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Monkstown: A Victorian Village

By Pat Seaver


Monkstown is a vibrant community living in a charming built environment. We want to celebrate that and your contribution will enable us to produce a high quality publication at an affordable price. Royalties are not being paid to the authors so your contribution will go towards production costs.

'Monkstown - A Victorian Village' is an affectionate and evocative celebration of the social and architectural heritage of Monkstown, a Dublin suburb. It is inspired by the original research of two Monkstown residents Vincent Quilter PP and Jim Gowan who prepared a typescript for publication in 1990, but never proceeded with it. A single copy of this typescript survived in the care of Carole Cullen. The present authors have taken account of more recent research to rewrite the history and have illustrated it in full colour. We are delighted to have the support of the Quilter and Gowan families; Dún Laoghaire Historical Society and the Blackrock Society in this undertaking. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Heritage Office has grant-aided the publication. The editorial board includes well-know local historian Étain Murphy, Colin Scudds (DL Borough Historical Society), Noel Tierney (Blackrock Society), Carrie Fonseca (Blackrock Education Centre) as well as the authors, both of whom are local residents. The designer is Eliane Pearce, who has designed many high quality publications and is also a local resident.

Today’s Monkstown is a creation of the nineteenth century, when the development of a commuter railway and the harbour at Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) made it an attractive residential area. It became a suburb of substantial houses occupied by successful business people and wealthy professionals. Graceful terraces and avenues complement the large detached houses to create a pleasing unified built environment. The scale, intimacy and architectural detail of the village shops, clustered beside the churches, also contribute to the atmosphere of another age.

Behind this Victorian façade lies an older Monkstown, which took its name from the Cistercian monks of Monkstown Castle, built in the 13th century to protect the extensive monastic lands from attack by displaced native Irish. A local tradition suggests an even older monastic settlement in the late eighth century, in the grounds of Carrickbrennan graveyard. Monkstown has a rich and varied history.

Monkstown residents have made major contributions to society at home and abroad. Two major international missionary movements focusing on health care originated in Monkstown, The Leprosy Mission and the Medical Missionaries of Mary; distinguished humanitarians from Monkstown campaigned vigorously for improvements in the conditions of the poor and made a great contribution to famine relief; a fascinating group of scientists, several of them astronomers, lived in Monkstown.

Our publisher, Blackrock Education Centre has a great track record in local publications such as the Book of Dun Laoghaire (1985), The Book of Bray (1988), historical walks and trails, and a range of local studies resources for children and teachers in digital media. Blackrock Education Centre is a registered charity (CHY 15210).