The Irish Government has decided to proceed with building the M50 Southern Ring Motorway section in Dublin which will pass through part of the archaeological site of Carrickmines Castle.
The Irish Government has decided to proceed with building the M50 Southern Ring Motorway section in Dublin which will pass through part of the archaeological site of Carrickmines Castle, a Recorded Monument as defined in the Irish National Monuments Act of 1994.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Southern Ring Motorway (M50), including the Carrickmines section, was undertaken in 1997 (producing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)) , and a public inquiry held in 1998. The scheme was approved later that year. €million of European Cohesion Fund money was approved by the Commission in April 2001.

Following the EIS, an archaeological dig began on the site in August 2000. This excavation lasted until August 2002 and uncovered evidence confirming that this site is of much greater historical and archaeological significance than indicated in the EIS. The site is known to have a well-preserved 13th century Norman castle wall enclosing two areas totalling 3 acres of buildings, workshops, houses, kilns, wells, and numerous defensive ditches. The surrounding area of up to 5 acres also contains much material of archaeological significance but only a small part of it has yet been excavated, all of which will be affected by the motorway. The Castle represents one of the border castles of the Norman Angevin Empire, who ruled parts of France, Britain, and Ireland. Very few of these early border castles have been excavated.

An Taisce (Ireland's National Heritage Trust) claims that the appraisal of the site prior to construction of the road commencing was inadequate and did not comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Furthermore, it has now emerged that a 1983 Foras Forbartha (National Institute For Physical Planning and Construction Research) Report carried out by Mr. P Healy on Carrickmines Castle concluded that it was "an important outpost, and although little survives of the buildings, the earthworks are quite exceptional and are worthy of preservation."

That 1983 Foras Forbartha report recommended that any new road "if...placed on the south side of the farm...would avoid any interference with the sites." Taking this report into account the Local Authority at that time agreed a road alignment avoiding the site.

This information was not properly brought to the attention of the public during the preparation of the M50 alignment or at the public hearings which took place as part of the planning process and which concluded in 1998.

Mr. Healy's surveys for An Foras Forbartha are a seminal and obvious source for any study of archaeological monuments in County Dublin. The bibliography of the Sites and Monuments Records for County Dublin (SMR) 1988, includes a select bibliography of 12 publications. Mr. Healy's work for An Foras Forbartha is included.

Further, a coin hoard found in 1995 and recorded in the Irish Antiquities Division archive of the National Museum was found to the east of Glenamuck Road - an area which shows no archaeological remains in the EIS. had the archives of the National Museum of Ireland been consulted the evidence of the Carrickmines coin hoard would have alerted the compilers to the possibility that the monument extended to the east of the Glenamuck Road.

The failure to consult - or to include in the EIS - records held by the National Museum of Ireland or the sites and Monuments Records for County Dublin (1988) constitutes the most serious failure of the EIS.

The 1998 M50 alignment was altered from the route determined in the 1993 County Dublin Development Plan which avoided the Carrickmines Castle site so that it now crosses site. The outcome of the planning process allowed time for an archaeological dig for a one year (extended eventually to two years) while construction continued of the M50 at each end of the site. Up to 130 people were involved in the dig at the time it was brought to a halt on 30 August 2002, and it is estimated that up to 12 months more would be needed to complete that work. More than 90,000 artefacts were found to date.

Because of public outcry about the proposed destruction of this site the Minister for Transport has produced what he describes as a compromise proposal and has expressed himself 'uneasy' with the decision he has made. The variation to the scheme, which was prepared privately within his department and claims to "save" 60% of the site, is not being subjected to a public planning process.

In fact upwards of 35% of the site remains to be excavated and it is estimated this includes upwards of 5000 artefacts. 75-80% of the excavated areas are to be destroyed. This includes all of the areas with the remains of the workshops, wooden houses, mill, kilns, most of the wells and nearly all of the unique and incredibly well preserved 'Revetted Fosse' which runs for 237m.

The EIS of 1997 is in our view invalid and it is therefore improper for Cohesion Funds to be used on this road project as it is based on a document that was fundamentally flawed. If the Irish authorities wish to continue to avail of EU funds for this project they must be obliged to prepare new plans, prepare a full Environment Impact Assessment, including the desk studies that are omitted from the current EIS. Further, there must be a reassessment of the balance between regional development and the cultural heritage of a unique site which has produced the largest assemblage of medieval pottery ever found in rural Ireland.

We request the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament in view of the above information:

To express its concern at the imminent destruction of this archaeological site which is an irreplaceable part of Irish and European heritage and to urge an immediate stop to road construction work which encroaches on the site or which may render it impossible to avoid destroying most of the site.

To call for the completion of the full archaeological dig on the entire site which will require an extension of the completion deadline by at least 12 months.

To call on the Commission to suspend Cohesion funding pending a review of the EIA for this project, and its compliance with Council Directive 85/327 EEC on the Assessment and Effects of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment and Council Directive 97/11 EEC, Amending Directive 85/327 EEC.

To call on the Minister for transport to submit his current amendments to the scheme to the full public planning process including a new EIS as they are a substantial variation of the scheme already approved.


Tony Lowes, Director, Friends of The Irish Environment

Professor Sean Duffy, Chairperson, Friends of Medieval Dublin

Attachments: To Follow

Foras Forbartha Report

Environmental Impact Assessment

Government Minister's new proposals

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Re: Complaint P2002/4957 concerning the proposed construction of the South East Motorway in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area of County Dublin and its impact on the archaeological remains of the Carrickmines Castle Complex.

Allihies, County Cork, Ireland

Liam Cashman,
Legal Affairs Division B.3,
The European Commission,
Environmental Directorate XI,
Rue de la Loi, 200,
B-1049, Brussels, Belgium,
February 18, 2003

Re: Complaint P2002/4957 concerning the proposed construction of the South East Motorway in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area of County Dublin and its impact on the archaeological remains of the Carrickmines Castle Complex.

Dear Mr. Cashman;

We write in reference to the above and seek to provide supplementary evidence in relation to point 2 of your letter to the Irish complainants, dated 10 September, 2002.

This point raised the concern that

'in the light of Articles 5(2), 6 and 8 and Annex Ill of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, the information presented by the developer was manifestly deficient with regard to the archaeological impact of the motorway project and as a result constituted an inadequate basis for public consultation and decision-making.'

To support this statement, we wish to draw your attention to reports we have received under Freedom of Information prepared specifically for this project and the recent affidavits of the Consultant Archaeologist and of the Director of Transport for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. These clearly demonstrate that the consultants who compiled the EIS did not themselves properly assess the information available and nor did they provide critical reports, maps, and archaeological records which would have allowed the public to make an informed assessment themselves.

Affidavits were sworn by Valerie J. Keeley, Consultant Archaeologist and author of the EIS and by Eammon O'Hare, Director of Transportation employed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in the Irish High Court on 12 February, 2003. [Dominic Dunne and Gordon Lucas [Plaintiffs] and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council [Defendant] Record No. 1574P/2003]

The reports, studies, meeting notes, and memos relied on below were received under the Irish Freedom of Information Act from the National Museum and from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from September 2002 to date.

1. Failure to provide archaeological studies

The Commission should have been provided with the following eight reports which the consultants state are the components of the EIS: [Affidavit of Valerie J Keeley, 10 February, 2003].

September, 1992 Archaeological Paper Survey South Eastern Route Feasibility Study;
April, 1993 Archaeological Survey, Environmental Impact Study, South Eastern Route Motorway;
November 1993 South Eastern Motorway Modified Route B and Route A, Archaeological Draft Report 1;
February, 1996 Archaeological Assessment of Routes A, B and 5, South Eastern Motorway (Final Draft);
April, 1996 South Eastern Motorway Sites Identified in EIS on the Basis of New Maps;
October, 1996 Additional Archaeological Assessment of Route A and 5 South Eastern Motorway Volume;
May, 1997 - Archaeological Assessment Topographical Survey Site 16 South Eastern Motorway;
May, 1997 - Archaeological Assessment Additional Areas Relating to the South Eastern Motorway.

None of these documents were provided with or included in the EIS for public inspection.

None of these documents were provided to the Site Archaeologist to inform his work, and as they were not available in the EIS they could not assist in the correct assessment of the proposed roadway.

In the words of the Assistant Keeper of Irish Antiquities in a memo to the Keeper of Antiquities about the EIS, "The study [EIS] is extremely difficult to evaluate properly because of the very summary level of information presented. [Report dated 16 September, 2002.]

Yet as late as 1 May, 2002, Valerie J. Keeley argued at a 'Meeting on the Completion date for Carrickmines Castle' that 'initial investigations were carried out on the site including aerial and topographical studies and that the site was not questioned during the public enquiry. She is anxious to formalise the time scale.'

It was not possible for the public to question the archaeological aspects of the proposed motorway, as the relevant reports were not made available to the public.

As if the failure to provide these reports as part of the EIS was not in itself such a serious matter, the later use of reports which were not properly reviewed or available to the public to seek a termination of the excavations further undermined the decision making process.

2. Failure to provide relevant documents and archaeological records

Further, three key documents/records were not provided with the advertised EIS.

2.1 Ordinance Survey 1832
The 1832 Ordinance Survey map shows the extent of the Castle grounds as extending into the triangular field omitted in all the subsequent studies. Because the Glenamuck Road was subsequently moved, the later and current editions of the Ordinance Survey map truncate the extent of the castle and only the first edition is accurate. This edition was not referenced in the EIS.

In her Affidavit to the High Court Valerie J. Keeley states 'While the site of Carrickmines Castle is marked on the first edition Ordnance Survey map (1837), it is questionable whether the significant archaeological remains were known at the site since the date, nature and extent of the archaeological remains were determined through the current archaeological investigation and excavation.'

This is simply not true.

2.2 Healy Report
Further documentation to support the 1837 map did exist, in the form of the 1983 Healy Report from An Foras Forbatha to which we have already drawn the Commission's attention.

