TALLAGHT, a post-town and a parish, in the barony of UPPERCROSS, county of DUBLIN, and the province of LEINSTER, 5 ½ miles (S. W. by W.) from Dublin, on the road to Blessington; containing 4646 inhabitants, of which number, 359 are in the town.
The name, which is also written Tavelagh, Tauelagh, Tamlact, and Taimlacht, signifies a "place of burial," from a large cemetery attached to the church, which popular tradition states to be the place in which the whole race of Partholan, who formed a settlement in Ireland A. M. 1956, were interred after their destruction by a plague. An abbey was founded here, in the eighth century, of which St. Maelruane was the first abbot; but no record remains concerning it after the year 1125.
A castle was built here by Alexander de Bicknor, Archbishop of Dublin, as his residence, which continued to be the seat of his successors until a late period; in 1324, he obtained remission of money in consideration of his expenses in its erection. In 1331, O'Toole, the chieftain of Imail, at the head of a numerous band, plundered the castle and demesne, slew many of the Archbishop's people, and defeated Sir Philip Britt and a body of Dublin men who had been sent against him.
A very large mansion-house was subsequently erected, to which was attached an extensive and well-stocked garden, laid out in the Dutch style, and a demesne of upwards of 200 acres. Dr. Fowler, who died in 1803, was the last archbishop who resided here. Lord John G. Beresford, who was translated to the see of Dublin in 1819, obtained an act of parliament to sell the buildings and lands, and his successor, Dr. Magee, sold them to Major Palmer, who, after having taken down the buildings, with the materials of which he erected Tallaght House, a handsome modern residence, disposed of his interest in them to John Lentaigne, Esq., the present proprietor.
The parish contains 6604 acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the northern portion of it is generally flat, with a range of low hills, or escars, extending from Balrothery hill, on the Dodder, to the Greenhills at its western extremity; the southern and eastern parts rise into the range of Tallaght hills, which command a magnificent view of the vale of Dublin and are backed by the lofty range of Seechin, the summit of which is on the southern verge of the parish.
The Dodder has its sources near Castlekelly, in the valley of Glennasmuil, or the "Thrushes' vale," in the south, and proceeding northward quits the parish at Templeogue near Rathfarnham: the Brittas river, a tributary of the Liffey, also rises in the parish. The hills consist of clay-slate, greenstone, and greenstone porphyry; the last-named formation is most abundant in the eastern part.
There are several paper and flour mills and a woolen mill in the parish. In the town is a dispensary; it is a constabulary police station, and petty sessions are held in it on alternate Mondays. It has a patent for fairs but they are not held.
Near Newlands is Belgarde Castle, originally the property of a branch of the Talbots of Malahide, from whom it passed by marriage to the Dillon family, and thence by purchase to the ancestors of the present proprietor, P. H. Cruise, Esq., who resides in it. The mansion is a large building in a demesne in which there are a number of very fine aged forest trees and has at one of its angles a square tower of very antique appearance, that formed part of the original structure, which at some distance gives it the appearance of a church. The other more remarkable seats are Templeogue House, the residence of P. Gogarty, Esq.; Newlands, of J. Crotty, Esq., and at one time that of Viscount Kilwarden, chief justice of the King's Bench; Cypress Grove, of J. Duffy, Esq.; Friarstown, of Ponsonby Shaw, Esq.; Delaford, of B. Taylor Ottley, Esq.; Sally Park, of W. E. Handcock, Esq.; Kilvere, of J. Sealy Townsend, Esq.; Willington, of the Rev. Charles McDonnell; Prospect, of the Rev. Dr. R. McDonnell; Allenton, of F. R. Cotton, Esq.; the Glebe House, of the Rev. W. Robinson; Kiltalown, of J. Robinson, Esq.; Fir House, of J. Armitage, Esq.; Orlagh, of N. Callwell, Esq.; Killymanagh, of J. Clancy, Esq.; Castlekelly, of J. Grierson, Esq.; Oldbawn, of M. McDonnell, Esq., an ancient mansion having in one of its apartments the date 1635; Ballyroan, of W. Poole, Esq.; Ellenborough, of N. Read, Esq.; Knocklyon, of W. Dunne, Esq.; Johnville, of N. Roe, Esq.; Annemount, of J. Gaham, Esq.; Newbawn, of S. P. Lea, Esq.; Newhall, of Edward Manders, Esq.; Killininey, of W. Devine, Esq.; Mount Hastings, of R. Hastings, Esq.; and Cherryfield, of P. A. Lawless, Esq.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Dublin, united to the rectory of Cruagh, and in the alternate patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin and W. Bryan, Esq.; the rectory forms part of the corps of the deanery of St. Patrick's. The chapel of Killahan, in the townland of Oldbawn, and dilapidated since 1532, and that of St. Bridget, near the Dodder, now in ruins, were appendant to the church of Tallaght. The Dean of St. Patrick's formerly had the right of presentation to the vicarage, by a grant from Pope Gregory IX., but the right afterwards lapsed by neglect.
