Britannia, by William Camden

The County of Divelin or Dublin.

Big B BEyond the Cauci, liv’d the Eblani, in that tract which is now the County of Dublin or Divelin; bounded on the east by the Irish Sea, on the west by the County of Kildare, on the south by the little territories of the O-Tools and O-Birns, and of those which they term the GlinnesThe Glinnes. ⌈(now part of the County of Wicklow;)⌉ and, on the north, by the County of Meath and the river Nanny. The Soil produces good Corn, and Grass in great plenty; and the County is well-stock’d with game, both for hunting and fowling; but so naked for the most part, that they generally burn a fat kind of turf, or else coal out of England, instead of wood. In the south part, which is less improv’d and cultivated, there is here and there a hill pretty well wooded; under which lie the low vales call’d Glynnes, thick set with woods; and these ** Are sadly, C. were heretofore sadly infested with those pernicious People, the O-Tooles and O-Birnes; ⌈but are not so at this day, but on the contrary as safe and secure as any part of Ireland.⌉ Among these Glynnes is the Bishoprick of Glandilaugh, which has lain desolate, ever since it was annex’d to the Archbishoprick of Dublin. In other parts, the County is very well town’d and peopled, and surpasses the other Provinces of Ireland in improvements of all sorts, and a peculiar neatness and elegance. It is divided into † † Five, C.six Baronies, Rathdown, Newcastle, Castle-Knoc, Cowloc, Balrodry, and Nethercross; which I cannot (as I could desire) give a particular account of, because I am not well enough acquainted with the several bounds. First therefore, I will survey the Sea-coast, and then follow the Rivers, as their course leads me into the inner-parts of this County; none of which are twenty miles distant from the shore.

To begin in the South; the first place that we meet with upon the coast, is ¦ ¦ See p.1363.Wicklo, where is a narrow haven with a rock hanging over it, enclosed with good walls, instead of a Castle; which (as other Castles of this Kingdom) was by Act of Parliament, not to be commanded by any Governour, that * * Is, C. This Act repeal’d, 11 Car.1. c.6.was not an Englishman: by reason the Irish who had born that charge heretofore † † Have, C.had, to the great damage of the Government, made small resistance in case of assaults, and suffer’d Prisoners to escape by connivance. But let us hear what Giraldus says of this Port, who calls it Winchiligillo. There is a Port at Winchiligillo, on the side of Ireland next to Wales, which, at every general Ebb of the Sea, receives the Waves, and at the general Flow of the Sea, sends them out again: and after the Sea is gone back, and has quite left it, the River, which runs into the Sea here, is ¦ ¦ Per omnen every corner, salt and brackish.

Next, upon the top of a hill by the Sea-side, stands New-castle,New-castle. whence may be seen those shelves of Sand, call’d the Grounds, which lie along this coast; yet, between them and the shore, the water is said to be seven fathoms deep. A little higher, where the Bray (a small river) runs into the Sea, stands Old Court ⌈which anciently belong’d to the Talbots; and Old Conaught,⌉ the estate of the Wallenses or Walshes of Caryckmain, a family, ⌈which was⌉ not only ancient and noble, but very numerous in these Parts. Powers Court. Next to this is Powers Court, formerly, (as the name it self shews) belonging to the Poers; a very large Castle, till Tirlaugh O Toole, in a rebellion, demolished it. ⌈This is a fine Seat; and from hence the Wingfields took their title of Viscounts; and tho’ the title be lately extinct, the Estate still remains in the same name.

This river, Bray, is the present Bound between the Counties of Dublin and Wicklow; so that the part already described, south of that River, is properly in the County of Wicklow.⌉

From the mouth of the Bray, the shore draws in, and makes a Bay; where at the very turn of the * * Cubiti.elbow, lies the little Island of S. Benedict, which belongs to the Archbishop of Dublin. This Bay is call’d Dublin-haven,Dublin-haven. into which runs the Liffy,Liffy riv. By Giraldus, Aven Liff. the noblest river of this County; and though the spring of it is but fifteen miles from the mouth, the course is so winding and crooked, that first it goes south by St. Patricks-land, and then west; after that, northward, watering the County of Kildare; and at length eastward, by Castle Knoc, heretofore the Barony of the Terils (whose estate by females was transferr’d to other families about the year 1370;) and by Kilmainam, formerly belonging to the Knights of the order of S. John of Jerusalem, and † † Now, C.heretofore a place of retirement for the Lord Deputy. ⌈But now it belongs to the Earl of Rosse, and is the place of the County-Sessions. And the Country-Palace for the Government is at Chapel-Izod, on the north-side of the river, where is a noble Park, call’d the Phœnix-park.⌉Phoenix