We have now ascertained that Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council did not hold a copy of this report and in response to our request provided a copy of the Report downloaded from our website which we posted on 16 September, 2002. ['I wish to confirm that the 3 pages as supplied to you as a result of your original request is the full content of the copy of this report as held by this authority. This report was downloaded from the Friends of the Irish Environment website.' Letter from Charles MacNamara, Director of Culture, Community Development & Amenities, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, 4 December, 2002.]

2.3 Coin Hoard
Physical evidence was also available at the National Museum of the find of a coin hoard in the triangular field across the Glenamuck Road. The failure of the compilers of the EIS to consult the National Museum archive and so include in their assessment the existence and the significance of the find and the need to excavate this area is a fundamental error.

2.4 Absence of References
When the National Museum received the EIS for the first time in 2002, the Assistant Keeper of Antiquities was asked to analyse the EIS. He wrote:

'A feature of the EIS is the complete absence of any reference either to the National Museum of Ireland or to the Sites and Monuments Record and/or Record of Monuments and Places. One can only assume, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that these fundamental documents were not consulted. If this assumption is correct, it constitutes the most serious failure on the part of the compilers.' [Italics added].

'Had the archives of the National Museum of Ireland been consulted, the evidence of the Carrickmines coin hoard would have alerted the compilers to the possibility that the monuments extended east of the Glenamuck Road. Similarly, has the SMR (including the information contained in Paddy Healy's Foras Forbatha study) been consulted, it could have alerted the compilers to the extent of the monument, especially on the north-west side. The original SMP volume for County Dublin (1988) contains a select bibliography of 12 publications, of specific reference to County Dublin, including Mr. Healy's study for An Foras Forbatha. It is not unreasonable to think that had even the SRM volume been consulted, it would have pointed the compilers in the direction of Mr. Healy's work.'

'While it is easy to be wise in hindsight, I do not think it unfair to suggest that a more through approach in the compilation of the EIS could have resulted in a much more accurate assessment of Carrickmines Castle. This, in turn, could have helped prevent the most unsatisfactory position in which we now find ourselves.' [Dr. Andy Halpin, Assistant Keeper of Irish Antiquities, 16 September, 2002.]

3. Failure to correctly assess the Geomagnetic Survey

The most critical failure and the source of much of the later 'unsatisfactory position' was the failure to properly assess or provide for the public to assess the 1996 GeoQuest report prepared using geomagnetic imaging. [Volume II Geophysical Surveys on the Route of the Proposed South Eastern Motorway Dublin, GeoQuest for Valerie J. Keeley, 1996]

The aim of geomagnetic surveys is to reveal remains in the subsoil. Considerable contrast is derived from the fact that disturbance for features such as pit and ditches encourage microbial activity from enrichment after burial and iron oxide production in the topsoil.

The results for this site showed clearly a section of an underground feature, which continued to the limit of the survey - the Glenamuck Road. The failure to continue the survey to determine the extent of this fosse - which is the very fosse scheduled for removal and reconstruction as part of the archaeological salvage operation - is inexplicable. As a result of this failure, the correct surveys were not ordered until 12 February, 2001, when excavation revealed what the geomagnetic survey had shown 5 years before.

That this survey was not properly assessed is clear from the Affidavit of Valerie J. Keeley when she replied to the affidavit of Dr. Sean Duffy, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin and senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Trinity College. Dr. Duffy states that 'it appears that experts retained by the county council were of the view that the Glenamuck Road constituted the boundary of the Castle. This was a fatal mistake'.

Valerie J Keeley responds that 'Thorough assessments and surveys were conducted by this firm (see paragraph 21) and no distinctive feature was noted which would warrant inclusion in our report as constituting part of the castle outworks in this area. [Italics added] The existence of the structures underlying this area was recognised during the excavation and could only have been established in this way [Italics added] as referred to above.'

Not only was the key 1996 Geomagnetic Survey not included in the information available to the public, but the local authority informed us when we first sought this report under FOI that they did not possess a copy. ['I wish to confirm that at the time of your FOI request that the transportation department did not have a copy. This was a factual statement at that time. However the Senior Engineer Road design section has now informed me he has obtained a copy of this report last week.' Letter from Charles MacNamara, Director of Culture, Community Development & Amenities, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, 4 December, 2002.]

This fatal error in the assessment process further undermined the mitigation proposed through excavation, as the Geomagnetic Survey was not supplied to the Site Archaeologist, Dr. Mark Clinton, to inform his work in planning the excavations [pers. com.].

This failure to interpret the Geophysical Survey and understand its importance is evidenced by Valerie J. Keeley's sworn statement that the extent of the castle 'could only' have been determined 'by site excavation'.

That this error is shared by the developer, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, is made clear in the Affidavit dated 10 February, 2003 of Eammon O'Hare, Director of Transportation employed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council who has responsibility for the completion of the South Eastern Motorway: In this affidavit he states simply: 'It is only through the nature and extent of the excavations on site that the extent and importance of the site has been identified.'

The consequence of the failure to correctly read the geomagnetic survey and thus to become aware of the extent of the fosse and so the true perimeter of the Castle Complex was that this important area was not identified by the archaeological team until 12 February, 2001.

On that date, Dr. Clinton wrote to the National Museum

"It is now clear that the southern stone-revetted fosse (the "curtain-wall") is extending into the field to the east of Glenamuck Road. How far to the east we just don't know. What is clear is that the site has now got to expand accordingly.

'Until we find the extent of the eastward thrust of the revetted-fosse, and in particular at what point it turns to the north (and the river), as it must, we will not be able to establish the overall dimension of the castle site and to calculate the necessary amount of time required to resolve the enclosed area.'

The plan of action he proposed included a 'geophysical survey of the entire field in question to see if there is any external activity.'

4. Failure to provide details of mitigation
Further, flawed as it is, the 1996 Additional Assessment which considers the Geophysical Survey reaches the following conclusion:

"The possibility of taking measures to alter the design of the scheme in this area should be addressed, the series of junctions and associated roads covers a very large area and will obliterate the complex. If minimal impact could be achieved this would minimise the scale, time, and expense of conducting the excavation programme now envisaged for the entire site. This is made as the maximum possible recommendation."
Additional Archaeological Assessment of Routes A & 5, South Eastern Motorway, 1996, page 52

This recommendation is the correct assessment for Carrickmines Castle Complex and indeed has proved to be prescient, as the local authority has now spent a total of €6 million on excavations and related costs that would have been rendered unnecessary if the recommendation had been accepted. [Minister for Transport, Press Release, 16 September 2002.]

The public, however, was not provided with this report either.

They were provided instead with a summary EIS which omits the words "obliterate the complex" and states simply that the site will "warrant excavation". The EIS does, however, suggestion that 'The possibility of taking measures to alter the design of the scheme in the area should be addressed'.

This was met with the statement 'consequent on this recommendation Carrickmines Interchange was redesigned to retain the Castle remnant as an open area as possible and to cause the minimum disruption to the more significant areas. It is not reasonably possible to relocate the motorway elsewhere', a comment that appears to be without foundation or substance and is not detailed in 'Alternatives'. [EIS page 260, Table 17.2.1, Site 17].

The dates of the October 1996 recommendations, however, come after the route was identified as part of the EIS process [April 1996]. The 'new maps' were prepared in April of 1996. The recommendation to move the road was contained in the October 1996 Additional Assessment - six months after the route was selected - and a year before the EIS was published. Further, there is no 'Castle remnant' as the site of the Castle remains undiscovered.

The lack of clarity as to the response of the authorities to the recommendation to alter the design is made quite clear in Valerie J. Keeley's Report dated November 2000 entitled 'Archaeological Investigations Carrickmines Great South Eastern Motorway Co. Dublin' [00E0045, the 'Brady Report']. This states in 4.4 'It is understood that the road design is to leave the standing medieval masonry intact and to landscape the area around it so it will be a feature of the public interest within the interchange complex. The details of the landscaping design are not available at present and as such it is not possible to comment on the nature and degree of impact that the work will have on the archaeological landscape.'

If any genuine mitigation by design took place in 1996, why were they not clear to the consultants in November 2000? Further, why did the Minister on 16 September of 2002 announce just such mitigation, calling them 'comprehensive proposals' when ipso facto any proposals which significantly alter change the impact would require a new EIS and the possible changes had been made, according to the EIS?

Even in her recent Affidavit, the consultant states: 'There is no physical evidence of the Castle structure. The Castle was destroyed in or around 1642 and it is to be expected that only subsurface remains exist. Nonetheless these, should they exist, are deemed to be in the area that will not be affected by motorway construction.'

If the site of the castle itself remains undiscovered it is not possible to 'deem' them to be in an area unaffected by this development. [Affidavit of Valerie J Keeley, 10 February, 2003]

Further, substantial documentation exists to suggest that the Castle was not destroyed in 1642 as is repeatedly claimed in the EIS. This documentation includes two contemporary accounts and a 'description in the Civil Survey of the "Walles of a Castle" as being extant in the mid 1650s. In addition, the Down Survey Map would seem to indicate the presence of an apparently complex structure at this site. Again, Rocque's 1760 map of the area illustrated the site as containing a fairly substantial building with two forward projecting end-wings.' [Excavations at Carrickmines Castle: Working Report, Dr. Mark Clinton, 8 November, 2002]

5. Conclusion
The archaeologist who compiled the EIS has stated in her affidavit that 'It is my professional opinion as an Archaeological Consultant that the archaeological procedures implemented at the Carrickmines site have been shown to be not only proper but most successful.' [Affidavit of Valerie J Keeley, 10 February, 2003]

On the contrary, the information presented by the developer was manifestly deficient not only in not providing for public inspection the eight archaeological assessments listed above, but also in its failure to refer in the EIS itself to the 1832 Ordinance Survey Map, the Healy 1983 Report, the record of the coin hoard, the historical records indicating the site was not levelled in 1642, or the anomaly in the GeoQuest geomagnetic Survey showing the fosse intersecting with the Glenamuck Road.

