Our Parish History

A special note of thanks to The Right Reverend Dr. Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, for compiling most of the information on this page while he was rector of our Parish from 1990 to 1999. You can visit his Diocesan website at www.cork.anglican.org.

The early history of any parish is usually shrouded in mystery. Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla is no exception to this rule.

1155 Pope Adrian VI “granted and donated Ireland” to Henry II.

1167 Roderick O’Connor encamped here with his Connaught forces and engaged the Danish residents in his pay. He led a numerous army to Dublin where he was solemnly inaugurated King of Ireland. The castle (on the site of the present Castleknock College) was given by Earl Strongbow to his friend, Hugh de Tyrell, who was styled Baron of Castleknock.

1171 The second Synod of Cashel shaped the pattern of the life of the Irish church for many years to come.

1185 Richard de Tyrell, son of the first Baron of Castleknock Hugh de Tyrell, gave a grant to the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Little Malvern, Worcestershire, to endow a religious house at Castleknock in honour of St Brigid. Later they built a chapel, the White Chapel at Coolmine, which served the parish of Clonsilla.

1219 The great tithes of the parish were appropriated by Archbishop Henry de Londres to the Priory of Malvern on condition that they should add five monks to their number.

1225 The monks granted half of the tithes of the manor of Castleknock to the use of the economy fund of St Patrick’s Cathedral, renouncing to the Archbishop all rights to the vicarage and its small tithes and oblations.

1226 The first Prebendary of Castleknock, Richard De Gnouessale, was appointed. The tithes that provided his income were levied on the southern part of the parish – Castleknock – and the prebendal stall was, and still is, on the cantor’s side of the quire and so the prebend was known as Castrum Knock ex parte cantoris.

1260 Tithes recouped from the northern part of the parish – Mulhuddart – made the provision of a second prebend possible – Castrum Knock ex parte decani. William de Northfield was the first Prebendary of Mulhuddart, sitting on the dean’s side of the quire, opposite the Prebendary of Castleknock.

During the period in office (1228 – 1255) of Archbishop Luke, the tithes were divided differently. Of the four parts into which they were divided, one was assigned to the prebendary of Mulhuddart, one to the prebendary of Castleknock, one to the economy estate of St Patrick’s Cathedral and one to the Priory of Malvern.

1468 The Malvern interest was ultimately transferred to the abbot and convent of St Mary near Dublin.

Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837

1710 Dean Swift penned a poem about Castleknock, ‘On the Little House by the Churchyard of Castleknock’.

1718 Thomas Walls, Vicar of Castleknock, gives “Answers to Queries concerning the Parishes of Castleknock, Clonsillagh, and Mallihiddert” to his grace the Lord Archbishop of Dublin.

1720 Castleknock National School built. It is quite likely that then it would have been not much more than a hut type structure standing on the lawn adjacent to the present day Parish Centre. It was then called the Castleknock Endowed School.

1803 The foundation stone of the present church at Castleknock was laid. St Brigid’s was built on the site of a previous church dating from 1609. This was the site of an Augustinian abbey for Canons Regular, founded in the 13th century by Richard Tyrell and dedicated to St Bridget.

1824 A house was built adjacent to the Parochial Hall. It was the premises of the Castleknock Penny Bank. The house, acquired by Lord Iveagh, was made available at a peppercorn rent as the schoolmaster’s house from the late 1870’s onwards. Even then it was known as “The Bank House.&quot More recently it is known as “Kilbride” from the Irish meaning “the Church of Brid or Brigid.” The rent fixed in the lease was £40 a year. It was sent to Lord Iveagh, who promptly returned it as a donation to the school. It paid for the schoolmaster, helped in the upkeep of the school, and assisted in the purchase of books for the poor of the Parish.

1845 The present church at Clonsilla was built.

1850 A tower was added to the church in Clonsilla.

1864 A spire was erected on Saint Brigid’s Church, Castleknock, in memory of James Hans Hamilton, MP for this county, by some of his friends.

1869 The Archbishop of Dublin, in response to a petition from the Rev. George Ayres, Prebendary of Mulhuddart, licensed a house called Larch Grove as a place of worship until such time as a new parish church should be built.

1870 The foundation stone for Mulhuddart church was laid on 28th December (the Feast of Holy Innocents). The architectural drawings were signed by the well-known firm of Welland and Gillespie.

1870 An organ was installed in St Brigid’s by H. Habbershaw and R. Tomlinson.

1871 St Thomas’ Mulhuddart was consecrated.

1881 After the formation of the National Board of Education, Castleknock school became Castleknock National School. Although there are no records preserved from 1720 to 1881, the roll book of the latter year is still in existence. The name of the first teacher recorded was Touchbourne. He was later ordained and became a Canon in the Diocese of Ossory.

1928 Window designed by Harry Clarke and Sons at their studios in North Fredrick Street was erected in St Brigid’s.

1936 The Select Vestry resolved “that a Parochial Hall be built in the school field as soon as sufficient funds are available, as the Select Vestry is of the opinion that the school room is not a suitable place for holding the various social functions in connection with the parish, and that the remains of the field should be still used as a play field for the pupils attending the school.” This was proposed by Lord Holmpatrick and seconded by C. Palmer.

1938 Rectory at Mount Hybla auctioned and “Elm Grove”, Castleknock purchased for £2250.

1938 It was decided that the Union of Castleknock and Mulhuddart and Clonsilla be dissolved and that a group of the said parishes be arranged in accordance with the Constitution of the Church of Ireland.

1957 Spire removed from St Brigid’s in Castleknock due to lightning damage.

1960 New school built.

1962 New school dedicated.

1974/1975 Rectory moved to Hawthorn Lawn.

1975 Extension of the National School to cater for the growing population in the Castleknock area.

1992 Chapel of the Holy Spirit in St Brigid’s dedicated by Most Rev. D.A.R. Caird, Archbishop of Dublin.

1998 Castleknock Parish Centre opened by President Mary Robinson.

2001 New school extension finished and opened.

2002 New St. Brigid’s Window dedicated.

2005 Clonsilla Parish Centre opened by Most Rev John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin.