by Malhide Historical Society
In an 1844 agreement between Lord Richard Talbot and James Fagan of Bridgefoot Street, Dublin, timber merchant, the Talbots agreed to lease to Fagan the land stretching from the lately built Royal Hotel (later Grand Hotel) hotel almost to the Diamond at a yearly rent of twenty-five pounds ten shillings per Irish acre. Under the agreement James Fagan was to be at liberty to build houses on the lands but he had first to submit the plans for approval by Lord Talbot. This led to the construction by Fagan of the houses on St. James Terrace. The Talbots agreed to build a road, from a fountain which then stood in the centre of the Diamond, to the hotel, enclose part of the area with railings, plant trees and shrubs therein and lay it out as pleasure gardens. When combined with the hotel gardens they extended to four or five acres from St. James’s Terrace, up to and around the hotel. The occupants of the houses were to have free use of the pleasure gardens as were the hotel guests. Other residents of Malahide could apply for a key to use the gardens at a fee of one pound per household or family per year.When the original planting matured the gardens contained elaborate wooded serpentine walks, pergolas, shady bowers and a croquet lawn and there was seating place all around the Park. The pleasure gardens later came to be known as the Band Gardens as police and military bands gave public performances there in the latter half of the 19th century on regatta days and other public occasions. The Dublin & Drogheda Railway occasionally engaged a military band to play on weekday afternoons and laid on a special train from and to Amiens Street. A former Malahide resident painted an idyllic picture of her memories of the Park as a 10 year old girl in about 1908: “There were three tennis courts and two croquet courts. Thick laurel and chestnut bushes made lovely “houses” for children to play about in. There were also numerous “weeping” elms which were very easy to climb and made lovely green “tents”; sweet smelling lilac and showers of laburnam bushes, as well as veronica and escalonia and lauristinus, and four or five arbutus bushes which produced the most realistic “dolls’” oranges. The middle of the park sank into a shallow dell where the trees were thicker and taller and the grass seldom cut, except before the annual Fingal Show; which made the Park a particularly happy playground - as long as the children were inside the park railings and kept away from the tennis courts they were looked on as “safe’ and allowed to run as wild as the space permitted. In the spring there were sheets of bluebells under the sycamores at the Terrace end of the square.” The gardens are now, of course, the location of Malahide Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.
by Malahide Historical Society
Fingal County Council have recently done a splendid job on the landscaping of the Green which has a long history in Malahide.Thanks to Michael Ingoldsby who grew up in a house facing the Green we have a picture of what it used be like in the last century. It was, for a very long time, part of the Malahide Estate with Lord Talbot de Malahide as the freehold owner. It was usual, deep into the winter for horses and carts to be sent down by Lord Talbot at the Castle laden with logs and branches of trees and kindling. This was all dumped onto the Green and was for the people to take and to use for their fires. At Christmas, carts of holly and mistletoe were unloaded onto the Green to be taken by anyone who wanted it for Christmas decoration.When the coastguard were in operation (up until about 1922) there was a flagpole on the Green on which the Union Jack was flown daily. The Green was somewhat smaller and a slightly different shape then, before reclamation in the latter part of the 20th century. The side by the water was used by fishermen to dry and mend their nets and there were houses on the other three sides. A low bank ran between the grass and road on the Townyard Lane side. Sailing boats and small coasters carrying coal came up the estuary on the high flooding tide and sat on the hard sand off the Green when the tide later ran out. The coal was unloaded over the side into horse-drawn carts and taken over the hard sand, on to the Green and into Flower & McDonald’s coalyard which was on Strand Street or to the gasworks in Gasyard Lane. There was a small cinema “The Gem” roughly where Tesco Express is today. Michael relates that a Mr. Dunne, an old man of small stature, in leather boots and leather leggings used to herd a flock of geese down from his yard in the centre of New Street onto The Green. They spent the day there feeding and then in the evening he came and walked them back up New Street for the night. There was a water pump at the corner of the Green near the end of New Street surrounded by four stone posts which were known as the “chatting pillars”, indicating how the water pump was central to the social life of the village. In the evening the local men used to stand under the adjoining lamp standard to play “Pitch and Toss”.