This Liffy is certainly mentioned in Ptolemy, though the carelessness of Librarians has depriv’d it of its proper place. For the river Libnius is describ’d in the Copies of Ptolemy, to lie in the same latitude on the other side of the Island; where there is no such river ** The Bay of Sligo, says Ware.: and therefore now, with the Reader’s leave, let it be re-call’d, and restor’d to its Eblana. Concerning this River, Necham writes,

Viscera Castle-Knoc non dedignatur Aven-Liff,
Istum Dublini suscipit unda maris

Nor thee, poor Castle-Knock, does Liffy scorn,
Whose stream at Dublin to the Ocean’s born.

For Dublin is but seven miles from the mouth of it, eminent, and memorable, above all the Cities of Ireland; the same which Ptolemy calls Eblana,Eblana, Dublin. we Develin, the Latins Dublinium and Dublinia, the Welsh Dinas Dulin, the Saxons Duflin, and the Irish Balacleigh, that is, a Town upon Hurdles; for so they think the foundation lies, the ground being soft and quaggy: like Sevill in Spain, that is said by Isidore to be so call’d, because it stood upon pales fasten’d in ground which was loose and fenny. As for the Antiquity of Dublin, I have met with nothing certain concerning it; but, that the City must be very ancient, I am satisfy’d upon Ptolemy’s authority. Saxo Grammaticus tells us, it was sadly shatter’d in the Danish wars: afterwards, it fell under the subjection of Edgar King of England, as his Charter, already mention’d, testifies. Next, the Norwegians got possession of it; and therefore in the life of Gryffith ap Cynan, Prince of Wales, we read, that Harald the Norwegian, after he had subdu’d the greatest part of Ireland, built Dublin. This Harald seems to be that * * Pulchricomus.Har-fager (or Fair-hair,) the first King of Norway, whose pedigree stands thus in the life of Gryffith. To Harald was born † † Otherwise call’d Abloicus, Anlafus, and Olanus.Auloed; to Auloed, another of the same name; This Auloed had a Son, Sitric, King of Dublin. Sitric had a Son, Auloed, whose daughter Racwella was mother to Gryffith ap Cynan, born at Dublin, while ¦ ¦ Thirdelacus.Tirlough reign’d in Ireland. This, by the by. At length, upon the first arrival of the English in Ireland, Dublin was soon taken, and gallantly defended by them; when Ausculph Prince of Dublin, and afterwards Gothred King of the Isles, assaulted it vigorously on all sides. A little after, an English Colony was transplanted hither from Bristol, by King Henry the second; who gave them this City (being perhaps at that time drain’d of Inhabitants) in these words, With all the liberties and free customs, which those of Bristol enjoyed. From that time, it flourished more and more; and in times of the greatest difficulty has given many and ample proofs of its loyalty to the Kings of England.

This is the Royal City of Ireland, and the most noble * * Emporium.Mart; wherein the Courts of Judicature are held. The City is well wall’d, neatly built, and very populous; ⌈being exceedingly encreas’d, in this and the last age, not only in bigness (for it is as large again as it was before,) but also in People, Buildings, and Magnificence of all kinds.⌉ Joscelinus de Furnesio in the life of S. Patrick, l.2. rerum Anglicarum, cap.26. An ancient writer describes it to be nobly peopl’d, very pleasantly situated, and well supply’d wth Fish from the river and the sea: famous for trade, and for those sweet plains, oaky woods, and fine parks, so entertaining, about it. Thus also William of Newborow, Divelin a Maritime City, is the Metropolis of Ireland; it enjoys the benefit of a famous harbour; and, for trade and concourse of merchants, rivals our London. Its situation is particularly pleasant and wholsom; having hills on the south, plains on the west, the Sea hard by on the east, and the river Liffy †† On the north, C., where Ships ride safely. ⌈This river was heretofore the bound to the north; but the City is so much enlarged, especially on the north-side, that now it runs almost in the middle of it.⌉ Upon the river, there are Kaies (as we call them) or certain Banks set up to break the violence of the water. Ad Auson. lib.2. c.22.For Caiare, among the ancients, signified to restrain, check, or hinder, as the most learned Scaliger has observ’d. Here the City-wall begins; well built of free-stone, and fortified on the south with rampires: it has six gates, which open into large Suburbs on all sides.

