History of Roebuck Castle (updated)

web_roebuckcastle1908-1795Roebuck Castle c1795 (from Hall’s History of Dublin 1908)


A short history from the Anglo-Norman Invasion to the present day.

(from details given in 1943 auction brochure)

The earliest record of this historic residence dates from as far back as the 11th century when the lands were called Rabo or Raboge and were far greater extent than at present, and are reputed to have Included  the village of Clonskeagh and the Iron Works there.

In 1154 the lands together,with the somewhat distant manor of Cruagh were granted to Thomas de St. Michael and after passing through the hands of David Bassett (a member of a great Norman family) came, in 1216, into the possession of Fromund le Brun, then Chancellor of Ireland, and the lands actually took their name from Otho de Rabo, who acted as Sheriff to Sir Nigel le Brun, the successor to Fromund.

The successors were then as follows :
1315 Fromund  – Son of Sir Nigel le Brun.
1377 Sir Thomas – Son of Fromund le Brun.
1382 Francis – Son of Thomas le Brun
1420 Sir John – Son of Francis le Brun

Sir John had two sons, Christopher and Richard. Christopher died before his father leaving two children – a son Christopher, who died shortly after his Grandfather, and a daughter, Elizabeth. For a time the lands were in the possession of Sir John’s second son, Richard le Brun, and ultimately became vested in his Grand-daughter Elizabeth, and by her marriage, to Robert Barnwell, 1st Baron of Timelston, passed into possession of the latter family until the beginning of the 19th century.

It has been stated that the Castle of Roebuck now partly incorporated with the modern house was the residence of John, 3rd Baron of Trimleston, “a rare nobleman endowed with sundry good gifts“, whose initials with those of his wife, Anne Fyan, it bore. In 1639 it was described containing 1 Castle, 10 messuages, one water mill and 40 acres of land – all of which were stated to be held of the Manor of Cruagh.

During the rebellion. of 1641, the Castle, then in the possession of Mathew, 8th Baron Trimleslon, was partially destroyed.

In 1663 Mathew Lord Trimleston was found “seised of the Town and Lands of Roebuck, described as 500 acres in the Parish of Taney,” for which he took out a fresh patent in 1667, but forfeited his interest therein in the War of 1688.

In 1689 the Castle was occupied by King James II and the Duke of Berwick when they had their camp in the neighbourhood.

Austin Cooper, on visiting it in 1781, found only a small portion roofed was used as a store house by a farmer who resided in a small house close by. In Cooper’s opinion the Castle was a large one forming two sides of a square and upon it he mention were engraved in stone the arms of the Barnwalls – as well as the letters : R.B.A.F and the name Robert.

In 1790 Lord Trimleston repaired it IMG_0055_800for his country residence.

Mr. Francis Crofton bought Roebuck from Lord Trimleston and it was subsequently sold to the Westby family in 1856.  In the 1870s Edward Perceval Westby of Roebuck Castle, Dundrum, county Dublin and Doon, county Clare, owned 25,779 acres in county Clare and 67 acres in county Dublin. The Castle was modernized in 1874.

Roebuck is described as a district within Taney (civil) parish in Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837, with the Castle as ‘..seat of A. B. Crofton, Esq., was originally erected at a remote period and strongly fortified. ..’, and the land around described as ‘..chiefly occupied by handsome villas, situated in tastefully disposed grounds, many of which command magnificent views of the bay and city of Dublin, the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, and the beautiful adjacent country..’.

The Castle and lands were sold in 1943 for £16,000 to The Little Sisters of the Poor,  who used the building as a home for the aged poor.

In 1985 the Castle was sold to U.C.D. and part of the land was sold for development. The Castle, Gate-Lodge and some of the cottages are now listed as protected structures.


see also :

Roebuck Castle Sale 1942
Map of Roebuck Townland – 1820
Roebuck Castle 1765 – Drawing
Contents of Entrance Hall – Roebuck Castle 1943

see also full entry from Hall’s 1903 – Description of Roebuck from F.E. Hall’s ‘History of Dublin’

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Historic Maps of Ireland available Online (Updated-2019)


