "Turnpike Roads", that is Toll Roads. He was born in 1746. In one letter written in 1809 at the age of 63 he complained of his rheumatism, and those of us who have experience of the climate to be expected in the barren areas traversed by the roadworks that he directed would understand fully where that originated!

Early history of Rathfarnham

The written history of Rathfarnham began at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion when in 1199 these lands were granted to Milo le Bret. The name Rathfarnham (Fearnain's Ringfort) suggests an earlier habitation but no remains of Pre-historical burial places, early churches of old records were found. In the following centuries no events of great importance occurred since Rathfarnham was being protected by the presence of the Royal Forest of Glencree on its southside. When this deer park was overrun by Clan O'Toole of Leinster in the 14th century Rathfarnham became more exposed to attacks. Activity in Rathfarnham was stepped up in the 17th century and in the early 18th century a lot of gentlemen's residences were erected. An industrial revolution, especially in the production of paper, began on the Owen Doher and Dodder rivers and a lot of mills were erected. In the beginning of the 19th century a great number of these mills switched to cotton and wool and later to flour mills. The introduction of steam engines marked the end of this era and replaced the need for mills. Most of the old buildings fell into disrepair and were demolished.

Rathfarnham Road

The road to Rathfarnham according to many writers follows the same route as the Slighe chualann, the ancient highway, which in the time of Saint Patrick was used by travellers from Dublin to Wicklow and Wexford. This road is believed to have crossed the Dodder at the Big Bridge, now Pearse Bridge, and re-crossed it again near Oldbawn, an unnecessarily inconvenient route, considering that a road through Templeogue to Oldbawn would not necessitate a crossing at all. The first record of a bridge being built here was in 1381 and in 1652 it was described by Boate in his Natural History as a wooden bridge which though it be high and strong nevertheless hath several times been quite broke and carried away through the violence of sudden floods. After three bridges had been demolished by the river, between 1728 and 1765, the present structure of one stone arch was erected in the latter year. This was widened on the west side in 1953 when it was renamed in commemoration of the brothers Pearse. In 1912 when the main drainage scheme was being laid to Rathfarnham, a deep cutting was made under the road at this point. At a depth of 23ft below the road level a stone causeway was uncovered nine feet wide and built of great blocks crossing the course of the river. Cut into the surface of the stone were a number of deep parallel grooves, as from the action of wheeled traffic over a long period. This was evidence for the existence here of a busy thoroughfare before the construction of the earliest bridge.

The low lying fields on the west side of the road, just beside the bridge were formerly occupied by a mill pond and extensive mill buildings. On a map by Frizell dated 1779 it is called the Widow Clifford’s mill and mill holding and in 1843 it is named the Ely Cloth Factory. It was then owned by a Mr. Murray but passed in 1850 into the hands of Mr. Nickson, who converted it into a flour mill. His family continued in occupation until 1875 when John Lennox took over. In 1880 this mill closed down, the buildings were demolished and not a trace of it now remains. The next house on the same side, Ashfield, was occupied by the Protestant clergy during the 18th century. In the early part of the 20th century it was the home of Sir William Cusac Smith, Baron of the Exchequer and from 1841 of the Tottenham Family who continued to reside there down to 1913. After this it was occupied by the Brooks of Brooks Thomas Ltd. down to about twenty years ago when the estate was divided up and houses built along the main road. A new road was later built along the side of the house and named Brookvale after the last occupants.

Lower Dodder Road

To the east of Pearse Bridge is the lower Dodder Road, following the course of the Dodder downstream to Orwell Bridge. Facing an open green space on this road is a fine entrance gateway, built in the form of a triumphal arch and originally leading to Rathfarnham Castle. The erection of this gateway is attributed to Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely from 1769 to 1783 who also was responsible for the classical work at the castle itself. This is named the new gate on Frizell’s map of 1779. After the division of the estate in 1913 this became the entrance to the Castle Golf Club but it was later abandoned in favour of the more direct Woodside Drive. In 1841 this place was the scene of a brutal murder, when the dead body of an Italian named Garlibardo was found lying on the open ground in front of the gate. Although arrests were made at the time no one was convicted of the murder. The spot was later marked with a cross.