by Malahide Historical Society
Having recently remembered the 100th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, it is worth recalling that Malahide, though not exactly a hotbed of revolutionary activity, did not escape the travails of that time.The Royal Irish Constabulary barracks stood at the Diamond where the EBS and Tony Byrne’s shop are now. One night in August 1920 a group of armed men entered the building and, at gunpoint, forced the constables on duty onto the street where they could only stand and watch while the men set fire to and destroyed the building. We have been advised of information on the irishmedals website which names three of the men involved in the burning as Christy Nolan, Joe Taylor and Charles Weston from 5th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers which was based around Swords. The 3rd battalion, Finglas Brigade of the old IRA are definitely known to have mounted at least one operation in Malahide. In a deposition from the Commanding Officer of the unit on file in the Bureau of Military History archives there is this description: “In the early part of 1921, I was detailed to have a man, who lived in Malahide, shot. This man was paymaster to the Tans, I think, in Gormanston camp.I took a party of three men with me to do the job.One man was left with our bicycles.The other two men and I proceeded to the man’s house. When we went to the door, we were fired on, and it was immediately perceived that the man had armed companions in the house. We fired back through the door and windows.Apparently, the man we wanted, or some one of his companions, was behind the door and was hit and fell against the door. We tried to push in the door but could not do so owing to the body of someone being against it at the bottom. One of our men received a bullet wound in the arm, Patrick Mason was his name. So, we had to retreat, bringing him with us and had him attended to in Finglas by the local doctor and he got alright. All four of us got back safely.”
Looking for ideas for presents for Balbriggan people at home or abroad? We have produced a beautiful Sack of Balbriggan Commemorative Medal which depicts a scene from the Sack of Balbriggan and comes with a booklet containing a short history. It is available to purchase by Paypal on our Website Or if you are local just ring the Society at 083 0269848 (Brian) or 087 7852644 (May) to pay by cash for local delivery or collection.We anticipate that this medal will be in huge demand as a memento of this important anniversary so get your order in soon.We have a seminar available online as we look back at 2020. 2020 has certainly been a very interesting year with the catastrophic effects and challenges posed by Covid-19 on an unprecedented global scale and pages of history books will be filled with it in the future. We historians of today just had to rise to the challenge of carrying on with our activities as best we could and still commemorating the Centenary of the Sack of Balbriggan in an appropriate manner.We were delighted to record our Sack of Balbriggan Commemorative Seminar with Diarmaid Ferriter as our keynote speaker. The other talks were by our own Jim Walsh relating the key events of the Sack. Giving the RIC perspective on events was visiting speaker Jim Herlihy while Frank Whearity spoke about the experiences of the Costello family who lived on Clonard Street and Brendan Matthews looked at the effect of the Sack on the then thriving town of Balbriggan. Jim Glennon, former TD, whose grandfather was the owner of the Gladstone Inn gave an insight into his own family’s experience. A link to all the talks is available on our website. This also includes a new digital version of a video from 1992 of three eyewitness accounts of this tragic night from Michael Hammond, Mrs Kathleen McGillivary and Mrs Bridget Daly.We also commemorated the Sack of Balbriggan by laying a wreath in memory of Seamus Lawless and Sean Gibbons following a commemorative Mass on September 20th and displayed photographs from the era in town shop fronts as well as the entries in our schools competition.We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and friends for their support during this challenging year, and we hope that you and all your family and friends are keeping well and safe.The Society can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our website and we are also on Social media.
