Rewind - The Dublin Suburb of Palmerstown

By Sean Heffernan

Today we hop back on the 69 bus down to stop 7483 Baldonnel and stay on board for 23 stops, whereupon we will alight at stop 1981 LUAS Kylemore.

We shall then turn the corner to stop 2782 Bluebell Avenue to hop on the 18 bus about 15 stops to stop 2212 Palmerstown Village.

Stewarts Hospital 1

New unit at Stewarts Hospital constructed in 1956 - 1957

We have arrived at this weeks destination – the Dublin suburb of Palmerstown – I will be mentioning the places of note one would stumble upon on their walkabout.

The area gets its name from Palmers Hospital which was once located here, which had the official name of ‘Hospital of St John the Baptist without Newgate’ - and was said to have been built around 1188 by a Mr Ailred Palmer.

He was said to have been a very religious person who was rather taken by stories of the Crusades to the Middle East where soldiers allied to some of the biggest kings in Europe and fought to take control of Jerusalem, which was ruled by an Moslem king.

Palmerstown Hospital was later to become a big house of some renown, now known as ‘Palmerston House’, after it’s construction/change of use was authorised by the Right Honourable John Hely-Hutchinson who was Secretary of State for Ireland and Provost of Trinity College.

Hely-Hutchinson was also an MP for Lanesborough on the Longford/Roscommon border, and later Cork.

Like quite a few others I have written about, he was a man from a fairly wealthy family who got lucky and married an heiress – who later was bestowed the title ‘Baroness of Donoughmore’ - of an even wealthier family which raised his societal status no end.

He seemed to have been a man who courted controversy, and it would appear from archival material that he got involved in many rows with fellow lecturers and students in this prestigious education establishment; so much so that documents were published which called for his removal as college head.

But it was not all bad for the eminent member of the Irish House of Commons, as it is said he noticeably improved the way business was conducted in Parliament.

After being sold to two further owners who were in essence “absentee landlords” who did not care much for living on or ensuring the upkeep of the large dwelling it was then sold on whereupon it became “The Stewart Institution for Lunatics”.

This was a facility where people with a mental disability could come to receive help for their condition and training to help them better prepare for the world outside.

There are 25 special housing units built on the grounds which people live in to enable them to live semi-independent lives, and there are also now two satellite centres in Lucan and Kilcloon, near Dunboyne Co Meath.

Today a pubic house and restaurant now has the Palmerstown House name on the front of the building.

Just down the road from it is St Philomena’s Catholic Church that was opened in 1972, named after the ‘Patroness and Protectorate of The Rosary’.

Philomena was murdered at the age of 13 for refusing to renounce Christianity and her tomb was discovered in the Roman Catacombs in 1802.

In 1835 at the “Benediction of the Blessed sacrament” being undertaken at St Philomena’s shrine in the town of Mugnano di Cardinale (40km east of Naples), a woman with a severe heart condition claimed she was cured of her ailments while praying at the shrine.

Word soon spread about this women’s miraculous recovery and after a Vatican sanctioned investigation was concluded two years later, Pope Gregory XVI declared her a saint and ‘Patroness of the Living Rosary’.

Palmerstown also had a couple of mills located alongside the Liffey bordering Chapelizod and amongst those in operation were iron, paper and oil mills.

Another major part of the Palmerstown area is Waterstown Park, which was a big farm until the early 80’s, and today is a Special Amenity area with protections in place for the wildlife that inhabit the area.

It also has a 5km track which people can run or walk along as they view the over 300 types of plants, birds animals and insects that inhabit this sizable public park.

While there have been some noticeable changes to the Palmerstown area in the last 30 or so years, the Chapelizod-By-Pass opening in 1988 which effectively cut the area on two, and the construction of the M50 being two notable examples, the area has in the most part retained its cosy character.

I for one hope that pressure from campaigners to reopen Farmleigh Bridge, otherwise known as ‘Guinness Bridge’, because you could then walk from Palmerstown Village through Waterstown Park over the bridge along the pretty Glenmaroon area and into Phoenix Park.

Imagine the amount of extra revenue that would come into the village of Palmerstown if the bridge was reopened, and tourists who love a good ramble decided to take a LUAS to Heuston Station, and start their stroll via the Phoenix Park into Palmerstown?

Prev Not Just a Princess - Successful relaunch of project
Next Food with JP passion - Moreish Meatballs
  • Return of the flying ants!
  • Irish football supporters came out in force to remember Jack Charlton
  • Crowds gather to pay respect to former chairperson Brendan Moran
  • HSE launch Covid-19 Tracker App
  • New South Dublin County Mayor - Councillor Ed O'Brien

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.