The Motte and Bailey

To the west of this gate is a high and narrow ridge of ground about 50 feet high which is formed between the river Dodder and the stream which flows through the Rathfarnham Estate. With a certain amount of cutting and scraping this ridge has been converted into a defensive earthwork of the motte and bailey type, which were introduced by the Normans in the 12th century and constructed as a temporary measure until such time as stone castles and bawn walls could be built. They consisted normally of a high and steep sided earthen mound, surrounded by a deep ditch and with a flat summit upon which a wooden tower was built. Against one side of this mound a larger and lower platform was made, also enclosed by a bank and ditch. The high mound was for the commander and the larger enclosure for his troops. In the case of the one at Rathfarnham which was probably built by Milo le Bret in 1199, the existing ridge was adopted. The narrow end was cut off by a deep cutting and the soil used to raise the top of the motte. Another cutting was made between the motte and the bailey and where the ridge widened the bailey was formed and again isolated from the rest of the ridge by another deep cutting. The top of the motte is about 10 yds wide and the bailey is oval in shape and about 23 yards long.

The Old Graveyard

Next to Ashfield is the old graveyard containing the ruins of a church which was dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. This was a medieval church and was used for Protestant worship down to 1795 when it was found to be too small for the congregation and a new one was erected a short way off. The end walls of the old church are still standing, the west gable containing a bell turret and the east pierced by a chancel arch, the chancel itself having disappeared. The north wall is gone and all that remains of the south wall is an arched opening. Near the entrance to the burial ground is the grave of Captain James Kelly, an old fenian who was associated with the rising of 1867. He was organiser for the Rathfarnham district and was known in the area as The Knight of Glendoo. On one occasion when he was on the run he was hiding in the cellar of his business premises in Wicklow Street when it was raided by police. An employee named James Fitzpatrick who strongly resembled Capt. Kelly in appearance was arrested in error and was tried and sentenced to six months imprisonment, which he served without betraying his identity. Capt. Kelly died on 8th March 1915, aged 70. On the opposite side of the road are Crannagh Park and Road, Rathfarnham Park and Ballytore Road, all built on part of the old Rathfarnham Estate. In the garden of a house formerly named Tower Court in Crannagh Road is an ancient circular pigeon house, a relic of Lord Ely’s occupation of Rathfarnham Castle. The entrance to this curious structure is by a low door on level with the ground and the inside is lined from floor to roof with holes for the pigeons. A floor of more recent date has been inserted half way up, so as to make two rooms, and a second door broken through the wall at that level.

Rathfarnham Village

In the castle grounds were several fish ponds which were supplied by a mill race taken from the stream which rises up at Kilmashogue and flows down through Grange Golf Links and St. Enda's Park. This served several mills before entering the fish ponds, whence it ran through the golf links while a smaller branch was conducted under the road to the flour mills which stood at the corner of Butterfield Lane, on the site latterly occupied by Borgward Hansa Motors Ltd. Described in 1836 as Sweetman’s Flour Mills it frequently changed hands before it closed down in 1887. It was later operated as a saw mill. The dry mill race can still be seen here on the north side of Butterfield Avenue. Rathfarnham Protestant Parish Church on the Main St. was built in 1795 to replace the church in the old graveyard which had become inadequate for the congregation. Beside the church is the old school house which dates from early in the nineteenth century. Immediately adjoining is Church Lane at the corner of which is a bank built on the site of an Royal Irish Constabulary barracks which was burned down during the Troubles. In the lane is an old blocked up doorway of an early eighteenth century type. Church Lane leads to Woodview cottages which are built partly on the site of an old paper mill. The mill race previously mentioned passed under Butterfield Lane to the paper mill and continued on below Ashfield to turn the wheel of the Ely Cloth Factory. It was later turned into the Owen Doher river at Woodview Cottages but down to recent years when the new road was made to Templeogue the old mill race could still be traced through the grounds of Ashfield where its dry bed was still spanned by several stone bridges. The paper mill, of which some old walls and brick arches still survive, has been described as the oldest one in Ireland but there does not appear to be any evidence to support this. The earliest reference to a paper mill here was in 1719 when a petition for financial aid was presented by William Lake of Rathfarnham but we hear of one at Milltown as far back as 1694. In 1751 paper was made here by William and Thomas Slater whose works were destroyed by fire in 1775. Archer’s survey of 1801 mentions two paper mills here, Freemans and Teelings, and both Dalton in 1836 and Lewis in 1837 state that one paper mill was still working and from 1836 to 1839 the name Henry Hayes, Rathfarnham Mill appears in the directories. If this can be identified with the mill at Woodview cottages it must have become idle soon afterwards as it is designated “Old Mill” on the 1843   ion of the O.S. map. In 1854 when this mill had neither water wheel nor machinery an attempt was made to re-open it for the manufacture of paper but it came to nothing. At the end of the main street the road to Lower Rathfarnham passes on the right the site of the earliest Constabulary barracks which closed down in 1890 when the establishment was transferred to a house named Leighton Lodge near Loreto Abbey.

