KillesterCounty Dublin

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aka Killester House aka Killester Demesne
aka Killester House aka Killester Demesne

Killester House was the mansion house of Killester Demesne (see Middle Third Terrace, townland of Killester Demesne, DED Clontarf East) 

  • The manor of Killester was given to one Adrian le Brun in the twelfth century.
  • In the 17th century, it was owned by the White family, from whom it passed by inheritance to the St Lawrence family, Barons and later Earls of Howth.
  • Later in the 17th century, it went to the Cootes, a branch of the family of the Earls of Mountrath.

Built in the early 18th century, the mansion house at Killester (mapped as "Killester Demesne" and sometimes "Killester House") was destroyed by fire in 1919 and is no longer extant.

  • see the site of the Legion Hall (now derelict) where Middle Third Terrace stands today.
  • Nun's Walk was part of this demesne. 
  • not to be confused with a smaller Killester House just south-west of it (in the townland of Killester South, where The Bramblings stand today).

On 22 October 1778, Lord Howth (the proprietor) demised the lease to Killester house and about 16 acres of land, to the Vernons of Clontarf Castle who then sub-let under covenant to the Newcomen family and after that, the Luscomes.  SOURCE 

Killester House was the Dublin residence of Sir William Gleadowe Newcomen, Bart (1704-1807)  principal of the oldest Banking-house in Ireland (and MP for Co. Longford) who died "after a long and painful illness, at Killester House, near Dublin". He was succeeded in title and estates by his only son Sir Thomas Newcomen(1776–1825) the 2nd Lord Viscount Newcomen of Mosstown Co. Longford.  

Thomas inherited Newcomen Bank (now a Rates office on Lord Edward Street, next to City Hall) but after a banking failure which ruined his own family and many clients in the 1820s, he shot himself in his office, age 48. Following his death in 1825, all his titles became extinct and his estate went up for grabs in the Court of Chancery. 

In 1831 the Chancery Court ordered "the Mansion House and Demesne Lands of Killester, the late residence of the late Viscount Newcomen, and the adjoining lands at Killester and Clontarf set to tenants" be sold to the highest and best bidder. The household contents were also auctioned off: 

"a quantity of Household furniture, the Property of the late Lord Viscount comprising mahogany parlour chairs; cane seat drawing-room ditto; Grecian and Indulging sofas; dinner, breakfast, card, sofa, and work tables; pier-glass and cabinet; carpets and rugs; dumb waiters; plate buckets; tea stores; forty-two fine engravings by Piranesi curtains and draperies; brass fenders and fire irons; hall chairs; an eight-day clock; a richly carved and gilt picture frame.

Also, the entire excellent Furniture of eleven bedrooms; in which are four-post, elliptic, waggon-roof, and other bedsteads and curtains, with the best feather beds, curled hair mattresses and bedding; a number of mahogany wardrobes, and several cases of drawers; dressing tables and basin stands, with marble tops; bidets and commodes; toilet glasses; cheval ditto ; bed-room chairs —carpets, house linen, table cloths and napkins; china, and glass; a variety of kitchen and dairy requisites; a large quantity copper culinary articles; deal presses and tables; mangle.

The entire utensils of a brew-house, complete; a bathing box on wheels; two slipper baths, and a few greenhouse-plants, with numerous other articles. [Dublin Evening Mail - Friday 15 July 1831]

In or about this time General Luscombe had taken up residence here. (Confirmed by a newspaper announcement on the birth of his daughter "at Killester House" in 1833 SOURCE).

In 1836, Killester House was advertised TO LET 

KILLESTER HOUSE, The Residence of the late Lord Newcomen. [Saunders's News-Letter - 1 June 1836]

TO BE LET, on Lease. Furnished, Unfurnished, or the Interest to be Sold in this genteel residence, near the third milestone on the Howth road, a few minutes walk from the seashore; it is situate within a park-like fence, inclosing twenty-five or forty-four plantation acres and bounded by a belt of trees, with extensive walks and shrubberies. The House consists of a splendid Entrance Hall, with Dining, Drawing, and Breakfast-rooms, and ten Bed-rooms, with every accommodation for a family of distinction. The Garden, Graperies, Green-house, and lce-houses are of the very first description; and there is also a compact Farm-yard and Offices of every kind. For particulars inquire of Mr Charles Parry, No. 2, Newcomen Terrace, North-strand. 

In 1838, Killester House was described by D'Alton as

"... a handsome seat, once the property of Viscount Newcomen, now the property of General Luscombe. Its gardens were formerly much admired. The hall is spacious, the reception rooms good and tastily laid out, displaying fine vistas of the bay and its southern shores, some winding wooded walks, and one straight arcade still termed "The Nun's Walk".

In 1846, Killester house was again advertised to let as a "comfortable 10-bedroom mansion wit a large Garden, well stocked with wall and other fruit trees; Graperies and Greenhouses ... (formerly the residence of the late Lord Newcomen)". SOURCE

It was described as being "three miles from Dublin, on the Road leading to Howth, at the Railway station"

Later that year in October all the farm Crops, Livestock, Manure, trees and farm implements, carts & machinery were auctioned off for sale. SOURCE

In 1852, T.C. Luscombe Esq. of Carrickathnan, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny was also using Killester House as his Dublin address. However, it would appear that he had sub-let it. 

  • In 1853, at the time of Griffith's Valuation, the house was recorded at #6a Killester North and valued at £115. The occupier was James Wynne Esq. 
  • In 1854, William Hickie Esq. of Killester House was High Sheriff for County Kerry. 


In 1863, the LANDED ESTATES COURT recorded that Killester House (in the Estate of J Luscombe) had been leased by a Dr Lynch for 21 years prior to the sale of the estate to a Mr Tickell. [Dublin Evening Mail 19 Dec 1863]. 

Dr Lynch of Heartfield aka Hartfield Private Lunatic Asylum in Drumcondra leased Killester House for the use of a patient, Mr Thomas Lahiff, of Galway, who had long-term dementia. SOURCE

By 1901, Killester House was still the property of the Rt. Hon. Lord Howth and occupied by William Thompson a retired farmer and his wife and their daughter Maria Magee (all Church of Ireland). The property had 12 windows to the front. 


In May 1920, when it was the property of Dublin Corporation, Killester House was destroyed by fire. 

After the property was destroyed by fire, the site was first acquired by Sir Henry McLoughlin (a well-known Dublin builder aka the "Bulldog in Spats") at £93 per acre. He had planned to develop an experimental training farm for girls in market gardening on this site. It was used for this purpose for two years.

However, after the Great War (WWI) was over, the British government was urged to do something to house Irish ex-servicemen and this land was relinquished by the Relief Committee to Dublin Corporation for housing permission. McLaughlin gave possession to the ILGB.  

From 1919-1945, Killester Demesne was developed as a housing colony for soldiers to relieve overcrowding in the inner-city slums. 



ORIENTATION: Killester Demesne Ireland VIEW SOURCE
PLACENAME ARCHIVE: Killester Demesne/Cill Laistre Ireland VIEW SOURCE
NIAH: Buildings of Ireland Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Griffith's Valuation: Killester Demesne 1853 Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Census 1901: Killester Demesne Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Census 1911: Killester Demesne Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Killester Houses for Heroes 1919-45 Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:

Landed Estate

Communities Associated with this Building