George Telford, Enniskerry Merchant

Enniskerry ca 1896, from the National Llibrary of Ireland Lawrence Collection

Enniskerry ca 1896, from the National Library of Ireland Lawrence Collection

In 1892, London’s Commercial Gazette reported an agreement reached by George Telford & Son, an Enniskerry grocer and general merchant to pay Andrew Byrne of Quinsborough Road, Bray, also a merchant. Evidently he had fallen behind in his bills. But who was George Telford?

The 1901 Census lists George Telford, then aged 66, as a retired grocer originally from County Longford. Living with him is Beresford Buckley (28), a post office assistant, Annie Moore (24), a nurse, and Bridget Morriss (40), a house maid. Moore was evidently Telford’s nurse, as her relationship to him is listed as servant. They lived in a 10-12 roomed house, that had 6 windows to the front. Given that it was next to the hotel (9 windows to the front), it seems like a good guess that this is what is today’s Spar and Jenny Turner.

Buckley was a very common Enniskerry name, and the rather unusual name Beresford is one found in the Buckley family line. The Powerscourt church records list Beryl Beresford née Buckley marrying Richard Bradner in 1892. The Buckleys and the Telfords were close. Thomas Henry Telford—the son mentioned by the Gazette—married Marian Amelia Buckley, daughter of the village butcher Henry Buckley in 1887, while Francis Buckley, son of the hotelier at the Powerscourt Arms William Buckley married Georgina Telford, Georgina. The couple took over running the Powerscourt Arms Hotel, as can be seen in the Lawrence photograph. (One of their early tasks would have been to deal with the fire (read more on that here).

Telford Grave (photo from IGP Website)

Telford Grave (photo from IGP Website)

While by 1901, only George Telford was left in the village, his family are mentioned in Powerscourt graveyard records. His wife Anne died in September 1885, aged 64. As well as Thomas and Georgina, the couple had another daughter, Isabella, who died as an infant in 1868. Thomas and Marian left Enniskerry and by 1901, they were living in Watkin’s Buildings off Cork St. He was a relieving officer. Interestingly, William Miller lived with them – Miller was another Enniskerry merchant name. Back in Enniskerry, Francis and his new bride  Georgina got down to the business hotel, and clearly of family; they had at least nine children. Sadly Georgina died in 1909, aged just 46 and she was not listed in 1911 Census. In the intervening 10 years, Francis’ job description changed from Hotel Keeper to Farmer. By 1911, the hotel was run by William Johnston (more on that here). It was the beginning of the end of Buckleys in Enniskerry.

The nurse living with George in 1901 suggests he was ill, and in August of that year, just after the Census was taken, he died. Thomas died in 1929, and they are, George Telford and Son, buried together in Powerscourt Church graveyard.



Larry’s Apprenticeship: An Enniskerry story from 1872

 With thanks to Úna Wogan, who found this in the County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser – a Welsh newspaper – from 21 Dec 1872. Úna says that she “found the index to the authors that contributed to the annual and “Larry’s Apprenticeship” was written by Isabella Banks or her pen name, Mrs G Linnaeus Banks. Although it’s a piece of fiction I’m wondering was she actually inspired by a servant called Margaret McCann. She must have had some knowledge of the village and surrounds and the Quinn/McCann names are very appropriate.”

Make a cup of tea and enjoy! Thank you Úna! 

“Larry’s Apprenticeship”: An Irish Fairy Legend


AH, sure, an’ did I ever tell ye how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?’ This query was put by Margaret M’Cann (an old, valuable, faithful, and warm-hearted Irish servant of my mother’s) to myself and youngest brother, who were seated-myself on the kitchen fender, and he on a low stool–listening to her true stories of Banshees and Leprechauns, in both of which she was a stout believer. She had just told us of the wailing banshee she had herself seen and heard on the river bank, and of a leprechaun in his red cap and miniature suit of green; and she had borne with perfect good-humour our ridicule and banter over her credulity, when she put the sudden question,

“Did ye know, then, how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?” “I never knew they were carpenters” said I, with a light laugh. ‘”Why, Margaret, I thought all your family were farmers” cried Fred, with an assumption of prior information. ‘Them’s the Quins, Master Fred. They are all farmers to this blessed day; an’ the M’Canns were farmers too, an’ had a fine holdin’ amongst the Wicklow mountains, just a trifle beyan Enniskerry, till Larry M’Cann (my grandfather that was) met with an adventure amongst the Good People.’ Here Margaret, being a devout Catholic, crossed herself. ‘Good People!  0, I suppose you mean fairies,’ was my amendment. Sure, an’ I do: but we never speak of them but as the Good People. It’s unlucky.’ ‘0, that’s only in Ireland,’ suggested Fred, with a droll wink at me. In England, you may call them anything you like, and they won’t mind it one bit.’ ‘Are ye sure now, Master Fred?’ Certain. But, Margaret, what had the fairies to do with Larry M’Cann’s carpentering?’ Well, I’ll tell ye, of course as it wor towld to me, when I was a slip of a colleen no bigger than yez.’

And -Margaret settled herself on her chair with all the importance of an old story-teller. Ye must know that Larry was as fine an’ strapping a lad as ever stepped over the daisies. It was he that could handle a flail or a plough, or dig praties, or stack the hay in the haggard, And when he went to chapel on a Sunday in his best frieze coat, with the ends of his handkercher flying loose, an’ his caubeen cocked rakishly on one side, sure an’ weren’t all the girls in Enniskerry in love with his blue eyes and yellow hair, and weren’t half of them dying to have him for a bachelor? I presumed we listeners looked mystified, with the word bachelor so applied, for Margaret explained, that’s what you call a sweetheart, miss.’ But Larry, though not conceited, laughed with one girl, an joked with another; an’ whenever he went to Dublin, or Phoenix Park, or the Strawberry-beds, could take the floor with the best, and have the purtiest girl for a partner-an’ troth it’s he that could dance a jig- but he never thought of takin’ a partner for life, or of ofterin himself as a bachelor, till he met with Kitty Quin, an’ her black eyes made a hole in his heart at wanst. He was nigh six-an’-twenty when he met her. It was at a pattern at the Seven Churches of Glendalough, an’ sorra a bit could he mind his prayers for looking at her as she towld her beads so piously, without seem in to think of the bachelors or her own pretty face at all. Well, I heard grandfather say that, though he was as bowld and impident in his way with the lasses as any lad in Enniskerry, his knees fairly knocked together, an his heart went all in a flutter before he could bless himself, when Michael Quin tuk her by the hand an’ comin towards him, said, Here’s our Kitty come back from aunt Riley’s; an’ when Larry wor too dazed to speak, went on, Have yez got a drop in your eye. man that yez cannot see the colleen, or has Dublin made her so strange ye don’t know her again ? What Larry said he never remembered, but he felt as if lie hadn’t a bit of heart left, an’ his words tumbled over each other like stones rolled down hill. He knew he had blundered out somethin’ for Kitty’s cheeks went red as the roses on her gown. She put out her soft little hand with a smile that showed two rows of teeth as white an’ fresh as hailstones; and she said modestly as a nun, I’m glad to see any of my owld friends again, Misther M’Cann.” He had sense enough left, to take howld of the hand she offered: an’ sure he must have given it a hearty grip for the roses grew on her forehead to match her cheeks’ and she drew it back hastily. Larry, however, kept close to the brother an’ sister- an; when the prayers were over, an’ the people began to enjoy themselves, an’ the dudeens an’ the whiskey went round to warm the hearts an’ the toes, then Larry plucked up his courage an’ asked Kitty to take the floor with him. Now Kitty was either shy, or her Dublin manners made her too proud to dance at a pattern, so she made excuses. Michael, who had kissed the whiskey-jar very lovingly, would not have his friend said no “to; and so to keep Mike in a good humour, she consented to dance a jig with Larry. Sure, an’ it was then he must have won her heart; for they all went back to Enniskerry together, she let Larry put his arm around her waist, just to howld her on the car, because of the bad roads, an’ stale a kiss when he lifted her down at Farmer Quin’s garden gate. And from that out Larry followed Kitty like her sliadder. But Peter Quin farmed more than two hundred acres, all’ Larry’s father only he]d a hundred an’ twenty an’ that’s a good differ, Master Fred. Then Mike an’ Kitty work all the chitder Peter had, whilst Larry’s brothers- God be praised !—were as thick on the time as rabbits in a run: wherever ye turned yez might tumble over a pig or a gossoon. ° Troth, an’ it wasn’t’ long afore the neighbours began to call on Larry as Kitty’s bachelor, an’ one deceitful ould fellow, who had himself an eye to Kitty’s bit of money, gave Peter a hint that Larry was coortin’ the lass for the love of her fortune. Peter had a temper that was always on the simmer, an’ it boiled over at once.

By some ill-luck Larry showed his face at the Quin’s door before it had time to cool, so Peter treated him to a thrifle of his blackguard. “Div ye think Kitty, the elligant darlng, is for such a poor spalpeen as yez ?” he said, “She that’s been educated in Dublin, an’ liez book-larnin’, let alone manners, an’ a fortun’ to the fore.  But it’s the fortun’ I’m thinking, yez lookin’ for wid one eye, an’ the girl wid the other, Misther Lawrence M’Cann,” he said, with a sneer an’ a turn up of his ugly nose. It’s well for yez, Mr. Pether Quin, that yez Kitty’s father, or, by jabers, an’ I’s showin’ yez the taste of this blackthorn I’d be,” said Larry on the instant, keeping his passion down with an effort. Yez may keep your dirty money, bad cess to them as put the black thought of me into yer heart, if ye’ll only put Kitty’s sweet little hand into mine wid a blessin’ ‘

“You may be sure, miss, as they did not whisper; an’ hearin’ a row, Mike ran from the barn into the slip of garden forenent the house to join in the fun. He was jist in time to hear his father repate his insult, an’ accusing Larry of wanting Kitty’s hundred pounds; an’ then Mike fired up, an’ took his friend’s part like a Trojan,’ And what’s a Trojan, Margaret ? asked Fred, demurely, with another sly blink at me. Whisht, Masther Fred, an’ don’t be after interruptin,’ or we’ll never get to the Good People at all,’ said Margaret, ignoring the question. Rightly admonished, Master Fred allowed the story to proceed. But Mike could not bring his father to reason, even though he offered him a draw of his pipe. More by token, he himself was unwilling to let his sister marry a man who had neither house nor furniture of his own. It’s not for the likes of her to lay her head under a father-in-law’s roof, an have her childer running over a floor that is not her own,” said Mike. I’d say nothin’ agin the match, Larry, if ye had but a farm or a house of yer own, or even the bits of things to make a house dacent for the lass.”

Larry went away with a very sore heart, miss, you may be sure, for he’d set his very sowl upon Kitty Quin.  An’ sure an’ that was the black morning for Larry jumpin’ a corner of a quickset hedge on his way home, who should he come across but Kitty, with a basket of ripe strawberries on her arm, an’ she lookin’ more temptin’ than the fruit. Kitty had a tender drop in her heart, and seeing that he was sad, she set herself to discover what it was about; and didn’t she regret her curiosity in another minit ? for he poured out all his love and his sorrow like a great gushin stream, and held her hand as if he was drowni’n, an’ only that could keep him from sinking quite. Taken by surprise, Kitty dropped her basket, an’ would have fainted outright, had not Larry put out his arm an’ caught her, and that brought her to her seven senses. Poor Larry mistook her faintness for a sign of her affection, an’ in his joy kissed her sweet lips over an’ over again. But Kitty soon told him the differ. She said she had only fainted from the heat. She was sorry he had mistaken her friendship for a warmer feeling; but though she was ashamed her father should have suspected him of a mercenary motive, she could not encourage his hopes. She should never marry without her father s consent; an’ besides, her bringing-up had made her unfit for a farmer’s wife, an’ so she had determined—yes, determined was the word-never to marry any man who had not a good trade in his hands that would be a livin’ either in country or town. Every word that Kitty said fell like ice on Larry’s hot heart, an’ he reeled home as if he had had lashins of whisky; an’ when he got there, he took the whisky to drown his sorrow till he wor drunk in arnest.

There was nobody to tell him of the battle in Kitty’s breast between love and pride nor how she had crept into the house by the back way, an’ shut herself up, all alone, in her room, to shed tears like a February cloud over the very mischief she had done, and the pain in her own breast. Sure, all the fun an’ the frolic in Larry’s nature was curtailed that black mornin’. He went about the farm without a smile on his lip or a sunbeam in his eye, an’ his mother would have it the boy was bewitched. Even Father Maguire noticed his altered looks, an’ his careless dress when he went to mass on the Sundays, and the good priest did his best to set matters straight’ but all to no use, miss. Peter Quinn was sorry when his temper was off, but —small blame to him he still thought she might do better than go to the M’Cann’ to be under a mother-in- law, an’ work like a slave for all Larry’s younger brothers.

As for Kitty, before the feel of Larry’s kiss had gone from her lips the colleen was angry that he had taken her at her word; but she fed her courage with pride, and put a calm face on, though her heart was all in a tempest of throuble. An’ sure, miss, there’s many and many a girl does that, although you are too young to know it, and I hope never will.’ Here Margaret looked at me soberly, as if giving a leaf out of the book of her own experience.