Had these documents and records been made available, the evidence on cost grounds alone for moving the road would have been clear. It was not possible for the public to appreciate the significance and extent of the Carrickmines Castle Complex on the information provided. Nor was it possible for a decision maker to properly assess the project.

This failure continues today in that the without identification of the castle site itself, the loss of archaeological heritage can not be mitigated.

We respectfully urge the Commission to bring proceedings against Ireland for its failure to adequately assess the impact of the Community funded South Eastern motorway on our archaeological heritage and to suspend funding of this motorway until the matter is resolved in accordance with European law.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Lowes
The excavation of the Carrickmines Castle Complex began in August 2000 with 20 archaeologists, and ran until August 2002 when it had reached a final complement of some 130.
The excavation of the Carrickmines Castle Complex

Border Castles in the Twilight Zone

The Carrickmines Castle Complex

The excavation of the Carrickmines Castle Complex began in August 2000 with 20 archaeologists, and ran until August 2002 when it had reached a final complement of some 130. The size of the site was completely unexpected, encompassing over 8 acres, 3 acres of which were internal Castle area. The basic layout saw two connected 1.5 acre enclosures with the probable main castle 'keep' in the central unexcavated zone. There was also an abundance of associated external features in the remaining 5 acres. The excavation produced over 90,000 finds of every imaginable form, as well as numerous banks and ditches, stone buildings, workshops, remains of wooden buildings, kilns, wells, storerooms and a well.

The reason for the construction of such a large defended area becomes clear when the abundant historical sources are consulted. It was a Norman Castle, probably founded in the 13th Century. It's primary function was to protect the main routeway from the Gaelic held Wicklow Mountains into the Norman (later English) held Dublin area. This was its function from its foundation until its fall. It endured some 400 years of semi- constant warfare, as shown by its refortifications in the 14th and 15th Centuries. It was also subjected to siege up to three times in the 15th Century, attacked once in 1599 and finally in 1642 was besieged and destroyed.

The Carrickmines Castle Complex is a unique site, which has produced the largest assemblage of medieval pottery ever found in rural Ireland, the site of a mass grave, the first major study of a border Castle and the first major study of the external associated settlement and remains of a Medieval/Early Modern Castle. Coupled with this, the 1.5 acre 'Revetted Fosse' enclosure with its revetted wall and three defensive ditches is unique in Irish archaeology. This site is not just of national significance, but is of major relevance to both British and Continental Castle Studies.


Upwards of 35% of the site remains to be excavated. Current estimates based on what we have found already would suggest something in the region of 5,000 medieval finds still in the ground. This is mainly due to outer ditches in various areas only being sectioned, i.e. not fully dug. As well as this, some crucial areas containing structures and buildings are not fully resolved.

The vast majority of the Castle Complex is to be destroyed, even with the Minister's proposals. His statement refers to the Gatehouse and the 'island', under which the core of the Castle probably lies. However, this area has always been an island on the road plan, and therefore excavation has not been carried out. The continuing insistence in placing this area in the 'look!, we're saving this' category is ridiculous, as it was never under threat.

Some 75-80% of the EXCAVATED areas are to be destroyed. This includes all of the areas with the remains of the workshops, wooden houses, mill, kilns, most of the wells and nearly all of the unique and incredibly well preserved 'Revetted Fosse' which runs for 237m. A total of 50m of this is to be saved (most buried under the roundabout), as well as a 'representative section' to be lifted and placed elsewhere. This removal is a ridiculous plan, as the stonework of the 'Revetted Fosse' is below ground level and associated with a bedrock cut ditch - how do you accurately represent that elsewhere?

Carrickmines is of international importance for a number of reasons. It is not as spectacular as some European examples, but it is its situation that is the key. It represents one of the border Castle's of the Norman Angevin Empire, who ruled parts of France, Britain and Ireland. Very few of these early border castles have ever been excavated.

Carrickmines was in the 'twilight zone' between two cultures, a situation repeated in the Welsh Marches, the Scottish Borders, and indeed all over Europe. The site demonstrates how this large European power (which later became the English power) dealt with this trouble on its borders. The site is not just a Castle, its a Complex. It demonstrates how these people defended themselves and managed to eek out a living under such harsh conditions.

A lot of the more impressive Castles in Europe were built as status symbols. Carrickmines is unique because of the practical necessities, which caused its construction. This may explain unique features like the 'Revetted Fosse' enclosing 1.5 acres and highly defended. The ancilliary settlement patterns around the Castle are also of huge importance, as this has never been explored in Ireland before, and there are not many European examples where such a complete picture of a medieval castle is known. Everything relating to the Castle located in the immediate area around it has been uncovered (not all fully excavated). This allows a unique picture of this Castle in operation to be built up. That is most certainly of International importance.



Directorate D -Implementation and enforcement
ENV.D2 -Legal implementation and enforcement
10 October 2002

To Irish Complainants:

We refer to your complaint P2002/4957 concerning the proposed construction of the South East Motorway in the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area of County Dublin and it's impact on the archaeological remains of the Carrickmines Castle Complex.
The Commission has recently written to the Irish authorities seeking the following information, in order to investigate the issues raised in your complaint:

1. any general or specific comments they consider appropriate on the claims made;

2. in the light of Articles 5(2), 6 and 8 and Annex ill of Directive 85/337/EEC. on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, comments on the claims that the information presented by the developer was maI1ifestly deficient with regard to the archaeological impact of the motorway project and as a result constituted an inadequate basis for public consultation and decision- making;

3. comments on why, in the light of Articles 5, 6 and 8 and Annex III of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public arid private projects on the environment, the environmental impact statement (EIS) apparently contains no information on the previous alignment advised by An Foras Forbatha, or information on the reasons for choosing the current alignment, having regard to the archaeological effects;

4. information on why the alignment was apparently changed from that advised by An Foras Forbatha;

5. details of all the archaeological investigations undertaken that informed the EIA;

6. information on whether, during the preparation of the EIS or during the subsequent decision-making process for the project, there were any expert submissions or representations on the Carrickmines Complex by archaeologists or historians, in particular by Duchas, and, if so, details of same and comments on how they were taken into account in the process;

7. details of the claims made and current knowledge of the extent and significance of the archaeological remains situated there, including expert comments by the nationally competent authorities, D??chas and the National Museum of Ireland, on the archaeological significance of the Carrickmines Complex and the aspects of unexcavated remains and extent of proposed destruction of the site;

8. details of the latest measures proposed to avoid or mitigate the effects of the motorway project on the Carrickmines Complex, and information on why it is not considered possible to undertake a more complete excavation and/or more extensive site preservation.


Today the two townlands of Carrickmines Little and Carrickmines Great are located in the parish of Tully within the Dublin barony of Rathdown. Originally, though, Carrickmines belonged to the northern half of the Irish kingdom of U?? Bri??in Chualann, a land that straddled the modern Dublin and Wicklow border.
A much disputed land: Carrickmines and the Dublin marches

