History of Marley Grange

Marley Grange

Marley Grange estate is situated in one of the most scenic corners of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown borough. It is situated off the Grange Road, along which  there is an abundance of amenities including Marlay Park, Three Rock Hockey Club, St. John’s GAA Club and St. Enda’s Park  with its historic Pearse Museum. The Grange Golf Club, which adjoins the park, is a stones throw away.

The area was forest and pasture in pre-Christian times and for hundreds of years was well populated until the creation of the estates in the seventeenth century. On a clear day, the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Gullion hang on the horizon with Dublin Bay stretching out below. The lands of the area became the property of the Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary, located in the city of Dublin, sometime after its foundation in 1139. It was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 and the lands were sold or given to a variety of people.

The construction of the estate commenced in the early 1970s, during which time the 400 mature trees, which distinguish the estate, were planted. The estate is also notable for the amount of green space it encompasses and the Little Dargle which flows past Dargle Valley on its way from the Dublin Mountains to join the Dodder.

The estate has been fortunate since its construction to have had the enthusiastic services of residents who have formed the successive residents associations that have planted shrubbery throughout the estate and maintained it as a highly attractive living environment. The current association was formed in the mid nineties and is doing its utmost to maintain the high standards set by its predecessors. In recent years, Marley Grange has been awarded first prize twice in the Best Presented Estate category in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Tidy Estate Competition and has also won an  award in the Special Initiatives category.

Marlay Park

Marlay Park is situated at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, across the road from Marley Grange Estate. It comprises 70 acres of woodland and six acres of ponds surrounded by rolling green parkland. The 214 acres in Marlay Park was acquired by the Council in 1973 and the park was opened to the public in 1975. The lands, which now form Marlay, were owned originally by St. Mary’s Abbey and were confiscated by Henry VIII in the period when monasteries were being suppressed. They were subsequently granted to Barnaby Fitzpatrick Brown of Upper Ossory. Because the lands lay within the southern boundary of the pale, the holding became known as “Grange of the March”, meaning “Farmhouse of the Border”. The property later passed into the possession of the Harold family who were responsible for the defence of this section of the Pale from the attacks of the Irish clans.

The first house to be built on the lands was built by Thomas Taylor and it was called “The Grange”. Part of this original house still stands and is incorporated in the restored house which is now used for indoor concerts and various public events. Part of the original house was demolished by David La Touche, a grandson of the Huguenot poplin manufacturer and banker when he acquired it in 1764 and re-planned, re-built and re-named the house “Marlay”, in honour of the Bishop whose daughter he had married. The lakes, waterfalls, bridges and walks that we enjoy today were built by the La Touches almost 200 years ago and the tree planting which Thomas Taylor had begun was supplemented and extended.

The La Touches sold the property to Robert Tedcastle around 1850. The Tedcastle family owned a fleet of cargo ships one of which they named “Marlay”.  The “Marlay” was used to carry freight, such as coal, and passengers between Dublin and Liverpool. It sunk off the Irish coast on the 16th December 1902.. You can see an original bill of fare for the “Marlay” hanging in the Parish Centre.  In 1925, Philip Kettan-Love acquired the Tedcastle interest in the property for the sum of £8,325. In this period Grange Golf Club, already established on a portion of the Marlay Grange Property, acquired a lease of further property from Philip Love and developed an 18 hold golf course. Marlay Park also boasts a beautiful Craft Courtyard, where the popular farm produce markets are held each week and a walled garden with a wide variety of shrubs.

St. Enda’s Park

St. Enda’s park was bequeathed to the Nation by Margaret Pearse in 1970. Since then the Estate has been turned into a public park and the house opened as museum. While the park has been fully refurbished, due regard has been paid to the original landscaping so that the park preserves faithfully the whims of the various members of the Hudson family who owned it in the 18th and 19th centuries. Included in these is the ornamental lake and waterfall one of the many creations of the Hudson family.

Padraig Pearse opened an Irish speaking boarding school in the house in the early 1900s. The house which is now open to the public contains all the relevant letters and documents relating to Pearse’s connections with the Gaelic League and the Volunteers, the most dramatic of these being the copy of the terms of unconditional surrender which he signed on the 29th April, 1916. It was of course from St. Enda’s that Pearse and his brother set out on that fateful Easter Monday.