Tallaght Historical Society Talks 2016/17

Tallaght Historical Society’s Lectures for the 2016/17 season have commenced. All lectures take place at 7:00 p.m. in the County Library, Tallaght, and all are welcome. No booking required.


October 11th – Life after the Twelve Locks by Mick KinehanTaylors Map of Tallaght 1816 showing the many mills in the area

November 8th – Dublin from Old Photographs by Cormac Lowth

November 22nd – The Shape we’re in: the history of the map of Ireland by Michael Keyes

December 13th – Leo Swan Memorial Lecture – Archaeologist Neil Jackman will give a talk on his recent findings at the Hell Fire Club.

Round Tower_small


January 10th – History of the Garda Siochána by Gerry Lovett

February 14th – A History of the GAA by David Griffith

March 14th – Edward Trevor, beast of Kilmainham by Michael Ó Doibhilín

April 11th – If those Trees Could Speak: the Massys of Killakee by Frank Tracy

May 9th – History of Ireland’s Round Towers by John Dolan

May 23rd – The Collection of the Irish Air Corps Museum by Michael Whelan

June 13th – Dublin Housing in the 1800s by Seán Bagnall


Tallaght Historical Society 2015/16 Lecture Series

Tuesday 8th September 2015

Defending Ireland from the Irish   James Devitt

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Calligraphy: Codes and Catastrophies  David Smith

Tuesday 13th October 2015

The Sinking of the Lusitania  Cormac Lowth

Tuesday 10th November 2015

History of Dublin’s Fruit and Vegetable Markets  John Conroy

Tuesday 8th September 2015

Leo Swan Memorial Lecture – TBC

Tuesday 12th January 2016

James Connolly  James Connolly Heron

Tuesday 9th February 2016

Roger Casement  John McGuigan

Tuesday 8th March 2016

Josie: a Brief Flame  Michael Ó Doibhilín

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

The Lives of the 1916 Leaders  Seán O’Gorman

Tuesday 12th April 2016

The Irish Poets of World War One  Frank Tracy

Tuesday 10th May 2016

Early Irish Farming  John Dolan

Tuesday 14th June 2016

19th Century Beggars in Ireland  Seán Bagnall


All lectures take place at 7:00pm in the County Library, Tallaght, and all are welcome.

Tallaght Historical Society Contact: Anne Hanrahan at 01 2441463 or 0876315773

Tallaght Historical Society Lecture Series 2014/15

Tallaght Historical Society have just announced details of their 2014-2015 lectures.

Tuesday 9th September 2014 @ 7:00 p.m.
Highways to Leisureways Mick Kinahan

Tuesday 30th September 2014 @ 7:00 p.m.
Early Medieval Books John Dolan

Tuesday 11th November 2014 @ 7:00 p.m.
Guns and Hoses: Dublin Fire Brigade during the Irish Revolution Las Fallon

Tuesday 9th December 2014 @ 7:00 p.m. Leo Swan Memorial Lecture
The Holy Wells of Dublin Gary Brannigan

Tuesday 13th January 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.
The Road to Blessington John Hussey

Tuesday 10th February 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.
The Hanging of the Kearneys in Tallaght, 1816 Eamonn Maloney

Tuesday 10th March 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.
The Burning of the Custom House Michael Ó Dóibhlín and Liz Gillis

Tuesday 24th March 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.
History of Ireland from the First Settlers to Christianity Frank Tracy

Tuesday 14th April 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.

How the Poor Survived in 18th Century Ireland Seán Bagnall

Tuesday 12th May 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.

The Collections of the Irish Air Corps Museum Michael Whelan

Tuesday 9th June 2015 @ 7:00 p.m.

The Poets of Tallaght Tomás Maher

All lectures take place in the County Library, Tallaght and all are welcome! For further information, contact Anne Hanrahan, Chairperson of Tallaght Historical Society on 01 2441463 or 0876315773.

12th Annual Leo Swan Memorial Lecture

The Irish Saints and their Feast Days: the Tallaght Contribution

by Professor Pádraig Ó Riain

Tuesday 10th December at 7:00 pm at The County Library, Tallaght

No booking required but places allocated on a first come basis – arrive early as this is sure to be a popular event!