Rathfarnham Lower

THE Catholic church of the Annunciation was erected in 1878 to replace the old chapel in Willbrook Road. Outside the church door is a primitive type of font on a pedestal bearing the inscription FONT USED IN MASS HOUSE OF PENAL TIMES IN PARISH OF RATHFARNHAM FROM 1732. The appearance of this font would suggest that it was originally a stone bullaun and dated to a period much earlier than the penal times. On the opposite corner is the well-known Yellow House, a licensed premises built on the site of an inn of the same name which is marked on Taylor’s map of 1816. A tradition has been recorded by Mr. Hammond that in 1798 it was owned by a Michael Eades, who sheltered wanted men in his house. It was also frequented by the soldiers of the Rathfarnham Guard whose careless talk was carefully noted by the United Irishmen hiding on the premises. In 1804 when the truth came to be known, the place was wrecked by the same military. The Yellow House was in the news again about 40 years ago when two men broke into the premises on Little Christmas night. When the alarm was raised they took refuge in the lowlying gardens beside the bridge over the Owen Doher river. When two Gardaí spotted them and vaulted over the wall in pursuit they opened fire and seriously injured the nearest pursuer. Despite this the gardaí continued in the chase and coming to grips they were attacked with a carpenter’s brace and battered into unconsciousness, while the culprits escaped down the river. The two gardaí eventually recovered and a man was later arrested, charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment. The two gardaí Michael Flynn and John Tighe who were promoted to the rank of Sergeant were very properly awarded the Scott Gold Medal for their courage.

Nutgrove Avenue

A short distance past the church is Nutgrove Avenue, widened and extended about 20 years ago to link up with Churchtown. The old quiet tree shaded avenue has been completely swept away, along with the narrow lanes a cramped passage bounded on both sides by towering walls and full of right angled bends, which wended its crooked course between Loreto Convent cemetery and the garden of Nutgrove House. A massive gateway stood at the entrance to this avenue down to about 1911 which bore the inscription Nutgrove School Established 1802. In 1839 this school was under the supervision of Mr. Philip Jones, who continued to hold the post of principal until 1866 when the position was held by Mrs. Anne Jones. In 1876 the school closed down and the house was occupied as a private residence by various tenants down to recent years when it became the headquarters of the parish council. The new avenue was laid through the former school grounds and the house shorn of its ornamental gardens stood with its front against the footpath. At some time this house had been disfigured with a rather unsightly concrete porch and the old brickwork covered with cement plaster, which concealed the fact that this was a very interesting eighteenth century building containing a fine stairs and coved ceilings with good plaster decoration. Unfortunately the house was allowed to fall into very bad repair and eventually had to be demolished. Joyce in his Neighbourhood of Dublin states that this house was at one time the dower house of Rathfarnham Castle but in this he is almost certainly mistaken, as Frizell’s map of 1779 shows that it was outside the estate. It is possible that he confused it with the other old house on the opposite side of the avenue which was formerly named Ely Cottage, later altered to Ely Lodge, and which was shown as within the boundary of the estate. This house was in very bad repair but has recently been restored in a very tasteful manner.


The first avenue on the left, beyond Nutgrove House, is Whitehall Road where stands that curious structure known as the Bottle Tower or Hall’s Barn. This was built by Major Hall in 1742 in imitation of the better constructed Wonderful Barn erected about the same period near Leixlip. The floors and other timber work have long disappeared and the winding stone steps are not considered safe to ascend. While the ground floor may have been used as a barn, the first and second floors appear to have been residential as they are both fitted with fireplaces. A smaller structure behind the barn, built on somewhat similar lines was a pigeon house. The old house named Whitehall which was demolished some years ago stood adjacent to the barn. It was also built by Major Hall about the same time. In 1778 it was the residence of Rev. Jeremy Walsh, curate of Dundrum, and in 1795 it was converted into a boarding house by Mr.Ml. Kelly. A newspaper advertisement in 1816 invites enquiries from prospective visitors. In a description written in the last century the old fashioned kitchen and panelled staircase are specially noted.

