Castleknock (barony)

The barony of Castleknock (Irish: Caisleán Cnucha meaning "Cnucha's Castle")[1][l 1] is a feudal title of nobility and one of the baronies of Ireland. Originally part of the Lordship of Meath, it was then constituted as part of the old county of Dublin. Today, it lies in the modern county of Fingal. The barony was created by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath as his own feudal barony, held directly from himself in capite. His vassals were commonly called "De Lacy's Barons".[2] The first vassal was Hugh Tyrrel. At the heart of the barony is the civil parish of the same name - Castleknock - which is one of eight civil parishes in the barony. In the townland of Castleknock itself is the location of the eponymous "Cnucha's Castle" - Castleknock Castle. The town with the biggest population in the barony is Blanchardstown.


It is one of seven and a half baronies that used to comprise the old county of Dublin.[3] It stretches from Cabra to Blanchardstown (from east to west) and from Finglas to Chapelizod (from north to south). It is located between the baronies of Coolock to the east, Nethercross to the north and Dublin to the southwest. The River Liffey separates it from the remaining baronies. The whole of the barony is contained within the modern county of Fingal and it is subject to Fingal County Council.

Legal context

Baronies were created after the Norman invasion of Ireland as subdivisions of counties and were used for administration. At the time of its creation, Castleknock was part of the Lordship of Meath. While baronies continue to be officially defined units, they are no longer used for many administrative purposes. While they have been administratively obsolete since 1898, they continue to be used in land registration, and specification such as in planning permissions. In many cases, a barony corresponds to an earlier Gaelic túath which had submitted to the Crown. This is probably true in the case of Castleknock.

Civil parishes

Civil parish of Castleknock

What is now the parish of Castleknock was granted by the Lord of Meath to Hugh Tyrrell. Copies of the grant were discovered in the London Public Records Office in 1933 by Eric St. John Brooks.[4] In English, the grant reads:

"Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine and Normandy and Count of Anjou to the Archbishops, Bishops, Ministers and all Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Ministers and all his faithful French, English and Irish, greeting. Know that I have conceded, given, and by present Charter confirmed to Hugh Tirel, the man of Hugh de Lacy, Thwothyn and Thwothrom."[5]

Brooks deduces that "Thwo" is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic word tuath and that "throm" is an Anglicisation of the word droma which means ridge or hill - a possible reference to the hill of Castleknock where Tyrrell was to build his castle.

Townlands in the civil parish of Castleknock:[l 2]

Gaelic English
Baile an Aba Abbotstown
Baile an Ásaigh Ashtown
Baile an Chairpintéaraigh Carpenterstown
Baile an Déanaigh Deanestown
Baile an Diosualaigh Diswellstown
Baile an Huntaigh Huntstown *
Baile an Phóirtéaraigh Porterstown
Baile Bhlainséir Blanchardstown
Baile Mhistéil Mitchelstown
Baile Pheiléid Pelletstown
Baile Scriobail Scribblestown
Baile Sheáin Johnstown
An Chabrach Cabra
Caisleán Cnucha Castleknock (incl. part of Phoenix Park)
Ceapach Cappoge or Cappagh
Cnoc na gCaorach Sheephill
An Chorr Dhubh Corduff
Dún Sinche Dunsink
Páirc Anna Annfield
Snugborough Snugborough
Steach Gob Astagob

Civil parish of Chapelizod

Chapelizod contains a single townland of the same name.[l 3] However, 465 acres are within the walls of the Phoenix Park while the village proper, outside the walls, contains only 67 acres.

Civil parish of Cloghran

Cloghran consists of three townlands: Ballycoolen, Cloghran and Grange.[l 4] Most of the land in the parish is taken up with the "Ballycoolen Industrial Estate".

Civil parish of Clonsilla

Townlands in the civil parish of Clonsilla:[l 5]

Gaelic English
Baile an Bhearbóraigh Barberstown
Baile an Bhlácaigh Blakestown
Baile an Hartaigh Hartstown
Baile Fiobail nó Páirc Hans Phibblestown or Hansfield
Baile Lotrail Luttrellstown or Woodlands
Baile Uí Cheallaigh Kellystown
Cluain Saileach Clonsilla
Cnoc an Sciobóil Barnhill
Cúil Mhín Coolmine
Gort na Giolcaí Broomfield
Móinteán na gCaorach Sheepmoor
Steach Gob Astagob
Teach Chainnigh Castaheany Note 1
Note 1 The largest population centre in Castaheany / Hansfield is Ongar.

Civil parish of Finglas

The 34 townlands of the parish of Finglas are split among two baronies.[l 6] The core village and two smaller parcels of land - exclaves of the village - lie in Castleknock. An additional exclave lies in Nethercross.

Civil parish of Mulhuddart

Mulhuddart has 22 townlands:[l 7]

Civil parish of St James'

The bulk of St. James' parish lies south of the River Liffey. Two townlands, which are situated north of the river, are part of the barony of Castleknock.[l 8] They are:

Civil parish of Ward

Townlands in the parish of Ward: Cherryhound, Irishtown, Killamonan, Newpark, Spricklestown, Ward Lower and Ward Upper.[l 9]


The feudal barony was created out of the Lordship of Meath by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath and granted in 1177 to Hugh Tyrrel. It was held for three and a half knight's fees, owed to the superior Lord of Fingal. The title and lands of Castleknock were held by the Tyrell family until 1370 when Hugh Tyrell and his wife died of the Plague. It later passed to the Viscount Gormanston.

See also

List of subdivisions of County Dublin


From "Irish placenames database". (in English and Irish). Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Retrieved 25 April 2014. :

  1. Barony of Castleknock
  2. Castleknock civil parish
  3. Chapelizod civil parish
  4. Cloghran civil parish
  5. Clonsilla civil parish
  6. Finglas civil parish
  7. Mulhuddart civil parish
  8. St James' civil parish
  9. Ward civil parish

External links

  1. History of the name of Castleknock.
  2. Vicissitudes of Families by Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, Longman Green Longman and Roberts, Paternoster Row, London, 1861 (pages 363-364)
  3. According to the "Local Government Act, 2001", section 10(2): "The State continues to stand divided into local government areas to be known as counties and cities which are the areas set out in Parts 1 and 2, respectively, of Schedule 5." It is clear from SCHEDULE 5, Local Government Areas (Counties and Cities, PART 1, that "Dublin" is defined only as a city (as distinct from a county).
  4. The Barony of Castleknock, A History", Lacey, Jim; The History Press Ireland, 2015, pg 98
  5. The grant of Castleknock to Hugh Tyrel., The journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 7th series; ROYAL SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF IRELAND; Dublin Hodges, Figgis; 3v.; English; Holdings: Vol. 1-vol. 3; 1931-1933.; Also numbered vol. 61-63 of consecutive series. Continues 6th series; University of Liverpool Libraries
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