One fine June morning, when the roses were in full dress, an’ the air had the smell of flowers an’ new- mown hay, Larry went to St. Patrick’s Market to sell a cow that had gone dry. Three weeks before, an’ that same Larry would have sung or whistled every foot of the road, barrin’ he met a traveller and stopped to give him the time o’ day. or exchange a joke. But now he kept his hands in his pockets, his chin hung on his chest, an’ his mouth was as close as a miser’s purse. He had a sup of whiskey before he left home, to keep his heart up, but; fur all that he looked as melancholy as the cow he wor drivin’. He had barely got a couple of miles beyant Peter Quin’s farm, which lay in his way to Dublin, when he heard a thin weak voice callin’ to him, like the wind through a keyhole.

The top o’ the mornin’ to you, Larry The same to you, misther, answered Larry, slowly lifting his eyes, an’ then rubbin’ them to clear the cob- webs away; for straight across the road was a gate where never a gate had been before, an’ sittin’ cross- legged on the topmost bar was the queerest little old man Larry had ever seen. He was no bigger than a two-year child, but his face was as wizen an’ wrinkled as if he was four hundred. He was dressed in an old-fashioned coat an’ breeches as green as the grass, had shining buckles in his shoes, and on his head a bright red cap. By all them tokens Larry knew that the little old man was a leprechaun, an’ his mouth began to wather for some of the gold he knew the old gintleman must have hid in the ground some- where about, an’ his heart began to thump. But Larry was not the boy to be afraid, so he put a bould face on when the leprechaun, with his head cocked on one side and a knowing twinkle in his eye, said to him, That’s a fine baste yez drivin’, Larry!” Troth, yer honour, an’ ye may say that same,” replied Larry, doffin his caubeen an’ scrapin’ his foot, for he thought it best to be civil. An’ so your drivin’ the cow to market because she’s lost her milk, an ye mane to askin’ pound ten for her said the leprechaun with a comical chuckle. Begod, an’ I am!” exclaimed Larry, opening his eyes and slapping his thigh in amazement, an’ sure, it’s the knowin’ old gintleman yer honour is ” Thrue for you,” said the leprechaun; “an’ maybe I know, besides, that Larry M’Cann’s goin’ to the bad for love of the purtiest girl in Wicklow. But pluck up a spirit, Larry, don’t be cast down. It’s I that owe Peter Quinn a grudge this many a long day, for his meaness in cheatin’ the fairies of their due. Never a fairies’ drop’ (milk left as a propitiatory offering to the Good People) is to be found in Peter’s cow-house or dairy; and never a turf or a pratie or a cast-off coat has he for a poor shivering begger or omadhaun’ (idiot), ‘bad cess to him An’ so, Larry, I mean to befriend yez for it’s yez thet have the warm heart and open hand’ an’ we’ll back thim against the cowld heart ,.nd the tight fist any day an’ the leprechaun plucked off his red cap and swung it over his head, as if in high glee.

Larry, with another scrape of his foot, thanked the green-coated old gentleman, an’ asked him if he meant to show him where to find a pot of goold. Ay, an’ that I do; but, Larry,” an’ here he looked slyer than ever, the fortun’s in your own right hand, man, an’ it’s I that meane to teache ye to find it there.” Larry opened his great brown hand, an’ turned it over, an’ looked in the broad palm. Divil a bit I see of a fortin’ there,” says he. Whisht says the leprechaun. Go on wid yer beast, an’ when ye meet a man wid his breeches knees untied, an’ his coat-tails down to his heels, an’ a wisp of straw in his shoes to keep his toes warm where they peep out of his stockin’s, an’ a caubeen witout a brim, thin ye’ll know the man that’ll bid for yer cow, an’ give ye nine goolden guineas for her, not dirty notes. Nine guineas begod, an’ that’s more than-” Larry stopped short. The leprechaun was gone, an’ the gate was gone, an’ the poor cow walked on as if she had never been stayed.

“Perhaps she never had,’ suggested Fred ‘Now, Masther Fred,’ said Margaret ”if ye interrupt me agin wid yer roguish doubts, I shall stop, an ye’ll never hear how it all ended.’ Go on, Margaret,’ urged I, and Margaret obeyed.

– 0 – 0 – 0 –


LARRY’S surprise an’ the leprechaun’s promises drove the thoughts of Kitty out of his head, an’ he stepped toward Dublin with something of his ould lightsomeness; when just as he crossed the canal bridge lie saw Kitty Quin standin’ on her aunt Riley’s doorstep in Clanbrassil street, dressed as elligantlv as a lady, an’ lookin’ as grand an’ as proud as a queen. Well, Kitty’s face went crimson, an’ Larry’s heart gave a great leap; but she just made him a stiff kind of curtsey, an the door bein’ opened, went in without a word. Thim’s Dublin manners, I suppose,” thought Larrv, his heart aching worse than ever; while Kitty, watchin him from behind the window- blind as tar as she could see, felt the tears rowl over her burnin’ cheeks, an’ then wiped them off angrily, as if ashamed of her natural feelin’s an’ blamed herself for being silly.

Larry hardly knew how he got to the market, but sure enough there he met that same identical man the leprechaun had towld him of. An’ more, by token he made Larry a bid for the cow. He bid eight pound ten, but Larry, heartened beforehand, stuck out tor nine guineas; and sure he took Larry into a public-house that stood convanient, and took out of his breeches-pocket an ow!d rag tied round wid string to sarve as a purse, and there an’ thin counted down the nine goolden guineas. Then he asked Larry to have a dhrop an’ a dhraw” to seal the bargain. Lairy s customer called for the whisky, an’ offered Larry his own pipe. So the boy had both the dhrop an the dhraw, an’ then they had another dhrop an’ a dhraw; an Larry remembered no more till he found himself lyin on the grass, wid the stars shining out in honour of Midsummer-eve, an’ a rushin’ in his ears as of a great sea. ‘Then he heard a rustle as of leaves, an’ a mighty wbisperin, an lifted himself on his elbow to look about hiin, and there he saw hundreds of little people no more than a span high, dressed in all sorts of queer out- landish fashions. All the little men had coats of green velvet, and leaves of green shamrock in their hands; whilst the ladies had scarves of green gauze as fine as cobwebs, an shamrock was wreathed round their heads, which shone like goold in the moonlight. “They were all in commotion, running hither an thither, howlding long discourses, and appeared to be in some sort of trouble or difficulty.

Presently he saw in their midst the loveliest little creature the light of his eyes ever flashed on. She was sitting in a silver-lily of a car, and drawn by seven-and- twenty grasshoppers, three abreast. She had a wand in her hand, on which a crystal dew-drop twinkled like a star, an Larry knew at wanst that they were all fairies, an she was their queen. Then, miss, as they drew nigher to him, Larry heard that one of the owd fairies lay dead, an that they wanted a coffin for the berrin. But not a coffin could they get, for fairy coffins must be made by mortals, or the dead fairies never lie at rest. An that was what the council an the confusion was about. Soon Larry heard the fairy queen say in a voice for all the world like the chirp of a cricket, -‘But who shall make thee coffin?” All of a sudden at least fifty’ of the Good People laid howld of him, and cried out like so many bees humming, Here’s Larry M’Cann, here’s Larry M’Cann it’s he will make the coffin.” But he never handled a saw or a plane in his life; he cannot make a pig-trough, an how will he finish a coffin fit for an elf ? said one of the Good People. Sure, thin, an it’s we that must teache him,” answered another.

With that the fairy queen touched him on the fore- head, as lightly as if a leaf had dropped there, with her shining wand, an it flashed before his eyes till they seemed to flash fire; an before he could cry out, or ask a saint to purtect him, he felt himself goin down, down, down, down into the very earth itself; an it’s lost he thought be was for evermore. Troth was Dublin Castle’s but a mud cabin in comparison with the palace Larry was in when he came to his senses. The walls were brighter than sunshine or rainbows, an goold, an silver, an prechus jewels were as plentiful as praties. There were gardens with trees all flowers, the likes of which were never seen in all Ireland an the birds were all crimson an green an lylack, and sang sweeter than thrush or nightingale. He seemed to see all this at once, and many a curious thing beside, which I disremember, and amongst it all the Good People were as busy as bees in a hive. Almost the first thing he saw was the dead-fairy lying on a bed of Indian moss, under a delicate silken quilt, with a tiny wreath of lilies of the valley on his head, and forget-me-nots all about him. There was a fine bird of paradise singing over him so soft an sweet, it charmed the very sowl of Larry. There were fairies watchin the corpse, but every wan of them was sobbin or cryin, an sure that same bothered him. It was not long he was left to stare about him. One of the Good People put an inch rule into his band an set him to measure the corpse, an sure that same came as natural to him as hoeing the cabbages. He was taken to a fine fairy workshop, where everything was as neat an orderly as if it had just been cleaned. There was piles of wood of all sorts, an one owld brownie told Larry their names, and there was lots of bright tools, an another wee owld fellow towld him their names; and then two or three showed him how to use them.

Then they gave him the wood. an the tools, an he made an eligant little coffin as aisily as if he had been at the trade all his life. The dead corpse was lifted in by the mourners as never mourned, an Larry fastened down the lid as cleverly as any undertaker in Leinster. As the funeral percession, with the coffin in the midst, moved away to the fairies’ cemetry, the owld brownie who first took notice of Larry said, “very nately put together, Larry M’Cann; sure, an ye’re a credit to your teachers. Take your wages, man, an go.” Larry put out his hand and stooped for the glitterin purse that wor held out to him, an—whisht! He was lyin on his back, with his curly head on a hard stone, undher a big tree, wid the morning sun shinin full in his face, Powerscourt falls tumbling in foam down the great high rocks, that frowned above him, leapin over big bowlders, an rushin away with a roar under a little wooden bridge just beyant.

Larry rubbed his eyes, sat up, an rubbed them again, and sure the more he looked about him, the more he was bothered. “Begorra, an ‘this is a quare thrick to be plavin’ a man,” says he, as he scrambled on his feet, wid his bones as stiff an sore as if he had been beaten with a shillaly. “Is it myself I am, or somebody else? an whare have I been ? an’ by the powers, how did I come here at all, at ll ? Is it drunk, or dreaming, or asleep I am at this blessed minit? Be jabers, the Good People-” Larry stopped, an crossed himself, and bethought of his wages, and all that was in his grip was dead leaves. ‘But he gave a great jump, an cried out, “Plane laves, begad; an it wur fairy goold, an that never turns to laves, An it’s a plane tree I’m lyin undher! Musha, but that’s a rare joke! In another minute his heart sank, and ‘he thremb’ed with fear lest he had been paid for the cow in fairy goold too, an should find only yellow leaves in his pocket.

But, faith, the nine bright goolden guineas-not dirty one-pound notes-were solid and safe. The sun was dancin brightly on the waters, as Larry hastened along the narrow footpath by the stream, an turnin sharp off before he reached the foaming waters of the Dargle, mounted the crooked an dangerous way up the steep banks to the high road, wondering why the Good People couldn’t have laid him down under a road side hedge, or in a green field, instead of carrying him out of his way intirely to Powerscourt falls. It was all a mystery an a dream to him, an as he went. “All night’ cried the old M’Cann, as the broth of a boy put his bright curly head in at the door. All night, father, all night, did ye say cried Larry, bewildered; for ye see, Master Fred, he thought he had been a week with the Good People. “Yes all night; for isn’t the sun shinin on this blessed Midsummer-day, ye spalpeen? Is it drunk ye are before the dew is off the daises ? Ah, Larry, Larry me lad, it’s the wrong way yez going since Kitty Quin showed ye the cowld shoulder; bad cess to the whole lot of them But where’s the price of the baste ? If ye were drunk, sure ye’d sins a left to take care of that?”

Ay, an sure when he found be had not been more than a night with the fairies, he had sense enough left to keep his own secret. His mother said a mighty change had come over Larry, but not a guess had she where it came from. He put his potheen aside when it came his way, an took to the farm so kindly; he went about his work whistling, and did as much in one day as he had ever done in two. Then he went an around to Dublin with the car, an brought back a lot of carpenters tools, an some -dale boards. He put them in an old shed that was tumbling down, unknownst to any one but his brother Pat. Then he put a door on the pigsty, to keep the pigs out of the house, and persuaded his father to have the holes in the mud floor of the kitchen filled up; an conthrived somehow to make the farm dacent an comfortable, with odd bits of improvement here an there. Amongst it all, he an Pat got the crooked walls of the shed to stand upright, and mended the thatch, an put the door again on its two hinges, an put a lock on the door, widout a word to father or mother. An then sure, he conthrived to put up some sort of a carpenter’s bench, after the patthern in the fairies’ workshop. More wood was got, an truth, one mornin, to her surprise, Mrs. M’Cann found a new dale table, an a dresser, an’ an easy chair in her kitchen, the like of which wasn’t to be found in all Enniskerry. Sure an it’s idigant, it’s fairy work said all the neighbours. True for yon, it is the fairies’ work,” said Larry, with a sly wink at Pat; an Pat, knowin what he had seen, an nothin of the fairies, burst into a loud laugh, an let out that Larry was the workman. No neighbour was more astonished than Larry’s own father and mother. They knew nothin of Larry’s friend the leprechaun, nor his fairy teachers; they said the blessed Saint Joseph must have put the knowledge in his head, an called the boy a rale born genius. • Other farmers’ wives envied Mrs. M’Cann her fine dresser, on which a. set of new wooden patters and bickers were ranged, with here an there a bright-coloured crock for show; an they came beggin’ of Larry to make the copy of it for them.

