Parish History

History of Lusk and Surrounding Area

Lusk (Lusca) The Irish meaning of the word Lusk means a cave or underground chamber. It is believed to date back to the 450s when St. MacCullin who founded a church and either lived or was buried in a cave.

St MacCullin founded a monastery at Lusk about AD 450 and the site is also associated with St Maurus. It was plundered and burned several times in the succeeding centuries, the only remnant of an Early Christian foundation is the Round Tower. It stands about 27m high and retains its original conical cap. There are nine storeys including the basement. The flat-headed doorway is now less than 1m above ground level. The Round Tower is attached to a square tower built in the 15th or 16th century with three matching round towers at its corners. The large tower houses several medieval tombs including that of James Bermingham (1527) and the double-effigy tomb of Christopher Barnewell and his wife Marion Sharl (1589).

Parish History: See attached Footage of the laying of the stone of the Church in 1922 and the Blessing of the Church in 1925:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY4ojO1nkbc&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEKp_cVRjkc&feature=youtu.be

Parish Registers: The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland are now available online at http://registers.nli.ie/ Involved are more than 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded and which are accessible free of charge. Go directly to Lusk parish registers from 1757: http://registers.nli.ie/parishes/0485

Lusk Heritage Centre comprises of a round tower, a medieval belfry and a 19th century church. They form a unit, although they were built over a period of almost a thousand years. The belfry now houses an exhibition on medieval churches of North County Dublin and also the magnificent 16th century effigy tomb of Sir Christopher Barnewall and his wife Marion Sharl.

History: The annals refer to the death of the abbot, St. MacCullin, most likely the founder of the monastery here in 497. The monastery itself had a violent history, having been pillaged and destroyed in 835 and burnt in 854. In 1089 the church was burnt again with 180 people inside and the abbey was devastated yet again in 1135. Austin Cooper first mentioned the tower in 1783 as being in good condition, though there were no floors or ladders at that time. These were fitted in the 1860s, along with a wood and cement roof by the rector, Dr. Wm. Reeves. He also filled up a breach in the second storey that led to the square medieval bell tower, and possibly another at the level of the belfry battlements. Metal grills were fitted into the windows in 1977. The present church was built against the east wall of the belfry in 1847 after a storm damaged the former (and much larger) building in 1838. The belfry is thought to date from approximately 1500. Other Items of Interest: The church on this site houses the Lusk Heritage Center and is currently underwent restoration.

Fingal is a very old district being about 4 thousand years older than Dublin City. Lusk was the capital of Fingal and was an important village over a very long period. There were originally five provinces in Ireland, the four current ones being Leinster, situated on the eastern area of the island, Munster to the south, Ulster to the north and Connaught to the west. The fifth province was royal Meath, so called because the high king of Ireland had his castle in Meath. In banter the present Meath men would on occasions brag that Meath was a province and Dublin never was,would get the reply ,When Meath lost fingal they lost their provincial status. The flag of Fingal is a black raven on a white background. This emblem was adopted as Fingal’s flag after the Battle of Clontarf, now part of Dublin City, in 1014. Brian Boru the king of Munster gathered an army from all over Ireland and finally defeated the Vikings. The black raven standard was captured at the battle, and this was a decisive act in ending the battle. Alas, as one Viking, “Brudar” by name, was leaving the battlefield he saw King Brian praying in his tent and the last to die was the king. Brudar hit him on the head with a battle-axe. Lusk was a very old religious area with a round tower built circa 9th century. This round tower was built to look out to sea as Vikings raided Lusk on many occasions and burned the Village. The pickings were good in Lusk as the monks had gold and silver chalices and other religious objects. The round tower built of stone could not be burned. The monks would take refuge in this tower with their valuables. The entrance to the tower was 15 feet above ground level. Ladders were used to reach the entrance and pulled up by the monks. Lusk had a monastery founded by St MacCullin, which was older than St Mobhi’s monastery in Glasnevin. At one time, Rush, now a much bigger town, did not exist but was part of the parish of Lusk.

The Port of Lusk: In the olden day’s Lusk was a port. This is surprising as Lusk is not on the coast. The story harks back to the Viking days when small boats could sail into Rogerstown estuary. When a boat was spotted with a black raven on the sails the alarm would be raised. Panic would ensue and the monks would take their valuables up into the tower and sit it out. They would wait there until the danger passed. There was a strong culture in Lusk from the turn of the century and one man who was foremost in promoting this was Thomas Ashe. Thomas was from Lispole, Dingle, Co Kerry and he came to Lusk as headmaster of Corduff primary school. Thomas was founder member of the round towers GAA football and hurling clubs founded in 1906 and the Black Raven pipe band in 1910.