Throughout the castle’s history, the village of Rathdown developed to the north and west.( the location was unlocked by chance in the 18th century, when the remains of a paved street were unearthed during the draining of a field). The village, with its 20 messuages (small house plots), had been a hub of activity, which potentially included overseas trading.
“These were the residences of the burghers, the wealthier citizens of Rathdown. As the structures of these houses seem to have survived into the 18th century, it appears likely that they were built of stone, partially at least. Each residence would have been home to a family, old and young, perhaps fifteen or more in number. To the north of the castle are the outlines of what may well have been large communal houses.
The peasants lived in impermanent structures in the locality, and nothing is known or remains of these. In all, the population of Rathdown at its height in the medieval period is likely to have been a minimum of 500 souls.
The community was one of considerable wealth. This is substantiated not only by the size of the Rathdown Hoard and other coins, but also by their stock of cattle. Cattle were a valuable commodity in the Middle Ages, so it is not surprising that Rathdown was raided several times by neighbouring Irish clans.”(Smal, 1993).
Smal, Chris (1993) Ancient Rathdown and St. Crispin’s Cell, A uniquely historic landscape. Friends of Historic Rathdown, Greystones.