Clondalkin is a parish situated on the banks of the
river Camac five miles south west of the city of Dublin. It derives its
name from the Gaeilge of Cluain Dolcáin - meaning Dolcan’s meadow. It
has had a turbulent history being plundered and burned in 832 AD, 1071 and 1076.
It was the site of skirmishes between Roderick O’Connor, King of Leinster, and
Earl Strongbow in 1171.
A document dating from the year 1547 enumerates
Clondalkin amongst the “walled and good towns” of this country.
A monastic settlement was founded in the 7th Century
and a round tower still stands in Clondalkin village. It reaches up to 90
ft in height. In fact, the local GAA club is called Clondalkin Round
Clondalkin is a very historical village founded by Saint Chrónán as a Monastical site more than 1400 years ago, sometime around 600 A.D.
Opinion is divided on the origins of the word Clondalkin, most say it means Dolcán's Meadows. It may derive from the Danish word for thorn , which is Dalk, The Meadow of Thorns. For a while it was called Dun Awley, the Fort of the Danish King Awley.
The Danes seized the Village in 832 A.D. They lost control of the town in 1014 however after Brian Ború, High King of Ireland, defeated the Northmen at Clontarf. Clondalkin has a tragic history during this period. The monastery was burned in 832 A.D., 1071 A.D. and 1076 A.D. It was the scene of a bloody skirmish in 1171 between Richard de Clare (Strongbow) and the last High King of Ireland Roderick O' Conchúir during the Norman conquest.
As mentioned Clondalkin was founded by Saint Chrónán as a monastic site in the seventh century and grew around the Monastery. The Round Tower is the most prominent feature from this period. The tower which is situated near Coláiste Chilliain in the centre of the Village housed the founders' bell and was built around 700 A.D. with local limestone and a small amount on granite to an early design. It is 27.5 Metres (90'6") high and has a circumference of 12.7m (41'8") and is the most slender surviving Round Tower in the country. It is an excellent example of early Christian Architecture. It is near perfect. The Local Land-Lord William Caldbech repaired it in the 19th Century, it is now under the care of the Office of Public Works.
According do the Annals of the four masters, Saint Chrónáin Mochae was the first Abbot while Saint Fugillus(? - 748 A.D.) was the first Bishop of Clondalkin: During this time in Ireland Monks created beautiful manuscripts of the Gospels on Velleam. One such book, the Clondalkin mass book is to be seen in Karlsrule Liburg, Germany.
A middle age Church existed on this site dedicated to St. Mochae and was aligned to St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin City. It is said to have been thirty feet long by 18 feet wide and was cruciform in shape. It had three altars, one dedicated to our Lady, another to Saint Bridget and another to Saint Thomas. It was a beautiful church but fell apart. The ruins of the church can still be seen in the graveyard, more were to be seen before the Gunpowder Mills explosion of 1787. The new church, Saint Johns was built in 1770. It had 12 pews and an open Belfry. It was rebuilt between 1834 and 1838. The graveyard contains many interesting things such as an old baptismal font and two ancient crosses - It is believed these marked the boundary of the diocese in the 5th century.
Clondalkin Diocese was united with the city of Dublin, St. Patrick's in 1152 under Archbishop Henry de Londris. Pope Alexander III (1132-1181) confirmed this. The local danes, who were by this time exemplary Christians surrendered their lands to the Church. Clondalkin was now an important ecclesiastical site of learning and prayer.
In 1642 the Church and village were destroyed in the aftermath of the 1641 rebellion. Rebels had seized Clondalkin in 1641 and a detachment af British Troops seized it and torched the village destroying the local castles such as Deansrath. Terrible massacre took place including the murder of women and children. Archaeological evidence of the massacre was discovered in 1963 when Council workers excavated bodies and the remains of the church at St. Killian's Park.
A presentation convent ( which our school is derived from )and school were built in 1852. Reverend John Moore was Parish Priest at the time and it is commemorated with an ornate gate at the church. Cardinal Cullen opened the Gothic Church of the immaculate conception on the 6th of July 1857.