St. Maelruain's Cross, Tallaght

St. Maelruain’s Cross, Tallaght

Leo Swan died in 2001 and is fondly remembered in the Tallaght area as an encouraging and inspiring teacher and former Principal of Our Lady of Loreto Primary School. He was also a founder member of Tallaght Historical Society. While teaching he was involved in archaeological investigations and in lecturing on archaeology. In the early 1990s he gave up teaching to concentrate fulltime on archaeology, setting up a company, Arch Tech, which specialised in archaeological assessments of threatened sites. He led the archaeological excavation at Templeogue House where he discovered early Irish glass. He was also a pioneer of archaeological investigation using aerial photography. From its beginning in 1995, Leo was a great friend of the County Library and we thought it was a fitting tribute to hold an annual lecture here in his memory.

Tallaght Historical Society and South Dublin Libraries are most grateful to Professor Pádraig Ó Riain for giving this year’s lecture. Pádraig Ó Riain is Professor Emeritus of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork, and the previous holder of Visiting Professorships at Bochum and Freiburg in Germany and at Aberystwyth in Wales. He is a former holder of the Parnell Fellowship at Magdalen College, Cambridge, and was the first Irish scholar to be awarded the Humboldt Prize. A former President of the Irish Texts Society and a former Member of Council of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Ó Riain is the author of numerous publications on Irish hagiography, placenames, personal names, and textual transmission. Among his published works are A Dictionary of Irish Saints, and Feastdays of the Saints: A History of the Irish Martyrologies.

Tallaght Historical Society Lecture Series 2013-14

Tallaght Historical Society have just announced their series of lectures for 2013-14. All lectures take place at the County Library, Tallaght and all are welcome.

Tuesday 10th September 2013 @ 7:00 pm Tallaght in Transition from Ancient to Modern Chris Flood

Tuesday 8th October 2013 @ 7:00 pm Ireland’s Underwater Archaeological Heritage Cormac Lowth

Tuesday 29th October 2013 @ 7:00 pm Bog Bodies John Dolan

Tuesday 12th November 2013 @ 7:00 pm The Speaker Connolly Michael Keyes

Tuesday 10th December 2013 @ 7:00 pm Leo Swan Memorial Lecture The Irish Saints and their Feast Days: The Tallaght Contribution Professor Pádraig Ó Riain

Tuesday 14th January 2014 @ 7:00 pm Vintage Postcards James O’Brien

Tuesday 11th February 2014 @ 7:00 pm Oisín, Evie and Elizabeth: 3 artists buried in St. Maelruain’s Tomás Maher

Tuesday 11th March 2014 @ 7:00 pm The Pawn and the Castle: Anne Devlin Michael Ó Dóibhlín

Tuesday 8th April 2014 @ 7:00 pm The History of the Books of the New Testament Frank Tracy

Tuesday 22nd April 2014 @ 7:00 pm Ernest Shackleton Neale Webb

Tuesday 13th May 2014 @ 7:00 pm Irish Peace Keepers Michael Whelan

Tuesday 10th June 2014 @ 7:00 pm The Story of Rebecca Clarke from Bandon, Co. Cork Seán Bagnall



History Events in South Dublin Libraries in May 2013

There are lots of history lectures and events coming up in South Dublin Libraries during the month of May. As usual all events are free and all are welcome! The only event that requires booking is the Selina Guinness reading at Whitechurch Library, which you can book by calling 01 4930199.

Ballyroan Library
Thursday 23rd May, 7:30 pm
Dublin in the Early 20th Century
Exploring the 1911 Census with Caitriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland

County Library Tallaght

Tuesday 14th May, 7:00 pm
Tallaght Historical Society Lecture – The Irish at Gallipoli, 1915, a talk by Michael Whelan

Tuesday 21st May, 7:00 pm
Electing the Popes, how and why the process came about with Miriam Moffit, Department of History, NUI Maynooth

Tuesday 28th May, 7:00 pm
The Building of the Dublin Suburbs: an exploration of houses and furniture using newspaper advertisements.
with Dr. Miriam Moffit, Department of History, NUI Maynooth

Whitechurch Library
Thursday 23rd May, 2:00 pm
A Crocodile by the Door: Selina Guinness of Tibradden reads from her award winning memoir. Booking essential.

The Knocklyon Murder of 1883

An old man named Patrick Quinn, aged 70, was murdered on Sunday evening, 27th October 1883 outside his home on Beech Park Avenue – also known as Walsh’s Road – off Knocklyon Road. This avenue has long since disappeared and the Dargle Wood estate now occupies the ground.