In the middle ages, conquest and colonisation created frontiers between native and newcomer, stretching from Prussia to Palestine, across the Iberian peninsula and onto Ireland. Ireland's most important and also most neglected frontier was that formed by the Dublin marches-the lands that lay between the city of Dublin and the neighbouring Irish princes of Leinster. Here the frontier was an ethnic patchwork in which different racial groups lived side by side. So, naturally its politics were fluid and flexible. As in some other European lands, the newcomers showed over time that they could merge into native societies, adopting their language, customs, dress and laws. On the other hand, many native families were also able to trim their sails to the realities posed by the arrival of powerful newcomers. The lack of political uniformity in the Dublin marches ensured that this hybrid region was home to considerable ethnic diversity. Having said that, these lands were to remain a violent and a much-disputed interface between the rulers of Dublin and the Leinster Irish. The purpose of this article is to place Carrickmines in this context.
Today the two townlands of Carrickmines Little and Carrickmines Great are located in the parish of Tully within the Dublin barony of Rathdown. Originally, though, Carrickmines belonged to the northern half of the Irish kingdom of U?? Bri??in Chualann, a land that straddled the modern Dublin and Wicklow border. The principal secular landowners of U?? Bri??in Chualann were its kings, who were drawn from the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c dynasty. Further, the Ostmen of the city kingdom of Dublin also had substantial lands in U?? Bri??in Chualann. It was their arrival at Dublin in the ninth century, and presence thereafter, that forced the borders of U?? Bri??in Chualann to contract dramatically. For by the eleventh century, Ostman colonists had settled throughout northeast Wicklow. The expansion of the Ostmen into U?? Bri??in Chualann can be paralleled with the gradual extension of their lordship over Ua Cathasaig's kingdom of Saithne in north Dublin. In the twelfth century, the retreating Meic Gilla Mo-Cholm??c looked south to the neighbouring Irish kingdoms of U?? Garrchon and U?? Enechglais for compensation, forcibly establishing an overlordship over them.
The most prominent Ostmen of U?? Bri??in Chualann and owners of Carrickmines were the Meic Torcaill (?æorkellsons), kings of Dublin for most of the twelfth century. The extent of the Mac Torcaill lands has been defined as incorporating the parish of Tully and stretching to the Dargle river at Bray. In addition to this considerable swath of territory, the Meic Torcaill also seem to have held lands in Glencullen and near Powerscourt. After 1171 the above-mentioned lands extending from Tully parish to Bray were later referred in English documents as 'the lands of the son of Turchill'. Although the Meic Torcaill had successfully expanded into the region, their prize evolved into a marchland, an interface between Ostman Dublin and the rising power of the U?? Chennselaig overkingship of Leinster. The ethnic character of the marchland can be seen in the land holdings surrounding Carrickmines. This point is amply illustrated in the pre-1169 grants to the priory of Holy Trinity at Dublin by both Irish and Ostman nobles. Before his death in 1087 at the battle of Ráth Édair, the U?? Chennselaig prince Donnchad son of Domhnall Remar made a grant to Holy Trinity of Clonkeen. On the other hand, the Meic Torcaill proved themselves generous patrons of Holy Trinity. According to King John's charter to the priory in 1202, Sighrahre son of Thorkill had earlier granted land centred around Laughanstown, an area between Carrickmines and Loughlinstown.
The other great clerical beneficiary of secular largesse in the Carrickmines area before 1169 was the archbishop of Dublin. At the request of Archbishop Laurence O'Toole, Pope Alexander III on April 20 1179 took the archdiocese of Dublin into papal protection. From the place-names that made up the 1179 list of the archdiocese's lands, we can discern its landholdings in the Carrickmines area. Before 1169 the archdiocese owned considerable property in the parish of Kilgobbin, including the land of Balemochain. The latter seems to have extended over the modern townlands of Jamestown (parish of Kilgobbin) and Jamestown (parish of Tully), as well as taking in present day Ballyogan. And it is possible, though not certain, that the townlands of Carrickmines Little and Carrickmines Great at this time belonged to the greater Balemochain. Moreover, close study of the archdiocese's lands here reveals another layer of ethnic diversity amid the marchlands of south Dublin. It was only after July 1170 that the Ostmen granted Kilgobbin church to the archdiocese, but it is significant that Kilgobbin was formerly known as Tech na mBretnach, 'the house of the Welshmen'. That Kilgobbin was connected with the Welsh points to the presence of a Welsh community there before 1169. The existence of a Welsh community at Kilgobbin receives further support from place-name evidence in the locality. Just to the north of Carrickmines was Ballybrenan (Baile na mBretnach, the town of the Welsh, now Brenanstown), while medieval Carrigbrenan (now Monkstown) also points to distinctly Welsh influences.
As demonstrated by Edmund Curtis, Seán Duffy and Marie Therese Flanagan, there can be no doubt to the strength of the connection between Ostman city state of Dublin and the Welsh kingdoms before 1169. For example, the origins of Fitzrery family of Cloghran in north Dublin lay in the ruling dynasty of the north Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd. Indeed, a close study of the Fitzrerys reveals evidence that can be adduced to point towards a Welsh presence within the Ostman kingdom. Links between Ostmen and the ruling family of Gwynedd would seem to date back to the exile of Cynan ap Iago at Dublin after 1039. Cynan apparently married the deceased King Olaf's daughter Ragnailt and fathered with her the later king of Gwynedd, Gruffudd ap Cynan (d. 1137). Although disputed, it would appear Cynan received lands at Cloghran as part of Ragnailt's marriage portion. These lands were to remain in Welsh hands, and those administering them in the thirteenth century would seem to have been known sometimes as Machanan/Makanen, probably a corruption of mac Cynan or 'the son of Cynan'. Whether this patronymic indicates descent from Cynan ap Iago is debatable, but what is crystal clear is that the royal family of Gywnedd kept a close eye on these lands. In 1218 Llywelyn ab Iorwerth of Gywnedd petitioned Henry III to pardon the fine due from his cousin Cynwrig, so that he could have entry into the Irish lands of the latter's father, Rhirid ab Owain Gwynedd. Remarkably, this cadet line was to hold their lands until the seventeenth century.
The strength of the pre-1169 Welsh connection in north Dublin with the Ostman kingdom is clear, but there is also evidence for Welsh communities living under the Ostmen in the southern Dublin marches. There does seem to be a case that the ancestors of the fourteenth-century Walshes and Howels of Carrickmines and Balybrenan ('the town of the Welsh') were long established there before the 1169-70 watershed. According to Valentine Hussey Walsh, the Walshes of Carrickmines were descended from a David Walsh who was created Baron Carrickmines in the 1170s. This statement seems unfounded on a number of grounds. Firstly, there is no such title, and secondly it could not have been made, as Carrickmines was church land. As for the patronymic of Walsh, it offers few clues as it simply denotes somebody of Welsh origin. Moreover, the usage of Walsh, Walshman or le Walleys to describe persons of Welsh ancestry tended to transcend all classes. In 1222 the high-born Rhirid, lord of Cloghran, was simply referred as Righerid le Walleys, meaning Righerid the Welshman. What is clear though is that the Walshes and Howels of Carrickmines were certainly very near kinsmen, if not forming part of the same extended lineage that dominated the Welsh community living on these lands.
The 1326 rental of the manor of Clonkeen shows Maurice Howel leasing Carrickmines and Balybrenan from Holy Trinity, while his kinsman Peter Howel was allowed to occupy nearby Ballymorthan. This rental further displays a community of Irish cottiers and farmers working the lands of Clonkeen, including some of the Okenan lineage. There seems a distinct possibility that these Okenans are not of Irish extraction but of Welsh. Their patronymic Okenan would seem to be a rendering of Ua Cynan or 'descendant of Cynan', which is similar to Machanan/Makanen that was used by the men of Gwynedd at Cloghran. In addition, the Howel patronymic clearly indicates descent from an ancestor who bore the Welsh forename Hywel. Hywel like Cynan was a traditional forename of the royal house of Gwynedd and there were at least two known Hywels of that dynasty, who had Irish mothers. The first Hywel was the son of Owain, king of Gwynedd (r.1137-70), who was killed during 1170 in a struggle to succeed his father. According to Meredith Hanmer, Hywel's brother Rhirid (d.1215), lord of Cloghran, was the father of the second Hywel, an obscure figure. There is only one later reference connecting the Hywels or Howels with the lands of the lords of Cloghran. On 10 March 1276, Philip Howel and a Geoffrey Harold-perhaps of the Kilgobbin family-sat on the jury at an inquisition to determine the lands at villa Walensis held from the archbishop of Dublin by Elias le Waleys (the Welshman). The land in question would seem to be Balibren (Baile na mBretnach, meaning town of the Welsh), now the modern townland of Walshestown located within the parish of Lusk in the barony of Balrothery East. This Balibren was undoubtedly the land of Righerid le Walleys (the Welshman) (d.1228), the lord of Cloghran who offered his homage to Henry III on 5 November 1222. Therefore the Howels and Walshes seem to have sprung from the Welsh community living in the Carrickmines/Kilgobbin area during the pre 1169 era. The nomenclature of this community also indicates connections with the contemporary descendants of the royal house of Gwynedd located at Cloghran, suggesting that Ostmen may have settled some followers of these princes around the Carrickmines/Kilgobbin area.
However, the major turning point for the Irish, Welsh and Ostmen of the Dublin marches and of U?? Bri??in Chualann was the arrival of Diarmait MacMurrrough's English allies in 1169-70. The reactions of the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c rulers of U?? Bri??in Chualann and the Mac Torcaill kings of Dublin could not have been more different. This was largely due to their respective activities during the 1166 fall of MacMurrough. Then the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c dynasty firstly proved fiercely opposed to the Leinster king. That changed after MacMurrough successfully encouraged O'Brennan to assassinate the rebellious king of U?? Bri??in Chualann, allowing Domhnall Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c, MacMurrough's son-in-law, to take its kingship. On the other hand, the Meic Torcaill were long time enemies of MacMurrough. After the murder of the king of U?? Bri??in Chualann, they joined High-King Ruaidr?? O'Connor to force the Leinster king into exile. In September 1170 MacMurrough had his revenge, seizing Dublin from its king, Ascall Mac Torcaill. The end of Mac Torcaill kings of Dublin finally came in July 1171, culminating in their defeat by the English and Domhnall Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c and the later decapitation of Ascall in his own assembly hall.
