Using Online Resources for Irish History Research

Lucan Library will host a three part practical course given by Mary Jackson, a Lucan-based genealogist, on using online and original sources for Irish local and family history projects. It will run from 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm on Monday evenings and there are 10-15 places available.

A knowledge of computers and using the internet is essential.

Ordnance Survey Map of Lucan 1870

Over the three sessions, participants will work on a project of their choice – topics of interest to Lucan can be suggested if none springs to mind! Projects can include oral history or records based research.
The first session (29 June 2015) will focus on getting the most from popular online resources and on identifying the public archives and institutions where original records relevant to the chosen topics might be located.
At the second session (13 July 2015), participants will report back to the group on their research to date and they will be given an opportunity to discuss how they propose to advance their project.
At the third and final session (14 September 2015) participants will present a short paper (four minutes to deliver it) on their chosen topic or some key aspect of it. Afterwards, a folder containing copies of the papers will be lodged, for reference, with the Local History Section of Lucan Library.

If you are interested please contact Lucan library on 01-6216422, email or call in.

History and Heritage 2015 Events

Whilst we are all looking forward to National Heritage Week which runs between 22nd and 30th of August, sometimes, you have to admit, a week is not enough, especially when it relates to something you have a particular interest in. That is why the Library Section of South Dublin County Council have devised a programme of walks, talks, tours and workshops around history and heritage that lasts the whole summer long. I know it is a cliché at this stage, but there really is something for every one, from outdoor events to craft classes and history lectures.

History and Heritage 2015 events brochure

The programme kicks off with the ever popular heritage walks of the villages within South Dublin County. Whether you’re a local, once lived in the area or are just interested in the heritage and history of Newcastle, Palmerstown, Saggart, Templeogue, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan or Rathfarnham, you can get out and about and start exploring and learning on these guided walks. Another of the heritage walk highlights is Massy’s Woods and Hell Fire Club Heritage Walk on Saturday 25th July and Wednesday 26th August, led by Historian Frank Tracy. I’m sure Frank will explore some of the scary stories one hears about the ominously named Hell Fire Club. Besides, the views over Dublin City from the top of Mount Pelier are magnificent. There’s nothing like a bracing walk followed by bracing views!

Talking of things of yore, have you every wanted to know how to restore and preserve old family photographs? As part of a ground breaking initiative developed by the Gallery of Photography, the County Library in Tallaght are hosting events around the Photo Album of Ireland project during the month of July. Staff of the Gallery will host a talk on restoring your family album on Saturday 18th July, followed by a scanning workshop where you can contribute to this amazing project by bringing along photos from your own family album.

Did you know there used to be an airport in Tallaght? Well, during August and September the County Library in Tallaght will host a photographic exhibition exploring the history of Tallaght Aerodrome.

And whilst the big kids amongst us may have our heads in the clouds, we mustn’t forget the young ones in the family.Irish History Live workshops where children from aged 8 to 12 can experience life in Dublin during the 1916 Rising take place in Ballyroan, Castletymon and Tallaght Libraries. And if that is not enough, Lucan Library are inviting children to place their Hands On History to explore the story of the Irish at Gallipoli through an interactive history workshop.  Children aged 6 – 10 year old  can create scenes from history using Lego and use webcams to transform them in their own comic in County Library, or for the sporty kid, why not design and make your own sliotar inspired textile balls at the Stitched Sliotar workshops on 17th July. Booking for these events opens on 30th June.

This is just a flavour of the over 50 events taking place throughout the summer. For the full programme click here or pick up a copy in your local South Dublin Libraries branch, as well as other locations around the city.

For further information and bookings, contact  Sίle Coleman at 01 462 0073 or e-mail

South Dublin County Guided Heritage Walks

As part of our History and Heritage events this year, the following guided heritage walks are happening around the county over the coming weeks. No booking necessary & all welcome!

Saturday 16th August 11am. Meet at The Templeogue Inn (The Morgue) in Templeogue Village. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Massy’s Woods, Killakee
Thursday 21st August 11am. Meet at the Hell Fire Club Car park, Killakee Road. Guide: Frank Tracy.

Saturday 23rd August—time TBC. Part of Tallafest. Meet at The Priory at 3pm. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Tuesday 26th August 11am. Meet at St. Finian’s Church, Main Street, Newcastle. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Wednesday 27th August 7:30pm. Meet at the Round Tower, Tower Road, Clondalkin. Guide: Bernadine Nic Giolla Phadraig.

Friday 29th August 11 am. Meet at Saggart Parish Church, Main Street, Saggart. Guide: Liam Roche

Saturday 30th August 11am. Meet at the Coach House, Old Lucan Road, Palmerstown. Guide: Hugh O’Connor.

Saturday 6th September 11am. Meet at the Anne Devlin statue at the junction of Butterfield Avenue and Main Street, Rathfarnham. Guide: Tomás Maher.