Ordnance Survey Maps Detailed modern and Historic map of Ireland – 6″ Historic and 6″ Historic B&W date from c1837 to abt. 1847, and the Historic 25″ date from the late 1890s to early 1900s, from Ordnance Survey Ireland
GeoHive maps Ordnance Survey Ireland of Ireland, with historic maps from 1830s/40s, c1900s and c1930s, plus a number of modern Aerial map layers
Northern Ireland Historic maps PRONI
Survey of the city and suburbs of Dublin 1757 With the division of the parishes reduc’d from the large plan in four sheets by John Rocque, from Bibliothèque Nationale de France
An Exact Survey of the City and Suburbs of Dublin 1756 In Which is Express’d the Ground Plot of all Publick Buildings Dwelling Houses, Ware Houses, Stables, Court Yards, &c, by John Rocque from Bibliothèque Nationale de France

1797 map of Dublin city, by John Neale (large jpeg image)
 Wikipedia Media
A Survey of the City, Harbour, Bay and Environs of Dublin 1757 On the same Scale as those of London, Paris & Rome, by John Rocque from Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Modern Plan Of The City And Environs Of Dublin 1798 Inscribed by Wm Wilson, engraved by B. Baker, Islington, from MAPCO
Map of Ireland 1838 Compiled from the Surveys of the Board of Ordnance and other approved Documents By J. & C. Walker, from MAPCO
Dublin Historic Maps 1609-1797 Section of Dublin Maps, mostly city area, which are overlayed over a modern Open Street Map. Use the slider control on the bottom right to set the
visibility of the modern map.
David Rumsey Map Collection Large Collection of maps
South Dublin County Libraries Large collection of Maps, focusing on South County Dublin and south city.
Old Maps Online Map Portal with links to various external websites
Placename Database gives location on a modern map for townlands, parishes etc, plus additional details including spelling variations. (map coordinates for places in N.I. are given, but may not be as accurate)


Also includes a selection of downloadable historic maps of Ireland, also an Ireland Gazetter, notes on Dublin Street names, Dublin History, a version of Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland etc

see : Toponymy resources

Various Historic maps of Ireland, Co. Dublin, Dublin City, Taylor & Skinner Road Maps 1777, Lewis 1837 County maps, etc (www.swilson.info)



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Production of town Gas, from c1920s/1930s Encyclopedia

[click on any of the images to show a larger version]

The manufacture of gas is to-day a great industry, and on these pages We show, from drawings made at the South Metropolitan Gas Company’s works in London, how gas is produced from coal and sent into our homes. The pictures largely explain themselves. Starting at the top left-hand corner we see the coal arriving at the works, where it is carried up by an elevator and dropped into an automatic charger. A hydraulic ram then pushes it into a retort, where heat extracts the gas from the coal. The gas, however, is very impure and it passes through a water main where tar is deposited and collected. Then it goes through a valve into the exhauster, an ingenious apparatus consisting of one drum within another. The inner drum‘ turns and within it revolves a blade which moves up and down and pushes the gas through a pipe into a condenser. Here cold water passing upward through pipes condenses further tar which is collected and the gas passes down through a pipe into a washer. It travels down spaces between boxes containing perforated metal tubes.

[some of the following section missing due to torn page] Then it goes through the perforations and passes through water to a scrubber. It enters at the bottom and goes up through a staging.. of broads over which water is sprayed sprayed by revolving pipes. The water dro.. known as ammonia liquor.  The gas then goes to a purifier, passing ov[er] … Then it goes through a meter with curved vanes which, as the mov[e]… The quantity passing through the meter is registered on a dial. In the … perforated sheets of absorbent material soaked in oil. These …. a gas holder (often erroneously called a gasometer) Then i… district, and eventually enters the mains under the street.. [the residues left after ?] the making of the gas were once a  nuisance, as it was diffi[cult]…  and other commodities, such as road-making materials an[d]…‘

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Browse GRO Ireland BMD Images

(updated March 2019 and January 2020 – see example of this method – Using the GRO Image Browse Tool )

Sharing a tool I use to browse images of the Civil Birth, Marriage and Death registers on the IrishGenealogy website. The tool adds a selection of next / previous links to make it easier to move backwards and forwards through the images without having to manually edit the URL. This can be useful to help locate mis-indexed entries, or records with missing index entries.

see BMD Image Browse (IrelandGen.com)

To use, first locate a record for the district and date range of interest using the IrishGenealogy website in the usual way, and open the register image. Copy the full URL from the address bar. (ensure this starts with the https and ends with .pdf) :

Open the BMD Image Browse Tool, paste in the copied URL, and click the submit button.

The Next and Previous buttons move one page forward or backward through the register images. Also available are +-5, +-10 and +-50 links which skip backward or forward in larger steps.

