Enniskerry Carnegie Library

Butler's plans for the library were similar to those at Cabinteely, Greystones and Shankhill

Butler’s plans for the library were similar to those at Cabinteely, Greystones and Shankhill (from Irish Builder, August, 1911, 556)

Enniskerry Library was built in 1911, after land was made available by Lord Powerscourt (8th Viscount). His father had made land available in the same plot thirty years before for a school, which can be seen in this photo. According to Brendan Grimes in his book on Carnegie Libraries, the application was made to the Carnegie trust in 1910 by A Chatterton at the Powerscourt Estate Office, and a grant of £600 was approved in July of that year. Notice appeared in The Irish Times in April 1909 about the intention to apply and in October 1910, Rathdown (No 2) Rural Council recorded their gratitude to Mr Chatterton and Lord Powerscourt for their donation of land.

News about library application, Irish Times 19 April 1909

News about library application, Irish Times 19 April 1909

Plans were drawn up by Rudolf Maximilian Butler and following requests for tender, Ted Archer from Greystones was commissioned to complete the build. (He would go on to build the Forrester’s Hall in Bray). The building was completed in 1912. Interestingly, the name of the library was changed during the build from Powerscourt to Enniskerry.

Pegasi of the Powerscourt Crest over the door. The name was changed from Powerscourt to Enniskerry Library

Pegasi of the Powerscourt Crest over the door. The name was changed from Powerscourt to Enniskerry Library during the build.


There is no mistaking the man responsible for the library however immortalised by the enormous Wingfield crest is over the doorway. The door itself is original panelled wood, and set in Queen Anne style stone surround. The library was renovated in 1986 and refurbished in 2006. It is one of the real gems of our village.

Enniskerry Library, 2007, soon after renovation

Enniskerry Library, 2007, soon after renovation

6 thoughts on “Enniskerry Carnegie Library

  1. Great post! So nice to see the library building is still an integral part of Enniskerry’s beautiful streetscape. What will be the fate of Dun Laoghaire’s Carnegie library when the new cultural centre on the sea-front is complete I wonder? Ps have you read Jeanne Sheehy’s essay on 19th century church-building? Gives background on Enniskerry’s churches Here’s the link to it on Google books http://books.google.ie/books?id=8GO7AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=jeanne+Sheehy+popery+%26+puginism&source=bl&ots=LzaZDdN4_K&sig=gECrjHnHOXVMBceMuPFHsczSWHw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-OEpUcymL9OQhQezrICoDw&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=enniskerry&f=false

    • Thanks very much for that reference Caroline, that’s really great as I am doing a bit on the churches at the moment. I had heard several parts of the story but it is great to have it condensed in one place. The interesting thing from my point of view is that as soon as 7th V came of age, it ended the evangelical reign of Roden, and indeed the 6th V (and his wives) before him; it really must have been a breath of fresh air.

      As I am sure you know, but for reference for others, Brendan Grimes (again!) has some great stuff also on Patrick Byrne in his other book* and a Studies issue from way back in 1944 also talks briefly about Byrne and the church at Enniskerry (one of a series of “progressive Gothic Experiments”).

      Thanks again, much appreciated.

      *Majestic Shrines And Graceful Sanctuaries: The Church Architecture Of Patrick Byrne 1783-1864 By Brendan Grimes

  2. Very interesting ! So the old school was build around 1870? Any more info on the school itself Mick, some of the granite from the granite blocks from the school can still be seen in my neighbours wall ! Eugene.

  3. Hey Eugene,

    Yes, Curtlestown was the main RC national school for the area. In the early 1869, Thomas O’Dwyer PP agreed with Lord Powerscourt to use a room in the old fever hospital/estate office on Kilgarran Hill but it became so popular that it closed and Powerscourt gave land for this school which opened in the early 1870s; by 1875 there were minutes of it in the National School record system. You can see from the previous photo https://enniskerryhistory.org/home/index.php/archives/2001 that it was quite a substantial building, two storied with the entrance on the second level at the roadside. There’s a good bit of detail in the book about a school garden (which was held out as a national example of good practice) which was probably the site the library was built on and glorious detail of attendances and school principals (you have to love the stats), but inspired by this new photo, I will try to post up an overview in the next month.

    What’s most interesting of course, is what happened to it?! There’s a local story of a “school that fell into the river”, which I always thought (incorrectly) was the infant school by the lower bridge, but it makes sense that it is this one. Perhaps if you feel like exploring (or letting me explore) the bank down to the river, there might be evidence of this. I would love to see any photos of the remaining granite in the garden wall. The current NS was built in 1940, so something must have happened before then. The library was used as a school for a time too, so the date could be any time between – perhaps 1920s to 1940s. time to explore some newspapers…!

  4. i remember going to class in the library miss sweeney was our teacher. one day she did not turn up so we went up to main school. the fire had been lit a bit ot turf fell out and set fire to the library .this was about 1952/3

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