CLONDALKIN, a parish, in the barony of UPPERCROSS, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 5 miles (S. W.) from Dublin city centre; containing 2976 inhabitants, of which number, 374 are in the village. This place, anciently called 'Cluain-Dolcan,' and by the Danes 'Dun-Awaley,' appears, from the evidence of its ancient round tower, still in good preservation, to have had a very remote origin. A monastery was founded here, of which St. Cronan Mochua was the first abbot ; and a palace here belonging to Anlaff, or Auliffe, the Danish king of Dublin, was, in 806, destroyed by the Irish under Ciaran, the son of Ronan. The monastery was plundered and burnt in 832, 1071, and 1076, since which last date there is no further record of its history. In 1171, Roderic O'Connor, King of Leinster, with the forces of O'Ruarc and O'Carrol, Prince of Argial, marched to this place against Earl Strongbow who was then besieging Dublin ; but in order to oppose his further progress, Strongbow advanced to give him, battles and after some days skirmishing compelled him to retreat, leaving Dublin to the mercy of the English. The village, near the entrance of which are the remains of a fortified castle, consists chiefly of one irregular street, and in 1831 contained 150 houses neatly built, though small, and some neatly ornamented cottages appropriated to the uses of charitable and benevolent institutions. It is situated on the small river Camma, and the road from Dublin to Newcastle, and is. a constabulary police station. In common with the parish, it is within the jurisdiction of the manor court of St. Sepulchre's Dublin. The greater portion of the parish is arable land ; the soil is fertile, and the system of agriculture very much improved under the auspices of many resident gentlemen, who farm their own estates, and have established ploughing matches for prizes, which are annually distributed. There are quarries of good limestone, which is raised in abundance for agricultural and other uses.
The gentlemen's seats are
- Newlands, the residence of P. Crotty, Esq., a handsome modern mansion, previously occupied by the late Lord Kilwarden, Chief-Justice of blue King's Bench;
- Collinstown, of M. Mills, Esq. ;
- Lark-field, of J. Hamilton, Esq., in the grounds of which are the ruins of an old castle covered with ivy;
- Corkagh, of W. Stockley, Esq. ;
- Little Corkagh, of H. Arabin, Esq. ;
- Moyle Park, of W. Caldbeck, Esq. ;
- Neilstown House, of L. Rorke, Esq. ;
- Nanger, of P. C. Rorke, Esq., formerly an old embattled castle, now modernised ;
- Clondalkin, of Mrs. Anne Connally ;
- Kilcarbery of H. Phillips, Esq. ;
- St. Mark's, of Capt. Foss ;
- Neilstown lodge, of C. Brabazon Esq. ;
- Flora-ville, of R Smith, Esq. ;
- Rosebank, of W. Bayly, Esq.;
- Clonburrows, of M. Pearson, Esq. ;
- Collinstown Cottage, of the Rev. Mr. O'Callaghan; and
- Clover Hill, of D. Kinalson, Esq.
There is an oil-mill in the parish, and in the demesne of Little Corkagh are some gunpowder-mills, established a century since, but not used since 1815 ; one of them has been converted into a thrashing and cleaving mill, capable of preparing 100 barrels daily. The Grand canal passes through the parish, and the Royal Canal through the northern part of the union, near the Duke of Leinster's demesne. The living is a rectory and a vicarage, in the diocese of Dublin ; the rectory is united to those of Rathcool, Esker, Kilberry, and Tallagh, together constituting the corps of the deanery of St. Patrick's Dublin, in the patronage of the Chapter ; and the vicarage is united to the rectory of Kilmactalway, the vicarage of Kilbride, the curacies of Drimnagh and Kilmacrudery (Kilmahudderinck) , and the half rectories of Donoghmore and Donocomper, togetiler constituting the union of Clondalkin, in the patronage of the Archbishop. The tithes of Clondalkin amount to £473. 18s. 11d., of which £428. 2s. 5.25 d. is payable to the dean, and £43. 0s. 9.75d., to the vicar. The glebe-house, a good residence in the village, was built in 1810, by aid of a gift of £100 and a loan of £450 from the late Board of First Fruits : the glebe comprises 17a. 2r. 5p., of profitable land. The church is a small modern edifice in good repair, and requires to be enlarged.
In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Palmerstown, Clondalkin, and Lucan ; the chapel at the village of Clondalkin is a neat building. There is also a chapel attached to the monastery of Mount Joseph, which is pleasantly situated on high ground commanding extensive views at no great distance from the mail coach road from Dublin to Naas : this establishment was founded in 1813, and consists of a prior and several brethren, with a chaplain who support themselves by their own industry. Some of them conduct a day and boarding school for such as can afford to pay; and in connection with the monastery is a school of about 200 boys, supported by a grant of £16 per annum from the National Board, and collections at an annual charity sermon.
There is another national school and there are two others and a Sunday school for which school-rooms have been erected at an expense of £240, towards which the Rev. Dr. Reade, the present incumbent, contributed £140, and also assigned in perpetuity to the parish the ground on which they are built ; the total number in these schools is about 216 boys and 305 girls. There is also a school in the village, in which about 130 girls are instructed and 40 annually clothed; it is under the management of Mrs. Caldbeck, and supported by her, aided by collections at the R. C. chapel and the sale of the children's work. The school-room was built by subscription, in 1831, on land given by Wm. Caldbeck, Esq., who also, in 1833, gave land for the erection of a house for the R. C. clergyman, and for a dispensary. The Rev. Dr. Reade has also established almshouses for destitute widows, a poor shop, repository, Dorcas institution, and a, lying-in hospital.
Nearly adjacent to the present church are the almost shapeless ruins of the old conventual church of the monastery, which was afterwards the parochial church, and among them is an ancient cross of granite, nine feet high ; it appears to have been a spacious structure, about 120 feet long and from 50 to 60 feet wide; and near it is the ancient round tower previously noticed. This tower is about 100 feet high and 15 feet in diameter, and is covered with a conceal roof of stone ; its style is of the plainest order, and it is in good preservation ; the entrance is about 10 feet from the ground, and the base of the column to that height was, about 60 years since, cased with strong masonry. There are four openings looking towards the cardinal points in the upper story, in which a room has been formed by its proprietor, R. Caldbeck, Esq., having an ascent by ladders from within, and commanding a most extensive and interesting prospect over the surrounding trusty. At Ballymount are extensive remains of a once strong castle, consisting principally of the enclosing walls and the keep : within the walls is a respectable farm-house, evidently built with the old materials.