Thursday 11th September 11am. Part of the Lucan Festival. Meet at the Topaz Garage, Old Lucan Road, Lucan. Guide: Joe Byrne.

Can’t make these walks? You can explore the heritage of South Dublin County in your own time using our audio guides at


The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal, which links the River Liffey to the River Shannon, is one of the finest amenities available to us in South Dublin County. The Grand Canal enters South Dublin County at the Third Lock which can be found beside the Blackhorse Luas station. It extends through the neighbourhoods of Bluebell, Clondalkin and Lucan until it passes into Co Kildare near Hazelhatch.


It has served us well for over 250 years. When construction began in 1756, it was one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken on this island. It took nearly 50 years to build. In it’s heyday it was a thriving commercial waterway. It provided a crucial artery for transporting agricultural produce from the midlands to Dublin and on to England. In the opposite direction, importers from England relied on the canal to carry their produce all over Ireland. Probably the most important product to be found on the canal through the years was porter. Guinness had their own barges and bred their own horses for the task of hauling the black-stuff to the four corners of Ireland.

Photograph of cottages by the Grand Canal in Clondalkin, in 1926

Photograph of cottages by the Grand Canal in Clondalkin, in 1926

Things didn’t always run smoothly on this busy stretch of water. In December 1792, there was a major accident near Clondalkin. A passage boat left Dublin bound for Athy. But along the way, one-hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced their way onto barge. The captain warned them that they had overloaded the boat and it would capsize if they did not leave. No one paid any attention until the barge reached the 8th Lock where it capsized. Five men, four women and two children drowned. The rest of the passengers escaped.

These days the Grand Canal is a much safer place. The last working cargo barge passed through the canal in 1960. It has been beautifully restored in the last few decades and has found a new life as a leisure amenity and a sanctuary for wildlife. Here in South Dublin we are fortunate to have one of the finest stretches of the Grand Canal Way, a 117km long-distance walking trail that follows the towpath of the canal from Lucan to Shannon Harbour. More suitable for a Sunday afternoon ramble is the 8.5km Greenway between the Third Lock at Blackhorse and the Twelfth Lock at Lucan, which opened in June 2010.

Heritage Week at Lucan Library

Lucan Library is delighted to present the following events to celebrate Heritage Week 2013.

17th August until end of September. Exhibition: Lucan House & Demesne By Ronie de Brun

17th August until end of September. Exhibition: Postcard Views of South Dublin, then and nowA photographic exhibition as part of The Gathering 2013

Wednesday 21st August, 7:00pm.‘Sources for Family History Research’, a talk by Mary Jackson. Booking required – now booking, phone 01 6216422

Thursday 22nd August, 6.30pm A Celebration of Traditional Irish Music by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí LucanAll welcome!

The Bridges of Lucan

Lucan has a number of old and interesting bridges. There are only two “King John” bridges that survive in Ireland, one of these is at Lucan and the other spans the river Boyne, according to Peter O’Keeffe who has researched the stone bridges of Ireland. The Lucan bridge spans the river Griffeen and can be seen at GriffeenValley park, it runs parallel to the modern Esker Bridge at Lynch’s Lane.  Only one arch remains of the original three arch bridge.

King John's Bridge

King John’s Bridge


Esker was part of the demesne in the LiffeyValley which was ruled as a royal manor under King John.  As a “King John” bridge it would have been constructed between 1199 and 1216. O’Keeffe describes the bridge as “being of excellent quality for the period and probably built by a master mason attached to the manor who had plenty of experience in building door and window arches”. He notes that the ring stones were built of local limestone. Bridge building would have formed an important part of the consolidation of the Norman conquest giving access to the interior of the country. Prior to that time most of the river crossings were at fords.

Postcard of the Liffey Bridge Lucan c.1930

Postcard of the Liffey Bridge Lucan c.1930

A number of Lucan bridges were washed away by floods and only the piers remain these can be seen on the maps of the 18th and 19th century. In Ball’s history of County Dublin there is an illustration of very fragile looking wooden bridge at Hermitage.

Vesey Bridge Lucan Village

Vesey Bridge Lucan Village

The Vesey Bridge at Lucan was constructed c. 1773 and it is substantially in its original condition. The Veseys were a very influential family who gained the lands of Lucan through marriage to Patrick’s Sarsfield’s niece in the 1720’s. In an act dated 1771 – 1772 Vesey was given permission to construct a new line of road which involved building a new bridge over the Griffeen. Swift wrote “Agmondisham Vesey out of great bounty / built the bridge at the expense of the county.”

Lucan Bridge

Lucan Bridge

The Lucan Bridge that spans the Liffey is a very handsome bridge of ashlar masonry with iron balustrades. These balustrades were constructed by Phoenix Ironworks in 1814 which is the only clue to the date of the bridge. Lucan Bridge has a span of 110ft and is the longest masonry arch bridge in the country.