WHITECHURCH, a parish, in the barony of HALF-RATHDOWN, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 5 miles (S.) from the General Post-Office ; containing, with the villages of Whitechurch, Ballyboden, and Rockbrook, 1710 inhabitants, The parish comprises 2833 statute acres of very varied surface ; the northern portion, though lying high with respect to the sea level of Dublin bay, is generally flat and of good quality, highly improved by continued cultivation ; the southern rises into heights of considerable elevation, forming the base of the northern range of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, whence the Cruagh river and another of smaller size, both carrying down a considerable volume of water during the rainy season, though nearly dry in summer, irrigate the whole district from south to north, and after uniting their streams join the Dodder at Rathfarnham. Each of these has several mill sites, on which are paper-mills at present little used, though capable of executing much work, and cotton-factories that employ about 120 hands in the aggregate : attached to the works of Mr. Bewley are bleaching grounds and an extensive laundry. The mountain land produces only pasturage, and about 550 acres of it are a barren waste, but they supply inexhaustible stores of granite, which is in great demand for the public buildings and the more ornamented dwelling-houses in Dublin and the surrounding country. The military road through the county of Wicklow passes by the villages of Ballyboden and Rockbrook. The greater portion of the cultivated part of the parish is enclosed in the demesnes and grounds of the gentry who reside here, all of which, from the situation of the land that forms a gentle declivity from the mountainous parts to the shores of Dublin bay, command fine views of the beautiful and highly cultivated valley of the Liffey and the basin of the bay itself, with its back-grounds of Howth, Lambay, and the Carlingford and Mourne mountains in the distance. Marlay, the residence of John David La Touche, Esq., took its name from Bishop Marlay, whose daughter was married to the Rt. Hon. David La Touche, by whom the place was built : the demesne contains about 400 acres, and enjoys all the advantages which fertility, high cultivation, variety of surface, copious supply of water, rich and varied planting and extent of prospect can bestow : the gardens, containing about four acres, are stocked with a large selection of native and exotic plants and have extensive ranges of glass. In a sequestered spot is a mausoleum with a monument to the memory of Elizabeth, Countess of Lanesborough, sister to the present proprietor. Among the other seats are Hollypark, the beautiful residence of the late Jeffrey Foote, Esq., situated at the base of Stagstown Hill, and tastefully laid out, with a well-planted deer-park attached to it ; Glen-Southwall, better known by the name of the Little Dargle, as being a miniature resemblance of the celebrated valley of that name at Powerscourt, the seat of C. B. Ponsonby, Esq., by whom the grounds are thrown open for the inspection of visiters ; Larch Hill, the residence of J. O'Neil, Esq.; Hermitage, of R. Moore, Esq. ; the Priory, now of G. Hatchell, Esq., and previously that of the celebrated Rt. Hon. John Philpot Curran, who resided here during the latter part of his life ; The Park, of John Davis, Esq. ; Eden Park, of M. Harris, Esq. ; Highfield, of John Whiteroft, Esq. ; Sommerville, of Fras. Sommers, Esq. ; Grange Cottage, of J. Whaley, Esq. ; Elm Grove, of P. Morgan, Esq. ; St. Thomas, of Mrs. Unthank ; Kingston, of Mrs. Jones ; Cloragh, of Chas. Davis, Esq. ; Tibradden, of J. Jones, Esq. ; and Harold's Grange, of C. Fottrell, Esq.
The living is a rectory and perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Dublin : the rectory is appropriate partly to the deanery of Christ-Church, Dublin, and partly to the incumbent of Tallaght : it was erected into a perpetual curacy in 1823, when it was separated from the union of Tallaght, and is in the alternate patronage of the Archbishop and W. Bryan, Esq. The tithes amount to £217. 11. 1., of which £52.3. 10. is payable to the Dean of Christ-Church, and £165. 7.3. to the incumbent of Tallaght, who allows the curate a stipend of £69. 7. 3. : 1089 acres of the parish are tithe-free. The new church was erected in 1826, at an expense of £2000, on a site in the grounds of Marlay, given by John David La Touche, Esq. ; it is in the pointed style, with a tower and spire : the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £283 towards its repairs. The old church, which has a burial-ground attached to it, and stands on an eminence about half a mile distant, forms a picturesque ruin. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Rathfarnham. There is a Moravian cemetery on the grounds of Marlay, not far from the church. Near it also is a school-house, with apartments for the master and mistress, erected in 1824 : about 30 of the pupils are annually clothed. At the Little Dargle are the ruins of a cromlech, the three upright stones of which are still standing, but the table stone has been displaced and lies on the ground near them. At Larch Hill is a druidical circle, with an altar or cromlech in its centre ; and on Kilmashogue mountain is a strong chalybeate spa.