In the past nationalist historians have tended to paint the effect of the English arrival upon the Irish in apocalyptic terms. What has been neglected is the continued survival of the old Ostman and Irish elites near Dublin and in East Leinster. Indeed, survival was ensured by their respective decisions to become anglicised to a degree. Domhnall Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c of U?? Bri??in Chualann was successfully to span the ethnic divide. During the lifetime of Domhnall's son, Diarmait, their dynasty transformed itself into the Fitzdermots. Evidence of this can be shown in their names. Instead of being christened Domhnall or Diarmait, dynastic scions now bore names such as John, William, Robert and Ralph, the forenames of the conquerors. Their metamorphosis was so complete that without earlier evidence of their Irish lineage, the Fitzdermots were indistinguishable from the settler aristocracy. The only recorded trouble was either in the late twelfth or early thirteenth centuries when a Donohoe Mac Gilla Mo-Cholm??c killed Roger fitz Gilbert, an Englishman. By 1276-7, it was clear that the descendants of the Meic Gilla Mo-Cholm??c had travelled a long way. Then Ralph Fitzdermot was paid for defending the Vale of Dublin from the MacMurroughs, while Edward I in 1282 rewarded the Fitzdermots by declaring Ralph a knight. After this date the family subsequently declined in importance, selling off their remaining eight carucates in U?? Bri??in Chualann sometime after 1305. But they remained thoroughly respectable: Sir Ralph's son John fitzRalph entered the service of the archbishop of Dublin and served in 1326 as the bailiff of the manor of Shankill. They also seemed to hold onto some lands around Rathdown into the fifteenth century, for an unpublished pipe roll of Henry VI records a John son of Dermod behind in his rent in 1408. Even more remarkably it seems some of the Fitzdermots held land in north Dublin at Lusk until the middle of the sixteenth century, while William Dermot was appointed on May 4 1563 to the office of chancellor of Holy Trinity.
Having said that, others were neither so lucky nor so prudent. Naturally, the Mac Torcaill kings were the major casualty of the conquest of Dublin. After the execution of Ascall Mac Torcaill in July 1171, the Mac Torcaill lands were declared forfeit. In north Dublin, they lost their extensive holdings at Portrane, Malahide, Portmarnock and Kilbarrack. By 1174, though, Hamund Mac Torcaill and his brothers had sufficiently rehabilitated themselves to have their Kinsealy lands confirmed to them. In the marches of south Dublin, it was an entirely different story. There the Meic Torcaill were seemingly dispossessed of their lands wholesale, as Walter de Riddelesford I was granted their lands from Tully to Bray. As further punishment Strongbow also confiscated the properties of Sigerith and Torphin Mac Torcaill, granting them to the abbey of St Mary at Dublin. Perhaps after the rehabilitation of Hamund in 1174, the local Ostmen of U?? Bri??in Chualann chose to acknowledge this process by granting Kilgobbin to Holy Trinity. The partial restoration of the Mac Torcaill lands in north Dublin is consistent with the English favour displayed to other Ostmen. After the collapse of the Mac Torcaill hegemony, the Ostman families of Harold and Archbold became significantly more important. The large and extended Harold lineage was incorporated within the feudal settlement from early on, particularly on the lands of the archbishop, Holy Trinity and on those of the royal manors. English favour towards this community was evident by the incorporation of the Ostmen at a higher social level than most Irish, as evidenced by 36 identifiable Ostman rents for lands within the Vale of Dublin. The emerging partnership between the English with the Irish, Welsh and Ostmen of the marches greatly facilitated the bedding down of the feudal settlement south of Dublin. However, it must be stressed that the Irish of east Leinster adopted English customs and practices to varying degrees. But in Dublin and east Leinster the colony prospered overall, living cheek by jowl with these communities. On the whole, this mutual toleration promoted mutual indulgence, resulting in a long-lived peace.
As for Carrickmines, a major change in its ownership came c. 1185. The then archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn, came to an arrangement with Holy Trinity about the lands surrounding Carrickmines. In exchange for quitclaiming their rights to lands on Lambay island, Holy Trinity obtained further lands at Tilach (Clonkeen), along with other lands at Ballyogan and the land of Dromin, an area of land that lay between Carrickmines and present day Cornelscourt. The grant to Holy Trinity by Archbishop Comyn of the archdiocese's lands at Dromin and Ballyogan was confirmed by Archbishop Luke about 1230. Much later on 17 September 1504, Archbishop William Fitzsimons was again to confirm Ballyogan and its vill to Holy Trinity along with Ballybrenan and St Brigid's chapel at Carrickmines. But the earliest origins of Carrickmines Castle are to be found in the context of imminent danger from the Wicklow Irish. The long peace in east Leinster between the Irish and the settlers gradually crumbled after the extinction of the Marshal lords of Leinster in 1245. This led to the extension of English common law into Leinster, increasing racial tension between the two communities and shortening the paths to war.
The spark that ignited the Wicklow Irish was famine, resulting in war from 1269. Primarily, the object of Carrickmines Castle was to protect the Welsh farming communities cultivating the fertile land of south Dublin. Its defenders were naturally drawn from the Howels, Walshes and later the Lawlesses. Their nexus of common interests and ambition stretched westward across south Dublin to the Harolds, Archbolds and the remnants of the Meic Torcaill. Inevitably, the O'Byrnes and the O'Tooles cast envious eyes upon the rich cereal-growing lands that Carrickmines Castle sought to protect, threatening the existence of these communities. The need to stem the Irish tide was paramount. Accordingly, Carrickmines was to assume offensive capabilities, serving from the late thirteenth century as a staging post for English expeditions to attack the Wicklow Irish. Its importance was not lost upon the Irish who saw it as a linchpin of the Pale's defences-one that had to be destroyed.
The emergence of Murchadh O'Byrne (c.1265-1338) heralded a much harder Irish line being adopted towards the settlers. From the surviving evidence, he with Fáelán and David O'Toole set about expelling the Welsh settlers from Wicklow, particularly the Fitzrhys family of Imaal and the Lawlesses of east Wicklow. For Maurice Howel, owner of Carrickmines, the fate of the Lawlesses was to be avoided. Accordingly, he sought to prop up the collapsing Lawless lordship against Murchadh, serving with Richard le Waleys and Henry O'Toole in late April 1309 on Lord Lieutenant Piers Gaveston's campaign against the O'Byrnes. The government at Dublin clearly valued the service of the Howels. In 1314 the government pardoned the offences of Maurice and several kinsmen, including an Archebaud (Archbold) Howel, along with Richard le Waleys, Richard Roth le Waleys and Robert Lawless because of their service in Offaly and the Leinster mountains. Subsequent events proved why Howel and his men were pardoned. In response to the defeats of the O'Mores in late 1315 and early 1316, Murchadh O'Byrne exacted a terrible revenge upon the settlers of east Wicklow. Before Lent 1316 he lined up with the O'Tooles and disgruntled elements of the Harolds and Archbolds to devastate the remnants of the Fitzgerald barony of Wicklow, culminating in the sack of the Wicklow town. The devastation wreaked by the O'Byrnes on the Fitzgerald Wicklow lands was so thorough that no rents could be collected from them that year. From the surviving evidence, Murchadh was steadily eradicating the English presence in east Wicklow, forcing their evacuation of lands and farms. This process starkly mirrored the tactics he employed against the settlers of Shillelagh in 1295-6. Hugh Lawless, leader of the settlers of east Wicklow, pleaded before Lord Edmund Butler in February 1316 for relief from the O'Byrne onslaught, graphically describing the terrible plight of the Wicklow settlers, caught in 'a confined and narrow part of the country, namely between Newcastle McKynegan and Wicklow, where they have the sea between Wales and Ireland for a wall on one side, and the mountains of Leinster and divers other wooded and desert places on the other where the said Irish felons live'. Lawless did not mince his words: 'by the malice and wantonness of the Irish of the mountains of Leinster, felons of the king, they have been expelled and removed from their fortresses, manors and houses up to the present, and many of the said faithful subjects of the king have been slain by the said Irish felons'.
The remorseless advance of Murchadh O'Byrne brought Maurice Howel back into Wicklow, serving from November 1316 to January 1317 as part of the garrison of Newcastle McKynegan in east Wicklow. Howel again served as guardian of the Leinster marches during 1324-25, earning £26 13s. 4d. In spite of Howel's service, the settlers in Wicklow steadily crumbled, allowing the O'Byrne horsemen waste the lands of Carrickmines and the rich farms of south Dublin. Even though war was lapping against the walls of Carrickmines, successive priors of Holy Trinity continued to entrust Maurice Howel with the defence of their lands. In August 1329 he, with Thomas Harold and Thomas Archbold, served against the O'Byrnes, while he delivered some O'Tooles into custody during 1334. But after the middle of the 1330s, Howel and the priors became resigned to adopting a far more flexible approach towards the Irish. Between 1339 and 1344 the priory had intimate dealings with Irish dynasts such as Gerald son of D??nlaing O'Byrne and 'Fynnok' O'Toole, and was engaged in trade for timber with the Irish. The reality, though, was ceaseless Irish aggression. In 1344, John Chamburleyn, bailiff of Clonkeen, recorded payments in his account of 4d. to two men, who spent two nights on the top of the mountains, watching for Irish raiders.
In response to the endemic violence, English policy was increasingly directed towards the establishment of friendly Irish in the lordships bordering Dublin. This policy may have been designed to prevent co-ordinated attacks of the Leinster Irish upon the English outposts. To cope with the growing strength of the Irish incursions into the Pale, Carrickmines Castle was refortified in early 1359. No doubt the importance of Carrickmines as a defensive site increased due to the policies of Justiciar Thomas Rokeby. In 1350 Rokeby had developed a new English policy directed towards the establishment of friendly lordships bordering Dublin. As part of this policy Rokeby, on April 23, presided over the election of Walter Harold as head of his sept. Interestingly, Walter Harold's electoral college consisted of electors drawn from the Archbold, Howel, Walsh and Lawless families, including Peter Howel, Richard fitz Michael Howel, Elias fitz Robert Walsh and Hugh fitz Robert Lawless, later constable of Newcastle McKynegan in 1353. These families with their backs to the wall-and the sea-had everything to fight for. It is likely there was little room for them among the plans of the O'Byrnes. Clearly, the Welsh and the Ostmen had developed a united front, resulting in the emergence of an overall captaincy of the borderlands of south Dublin.
