In 1854 the railway arrived, changing Greystones from a fishing village with a population of less than 100 to a desirable residential location and popular seaside resort with a current population of 18,000. By the 20th century, a sewage plant had incredibly been built on part of the Castle site, and the adjoining medieval kiln had been destroyed.
Demand for building land was putting pressure on the green belt between the Rathdown site and Bray Head to the north.
The Cell and farmhouse were showing signs of deterioration. The site lacked proper paths, and had dog-fouling, vandalism, graffiti, dumping, bonfire and general anti-social problems.
Local resident Chris Smal founded ‘Friends of Historic Rathdown’, and successfully battled two housing applications to prevent the historic site being engulfed by the concrete jungle.
- Alarmed at the deterioration of the buildings, and conscious of the untapped heritage, Greystones Tidy Towns, in conjunction with Redford Park Residents’ Association, have been playing an active role in improving and preserving the site.
- Site clean-ups were organised to deal with litter, dumping, weed and bramble problems.
- A comprehensive planning ‘Strategy’ was set up.
- Proper paths have been installed along with seating for strollers to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and interpretive signage to highlight the heritage.
- A year-round programme is now in place. This involves local residents giving generously of their time to keep the 4-acre site litter-free, and maintain the grounds for the enjoyment of locals and visitors.
- Errant dog-owners are being made responsible for dog-fouling.
- A contractor has been employed to mow the grass on a regular basis.
- An up-to-date geophysical survey was commissioned.
- A Community Excavation was organised.
- A Biodiversity report was commissioned.
- A wildflower meadow was initiated.