SOME KEY DATES IN STRAFFAN HISTORY
C500 Castledillon founded by St Iollathán of the desert (feast day Feb 2nd). Later twelfth-century genealogies would claim he was Father of St Criotan (feast day May 11th) of Magh Credan, Acadfinnech (on the river Dodder), and Crevagh Cruagh, Co Dublin, the son of Cormac mac Ailello, King of Leinster, 506-515 and brother of Cairbre Dubh (Coirpre mac Cormaic), King of Leinster 546.
604-1540 Stone churches at Ardrass (undated and disputed, but associated with St Patrick in local folklore), Clonaglis (1206), Lyons (c1300), Whitechurch (Ecclesia Alba, named for the Carmelite order, granted 1320, enfifed 1508), and Oughterard (nunnery c608, burned 1094, current ruined church built c1350). Oughterard site is associated with Saints Brigid/Bríga (feast day Jan 21) and Derchairthinn (feast day March 8).
C700 Teach Srafán founded by St Srafán (feast day May 23). Srafán said to be buried at Kill.
C1000 Stone church built at Castledillon, the “Friar’s Stone” that was placed in graveyard
c1400 can now be seen in information centre in Kildare town with inscription ICI GiST DEV DE SA ALLME EIT MERCI, Here Lies (illegible) God Have Mercy on His Soul.
1171 Trachstraphli granted to Maurice Fitzgerald by Richard de Clare (Strongbow)
1191 O’Clery Genealogies compiled in the 17th century entry for 1191 says: “ocus as e Geralt mac Muiris mac Gerailt fuair Magh Nudhat et an Rath Mor et Teach Sraffain et Tegh Tuagh” (and it was Gerald son of Maurice son of Gerald (or Fitzgerald) who received Maynooth, and Rathmore and Straffan and Taghadoe).
1288 John Fannyn conveyed Straffan and Ballespaddagh (Irishtown) to Richard Le Penkiston, witnessed by Richard de la Salle, John Posswick and Nicholas Barby, who each gave their name to townlands, Sealstown, Possextown and Barberstown. Henry Baroun gave his name to Baronrath.
1294 Calendar of Christ Church Deeds declared the churches of Kylodonane and Tristeyldelane “not worth the services of chaplains.”
C1300 Construction of Barberstown Castle, neighbouring castles at Castledillon, Ladycastle (so named because it was granted by David FitzGerald to his mother 1227), Lyons, Oughterard, Rathcoffey, Reeves, Richardstown and Whitechurch constructed 1300-1400. Moated house at Puddlehall (c1250).
1307 Castledillon and Whitechurch parishes joined for Papal taxation.
C1400 Church and fortified priest’s dwelling chambers built at Straffan, (arguably) on site of St Srafán’s monastery – ruins can still be seen at old graveyard.
1406 Custody of the lands in the town of “Surnyng” (later Turnings) granted by the king to Thomas de Preston, later to pass to Preston, Sarsfield, Jones, O’Lalor, Par and Mills families.
1490 de Penkiston disposed of Straffan and Irishtown to John Gaydon
1531 Hospital of St John in Kilmainham forced to surrender rectoral tithes to Straffan in attempt to establish a perpetual vicerage.
1541 Parishes of Castledillon, Straffan, Donacumper and Kildrought united as churches pass from Catholic to protestant hands under reorganisation of Henry VIII.
1581 de Penkiston family forfeited estates, for joining rebellion of James Eustace, Lord Baltinglass.
1590 Straffan was the location of the first paper mill in Ireland (claim by M Pollard in “Papermaking in Ireland, Irish Booklore III)
1613 John Gaydon was seized “of the fee of all castles messuages lands and tenements in Straffan” of castle and 168 acres
1622 William Sutton of Barberstown mentioned in inquisition
1642 War came to Straffan when John Gaydon of Irishtown, Robert Rochford of Castledillon and Nicholas Sutton of Barberstown joined the confederate rebellion. General George Monck (then a Royalist, later a parliamentarian) decamps at “horse’s field” in Ardrass before siege and massacre at Rathcoffey. Damage to Nicholas Sutton’s Castle at Barberstown can still be seen.
1653-1663 Thomas Boules owner of Straffan before Gaydon restored to his lands.
