After posting about the remains of the old castle in the priory in Tallaght I was thinking about what a shame it was that the many other Castles which once stood in the Tallaght area have all disappeared. Tallaght was once part of the Pale. The Pale was a boundary which essentially consisted of a fortified ditch and rampart built around parts of the medieval counties of Louth, Meath, Dublin and Kildare, leaving out half of Meath, most of Kildare, and south west County Dublin. Its purpose was to protect the English occupier’s interests within its confines. So I decided to do some digging. The following Castles are just a small number of what I could find, whilst the images or drawings are not mine for obvious reasons, and there is little known about these buildings, I still think that it is a nice little collection, so here goes.
Bancroft’s Castle was a small Tower house which once stood in Tallaght, near where the Greenhill’s Road meets Tallaght village today. Very little is known about this castle, and its history seems to have been lost in the sands of time.
One of the best known fortifications in the area was called Tymon castle, which stood near the end of Tymon Lane in the now parklands of the same name. It is believed to have been built during the reign of King John, at some time in the 15th Century. The castle itself was a square keep with an arched entrance. Over the entrance was a murder hole or a machicolation which would have been used to pour boiling oil or drop objects on would be assailants. This castle could be seen from miles around, and at that time was surrounded by marshy land, which would have made the castle very difficult to attack. It was eventually demolished in the 1960’s as it was claimed to be unsafe.
And finally to where I grew up, although I have no memory of Kilnamanagh Castle, it was built in 1169, on the site of the old monastery. It was situated about a mile from Tymon Castle, and at one time it was surrounded by a defensive moat. The only image I could find of this castle shows more what looks like an old Manor house than a castle but is nevertheless still of interest to me as I grew up here. The masonry on the walls of Kilnamanagh was said to have been far too fine to befit a castle and they may have been the remains of a large house or mansion built by one of Cromwells soldiers. All traces of the Castle were removed by builders in the 1970’sKilnamanagh was once the site of a monastery which predated the one at Tallaght by about 700 years, and is said to have been destroyed by the Danes. The monastery at Kilnamanagh was run by a scholar called Eugenius Lochranus who educated many people including the St. Kevin. All that remains in Kilnamanagh is a holy well named after St. Kevin whom was famously associated with the monastic settlement at Glendalough, but that story will have to wait for another time. The castle was always in good condition as late as 1836. There was also a group of old stones believed to be the headstones of some graves. Though there was no official record of a graveyard until about 1778 when a farmer named Farrell was building a kitchen-garden and hecame across a large amount of human remains. He was so taken aback by the amount of skulls and bones, he stopped where he was. Later in 1830 his son was also digging and the same thing happenedto him. He was also forced to discontinue. The Farrells were wealthy farmers from Kilnamanagh and they were buried in St. Maelruans where their headstone is the highest in the graveyard. In the 19th. Century a barn was built at Kilnamanagh and again large remains of bodies were found. It is probable that these are theremains of the monks at the monastery, but because Kilnamanagh is so close to Greenhills, the area may be covered with remains of the Parthalon tribe whom as previously mentioned mysteriously perished here in there thousands, according to the annals.