Rewind - Finnstown House

By Sean Heffernan 

FOR THIS weeks historical look back we have headed over to Lucan.

I’m sure there are many reading this who, like me, turned off the Newcastle Road, and driven on up the long driveway to Finnstown House, for a wedding, or a slap up Mother’s day meal.

FINNSTOWN HOUSE FROM SOUTH DUBLIN LIBRARIES

Finnstown House 

Legal papers from 1547 refers to a property just outside Lucan called “Fynes Town” while maps of the area in the 17th Century refer to it as “Fyans Town”.

Some historians maintain the family are derived from the Fyan family who resided in La Rochelle in France, which was a major port for the import of salt and export of wine.

The Fyans were a notable Dublin family, who lived in the Fishamble Street area in the 1400’s, with John Fyan serving as Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1472 to 1479, while the War of the Roses raged across the water.

Thomas Fyan was one of Henry VIII’s important Sheriff’s of Dublin, and like many other of the King’s subject rose to become one of the landed gentry, with lands gained in Lucan.

Most like me are probably just thinking of the celebration ahead as they get out of the car, and give little thought to the venue itself.

It is thus most likely they were a protestant family, as many catholic nobleman had their lands taken off them by King Henry, and given to subjects loyal to the crown.

At one stage the famous Sarsfield family of whom Patrick Sarsfield the first Earl of Lucan, played a key part on the battle against William of Orange, owned a lot of land around Lucan.

With the losers having a sizable amount of their lands confiscated by the Williamites, it is likely the Fyan’s would have received some of the formerly Sarsfield lands.


finnstown castle hotel

Finnstown House today

In 1758, a report by The Royal Society attested to the apparent healing powers of the Iorn Spa in Lucan,  detailing various persons whose ailments were allegedly cured after their visit, drawing even more people to the area.

Although people had been coming to the spa for many decades, in 1795 The Old Lucan Spa Hotel was built to cater for the growing visitors.

In 1811 a John Borke from the City of Dublin purchased the 255 acres that composed Finnstown, and they too began to reap sizable sums from renting out the lands around the house to farmers, to grow crops and rear animals.

In 1860 the house and its lands were sold to a Thomas Nash from County Cork who’s wife was the daughter of the famous planner Richard Grainger, who is known as the man who built Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England.

Today Finnstown House is famously known as a wedding venue, and is also renowned as a spot to go for a family meal on a Sunday.

It was purchased in 2007 by the Mansfield family, who also at the time owned Citywest Hotel, and they refurbished and expanded the Lucan venue.

Plans are afoot for up to 80 houses to be built on lands adjoining the hotel, after planning permission was granted in 2017.

So while there maybe less room in the future for couples to roam in search of that perfect wedding photo shot, many more glasses will be raised in honour of the newlywed couple by guests present in The Library Suite.

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