Drumcondra House

ClonturkDublin

built 1726

Hidden behind large trees and high walls,  Drumcondra House (now part of DCU All Hallows Campus) is tucked away between Drumcondra Road Upper (aka Santry Lane) and Gracepark Road (aka Goosegreen Lane).

Drumcondra House built in 1726, is believed to be one of the finest examples of a large house built in the style of the 18th century. This type of early Georgian house is typically large, rectangular in shape, with two or three stories. Drumcondra house (renowned for its gardens) was designed by the architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce to replace an earlier slated house "of fair stone" [CS1654] built by the Catholic Booth family before Drum Conragh was granted to the Coghills.  Pearce was comissioned by Sir Marmaduke Coghill of Belvedere House

Sir Marmaduke Coghill (1673–1738) was was remarkable for his early display of ability. At the age of 14 he entered Dublin University (Trinity College); at the age of 18 he graduated as a bachelor of laws; at the age of 19 he was returned to parliament; and at the age of 26 he became judge of the prerogative court. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1735 and was regarded as an honest and able supporter of Irish interests. Sir Marmaduke loved the house, especially the gardens. He never married and lived in Drumcondra House with his unmarried sister, Mary. At his death she was left, for her lifetime, his lands in the barony of Coolock, rents from his properties in Clonturk, all his household goods, and his coach, chariot and horses. In 1743, she erected the parish church of Clonturk (now Drumcondra Church) in his memory, and placed in it a statue of her brother by the Dutch sculptor Peter Scheemakers.

Upon Mary Coghill's death the house was left to their niece, Hester Coghil, who married Charles Moore, then second Lord Tullamore, and afterwards Earl of Charleville. Hence, Drumcondra House was, for a time, the residence of the Countess of Charleville. After that, Drumcondra house (including its offices, demesne and lands) was let to tenants: 

The Countess of Charleville leased Drumcondra House to Alderman Alexander Kirkpatrick of Dublin Corporation, a former high sheriff.

Of all the tenants who lived in it afterwards, John Claudius Beresford (1766-1846) is the one that is most remembered. He is known for his cruelty to the United Irishmen insurgents. During the Irish Rebellion of 1798 Beresford fought against the rebels with a particular ferocity, and hunted them down. It is said that many of them were hanged in front of Drumcondra House (from a large chestnut tree which stood there until 1952).

The soldier Major General Sir Guy Campbell K.C.B. was the last resident in the House, who rented it from the Coghill family.

For most of the 18th and 19th century, Drumcondra consisted of parks, fields and a few farmhouses. It boasted only three 'big houses' of note;  Drumcondra Castle (townland of Richmond, b.1560) which was overshadowed by Drumcondra House (townland of Drumcondra b.1726), and Belevedere House (townland of Drishoge; b.1660). Indeed, on any normal day, nothing more exciting happened in Drumcondra than the trundling through of mail-coaches to the main centres in the North. 

In 1842 Drumcondra House was rented to a Catholic priest named Father John Hand who wanted to establish a centre where young priests were trained as missionaries. He chose Drumcondra House as his headquarters and he centre became known as "The Missionary College of All Hallows" which was run by the Vincentian order.  Fr. Hand chose the name because the land where Drumcondra House had been built had once belonged to the Monastery of All Saints (All Hallows is another word for All Saints). However, many people did not know this and often mispelt this as "All Hollows" or even "Old Hollowes". The college was opened officially on the Feast Day of All Saints, November 1st 1842. The first students soon arrived and when student numbers grew, many new buildings were added to Drumcondra House. All Hallows missionaries were sent all over the world, as far away as India, the island of Mauritius, the West Indies, South Africa and Australia.

Today, All Hallows College is still run by the Vincentian order, and is now a college of Dublin City University. Students can study a number of subjects there such as Philosophy, Theology and Psychology.

 

WATCH

"Drumcondra House and All Hallows College" [YouTube: Dublin City Public Libraries]

READ

  1. History of Clonturk Fairview Marino History.
  2. The Missionary College of All Hallows (1842-1891) by Kevin Condon CM, All Hallows College, Dublin.
  3. Drumcondra Houses Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Dublin Public Libraries.