To start a new search, click the [reset] link to the top right.
If the captcha screen is displayed instead of a register image, select the appropriate images and enter your name as usual and the register image will display.

The full references with page numbers are available on the FamilySearch version of the BMD Index. These are also available on FindMyPast and Ancestry.

The tool was primarily developed for Chrome and also tested on FireFox, and on Safari on iPad, but should also function on other modern browsers.

Note : the browse function adds and subtracts from the image number, so does not account for entries with multiple images – e.g.those with 1 2 3 links (These use a letter suffix on the image filename – e.g. 5864623.pdf , 5864623a.pdf , 5864623b.pdf etc)

See also the revised 1901-1911 Census image browse tool and the new Tithe Applotment Image Browse (updated Jan. 2018).

For records on IrishGenealogy without an image link, or where the image is in the wrong volume or district, I start off by establishing the full index references, i.e. the year/quarter, volume and page using the BMD Index on FamilySearch (or FindMyPast/Ancestry), and then look for other records in the same year/quarter, registration district and volume, ideally with a close page number, ideally with nice unusual names and start the browse with these..

An additional source that can help provide clues is the collection of extracted civil records on FamilySearch, i.e. births(*), marriages and deaths, these include partial details on the records and some include a page number as part of the ‘address’ field – e.g. “..539, Maynooth, Kildare” some records include details under a ‘Reference Id’ in the expandable panel to the right – e.g. “p508 ln233” , This collection includes transcript on many (but not all) births marriages & deaths between the start of civil records and about 1881.

(* some of these births incorrectly use the caption ‘Christening Place’ instead of birth place)

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Description of Churches, Hospitals and Bridges – Dublin 1827

Description of the Churches, Hospitals & Bridges in Dublin City from Leigh’s New Pocket Road-Book of Ireland 1827 for Dublin City

Protestant Churches.

Dublin is the see of an Archbishop, and is remarkable for possessing two Cathedrals. It has also nineteen Churches. The following are most worthy of the stranger’s attention  

St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded in 1190 on the site of a chapel erected by St. Patrick; but it was not till 1370 that the first stone of the present edifice was laid This cathedral is of Gothic architecture, and is surmounted by a steeple and spire, the summit of which is 223 feet from the ground. The nave is 130 feet long, and is illumined by one large window at the West end ; it contains, amongst other monuments, those of the following remarkable persons: Archbishops Smyth, Marsh, Talbot, and Tregury; Bishop Meredyth, Dean Keating ; Dean Swift, who was interred Oct. 22, 1745; Mrs. Hester Johnson, well known as Swift’s Stella; Richard Lambert, Earl of Cavan; John Ball, serjeant-at-law; Richard Parsons, Earl of Rosse; and A. McGee, a servant of Dean Swift. The Organ, which is the finest-toned in Ireland, was built at Rotterdam, and given to the Cathedral by the Duke of Ormond, who took it from the Spaniards at Vigo.

The Choir is extremely beautiful, and has an arched ceiling of stucco which has replaced the ancient stone roof. It contains the stalls of the Knights of St. Patrick, together with their helmets, swords, banners, Amongst the monuments with which it is adorned, are those of Richard Boyle, Earl of Corke, and Catherine his wife; Elizabeth, Viscountess Doneraile; the Duke of Schomberg, who was killed at the Boyne; Dr. Byttolph, Dean of Raphoe and Chaplain to Charles L; and Arch-bishop Jones.

The Chapter House contains a statue of the Marquess of Buckingham; and here also is preserved the skull of the Duke of Schomberg.

In the Dean’s House in Kevin Street are portraits of all the Deans of St. Patrick’s. The Archiepiscopal Palace has been transformed into Barracks for the Police. Near the Cathedral is Archbishop Marsh’s Library, which is open to the public. It contains the books of Dr. Stillingfleet and some curious MSS.

Christ-Church Cathedral, formerly dedicated to the Blessed Trinity, was erected in 1038, on the site of a range of vaults, in which St. Patrick first preached to the people of Dublin. The present choir, however, was not built till 1658. This Cathedral is situated near the centre of Dublin, not far from the Castle. The exterior is in the Gothic style, but so dilapidated and disfigured by buttresses, that little of its original beauty remains. The Nave is 103 feet long, and contains several monuments, particularly those of Thomas Prior, a zealous promoter of the manufactures of Ireland; Earl Strongbow, the first invader of Ireland, who died 1177; Lord Chancellor Bowes, who died in 1767 ; Lord Chancellor Lifford, buried in 1789; and Dr. Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath.

