Clondalkin is home to an eighth-century round tower that acts as a focal point for the area. Acknowledged as one of the oldest and best preserved in the country, it is 25.6 metres high and has its original conical cap.
Neolithic tribes first settled in the area around 7,600 years ago, taking advantage of the site's favourable location on the River Camac, overlooking the River Liffey and the inland pass between the mountains and the river. Evidence of the presence of the Cualann tribe can be found in various mounds and raths.
Clondalkin is believed to have been founded by Saint Cronan Mochua as a monastic settlement on the River Camac over 1,400 years ago. The round tower was built around a century later (circa 700 AD) as part of the monastery. By the eighth century, Saint Fugillus was Bishop of Clondalkin and noted gospel manuscripts were produced – the most famous of these being the Clondalkin mass book which is on display in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Clondalkin is also home to St Brigid's Well, which is said to have been established as a well for baptising pagans by Saint Brigid in the 5th century. It was believed that the well possessed powers of healing.
Clondalkin was sacked by Vikings from Denmark in 832 AD, and the monastery was burned to the ground. One of the early Norse kings of Dublin, Amlaíb Conung, built a fortress on the site in the middle of the 9th century. In 867 a force led by Cennétig mac Gaíthéne, king of Loígis, burned the fortress at Clondalkin and killed 100 of Amlaíb's followers. The district remained under Danish control until the Viking defeat by Brian Boru at the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
17th century and beyond
Centuries later, Clondalkin was the scene for some of the fighting in the 1641 Rebellion, when the Gaelic Irish in Ulster, and later in the rest of the kingdom, and the Old English in the Pale of Leinster rebelled against rule from Westminster. (Ireland had its own parliament at this time, but it was severely limited in its powers, e.g. by Poynings' Law.)
Clondalkin Paper Mill was established at the start of the 19th century by Thomas Seery and Son. Having changed ownership over the years, activity peaked during the First World War as the focus moved to war production. Productivity slowed, until the mill closed its doors for the last time in 1987. The Mill Shopping Centre was later built on the same street, keeping the name alive.