Overview of Skerries History , Part 2.

The new monastery of Holmpatrick flourished. Some idea of it’s importance may be got from the fact that it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1538 prior to the general dissolution of the monasteries. Its proper name had been “The Monastery of the Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine”. What finally happened the buildings of the monstery is not clear. Not a trace of them remains. The site is marked by the square tower in Holmpatrick cemetery, all that remains of the old Protestant Church.

In 1565, after the reformation, the monastery and its lands became the property of Thomas Fitzpatrick. In 1605 the manor and lands of Holmpatrick was granted to Earl of Thomand. In 1721 the last Earl sold the manor and lands, including the town of Skerries, to the Hamilton family of Hacketstown. In 1897 the Hamilton family were granted the title of Lord Holmpatrick.

Comparisons between maps of Skerries drawn in 1703 and 1760 suggest that the Hamilton family was responsible for setting out the streets of the town as they are today.

Between 1863 and 1865 a monument to the memory of James Hans Hamilton was erected in Skerries. The Monument is a reduced scale replica of the Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park. The following inscription is on the four panels at the base of the Monument.

This Monument was erected in memory of James Hans Hamilton Esq. M.P. Abbotstown House, Co. Dublin by the tenantry of his severel estates viz.: Holmpatrick, Dublin, Meath, Carlow, Down and Queens County in testimony of their esteem for him as a kind friend and benevolent landlord. He represented this County in Parliament for twenty-two years and died 19th June 1863.

James Hans Hamilton repesented County Dublin in Parliament. It would be far more accurate to say that MPs then represented their own interests and the interests of the landowning class to which they belonged. Voting in those days was public and it was only in 1872 that the secret ballot paper was first introduced. Tenants entitled to vote gathered at Balbriggan Courthouse and as the registrar called out their names, they shouted out the name of the landowner for whom they wished to vote. As a reward for the vote the tenant was given half a crown (now =16 c.), a substantial amount then, by the landlord’s agent.

Situated as it is, the monument was built as the focal point of the old town. It is now at the heart of the commercial, and shopping centre of the town.

After the 1916 rising a British Destroyer landed troops at Skerries to help the Dublin garrisons suppress the rising. 200 men of the North Staffordshire Regiment landed under the command of Captain Clay. To try and impede their progress to Dublin local rebels blew up the bridge over the railway in Donabate.

Published here: November 2002 – updated 25 Feb 2014.