The Transept is 90 feet in length, and is principally of Saxon architecture. The Choir is 104 feet by 28, and exhibits an incongruous mixture of several styles of architecture : it contains monuments in memory of Robert, Earl of Kildare, Bishop Fletcher, and Dr. Woodward. In one of the aisles are statues of Charles II. and James II. Contiguous to the Cathedral is St. Mary’s Chapel, belonging to the Dean and Chapter.

St. Andrew’s, or the Round Church, contiguous to Dame Street, was built in 1793. It is of an elliptical form, and measures 80 feet by 60. Over the entrance in St. Andrew’s Street is a statue of the saint by E. Smyth, and in the churchyard is an unfinished steeple, in the Gothic style, designed by Mr. Johnston. The interior is light and elegant, and the capitals of the columns supporting ‘the gallery are very beautiful. In the centre is a well. executed font, of veined marble; and over it hangs a lustre which formerly belonged to the Irish House of Commons.

St. George’s Church, in Hardwicke Place at the N. extremity of Dublin, is a very handsome modern edifice, erected from designs by Mr. Johnston. The principal ‘front is 92 feet in width, and consists of a noble portico of four fluted Ionic columns, the ascent to which is formed by a flight of steps 42 feet wide. Above it rises the steeple, a beautiful specimen of architecture, 200 feet in height. The body of the church forms a square, having three fronts of the Ionic order. At the eastern extremity are the parish school and vestry-room.

St. Werburgh’s Church, in Werburgh Street, is a large and elegant structure, erected in 1759, on the site of the original building, dedicated to the sainted daughter of Wulherus, king of Mercia. The front consists of several stories, the basement being Ionic, the second story Corinthian, and the third Composite. The spire by which it was formerly surmounted was taken down in 1810. In this church, Sir James Were the antiquary, Edwin the performer, and the unfortunate and misguided Lord Edward Fitzgerald, were interred.

St. Michan’s Church is situated in Church Street, on the N. side of the Liffey. The body of the building is cruciform, and very ancient; but the steeple is more modern. Near the altar is an antique figure of a man in armour, but of whom is unknown. The vaults beneath this church are dry, and are remarkable for preserving bodies almost unaltered for a great many years. Some, that have been here centuries, still retain their features. In the churchyard is the monument of Dr. Lucas, who represented Dublin in Parliament, and died in 1771.

St. Peter’s, in Aungier Street, is the largest parish church in the city, and is noted as that in which the celebrated Dean Kirwan preached. Mr. Maturin, the author of Bartram, was a curate of this parish.

St. Thomas’s Church, opposite Gloucester Street, is an elegant structure, erected in 1758 from a design by Palladio. The interior is commodious and well designed.

The other Churches of Dublin present nothing worthy of particular attention.

Roman Catholic Chapels

Dublin contains numerous places of worship in which service is performed according to the rites of the Romish Church; but the following are the only ones entitled to notice.

The Metropolitan Roman Catholic Chapel, situated in Marlborough Street near Sackville Street, is a magnificent building in the Grecian style, the erection of which was begun in 1816. It is surmounted by a dome, and adorned with a noble portico, consisting of six columns of the Doric Order.

Anne Street Chapel is a handsome stone edifice in the pointed style. Over the grand altar is an alto-relieve, representing our Saviour; and on the side altars are Paintings of St. Francis and the Virgin.

Exchange Street Chapel is an elegant modern building, in the pointed style, having two beautiful fronts of hewn stone. The interior is chaste, though richly ornamented. Over the altar is a painting of the Crucifixion, and on either side are windows of stained glass. The two smaller altars are adorned with paintings; one representing St. John the Evangelist, by Del Frate ; and the other Michael and Satan, copied from Raphael. On one side of the chapel is a monument in memory of Dr. Beatagh, executed by Turnerelli. The confessionals are very beautifully carved.

Meeting Houses

The places of worship in Dublin belonging to the Dissenters are numerous, but none of them are remarkable as buildings.

The Presbyterians have Meeting Houses in Strand Street, Mary’s Abbey, Eustace Street, and Usher’s Quay; the Independents in Plunket Street, Hawkins Street, and King‘s Inn Street; the Methodists in Mountjoy Square, Great Charles Street, Great George Street, Abbey Street, Cork Street, Kendrick Street, and Whitefriars Street ; the Baptists in Swift’s Alley; the Moravians in Bishop Street; the Quakers in Meath Street and Sycamore Alley.