Berwick House

The tall house at the bend in the road recently occupied by the De la Salle Brothers, seems to be identical with a house named Waxfield where the death is recorded in 1766 of Mr. John Lamprey. In 1836 it was known as Hazelbrook, a name which was later transferred to the nearby milk bottling plant, and has given its title to what is now a great industry. From 1844 to 1899 it was known as Bachelor’s Hall, after which it became the headquarters of a Charitable Institution under the name of Berwick Home. In 1944 it again became a private residence and the name was changed to Berwick House.

Loreto Abbey

The imposing buildings of Loreto Abbey in Lower Rathfarnham form a landmark visible for many miles south of the city. It served as the headquarters of Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The mansion which now forms the centrepiece of the group was built by Mr. William Palliser about 1725. No expense was spared in its construction and decoration, as can still be judged by the beautifully preserved interior, the polished mahogany and, in one room, embossed leather wallpaper. William Palliser died in 1768 without issue and Rathfarnham House passed to his cousin the Rev. John Palliser, who was rector of the parish.After his death in 1795 the house was purchased by George Grierson, the Kings Printer, who resided here for a few years. When Grierson removed to his new abode in Woodtown the house remained unoccupied for some years until in 1821 it was purchased by Most Rev. Dr. Murray for the newly founded Loreto Order. The foundress Rev. Mother Mary Frances Teresa Ball made many improvements to the place. She is said to have added a storey to the old house although there is no evidence from the exterior to support this. Many additions have been made over the years, the church was built in 1840, the novitiate in 1863 and six years later the part named St. Joseph’s wing which contains the concert hall and refectory. St. Anthony’s wing was erected in 1896, St. Francis Xavier’s in 1903 and the Lisieux building in 1932 for the accommodation of visiting prelates to the Eucharistic Congress.

The Ponds

Loreto Terrace on the north side of the Abbey was formerly known as The Ponds, a name originating apparently from the large pond which two hundred years ago occupied the low lying field between Loreto Terrace and Nutgrove Avenue. This area was described in James Joyce’s Neighbourhood of Dublin in 1912 as the dilapidated locality known as the Ponds but it has since been largely rebuilt. An old photograph from Mr. Larry O’Connor’s collection shows what it looked like at that time. The last of the old houses was demolished in the mid 1980s.It was a very early 18th century gabled residence named Grove Cottage and was probably the oldest occupied house in Dublin. This place was the scene of a skirmish at the outbreak of the rising of 1798. The insurgents of the south county assembled at the Ponds on 24th May 1798 under the leadership of David Keely, James Byrne, Edward Keogh and Ledwich. The two latter had been members of Lord Ely’s yeomanry but had taken to the field with the United Irishmen. The insurgents were attacked by the local yeomanry corps but were able to defend themselves and the yeomanry were forced to retreat. A party of regular troops were then sent against them and a stiff encounter took place. A number of the insurgents were killed or wounded and some prisoners taken including Keogh and Ledwich. The survivors retreated to join up with a party from Clondalkin and a further engagement took place at the turnpike on the Rathcoole road where the enemy were successfully repulsed.

Grange Road to Harold’s Grange and Taylors Grange

The road to Harold’s Grange continues southward from Loreto Abbey, past some very old houses which have been restored in recent years. The first is Snugborough which has its gable end to the road. The next is Washington Lodge, its attractive 18th century facade hidden by a shrubbery. In recent years new avenues have been laid out here on both sides of the road. Barton Drive, on the left, occupies the site of a house named Barton Lodge. On the other side is Silveracre, once the home of Dr. Henthorn Todd, Professor of Hebrew in T.C.D., who was connected by marriage with the Hudson family of the adjoining estate of Hermitage. He was well known as an Irish scholar and was the   or and translator of a number of Irish documents as well as the author of a life of St. Patrick. He died here in 1869. About the middle of the last century the name of the house was changed to Silverton but it was later changed back to the original Silveracre. Most of the land is now built on. It was also the home in the early part of twentieth century of Surgeon Croly, who founded Baggot St. Hospital.

