Journal Volume 1 1992
Old Greystones and Ancient Rathdown (continued/12)
We can learn much from the Census of Ireland about how Greystones grew following the opening of the railway. I needn't repeat the figures here: they're in the book commissioned by Greystones Presbyterian Church for its centenary in 1987. The book is still in print and copies may also be consulted at or borrowed from Greystones Library.
When the village began to grow leaders of the various Christian denominations, conscious of the need for places of worship, set to work. Members of the then Established Church living in or near Greystones were the first to build. For the sake of convenience I'll list all the churches with their dates of opening and consecration, which in some cases, I should add, differ from their dates of construction or completion:
1864 St Patrick's Church of Ireland
1867 St Kilian's Roman Catholic, Blacklion
1887 Presbyterian Meeting-house
1895 Temporary Roman Catholic edifice: roof blown off in storm 1903
1907 Christian Brethren's Ebenezer Hall
1908 Church of the Holy Rosary, La Touche Road
1984 Hillside Evangelical Church serving Ebenezer Hall worshippers
A schoolhouse was begun in 1879, as we read in an issue of the Irish Builder of that year (73): it was replaced by the spacious St Patrick's National Schoolhouse in Carr's Bog (otherwise known locally as ‘the Circus Field') in 1975. An extension was officially opened quite recently by the Minister for Education, Mary O'Rourke. There had been a much earlier schoolhouse, 'supported by subscription' and mentioned by Lewis in 1837: it's marked on the old Ordnance Survey map. And we learn of a two-room schoolhouse on the site given by Thomas Phelan in 1857 for St Kilian's Church, Blacklion (74). The donor of the site was presumably the Thomas Phelan who in 1852 held land and a plantation in the townlands of Kilmurry North and Kilmacanogue South (75). The old 'Male National School' near Blacklion House was replaced by the Christian Brothers' Scoil Náisiúnta Chaoimhín on Rathdown Road in 1949. That old schoolhouse, where many old and not-so-old Greystonians imbibed their early lessons, was later a shop run by a Miss Bradshaw (in the sixties): later still an Enniskerry man named Ned O'Brien, who did building and repair jobs, came home from England with his wife and children and settled there. He didn't stay long. The house and two cottages close by with galvanized iron roofs were all demolished soon after O'Brien's departure.