Posts Tagged ‘gate lodge’

Marlay Grange, Thomas MacDonagh

Monday, November 26th, 2018

8 years after first exploring the Gate Lodge, and promising information about a famous resident, I'll return to Marlay Grange, and present selected entries from the 1911 census for the townland of Haroldsgrange:

In the latter we find Thomas MacDonagh, whose potted history follows:

from Tipperary and was born in 1878. He was a teacher and later taught at St. Enda’s School; the school he helped to found with Patrick Pearse. He was appointed director of training for the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and later joined the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood). Thomas MacDonagh was appointed to the IRB military committee in 1916. He was commander of the Second Battalion of Volunteers that occupied Jacob’s biscuit factory and surrounding houses during the 1916 Rising. He was executed on the 3th of May 1916.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography gives us a little more detail on the period of his life before 1916:

During his second year at St Enda's, MacDonagh read English, French and Irish at UCD, graduating BA (1910). Shaken by an unhappy love affair with writer and teacher Mary Maguire (Mary Colum), he resigned from St Enda's at the time of the school's move to Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.
After a restorative six weeks in Paris, he assumed a semi-reclusive residence in the lodge of Grange House, Rathfarnham (whose owner, Professor David Houston [appears in its 1911 census] of the College of Science, became an intimate friend), engaged in writing, post-graduate research and part-time teaching at St Enda's (1910-12).

In the original introduction to a book of his poetry, MacDonagh mentioned the gate lodge, and also wrote a poem "Grange House Lodge"

The making and re-making of these poems, my new work and my old, began in 1911, during the year that I lived in Grange House Lodge, Rathfarnham, the tenant and neighbour of my friend, David Houston.

The later introduction to The Poetical Works of Thomas MacDonagh, published after his execution, is more lyrical:

At that time he lived a kind of semi-detached life at the gate-lodge of Mr. Houston's house in the Dublin hills. To this house all literary Dublin used to repair, and there MacDonagh was constantly to be seen. He was a quaint recluse who delighted in company, and he fled into and  out of solitude with equal precipitancy. He had a longing for the hermit's existence and a gift for gregarious life. At Grange House both these aptitudes were met, and I think he was very content there. Out on the hills, walking across the fields, or along the narrow roads curving to this side and that, but always running upwards, he would repeat his verses to me, and accompany them and follow them with a commentary that seemed endless as the bushes that lined our road.

Marlay Grange, Gate Lodge

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Approaching from the road, you pass through tall metal gates, with signs saying "Marlay Grange" on both sides. The driveway turns immediately to the left. Following the driveway, you proceed along a tree-lined avenue, now overgrown. It leads past some sheds on your left and on up to the house.

The gatehouse is to your right as you enter the grounds, a two-story building of approximately 102 sq.m. (1,100 sq.ft). According to the 1911 census, the house has "2 rooms and 2 windows to the front."

The front door is sealed with a metal panel and the windows are blocked up. There is a curious feature at the rear of the house, a platform jutting out from a window with a pole above it.

According to the property brief, the gatehouse is in need of extensive renovation and modernisation. They weren't kidding. The electrics would have to be completely redone, as well as the plumbing most likely. The decoration seems not to have changed since the early part of the century.

There are very few items left in the house, although all of the mounted furniture (such as cupboards) is still in place. The upstairs area is inaccessible, the stairway is blocked.

The gate lodge had at least one famous resident, at the time of the 1911 census, who we will see in a later post.