Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My wife's ancestors - Fitzwilliam - Contents

Booterstown Castle, Co.Dublin

Booterstown Castle, in Booterstown, Co.Dublin

This medieval castle survives inside an 18th century house.

Booterstown Castle is special because of all the Fitzwilliam buildings - Dundrum Castle, Wicklow Castle, Merrion Castle, Thorn Castle, Baggotrath Castle, Simmonscourt Castle, Mount Merrion House - Booterstown Castle is the only one still lived in today.

St.Mary's, Booterstown Ave (pink house), opposite Pembroke Cottages.
The 15th century Booterstown Castle survives inside the 18th century building now called St.Mary's.
To the RHS (to the S) of St.Mary's is Booterstown House (grey house, opposite Rosemount Terrace).
Click to rotate. From Google Street View.
See screenshot.

Booterstown Castle

Booterstown Castle was built 1449 by Fitzwilliam of Thorncastle to defend Booterstown village.
It came into possession of their cousin Thomas Fitzwilliam before 1517.

It was held by Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam, Kt in late 1500s.
It was held by 2nd Viscount Fitzwilliam as at 1666.
The Fitzwilliams did not normally live there but rented it out.

One source identifies the small Wesley house of the early 1700s with Booterstown Castle.


Booterstown Castle fell into disrepair by 1760 [Lyng, 2000].
It was rebuilt then into a house which went for some time by the name "Booterstown Castle" but was later called "St.Mary's".

[Ball, vol.2, 1903] says of Booterstown Castle: "vaults belonging to it are said to be incorporated in the house which stands upon its site".
No "vaults" are apparent today, but the N block of the house has 4 foot thick walls and is clearly the old medieval block, renovated in the 18th century.

See item in Freemans Journal, December 2, 1826. George Hamilton, merchant, of Townsend St, is putting up for sale "the Castle House of Booterstown".
Though he must not have sold it because item in Freemans Journal, January 21, 1830, lists George Hamilton at "Booterstown Castle".
1829 to 1842 map shows "Booterstown Castle".

Booterstown Castle became the parish priest's house in the time of Rev. Ennis (1838 to 1862). It was the priest's house by 1840.
[Lyng, 2000] says this is why the name changed to "St.Mary's". The old name for the Booterstown RC church was "St.Mary's".
[Pettigrew & Oulton] 1840 to 1847 editions, when cross-referenced with the map, show Rev. Ennis at Booterstown Castle (beside Sweetman at Booterstown House).
See listing in [Griffiths Valuation, 1849]. This shows Rev. Ennis at "Booterstown Castle".

Rev. Forde was parish priest 1862 to 1873.
Freemans Journal, June 24, 1863, prints a letter (and p.2) from Rev. Forde from "St.Mary's, Booterstown", which may be the house or the church.
[Thom's, 1868] shows Rev. Forde living on Booterstown Ave, though does not identify what house.
Rev. Forde started a plan for a new presbytery in 1872. He died 1873.
The new presbytery was built later in 1873, on Booterstown Ave, on same side as church.
[Thom's, 1877] lists William Patrick McEvoy (not clergy) at "St.Mary's", 50 Booterstown Ave.

St.Mary's survives today (the 18th century house with the castle built into it), re-numbered as 54 Booterstown Ave.
St.Mary's was for sale as at 2012-13. See Irish Times, 25 Oct 2012.

Booterstown on John Rocque's map of Dublin, 1757.
Booterstown Castle is the L-shaped building opposite the "Mass House".
To the S of it, Booterstown House seems to exist.
There is a gap between the two.

Booterstown on map by Jonathan Barker, 1762.
Shows the old Catholic chapel.
Booterstown Castle is the small block opposite the chapel, a bit to the left.
To the S of it (to the left) Booterstown House clearly exists, opposite the lane.
There is a large gap between the two.

Detail of Pat Roe's map of 1774.
Booterstown Castle is the small block opposite the church.
Booterstown House exists to its left, opposite the lane. There is a large gap between the two.
It is clear that only the medieval N block of Booterstown Castle exists. The S block (left side here) was built after 1774.
The two wings of Booterstown House were clearly also built after 1774.
See full map.
From Mount Merrion 300. Used with permission.

Detail of John Roe's map of the Fitzwilliam estate, 1794, showing Booterstown.
Booterstown Castle apparently marked (93).
Booterstown House not marked (94), though we know it exists.

"The Castle House of Booterstown" for sale.
Freemans Journal, December 2, 1826.

Booterstown Castle on 1829 to 1842 map.
Booterstown House is to the S of Booterstown Castle.
The S wing of Booterstown Castle and the two wings of Booterstown House have all been built by this time.

[Pettigrew & Oulton, 1845] lists occupants of Booterstown in a line of houses.
When cross-referenced with the map, it can be clearly seen that Rev. Ennis is at Booterstown Castle.
Sweetman is at Booterstown House next door.
Rev. Byrne is in a house across the road, beside the church.
([McGahon, 2013] says a parochial house beside the old church existed by 1787.)

[Griffiths Valuation, 1849] shows the parish priest Rev. Ennis at Booterstown Castle.
Sweetman is at Booterstown House next door.


Above: Booterstown Castle on Ordnance Survey of Ireland map. Date created: 1867.
From here and here.


St.Mary's, Booterstown.
The N block (2 windows on LHS) is the 15th century Booterstown Castle (with thick walls), renovated in the 18th century.
The S block (door and 3 windows on RHS) is a late 18th century addition (with normal walls).
Photo 2013. See full size.
See wider shot.
See 2012 shot from

St.Mary's, Booterstown, rear.
The N part of the house (the RHS here) is the medieval castle block, renovated in 18th century.
The S part (LHS here) is an 18th century addition.
There is a lovely round window in the 18th century wall at the back.
Photo 2013. See full size.
See other shot.

St.Mary's, Booterstown, rear.
For sale in 2012. From

The Wesley house at Booterstown

Richard Colley Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington, grandfather of the Duke of Wellington, had a small house at Booterstown in the early 1700s.
Mary Delany (see below) says this was in the time before he inherited the estate of Garret Wesley (i.e. before 1728).
An 1822 source (see below) identifies the Wesley house with Booterstown Castle.

Pat Roe's map of 1774 shows the medieval block was refurbished first, and only later (after 1774) was a S wing added. The medieval block by itself would have been a rather small house. It may be that the Wesley house was the small renovated medieval block alone, without any additional wing.

Mary Delany visited the Wesley house at Booterstown in 1732.
See p.345 of Vol.1 of Autobiography And Correspondence Of Mary Granville (pub 1861).
She describes the Wesley house as: "a little house about three miles out of town called Butlers Town".

The Freemans Journal, October 18, 1822, identifies the Wesley house with Booterstown Castle.
They also have a story that the 1st Duke of Wellington (born 1769) was born there (i.e. at Booterstown Castle).
It is generally thought that he was born in Mornington House, on Merrion St, Dublin (now a hotel).
The article is written after a speech in Dublin by Wellington's brother the 1st Marquess Wellesley (born 1760).
Note their aged mother Anne Hill was still alive at this point.


The "stable" quote


Famous quote about the 1st Duke of Wellington being born in Ireland: "being born in a stable does not make a man a horse".
This is often misattributed to Wellington, but in fact the remark was made by Daniel O'Connell about Wellington.
It is a put down of Wellington, not a put down of Ireland.
O'Connell made the remark at an 1843 speech, reported here at O'Connell's trial in 1844.
From Shaw's Authenticated Report of the Irish State Trials (1844), p.93.
Booterstown Castle may be the "stable".

Return to Booterstown.

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