Rokeby was to go further and turn his attention to the Irish. After success against the O'Byrnes in July 1350, Rokeby, as part of this policy, presided over the election, sometime in autumn 1350, of his prot?©g?©, John mac Taidhg O'Byrne after a campaign into O'Byrne territory earlier in July. Moreover, he appointed Aodh O'Toole (at an uncertain date) custos or keeper of the Dublin and Kildare marches, a decision reflecting the archbishop of Dublin's earlier employment of Máelmorda O'Toole as constable of Tallaght Castle in 1326. The relative peace that descended on the Dublin marches was dependant upon the continued goodwill of the O'Byrnes. John O'Byrne stayed in English service until the summer of 1353, but determined to assert himself. Like his predecessors, John O'Byrne concentrated upon the consolidation of east Wicklow, but increasingly subjected the manors and farms of south Dublin to a regular nightly regime of terror and burnings. John's assertion of independence frightened other Irish leaders such as Muircheartach MacMurrough, king of Leinster. In 1353-4 Muircheartach, Ruaidhr?? O'More and Aodh O'Toole all supported the government, contributing large forces to a major expedition into John's country. These efforts proved successful as John came to peace on 22 March 1354, surrendering 92 cows.
By the summer of 1354 Muircheartach and John had joined forces in a campaign against the English, providing ample opportunity for their respective dynastic rivals to prove their loyalty to the English. The war betrayed signs of extensive co-ordination with other Leinster dynasties. Muircheartach was quickly captured by Patrick de la Freyne, but John defeated Rokeby, besieging him in Wicklow Castle during October 1354. John apparently requested Muircheartach's release during the negotiations, but Rokeby brought Muircheartach by sea to Wicklow and executed him as a warning to John, an act that shocked not only the Leinstermen but Irish kings countrywide. In response, the Dublin government led by Rokeby developed between 1355 and 1357 a series of defensive wards to protect the Palesmen, including Newcastle McKynegan, Kilmartin, Killoughter, Saggart, Powerscourt, Bray, Glenmore, Killiney, Ballycorus, Jamestown and Carrickmines. This made Carrickmines Castle one of the most important fortresses of the southern Pale. Therefore, if the O'Byrnes and the O'Tooles wished to expand into the Pale, the onus was on them to destroy or occupy these forts, leading them to develop siege tactics.
The function of Carrickmines Castle was to block one of the more favoured routes into the Pale, resulting in the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles laying siege to it in July 1359. The siege was lifted by Justiciar James Butler, 3rd earl of Ormond, after bitter fighting that lasted some days. Although Nicholas Power and 32 of his men were wounded, Ormond managed to take some prisoners before the Irish withdrew. Once Ormond was gone the O'Byrnes were back. Relief for Carrickmines eventually came with Ormond's victory in early August over the O'Mores and MacMurroughs. This and the general peace that was made on 12 August 1359 persuaded John O'Byrne to abandon the siege. He then voluntarily submitted at Carlow and paradoxically earned a knighthood for his efforts. With the O'Byrnes temporarily at peace, the Dublin government again strengthened Carrickmines, installing Sir John de Bermingham and his cavalry there in 1360 to resist the O'Byrnes and the O'Tooles. The rare lull in border warfare was prolonged by the O'Byrne civil war that erupted after the death of Sir John O'Byrne in the late 1360s. This, however, did not prevent the O'Byrnes from exploiting the Dublin government's preoccupation with the Munster wars in the summer of 1370. Then they seized several English castles along the Wicklow coast before probing Carrickmines again. Prompt government action retook the castles, forcing Braen O'Byrne to come to peace on 27 March 1371.
Between 1371 and 1374 Carrickmines Castle was consistently in the front-line because of its position astride the gateway to Dublin. Naturally, Carrickmines was a popular target for O'Byrne attacks. The O'Byrnes may also have been encouraged by the extinction of the male line of Howel family by 1372. The later occurrence of the names Howel and Maurice among the Walshes of Carrickmines suggests that their leaders probably had married Howel heiresses. The first mention of the Walshes occupying lands formerly leased by the Howels from Holy Trinity comes in May 1372. Then Holy Trinity leased Ballybrenan to Thomas Walsh, a chaplain of the priory, for twenty years at a rent of 4 marks per annum. This, though, was conditional upon Thomas building and maintaining a stone house at Ballybrenan. Further, it would seem that a Hugh Lawless obtained a lease upon Carrickmines and its castle. Underlining its strategic importance, Carrickmines Castle was then placed under the command of John de Colton, treasurer of Ireland and later archbishop of Armagh, withstanding two long sieges. For the O'Byrnes, Carrickmines Castle again proved a nut too hard to crack, but this did not prevent them from trying again. Carrickmines Castle was to essentially remain a cavalry base to strike out against the Wicklow Irish, housing 40 mounted Fingal archers for 15 days in October 1388 to resist the O'Byrnes and the O'Tooles.
Carrickmines experienced another change of ownership after the expedition of Richard II to Ireland of 1394-5. Clearly, the king's experience in the Dublin marches determined his decisions, firstly, to confiscate Lawless and Archbold lands and, secondly, to grant them to Janico Dartas. On December 12 1395 the king confirmed these lands along with Hugh Lawless's lands at Carrickmines to Dartas. Richard's grant indicates that the crown had exercised its right to Carrickmines, depriving Holy Trinity of its ownership. In turn Dartas may have confirmed Carrickmines and other lands to John and David Walsh, who held these lands from the crown by knight service. In turn these men seem to have allowed Henry fitz Adam Walsh to occupy Carrickmines Castle and work its attached lands. Henry fitz Adam was definitely in possession of Carrickmines by 11 March 1400, for Henry IV then granted 100s. from the revenues of the royal manor of Thorncastle to 'Henry Adamesone of Cairykmayn' for his good service. The Walshes of Carrickmines were soon to prove their worth as guardians of the Dublin march. In 1401 the pressure from the Irish, under Domhnall and Donnchadh O'Byrne, rose dramatically. In 1401 Donnchadh decided to settle a large force of O'Meagher mercenaries, kinsmen of his wife, along the Dodder river just north of Bray. The implications were clear for the Walshes of Carrickmines and the farmers of south Dublin. Led by Lord Mayor John Drake, the Dubliners and the Walshes slaughtered the mercenaries in August 1401 in battle at Bloody Bank near Bray (now known as Sunny Bank).
This O'Byrne defeat was greatly to consolidate the emerging status of Henry fitz Adam Walsh of Carrickmines as guardian of the Dublin Pale. After 1401 the accumulation of crown and clerical lands by the Walshes within the barony of Rathdown increased. In 1407 the crown granted land at Balally to Henry fitz Adam's son, William fitz Henry Walsh. This grant though was subject to the building by William fitz Henry of a castle there. William fitz Henry himself resided at Symondeston in Kiltiernan parish, holding it from St Mary's abbey at Dublin. Upon the death of William fitz Henry sometime in 1407, a panel of jurors including John Archbold and John Lawless took part in an inquisition to determine the extent of Walsh holdings at Symondeston. Henry fitz Adam Walsh of Carrickmines then seems to have become the guardian of his son's recorded offspring, Henry and Esmond. Naturally, the eldest of these boys, Henry, became the heir to the lands occupied by both his father and grandfather. In December 1407, the young Henry's rights to Carrickmines were confirmed. Then John and David Walsh on December 20 confirmed Carrickmines to Henry fitz Adam before granting the rest to Maurice Walsh and John fitz Maurice Walsh.
Henry succeeded to these lands while still a minor in 1420, becoming an important landowner within the Dublin marches. There can be no doubt that the Walshes were aware that many saw opportunity in his minority. Clearly, the decisions of Henry's early career were subject to the counsel of his older relatives. With their advice ringing in his ears, the young man had the good sense to burn the candle from both ends, cultivating good relations with his Irish neighbours and the powerful James Butler, 4th earl of Ormond. Walsh adherence to Ormond was to earn them the enmity of Thomas fitzMaurice Fitzgerald, later the 7th earl of Kildare. Through his wife, Ormond had become the protector of the Kildare earldom upon the death of the 5th earl of Kildare on 13 October 1432, acquiring two-thirds of it, while one-third went to the widowed countess. This was seemingly achieved with the blessing of Kildare, who realised his earldom's perilous condition: his brother and successor, John, would die soon after him, and the next in line, Thomas fitzMaurice, Kildare's grandnephew, was still a minor. Initially, however, Ormond and Thomas fitzMaurice were friendly, as the young Fitzgerald heir spent some time living in the earl's household. Over time relations cooled, culminating in Ormond's banishment of Thomas fitzMaurice from Kildare, probably before Ormond's departure for England in the winter of 1434-5.
For the Walshes of Carrickmines and Kilgobbin, the feud had disastrous consequences. And it got considerably worse after Thomas fitzMaurice took refuge with the O'Mores and then with the O'Byrnes. While the Kildare heir was living under the protection of the O'Byrnes, he cultivated a partnership with Braen son of Donnchadh of Newrath, the most active O'Byrne warlord of this time. Not insignificantly, this Braen was married to Elizabeth O'More; while Thomas fitzMaurice's first wife was allegedly Dorothea O'More. Therefore Thomas fitzMaurice and Braen were possibly brothers-in-law. One thing is certain, though: before September 1440 they were both terrorising the Pale, particularly the Walsh lands. For burning the Kilgobbin lands of James Adamesson (fitz Adam) Walsh, Henry's granduncle, the pair were outlawed on 6 September that year. Unsurprisingly, Henry was soon in royal service, earning 10 marks on 12 July 1441 as a reward for fighting the Irish. Henry was also probably part of the large English hosting defeated in 1442 by the O'Byrnes in Wicklow. As time went on, Henry came to an understanding with the Irish, tailoring their interests with his own. According to a later complaint levied against him in 1468, Henry spoke Irish, wore Irish dress and used Irish law whenever it suited his purpose. Moreover, Henry is reputed to have extensively rebuilt the castle in the form that it was to stand for the next two centuries, raising the finance through extortion and illegal appropriation of the revenues of Dalkey port. However, Henry's cosy world was transformed by the pardon in 1452 of his old enemy Thomas FitzMaurice.