St Enda’s

The next estate on the same side is Hermitage or Saint Enda’s, the former home of Padraig Pearse and lately of his sister Miss Margaret Pearse. The house, which is entirely faced with cut granite and has an imposing stone portico, was occupied in the eighteenth century by Edward Hudson, an eminent dentist. He had a passion for Irish antiquities which he demonstrated in an unusual way by the erection of a number of romantic ruins around the estate. Inside the boundary wall near the entrance gate he built a small watch tower and further along, a hermit’s cave, a dolmen, a ruined abbey and beside a deep well, a tiny chamber with stone bench and narrow fireplace. At the corner of the road to Whitechurch the loopholed and crenellated structure known as the Fortification, or Emmet’s Fort was another of his creations. South of the house he put up a grotto surmounted by a tall pillar stone, a Brehon’s chair and a fanciful construction consisting of two great boulders, one balanced on top of the other, which has since been demolished. Just inside the boundary wall he cut an inscription in Ogham on the two faces of a large rock. When the letters are translated they read: RIDENT VICINI GLEBASETS A KH A MOVENTEM EDUARDUM HUDSON. In the pretty glen adjoining the Whitechurch road he erected a sort of temple with several small chambers and flights of steps. The estate was at that time known as the “Fields of Oden” and is so called on maps of the period. Within the grounds also, at the corner nearest to Whitechurch is an obelisk, stated to have been erected by a former owner, Major Doyne, over the grave of a horse that carried him through the Battle of Waterloo. The date however of Major Doyne’s occupation does not support this. Unlike the constructions of Edward Hudson, which were purposely of the roughest material, this monument was of cut stone with small moulded pillars. Unfortunately the heavy hand of the vandal descended on it, toppled it from its base and smashed the supporting pillars. It has since been re-erected, leaving out the pillars.

Edward Hudson was succeeded by his son William Elliot Hudson, who was born here in 1796. A distinguished scholar, he was a friend of Thomas Davis and Gavin Duffy and was a patron of Irish literature and art. Shortly before his death in 1857 he endowed the R.I.A. with a fund for the publication of its Irish Dictionary and he also left the Academy Library a valuable collection of books.

From 1840 to 1858 Hermitage was the home of Richard Moore, Attorney General, and in 1859 it came into the possession of Major Richard Doyne, stated to be a veteran of Waterloo. From 1872 to 1885 it was occupied by George Campbell, merchant of 58 Sackville St., and after lying vacant for a few years it was tenanted by Major Philip Doyne of the 4th Dragoon Guards. In 1891 Colonel Frederick le Mesurier, barrister is returned as occupier and in 1899 Mr. William Woodburn.

St. Enda's School was founded by Padraig Pearse in 1909 and was at first housed in Cullenswood House, Ranelagh. Pearse felt that the confined surroundings of this house gave no scope for the outdoor life that should play so large a part in the education of youth, so in 1910 he leased Hermitage from Mr. Woodburn and moved his college here. A long billiard room was converted into a study hall and chapel, the drawing room became a dormitory and the stables opening off an enclosed square became class rooms. In “The Story of a Success” Pearse tells of the realisation of one of his life’s ambitions and it was from here that he set off for the city on his bicycle for the last time on Easter Sunday 1916. After the rising the college continued to function under the care of Miss Margaret Pearse until it finally closed down in 1935. After the death of Miss Pearse in 1968 St. Enda’s passed into the hands of the state and has since been opened as a public park and is the home of the Pearse Museum.


Directly opposite to St. Enda’s was Priory, the home of John Philpot Curran, at the time of Emmet’s rising. The house was formerly named Holly Park but when Curran bought it in 1790 he changed the name to Priory. Here he lived for 27 years at the peak of his fame and here he was to endure the tragic events which cast a shadow on his private life. First the untimely death of his daughter Gertrude, followed by the loss of his wife, who left him for another man, and lastly the discovery of the association of his daughter Sarah Curran with Robert Emmet. Gertrude Curran died in 1792 at the age of 12 as the result of a fall from a window. Curran had her buried in the grounds of the Priory and over the grave he placed a recumbent slab on which was fixed a metal plate bearing the inscription:

Here lies the body of Gertrude Curran
fourth daughter of John Philpot Curran
who departed this life October 6th 1792
Age twelve years.