So, sure, an it came about that soon Larry had so much of his new work he was forced to teach two of his brothers the trade, an build a proper workshop; and Farmer M’Cann had to set the gossoons to work on the farm instead of lounging about an propping up door-posts all the day. ‘But never a bit did Larry go near Kitty all this time, though many a longing look did he cast that way when he passed Peter Quin’s gate. If they met at mass, he just gave her the time o day, as any other friend might do; but though his very heart was bursting with love, he kept it, like his other secrets, to himself.

As for Kitty, there were plenty of bachelors after her, either for herself or her fortun’ but she never got the feel of Larry’s kisses off her lips, an cared more for a glance of his blue eye than for all the bachelors in Wicklow: Kitty, so the story ends, was married to Larry, after she had been punished for her pride a short time by his distant conduct to her, and all ended happily. Margaret, the narrator of the tale, was as firm a believer in fairies to her dying day as when she told the story of Larry’s Apprenticeship, and the fortune he found in his own right hand.—


-Belgravia Annual

Banks, Isabella [Mrs G Linnaeus Banks]. ‘Larry’s Apprenticeship.’ A (1872): 48-57.)


Things to do in Enniskerry in 1943

Ciara O’Brien of Wicklow County Library Services recently posted an article on the County Wicklow Heritage website about an Irish Tourist Association survey of towns and villages of Ireland, carried out in the 1940s. The surveys for Wicklow are held in Local Studies Section in Ballywaltrim, and Enniskerry was one of the villages surveyed, in May 1943.

So if you were visiting Enniskerry 70 years ago in 1943, what would you be able to do? Let’s turn back the clock:


Upon arriving, you would need to sort out your accommodation. Two hotels are listed: Mount Maulin Hotel (phone Enniskerry 19) and Glenview Hotel, both of which had 10 bedrooms. These had the luxury of indoor sanitation, with one toilet for every two bedrooms in Mount Maulin and one for every four bedrooms in Glenview. Both are licensed. What about our our local hotels we know and love? I have a feeling the surveyor got a bit confused – the returns include Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue as a sub-section of Enniskerry parish, and I think he must have just left out the Enniskerry village hotels.

If hotels (and indoor sanitation) weren’t your thing, you could stay in one of the local guest houses. This included Mrs Lydia Keegan, Ballinagee House (5 bedrooms); Mrs Harper, Crone (4 bedrooms); one each for Guards McGrath and Flanagan (no details), Miss Gannon, Killogue Villa, Kilmac (2 bedrooms) and J Kavanagh, also Kilmac (3 bedrooms). Ms F. S. M. Walsh, Clonroe, Enniskerry offered 4 bedrooms and the luxury of indoor sanitation. The house is situated at the top of the Ballyorney road.

Of course if you knew the right people, there was a chance you could stay in one of the local mansions listed: Powerscourt, Charleville, Hollybrook, Tinnahinch, and Kilcroney (by now a Country Club). Don’t even think about camping unless you know your Scout’s Promise: only Baden Powell Boy Scouts are allowed on Powerscourt Estate.

People to help

The village’s population is recorded as 145, and it is described as a “typical Tyrolean village nestling in a nicely wooded glen, beside the Dargle River, and near the entrance to the Powerscourt Demesne. There has been no change here for over a century, as Lord Powerscourt will not permit innovations.” Despite the reported innovative reluctance of Lord P, the water has been laid on by him and maintained by him – hence no water rates in the village. (Come back your Lordship! All is forgiven…) Both the water system and the sewerage system (provided by the Board of Health) are very good. The Board of Health has installed Ladies and Gents Public Conveniences in the village. There is an obelisk with clock and fountain on a dais, which was erected by Powerscourt in centre of village. The village has electricity and public lighting is provided by a local co-op syndicate.

The Post Office is central in village and has telegraph, telephone, and M. O. You can get photographic supplies at Windsor’s, and William Seery or John Tallon offer a taxi service and bring you touring where you can take holiday snaps. If you have your own transport, Richard Seery runs a garage. If you are more traditional, Joe Troy runs a hacks (hackney?) horse service. CIE bus services run to Bray and Dublin. Wednesday is a half-holiday though, so don’t expect too much activity then.

Gone Fishin’ (and hunting and shooting and…)

Once settled into accommodation, the next thing is to get out in that fresh country air. After all, the area boasts “the most celebrated scenery in the county and abounds in charming vistas of diverse and highly impressive character.” First up; angling. The local river, the Dargle offers small brown trout, averaging 1/4 pound. Suitable flies for the pros are Butchers or Orange Grouse. There are several preserved stretches on the river – that in Powerscourt Demesne is the preserve of Lord Powerscourt, and is available at 2 shilling 6 pence (2/6) a day. That flowing through Tinnahinch is the preserve of Lady Grattan and from Tinnahinch bridge up is that of Mr Davis, new proprietor of Charleville. The County Wicklow Anglers Association has the lower Dargle; membership fee 10/6 payable to  secretary George Moore Esq, 40, Dollymount Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

Don’t like fishing? Well the Kilcroney Sports and Country Club (phone Bray 277) is just the thing you need. There are 4 lawn tennis courts (2 grass, 2 hard); price 2/6 for visitors. There is also an 18 hole golf course over wonderful natural country, and attractive to the proficient golfer as well as to the beginner. The club house is separate and complete in every detail, catering for both Ladies and Gentlemen. The local professional is the Irish Champion H Bradshaw, and the annual fees are: Ordinary members: £5 5s; Lady Ass. £5 5s; Country Members: £2 2s; Overseas Members: £1 1s; 5 day members (Mon – Fri) £3 3s. Green fees for visitors are 2/6 per day and 5/ on Saturday and Sunday.There is a nineteenth hole, as the club is licensed. If he likes fishing and she likes golf, the Country Club also have one bank of the Dargle preserved for fishing…

Shooting is available at Glencree Forest by permission of the Irish Land Commission and Lord Powerscourt. Hunting with hounds is available courtesy of the Bray Harriers and there is Point to Point at Calary Bog, Sugar Loaf mountain.

Fancy a Walk?

Powerscourt Demesne is open to visitors every day at the following rates: – Pedestrians and Pedal cyclists – 6 d per person to Demesne; Motor Cyclists: 2/6; Motor Cars: 5/- per car. “However, visitors are not now admitted to the Terrace or Gardens, this restriction being imposed owing to damage caused by thoughtless or wanton visitors.

The ‘Lover’s Leap’, a huge rock projecting from the side of the Glen, is a popular rendezvous and overlooks the deep ravine in both directions from a height of 300 ft. over the river. The sea is visible to the east, beyond the top of the wooded slope on the left. The ‘Moss House’ and the ‘View Rock’ also provide extended views. The lofty ranges of Kippure, with Powerscourt in the foreground, is a conspicuous and impressive sight and Tinnahinch House, in a verdant vale, forms another pretty view. Near here, the glen is spanned by a bridge, having a castellated gateway, which conveys the water-pipes from the Varty Reservoir at Roundwood. Numerous winding paths ascend the glen sides and command very pleasing views of the various aspects of the valley.

The Scalp, a deep narrow gap in the mountain, two miles north of Enniskerry, presents a remarkable spectacle and is visited by many thousands of curious sightseers each year. It is a natural chasm forming part of a magnificent rocky defile. Glen of the Downs, three miles past Kilmacanogue, is another very popular spot with visitors to Wicklow. It is a charming ravine over a mile long, with wooded banks rising to about 800 ft. on either side.” Quite.

Social Life

There are three clubs: the Ancient Order of Hibernians Club, the Church of Ireland Parochial Club, and the aforementioned Kilcroney Golf and Country Club. No mention of public houses, surely an oversight as indicated above, given that licensed premises are identified. Dancing is available at the British Legion Hall (Proprietor Sam Tallon, Hon. Sec.); Butler’s Ball room (Scalp); and Hayden’s Ball Room (Scalp).

After the fun on Saturday, don’t forget duties on Sunday: a range of choice includes St Mary’s (RC, Enniskerry) 8.30 am – 12 noon; Kilmacanogue (RC) 8.30 am – 12 noon; Curtlestown (RC) 10 am; OMI Glencree (RC) 10.30 am; St Patricks (CoI, Enniskerry) 11.30 am and 7 pm; Kilbride (CoI) 11.30 am  and 4 pm.

Now sure, why wouldn’t you visit?


Many thanks to Ciara O’Brien for highlighting these archives. They are available to view in Ballywaltrim Library.

A Procession to the Town Clock

These two photos were part of the haul at the Gathering Weekend. The car registration ID 4735 suggests a Cavan car registered prior to 1958. Mr Corcoran, school teacher is at the front of the queue in the first image. Thanks to his son, Noel, for the images.

procession 1 web

Click on these thumbnails if you want to zoom in:

procession 1a web procession 1b web

And now the proud mammies:

Procession 2 web

Wicklow Hills Bus Company

Wicklow Hills Bus Company fleet outside Powerscourt Arms Hotel

Wicklow Hills Bus Company fleet outside Powerscourt Arms Hotel

Several photographs of Enniskerry exist showing a fleet of buses outside the Powerscourt Arms Hotel. These belonged to the Wicklow Hills Bus Company, the penultimate independent bus company to operate between Dublin and Wicklow before nationalisation brought all buses under one of a handful of national companies in the 1930s. The only exception was St Kevin’s bus service, still in operation.

Wicklow Hills was started by Thomas Fitzpatrick, a business man from Mullingar, who lived in Palermo in Bray. In his essay on public transport, James Scannell mentions that it was previously called the Residents Bus Company – certainly there was a long tradition in Enniskerry of bus transport between Bray and Enniskerry, operated by, among others, the Darlington family. Wicklow Hills ran from 1926 to 1936. The depot was located opposite the Bog Meadow, now site of “The Courtyard” houses.

The bus ran a service from St Stephen’s Green to Enniskerry (now Dublin Bus route 44) and from D’Olier St to Greystones (now Dublin Bus route 84). Some destinations on the buses can just about be made out from the photograph of the fleet. These include the Scalp, Kilcoole, Stephen’s Green and possibly Delgany. There was a fleet of 10 buses: one Ford, one Leyland Lion and seven Associated Daimler Company as well as another unnamed make (source).

Staff of the Wicklow Hills Bus Company. L to R back row; Tommy Gubbins, Parkie White, Fred Ollie, Paddy Donoghue. L to R middle row; Mick Windsor, Charlie Kelly, Paddy Savage, Duke Sheevers, Jim Byrne, ? Donoghue, unknown. L to R front row; Mutt Maguire, Paddy Mooney, unknown, Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs Fitzpatrick, unknown, Paddy Nolan, unknown

L to R back row; Tommy Gubbins, Christopher White, Fred Olley, Paddy Donohoe. L to R middle row; Michael Windsor, Charlie Kelly, Paddy Savage, Duke Stephenson, Jim Byrne, Joseph Donohue , unknown. L to R front row; William “Mutt” Maguire, Paddy Mooney, unknown, Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs Fitzpatrick, unknown, Paddy Nolan, unknown

A list of staff exists, along with a photograph of the staff with the owner, Thomas Fitzpatrick and his wife, taken at the Town Clock. These include seven drivers, five conductors, and four garage men: a body builder, a mechanic and assistant, and a greaser who doubled as a driver. Two of the staff: Charles F Olley (Enniskerry) and James Kelly (2, Rockboard, Greystones) are recorded as being on the staff since 1924, so perhaps they worked the the predecessor, the Residents Bus Company mentioned by Scannell.

Enniskerry men among the staff were Olley, James Rafferty, Patrick Nolan, Charles Kelly, Laurence Byrne, Patrick Mooney, Michael Windsor, Christopher White and James Synnott. The remaining staff came from Bray (Duke Stephenson, mechanic, James Kelly), and Greystones/Delgany, perhaps reflecting the destinations of the buses. These latter men were Patrick Donohoe, William McGuire, Joseph Donohoe and Thomas Gubbins. Salaries ranged from £1 per week for Christopher White (subsequently raised to £2 per week) up to £5 per week for the mechanic.

By 1936, the company was purchased compulsorily by the Dublin United Tramway Company using the powers given to it by the 1933 Road Transport Act. We can only hope that the staff were able to continue their jobs in the new company. This company would ultimately become Dublin Bus. So while you are stuck in traffic on the 44  bus, it can be a prompt to recall the history of this service!



Thanks to Mervyn Tyndall, Brian White for sharing photos and expertise, and the article by James Scannell for background context (“From Horse Drawn Trams to LUAS: A Look at Public Transport in Dublin from the 1870’s to the Present Time”, James Scannell, 2006, Dublin Historical Record, 59(1), 5-18.

Moving East

Richard and Bridget Seery

Dick and Birdie Seery

My granny married a man from the village. I wonder how they met. Maybe they met at a local dance, or on the steps at the town clock. They probably went to the same school. It’s one of the many things I regret not asking her.

She lived at Kilmalin, the eldest child in a family of three. Her parents Patrick and Maggie were just two years married in 1911, and Bridget was only one year old in 1911. Her younger sister Maureen and brother Sean weren’t born at that stage. Maureen never married, and Sean moved away to England, bringing the McNulty name with him. The young family had settled in the labourer’s cottages built by Lord Powerscourt. Patrick, originally from Glaskenny, was a carpenter on the estate.

