History of Baldoyle
Recent excavations in the Grange area have provided evidence that this area was inhabited during the Bronze Age, approx. 1500 – 500 B.C. However little is known of these early settlers and our first credible proof of habitation comes with the arrival of the Vikings in 898 A.D. It is, however, unlikely that this was the first incursion here by the Ostmen as some writers note their presence her as early as 852. Their settlement was probably not in the location that we today regard as Baldoyle. The raiders almost certainly sailed their boats up into the Maine River as far as the area of high ground around what we know as Stapolin House (the name Stapolin is the Norse for the title Steach Poilin, the house of Polin).
These people were dark haired and so earned the name Dubh Ghaill, meaning dark foreigners. A band of fair-haired Norsemen settled the area from Fairview to Balbriggan and they were known as the Fionn Ghaill, or fair foreigners. The Fionn Ghaill came from Norway and the Dubh Ghaill from Denmark and they gave the two places their titles of Fingal and Baldoyle.
In Baldoyle first recorded major Christian establishment came from the hands of a man who is credited with burning many churches, while establishing many more, Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Leinster. One of his major foundations is the Priory of All Hallows for Canons Regular of the Aroasian reform that was on the site now occupied by Trinity College Dublin. He bestowed on the priory the lands of Ballidubgaill with its men, Melisu Mac Felicam and his sons and grandsons.
This settlement was confirmed by St. Laurence O’ Toole, Bishop of Kildare and of Glendalough and was dated 1166. Thus this became the earliest Parish of Baldoyle and became the home farm, or grange of the priory. The monks built a small chapel to serve as the parish church for the area and the religious services were entrusted to one of the monks who resided here.
The last Prior of All Hallows, Walter Hankoke surrendered the abbey and its property to the royal commissioners in 1539. We have no report on how the people practiced their religion for the next fifty years but we do know that with the advent of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne of England the parish here contained an entirely Catholic population. The people dared not use the church which had fallen into ruin. However, in 1609 the church was repaired by the tenant of the Grange, Thomas Fitzsimons with the assistance of a man named Michael Aspoll of the village and the local people. Although the church was repaired, it cannot have been used for long as Archbishop Bulkeley’s report of 1630 stated it to be "altogether ruinous"
In 1614 a Catholic Synod of Ecclesiastics was convened (at Kilkenny) at which a re-organisation of parishes took place with a parish priest being assigned to each. Out of this synod came the formation of the Parish of Baldoyle, Howth & Kinsaley which embraced the areas of Howth, Baldoyle, Balgriffin, Kinsaley, and Portmarnock – a grouping that would survive as a single parish until 1907. The first Rector (Parish Priest) was William Shergoll who came to the parish in 1620.
The next priest to have ministered here was James Begg in 1662 and he was listed as being appointed Canon in 1668. Fr. Begg set to work to build two new Mass houses, one in Howth and the other in Baldoyle on the site of the existing parish church. The Baldoyle structure was primitive and was no more than a thatched cabin. It stood until the building of the new church was commenced in 1831 by Fr. William Young.
William immediately started to build schools at Baldoyle for boys and girls. He then turned his attention to replacing the old Mass house in Baldoyle. Fr. William (to identify him from his two brothers Henry and Edward who were his curates here at that time) Young laid the foundations of the new church which was to be named “The Church of St. Mary of the Assumption and of St. Peter” (later Ss. Peter & Paul). The Parish Priest next decided to erect a new chapel of ease at Kinsaley.
Joseph Archdeacon Flanagan was transferred to Baldoyle from Finglas. His major work would be the building of the present Church of The Assumption in Howth. The church was designed by W. H. Byrne of Suffolk Street and dedicated by the Archbishop of Dublin in 1899. Fr. Flanagan personally supervised the building work in order to reduce costs and the Howth contractor William Lacy carried out most of the work.
15th August. 1899 Feast of the Church, the first Mass was celebrated on this day in Howth’s new church. On the death of Fr. Flanagan the Archbishop used the opportunity to split the vast parish. He created a separate parish of Howth and Sutton and appointed Rev. James Colohan first Parish Priest of Howth, and Fr. Richard Carrick to Baldoyle.
Fr. Carrick’s successor, Fr. William Field was present with Archbishop Byrne in Portmarnock in 1934 when the latter opened and dedicated the new chapel of ease dedicated to St. Anne there. The local people were delighted that their days of walking (or rowing across the estuary) to Baldoyle for Mass were at an end at last.
The Baldoyle church suffered severe damage one Sunday morning 7th July 1952 when it was struck by ball lightening during a thunderstorm that raged throughout early Mass. Part of the roof of the northern transept collapsed and fell into the church. Fr. John Dillon who was celebrating Mass gave Conditional Absolution to those present but there were thankfully no serious injuries.
In the late sixties, huge housing developments necessitated new churches and schools. Fr. George Finnegan was appointed to Baldoyle and set about this work with a singular determination and enthusiasm. He was a man of purpose and did some marvellous work in the parish. The parish was fragmented becoming 6 parishes - Bayside, Donaghmede, Portmarnock, Kinsaley, Foxfield St. John, and Baldoyle. He built 4 churches, 9 presbyteries, 6 schools, and carried out many other works besides. His magnus opus was undoubtedly the church of St. Laurence O’Toole at Seagrange in Baldoyle. Pope John Paul II blessed the foundation stone during his visit to Maynooth in September 1979. The church was designed by Ronnie Tallon and was opened on 14th November 1982 by Archbishop Dermot Ryan.
When Fr. Liam Murtagh came here he realised that the old 1831 parish church needed some urgent remedial work if it were to survive. To raise the necessary funds the parish sold the presbyteries on Strand Road and Warrenhouse Road and built a new flat as Parochial House at the rear of the former boys’ school (now parish office) to the northern side of the church.
The major work was needed to the roof and guttering, floors, electrics, plumbing as well as the construction of a whole new sacristy block to replace the old facility which was semi-derelict. The entire building then required a total redecoration. This project has left the church in pristine condition for some years to come and the parish now has two fine churches which will probably be adequate to the numbers using them in the foreseeable future.
Parish Office Ph: 01 8324313 Fax: 01 8324313 or Email: email@example.com
SS. PETER & PAUL
Tues, Thurs, Sat 10:00am.
Sunday 9:00 am (Irish Mass), 12:30pm (Choir)
Prayer Service: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00am
ST. LAURENCE O’TOOLE
Mon, Weds, Fri. 10:00am.
Saturday Evening Vigil Mass 7pm.
Sunday 11:00am. (Family Mass / Folk Mass on alternate Sunday's)
Prayer Service: Tue, Thurs 10:00am
Confessions: On Request
Saturday Evening Vigil Mass 6.30 pm.
Sun. 10.30am, 12pm and 6.30 pm.
Saturday Evening Vigil Mass 5.30 pm.
Sun. 8.30am, 11.30am
Mon. - Sat. 10.00am. & 7pm
Sun. 8.00 am 10.00am and 11.30am.