The position of the grave was clearly marked on the early   ions of the O.S. maps. It was about midway along the northern boundary of the corner field facing the fortification, on the north side of the boundary bank and a few yards from it. It was formerly enclosed by a grove of trees, which can be seen in J.J.Reynold’s photograph of 1903 but these were cut down about 1928. Some time later the stumps were dug out and the stone slab broken up and thrown on the adjoining bank. The metal plate had already been taken by souvenir hunters. It was Sarah Curran’s desire to be buried here also but to this her father would not agree as he had come in for criticism on the previous occasion for burying his daughter in unconsecrated ground.

In this district nearly every ancient site is associated in tradition with either Sarah Curran or Robert Emmet and it is not surprising therefore to find that this burial place has been suggested as the last resting place of Robert Emmet. This tradition goes back for well over a century and it is rather surprising that this site was not investigated when the search for Emmet’s remains was being made at places a great deal less accessible and no less improbable.

In October 1979 the opportunity offered itself to carry out this investigation. The Priory estate was being developed and heavy machinery moved in to lay the roads and sewers. Mrs. Bernadette Foley of nearby Barton Drive drew attention to the need to carry out this work before the site was buried for ever under a concrete jungle. With the co-operation of Messrs Gallaghers, the developers, a small group undertook to investigate the site. First the exact location was checked on the original large scale manuscript map in the O.S., next the field was carefully chained and the site marked to within a few feet and then a narrow trench 3 feet deep was dug through where the burial should have been. The result was a complete blank. A second and a third trench were cut at intervals until a large area had been investigated without finding any burial, timber, brick or stone.

The developers then offered to investigate further with the excavator and carefully cleared an area of 20 yds long and 10 yds wide to a depth of 4 feet without finding any sign of disturbance. They then deepened this area by another two feet with no better result. All the accounts of the burial state that it was made in a vault and it is therefore surprising and disappointing that no evidence whatever was found and there does not seem to be any obvious explanation for it. I would like at this stage to pay tribute to the interest shown in this work by the staff of Messrs Gallaghers Ltd. especially the foreman Mr. Leslie Black.

Priory was occupied by the Curran family down to 1875 and subsequently by the Taylors until 1923. At the beginning of the century the house and gardens were still in good repair but after the Taylor’s time the place was neglected. Twenty years ago the walls were still standing but little now remains but some heaps of rubble.



Buglers Pub is situated in Ballyboden House on the Ballyboden Road in Ballyboden. It was first licenced in 1799 with John Blake as the first known publican to be granted the licence.

The Rathfarnham House

Situated at the corner in the old village, this pub is a short distance from Rathfarnham Castle.It opens every day at 9am and serves food with a full menu 7 days a week. Its Main features are the interior that is made mostly of wood and stone and the smoking area with patio heaters and wind breakers.It caters for functions large and small and has a late licence. It shows all sports on big screen and plasma tv's. A car park is also available to its patrons.

The Castle Inn

Situated on Main Street, The Castle Inn is, as its name implies, near Rathfarnham Castle. The interior is made out of stone and light wood. It is one of the newer pubs in Rathfarnham.

The Eden

The Eden Pub is situated on Grange Road, is one of the highest pubs in the town and is near Marlay Park. The beer garden is one of its favorite attractions because of the wide open spaces and of the elevated view that you have of Dublin. The building was formerly a house, The Eden House, which used to be one of the stately houses on Grange Road built in the 18th century before being converted to its present use.

The Old Orchard

The Old Orchard is situated on Butterfield Avenue near Rathfarnham Shopping Centre. The interior has a very "European" styling. The bar is unusual — it is in the centre of an island and provides service around the full 360°.

The Tuning Fork

The Tuning Fork is situated at the junction of Willbrook Road and Whitechurch Road near the Yellow House Pub. It is an old-style Irish pub.

Yellow House

The Yellow House Pub is also situated at the corner of Willbrook Road and Grange Road, a short distance from Rathfarnham Castle.

It is believed that the first pub bearing the name "The Yellow House" was a thatched cottage standing on the site of the present Roman Catholic church, and that the licence went back as far as the early eighteenth century. Certainly, it was in business at the time of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Some say it was used during the rebellion as a meeting room for the rebellion-leaders. The present Yellow House was built in 1825 by Mary Murphy and opened for business in 1827. It was extensively refurbished and extended in 1979. According to local folklore, the poet Francis Ledwidge worked as an apprentice there for two days before homesickness for his home town of Slane , Co. Meath, caused him to leave.