Richard Seery was my grandfather. The youngest child in 1911, aged just two, he lived with his six brothers and sister, Lizzie, in the houses at the bottom of Kilgarran Hill, the one next to the old Fever Hospital. His parents Patrick and Mary were married 18 years by then, and with eight children, it must have been quite a squeeze in that little cottage. There was a big field out the back, with a hill down by the side of the house. My uncle tells me they would sled down the hill in the snow, out onto the road. You could do that in those days, he said. There were no cars. Patrick, my great-grandfather, was a bus driver, probably doing a good trade on the Enniskerry to Bray route with his horse-drawn people carrier. Maybe he brought people to view the waterfall at Powerscourt. Family legend says he is the bus man in one of the Lawrence photographs of the village.

So the carpenter’s daughter and the bus man’s son met and married and had their own family. They moved first to Church Hill. Their house is now called Ceres Cottage. My granny had a tea room there in the front room. Whoever bought it apparently asked her if they could name the house after them, but she said no. She probably didn’t want the attention. But they named it anyway, just with a different spelling. They moved to Monastery, where I used to visit my granny. Walking from Kilgarran, I’d walk up the Dublin road, and cross over the pass to the Monastery road up to the house at Monastery. The kettle was always warm. I never knew my grandfather. But when I think of him and his brothers, I imagine they were similar to my dad and his brothers. We certainly all look alike. I like to project back their personalities, back through the generations. We all stand in a particular way.

Great grandfather Patrick’s father was also Patrick, living in Kilmalin at the time of his son’s marriage in 1893. He was as a labourer at Powerscourt. Patrick Junior’s bride, Mary Rourke, three months older than he, was the daughter of James, a carman. James probably helped his new son-in-law get into the bus trade. Joseph Windsor and Ellen Rourke were the witnesses. The newly-weds must have moved to the little cottage on Kilgarran soon after, and they had their first son, Patrick a year later. He was my grandfather’s brother.

Great-great grandfather Patrick married Mary Cassidy and they had at least three girls and two boys, living in their family home at Kilmalin. He was a labourer, born in the 1830s, long before the town clock was built. Seery’s don’t appear on Griffith’s Valuation. They were likely one of a large class of under-tenants that didn’t register on national records. I curse their good behaviour now. An odd drink on the street or a wandering animal would have put them in the local court records. But I do know what great-great-grandfather Patrick did every day of his life for several years, as he is recorded in the Powerscourt Estate workmen’s account books, earning 8 shillings a week. On 7 August 1855, he took Lord Powerscourt’s luggage to Dublin. It must have been a great day away from raking hay and drawing stones. His Lordship was probably on his way to India.

The Workmen’s account books also list a Dan Seery. He was higher on the list, meaning he was there longer. Second on the list after James McCue. Patrick didn’t have a brother Daniel that I can find, but his father was Daniel. It’s likely then the Dan and Pat listed in the Powerscourt records were father and son. So now I can say I know what great-great-great-grandfather Dan did every day of his life for several years too. Like his son, his wasn’t an easy life; six days a week with just a few days off a year – but the steady income must have been useful to Dan’s wife, Elizabeth Sanders.

They married in 1833 and had five children, including Patrick, born in 1834. They lived at Blackhouse, a name that lives only in local memory now, but not registered in the Ordnance Survey. They Ordnance men came to the area when Dan’s son Patrick was just five. Blackhouse was on all of the old maps but the map men must have decided it wasn’t a townland, and the name was dropped. Dan’s best man was John Grimes, who had recently married Dan’s sister, Winifred. As Dan’s children grew up and moved out, they moved east, to Kilmalin, and then the next generation to the village. The lands at Kilmalin and Glencree were being cleared and amalgamated into larger farms. People moved to the village or away altogether. Great aunt Maureen lived in my granny’s family home at Kilmalin. She saw the shift. How’d you get to know them up there, she’d ask, as gate-keeper between the village and the valley. What would she make of it all now?

The mystery of the Seerys of Enniskerry is where they came from and where they went. Most Irish Seerys come from the midlands. Dan and Winifred were from a family of five. While no records exist for their parents, it seems safe to assume that they too lived locally. Perhaps Dan and Winifred’s parents moved here at the turn of the 1800s. There was a lot of new work to be had in building the new village. With so many brothers in each generation, it’s strange to think that there’s not more there now. After the current generation, the Seery name, like many Enniskerry names from previous centuries – Buckley and Miller, Grimes and McGuirk – will disappear. We enjoyed our stay.

Contribute your family’s story by September 1st to be included in this year’s Journal, which will be published in November.

seery family tree

Petty Sessions at Enniskerry Courthouse

Úna Wogan writes about Enniskerry Courthouse and the genealogical resource hidden in its archives. [A PDF of this article is here]. 

Enniskerry Courthouse (links to Buildings of Ireland entry)

Enniskerry Courthouse (links to Buildings of Ireland entry)

A fascinating, often overlooked, source of information about the residents of Enniskerry and the surrounding areas, and the way of life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be found in the records of the Petty Sessions Court of the village.

The Petty Sessions was the lowest rung of the judicial structure practised in Ireland during this period and it served largely to adjudicate on what were considered misdemeanours and common or civil law matters.
With the Act of Union in 1800, Ireland’s judicial and legislative practices – already influenced by England – became totally dominated by the now central government at Westminster. The structure of the system, and much of the legislation enacted in England, found its way into the legal system here. The High Court, based in Dublin, was the most superior court. Next was the Court of Assize which heard serious crimes such as murder and treason and sat twice a year on circuit. The lower court, the Court of Quarterly Sessions was held four times a year and were based in most counties.

Cases presented to the Quarterly Sessions were presided over by Justices of the Peace and a sworn-in jury. The office of Justice of Peace evolved from a centuries old custom whereby the King of England swore in ‘Keeper’s of the Peace’, officers ensuring peace was upheld by his subjects throughout the kingdom. Initially they were granted power to bind a person to the peace, and over the years various laws were enacted to extend their powers to the point at which they were given the authority, within their own county, to summon and judge those who were deemed to have broken the law. The office was an unpaid one and very much seen as a duty as subjects to the crown, and the office-holders were “men of ample fortunes who administered the communities in which they resided.”

These were men who didn’t necessarily have a legal background. They had to be landowners with a certain level of income and so in Ireland they were for the most part members of the gentry, the (usually) Protestant landowners. In addition the Constabulary Act (Ire) 1836 established the office of Irish Residential Magistrates (Irish RMs) and these officers also presided over the Quarterly Sessions.
In the early 1800’s Justices began to hold more frequent court sessions within their own local districts – the cases overseen were viewed as too ‘petty’ for even the Quarterly Sessions. The first of these Petty Sessions was held in Cork in the 1820s and the idea was quickly adopted in other parts of the country in subsequent years. It had a distinctly rural aspect with local magistrates and justices presiding over cases involving people living in districts in which justices themselves owned the majority of the land. Over the years from 1827 onwards various pieces of legislation shaped the workings of the lower court; the Petty Sessions (Ire) Act of 1851 saw the consolidation of these earlier laws and statutes.
As a rural area with a high number of residing gentry living in the county, Wicklow was divided into fourteen Petty Session regions. An extract from ‘An Illustrated Hand Book to the County of Wicklow’ written by George O’Malley Irwin in 1844 is given below which lists the Petty Session courts in the county, the day they were held, and the name of the court clerk for each.

Schedule of Petty Sessions and their clerks

Schedule of Petty Sessions and their clerks

The sessions were held fortnightly in each division and were presided over by two or more justices or magistrates. Most villages holding Petty Sessions had a purpose -built court house to accommodate proceedings and Enniskerry was no exception. According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, the court house in the village, now the Pandan Court Restaurant, has been dated between 1815 and 1825.
As dictated by legislation, cases before the Petty Sessions were recorded and retained and it is these records – surviving copies from 1859 up until 1916 are now held in the National Archives of Ireland – which offer a wonderful insight into life in the village for this period of history. The Court Clerk would record the date, the complainant and/or witnesses, the defendant, the charge and the verdict. Not only do the cases heard provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those living in the area at the time but the laws themselves illustrate a way of life and attitudes of the day. The national and local newspapers also reported court room events giving further glimpses of the villagers’ daily lives, often with a more insightful record in their descriptions of the demeanour of those taking part in proceedings than the proceedings themselves.

The Resident Magistrates and Justices of the Peace mentioned in various directories and newspapers as presiding over the Enniskerry sessions, particularly in the later years of 1800s and early 1900s, include:

  • Sir George Hodson Bart, Hollybrook
  • Henry Sandys Esq, Dargle Cottage
  • Charles D Fox Esq
  • Lord Powerscourt
  • QJ Brownrigg Esq
  • Sir Robert Hodson Bart
  • Lord Monck, Charleville
  • A Chatterton JP, Kilgarron
  • Mr Barrington RM
  • A Meldon RM
  • Robert Hodson Bart 
  • Hon. Captain Harry de Vere Pery RM
  • Mr R St Clair Ruthven 
  • Mr O Sullivan RM

As in other parts of the country many of the magistrates and justices living and practicing in Enniskerry had absolutely no background in law. Captain Harry de Vere Pery, for example, who practiced as a justice in Ireland from 1885 up until 1914 had a career in the Navy and as an ‘’Instructor of Musketry’’ with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, Mr A. Chatterton was an engineer. Their appointment was simply that their status in life that was considered to give them the credentials to judge the cases before them in the courtroom.
Because of the lack of experience and knowledge regarding the laws being practiced, there were various guides produced for the courtrooms to help identify legislation and relevant punishments, including Justice of the Peace for Ireland by Edward Parkyns Levinge, Barrister of Law, in 1860 and and a similarly named book by Henry Humphreys. These were extensive works, effectively an ‘A to Z’ of every conceivable crime that might be presented to the court. A review of the second edition of Levinge’s book (1867) by the Dublin Evening Mail stated that:

The new edition, recently published, contains a compendium of the entire law, as at present in force in Ireland, affecting the powers and duties of Justices of the Peace.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Henry Humphrey’s book is a large volume that today might be labelled “The Law for Dummies”. It is a wonderful resource, giving great insight into the laws of that time and punishments faced by those coming before the courts. The extract shown (from the third edition, 1867) shows a typical page which lists the offence, the statutes covering the offence and the “Extent of Jurisdiction” – the punishment for said offence. The right hand column gives the maximum punishment to be meted out if found guilty including fines and imprisonment, with or without hard labour (HL). It also tells the court whether one or two justices must be present to hear the case, 1J or 2J.

This particular extract deals with the question of apprentices, their behaviour and the treatment of them by their master. An entry in the Enniskerry Petty Session record book in April 1861 shows that my own great-great-grandfather Michael Wogan, Bootmaker, was summoned to appear in court due to an accusation made by his apprentice Pat Gorman. The charge:

That you assaulted the complainant and refused to keep him in your employment on the 21st March 1861 he being your indentured apprentice at the time.

Luckily for Michael his apprentice didn’t turn up in court and the case was dismissed, if found guilty he could have been given a hefty five pound fine.

Although Humphreys’ compendium provides instruction for the crimes that are dealt with by statute and legislation there was a range of offences that came under what was termed Common Law. Humphreys helpfully explains;

The laws of England are of two kinds: the Statute or written Law, and the Common and unwritten Law. The Statute Law depends on the will of the Legislation of the Kingdom. Common Law is a rule of justice throughout the Kingdom and is constituted of the Laws of nature, of nations, and of religion… They have grown to use and have acquired their binding force and power by immemorial usage and general reception.

In Common Law defendants were charged with a breach of their civil duty. The victim or injured party could summon the accused to court and a tort or compensation could be awarded. The fact that you could be monetarily rewarded may have played a part in the enormous number of cases heard for trespass of animals on the property of neighbours in the petty session’s record books. It was your neighbour, not the authorities, prosecuting the case when your animals strayed onto their land. The national newspapers generally found these cases too petty to bother reporting but there were some that made it to print. One case, in the Freeman’s Journal in 1908 involved Mrs Elizabeth Burton of Kilmolin who summoned her neighbour Mr Kiely for allowing his goats to trespass on her land and Mrs Kiely for using abusive language and throwing holy water on Mrs Burton’s daughter. In her defence Mrs Kiely claimed:

“Mrs Burton’s daughter’s language to her was so abominable that she thought the only thing for it was some holy water.”

The resulting verdict was that the Kielys were fined three shillings and six pence for the trespass with the abusive language charge dismissed. In November 1908 what was reported as an “Amusing Case at Enniskerry” in the same publication involved Henry Sutton summoning a Thomas Bain for the trespass of an ass and two goats on his land. The newspaper account reported much “laughter” in the court room as Mr Meldon and Mr Chatterton, Justices of the Peace, questioned Mr Bain to try and determine who in fact owned the animals. Thomas Bain claimed that although he used the donkey it belonged to a Pat Doyle who also lived in his house. Mr Meldon JP stated it was sufficient to say the ass belonged to the house itself and therefore Mr Bain. The defendant replied:

Is it sufficient that I should be fined for the ill deeds of another man’s donkey? If it is, the law is a bigger ass than the donkey.

On ruling that that all three animals did in fact belong to Mr Bain, he was fined a total of one shilling and six pence. Another case from 1911 saw farmer James M’Guirk summon William Hicks for permitting nineteen sheep at Cloon to trespass on his new meadow land:Mr M’Guirk said that the sheep belonged to a women named Burton and were grazing on Hicks land. As Hicks was responsible for the sheep and also for the keeping of the fences, the court imposed compensation of three shillings and two pence and ordered the fences to be repaired. Awarding compensation where damage to crops or vegetables occurred is understandable – however in most cases there was no consequence other than the animals being present on the land. It certainly didn’t encourage good neighbourly relations. It must have been very tempting to seek a few shillings in this way, particularly if you weren’t too fond of the next-door neighbours.