1666 Barberstown granted to John King, first Lord Kingston, seized from his son Robert King by Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell (1689).
1679 Straffan estate purchased for £709 by Richard Talbot afterwards Duke and Earl of Tyrconnel.
1691 Straffan estate granted to John White after Battle of the Boyne.
1703 Barberstown (“Tyrconnel’s Castle”) sold to Barholmew Van Homrigh for £1,300.
1704 Last Catholic parish priest of Castledillon parish.
1717 Robert Delap became owner of Straffan estate and village.
1731 Dublin Banker Hugh Henry purchased Straffan house for £2,200. Bridge over Liffey built at this time.
1736 Birth of Joseph Henry at Straffan, he matriculated Trinity College at 13, became MP for Longford 1761-68 and later became known as the “richest commoner in Ireland.”
1751 Joseph Henry included among the characters in the caricature “School of Athens” painted by Joshua Reynolds in Rome, where Henry was residing with his uncle Joseph Leeson, First Earl of Milltown. Joseph Henry purchased the painting, it remained at Straffan until 1870 and is now in the National Gallery of Ireland.
1758 Last and only surviving gravestone at Castledillon graveyard: HIS This Burial place Belongs to Cornelues Spellicy & posterity Where Lyeth ys body Of Ann Spellicy who Died Augst ye 1th 1758 Age 15. Allso Iudeth Lesther, & John Spellicy
1772 John Joseph Henry (1772-1846) born at Straffan, later United Irish sympathiser.
1775 Another Hugh Henry, a cousin, built Lodge Park
1787 Straffan Catholic Church built on land donated by Joseph Henry
1798 John Joseph Henry subscribed £500 towards the defence of Armagh priest James O’Coigly tried in London on United Irish related charges (sentenced May 24). Rebels assemble at Straffan at stables owned by John Joseph Henry (June 18) including Patrick O’Connor “a lawyer from Straffan.”
1801 John Joseph Henry married Lady Emily Fitzgerald, which in other circumstances would have made him brother in law of Lord Edward Fitzgerald. John Joseph Henry was proposed as a Liberal candidate in the General Election of 1801 but declined.
1803 Straffan men marched to Dublin to join Emmett’s rebellion, Barney Daly’s pub in Baronrath used as a rendez-vous (June 23). Assembly of rebels camp at Windgates.
1808 Benjamin Hallam drawing for proposed extension to Straffan House, which resembled Oakley Park in Celbridge at the time. The extension is never completed.
1812 Magistrates reported that 100 persons assembled at night in Irishtown with carts for the purpose of retrieving hay which had been seized in lieu of rent, leading to a confrontation during which Patrick King was shot dead (Jan 22). The military seized the carts, one car was restored to its owner, a widow, but the authorities “did not restore any others” as they were “satisfied that the cars had been taken out with the connivance of the owners or their tenants.”
1813 John Joseph Henry left Straffan House after falling into financial difficulties (lands advertised to let Feb 13, house advertised to let Mar 20).
1815 Daniel O’Connell shot and fatally wounded Conservative politician John D’Esterre in a duel at Oughterard (Feb 1).
1818 Turning Mills sold after bankruptcy of Laurence McNally.
1825 Straffan House accidentally burned. The old house resembled Oakley park in Celbridge.
1831 Straffan purchased by Hugh Barton (1766–1854), of a Hiberno-French vineyard family, House and estate passes through family to Nathaniel Barton (1799-1867), Hugh Barton (1824-1899), Bertram F Barton (1830-1904), Bertram H Barton (1858-1927) and Derick Barton (1900-1993).
1832 Straffan House rebuilt in new location beside the carriage yard down river from the old one to design by Frederick Darley, based on Château de Louveciennes. Additions include an attic on a mansard roof and stacks raised and embellished in French style (1852), and Italian style campanile tower with gilded vane (c1890). Formal garden (1863) laid out by James Howe and informal garden in 1893. Iron bridges to island on the Liffey built by Courtney & Stephens (1847) and by Baily & Ross (1906). Charles Lanyon designed gates and conservatory which were never built.
1833 Church of Ireland constructed by Hugh Barton and consecrated in 1837. Transepts and raised sanctuary were added in 1875 and it remained a family church until 1933. Signature Catherine O’Brien stained glass windows were added in 1949.
