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squares and roads was a perfectly rural district without the slightest indication or symptom of that crowd of habitations now forming Monkstown. Belgrave-square, Alma-road, Eaton-square, and all that neighbourhood were fields where the cows browsed and fed, and supplied milk for the Dublin market. When the Act of Union was passing, a spirited individual, Mr. Molesworth Green, determined to make a beginning of building in this locality ; and so about the year 1798 or 1799 he began the erection of a terrace of houses, which still exists and commands a splendid view. Montpelier-terrace was then erected, and the picture which I shall now show you of that terrace as it then was, was published in the year 1802. Those who are acquainted with the locality of Temple-hill will at once recognise it. You will notice that there are no houses north or east of Montpelier-terrace till Monkstown Church is reached, and you will further notice that the church there depicted is the old one which
View of Old Monkstown Church. (Reproduced from a Plate in the Sentimental and Masonic Magazine, Sept., 1793.)
stood in the churchyard of Monkstown Church. I may mention that in the letterpress attached to this print of Montpelier-terrace, in " Walker's Hibernian Magazine" for 1802, there is a very high-flown description of the vast advantages which the dwellers in the rural retirement of Montpelier-terrace will enjoy, as contrasted with the noise and dust and vulgar confusion of the Blackrock. But the scribe waxes eloquent above all else upon the special blessing which the good people of Montpelier-terrace will enjoy in the near proximity of Seapoint boarding-house, and the select balls and assemblies so frequently held in that fashionable resort of the upper ten thousand.1
1 If anyone wishes to see a list of the residences in this neighbourhood, one hundred years ago and more, he should consult the Pottchai>e Companion for Ireland. The inquiry has, indeed, been made more difficult by the wretched habit of changing the
And now we arrive in Blackrock, or Newtown on the Strand by the Blackrock, or the Black Stone, as it was anciently called.1 But I have to ask myself, how long am I going to keep you, or perhaps better, how long will you stand me and my lengthened story? Here I am, and I proposed to dcscribo the antiquities between Kingstown and Dublin, and yet after forty minutes we have only just arrived at Blackrock. If I am to enter upon the subject of Blackrock, and Stillorgan, and Booterstown, and Men-ion, and Thorncastle, and Simmonscourt,8 and all the other places in the same minute manner, I must ask you to stop here till twelve o'clock,
ancient names of places. Thus one hundred and ten years ago a certain Mr. Myers lived at Myersville, near Stradbrook. The same house remains there still, but within the last few years the name has been changed to Wynherg. Mount Malpas again is an ancient residence belonging to a family who lived in our neighbourhood from the time of Elizabeth to the early part of this century. It has now been made Rochestown House, though old people still call it Mount Malpas. Seapoint Manor again was of old called Newtown Castle Byrne. It was once, doubtless, the residence of the Byrne family, and is a noted point in all Old Dublin car fares by distance. It was in the last half of the eighteenth century inhabited by a well-known poet and M.p. of that time. Captain Jephson. I had great difficulty in identifying his residence in Blackrock till I looked in the Dublin Directory for 1837, the first one which printed a list of suburban residents. It was then still called by its ancient name, which was, however, soon after changed to that of Seapoint Manor. Jephson was a famous man in his day. For notices of him the reader may consult Wills's Illustrious Irishmen, Gentleman's Magazine, 1803, Part I., p. 600, and Recollections of Lord Cloncurry.
1 Blackrock was called Newtown on the Strand down to the year 1700. It is so called in the Crown Rental of 1706, now in the Record Office. About 1750 it was called Newtown Castle Byrne. Thus we read in Pue's Occurrences of August 5, 1755, of the drowning of Alex. Boawell, attorney, at Newtown Castle Byrne; while again in Pue, October 18th, 1767, we read of a sale of lands in Newtown on the Strand, lately called Newtown Castle Byrne. Doubtless this latter name was invented and used after the Cheevers' property had passed to the Byrnes, say about 1700 A.n.
2 Since the former part of this Paper was printed, Mr. Mills has read and printed a Paper on "the Cantreds near Dublin," p. 160 of the Journalfor 1894, which illustrates these names. On p. 167 he shows that the portion of Stillorgan, from the Church down to the sea at Blackrock, was, in the 12th century, called Argortin. This would exactly correspond to Stillorgan Park and Lord Carysfort's property, which was Wolverston property in the sixteenth century. It is curious to note what illustrations of ancient history local inquiry and knowledge may sometimes afford. We have an instance of this in the case of Stillorgan House and the Wolverstons, who obtained this property on the dissolution of the monasteries, and kept it till Cromwell's day, when they lost it for the following reasons. In the volumes of Depositions touching the murders of 1641, there are two which deal with the county Dublin. They tell how the Rector of Kill-o'-the-Grange was killed at his own door, and how hie wife and children escaped across the bogs to Stillorgan House to Mr. Wolverston, who refused to give them shelter, and hence lost his property, which, though restored under Charles II., ultimately passed to the Allens, whence it came to the Probys and the Carysfort family. But it is not to trace the devolution of the Stillorgan Park Estate that I have introduced these details, but to note an illustration of the unchanging character of natural features. The account of this unhappy incident always puzzled me. I said, how could the fugitives escape across the bogs to Stillorgan, when there is not a trace of a bog between Kill-o'-the-Grange and Stillorgan. A chance circumstance explained it all to me. Two or three years ago my friend and parishioner, Edmund Darley, Esq., of Hollyville Park, Newtown Park, was making various improvements in his grounds, when he found that one of his fields was simply a reclaimed bog, some three feet deep at least, and this was a field which lay in the direct line for fugitives seeking shelter at Stillorgan, and flying from Dean's Grange. This chance discovery showed the local accuracy of the depositions, and proved that bogs existed 280 years ago where rich and fertile meadows now produce weighty crops.