For safety reasons there was a whole range of statutes that came under the heading of “Nuisances on Public Roads, and Streets” and looking through the Petty Session records you’d be forgiven for thinking the village and surrounding areas were overrun with cows, asses, pigs and dogs. There were numerous such cases. In court on 6th August 1859 Frederick Gibbons, Mary Hicks, Richard Coogan and James White, all at Kilmolin, were each charged with allowing their asses to wander on a public road on 29th July. The complainant in all four cases was Constable Joseph Richards. At the next session of the court on the 19th August Robert Harper of Ballinagee, Patrick Clarke of Annacrevy, and Thomas Flynn of Ballybrew were charged, again by Constable Richards, with allowing a mule, a cow, and an ass on a public road. The cases maybe give us an indication as to the nature of Constable Richards, furiously darting around trying to spot loose animals, than the carelessness of the local residents.

A large number of cases throughout the country before the Petty Session court pertained to drink and drunkenness. As far back as the 1600s the British government had at various times tried to tackle the problem of drunkenness. The 1605 “Act to Repress the Odious Loathsome Sin of Drunkenness” introduced the first fines for being drunk in public. By the time of the emergence of the Temperance movement in the 1800s there was strong political pressure for laws to tackle what many people saw as the sin of drunkenness. The nineteenth century saw the introduction of several pieces of legislation to Parliament that attempted to moderate the consumption of alcohol by the masses. The Beerhouse Act of 1830 saw the introduction of licenses for the sale of alcohol. The Refreshment Houses Act of 1860 extended licenses to those selling wine and also spelled out the punishment to be administered to those found drunk.

…every person found drunk in any street or public thoroughfare, and who is guilty of any riotous of indecent behaviour, shall upon summary conviction before two Justices, to be liable to a penalty of not more that forty shillings for every such offence, or may be committed, if the Justices or Magistrate before whom he is convicted think fit, instead of inflicting on him any pecuniary penalty, to the House of Correction for any time not more than seven days.

The very first entry in the surviving Petty Sessions book for the Enniskerry court dated 13th May 1859 lists the defendant John McEvoy charged for “being drunk on a public road at Monastry.” He wasn’t alone. There were five similar cases heard on the same day including poor John Neil of Glencullen, who had to face five witnesses for the prosecution, Joseph Richards (RIC Constable), Michael Behan (RIC), Michael Wogan, John Byrne and James Lenihan. Another case saw John Botts of Enniskerry convicted of “being drunk on a public street” on the 1st of May, the 2nd of May and the 9th of May 1860. He was sentenced to forty days in gaol and six shillings costs.

The fines administered were generally a lot less that the maximum allowed, often one or two shillings. However if you consider the wages of the time for many workmen was probably less that ten shillings a week even a fine of one shilling could inflict hardship on a family. The convictions for drunk and disorderly were so common that the national papers, although attending the court, didn’t report the cases; often commenting, as in the Freeman’s Journal 1901, that the cases were “of a trifling and uninteresting character.”

The Sale of Liquors on Sunday Act (Ire)1878 dictated that most public houses were to be closed on the Sabbath. However in certain parts of the country public houses and hotels could open their doors for refreshment to bona fide travellers who had travelled a distance of at least three miles. The interpretation of what defined a bona fide traveller appears to have raised great a debate within legal circles of the time. The British Law Journal of 1881 raised the issue and reported one justice in Ireland as having said that just because a person travels from one town to another three miles away with the purpose of buying drink it does not make him a bona fide traveller. He is quoted as saying that if this was the case then;

All the people in Maynooth may go to Kilcock and drink as hard as they like on Sunday and all the people of Kilcock can drink as hard as they like in Maynooth.

We can see the effect of this law in a number of cases in Enniskerry reported by the national papers of the time. In one case James Brady of Killegar was prosecuted for obtaining drink at Mr Johnston’s Public House in Enniskerry on Sunday, December 15th, “he not being a bona fide traveller”. It was stated by District Inspector Molony of the RIC that:

this was one of the cases where a man travelled Sunday after Sunday, for the purpose of obtaining drink.

Mr Brady lived outside the three mile limit, but the onus lay upon him to prove that he was a bona fide traveller. Sergeant Duffy, in evidence, stated that:

He had found the man in Johnston’s bar frequently on Sundays.A fine of two shillings and six pence was imposed.

On the same date a similar case at the same licenced house saw Charles Neill, also of Killegar, being fined in two shillings and six pence and costs. Some aspects of Irish life obviously haven’t changed too much over the years – however there were so many “drunk in a public place” charges on record I’d wonder how drunk was drunk. I’d like to think that perhaps RIC Constable Joseph Richards, the complainant in many of the early cases, was a bit stringent, maybe he lay in ambush outside the doors of the public houses in the village waiting for people to stumble or show any sign of having taken a drink.

The laws against cruelty to animals were enacted quite early in the nineteenth century. The earliest British legislation was passed with The Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle Act 1822:

That if any person or persons shall wantonly and cruelly beat, abuse, or ill-treat any Horse, Mare, Gelding, Mule, Ass, Ox, Cow, Heifer, Steer, Sheep, or other Cattle, and Complaint on Oath thereof be made to any Justice of the Peace or other Magistrate within whose Jurisdiction such Offence shall be committed, it shall be lawful for such Justice of the Peace or other Magistrate to issue his Summons or Warrant.

According to Humphreys’ court guide the maximum fine that could be imposed was “five pounds” and/or “imprisonment not exceeding two months”. With the establishment of the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824, stronger lobbying to the parliament at Westminister began and further laws followed. The first SPCA inspectors were employed in 1830 and their investigations led to many convictions under the cruelty to animal legislation.

A case of cruelty to an animal reported from the Enniskerry court in 1878 saw Constable John Hewitt of the RIC charge John Moran with ‘cruelty to a horse’. Mr Moran was fined the maximum five pounds, which was a considerable sum of money in 1878.

In later years when the Irish SPCA was established, it was they who summoned the defendants into the courtroom. In 1914 SPCA Inspector John Anderson charged John Hyland (Ballybrew) with “ill treating a donkey.” Mr Hyland was fined “10s and costs”. Another case brought to the court in 1915. Inspector J Anderson of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prosecuted James Gormley, a farm labourer, for ill treating a cat by leaving it without food. He charged that the cat had been left in an old burned-down house in the Rocky Valley. In his defense Gormley said that he gave the cat goat’s milk and bread morning and evening and he could not afford to buy meat for it adding that the cat:

was 25 years in the world, and wanted an old age pension and a rest for she was blind and getting bald.

Veterinary surgeon Mr Barbour gave evidence that the cat was emaciated and suffering from starvation. The defendant was fined one shilling and costs to which he declared: “I will go to the front before I will pay it.”It is thought provoking to think of the protection given to animals of the time when you consider, according to Humphreys’ court guide, that the punishment for ‘simple larceny’ for a male child under fourteen years of age could include ‘whipped strokes not to exceed 12, with a birch rod’ or ‘imprisonment not exceeding 3 months’. The animals appear to have been awarded more protection than children.

Children feature in an array of cases heard in the courtroom after the enactment of the Irish Education Act of 1892. From this point on education was free and it became compulsory to send children between the ages of six and fourteen to school. Parents were summoned to the court if their children had had been absent more than the maximum days allowed. The court could issue an attendance order which compelled them to send the children to school or face a fine.

In May 1909 a case involving Richard T Fox of Kilmurray was reported in the Freeman’s Journal and it illustrates how few concessions were given to those in rural areas who had to travel long distances to school. Mr Fox was summoned to the court because of the non-attendance of four of his sons to Calary School for the required amount of days. Mr Fox in his appeal to the court stated that his children had to cross a mountain to school, he stated

Cuthbert is only a young boy, and he cries that he is unable to walk over such a distance to Lord Monck’s school in Calary, and that sometimes they do be drenched and the master puts them round the fire.

The court didn’t accept the excuse and an attendance order way imposed with Mr Meldon RM reminding the courtroom that under the new Children’s Act in certain circumstances when boys “mitched” the magistrates had the power to send them to industrial school. 

Another similar case in 1911 saw attendance orders made against Thomas Sherry for the non attendance to school of his two children Joseph and Anasthasia. Thomas had missed 41 and Anasthasia 51 out of 111 days. The journey from Kilgarran to the village we bemoaned as children suddenly doesn’t appear so bad when you consider the return trip from Kilmurray to Calary Richard Fox’s children had to make every day.

More serious crimes were certainly presented to the Enniskerry courthouse. However most were advanced by indictment to the more superior Quarterly Sessions or Court of Assize, held in Wicklow town. One such serious charge, that of embezzlement, was made against a young man named Foley by his employer Charles Sutton of Golden Ball in 1861. Mr. Sutton said that Foley was employed as a driver on one of his bread carts. He accused Foley of embezzling a “considerable sum of money.” Foley was committed for trial and sent to Wicklow Gaol. A spree of burglaries and robbery headlined as “Highway Robbery Near Enniskerry” in The Irish Times, 1905 saw John O’Brien, of many aliases, being charged with robbing James Smith an “under gardener” of Lord Powerscourt and taking his watch and a shilling. He was also charged with taking a double barreled gun, a razor and articles of clothing from Andrew Foster of Ballyoney, and a quantity of bacon from Mr Frank Douglas of Coolakay. During his arrest O’Brien was said to have drawn a knife and tried to stab Constable Reynolds, RIC. As O’Brien had been said to be accompanied by others during his spree the case was adjourned so that further evidence could be collected.

By today’s standards the whole structure and workings of the court of Petty Sessions would be deemed totally unethical. Landlords judged their tenants; alleged poachers faced judgment by the very landowners they were charged with stealing from. The men judging and sentencing the accused had, for the most part, no legal training and there was no legal representation for the accused in Petty Sessions until well into the early 1900s. The very laws themselves were unjust. According to Humphreys’ court guide, under the Game Laws you were only ‘qualified’ to shoot game if you had a personal estate of at least one thousand pounds a year. You could not keep any type of setting dog, pointer, hound, beagle, greyhound or land spaniel unless you had a freehold worth at least one hundred pounds.

However, when considered in the context of the time through which it did exist, the Enniskerry Petty courtroom and its justices was not the harshest of these lower courts. I have read cases in other jurisdictions where children, as young as six years of age, were sentenced to one month of hard labour for taking apples for an orchard. Other areas, particularly in parts of England, were very fond of whipping with birch rods. Looking through the first few years of the surviving court records, I haven’t come across such serious punishments. Maximum fines were rarely administered and in several cases I have read how landowners ask the justices to show leniency towards poachers so that the accused could look after dependant family members.

For anyone with an interest in the history of the village, life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and/or their own genealogy, the surviving court records really provide a wealth of information and help to paint a vivid picture of everyday life of the time. In my own case my great-great-grandfather, previously just a name to me, came to life when I came across the three entries (so far) in the records where either he or his apprentices were summoned for bad behaviour towards the other. The conclusion I’ve reached is that he had very bad luck with his apprentices or, more than likely, he was a very difficult man to work under. It is details like this that add another dimension to the information already provided by church and census records – the Petty Session records are held in the National Archives and it is worth a visit to check if your own ancestors ever appeared in front of the local justices and magistrates.


This article originally appeared in the Journal of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Local History (Vol 1). 

Some unusual photographs of Enniskerry

Some more unusual images of Enniskerry have come our way in the last fortnight from contributor Nivrum. The first is a view from St Mary’s Church which shows clearly the old National School (where the library is now situated), the bridge over the river, the cottages at the bottom of Kilgarran Hill and St Patrick’s on the hill. It is a really amazing image.

From the church


The second image is a postcard sent 100 years ago. While it’s a more familiar scene, the date mark is fantastic. It is interesting to trace the developments along Church Hill. St Patrick’s dominates the scene – it really illustrates the fantastic positioning of this church before the trees and subsequent housing shielded it from view. 58213_380174608746244_1795422616_n


This final one is another postcard, found on the County Wicklow Heritage Site (well worth checking out). According to them, the message says:

This is where we went for a drive one day and the jarvie let us drive his horse and he (the man) sang for us and we sang for him.  It is great fun here where we are staying and there are other two boys and one girl in the boarding house with us. 

Love from Joseph & Maureen.

Bray Road

A road that never was?

One of my favourite maps I have come across is one drawn to mark out an alternative route from the village to Kilmalin avoiding the steep incline of Kilgarran Hill. I have drawn a representation of this map, and while it lacks the elegance of the original, it does indicate how much information it contains.

Map of Village 21f163

Map of Present and Proposed Roads from Enniskerry to the Cross Roads at Kilmolin

The existing road (yellow) passes through the village and proceeds up the hill, by the hospital (which became the estate office) before hitting the steep incline of Kilgarran. The new road (pink) aimed to avoid this steep incline by departing the road just after the hospital and following a direction that would today lead us behind the GAA pitch, across Maguire’s fields and up to the junction at Kilmalin. The map is rich in information regarding this area, showing houses and lands occupied by Mr Magee, Mrs Dixon, Tim Quigley, Edward Ward, and significant holdings by John Buckley. It rejoins the existing road at Kilmalin at a point marked “Old Hospital – Thomas Bassett”.