1833 Death of Straffan’s oldest resident William Mortimer aged 125, reputedly a veteran of Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. (Nov 13)
1845 Closure of Joseph Atkinson’s Straffan Flour and Oatmeal mill at Turnings (March)
1846 Death of John Joseph Henry in Chaton, near Paris (July 4). “Owing to his extravagance from one of the richest commoners in Ireland he became so embarrassed that he was obliged to sell Straffan and live abroad. Among other foolish things he built an underground passage from Straffan House to the stables.”
1846 Dublin to Carlow railway opened (Aug 4).
1848 “Straffan Station” opened on mailnline railway two miles from the village at Clownings (Aug 1)
1853 The Straffan rail disaster (Oct 5) becomes headline news around the world, third worst at the time and still the third worst in Irish history. A goods train ran in to the back of a stalled passenger train in heavy fog at a point 974 yards south of Straffan Station at Clownings killing 18 people including four children. Daniel O’Connell’s nephew Daniel McSwiney was among the dead. An inquiry which put the blame on a railway employee who had been asked to flag down the approaching goods train and £27,000 compensation was paid to victims, the equivalent of €2.37m today The tragedy was the subject of a poem by William Allingham ((1824-1889).
1854 Hugh Barton died (May 25th) age 89, and leaves estate worth £500,000 (Eu58m today). He is buried beside the Church of Ireland he founded in Straffan.
1855 Léoville-Barton classified as “deuxième cru” adding greatly to Barton family fortunes.
1871 Straffan RIC barracks, complete with distinctive gun turrets to repel another Fenian rebellion, built after closure of barracks at Lyons.
1872 Oldest surviving roll book for Straffan National School, Emily Pitts first enrolled student.
1872 Suspected murder of Henry Mitchell from Clare, thrown out of train at Straffan Station (Aug 20)
1873 Estate houses built by Bertram Barton, increasing population of Straffan demesne from 11 to 46
1884 Straffan cricket club in action
1885 Straffan GAA club played in one of the first ever matches of Gaelic football (Feb 13)
1886-1954 Annual North Kildare Point to Point races staged at Windgates (last week in February).
1887 Celbridge and Straffan National League Branch established (Sept 24).
1902 “Straffan Station Stud” founded by Edward “Cub” Kennedy at Baronrath, establishing Straffan Station as one of Europe’s leading racehorse breeding studs with champion sires such as Fortunio, King Crow, Alice Hawthorn, Beeswing, Roi Herode (introducing a French line of blood into Irish thoroughbred breeding), and most especially Roi Herode’s foal The Tetrarch (the “spotted wonder”, raced as a two year old 1911 and quickly retired to stud). Later Straffan bred equine successes included Star Appeal (winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, 1975). Straffan trained successes included Captain Christy (winner Cheltenham Gold Cup, 1974), and Kicking King (winner Cheltenham Gold Cup, 2005). Straffan jockey Pat Taaffe (1930–92) rode two winners of the English Grand National, Quare Times in 1955 and Gay Trip in 1970 and was Irish National Hunt champion six times. Ireland’s most successful horse trainer Vincent O’Brien retired to Baronrath and died there in 2009 (June 1). He is buried in Straffan Churchyard.
1903 Straffan Post office constructed near railway station at Clownings.
1905 Straffan RIC Barracks closed, and men transferred to Celbridge, Sallins, Naas and Clane. The building later becomes a shop and eventually the Allen homestead.
1914 Branch affiliated to the Irish National Volunteers.
1914-18 Castledillon used as practice firing range for British troops en route to first World War. Straffan casualties in the war included James Cash, (died May 27, 1918.), DA Carden, (Sept 4, 1915), Thomas Goucher, (Jan 22, 1918). Ronald BC Kennedy (died of illness Aug 18, 1917), G Kinahan, (October 14, 1916), William Lawless (Sept 15, 1917), and Peter McLeish, (Jan 21, 1918).
1916 Francie Sammon was a civilian casualty in the Easter Rising,
1916 Straffan barracks is used for the line-up of soldiers seen by mothers and wives of 16 civilians killed by the South Staffords in North King Street during the closing stages of the Easter Rising. They were invited to try to identify the soldiers, but were unable to pick them out.