by Malahide Historical Scoiety
Just before the entrance to Seapark stands Muldowney House, once the home of Malahide’s famous landscape painter, Nathaniel Hone. He was born in 1831 and at the age of twenty-two he went to Paris to study painting. He remained in France for seventeen years observing and painting with famous artists of the Barbizon school. In 1872, he married Magdalen Jameson of the Jameson distilling family.After a short sojourn in Seafield House at Kilcrea on the northern shore of the estuary, they moved to Muldowney House. They lived here until 1895 when they moved to St. Doulagh’s Park following the death of his Aunt Dorothea at her home there. Thereafter, Hone’s brother-in-law, the Rev. William Reid, resided in Muldowney House until his death in 1912. Hone became a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1880 and accepted an R.H.A. professorship in 1894. While at Muldowney House, he spent his time painting, sketching, sailing, yacht racing and golfing. The changing light and seascapes of Malahide attracted him. He had a studio and a gallery at Muldowney House and painted one of his best known works, Malahide Sands from his window, which still overlooks the beach. When Nathaniel died in 1917, his wife bequeathed the greatest part of his collection to the National Gallery of Ireland. Hone, Reid and Richard Wogan, 5th Baron Talbot founded Malahide Golf Club on the foreshore and land around the house in 1892.
Contributed by Malahide Historical Society
Up until 1973 when the Island Golf Club built a new clubouse at the northern end of the course and more accessible by road, golfers commuting to the Island golf course were rowed over and back from Malahide by local boatmen. Depending on the state of the tide golfers boarded from a long wooden stage or in later years from the concrete slip and disembarked onto a much longer
stage on the opposite shore. The signal to the boatmen to collect golfers was a large disc which was hinged in the centre and could be seen from the Malahide shore. When the disc was in the closed position it was green and blended in with the side wall of the Clubhouse. When opened it showed red and white and was a sign to the boatmen to come and collect golfers. A sudden deterioration in the weather might cause the suspension of the ferry service and require a laborious journey home by train from Donabate or by hackney or whatever transport available via Swords. There were legendary characters among both the boatmen and their passengers and Island members still regale each other and their visitors with wonderful tales of those days. On either side of the main slip are stout wooden posts standing several feet proud of the sand. Probably at least a hundred years in situ, these are the sole survivors of a series of such posts along the shoreline of The Green. They were
used in the days of sailing ships as mooring posts and for hauling them close to the shore for unloading over the side at low water. They were also employed to help turn vessels as required.
Lusk Heritage Group have recently produced a rerun of The Story of Lusk.This beautiful little booklet was originally compiled in 1998 by the Heritage Group but has been out of print for some time. Articles in it range from the Ancient History of Lusk to the Reformation in Fingal, the 1798 rebellion, Passing the Baton from 1798 to 1921 and Lusk stories up to the 1950s.This rerun ofThe Story of Lusk was made possible with the generous support of local sponsorship and from Fingal County Council.The Lusk Heritage Group also has a second booklet available entitled Lusk Through the Ages. This dates back to 1995 when it was written by their Chairman Aidan Arnold. It is a fascinating compilation of local history and reminiscences about local people including Katie Hunt, Sean McDonnell, Aidan Corr, Henry Maxwell, Dan Sherry, Eilish Hand and many more.Twenty five years ago Aidan wrote in his introduction “History is not a precise art. We depend on past recorders and inevitably biased reminiscences. Despite that is a fascinating art which flows through time like a river. I have allowed my stories to flow from the Stone Age to the present day. Anecdotes about some of the inhabitants of Lusk are included, as I believe that history is happening around us every day. It is people, not dates and places, who shape that history.”Both books are beautifully illustrated and should bring back lots of memories to Lusk families new and old. People new to the area will find a treasure trove of fascinating information as well as gaining a lovely addition to their bookshelves.An amazing collection of videos, stories and local heritage about Lusk and Fingal can also be found on the Lusk Heritage Group website at http://luskheritage.com/The Story of Lusk and Lusk Through the Ages are available from Pat Kelly of Kelly’s Garage. They cost €6.00 each or €10.00 for both books.