Why was the road never built? Accompanying the original map (and not shown here) are the ‘sections’ – a height profile of both roads, and it’s fair to say horses of the time (and school children of future generations) would have had a much easier climb from the village to Kilgarran and Kilmalin. Perhaps part of it was built – the alignment roughly follows what is now the back avenue to Kilgarran House. But I don’t think it goes any further. My guess is that the proposal never got off the ground because it coincided with the death and subsequent minority of 6th Viscount Powerscourt in 1823. Or perhaps the tenants on the affected land weren’t too keen. Whatever the reason, it is a really fascinating part of local history.

The village detail is shown below. Note that there is no Bray road, no Knocksink road, no Town Clock… One of the small buildings on the North side of the river, opposite what is now the Bog Meadow, (bottom of map) is probably the old infant school house.


Detail of Enniskerry Village

Powerscourt National School in the 19th Century


It seems hard to imagine now, but in the early 1800s, there was no system of education in Ireland. The provision of education was chaotic, and relied on local support, support of Christian Societies, and the efforts of parents keen to educate their children. Successive governments of the time did little more than commission reports into how education should be provided and while deciding what to do, provided grants to Christian Societies who in turn funded schools. Landowners often provided support by way of building schools, paying for teachers, or subsidising students of their tenants. And despite being forbidden, parents organised hedge-schools and schoolmasters. The poor schoolmaster was at the bottom of the pecking order—if the parents thought that he wasn’t up to the job, he was shipped out and a new man hired!

Frustration grew with the government, who seemed unwilling or unable to implement a national education system. A group of philanthropic businessmen established “The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland”, more commonly known as The Kildare Place Society in 1811. The group included many of the major Dublin merchants of the time, Samuel Bewley, Arthur and William Guinness and several members of the La Touche family. The aims of the Society were to provide a means to educating all children, regardless of religious background or income. The society’s model gained popularity, and by 1815 the government decided that all grants that it had previously given to a variety of different societies, should now be directed to the Kildare Place Society.

At this time in Enniskerry, the resident landlord was Richard, 5th Viscount Powerscourt. In 1813, he had married Frances Theodosia Jocelyn, the first daughter of the Earl of Roden, a well known family in Irish aristocratic circles. Having sold Powerscourt Townhouse a decade before, the country house was the primary residence for the newly-wed couple. Whether it was a result of the thrill of being married, a desire to impress the in-laws, or just wanting to have somewhere nice to pass through every day, Richard decided to initiate a series of improvements in Enniskerry village. In 1818, he hired the architect Sir William Morrison to build a series of “rustic cottages” and it was at this time, the new Schoolhouse was built. The new school aligned with the principles of the Society, and by 1825 was formally under the remit of the society. This was probably due to the fact that the Rector of Powerscourt, Reverend Robert Daly was a strong supporter of its ideals. Also, both David and Peter La Touche were influential members of the society. The La Touches lived in nearby Bellvue at Glen of the Downs, and owned Luggala. Peter La Touche leased land from Powercourt at Lough Bray, where he had a hunting lodge. It is likely therefore, that they knew the Powerscourts and promoted the Society to them.

School Design

No plans exist for the school house, but in designing the school, Morrison would probably have been guided by a pamphlet produced by Joseph Lancaster, an educationalist whose speeches had prompted the formation of the Kildare Place Society. In Hints and Directions for Arranging School-Rooms (1813), he provides extensive details on how the school building should be built and rooms arranged. The location of the schoolhouse should be “elevated above the surrounding ground”, with the school room on a ground floor, without any vault or cellar underneath (in order to reduce noise). It should be set back from the public road, because “the safety of the children coming to and going from the school room will be sometimes endangered by the passing of carriages close to the door”. There should be a play area if space allows.

Figure 1: William Deane Butler’s model plan for a schoolhouse, published in The Schoolmaster’s Manual, 1825. These plans would have been based on the designs of early Kildare Place Society schools such as that at Enniskerry, built 1818.

The building should have plenty of large windows, something relatively unusual in buildings of this time because of window taxes, from which schools were exempt. The school room should be “oblong, clear of all projection, from the wall; if fireplaces, buttresses, or any other things be permitted to project, they will… obstruct that pervading view which the master should command of every part of the room, and of every individual scholar”. The master’s desk “should be at the end of the school room; facing of the scholars, without rails on it to intercept his view, and should be placed upon a platform  elevated in proportion to the length of the room”. Each student should be allocated 17 inches of desk space—teaching to write on slate rather than paper would save room. These concepts were eventually included in The Schoolmaster’s Manual (1825), which included some model drawings of plans for schoolhouses. It is easy to see the parallels between the example shown and the school at Enniskerry. The school cost £600 to build in 1818, about €50,000 in today’s money. 

School Materials

Figure 2: Images from popular books at the time—top left: The His­tory of Useful Arts & Manufactures, printed for the Society on Chancery Lane, Dublin; top right: A Picture of the Seasons (August); bottom: Little Jack, a hugely popular children’s book in the early 18th century.

The Kildare Place Society provided books, posters and other materials to their schools. Initially, the books were really just stacks of tablets made of card with text pasted onto them, so that one book could be shared around. For example, the spelling book contained 60 cards of increasing difficulty. However at this time there was a very popular series of books (known as chapbooks) which were small and cheap and contained stories of adventure and daring. The Society realised it would have to match the popularity of these books if it was to establish their materials at the core of the school curriculum. To do this, it mimicked the look and feel of the chapbooks, but developed their own content that was more in keeping with the moral tone of the society. The scale of books published by the Society is staggering. By 1842, nearly 1.7 million books had been circulated.

The School in the Parish

A report was published in 1825 on the state of the provision of education in Ireland (the government were still trying to decide what to do!). In the Parish of Powerscourt, there were eleven schools, including at least four hedge schools. The reported stated that the (new) schoolhouse at Enniskerry consisted of four rooms, and cost £600 to build. It had 61 children on the roll, 14 boys and 47 girls.  The school-mistress was Margaret Sandford and she was paid almost £36 per annum, £34 of which was paid by Lord Powerscourt. It was usual for pupils to pay a small sum—perhaps 1 penny per week—as it was considered that this would ensure their attendance was good. Just across the bridge, opposite the entrance to the Bog Meadow. There was an infant school. There were other schools in Annacrevy, Glencree, Bushy Park and Charleville.

Six years after the 1825 report, the government of the day finally decided to establish a National School system. The grant of £30,000 formerly paid to the Kildare Place Society went instead to the Board of Education, whose model largely mimicked that of the Society it was replacing. Existing schools could be taken into connexion with the Board by applying for salary for teachers or for supplies for schools. While the school at Curtlestown joined the National School system in 1834, the school at Enniskerry did not do so until much later in the century. This meant that support for the school relied on local subscription and the support of Powerscourt. There is evidence that Lord Powerscourt and his Guardians were heavily involved in the education of its tenants children. The 6th Viscount Powerscourt died young and the estate was run by Guardians until his son and heir came of age. The Guardians were the 6th Viscount’s father in law, wife, and uncle—Lord Roden, Lady Powerscourt (who remarried and became Lady Castlereagh and then Marchioness Londonderry) and Reverend William Wingfield respectively.

Figure 3: Request from John Cranston Schoolmaster at Enniskerry to Guardians of Powerscourt, May 1849, that he be allowed to retire with pension. (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

There is some recorded correspondence between the schoolmasters and the Guardians, which highlights the relationship between them. A note in 1848 to the guardians from Philip O’Connor, headmaster at Annacrivey school requested fuel. The estate manager, Captain Cranfield added to the note that the school was the only one without a fuel supply. The Guardians directed that the five ton of coal per term formerly provided to Glencree, which had recently closed (but later re-opened after pressure from tenants) was to be provided to Annacrivey.This note tells us that the Guardians were the main providers of support to the school.


Figure 4: Salaries paid to Schoolmasters by Lord Viscount Powerscourt for the Year 1844 (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

Figure 5: Request from Headmasters at Annacrivey and Enniskerry to Guardians of Powerscourt to be allow schools to close on Saturdays (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

But this support brought with it control of the schools. A request was submitted by the schoolmasters at Annacrivey and Enniskerry in 1849 to close their schools on Saturday “to enable them to purchase provisions, elsewhere than Enniskerry.” They added that this would not unduly affect the pupils as the attendance on Saturdays is small. In reply, William Wingfield asked why the attendance was so small. They mustn’t have been able to convince him, as another request was submitted in 1852, when the Guardian minutes note that Lady Castlereagh “has heard that the schoolmasters and mistresses are anxious that there should be no school on Saturdays, and approves.” A subsequent note indicated that Captain Cranfield would speak to them about it, and that he informed Lady Castlereagh that Reverend Wingfield had refused their application some time ago. I wonder what happened!

The Guardians also had control over who was school master. When John Cranston, schoolmaster at Enniskerry and at Annacrivey since 21st October 1817, decided to retire, he wrote to the Guardians in May 1848, he stated that he had spent £150 on the school and land at Annacrivey over his time there. He added that he was in poor health, and had a wife and six children to support. Lord Roden replied that he had spoken to Lady Castlereagh and she agrees that Cranston should be pensioned off and a new and proper master got for Enniskerry. Under the circumstances I think he should be pensioned at a salary of £25 a year for his life – if the Bishop of Cashel (Reverend Robert Daly, formerly Rector of the Parish) will contribute £10 this will leave him within £5 of his present salary. As to any improvements made so many years ago as is said to have been done by Cranston at Annacrivey no consideration whatever can be taken by the Guardians”.

It would appear therefore that the Guardians were not too happy with Cranston’s performance as a master—an earlier note accompanying the request for fuel in 1848 referred to Annacrivey, whose schoolmaster was Philip O’Connor, as “the largest and best managed school on the estate.” They wanted a new master at Enniskerry.

The new man was George Lindsay, who along with his wife had been recommended for the position as Master and Mistress of Enniskerry by Reverend H Kearney. The Guardians noted at this time that they would consider it, but within a year Lindsay’s name was associated with the school. In 1855, the Church Education Society (which had superseded the Kildare Place Society) sent in their inspector’s report to the Guardians. William Wingfield noted in the minutes that “The Inspector of the Ch. Ed. Soc’y school reports most favourably of the Annacrivey and Enniskerry schools, particularly the latter.”

Poor John Cranston died within two years of retiring, and a note was sent from a Reverend O’Callaghan to the Guardians to see if they were able to continue his pension to his wife. William Wingfield replied that that he was sorry that he could not continue the pension, but would allow it up to the last Gale Day (rent collection time), and an additional five pounds.

Joining the National School System

In 1867, the decision was taken to move the Enniskerry School into the National School System. On the original application, James Doherty, aged 30 and his wife Isabella, aged 24 are listed as schoolmaster and mistress. James received training from the Church Education Society, at their training school at Kildare Place. The school building is described in the application as being 44 foot long and 16 feet wide, with six large windows. It adds that a portion of the house is occupied by the teacher, with “no inconvenience to the school”. The average attendance is 20, with 27 males and 11 females on the books. In applying, Lord Powerscourt—by now it was the 7th Viscount Powerscourt—undertook to carry out any improvements requested by the Board. The application was approved, and a salary of £15 was allowed for Mr. Doherty. The school was given the roll number 9760. While it was originally called Enniskerry National School, in 1876, it changed its name to Powerscourt National School.

The school had a series of teachers during the 1870s. James Doherty left in 1871, and he was succeeded by Denis Christian in 1875. After Christian left, short terms were served by Michael Redmond, S Jackson, W Marshall and James Sweetman, who left in 1878. We can only speculate why there were so many masters over such a short period of time. In 1879, William Pattison was app=pointed, and remained until 1896. Pattison’s wife was workmistress at the school, and would have taught needlework. Support for needlework can be traced back to at least 1855, when William Wingfield granted a once-off donation of £5 for a sewing school at Annacrivey, stating that “the efficient support of such an industrial establishment is of great advantage to Lord Powerscourt’s tenantry.” When the then Marchioness Londonderry visited Curtlestown National School in 1855, she declared herself “much pleased with the needlework”.

William Pattison retired in 1896, and was replaced by Samuel Flinn (aged 26) as schoolmaster and his wife Fannie (aged 20) as workmistress. They would run the school into the new century, and bring us to the end of this story. The history of Powerscourt National School is a very rich and important one, as its narrative runs parallel with the history of the provision of education in Ireland as supported by education societies, landed gentry, parents and ultimately the State.


The Schoolmasters Manual (1825), The History of Useful Arts & Manufactures (1822), A Picture of the Seasons (1819) and Little Jack (various years) are available to read on the Hathitrust website or Google Books. Extracts from Hints and Directions for Arranging School-Rooms (1813) were reproduced in the Belfast Monthly Newsletter (1814), freely available on JSTOR at the URL: The Powerscourt Papers are held by the National Library of Ireland, and the index to their contents is given in Collection List No. 124. All records of the National School System are held in the National Archives of Ireland. More information on a typical day in the classroom is available in the book “Slates Up!”,  by Susan Parkes, which contains classroom activities and details of how to build a model of a 19th century classroom.

This article was published in the commemorative booklet published to mark the building of the new school at Enniskerry.

The Leyland Link

This year’s Journal features local stories and people. The articles will be published online in advance and the compiled Journal will be available from September in paperback. This article is from Joe Walsh.

