LUSK

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

LUSK, a parish, partly in the barony of NETHERCROSS, but chiefly in that of BALROTHERY, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (N.) from Swords, on the road from Dublin to Skerries; containing, with the town of Rush (which is separately described), 5849 inhabitants, of which number, 924 are in the village of Lusk. This place was chiefly distinguished as the site of a monastery, over which St. Macculind, styled indifferently abbot or bishop, presided till his death in 497. Cassan, a learned scribe, who is called the chronographer of Lusk, died abbot of this monastery in 695; and either in that or the following year, a grand synod was held here by St. Adamnanus, at which all the principal prelates of the kingdom were present. In 825 the abbey was plundered and destroyed, and in 854 it was, together with the whole town, consumed by fire; it also suffered a similar calamity in 1069; and in 1135 the town and abbey were burned and the whole country of Fingal wasted by Donel Mac Murrogh O'Melaghlin, in revenge for the murder of his brother Conor, prince of Meath.

In 1190, a nunnery for sisters of the Aroasian order, which had been founded here at an early period and subsequently appropriated to the priory of All Saints, Dublin, was removed to Grace Dieu, in this parish, by John Comyn, Archbishop of Dublin, who placed in it a sisterhood following the rule of St. Augustine, and endowed it with ample possessions, which were confirmed to it by Pope Celestine in 1196.

The parish is divided into three parts, called East, West, and Middle Lusk, of which the last is in the barony of Nethercross, and the two former in that of Balrothery. The laud, with the exception of about 150 acres of sand hills is fertile and in good cultivation; 150 ½ acres are appropriated to the economy fund of the cathedral of St. Patrick, Dublin; and there are about 200 acres of common, which is good grazing land. There are some quarries of good limestone, in which are found beautiful crystals, and of stone of good quality for building; fullers' earth is also found in the parish, and at Loughshinny are veins of copper, but no mines have been worked.

The principal seats are Corduff House, the residence of the Rev. F. Baker, at one time occupied by Stanihurst, the historian; Knock Ardmin, of J. Smith, Esq.; Rochestown, of J. Rochford, Esq.; Bettyville, of — Byrne, Esq.; the glebe-house, of the Rev. R. Macklin; and Kennure Park, of Sir W. H. Palmer, Bart., which last is described under the head of Rush.

The village is pleasantly situated on the road from Dublin, and the surrounding scenery is agreeably diversified. At Rogerstown is a good quay for landing coal; and from a document dated 1175, prohibiting the illicit exportation of corn, and the departure of any of the retinue of William de Windsor from the port of Lusk, it appears that this place formerly possessed some maritime importance. Fairs are held on May 4th, June 24th, July 25th, and Nov. 25th, chiefly for cattle. A constabulary police force has been established here, and also a coast-guard station belonging to the district of Swords.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Dublin; the rectory is divided into two portions, one united to the rectories of Ardrie, St. Andrew, and Burgage, together constituting the corps of the precentorship, and the other forming part of the union of Ballymore and corps of the treasurership, in the cathedral church of St. Patrick, Dublin, and both in the patronage of the Archbishop; the vicarage is in the alternate patronage of the Precentor and the Treasurer.

The tithes amount to £985. 8. 6 ¾., of which £40 is payable to the vicar, and the remainder to the lessees of the precentor and treasurer. The lands belonging to the precentorship comprise 9865 statute acres, of which 71 are in Lusk, 154 in Ardree, and 670 ¾ in Burgage, exclusively of the chanter's orchard and garden in the precincts of the cathedral church, three tenements in St. Patrick's close, and two houses in Bride-street, and four in Dame-street, Dublin; the whole let at an annual rent of £238. 11. 6 ½., and an annual renewal fine of £83. 1. 6 ½.: the gross value of the precentorship is £346. 8. 3 ¾., and of the vicarage, £120 per annum. The glebe-house was built in 1821; the late Board of First Fruits gave £400, and granted a loan of £400 towards its erection: there are two glebes, comprising together 22 acres.

The church, built on the site and partly with the materials of the ancient abbey, is in the later English style of architecture, with a massive square embattled tower having at three of the angles a slender circular tower and at the fourth a similar tower of larger dimensions, which is roofless and without battlements. The interior consists of two long aisles separated by a series of seven pointed arches, now filled up with masonry; the eastern portion of the south aisle is the only part appropriated to divine service; the windows of the remaining portions are nearly all closed up, and the whole of the north aisle is almost in total darkness.

There are numerous sepulchral monuments, some of which are very ancient and highly interesting; of these, one of various kinds of marble, in front of the altar in the south aisle, was erected about the close of the 16th century to Sir Christopher Barnewall and his lady, whose effigies in a recumbent porture are well sculptured and elaborately ornamented. In the north aisle is a monument of black marble to James Bermingham, of Ballogh, Esq., bearing his recumbent effigy in chain armour; there is also a tomb curiously sculptured in relief, with ah inscription, to Walter Dermot and his lady, which from some obliteration has been by different antiquaries ascribed to the 6th and to the 16th centuries. Near the altar is a piscina, and there are two very ancient fonts; and near the church is the well of St. Macculin, the patron saint.

In the R. C. divisions this place is a deanery, comprising the unions or districts of Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Ballyboghill, Garristown, Donaghbate, and Portrane. The chapel, a spacious edifice, was erected in 1809, at an expense of £2000, nearly half of which was given by James Dixon, Esq., of Kilmainham, and the remainder raised by subscription; attached to it is a burial-ground.

About 300 children are taught in three public schools, of which two are under the new Board of Education, and one is supported by subscription; there are also four private schools, in which are about 80 children. There are some remains of an ancient church and castle in the demesne of Kennure, and also of the chapel of the convent at Grace Dieu, which, though never extensive, exhibits details of a superior character; and at Whitestown are also the ruins of an old church, dedicated to St. Maur. At Drummanagh and Rush are martello towers; and at the former place the remains of an extensive encampment, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country and of the sea. In digging the foundation for the glebe-house, several stone coffins were found, containing human bones.

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