The Battle of Rathmines

In July 1649, Ormonde marched his coalition forces of 11,000 men to the outskirts of Dublin, to take the city from its Parliamentary garrison, which had landed there in 1647. Ormonde took Rathfarnham Castle and camped at Palmerstown park in Rathgar, about 5 km south of the city. The area from Ormonde’s camp to the city of Dublin is now a heavily urbanised area, but in 1649, it was open countryside. Ormonde began inching his forces closer to Dublin by taking the villages around its perimeter and to this end, sent a detachment of troops to occupy a ruined castle at Baggotsrath, on the site of present day Baggot street bridge. However, Ormonde was not expecting Michael Jones, the Parliamentary commander, to take the initiative and had not drawn up his troops for battle. Unfortunately for the Royalists, this is exactly what Jones did, launching a surprise attack on August 2nd from the direction of Irishtown with 5000 men and sending Ormonde’s men at Baggotsrath reeling backwards towards their camp in confusion. Too late, Ormonde and his commanders realised what was going on and sent units into action piecemeal to try and hold up the Parliamentarian advance. However, Jone’s cavalry simply outflanked each force sent against them, sending them too fleeing back south through Rathmines. The battle became a rout as scores of fleeing Royalist and Confederate soldiers were cut down by the pursuing Roundheads. The fighting finally ended when the English Royalist troops under Inchiquinn mounted a disciplined rearguard action, allowing the rest to get way. Ormonde claimed he had lost less than a thousand men, whereas Jones reported that he had killed over 3000 enemy soldiers and captured 2500, while losing only a handful himself. Modern historians tend to believe Jones, because in contemporary warfare, if an army was put to flight and pursued, it very often took huge casualties, while the pursuers took very few. Ormonde also lost his entire artillery train and all his baggage and supplies.

In the aftermath of the battle, Ormonde withdrew his remaining troops from around Dublin, allowing Oliver Cromwell to land in the city with 15,000 veteran troops. Cromwell called the battle, "an astonishing mercy", showing the God approved of his conquest of Ireland. Without Jone’s victory at Rathmines, the New Model Army would have had no port to land in Ireland and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland would have been much more difficult. Ormonde’s incompetent generalship at Rathmines (and subsequently) disillusioned many Irish Confederates with their alliance with the English Royalists and Ormonde was ousted as commander of the Irish forces in the following year.

Adam Clayton

Adam Clayton bought the glorious Danesmoate House in Rathfarnham in 1984 for E380,000. It is hidden away behind Taylors Pub on Kellystown Road. U2 spent many days at Danesmoate House when they were working on the Joshua Tree album in the 1980s.




Rathfarnham Roads 

What to do in Dublin 

Tour 1  

Tour 2 

Tour 3 

Tour 4 

Bray- Greystones walk 

Glencullen Mountain Walk 

U2 tour

Aidan O'Mahony 

Austin Stack Park 

Austin Stacks 

Colm "the Gooch" Cooper 

Dan O'Keefe 

Darragh Ó Sé 

Declan O'Sullivan 

Denis 'Ogie' Moran 

Diarmuid Murphy 

Dr. Crokes Killarney 

Eoin Brosnan 

FitzGerald Stadium 

Gaelic Football 

Ger Power 


Innisfallen Island 

Jack O'Connor 

Jack O'Shea

Joe Keohane (footballer)

John Egan

John O'Keeffe 

Kerry GAA 

Kerry Intermediate Football Championship 

Kerry Minor Football Championship 

Kerry Senior Football Championship 

Kerry Senior Hurling Championship 

Kerry Under-21 Football Championship 

Kieran Donaghy 


Killarney National Park 

Killarney Town 

Killarney Transport 

List of Kerry All-Ireland Football Finals 

Marc Ó Sé 

Maurice Fitzgerald 

Michael McCarthy 

Mick O'Connell 

Mick O'Dwyer 

Mike Frank Russell 

Mikey Sheehy 

Muckross Abbey 

Pat O'Shea 

Pat Spillane 

Paul Galvin 

Páidí Ó Sé 

Weather in Killarney 

Ross Castle 

Seamus Moynihan 

Seán O'Sullivan 

St. Mary's Killarney 

Tommy Griffin 

Tom O'Sullivan 

Tomás Ó Sé 

Tour 4 

trails and guided walks 

Visitors Attractions in Killarney 

What to do in Killarney 

Where to eat in Killarney