There are also various other places of worship of minor importance.


The Royal Hospital at Kilmainham was erected in 1683, from designs by Sir C. Wren, for the reception of invalid and superannuated soldiers. It is well adapted for the purpose, and generally contains about 300 men. In the hall, which is 100 feet long and 50 broad, are about twenty portraits and a collection of arms. The Chapel is a venerable building, 80 feet by 40: the E. window is adorned with painted glass, and beneath it is the communion. table, of carved Irish oak.

The Blue-Coat Hospital, in Blackall Street, was founded in 1670, for the maintenance and education of the sons of unfortunate freemen. The present hospital was erected in 1773, and is a noble edifice of Portland stone, consisting of a centre and wings extending 300 feet. It is capable of accommodating from 150 to 200 boys.

The Lying-in Hospital, in Great Britain Street, was founded by Dr. Mosse, and was opened for the reception of patients in 1757. It is a handsome building, erected from designs by Mr. Cassels. The Chapel is much admired.

The Foundling Hospital, at the end of Thomas Street, for the reception of destitute orphans and deserted infants, was founded in 1704, and annually admits about 1900 children.

The House of Industry, in Brunswick Street, is an extensive range of building, generally containing about 1700 persons, whom age or sickness have rendered incapable of earning subsistence.

St. Patrick’s, or Swift’s Hospital for Idiots and Lunatics, was founded in 1745 by Dean Swift, who bequeathed it £11,000. It will contain about 180 patients.

The Mendicity House, in Copper Alley, was established in l818, for the purpose of clearing the streets of Dublin of the numerous beggars with which they were infested; an object which has been in a great measure accomplished.

Amongst the other Charitable Institutions of Dublin are :

The County of Dublin, or Meath Hospital, at the bank of Kevin Street.
The Fever Hospital, or House of Recovery, in Cork Street.
Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, Grand Canal Street.
The Hibernian Marine School, on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.
The Dublin General Dispensary, in Fleet Street.
The Charter School at Clontarf.
The Hospital for Incurables, Donnybrook Road.
Mercer's Hospital, in Stephen Street.
Magdalen Asylum, Leeson Street.
The Bethesda Lock Penitentiary, Dorset Street.
The Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Townsend Street.
Simpson’s Hospital, for the Blind, in Great Britain Street.
Stephens’s Hospital, in James Street.
Nicholas’ Hospital, in Francis Street.
The Molyneaux Asylum, in Peter Street, for Blind Females.
The Infirmary, in Jervis Street.
The Orphan House, in Prussia Street.
The Female Orphan House, in the North Circular Road.


Carlisle Bridge, connecting Westmoreland and Sackville Streets, is a. handsome stone edifice of three arches, erected in 1791. It is 210 feet long and 40 broad. The view from this bridge is truly beautiful.

The Cast Iron Bridge between Carlisle and Essex Bridges, is a single arch 140 feet in the span, resting on stone buttresses.

Essex Bridge, crossing the river from Parliament Street to Capel Street, was originally erected in 1676, but rebuilt in 1755 on the plan of Westminster Bridge.

Richmond Bridge, connecting Wine-Tavern Street with King’s-Inn Quay, was built in 1816 from designs by Mr. Savage. It consists of three stone arches, the centres of which are adorned with representations of Commerce, Hibernia, and Peace, on one side, and Plenty, the Liffey, and Industry, on the other.

Whitworth Bridge was commenced in 1816 on the site of the Old Bridge, which was the oldest in the City. It resembles Richmond Bridge, and connects the extremities of Merchants’ and King’s-Inn Quays.

Queen’s Bridge, connecting Bridge-root Street and Queen Street, is 140 feet long and 40 broad. It consists of three stone arches, erected in 1764 on the site of Arran Bridge.

Bloody, or Barrack Bridge, is the oldest in Dublin, and is situated near the Royal Barracks. It is called Bloody in consequence of a fatal encounter which occurred in 1671 between the Military and some Dublin apprentices, who wished to demolish a bridge near the Barracks.

Sarah’s Bridge, or Sarah’s Arch, at Island Bridge, about a mile from the city, is so called from Sarah, Countess of Westmoreland, who laid the first stone in 1791. It is a beautiful structure, consisting of one stone arch 104 feet in the span.

(src: Google Books plus additional OCR and corrections)

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