Area gets name from Norman landowner
MALAHIDE or 'Mullach Ide', meaning the hill or brow of the Hydes, probably gets its name from James de la Hyde, a Norman landowner in nearby Donabate who is mentioned by The Annals as being killed in the king's service in 1374.
It is also referred to as Mullagh-hIde or 'the headland of the extremity of the tide'. Malahide estuary is known as 'Inbhear Domnann' which derives from Inbhear or estuary and suggests Domnann as the river that flows into the estuary which could refer to the confluence of the Ward river and Broadmeadow Water which enter Malahide Bay here. Evidence of Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age (80004000BC) activity is apparent from the many flint remains uncovered in excavations on Paddy's Hill between Malahide and Portmarnock.
An early Christian church and holy well site was situated close to the modern day St Sylvester's Church. Although there are few remnants of early settlement, Malahide is believed to have been the site of an early Viking base in 793 AD, therefore pre-dating the subsequent Viking settlement of Dubh Linn or Dublin in 836AD.
After the AngloNormans arrived in the late 12th century the last Viking leader, Hammund MacTorkill is said to have settled in the Malahide area after surrendering control of Dublin. Hammund must have been unhappy with his redundancy package as he subsequently rebelled and was executed and his lands in The Grange and Broomfield West were handed over to Sir Richard Talbot by Henry II in 1174 as a reward for his military endeavours in the conquering of Ireland. From that point forward the development of the village and its harbour have been inextricably linked with the Talbots who built the first stone castle in 1250 AD.
Notably the Talbots supported the losing Jacobite side in the Battle of the Boyne but nonetheless managed to hold on to their possessions. The 17th century saw two areas of settlement developing one around the castle and another area about 1500m to the north which is depicted on Rocque's 1760 map as centered on St Sylvester's well. The present day diamond is not shown until the early part of the 19th century by which time the village had a population of over 1000, and a number of local industries, including salt harvesting.
In 1788 the Talbots constructed a canal from Malahide, through Swords to Fieldstown to enable the direct export of meal and flour but, sadly, this venture failed.
• Robert O'Hara is an archaeologist and director of Archer Heritage Planning Ltd, Balbriggan. Phone 018020403.