Journal Volume 1 1992

My Townland: - Its History and Archaeology (continued/2)

The 17th century was a period of wars and great unrest in Ireland. After the rebellion of 1641 many of the Catholic ‘rebel’ landowners lost their property, including the Archbolds, who still held ‘Raheenaclig’ and ‘Templecargie’, and Bernard Talbot, whose family had been granted Rathdown after the downfall of Fitzgerald in 1535. Neither of these regained their lands after the restoration of 1660 following Charles 2nd's return to the English throne.

Kindlestown Castle North East

There was more upheaval after Cromwell's conquest of Ireland in 1649 and the subsequent land forfeitures in 1652. When Cromwell was marching from Dublin to Wexford in 1649 we know that he spent at least one night in neighbouring Killincarrig House. There is a story that while he was there, his favourite horse was stolen by the Irish, so he marched across the hill to Kindlestown Castle, and finding that the garrison had fled to Arklow, ransacked it before marching on to Arklow, capturing its castle, and killing the inhabitants.

The Down Survey was published in 1657. According to it ‘Rathdown Barony was not well inhabited - occasioned partly by the destruction of the ancient Irish inhabitants in the late Warres’. The survey found Rathdown Castle in ruins, Killincarrig House - ‘the finest building in the half barony’ but makes no mention of Kindlestown Castle. This was because it then belonged to the Earl of Meath who was ‘no Irish rebel’ and was not forfeited at the great confiscation.

Our next clue to the fortunes of our townland after these years of fighting and deprivation lies in the Hearth Money Rolls of 1668. This was a method of raising money for the Stuart Kings by taxing each hearth. A list was made out of those eligible for each county in Ireland. Fortunately the lists for Wicklow have survived. They are a form of census and also a record of social state. The entry for Delgany Parish, Kindlestown townland records six houses.

But what of Kindlestown castle? Was it uninhabited?

The next century was comparatively peaceful, although Catholics were forbidden by the Penal Laws to sit in Parliament, teach school or buy land. A map which was drawn of the Baker Estate in Delgany in 1775 shows a sizeable community of nine houses in the vicinity of the Castle. Many of the cottages are shown with smoke coming out of their chimneys where a hundred years before there were only two houses in the whole townland with chimneys. The Castle is shown. It does not appear to be in ruins but it was probably not still inhabited.

In 1777 Skinner's Road Maps of Ireland were published. It showed the large country houses along the roads and their owners. ‘Kindlestown’ was the home of Mr. John Bunn. This house appears as Kindlestown House on earlier maps but is called ‘Glencarrig’ in later ones. A later Kindlestown House is in Kindlestown Lower. There is a record of Mr. John Bunn as Churchwarden in Delgany in 1785 - 1788.


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