This pardon and Ormond's death in August 1452 transformed Thomas fitzMaurice from an outlaw living in the twilight worlds of both Irish and English society into a major player within the English lordship. In spite of his pardon, Thomas fitzMaurice was denied his inheritance. The reason for this was the continuing Butler dominance of the English government. Fitzgerald fortunes further improved when Duke Richard of York was restored as lieutenant of Ireland in 1454, forcing James Butler, earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, on 15 April to surrender all claims to the lieutenancy. Thomas fitzMaurice responded to York's rise by supporting his cause. His success is confirmed by the fact that Thomas fitzMaurice was both 7th earl of Kildare and York's deputy by October 1454. Now York's deputy, Kildare's attitude to the Irish changed; he distanced himself from the O'Byrne friends of his rebellious youth and embraced a future of service to the English crown. Kildare's policy of good government, self-interest, and affinity-building was similar to the old Butler policies. He knew that the vulnerability of the Pale and the government were linked to that of his own earldom, resolving upon the implementation to a two-pronged strategy to strengthen the English lordship in Ireland. Firstly, Kildare decided to develop the defences of his own earldom so that it would act as the Pale's shield, and secondly he turned his attention to the reform of the Dublin marches.
A sign of Kildare's hard-line attitude towards the O'Byrnes was his beginnings of the refortification of the Pale's borders. The next step came in 1454-5 when the Dublin assembly legislated for the introduction of a series of anti-Irish laws. Another important event was the suspension, that Easter 1455, of the timber trade between the Wicklow Irish and Dublin as well as the cessation in September of the supplying of Wicklow Castle. These actions were presumably due to O'Byrne hostilities. This must be taken as the end of the O'Byrne alliance with Kildare. Another aspect of Kildare's reformation of the Dublin marches was his taking in hand of its prominent families. Without doubt there was a personal aspect to this, as it afforded him the chance to settle some scores with the Walshes of Carrickmines. In his 1456 parliament Kildare outlawed Henry Walsh of Carrickmines and his son William. Among others to suffer the same fate were Thomas Carrach (Walsh?) of Shanganagh, Maurice Walsh, Patrick Archbold, Geoffrey Harold, Esmond Harold and a number of Lawlesses. They were all to surrender themselves to the constable of Dublin Castle or risk attainder. There, Kildare would hear all complaints against them. If they defied the writ of the parliament, they risked a campaign being proclaimed against them. Moreover, their future release would only be guaranteed by the deposit of several hostages.
In the event, Kildare made the Walshes of Carrickmines pay a high price for their pardon of 1458, forcing Henry, his son William, and the Harolds to attack their Irish friends. As part of this programme, the Dublin assembly in December 1457 also prohibited Irish horsemen from staying within the walls of the city. Further signs of Kildare's policy to increase the security of the Pale was his energetic programme of encastellation in the Dublin and Kildare marches to fence in the Irish threat. As in West Leinster, the government took action to curb Irish inroads into the Pale, ordering the building of Bray Castle in 1459. Henry Walsh of Carrickmines, though, made strides towards his rehabilitation by aiding Archbishop Michael Tregury of Dublin in 1460 to erect fortifications at Rathdown and Newcastle Lyons. But later that same year he was again in trouble. Then a number of charges were levied against him for oppressing the English inhabitants of south Dublin and of repeatedly refusing to obey the writ of the county courts. Moreover, he was also accused of stealing the cattle of the government collector of the barony of Rathdown and of detaining them illegally. So serious were the nature of complaints, Henry was ordered to appear before Richard, duke of York and lord lieutenant of Ireland.
In the 1460s, the crisis on the Dublin marches peaked. Since his arrival in Ireland in 1450, Archbishop Michael Tregury of Dublin had been intent upon the revival of his diocesan rights within the lands of the Wicklow Irish and the marchers, complaining to the pope in 1451 of the desolation of his archbishopric. In 1460 he obtained a grant for recovery of archiepiscopal lands. The archbishop apparently began to revive his rights in Harold's Country and O'Byrnes' Country. His plans badly backfired, ending in kidnap, an alleged beating and a dismal imprisonment at the hands of Patrick O'Byrne and Geoffrey Harold, who were later excommunicated for their actions. The events of Tregury's kidnap may be connected to the Dublin assembly's prohibition in 1461 of communication between citizens and the Harolds. Testifying to the ability of the Wicklow Irish to penetrate the Pale was their attack in 1462 upon Christ Church cathedral. The northward march of the O'Byrnes received a setback in 1462-3. Despite having routed Henry Walsh of Carrickmines and having captured some of his sons, the O'Byrne lord was killed at the moment of victory. The death of their leader did not prevent the O'Byrnes from conducting a regime of extortion and ransom upon the people of the Dublin marches. For Henry Walsh of Carrickmines, who was coerced by Kildare to fight the Irish, the situation at times in Dublin marches must have been a nightmare. Before August 1464, Bray was taken by the Irish and then retaken by Thomas Fitzgerald, 8th earl of Desmond. The pressure from the Irish proved too much, forcing Henry to ignore government direction and again treat with the O'Byrnes. This backsliding drew an immediate response from the mayor and citizens of Dublin, who campaigned against him and wasted his lands. In 1465 Henry had had enough and successfully petitioned Desmond for his pardon and those of his kinsmen as well as for the restoration of his property. By 1467 Henry and his sons William and John had returned wholesale to their old habits, orchestrating the oppression of the people of Rathdown through a campaign of day and night larcenies and kidnappings. For this, they, along with their relatives of Kilgobbin and Shankill, were ordered to place themselves by 4 March 1468 in the custody of the constable of Dublin Castle. Again political expediency and military necessity was to combine to let the Walshes off the hook.
During the 1470s, the Wicklow Irish and their allies threatened to eradicate any government control over the Dublin marches. Armed with the support of Edward IV, Kildare and the Dublin council continued the existing construction of a defensive system around the Pale that would be less of a drain upon English coffers. By 1470 the government's weakness was such that Edmund O'Toole compelled Saggart to pay him a blackrent. Furthermore, collectors of parliamentary subsidies in Harold's Country, lying between Saggart and Kilmashogue, were afraid to perform their duties for fear that the Harolds would deliver them to the Irish. No doubt this situation contributed to the decree of Kildare's parliament of November/December 1470, commanding Saggart's townsfolk to abandon their agreement with the O'Tooles. Saggart paid the ultimate price for its compliance, when the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles sacked it in 1471 and 1472, forcing many to abandon it. The sack of Saggart spurred frantic English activity to enclose the town with defensive ditches, while a fortified dyke was dug from Tallaght to Saggart. Indicative of the confidence of the Irish of east Leinster and their alienation from the English archbishopric of Dublin and the government was their attempt to resurrect the dormant bishopric of Glendalough, which was granted papal approval in 1481. But Kildare stuck to his task, one of his most innovative actions being to create an embryonic standing force to punish their incursions: his parliament of 1471-2 granted him 80 archers for his retinue, 40 of whom Kildare undertook to maintain. Three years later Kildare's parliament went on to authorise the establishment of a permanent fighting force; the 'Fraternity of St George', comprising 160 archers and 63 spearmen, whose captains included Kildare's son, the young Gerald Fitzgerald. When the Irish did penetrate these Pale defences, they were devastating, directing their venom upon the Walshes of Carrickmines and Kilgobbin. As Kildare's clients, Henry Walsh and his kinsmen bore the brunt of their wrath: in 1476, the O'Byrnes and O'Toole destroyed Kilgobbin Castle, leaving Maurice Walsh destitute.
The fortunes of the Walshes of Carrickmines were to improve after the death of Kildare on March 25 1478. Kildare's son Gerald, elected to take his place, sought to build upon the sound foundations laid by his father. Thus, the emergence in 1478 of Gerald M??r Fitzgerald as 8th earl of Kildare and as lord deputy, signalled the gradual rolling back of the O'Byrne tide from the borders of the Pale. The opening shots of Kildare's offensive came in 1480, when a royal service was proclaimed in Kildare against the Irish. That September the young Kildare rode into the Leinster mountains, devastating the O'Byrne lordship as well as seizing Leighlinbridge from Murchadh Ballach MacMurrough, king of Leinster. The punishment inflicted upon the Irish eased the pressure on the Pale considerably, rewarding Henry Walsh of Carrickmines with relative peace in his last years. Henry died shortly after bequeathing Carrickmines to his son John fitz Henry on October 16 1481. In the protracted conquest of the Wicklow Irish, Kildare received sterling help from Theobald fitz Henry Walsh of Carrickmines, the successor of his brother John. In late February 1495 Sir Edward Poynings, lord lieutenant of Ireland, arrested Kildare, sending him to England in March for allegedly encouraging the resistance of the O'Hanlons of Orior as well as prompting his brother's rebellion.
Instead of joining Kildare's supporters, Theobald fitz Henry Walsh of Carrickmines, and the Harolds, organised forces to resist the rebels, while the baron of Dunboyne led a campaign into Wicklow late in 1495, capturing Art O'Toole, a Kildare client. By the summer of 1496, Kildare was back in favour because nothing had been proved against him. Moreover, Henry VII came round to the realisation that Kildare was the only English magnate capable of governing Ireland in his name, and was a considerably cheaper option than direct rule, so he made a new concord with Kildare, whereby he was restored to the deputyship and granted any crown lands he could reconquer from the Irish. A fresh mark of the king's favour was Kildare's new wife, Elizabeth St John, the king's cousin. These new conditions ended the war of Kildare's brother, Sir James Fitzgerald, who submitted in July 1496. Kildare landed in Ireland in mid-September 1496. Characteristically, he quickly exerted himself, taking pledges from both English and Irish lords at Drogheda and Dundalk. In Leinster, where there was resistance, he retook Carlow from Murchadh Ballach MacMurrough of Leinster after two attempts, before embarking on a circuit throughout Leinster. Bereft of protection and without an option, Murchadh Ballach and Cathaoir son of D??nlaing O'Byrne and other Irish nobles, dispatched envoys to make their submissions at Dublin during October 1496.
As for Theobald fitz Henry Walsh of Carrickmines, he quickly made sure to return to Kildare's side to help him reduce the O'Byrnes to vassalage by 1505. Throughout the Kildare ascendancy, leading figures among the Walshes such as Howel, William and Walter remained steadfastly loyal to their masters, evidenced by their acceptance of gifts of horses and hackneys from Gerald Óg Fitzgerald, 9th earl of Kildare. Upon Theobald fitz Henry's death, Carrickmines seemingly passed to his brother Edmund fitz Henry. By 1519 Edmund fitz Henry of Carrickmines had fallen out with Holy Trinity, as on 21 February 1519 was ordered by William Hasard (the later prior of Holy Trinity), to renounce his claims to the nearby lands of Keatingsland and Priorsland. During the closing years of the Kildare ascendancy, during the 1530s, the Walshes showed their desire for the earl's continued favour by terrorising his enemies. During 1531-2, they, along with the Archbolds and Harolds, joined some of the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles to devastate the lands of Archbishop John Alen of Dublin, Kildare's enemy. Strangely though, the Walshes played no recorded part in the doomed Kildare rebellion of 1534-5 against Henry VIII, indicating that they had somehow managed to stay neutral.