The Entrance on the * * South, C.East, is by Dammesgate; near which stands the King’s castle upon a rising ground, well fortified with ditches and towers, and provided with a good Arsenal: it was built by Henry Loundres, Archbishop, about the year 1220. In the Suburbs on the east-side, near St. Andrew’s Church, Henry the second, King of England (as Hoveden says,) caused a royal palace to be built of smooth wattles very curiously contriv’d, after the manner of this Country; and here, with the Kings and Princes of Ireland, he kept his Christmas in great solemnity.

Over-against it, stands a fine College (on the same spot, where Alhallows-MonasteryAllhallows-Monastery. heretofore University begun and founded in 1591, May 13.
Students admitted in the year 1593.
stood) dedicated to the Undivided and Holy Trinity, and endow’d with the privileges of an University by Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory for the education of youth, and * * Lately, C.furnish’d with an excellent Library; all which give no small hopes that Religion and Learning, will, † † So said, ann. 1607.after a long exile, return to Ireland, to which foreigners once resorted, as to the great Mart of liberal Arts and Sciences.1320.
L. MS. of Baron Houth.
In the reign of Edward the second, Alexander Bicknor, Archbishop of Dublin, first began to recall them; having obtained of the Pope the Privileges of an University for this place, and instituted publick Lectures: but this laudable design was defeated by the turbulent times that followed.

The north-gate opens towards the bridge, which is arched, and was built of free-stone by King John, who joyned Oustman-town to the City. For here, the Oustmanni, which Giraldus says came from Norway and those Northern Islands, settled (according to our Histories) about the year 1050. In this Suburbs, stood formerly the famous Church of St. Mary de Oustmanby (for so it is call’d in King John’s Charter,) and also a House of Black Friers, whither the Courts of Judicature were * * Lately, C.transfer’d. Kings-Inns. ⌈This is now call’d The King’s-Inns, and here the Judges and Lawyers meet in Commons one week in every Term. But as to the Courts of Judicature, they are now removed near Christ-Church, to a sumptuous Fabrick erected for that purpose.⌉

On the west part of Dublin, are two gates, Ormonds-gate, and Newgate (which is the common Gaol,) both leading to the longest Suburbs of this City, named St. Thomas, where stands also a noble Abbey of the same name, called Thomas Court;Thomas Court. founded and endow’d with large revenues by King Henry the second, to atone for the death of Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury; ⌈but now turn’d into Houses and Streets.⌉

On the South, we enter by St. Paul’s gate, and that call’d St. Nicholas, which opens into St. Patrick’s Suburbs, where stands the Palace of the Archbishop, known by the name of St. Sepulcher, with a stately Church dedicated to St. Patrick, and famous * * Opere intestino.for the curious workmanship within, and for its stone-pavements, arch’d roof, and high steeple. It is uncertain when this Church was first built; but that Gregory King of Scots, about the year 890, † Ad eam accessisse.came in pilgrimage to it, is plain from the Scotch History. Afterwards it was much enlarged by King John, and made a Church of Prebendaries by John Comyn Archbishop of Dublin; which was confirmed by Pope Cœlestine the third, in the year 1191.Coelestine After that, Henry Loundres, his successor in the See of Dublin, augmented it with Dignities of * * Personatuum.Parsonages, as the words of the Founder are; and, in immunities, orders, and customs, made it conformable to the Church of Salisbury. At present, it consists of a Dean, a Chanter, a Chancellor, a Treasurer, two Archdeacons, and twenty two Prebendaries; the only light and lamp (not to conceal a very noble Character which a Stat. Parl. 18 Hen.8. c.15.Parliament of this Kingdom gave it) of all pious and Ecclesiastical discipline and order, in Ireland.

Here is also another Cathedral Church in the very heart of the City, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, but commonly call’d Christ’s Church. Concerning it’s foundation, we have this passage in the Archives of that Church. Sitric King of Dublin, son of Ableb Count of Dublin, gave a piece of ground to the Holy Trinity, and to Donatus the first Bishop of Dublin, to build a Church in honour of the Holy Trinity; and not only that, but gold and silver sufficient for the design, and to finish the * * Curia.Church-yard. This was done about the year 1012; at which time Lancarvanensis affirms, that Sitrick son of Abloic (so he calls him) did flourish. The work was begun by Donatus, but finish’d by Laurence, Archbishop of Dublin, Richard Strongbow Earl of Pembroke (commonly call’d Comes Striguliæ, whose tomb, repair’d by Henry Sidney Lord Deputy, is to be seen here;) Robert Fitz-Stephens, and Reimond Girald.Striguliae

