Lusk Heritage Group

Keeping Lusk's Heritage Alive

LUSK Heritage Group

Keeping Lusk's Heritage Alive

We believe that heritage isn’t exactly history, but what normal people were doing when National and International events were taking place. Since 1989, we have been talking to the people of Lusk and recording what they had to say. You can find some of these audio and video recordings on our website as well as a collection of historical photos. 

We have marked occasions, such as the anniversary of Christianity coming to Lusk, with a Christianity Stone and the 1916 rebellion with an exhibition. We also commissioned the Raven Sculpture on the Dublin Road round about and an Archaeology Stone on the Rathmore Road. We collaborated with Lusk Tidy Towns Association, to commission the ‘Sign of Unity & Friendship’ monument in the Market Square.

We planted an ash tree in the grounds of the Round Towers GAA Club alongside a plaque, as a memorial to the great Thomas Ashe. We also planted a yew tree in Saint MacCullin’s churchyard. These trees will grow tall and old to mark these places and the people of Lusk, when we are long gone.

We have always strived to support talented local people, poets and writers and you can find some of their work and recordings on our website.

It has been a joyous and humbling experience to work with our own people, as well as those who never fail to support us financially, such as local businesses and Fingal County Council.

A particular high point for our Heritage Group, was when we became part of the ‘Naming Committee’ for some of the new housing developments built in Lusk over the last 20 years.

If you’re interested in Lusk’s heritage or would like to share your film and media skills, we are always delighted to welcome new members. Please contact us on our website

“Heritage isn’t just about history, dates and events, but it’s about the lives of ordinary men and women, passing along the traditions from one generation to the next” – Lusk Heritage Group

Lusk has been an important part of Fingal for a very long time and in fact at one point was its capital. It can claim a connection with nearly every period of Irish history making it almost unique in the country. 

Because of the historical importance of the Round Tower and partly because of the amount of development, there has been extensive archaeological digs in the town. Evidence of Pre-historic settlements have been found, The first evidence of peoples in the area are the Larnians going back to 6000BC and evidence of their existence has been found in Rogerstown Estuary. Prehistoric settlements have been uncovered in the town, Fulacht fiadh cooking pits from the Bronze age have also been found.

The Celtic connection is represented by Cuchulainns, celtic mythologies greatest warrior. His wife and great love Eimear was from and lived in Lusk.  Chuchlainn visited here many times  to woo her and eventually killed many locals to kidnap her from her tower.

St Macullan lived here and founded a Monastery in 480 AD, he was a contemporary of St Patrick and almost certainly they knew each other. It was during this period in Irish History that the Round Tower was built and established Lusk as probably the most important town in Fingal early christian history. In 695 a synod was held in Lusk, a meeting of all the important clergy in Ireland at which the exact dates Easter should be celebrated was decided on.

This period of Lusks history made it a rich and prosperous town, however it also attracted the attention of Viking and Celtic raiders. The Vikings burned the town in 824 and 825, the Celts burned it down in 1067 and 1069. In 1089 they were responsible for the deaths of 180 people who were burned to death inside the church.

During this time a Monastery and Convent were built in Lusk, the arrival of the Normans had an big impact on the town, the first being the movement of the convent to Grace Dieu. The convent was used to educate the girls of Norman families. This was also the period the present Belfry was built incorporating the existing Round Tower and are classic examples of Norman architecture. 

It was also during this period we have the Knights of the Templar returning from the crusades and building nearby Baldongan Church or castle as its known locally. Local rumour has it that there are tunnels running from the castle to Loughshinny. The church itself was built on the site of an Ancient Dun Fort. Local lore has it that there are tunnels running from the great smugglers cove,  Loughshinny to Baldungan castle.

We move on to early modern Ireland. We have in Lusk what is considered one of the finest examples of a medieval tomb in Europe, that of Sir Christopher Barnwall and his wife along with some other fine examples. Most people in the community do not know about their existence as the tower is locked and opened only on request. 

Cromwell’s infamy reached Lusk. He attacked Baldungan castle killing 200 people, his cannons firing from what is now known as cromwells field by local people.

We move on to protestant ascendancy. Possibly the earliest football match ever recorded in Ireland was done so in 1718. Swords and Lusk were the two most important towns in the county and had what were considered the two best teams in the county. This game was a medieval game, the likes of which were seen throughout Europe. The game was immortalised in a Poem by Matthew Concanen a poet and solicitor from north county Dublin who went on to become the Attorney General of Jamaica.  The Lusk team wore white ribbons with Azure blue ribbons, the colour still associated with the town.

We have the connection with Daniel O’Connell in the form of the Rev Peter James Tyrell, parish priest of Lusk. He was involved in the Repeal Association with O’Connell and was arrested with OConnell and five others after  a mass meeting to be held in Clontarf was called off after the authorities sailed two warships into Dublin with 3,000 troops and threatened to inflict violence on anybody who attended. The Rev Tyrrell died while in custody and became a Martyr. His funeral in Lusk was attended by a thousand people with Daniel O’Connell’s son and Charles Gavin Duffy acting as pallbearers. He was remembered by an Obelisk monument outside the current church.

Bringing us into the 20th Century the British Army built a Remount Farm in Lusk, one of only a few in the British Isles. It was used to train horses for war including both the Boer War and World War One. Parts of the farm survived however most was burnt down by the IRA in a single night. Boundary stones for the farm can still be seen around the town.

Lusk’s most significant connection to 1916 was undoubtedly Thomas Ashe who was a  founding member of the Irish Volunteers and commander during 1916. He was a teacher in Lusk, founded the still existing Black Raven Pipe Band and our local Round Towers GAA club. Ashe died while on hunger strike while in british custody.

We have only touched on Lusks rich and long history. What visitors are looking for when traveling are stories and Lusk has an abundance of them, it has the focal point still here in the Round Tower. National monuments and buildings are dotted around the town, generally forgotten and ignored.

Fingal has much to offer visitors. Offering them an easy way to navigate its rich natural and historic heritage is something that has worked well in other parts of Ireland. The Norman Way in Wexford is probably something to look at in that its a similar scale and they have done a good job of signposting and branding what were previously little known sites. We have a huge advantage in having one of the largest Airports in Europe in our county. We are ideally located to bring in a lot of weekend travellers from around Europe on short weekend breaks. A one day trip could bring them to an abundance of interesting and rewarding locations.

The Round Tower in Lusk has a 1,000 years of stories to tell. One of the finest Medieval Tombs in Europe is locked up inside. People in Lusk don’t even know about it. Close by two bodies were found, head decapitated and a spear in their side. There are stories everywhere in this town. The Lusk heritage Group has done a brillant job of keeping this heritage alive and are a good point of contact for any information about the town.

There already exists a wonderful resource in the databases of the National Monuments Service Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH).

In this database Lusk has nearly sixty monuments and finds of historical importance within the town..

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