How vital a good transport link is to an area, to a community. For us growing up in Kilternan in the 40’s and 50’s the green Leyland bus representing the C.I.E 44 service from College St. to Enniskerry was a lifeline to visit and explore a village quaintly different to anywhere else along the entire route. You knew when you had arrived. The bus stopped and switched off. It was the terminus. You now had the freedom of Enniskerry.

The houses and buildings looked different. There was even an attractive old hotel in the centre of the village that had an historic aura about it. I had never in my limited travels ever before been where a huge granite clock-tower monument seemed to act as the epicentre. You could actually mount some steps on it and walk all around to examine its details more closely. The setting round about was not all sedate. There were shops of all kinds at a glance and in particular there was Windsor’s where the ice-cream cone was a special treat. You could even hire a taxi there too!

Enniskerry Footballers (1961)

A group of us normally arrived together. Vinnie Butler would often come on board at the Scalp. Our mission was normally to challenge the locals in a football game in the Bog Meadow. These, at times, to put it mildly, could be quite robust. I had a bad experience one day, having been given the all clear to travel by my dear mother who was a real softie, but on one condition; that I get back home before my toil-weary father did for his tea. Grandfather had preached to him against the vice of wasting good time and his attitude was the same. Happily he grew to realise the dangers to Jack (and himself) of “all work and no play”. Anyway, back to the action: as I crouched to collect a low ball, my eye took the full force of a local hob-nail boot! A prize-fighter’s “shiner” bloated out instantly. I left the scene in resignation, and took the next bus home to face the music! It was not always war in the Bog Meadow. You dressed up and looked respectable there on Sports Day.

Many a film we saw at Noel Roe’s Cinema/Ballroom of Romance emporium just down the Dargle Road. For our patronage he was competing with the Odeon, subsequently known as the Apollo Cinema in Dundrum. If the pocket money was healthy the Sandford in Ranelagh was a contender. Locals of course could assess the offerings at the Royal and Roxy in Bray, just a handy single-decker run away. Getting back to the Enniskerry venue, sad to relate but there was yet another early exit for me from here too one Sunday! We had brought along a younger brother, Brian, to introduce him to the movies and just when the M.G.M. Lion in the opening sequence went into his bellowing/head rotation routine he became implacably scared and had to be taken home – another early departure from terminus 44.

When secondary school beckoned we again met up with some of the locals. The Enniskerry lads, Matt Kennelly, Sean Woodcock and George McNulty were heading for Westland Row CBS while we were on the Synge St. roll-call. The morning bus was really crowded with a cross-section of students, male and female, workers and commuters. On Monday mornings we invested in a weekly ticket, hand-written by the conductor. With a full bus, one frequently heard the three bell signal, meaning no more stops to collect passengers only when alighting. That green bus was a type of institution in many ways. Not only did you know the passengers, you knew where they sat. You knew the team of driver and especially the conductor by name. You knew his moods and mannerisms. He knew a bit about you too. You even got to know how partial the driver was to a full throttle! The homeward trips from various schools, with more space and fewer adults around, were rather more noisy and open to expressions of rivalry, but harmless really. There was, of course, no CCTV as a deterrent. The trip too afforded an opportunity for, let’s say, two-way romantic evaluations!

There was an interesting local evolution in the Gaelic versus Soccer codes during those years. Lads from Kilternan such as the McDonnells were useful soccer players as was Vinnie Butler, having honed their skills in Sandyford, Glencullen and early Wayside Celtic teams. They still relished their Gaelic nonetheless and played in various Enniskerry teams with more than a little success. I am told the classic give-away soccer signals of body swerves and so called “shimmies” did not go down well when used against certain other Wicklow opposition, especially when the latter were made to look and feel foolish by “being sent the wrong way”. This might result in an angry plea to teammates to inflict appropriate retaliation on “that soccer so-and-so”!

The lifting of the infamous Ban in the seventies, thankfully, was accompanied by quantum changes. We had talented players from Enniskerry; the likes of Pat and Dick Seery, Sean Woodcock, Liam Keogh, Jack Kearns and Jimmie Byrne actually playing soccer with Wayside Celtic. The late Jim Bradshaw born in Golden Ball who played soccer with Barnaville (from Barnacullia) went to live in Kilmacanogue and made a huge contribution to soccer in Co. Wicklow, a tradition followed by his son. Catering for  sport of another kind, Butler’s Hall in the Scalp became a Mecca for male and female table tennis players from Bray CYMS, Enniskerry and, of course, members of the host and local families. Late night tournaments and challenges running into the small hours were common, thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Butler and the goodies in the kitchen of her tearooms. A notable but modest, talented and popular participant was the late Alan Kelly Senior (1936-2009), 47 times capped for his country,and then playing with Bray Wanderers or Drumcondra before joining Preston North End. He was of course father of goalkeeping sons Gary and Alan Jnr.

Sports Day at the Bog Meadow

My connections with Enniskerry were not just through sport, entertainment and school-going friends. We had frequent chats with the legendary and lovable Andy (“A”) Doran who was the ploughman on Fox’s Verney Farm, only a stone’s throw from my home on the Glencullen Road. The same Fox family were related to Charlie Keegan, the first ever Irish World Ploughing Champion and former President of the N.F.A. His win which was greeted with much local, nay national, adulation was in Austria in 1964. He farmed in Enniskerry all his life and through his talent in ploughing a straight furrow, he enjoyed seeing many parts of the world. I was thrilled to see how his memory had been marked in 2002 near the river bridge in Enniskerry with a site known as the “Ploughman’s Corner”, comprising a plaque with citation and a granite bench with words denoting it as his seat. Happily Andy is remembered too, with a Pitch and Putt Challenge in his name held annually in Glencullen.

Charlie Walsh, Blacksmith, Kilternan

My later contacts with Enniskerry were also maintained through the lorry work of my father, Charlie Walsh, who had many good friends and customers in the village and the area in general. He was a great friend of fellow trucker, Robbie Kavanagh, a friendship that still holds strong today between his widow, Lily, and our family. My father drew sand and gravel from Coogan’s pit and turf from the bogs of Glencree for numerous cutters as well as that saved by us as a family enterprise aided by some men he hired from year to year for their expertise. I have unhappy memories of the discomfort imposed on us by the midge population of the area while working in the late evening loading up the last load for the day. He also hauled timber out of Knocksink Wood. His Ford V8 truck was a familiar sight on the roads and tracks around.

Film set in the Village

The establishment of Ardmore Studios, Bray, in 1958, gave cast and crew easy access to a myriad of diverse and wondrous  locations. It became a major  national  success story and a real world showcase to the treasures of the Garden of Ireland which hosted the lion’s share of the 100 plus films made over an 85 year period. It is appropriate that the Excalibur Film Drive proudly graces the local area, such is the versatility of its magnificent scenery. As part of the sylvan and historic settings the iconic John Hinde post-card picture of the village makes it instantly recognisable. It is no wonder that so many discerning artists over the years have perched at their roadside easels using that very same vantage point, thereby perpetuating the image of a location that is a little special – the village of Enniskerry.

Joe Walsh is a writer with a keen interest in local history.

Enniskerry Memories

This year’s Journal features local stories and people. The articles will be published online in advance and the compiled Journal will be available from September in paperback. This article is from Úna Wogan, in conversation with her aunt, Angela Wogan O’Neill.

Miss Grant Robinson with Canon Kennedy

I was born in Enniskerry in 1934. We lived at Church Hill House on Church Hill. My Grandmother Sarah had established a guest house on the premises in earlier years and although she passed away in 1930 and the guest house no longer opened for business we had one final guest who boarded in the house up until the early 1960s. Eleanor Grant Robinson, or Robbo as she was known to us, lived with us during all my childhood and beyond and was really a substitute for the grandmother we didn’t have the chance to know. She was a great character, known by everyone in the village and quite eccentric in her ways. She used to tell us she was once engaged to “young Powerscourt” but I’m not sure if this was true or which Powerscourt she meant. Robbo loved fresh flowers and would be delighted when she spotted a funeral arriving in the graveyard nearby. As soon as the ceremony was finished she’d scoot up the road and collected whatever fresh flowers took her fancy and place them in vases around our house.

My grandfather Michael was still alive when I was small child and I remember him well. He used to take me to Prossers to meet Mr Coogan. At night time I used to listen out for callers to the house. Old Mr Dunne would call and I would get up and sit with him and my grandfather watching them play cards and slipping whiskey into their tea. Dick Kavanagh was another of my Grandfather’s friends that would call to the house. I loved him because he had a pony and trap which he would bring every Sunday to mass. Also in the house was my father Paddy, my mother Ellen and my two younger brothers. My mother was from Kilternan and she and my father married in Glencullen. She died when I was eight years old. When she died my mother’s sister Molly (Connolly) and later her daughter Meave helped my father look after us.  It must have been hard for them as they would walk from Kilternan several times a week to help him. Really everyone in the village was very good to us but I suppose everyone knew everyone else at that time. My father worked for Wicklow County Council for many years as the Water rate collector for the village. He looked after the any problems with the water and also did building work around the village.

Church Hill, 1950s

Most of the children in the village went to Enniskerry school where Mr and Mrs Corcoran and Miss Smithers taught us. Our next door neighbours were the McGrath’s on one side and Dick and Mammie Seery on the other. I used to play with Nuala and Noel Seery, Deidre McGrath, Peggy Deeley and Betty Doyle  from the Dublin road. We’d play building huts at the back of the forge where Tom Arnold and Ben Ryder worked. Nan Walsh lived in the house beside the forge and she would lend us a saw or hammer when we needed one. Although Seerys moved to Kilgarron and later to Monastery we’d meet up and go to Knocksink in the summer. We had no interest in going to Bray to the sea as the river in Knocksink was as good and we had great fun making dams across the water. A big attraction was “Little Peggy’s” grave which was near the gate off the Beachwalk. We’d pick cones for the fire in the graveyard and sometimes pick snowdrops and bluebells at the Summer Hill Hotel. Another wonderful place to pick flowers was at the Blue Bell Dale through the Powerscourt farm gates and also in Powerscourt we’d collect walnuts and crab apples in the Autumn. We’d really spend a lot of time visiting houses around the village. Up through the bog meadow and across the water gaps where Rafferty’s house was, to Mammie Seerys or Barney Coogan’s mother. We’d go to Mrs Langs past the sand pit. We’d catch baby crows and bring them home to try and make pets out of them.  The rule was that we had to be home for dinner at one o’clock and tea at five O’clock. As we had no watches we must have driven people mad asking for the time.

In the village was my aunt Molly’s (Tallon) shop where most people bought their groceries. Although her door was open during lunch hour she’d give you a telling off if you entered the shop during that hour. We’d buy our sweets in Mrs Buckley’s shop, she’d only allow us a penny worth of sweets per day, and get our milk from Magee’s. The Actons ran the post office. I remember many times sitting and chatting to Kit Farrell who used to weed and clear the channel at the footpath edge. He’d very graciously share his “Billycan” of tea with me as we chatted on a warm summer’s day. A big event in the village was the procession every year and also the ploughing match with Gymkhana and sports bands, the Bross and Reed band from Glencullen and the Tug of War.

Other people living in the village were Garda and Mrs Flanagan next to the barracks, the Dundas family, McNultys, Garda McGrath and his family and Nan Wogan on the upper end of Church Hill. Below our house was Joe and Monica Seery, next Nan Cullen’s house, and then Mr Griffith who lived next to the courthouse. Tallon’s shop was the other side of the courthouse and Prossers, Actons and Buckleys were on the same side of the village. Troy’s shop was at the beginning of “Blackberry Row” where Ned and Mrs Doogan, Mr Woodcock and Bill Seery lived in the houses next to the Estate Office at the bottom of Kilgarron Hill. On the Dublin road next to the church was Canon Kennedy’s house, after the library; towards the village were the Doyles. The cottages down into the village from the Dublin road had Ben & Mrs Ryder, Bridget Coogan, Parky White and Garda Kennelly. Quigley’s shop. Mr Steele’s house (I think he was a teacher in the Church of Ireland school), and the priest’s house was next to Windsor’s shop. Sam Tallon and Miss Cosgrave lived in the Powerscourt Arms Hotel or “Tallon’s” as we knew it. Magees lived one side of the Powerscourt school and the other side at the bottom of Church Hill where the Corcorans, then the Wickhams (another Garda), the Deeleys and Mrs Good also lived on that side.

Nowadays going out to Enniskerry makes me very sad as all the people that meant a lot to me are gone. No more John Magee, Mammie and Dick Seery or Dick Kavanagh. Growing up in the village was like being around a large extended family and we spent a lot of time with all these people we knew so well. It was a very happy time in my life, a great place to grow up.

Úna Wogan is a native of Enniskerry studying the genealogy of several local families.

Memories of Glencot, Enniskerry

This year’s Journal features local stories and people. The articles will be published online in advance and the compiled Journal will be available from September in paperback. This article is from Denise Haddon.

Mrs Lang, the old lady on the right of the photo, owner of Glensynge; Irene Oldfield, the companion; and me, aged about 3. My favourite dog, Jessie Carr, is on Mrs Lang's lap, and Monty the black labrador is at the front.

I first went to Enniskerry before I was born!  My grandmother had brought her terminally-ill daughter from England to have one last holiday in Fethard-on-Sea, her own native village.  This was in the summer of 1939, and war broke out while they were there.  The family persuaded my grandmother to stay in Ireland (‘don’t bring Frankie back to the bombs‘) and so she had to look for a small place to rent rather than stay in lodgings.  She saw an advertisement in the paper for a place in County Wicklow, somewhere called Enniskerry, which looked suitable, so up they went.