or perhaps still better, postpone the remainder of this Paper till another occasion. I am very much afraid this latter is the course which I must pursue. The famous people alone who in the last century lived in Blackrock would take up a considerable amount of time to enumerate and describe, together with the houses where they lived, such as old Stillorgan
House.1 I shall therefore make no attempt to deal with this part of my subject, but will end with showing you one notable feature in Blackrock street-scenery and telling you a tale which hangs thereby.
1 Lord Edward Fitzgerald lived at Frescati; Lady Arabella Denny, granddaughter of Sir William Petty, at Lisaniskea; Sir Nicholas Lawless, afterwards Lord Cloncurry, at Maretimo; Captain Atkinson, a well-known poet of the day, at Melfield, Newtown Park; Sir Boyle Roche at Rockfield; Captain Jephson, another poet and playwright, at Newtown Castle Byrne; Lord Clonniell at Neptune, now known as Temple Hill; Sir Harcourt Lees and his ancestors from 1760, at Blackroek House. A curious description of this last, in 1825, can he read in the Dublin and London Magazine for 1825, pp. 237, 308. All these pla< es remain in much the same state as 100 years ago. As an illustration of fashionable life in one of these houses, a contemporary account of an entertainment at Lord Clonmell's house, Neptune, in 1797, is printed in the "Miscellanea" of this Number.
Stillorgan House, indeed, with its splendid mantelpiece, representing the judgment of Solomon, disappeared about the year 1880. I present my readers with a picture of it through the kind help of the family of a gentleman, Mr. Versehoyle, who lived in it early in this century. It is the only picture of the outside which survives. This plate shows the front of the house, with its miniature theatre, stables, &c, in the wings, built, as it was, in a style much in vogue in the last century, when Viscount Allen, who was of Dutch descent, lived in it. The obelisk at Newtown Tark was erected apparently by the family of Allen, as the present Obelisk Park originally formed the Deer Park attached to Stillorgan House. Mr. Darley, of Grange, Stillorgan, possesses a picture of the interior of the drawingroom.
This is the famous cross of Blackrock. The Town Commissioners of Blackrock are now threatening us with a bill in Parliament to remove some of the ancient features of that venerable town. They wish to widen streets, round off sharp corners, and remove several other antiquo features of old Blackrock.
Perhaps these things are necessary for an advancing age, but I always view with regret the removal of any ancient features or the change of any ancient names. There was, for instance, a venerable hostelry dating from an early period in the last century at least, which stood at the corner of George's-avenue, Blackrock. A few years ago it was taken down because declared dangerous to the public, but no photograph was taken of the curious building, or of its still more curious kitchen, and its ancient fittings and benches. I hope that all the old buildings which may be removed in the course of these improvements will be carefully photographed, and above all that the ancient cross will be scrupulously respected. And why? Simply because the cross marks a point of the greatest historic interest for the inhabitants of Dublin and its neighbourhood.
If you will take up the histories of Dublin by Harris in the last, or by Walsh and Whitelaw in the beginning of the present century, or better still, if you take up Mr. Gilbert's first volume of Dublin Corporation Records you will find there narratives telling how the ancient Corporation of Dublin, headed by the Lord Mayor on horseback, rode the franchises or municipal bounds of the city and its precincts. Let me just suggest that Lord Mayor Shanks,1 as he has revived one old custom at his inauguration, should also revive a still older one. Let him, and all the Aldermen, and all the Town Councillors and Corporate officers revive the ancient custom of riding the franchises. Let them go in state and on horseback all along the by-ways, and field-paths, and sea-strands where the old Corporators rode, and I am sure they will make a brave show and will receive a hearty welcome. We Dublin people like shows, and have got far too little of such things. The narrative begins by telling how the solemn procession having assembled within the walls, doubtless at the Tholsel opposite Christ Church, used to issue, in God's name, out of the Dames gate, ride past the Priory of All Saints, now Trinity College, to Ringsend. Thence they advanced to Clarade, near to the present Poolbeg, where they sent a yeoman to fling a dart into the sea to mark the admiralty jurisdiction of the Corporation. From this point they rode across the strand to the Black Stone,2 and the Blackrock cross marks the spot where they used to stop in this direction. There the city sheriffs of that day used to hold a Court, and to this day the St. Stephen's-green division of Dublin extends out to the
1 This Paper was read before the Society early in January, 1893.
2 I have endeavoured to ascertain the exact locality of the Black Stone in a little guide-book called "Hill's Guide to Blackrock," published at Hill's Warehouse, Blackrock.