Edmund fitz Henry of Carrickmines died at an uncertain date before 20 June 1537. Carrickmines then passed to his nephew, William fitz Theobald Walsh, the husband of Margaret Fitzwilliam of Merrion. This William fitz Theobald set about increasing greatly his land holdings in the aftermath of the Kildare rebellion. From Edmund fitz Henry, William fitz Theobald inherited his strained relationship with Holy Trinity. On 12 December 1539 Dean Robert Paynswicke asserted the priory's right to the temporalities due from William fitz Theobald's lands at Ballyogan, Ballybrenan, Smothescourt, Priorsland, Keatingsland and from St Brigid's church of Carrickmines. To compensate himself, William fitz Theobald in the early 1540s developed substantial land holdings in Wicklow. This was largely due to dramatic changes in the political landscape of Wicklow. There the O'Byrne lordship under Tadhg mac Gerald O'Byrne of Kiltimon had become a great deal more accessible due to the emergence of good relations with the Dublin government. On 4 July 1542, Tadhg mac Gerald agreed to the gradual introduction of English rule into his lordship as part of the government's policy of 'Surrender and Regrant', which meant that the O'Byrnes had a great deal of autonomy over their own affairs. But, as time proved, the reality was to be otherwise, and as has been noted, the change in English policies, combined with the political fragmentation of the O'Byrne lordship, paved the way for its being replaced by an English seneschalcy. Even before that date William fitz Theobald's land agents were active in the O'Byrne lordship. On 17 August 1541 he obtained a lease of 21 years to Kilpeadar, while in 1544/5 he received letters patent to 12 messuages and 620 acres at Kilpoole in O'Byrnes' Country. Moreover, on 12 April 1542 William fitz Theobald also obtained a grant of the Shanganagh lands of his cousin Walter Walsh (d.1551), then a minor and later his son-in-law. These acquisitions certainly proved expensive. On 12 May 1543 William fitz Theobald acknowledged a debt of 100 pounds in the Irish chancery court, but this financial stringency did not prevent William fitz Theobald from expanding his landed interests. In 1548 he acquired a lease for 21 years of the tithes of the prebend of Rathmichael at a rent of £22 per annum. By 1555 the Walshes of Carrickmines enjoyed a better relationship with Holy Trinity, as William fitz Theobald had his lease upon Ballybrenan, and the lands of Priorsland and Keatingsland-described as being in the fields of Carrickmines-confirmed for 51 years on 28 October. For Priorsland and Keatingsland, William was to pay 20s. per year, while he to render 16s. 8d. for those at Ballybrenan. He was also obliged by Holy Trinity to mow the meadows and gather the tithes of Ballybrenan and deposit them at place called the Holy Stod. Further information about William fitz Theobald's manor of Carrickmines can be gleaned from an inquisition dated 14 April 1570. This inquisition not only set out the lands of the manor, but it also outlined William fitz Theobald's outlying lands near Bray. According to the inquisition, William fitz Theobald's lands at Carrickmines were held by knight service and amounted to some 310 acres. Also attached to the manor of Carrickmines were a watermill, and 40 acres spread between Anowdon and Ballerowe, hamlets located close to the castle. From Thomas Butler, 9th earl of Ormond, William fitz Theobald held another 73 acres for the nominal payment of a red rose on St John's Day, while in the royal manor of Rathdown he held a further 36 acres at Crompestown (Cranestown?) directly from the crown.
Political expediency forced William fitz Theobald of Carrickmines, like his ancestors, to become increasingly involved with the O'Byrnes of Wicklow. After the failure of the Kildare rebellion in 1535, the O'Byrne raids on the Pale had grown more frequent. These raiders were not drawn from the old O'Byrne lordly families, belonging instead to the rising house of Ballinacor at Glenmalure. For Aodh O'Byrne and later his son Fiach O'Byrne, the lords of Glenmalure, the collapse of the Kildare hegemony proved to be their opportunity. And such was their strength that William fitz Theobald of Carrickmines felt that impressive defences of his castle could not afford him adequate protection. Instead he took the diplomatic option, arranging the marriage of his third son Robert to Aodh's daughter Honora. By the late 1540s, William fitz Theobald's involvement with the Irish was clearly growing. Against the background of considerable disturbance, he was pardoned on April 3 1549 for unspecified behaviour.
Due to political instability, William fitz Theobald walked a tight rope between the government and the Irish, tacking before the prevailing political winds. In 1558 he was pardoned for his involvement in the murder of Peter Talbot by some kerns. On the other hand while he assembled his troops for the muster of the Pale on 13 July 1560, he clearly realised that the Dublin marches were becoming more disordered due to the ambitions of the O'Byrnes of Glenmalure and the O'Tooles of Castlekevin. The disorder in the marches was confirmed in February 1566. Then Sir Nicholas Bagenal complained to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, of the continual robbing and killing within the English Pale, pointing specifically towards the lands of the O'Tooles, O'Byrnes and the Walshes. Perhaps on foot of Bagenal's complaints, the lands of the Walshes, Harolds and Archbolds were committed in April to the charge of Thomas Fitzwilliam of Merrion, William fitz Theobald's kinsman. Indeed, government reports emphasised the closeness of William fitz Theobald and his relatives to the Irish, portraying him as their client. On 4 February 1567 Richard fitz Robert Walsh of Carrickmines was included in the pardon of F?©ilim son of Toirdhealbhach O'Toole of Powerscourt. Another government document dated 29 December 1572 displayed the depth and intricacy of the relations between the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles and the marchers of south Dublin. In it William fitz Theobald, his sons and their relatives of Ballybrenan, Kilgobbin, Ballaly and Shanganagh were said to be near kinsmen of the Irish and were sworn to them. The Walshes were not alone in their allegiance to the Irish; other marcher families sworn to Aodh O'Byrne and Fiach O'Toole of Castlekevin were the Goodmans of Laughanstown, the Talbots of Fassaghroe, as well as the Harolds and the Archbolds. Moreover, one of the Walshes of Kilgobbin acted as trustee to the later marriage agreement of Fiach O'Byrne and his wife, Rose O'Toole. The deepening confidence of the Irish leaders was clear when this Fiach penetrated the Pale defences in 1574, and set the town of Kilmainham aflame before retreating back into the mountains. The frustration of the New English at their inability to contain the attacks of the mountain Irish was palpable. One of these disgruntled New English was John Crawhall of Ballyloghlan (Loughlinstown). That June, a party led by Crawhall violently protested before Lord Deputy Sir William Fitzwilliam about the ease of Fiach's success, accusing the old marcher families such as the Walshes and their neighbours of connivance in these attacks.
The date of Theobald fitz William's death is disputed. According to an inquisition of April 1570, he died on 29 September 1569, but he may have lived on until 1573. What is clear though is that Theobald fitz William was succeeded as lord of Carrickmines by his son, Richard fitz Theobald Walsh, husband of Eleanor Fitzeustace of Clongoweswood. Like his father, Richard fitz Theobald steered a diplomatic policy of self preservation through the competing ambits of a largely Protestant New English government at Dublin and Fiach O'Byrne, the leader of the Leinster Catholics. Indeed, the collective pardon of Richard fitz Theobald, Thomas Fitzwilliam of Merrion and James Goodman of Laughanstown on 7 December 1574 may have been in connection with the O'Byrne raids on Dublin that year. On 10 September 1577 Richard fitz Theobald was again pardoned for unspecified actions. Thereafter nothing was mentioned of him until his death on 10 July 1580, when he was succeeded by his son, the 28-year-old Theobald fitz Richard Walsh. This Theobald fitz Richard was to die at the age of 41 on 17 November 1593, having enjoyed a reasonably peaceful tenure of his Carrickmines lands. Theobald fitz Richard, by his wife Eleanor Fitzwilliam of Merrion, left a male heir, Richard fitz Theobald Walsh. According to the inquisition of 28 November 1593, Theobald fitz Richard passed a much reduced inheritance to Richard fitz Theobald. But because the heir was a minor, the crown took his lands into its hands, housing a troop of horse there before the end of that year. Moreover, the wardship and forthcoming marriage of Richard fitz Theobald were entrusted to Peter Barnewall, a prominent Palesman.
As the need to deal with the threat of Fiach O'Byrne and the Leinster Catholics grew, most of the Walshes of Carrickmines gave their allegiance to the Dublin government. During the Nine Year's War of 1594-1603, Carrickmines Castle housed 60 calvarymen of the earl of Southampton, Shakespeare's patron. This, however, did not prevent the O'Byrnes from burning the village outside the castle during the night of 12 June 1599. The removal of the O'Byrne threat to Carrickmines finally ended with the surrender in March 1601 of F?©ilim O'Byrne before the Dublin council. The subsequent pardons of the rest of the Leinstermen reveal that some of the Walshes of Carrickmines and their kinsmen had fought against the government. On 5 May 1601, Maurice and William Walsh of Carrickmines were pardoned with the followers of Domhnall Spáinneach Kavanagh, king of Leinster. Their cousin Nicholas Walsh of Kilgobbin was later included in F?©ilim O'Toole of Castlekevin's pardon on 14 December 1603. The end of Carrickmines Castle came in March 1642. Then the castle fell to English, culminating in the slaughter of all its estimated 300 inhabitants. The castle apparently was then blown up and razed to the ground, although some of the Walshes survived to remerge as the Counts Von Wallis in the service of the Austrian Empire.
The discoveries at Carrickmines offer us a rare chance to reassess the history of medieval Ireland, particularly in the marches of Dublin and Leinster. They allow us a fleeting glimpse into the world of the frontiermen who guarded the Dublin Pale. Also they throw us a lifeline to the world of the Leinster Irish. Much of the misinterpretation of the Leinster Irish arose because of where they dwelt, living well beyond the Pale in mountainous and densely forested regions that have been characterised as the angry world of the Celtic fringe. Indeed, the ruggedness of their homelands has reinforced their popular image of being wild and untamed. Usually our only glimpse of this society in its natural habitat comes from accounts of government campaigns into these lands. But rarely do we get a cogent picture of the world of the Celtic fringe interacting with the Palesmen. More commonly, we are presented with images of conflict. In Carrickmines we have been gifted one remarkable chance to reassess the history of the Dublin marches-it should not be passed up lightly.