Contributed by Malahide Historical Society
On the corner of Bath Avenue, immediately beyond the Grand Hotel going towards Portmarnock, where a tall apartment block is now located, stood the once popular Malahide Sea Baths. The Victorians placed great faith in the health promoting qualities of the seaside, especially when seawater bathing was involved. This prompted Lord Talbot to build the baths at his own expense, apparently for letting, shortly before 1863. They were leased to a Mrs Gamble. She retired or died in 1864 and her was auctioned off, including a first rate four-oared boat and two smaller boats. The baths were then, apparently, taken over by the adjoining hotel. The hotel featured hot sea and freshwater baths from time to time in advertisements.The baths consisted of a long low building with a colonnade along the front. There were a number of bathing rooms at one end, a boiler house and tall chimney in the middle and living accommodation at the other end. There were two open-air plunge pools to the rear. Sadly, the buildings were demolished in the 1980s and the rubble used to fill the pools. There were bathing boxes on the shore in front of the baths building for use by modest Victorians who wished to bathe in the estuary seawater. The seawater baths were exceedingly popular in the 19th century renowned for the health-giving properties. The bath water was changed at high-tide. Patrons had a choice of heated indoor baths and or a plunge in an outdoor cold pool.
The accompanying photo shows the bath house building with it’s distinctive high chimneys to carry away smoke from the boilers that heated the water. Across the estuary the building on the left was probably a shed for storing Island Golf Club mowing machines whilst the building to the right was the original clubhouse in use until replaced in 1973 by the present day structure (second photo) at the northern end of the course. Local boatmen rowed golfers over and back across the estuary.
Balbriggan & District Historical Society have embraced technology to present their Heritage Week talk on The Sack of Balbriggan 1920 by local historian Jim Walsh. Jim a retired Librarian and founding member of the Society draws on a lifetime of research and some newly available material to present a fascinating talk which will be of huge interest to history enthusiasts as well as being very accessible to the general public.The talk begins with an introduction giving the local and historical context and continues with the aid of many images, to give a comprehensive account of the Sack of Balbriggan, based on contemporary accounts, military and RIC archives, newspaper coverage, other publications and interviews with family members.The youtube presentation is interspersed with many images from the time as well as contemporary images from Balbriggan provided by Society Secretary Kilian Harford to give context.The centenary of the Sack of Balbriggan by the Black and Tans in 1920 takes place on September 20th and the Society has a full seminar on the subject planned including a lecture from Diarmaid Ferriter.Speaking about this new venture into virtual content a spokesperson for the Society said "While we are very disappointed like everyone else that we haven't been able to present our usual programme of talks to our loyal members and supporters in Balbriggan arguably these new challenges have presented an opportunity to reach a much bigger audience. We are delighted to be able to connect again with our friends in Balbriggan who we have missed this year and we think the availability of this lecture online will be of huge interest to Balbriggan people abroad as well as locally and nationally." The lecture can be viewed on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gs6hfcBCMo (NB: not accessible through this medium). Further information on the Society is available on www.balbrigganhistory.com
Malalhide Historical Society
The trustees, mainly wealthy landowners along the route, appear to have sought to maintain a degree of exclusivity by discouraging the building of all but large houses. They imposed special tolls on building materials, making them so costly that only the prosperous could afford to build along the road to Malahide. Unlike other toll roads, the Malahide Turnpike Trustees operated their road at a profit. Competition from the railways and general dissatisfaction with the toll system led to the abolition of the turnpikes in 1855. After 65 years of operation the Malahide Turnpike Trustees arranged for the sale at auction of the toll-houses, gates and pillars. This enabled them to settle their debts and even pay a small surplus to the grand jury that took over responsibility for the road upkeep and who were the authority charged with building and maintaining roads and bridges throughout the county.The records of the Malahide Turnpike Trustees for the first forty years went missing in 1826 but the minutes and some account books from mid 1826 until the winding up in 1855 are held at Fingal Local Studies and Archives in Swords.Distances on the old coach roads were measured from the gates of Dublin Castle but the turnpike trustees measured from the GPO. The Malahide turnpike trustees erected granite stones every mile along the route. These have inset metal plates stating the number of statute miles to the GPO on top and to Malahide underneath. Eight of these stones survive on the right hand side of the road in front of the Casino at Malahide. How many can you spot?