Area in which the murder took place.

Area in which the murder took place.

The main suspect, Peter Wade, was arrested early on Sunday morning, 28th, at his home in Tymon North where, it was reported, he had blood stains on his clothing, abrasions to his face and had shaved off his moustache. The Irish Times also reported that he was ‘well known to the police’ and had recently been released from prison, having served twelve months hard labour.

Also on Sunday morning, 28th, a post mortem examination was held at nearby Knocklyon Cottage. To the best of our knowledge, this still exists as a large cttage attached to the former Knocklyon House – now known as the Rutland Centre. The inquest jury (all local people) found that the old man had died a violent death and the police initiated a murder inquiry. The widow of Mr. Quinn identified the suspect from a line up of three, adding that he had shaved off his moustache and was not wearing the muffler he had on him the evening before when he called to her house.

Knocklyon House, now known as The Rutland Centre. Photo courtesy of the NIAH.

Knocklyon House, now known as The Rutland Centre. Photo courtesy of the NIAH.

Later on that same afternoon, at a Special Court sitting in Rathfarnham Barracks. Mrs. Quinn and various police officers were cross examined and the prisoner was remanded in custody.

Patrick Quinn was buired in St. Nathy’s cemetery in Dundrum on Tuesday 30th October 1883. His grave in now unmarked – as are many of the graves from this period.

The Irish Times went on to cover another seven sittings of the Rathfarnham Petty Sessions Court regarding this case. This included a review of the inquest, additional information regarding witness statements, statements from new witnesses regarding the movements and corroborated sightings of Peter Wade on the afternoon, evening and night of the murder. Throughout this trial, the prisoner was not legally represented and there was no jury. The local JPs, a mixture of local legal professionals, local landowners and business people, made the decisions here.

As the trial progressed in Rathfarnham, it would appear that several witnesses changed their statements or, perhaps, the newspaper changed its interpretation of what was said. At a time when you lost your home when you lost your job, and your business could suffer badly from being associated with a convicted criminal, it was clear that many of the witnesses were distancing themselves from the accused. RIC officers from stations at Rathfarnham, Rockbrook and Tallaght were also involved in the proceedings. The verdict was that the prisoner be tried at the next Dublin Winter Assizes, at Green Street Court in Dublin, on the capital charge, ie. murder.

The RIC Barracks in Tallaght

The RIC Barracks in Tallaght

The Irish Times also covered the two day trial at Green Street. Many of the same witnesses were called and the trial had a twist insofar as Peter Wade tried to seek leniency by implicating others in the murder. He named three men and said there was up to eight others involved in the murder. He said they had walked across footpaths through the fields from Clifton’s public house to Quinn’s house. He accused two of the murder, while he and another waited for them to return. He calimed he feared for his life and his family’s life if he did not accompany them.

The police refuted his allegations, stating that he had got one of the men’s names wrong and that no one had seen him with these men in the week preceding the murder. The judge refused to discuss it further, stating that these men were not suspects at the time of the murder and that there was no evidence of their involvement. He went on to state that Wade had been sighted at Quinn’s house, he had blood on his clothing (shirt, handkerchief and coat), he had scratches to his face and hands, part of his whiskers appeared to be torn off, he had mysteriously shaved his moustache on that particular night (something he had never done before), and his coat and boots were covered in mud – all consistent with a violent struggle. His known movements placed him at the scene of the murder and there seemed to be only one person involved in the fatal assault on Mr. Quinn.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty but some were against capital punishment. The judge stated that this was out of his hands, donned the black cap and sentenced Wade to be hanged at Kilmainham Gaol on January 16th 1884.

Mary Ann Quinn was outside Kilmainham when Peter Wade was executed – by 1884 public executions had ceased. During the trial she said she had “no landlord or landlady” and that she was “under the protection of the police”. By the time of the execution, she was homeless “a wandering maniac upon the world”. She had lost her husband, she had lost her home – she would die anonymously and there is no record of her burial. This was the way of Victorian Ireland.

The scandal greatly affected the locality and two key witnesses in the trial and three of the wealthy neighbours moved out of the area that year. Mr. Malone quit his farm, Mr. Byrne quit Templeogue Mills and three of the big houses were vacant in 1884 – apparently no tenants could be found for them. The avenue where the murder took place fell into neglect and disappeared under grass.

By James O’Brien. A summary of the lecture given to Tallaght Historical Society on 11th September 2012.