Journal Volume 1 1992

My Townland: - Its History and Archaeology

By Keith Barry and David Ward; St. Kevin’s School, Greystones

Our townland is Kindlestown in the Civil Parish of Delgany, in the Barony of Rathdown, in the county of Wicklow, in the Province of Leinster. All of these are historical and administrative divisions of Ireland.

The townland is the smallest administrative division in the country and all other territorial divisions are collections of townlands. The townland became the basic division in the 17th century. It was the unit used in the Tithe Applotment Books, Griffiths Valuation, and in the various Censuses. The Ordnance Survey was done in the 1st half of the 19th century, 1837 - 1841, using a scale of 6 inches to the mile, and is an important record of townland names, shapes and sizes. It created some new townlands by dividing existing ones, and it was probably then that Kindlestown got divided into Upper and Lower. There are approximately 64,000 townlands in Ireland today. They vary greatly in size, the poorer land often having greater acreage. Their boundaries usually coincide with either physical or manmade features, such as hill tops, running water, roads, ancient hedges, estate walls, etc. The majority of townlands were named at an early period. Often these names will refer to a permanent feature of their landscape such as carraig (rock), ard (height), cill (church), rath (fort). Sometimes names of former landowners are commemorated in place names, as in our own townland of Kindlestown.

Kindlestown today consists of two town lands: Upper and Lower. The area of Kindlestown Upper covers 177 acres and 10 roods. Its boundaries are: to the north: a line joining the Kindlestown Hill road, along the former northern boundary of Kindlestown Wood, to the Delgany/Blacklion road just beyond St. Kilian's Church and down to the T-junction. To the East: a line through the centre of the Blacklion/Delgany road, from Blacklion to the corner beyond the entrance to Kindlestown House. (This is also the border between Kindlestown Upper and Lower.) To the South: along a line from this to join the Delgany to Kindlestown Hill Road, which is the western boundary of the townland.

Kindlestown Lower has an area of 261 acres, 2 perches, and 30 roods. Upper and Lower together have an area just slightly more than the original 400 acres which stood with Kindlestown Castle in the 13th century. Its boundaries are triangular in shape. The western boundary is the same as the Eastern boundary of Kindlestown Upper. The Eastern boundary runs along the centre of the road from Blacklion to Kilcoole, to just beyond Kindlestown Cottages. The third side of the triangle joins this point to the Blacklion/Delgany road just beyond Kindlestown House.

But long before this area came to be called Kindlestown it was part of the ancient Irish territory of Cualann or Crich Cualann which stretched from South Dublin and down East Wicklow between the mountains and the sea. The 4th and last wave of Celtic settlement came to Ireland from mainland Europe about 500 B.C. They were called Gaels or Goidels from the language they spoke which was the forerunner of modern Irish. Their basic unit of political organization was the tuath which became the geographical basis for many of our baronies. Heremon was, according to legend, son of Milesius, whose invasion of Ireland and defeat of the Tuatha de Danann represent the Goidels settlement in Ireland. The Annals of the Four Masters, written in the 16th century, record that in the remote pre-christian era ‘Heremon, one of the Kings of Ireland, built a rath on the sea shore at Rath-oinn in the territory of Cualann.’ The Annals of Clonmacnoise record that the rath was built at Rath-onne in Crich Cualann. Rath-oinn is Rathdown, our neighbouring townland. It is the site of the rath and later castles, and is situated a few hundred yards to the east of the present day village of Redford. It eventually gave its name to the whole Barony. A recent aerial picture of Co. Wicklow has shown another rath site on top of Kindlestown Hill, near Shelagh's Well.


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