05 March 2022

Tourville Lodge and a lost house in
the centre of Rathfarnham village

Tourville Lodge, the former gate of Tourville House, on Church Lane, Rathfarnham (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

A new car park has opened in recent months on Dodder View Road, beneath the slopes behind Rathfarnham Village and facing the new pedestrian bridge across the River Dodder, leading into Bushy Park.

In Church Lane, behind the Church of Ireland parish church in the heart of Rathfarnham Village, Tourville Lodge is a simple, substantial former gate lodge that was linked to the now demolished Tourville House, probably built in the 18th century.

The house is in a quiet corner of Rathfarnham village, where it preserves the old street line. The impressive wall at the east gable indicates the original importance of this elevation, and the rubble stone wall on the north side of the house has window openings and a block and start doorway that are now blocked up.

Tourville Lodge is now as a private house. But during the War of Independence it was a police station and a school, and this enhances the historic significance of this interesting building.

This is a detached, five-bay two-storey former gate lodge, built ca 1800. It has roughcast rendered walls, with a shallow recessed double-height arch that has a high parapet at the east gable end.

The later two-bay wing at the west side of Tourville Lodge forms an L-plan. The house has uPVC casement windows, a uPVC door in the flat-roofed porch, and a pitched slate roof.

Tourville Lodge on Church Lane, Rathfarnham, is a former gate lodge, built around 1800 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Church Lane opens between Rathfarnham Church and a bank built on the site of a Garda station and a former Royal Irish Constabulary barracks that was burned down during the ‘Troubles.’

From Rathfarnham village, Church Lane leads to Woodview Cottages, built partly on the site of an old paper mill. A mill race flowed from the grounds of Rathfarnham Castle, where it supplied water to fish ponds, and under Butterfield Lane to the paper mill and continued on below Ashfield to turn the wheel of the Ely Cloth Factory. It was later turned into the Owendoher River at Woodview Cottages.

Until recent years, when Dodder View Road was made to link Rathfarnham Road with Templeogue, the old mill race could still be traced through the grounds of Ashfield, where its dry bed was still spanned by several stone bridges.

For some unfathomable reason, the names of the former Tourville House and the surviving Tourville Lodge has been lost in the misspelt neighbouring housing estate which is known as Tournville Lodge.

But I am still left wondering how the original Tourville House got its original name? There are at least nine places in northern France alone with the name Tourville, and some key figures in French history with the name Tourville.

The blocked-up windows and doorway on the north side of Tourville Lodge, facing onto Church Lane (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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