On the south side of the Church, stands the Town-hall, built of square stone, and call’d Tolestale,Tolestale. where Causes are try’d before the Mayor, and where the publick meetings of the Citizens are held. The City enjoys many Privileges. Formerly, it was govern’d in chief by a Provost; but in the year 1409, King Henry the fourth gave them the privilege of choosing every year a Mayor, with two Bailiffs, and of carrying a gilt Sword before him. Afterwards, King Edward the sixth changed these Bailiffs into Sheriffs. There is nothing wanting to the grandeur and happiness of this City, but the removal of those heaps of Sand, that by the ebbing and flowing of the Sea, are wash’d into the mouth of the river Liffy, and hinder great Ships from coming up, except at high water. Thus much of Dublin; the account of which I confess to be mostly owing to the diligence and learning of James Usher, Chancellor of St. Patrick’s; whose Knowledge and Judgment, are very far beyond his years.

Marquiss of Dublin. As for Robert Vere Earl of Oxford, whom Richard the second (who was very profuse in bestowing titles of honour) made Marquiss of Dublin, and afterwards Duke of Ireland; I have spoken of him before, and need not repeat it here.

Ware, Ant. p.152. ⌈In the year 1646, while they were working the lines of Fortification in the East-Suburbs of Dublin, they dug-up an ancient Sepulchre built of eight Marble Stones, whereof two covered, and the rest supported it. Ol. Worm. Dan. Mon. Lib.1. Therein, was found a great quantity of Coals, Ashes, and Bones of men, some burnt, some half-burnt; and, on that account, it is reckon’d to have belong’d to the Danes, and to have been built for some of their Nobility, before they became Christians.⌉

Where the river Liffy runs into the Sea, stands Houth, almost encompassed by the Salt-water; which gives the title of BaronBarons Houth. to the noble family of St. Laurence,St. Laurence. who have liv’d there so happy, that in a long series of successors (for they carry their pedigree as high as Henry the seventh,) no one, as it is * * Ann. 1607.said, has been ever attainted of treason, or left a Minor. At a little distance from hence is Malehid,Malehid. eminent for its Lords the Talbots, an English family.

Ware, Ant. p.26. ⌈Near the Shore of Dublin, is the Island of Lambay, where the learned Antiquary of this Nation hath placed the Limnum of Ptolemy; as agreeing better, both in name and situation, than Ramsey-Island, where it was placed before.⌉

More inward, to the north, stands Fingall,Fingall. which is an Irish word, and signifies a nation of Foreigners (for they call the English, Gall, i.e. Strangers, and Saissones, i.e. Saxons;) a small territory, well cultivated, and as it were the granary of this Kingdom, it yields such plentiful crops every year. Here, the earth as it were meets and encourages the labour of the husband-man; but in some other parts of the Island it is so neglected, that it seems to complain of the sloth and idleness of the Inhabitants. There * * Ann. 1607.are scatter’d up and down this County, many eminent families of the English: as, besides those but now mention’d, the Plunkets, Barnwells, Russels, Talbots, Dillons, Nettervills, Holywoods, Lutterels, Burnells, Fitz-Williams, Goldings, Ushers, Cadleys, Finglases, Sarfelds, Blackneys, Cruces, Baths, &c. ⌈Of whom, the Plunkets, Barnwells, Lutterels, Fitz-Williams, Talbots, Dillons, Nettervills, and Ushers, are still in a flourishing condition. In this County, the Honourable title of Earl of Bellomont is vested in the family of Coote; that of Viscount SwordsSwords. in the Family of Molesworth; that of Viscount Kingsland,Kingsland. in the Family of Barnwall; that of Viscount Fitz-Williams of Merion,Merion. in the Family of Fitz-Williams; that of Viscount Rathcoote,Rathcoote. in the family of Tracy; and that of Baron Santry,Santry. in the Family of Barry.⌉

Thus much, as briefly as I could, of Leinster, which formerly went no farther. I know not whether I deserve to be thank’d or laugh’d at, if I tell you how Thomas Stukely,Thomas Stukely. when he had lost his reputation and fortune, both in England and Ireland, and escap’d the justice of the Law, did by fair promises and big words insinuate himself so much into the favour of Pope Gregory the thirteenth, that he conferr’d upon him the titles of Marquis of Leinster, Earl of Weisford and Caterlagh, Viscount Murrough, and Baron of Ross and Ydron.

Thus, exalted with these pompous titles, and intending to invade Ireland, he turn’d into Africa, and together with three Kings was slain in one battle; and so ended a Romantick Life honourably enough.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52