1100 - 1400

The name Kenure is the anglicized version of Ceann Iubhair, the headland of the yew trees, though in old writings it is also often written as Kilnure, meaning the church of the yew trees.

There have been recorded findings of flint tools, which indicate that the area was inhabited from earliest times.

There are the ruins of an early Christian stone church, which tradition says was dedicated to St. Damnan, and traces of a ruined castle which perhaps predate the later Norman dwellings.

However, it is since Norman times, when Ireland was divided up as payments to Henry II's Norman lords, that we have a clearer picture of Kenure's past.

Irish Acres For Norman Lords

In 1171, Theobald Fitzwalter reached Ireland following the Norman invasion of 1169. He was created Chief Butler of Ireland, a hereditary post, which included the privilege of offering the first cup of wine to the English king at the coronation. It also included the more lucrative right to the prisage of wines in Ireland, about one tenth of the cargo of any ship unloading in Ireland. The Butlers held this right until the crown redeemed it in 1811. They were one of the greatest Norman families in Ireland and have survived to the present day.

In 1315, Edmund Butler, representing the main branch of the family, was created Earl of Carrick and was granted lands in Tipperary, Kilkenny and also lands 'in the sheltered coastal area north of Dublin' where his brother, Sir Theobald Butler, had died in 1306. This was most likely a confirmation of his title to the lands, since, in the Ormond Deeds 'Kyniure' (Kenure) is mentioned much earlier, when Alexander de Sauvage is noted as 'undertaking to pay Sir Theobald le Boteiller (Butler) four marks rent out of land of Kyniure'. Kenure is mentioned again in various documents dated 1278, 1295, 1312, 1318, 1446 and 1556.

Various names appear as tenants over the years of Butler ownership - Simon de Bedifford, Walter Cantwell, Michael Darcy, Walter Travers, John Gerot, Thomas Kent, William Taillour, William Spencer. In a rental account for the years 1476-1484 one John Spens is shown as paying rent for 'Kynneur'. In 'Dalton's History of Dublin' it is stated that Rush was an ancient manor extending over the lands of Balcony, Heathstown, Balscadden, Kenure, Ardlaw, etc. So it would appear that the Ormond land extended over a wide area of North County Dublin.

Royal Connections

In 1327 Edmund Butler's son, James, married Elenor de Bohun, who was a grand-daughter of King Edward I, thereby closely allying himself with the royal family. In 1328 he was created Earl of Ormond and was granted the Ormond Palatinate, giving him almost sovereign rights over the lands held by his father.

The Black Death

The Black Death, in 1349, had repercussions in Rush. Impoverishment of tenants and manor followed, strips of land formerly worked by tenants began to be enclosed, and the town population decreased. A vivid account, by Clyn, tells us that the cities of Dublin and Drogheda were 'almost destroyed, wasted of men so that in Dublin alone, from August to Christmas, 14,000 men died'. In 1354, the tenants of Rush said they were 'entirely impoverished by the late pestilence and the excessive prices of the King's ministers'.

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