GLASNEVIN, a parish and village, in the barony of COOLOCK, county of DUBLIN, and the province of LEINSTER, 1.50 miles (N.) from Dublin, on the road to Naul; containing 1001 inhabitants, of which number, 559 are in the village. This place, which is pleasantly situated on the northern bank of the river Tolka, was, early in the last century, the residence of many families of distinction, and of several of the most eminent literary characters of that age; and from its proximity, to the metropolis, it is still the residence of many highly respectable families. Among the more distinguished of its earlier inhabitants were the poet Tickell, Addison, Swift, Delany, Steele, Sheridan, and Parnell.
The demesne of the first-named is now the site of the botanical gardens of the Royal Dublin Society, and a large apartment of the house is appropriated as the lecture-room of that institution.
- Melville, formerly the seat of the Rev. Dr. Delany, Dean of Down, and now the residence of S. Gordon, Esq., was the frequent resort of Dean Swift and other distinguished literary men of that day. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Tolka; on an eminence in the grounds is a temple decorated with paintings by Mrs. Delany, and a medallion bust of Mrs. Johnson, the "Stella" of Swift; beneath this building were found by a former proprietor the remains of a printing press, used by Swift in printing his satires on the Irish Parliament; the house and domestic chapel still retain their original character.
- On the opposite side of the Tolka is the celebrated seat and demesne of Mitchel, now the residence of the Bishop of Kildare; a little beyond it is Hampstead, formerly the residence of Sir Richard Steele, subsequently that of the late Judge Parsons, and now the seat of B. O'Gorman Esq. ; and in the contiguous parish of Finglas, was the residence of Parnell, formerly vicar of that parish.
In the village are many handsome houses, of which the principal are those of
- Capt. J. A. Crawford,
- the Rev. W. C. Roberts,
- the Rev. R. Walsh (one of the editors of the History of Dublin),
- Capt. R. Smith,
- W. Marrable, Esq.,
- T. Howard, Esq.,
- G. Alker, Esq., and
- Fairfield, the residence of the Rev. J. Hutton.
The botanical gardens occupy more than 57 statute acres, laid out with great skill and due regard to the illustration of that interesting study. The botanical department contains an extensive range of hothouses, occupying the summit of the higher ground in the centre of the garden, and including extensive collections of beautiful and rare plants, of which the various species of each large genus are appropriated as much as possible to separate houses.
- In front of the hothouses is the arboretum, in which herbaceous plants trees and shrubs are arranged according to the Linnaean system, and to the north arrangements are being made for a classification of similar plants according to their natural orders, on the system of Jussieu, with a division for medical plants, and for such as are peculiar to Ireland.
- The horticultural department occupies the western side of the garden, and contains divisions for exhibiting the rotatory system of cropping in the cultivation of culinary vegetables; collections of the most useful grasses, clovers, grain, &c., &c. ; a selection of hardy fruits, and a collection of choice fruits, to illustrate the methods of pruning and training them.
- The ornamental department, including the aquarium and the banks of the river Tolka, is being laid out as an American garden, with a view to exhibit the various features of landscape gardening, and also contains a division for the culture of specimens of all the agricultural roots.
- The gardens are under the superintendence of a professor, a curator, and a foreman ; and the establishment consists of eight pupils, three apprentices, three labourers, and a porter.
- The professor's house and lecture-room are near the entrance of the gardens, and during the season from June to September, lectures are given three times every week, and are in general numerously attended ; the gardens are also open to the public two days in the week from 12 o'clock till 4.
A public cemetery was opened here in 1832, comprising 6 Irish acres, neatly laid out; in the centre is a chapel for the funeral service, and the area is enclosed with walls, having at each angle a castellated watchtower : the profit of this cemetery will be appropriated to the education of poor children.
The parish, which comprises 983 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £4499 per annum, is the head of an extensive manor belonging to the cathedral establishment of Christ-Church, Dublin, and frequently called Grangegorman, from its courts having been held formerly in a village of that name : courts leet and baron are regularly held, the former at Easter and Michaelmas, and the latter, in which debts to the amount of £2 are recoverable, every Friday. There is also a constabulary police station.
The living is a rectory and curacy, in the diocese of Dublin, the rectory partly forming the corps of the precentorship, and partly that of the chancellorship of the cathedral of Christ-church, and the curacy in the alternate patronage of the precentor anti chancellor. The tithes amount to £184, half of which is payable to the curate. The church is a small structure, rebuilt in 1707, with the exception of the tower, which is overspread with ivy; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted idiot for its repair : in the churchyard is a mural tablet to the memory of Dr. Delany.
In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Clontarf: a branch from the Carmelite convent of Clondalkin was established here in 1829, attached to which is a school.
About 80 children are taught in two public schools, of which one, under the patronage of the Bishop of Kildare, was founded by Dr. Delany who built the school-house; and there is an infants' school, founded in 1834.
Claremont, an extensive institution for deaf and dumb children, was founded in 1816, under the patronage of her present Majesty and the late Duke of Gloucester; the buildings are extensive, and the grounds comprise 18.50 acres, subject to a rent of £220.10s. 9d. The establishment contains school-rooms and dormitories for 100 children, as poor boarders and pupils, who must be not less than 8 nor more than 12 years old at their admission; it is under the management of a committee of subscribers, and is supported by donations and annual subscriptions, entitling the contributors to the nomination of children in proportion to their subscriptions; the master has accommodations also for children of the richer class, who pay £50 per annum. The Very Rev. Dr. Barret, Vice-provost of Trinity College, bequeathed £70,000, and Sir Gilbert King, Bart., £7000, to trustees for charitable uses; from the former, this institution received £2166. 6s. 10d. three and a half per cent. stock, and from the latter £332.6s. 1d.
There is also a private lunatic asylum, under the Superintendence of Dr. Eustace, well arranged for the reception of patients.
An almshouse for four poor Protestants was founded and endowed by Lord Forbes, in 1723; and there is a dispensary.
A field, called the "Bloody Acre," is supposed to have been part of the site of the memorable battle of Clontarf.