Fyan's Town

On older maps, Finnstown, located just outside Lucan, County Dublin, is spelled “Fyan’s Town”. This implies that it was once a town belonging to a family called Fyan, whose name derives from the Latin word “paganus” for “countryman” or “peasant”. The Fyans were citizens of high importance in Dublin in the 15th and 16th centuries. They lived along the Dublin Quays at Fishamble Street in a square tower known for many centuries as “Fyan’s Castle” but later renamed Proudfoot’s Castle. John Fyan was Mayor of Dublin in 1472 and 1479, a time that coincided with the War of the Roses in England. Thomas Fyan was one of Henry VIII’s city sheriffs in 1540 and the hospitality of Richard Fyan (Fiand), Mayor in 1549 and 1564, has been extolled by local chroniclers. Shortly after the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558, Robert Barnewall, 5th Lord Trimleston, married Anne, only daughter of Richard Fyan, Alderman. In a document dated 1618, Anne’s brother is referred to as "William Fyan, of Dublin city, merchant, aged 40 years."

It would seem that like many successful Dublin merchant families, the Fyans gradually rose to the rank of landed gentry and by the close of the seventeenth century, they appear to have acquired various estates north of the capital city. Amongst these was the townland now know as Finnstown situated close to the River Liffey in the Parish of Esker. The three principle demesnes – or stately homes - within the parish of Esker were Hermitage, Woodville and Finnstown. Hermitage is now a golf club and Woodville has been demolished. Only Finnstown House, located just west of the Lucan - Newcastle road, remains open to the public. There were in addition two ruined castles in the parish – one at Ballyowen and the other at Finnstown. Again, only the Finnstown castle remains, albeit incorporated into the present day Finnstown House.