The Mills of Palmerstown

The mills on the Liffey at Palmerston were driven by a mill race taken from the river nearly two miles higher up, at the weir opposite to the well known "Wren's Nest". In the eighteenth century there were a number of mills here, the French Mill, the Linen Mill, the Plating Mill, the Longwood Mill and the big Skin Mill. Mills built before 1800 were relatively small, employing between one hundred and two hundred at the most.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were mills for printing works and for iron works, oil mills, a dye stuff mill, a skin mill, a coin mill and three wash mills in Palmerstown. Thirty eight years later only lead and copper works remained. On the opposite bank below Knockmaroon is Mardyke where there were flour mills in which starch, blue and mustard were also made.

Joyce wrote that in 1675 a grant in fee was made to Sir John Temple, ancestor of the Lords Palmerston, 'of all the lands belonging to the crown in nearby Chapelizod not enclosed in the Park, nor included in the demise to Laurence, together with the mills and weirs of Chapelizod, and the privilege of grazing six horses yearly in the Phoenix Park, as therein declared to have been always enjoyed by the tenant of said mills'. He writes that the road to Lucan 'is one of the most enchanting drives that even the vicinity of Dublin affords, winding in parallel irregularity with the Liffey, and introducing the tourist to all the fine villas that overshadow the waters of that river, and all the weirs, and falls, and mills that, although they impede its navigation, increase its loveliness'.

Joyce also noted that at the close of the 18th century this village possessed six calico printing mills, two oil mills, one dye mill, three wash mills, as well as lead, iron and copper works.

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