1917 Straffan burial ground extended
1917 Straffan Company of the Irish National Volunteers reformed February. Prominent local volunteers included John Logie, Tom Cornelia, James Travers and John McSweeney.
1918 Straffan Sinn Féin branch formed.
1921 Straffan Bridge attacked and briefly rendered impassable during War of Independence (Jan 11)
1922 Straffan signal box burned during Civil War (Oct 17).
1927 Death of Bertram H Barton in a hunting accident at Coolcor Co Meath (Dec 5), Straffan and St Julienne estates divided Derick Barton inherits Straffan estate and Ronald inherits St Julien vineyard, estate accounts reveal operating losses of £5,000 a year. Half to the staff of 66 were let go and the estate school was closed.
1937 Derick Barton sold off most of his furniture to meet his bills. Decision to demolish part of Straffan house as a cost cutting measure. Barton spends £3,000 constructing a hydro electric unit at the weir.
1939 Arms stolen from Magazine Fort in Phoenix Park recovered under stage at Straffan hall (Dec 27)
1941 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Straffan (Feb 20).
1947 Last scheduled service to Straffan Station (Nov 10). Last special train ran in 1963 (Sept 9).
1949 Straffan House sold by Derick Barton to motorcycle manufacturer John Ellis for £15,000. House passes to car importer Stephen O’Flaherty (1960), film producer Kevin McClory (1973), Iranian air force founder Nadar Djhanbani (1977, shortly before his execution by revolutionaries), developer Patrick Gallagher (1979) and property magnate Alan Ferguson (1981), before its 1988 purchase for €12m by former Sandy Lane and Grosvenor Hotel manager Ray Carroll on behalf a trust headed by Michael Smurfit (50pc owner), Tony Ryan and Tony O’Reilly (25pc each).
1953 Housing constructed at St Brigid’s, followed by Lodge Park (1970), Coarse Moore (1976), The Glebe (1985), The Beeches (2006), Straffan Gate (2006) and Barton Grange (2007). Four developments, comprising 200 properties, took place on the grounds of Straffan Demesne/the K Club in the 2000-04 period: Ryder Cup Village, the Courtyard, Churchfields and Ladycastle.
1959 Turnings became location of Ireland’s first horse abattoir.
1960 Liffey Descent, an 18 mile canoe race from Straffan to Islandbridge, held for the first time.
1961 Robert O’Flaherty sold freehold to Straffan Estate tenants including village residents, allowing them to own their property for the first time.
1963 New primary school replaced two storey building in church grounds.
1966 Straffan won Intermediate Championship of Kildare and competed in Senior Championship 1966-79.
1975 Bomb on railway line at Baronrath, Christy Phelan is murdered when he disturbs the bombers (June 22)
1976 Train robbery of £600,000 at Tipperstown, largest in Irish history (Mar 31)
1978 Straffan soccer club founded
1986 Mass celebrated in Straffan Church of Ireland while Catholic church is being refurbished.
1990-97 Straffan residents Paul Dempsey, Eoin Spring, Robert Kelly, Niall and Colm D’Rosario competed in world chess championships
1991 The Kildare Club opened as a 360 bedroom hotel, golf course and country club, with the par 71 north course designed by Arnold Palmer (par 72 south course, the “inland links” or Smurfit Course, also designed by Palmer, opened in 2003).
1995-2007 Straffan stages European Open Golf tournament, previously held at Walton Heath, Surrey, England and later moved to Sevenoaks, Kent, England.
1993 Straffan resident Emmet Stagg became Minister of State at the Department of the Environment (Jan 14 1993-Nov 17 1994) and Minister of State at the Department of the Transport Energy and Communication (Dec 20 1994 -June 26 1997). He became Labour Part chief whip in 1997.
2002 First forged note in euro zone passed in Straffan (Jan 4).
2004 Straffan ballroom and conference facilities opened after investment of €115m, completed hotel has 78 bedrooms.
2004 Straffan staged Asia-Europe ministerial meeting (April 20)
2006 Straffan staged the Ryder Cup golf competiton between Europe and USA, the most important team event in professional golf (Sept 22-24)
2013 Rebuilding of Straffan hall.