Rewind: Tymon Castle

By Danielle Walsh Ronan

The grounds of Tymon park, which have been open to the public since 1986, are enjoyed and used by people of all ages for recreational activities.

Its grounds host a number of amenities such as playgrounds, pitches and the National Basketball Arena. However, this picturesque area was formally the home of one of the many South Dublin Castles.

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The ruins of Tymon Castle. (Left), Tymon Lane circa 1987. (Images: Sourced from South Dublin Libraries)

Tymon Castle, which once stood on a high ridge by the Tymon Lane, was a landmark in the miles of fields which surrounded it.

The lane itself served as an important link between rural areas and the centre of Dublin as it was a route which was on high ground through marshlands.

 

Like Tymon Castle, Tymon Lane is centuries old but there is no exact date as to when either the castle or lane were constructed. The castle is believed to have been constructed in either the 12th or 15th century.

According to a document published by South Dublin County Council, the castle is thought to have been built during the reign of King John in Ireland during the 12th century or during the 15th century, which was a period that saw a number of castles constructed across Leinster as defensive outposts against native Irish clans attacking the Pale.

Although it was quite small, the structure of Tymon Castle was perfect for fulfilling the purpose of defending the Pale. The castle was located on high ground which allowed soldiers to see for miles through the castle windows.

Over the entrance of the castle was a small projecting gallery where soldiers were able to position themselves to pour the likes of boiling water and melted led on attackers. 

Similar to the way in which Belgard Castle defended the Pale from attacks launched by the O’Byrne’s and the O’Toole’s, Tymon Castle was used as a defensive outpost in the same way, although with its surrounding marshy land and high positioning it would not have been an easy building to attack.

Although Tymon Castle was perfectly positioned as a defensive outpost for the Pale, the condition of the castle deteriorated quickly.

By 1547 it was recorded that the castle was in a ruinous state and this did not seem to change, with the castle being uninhabited for the greater part of its lifetime.

The derelict state of the castle can also be reflected on when looking at the 1798 rebellion whereby the body of an Irish rebel was left at the castle by a group of rebels after they were attacked by soldiers near Oldbawn.

The body was later found by soldiers who hung it from a castle window where it was left to decay.

In an account from the National Folklore Collection, the children of St. Marys school in Tallaght described the ruins of the castle in the 1930s by stating, “These ruins are on a great height and serve as a landmark for miles around”. The spot where the ruins stood was also a popular location among visitors for picnics, although the castle had been in ruin for so many years that it was becoming dangerous.

In his account of Tymon Castle in 1899, William Domville Handcock stated that the castle was almost in complete ruin, mentioning how the stones that had fallen from it had been reused for building other structures.

While finishing off his account, William Domville Handcock stated, “Probably in a few years more it will all be level with the ground”. As predicted, the castle was eventually levelled but it was not until 1960 when it was demolished due to its dangerous condition.

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