'The earliest notice we have of Taimhleacht, or Tallaght..., is in the account of the destruction of the colony of Parthalon by the first recorded plague or pestilence, related in The Annals of the Four Masters to have taken place in the year A.M. 2820. The entry by those annalists is "9,000 of Parthalon's people died in one week, on Sean-mhagh-Ealta-Edair, viz., 5,000 men and 4,000 women, whence is named Taimhleacht Mhuin-tire-Parthaloin, now called Tallaght, near Dublin." The word "Tamh" means an epidemic pestilence; and the term "Taimhleacht" ("the plague monument"), which frequently enters into topographical names in Ireland, signifies a place where a number of persons cut off by pestilence were interred together.' -- The History and Antiquities of Tallaght In The County of Dublin By William Domville Handcock, M.A. Dublin, 1899.
Christian worship has continued on this site for over twelve hundred years since the Celtic saint, Maelruain, founded a monastery here in the 8th Century. This monastery became an important centre of spiritual life: The Ceilí Dé (also known as Culdees, or the servants of God) had their headquarters here.
Three outstanding religious texts, "The Martyrology of Aengus", "The Martyrology of Tallaght" and "The Stowe Missal", were compiled here. The 'Rule of Tallaght' and the 'Teaching of Maelruain' reflect the spirit of the Ceilí Dé reform. All these manuscripts or copies may be seen in the Royal Irish Academy in Dawson Street.
The Rule of Tallaght
Drawn up by Maelruain for the Ceilí Dé of Tallaght, this document prescribed the time and manner of their prayers, fasts, and devotions, the frequency with which they ought to go to confession and the penances to be imposed for faults committed.
The Teaching of Maelruain
This book sets out in detail the prayers to be said in the Ceilí Dé monastery.
The Martyrology of Tallaght
A collaboration between St. Maelruain and St. Aengus, the Martyrology of Tallaght is a prose catalogue of Irish saints, and is the oldest of the Irish martyrologies. It was written about 790 A.D.
The Martyrology of Aengus
Also sometimes known as "The Feiliré of Aengus" or his "Calendar", this list of Saints was written in verse by Aengus possibly around 800. It was completed after the death of Maelruain when Aengus returned to Disert-beagh, Co. Laois.
After the Norman invasion [1179 A.D.] the parish of Tallaght was granted to the Archbishops of Dublin and they maintained a country house here and drew income from the estates until the early 19th century. The site of the present-day St. Mary's Priory is where the Episcopal Palace was found.
The tower of the present St. Maelruain's Church dates from the Medieval period, when it was part of the fortifications of The Pale, which seperated those subjects of the Crown within from the native Irish. Tallaght was often raided by the O'Toole and the O'Byrnes and the tower served as a watchpost to give warning against these raids.
Prior to 1829, St Maelruain's church was built up against the tower, which served (and still serves) as a belfry. This earlier church was replaced in 1829 by a design by John Semple, an architect responsible for several churches about Dublin. The similarities between his other designs and St. Maelruain's church are clearly visible. One difference is the lack of a "modern" belfry in the Tallaght church plan -- the original tower still serves. The new church was partly built of materials taken from the original structure.
(Below: More examples of John Semple church architecture)
Service TimesEach Sunday
1st Sunday Holy Communion
2nd Sunday Morning Prayer
3rd Sunday Holy Communion
4th Sunday Service of The Word - Family Service
5th Sunday Morning Prayer