My mother went to join them when her own husband was about to go off to the war.  It was from there that Bill Seery, who lived in a cottage on Kilgarron Hill, took my mother in his taxi to Holles Street Hospital the night before I was born, in August 1941.   My father arrived on embarkation leave the next day and, being a Sunday and there being no buses, he had to walk from Dun Laoghaire to Enniskerry, using Cattie Gallagher as his guide.  He knew that once he got there, he could get to The Scalp and then on to Enniskerry.  He stayed in Prosser’s hotel.  A young waitress there was so busy looking at him that she poured his soup into his lap!  Auntie Frankie died two months later and is buried in Curtlestown.  My father was killed by a Japanese sniper in Malaya in early 1942, and so we stayed, on and off, in Enniskerry until it was time for me to start school and we all went back to England.

Glencot, showing the wall and roadway in front. You can't see the water but it came out somewhere along that wall.

The house – it is really a hut and is still there – was called Glencot.   It was in the grounds of a large bungalow called Glensynge.  Glensynge was owned by an English lady, Mrs Lang, and she lived there with her unmarried daughter, Elsie, and a companion, Irene Oldfield.  I think they were Quakers.  They had a large number of dogs and numerous cats.  They were known to be animal lovers so any strays got taken to them!  The grounds were extensive, some cultivated with a lovely lawn and shrubs, a big area where they grew soft fruit, a small orchard and a large vegetable garden.  They kept bees and Elsie Lang was often to be seen in full bee-keeper’s outfit.  They also had several ducks which laid quite a lot of eggs and a lovely pond.

Dotted around the grounds were a few small dwellings which they rented out.  There was one amongst some fir trees, lived in by a school teacher.  I have forgotten her name.  In another larger one was an old Indian Army officer called Pat Wilkinson who was a friend of Irene Oldfield’s.  He had been a student at Trinity College, knew Lady Gregory and was at the opening of The Playboy of the Western World when some of the spectators rioted.  He had several cases of beautiful Indian butterflies which he had caught and had mounted while serving in India.  In another dwelling was a Mr and Mrs Harty and their daughter, Mary, with whom I used to play.  Further up the hill near the road was a family called Ryan, with a daughter called Doreen, who also played with Mary and me.  I don’t think any of these dwellings had running water or electricity. There was a communal ‘toilet’ somewhere in the grounds which the tenants took it in turns to clean.  It consisted of a hut, placed over a stream, over which had been built a bench with a hole in it.  I don’t remember being bothered by it at all – just that my visiting English aunt used to find it very difficult!

Glencot consisted of three rooms:  two bedrooms and one all-purpose room.  It had a small wood-burning stove on which the kettle sat and a two-ring cooker which was run on oil.  It was very cosy.  Lighting was by oil lamps and there were candles in the bedrooms.  We filled our jugs and saucepans and bowls from the beautiful spring water which gushed out of the wall below Glencot.  It was surrounded by buddleia trees and to this day the smell of buddleia takes me straight back to Enniskerry.    For nearly a year, when I was 3, my twin cousins came to stay, and they used to sleep in a little hut beside ours.

We used to go out with Miss Oldfield to walk the dogs every afternoon.  I can’t remember all their names, only Monty, the black Labrador, Ben, the greyhound, Jilly-pup, the golden retriever, and my own best pal Jessie Carr, a little mongrel with a curly tail who used to run round to me every morning when she was let out.  We collected wood for the stove during these walks, and to this day I have difficulty walking past a nice-looking piece of wood!

We used to walk across the Bog Meadow to Mass on Sundays, and indeed I used to run across it alone to meet my gran coming home from daily Mass.  There were scarcely any cars then, and everybody knew everybody so it was very safe.  We used to get Bill Seery to take us up to Curtlestown for the annual Pattern.  But a lot of people used to walk all the way. There were of course the lorries taking the men up to Glencree to cut the turf.  There is nothing like the smell of burning turf!  I used to love going to Mrs Windsor’s shop and if I was lucky I’d get an HB ice cream.  There was another shop called Quigley’s round the corner.  What did they sell?  Is there anyone who remembers?

We got our meat from Mr Magee.  I remember standing at the end of Magee’s yard and hearing the pigs squeal as they were slaughtered.   John Magee was behind the counter as a very young man.  I thought he was very tall.   Occasionally boys would knock at the door selling rabbits for a few pence, and I watched in amazement as my gran skilfully skinned them.  I was only aware of the scarcity of tea because a tramp once knocked on the door and said ‘can ye spare a grain of tea?‘ and my gran said ‘we haven’t enough for ourselves‘.  I did know that there were food shortages in England because if we went over we’d always pack some things in with our luggage, and we regularly sent my other aunt a bar of chocolate hidden inside a rolled-up newspaper.  Only the older people will remember that you could roll up a newspaper in a special wrapper and send it at a cheap rate.

This was taken at my aunt's grave in Curtlestown. I'm about 5 in this one. My grandmother, Mary Cooper, is behind me. May O'Rourke is on the right of the picture, and Aunt Maggie is on the left.

There were regular shopping trips into Dublin, which I hated unless we were going to Bradleys near Trinity College to buy me shoes.  You always got a ride on their rocking horse and were given a big balloon to take home.  And lunch at Bewley’s was always a treat.  The Dublin and Bray buses used to start and finish outside the Protestant school.  There was a bus once an hour.  I always felt sick on the Dublin bus but the conductor used to tell me that he’d always been sick on the bus when he was a little boy and look at him now!

I used to play with Guard McGrath’s daughter – Deirdre I think her name was – and Mairead Tallon.  My mother and grandmother became friends with the O’Rourkes – Mr O’Rourke, and his daughter May, and Aunt Maggie – in the big house just below Glensynge and the derelict bus garage.   It was a lovely house with a huge garden with a tennis court, and it had trees with delicious plums trained along the wall beside the driveway.  When the old people died, May sold up and moved to England.

There was the occasional drama.   One day a lorry’s brakes failed as it was coming down Kilgarron Hill, and it crashed into the wall of one of the houses by the Protestant school.  I just remember the smashed lorry and wall, and not whether the driver was badly injured.  A more pleasant excitement was the occasional showing of films in a building along the Bray road.  I don’t remember what the building was but seem to remember a garage being nearby.

This is Glencot, with my grandmother, Mary Cooper, at the window, and my mother, Betty King, outside. I have no idea of the date. I'm wondering if it was before I was born.

After we moved back to England and up until my late teens, we spent every summer in Ireland.  Bill Seery used to meet us at Dun Laoghaire and take us to Windgates on the Greystones side of Bray Head where my mother had had a small holiday house built. Over the years since then we always came back to visit Enniskerry, to look at Glencot, to visit Irene Oldfield and Pat Wilkinson when they were still there, to visit my aunt’s grave in Curtlestown.  It’s a place of bitter/sweet memories, and for me, the one place where my parents and I were together as a little family, Enniskerry, then Bray;  where my dad caused quite a stir by changing nappies and pushing the pram – unheard of in 1941 Ireland for a man to do any such thing!

Denise Haddon (nee King) lived in Enniskerry from 1941 to 1945, returning annually (more or less) ever since.

Enniskerry Clock Tower Romance

This year’s Journal features local stories and people. The articles will be published online in advance and the compiled Journal will be available from September in paperback. This first article is from Fr John Wall.


In the summer of 1932 two Belfast-born girls, Angela and Molly, had recently moved to Dublin. Their new friends wanted to show them the beauty of the surrounding countryside – so, naturally, they took them on an outing to Enniskerry.

Sure enough, the young women were entranced by the beauty of the place and now in the sunshine of that Sunday afternoon, while waiting for the return bus, they sat looking up at the clock tower in the centre of the village and wondered what the letters MDCCCXLIII might mean.

Their query was overheard by two young men who were standing behind them, Michael and Myles who, in the fashion of the day, were dressed to the nines in plus-fours and cloth caps. Both young detectives from Dublin Castle and they too were  on the outing with some friends.

Michael spoke up in his Cork accent “The M is a tousand” he said “and the D is five hundred. Then,  the three Cs make three hundred. So we add all that up: one thousand plus five hundred plus three hundred – that makes 1,800. Now the XL is a bit tricky – because, you see, X means ten and L is 50 but you subtract the ten from 50, so XL is 40, OK? Good. Now III is three, as you’ll see on a clock. So the entire number is 1000 + 500 + 300 + 40 + 3 which equals 1843 – the year the clock tower was built”

“Smart fella!” exclaimed Angela admiringly. Michael blushed. He was smitten. By a happy, planned coincidence they got sitting close to each other on the bus back to Dublin.

And so began a life-long romance. Three years later Michael Wall and Angela Casey were married in Dublin – their best man was Myles Saul and the bridesmaid was Molly Parkes Keenan.

My sister and brothers are very familiar with this story because we heard it frequently as young children when were taken on Sunday drives to the hills – usually via the clock tower in beautiful Enniskerry – by the lovers themselves, our parents, Angela and Michael Wall.

Fr. John Wall is Parish Priest at Clondalkin.

Enniskerry at the Movies – 1926

Here is an incredible find. It is film released in 1926 called “Irish Destiny” which features Enniskerry as one of its locations. Can you help with other locations (details below)? Thanks to contributor Nivrum for sending this on.

The film, according to the source website:

  is a 1926 film made in Ireland, directed by George Dewhurst and written by Isaac Eppel to mark the tenth anniversary of the Easter Rising. The film was considered lost for many years until in 1991 a single surviving nitrate print was located by the Irish Film Institute in the United States’ Library of Congress. The institute’s archive had the film transferred to safety stock and restored. The institute then commissioned Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin to write a new score for the film. Irish Destiny is the first fiction film that deals with the Irish War of Independence, and the first and only film written and produced by Isaac (Jack) Eppel, a Dublin GP and pharmacist who also enjoyed a career as theater impresario and cinema owner.

Movie Still from "Irish Destiny" (part 2)

It is on YouTube in 8 parts. Part 2 has a significant amount of Enniskerry footage. Can you identify the unknown locations listed below?

Part 1: Movie Introduction and Credits – Introduction to village of Clonmore (Enniskerry), “as yet untouched by the horrors of war” (3:20). Also features Powerscourt Waterfall (8:48) – preceded by the River walk road?. Also Rathdrum train-station!

Part 2: Significant amount of footage in Enniskerry, beginning 2:52 to 4:40. Good views down Church Hill, looking towards town clock, and Magee’s shop. House at 6:30 – not sure if this is local? Ruin at the end of this section – again not sure if it is local.

Part 3: Outside scene at 2:30 – looks like the Feather Beds? A yard at 6:10. Outdoor scene at 6:58 and then is it Rocky Valley at 7:00? A long road at 9:00 (Old/New Long Hill?)

Part 4: River/road scene at 4:50.

Part 5: Small town at 0:57.

Part 6: Rural road at 4:16, (Monastery Road?), Country House at 6:29,

Part 7: House at 3:00.

Part 8: “Clonmore Green” at 4:56,



Licensed Premises 1890

The return of licensed premises in Enniskerry in 1890 is listed below.  I’ve shown some other villages from Wicklow (Blessington, Newtown Mount Kennedy, Carnew, Rathdrum and Bray), including some of similar size and geography for comparison. It looks like we were a sober bunch. There’s evidence from earlier in the century of a resistance to opening more licensed premises, and it seems this legacy lasted on for the rest of the century, and indeed into the twentieth century. The places in the table are listed in order of increasing number of licences per 1000 people, based on the 1881 Census. Enniskerry had by far the lowest (0.9 per 1000); the next was Tinahely (2.0 per 1000).

[table id=12 /]

Thanks to contributor Nivrum for finding this on the website which documents some 19th century Parliamentary Papers relating to Ireland. For the entire Parliamentary Papers catalogue, the National Library hold the 18th 19th and 20th centuries electronically.

War of Independence at Enniskerry

RIC Barracks (now Garda Station)

I don’t often stray into the 20th century here, but thanks to Judy Cameron for prompting this information, gleaned from some newspapers. They are some transcripts I found from May 1921. The Barracks was attacked on 28th May, resulting in the RIC moving temporarily into the Parochial Hall. Two articles reporting the attack are given below. As an aside, in July 1822, just after the beginning of the Civil War, Bray Barracks was burned out, and that gang came to Enniskerry afterwards and stole food from Tallon’s shop!

Freemans Journal 28 May 1921

Military GHQ Parkgate, Dublin issued the following communiqué:-

…Enniskerry RIC barrack was attacked yesterday with rifle fire and bombs. No casualties reported. Slight damage caused to the barrack. The barrack is situate in the principal street of the picturesque village and below the entrance to Powerscourt demesne. “Verey lights were sent up by the police and military, who are encamped above the village, hastened to their assistance.”…

Irish Independent 28 May 1921


…Enniskerry Onslaught – From the front and rear, Enniskerry RIC barracks was attacked with rifle fire and bombs yesterday morning. The onslaught lasted about an hour, the barrack windows being broken and some damage caused to a door. Some bombs were thrown and Verey lights sent up by the police, to whose assistance military encamped about the village hastened. The attack, a resident of the village told an “Irish Independent” representative, “began about 2.30 am with rifle firing. It was comparatively light at first, as if sniping operations were being carried out. Single shots appeared to have been exchanged for some time, and then the firing quickened, and was maintained at a rapid rate until 3.30, when it ceased.”