The tithes amount to £678. 18. 6., of which £369. 4. 7 ½. is payable to the dean, £221. 10. 9 ½. to the dean and chapter in their corporate capacity, and £88. 3. 1. to the vicar; the gross tithes of the vicarial union amount to £270. 0. 7.
The glebe-house stands on a glebe of 17a. 0r. 20p.
The church, dedicated to St. Maelruane, was built in 1829 on the site of the ancient structure, by a grant of nearly £3000 from the late Board of First Fruits; it is in the pointed style of architecture, with pinnacles at the angles and along the sides: the ancient belfry tower, which is of considerable height, is still preserved as part of the edifice: the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £107 towards its repairs.
In the R. C. divisions, the parish forms part of the union or district of Rathfarnham, and has a chapel at Bohernabreena. At Fir House, a convent of discalced Carmelites, consisting of a superioress and 13 professed and lay sisters, was founded about eight years since, with a small chapel attached. At Mount Anne is a small monastery of the order of Carmelites.
A female parochial school is held near the church. Near the village is a neat school-house for boys and girls, erected in 1834 at an expense of £266, of which £130 was granted by the Board of National Education, on a site given by Mr. Lentaigne, and aided by subscription, to which W. D. Trant, Esq., contributed £25 and supplied the stone for its erection from his quarries: the last-named gentleman has also erected and maintains a neat school-house at Ballynascorney. A free school for girls is kept by the ladies of the Convent, and one for boys by the monks of St. Anne's. Near Fir House is a private school for the instruction of the deaf and dumb, and two others: the number of pupils in the free schools is about 430, and in the private schools, about 70. In 1789, Robert Murphy, Esq., bequeathed to the minister and churchwardens £10 Irish currency for the poor, and £10 Irish per ann. towards founding a Sunday school.
In the garden of Tallaght House are the remains of the original castle, consisting of a large square tower with a lofty gateway. On a rising ground that commands a pass in the road leading from Crumlin and Drymnagh Castle to Fir House is the castle of Timon, or Timothan, which anciently was the chief place in the lordship or manor of Tymothan, granted by King John to Henry de Londres, Archbishop of Dublin, in recompense for his losses in repairing the castle of Dublin and for other public services: in 1247 the manor was erected into a prebend in St. Patrick's Cathedral, which still exists but without any endowment. The building, which was in a ruinous condition in the reign of Henry VIII., now consists of a square tower or keep with a few small windows in a very dilapidated state.
At Aughfarrell are the remains of an old castle, and at Templeogue and beyond Friarstown are ruins of old churches; near the latter of which is a well, dedicated to St. Anne.
At the Greenhills is a rath and a fort, apparently erected at an early period to curb the predatory incursions of the Wicklow septs: on the grounds of Fortville Lodge is a Danish rath, surrounded with a fosse.