Carlow History

Ballintrane (Carlow) land purchases 1918 and 1919

Ballintrane (Carlow) land purchases 1918 and 1919

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


In February 1918 the world was still fighting another year of the Great War. Civil War was raging in Finland between Russian Communists and Finnish independence fighters.[1] In Ireland the Irish Parliamentary Party and the Sein Fein Party went head-to-head in the South Armagh by-election (the I.P.P. won by 2,324 votes to 1,305). The result temporarily halted the rise of Sinn Fein after four by-election victories.[2]

Also in the news was a meeting in Dublin of the Town Tenant’s League. This meeting was of interest to people in County Carlow as a landlord in Bagenalstown attempted to evict a shopkeeper.[3] If the land war was still ongoing among urban tenants, out in the countryside the tenant farmers were becoming owners of their own land such as two people in Ballintrane on the road between Carlow town and Ballon.

Ballintrane land purchases 1918

On 26th February 1918 Thomas Nolan of Ballintrane, Co. Carlow, purchased his farm under the 1903 Land Act from the estate of Robert A. French Brewster. The property consisted of two parcels of 10 acres 3 roots and 19 perches each. The purchase price was £254 for parcel one and £271 for parcel two or £25 in total. The government advanced the full purchase price repayable on annuities of 3¼ per cent.[4]

In 1911 Thomas Nolan (aged 37, farmer) lived with his wife Mary (aged 36) at house 8 in Ballintrane (Ballintrain). They were married in 1909 and both could read and write.[5] The dwelling house had four windows in the front façade and three rooms within used by the family.[6] There were five outhouses consisting of one stable, one cow house, one calf house, one piggery and one fowl house.[7]

It seems that Thomas Nolan was living in Ballybrommell in 1901 as an agricultural labourer and son of Michael Nolan (agricultural labourer, aged 66) and his wife Sarah Nolan, nee James (born Co. Kilkenny).[8] The land purchase acts did not only benefit tenant farmers to become the owners of their own land but help farm labourers to achieve some economic standing. In 1911 Thomas Nolan described himself as a farmer.[9]

Ballintrane land purchases 1919

One year later, in May 1919, further land purchases were made at Ballintrane. By that time the Great War was over but the Irish War of Independence had begun. Other parts of the British Empire were also at war with unrest in India and Egypt. Labour unrest across Ireland was adding to the climate of uncertainty. Yet there was also time for entertainment with a five day Feis Ceoil at the Dublin Mansion House.[10]

Meanwhile in County Carlow Mr. E. Dowling of Bagenalstown paid £75 for a two year old bullock at Carlow fair while another part of the Brewster estate at Ballintrane was sold to the occupying tenant.[11] On 16th May 1919 William O’Brien purchased a parcel of 11 acres and 3 roots from the estate of Robert A. French Brewster at Ballintrane for which the government advanced £194 as the full purchased price under the 1903 Land Act. The repayable annuities were at 3¼ per cen. On 23rd November 1911 this property was consolidated with land from the trustees of L. Walker.[12] In 1911 there was no person called William O’Brien living in Ballintrane. Across County Carlow there were five people called William O’Brien in the 1911 census but it is uncertain which person, if any, was the William O’Brien who purchased his holding in May 1919.

Also on 16th May 1919 Thomas Doyle purchased a parcel of 16 acres 3 roots and 10 perches from the estate of Robert Brewster at Coole (Rathvilly parish) with a purchase price of £315 fully advanced by the government. This holding was consolidated on 23rd November 1911 with land from the trustees of L. Walker.[13] In about 1850 Coole townland was owned by Philip Newton.[14]

Ballintrane in about 1850

In about 1850 Pilsworth Whelan of Rathglass owned 290 acres of Ballintrane while Thomas Singleton owned 2 acres. The remaindered of the 547 acres of the townland was owned by William Garrett of Janeville house. William Garrett was a cousin of Robert A.F. Brewster as noted below.



Carlow countryside

Brewster family in County Carlow

The Brewster family had settled in County Carlow in the time of Charles II and acquired a number of properties over the years and married into the local gentry families.[15] Samuel Brewster married Elizabeth Garrett, second daughter of Thomas Garrett (born 1711) of Kilgaran, otherwise Janeville, and his wife Anne, daughter of John Cole.[16]

In 1789 Anne (died 1851), daughter of Samuel Brewster, married Samuel Watson (died 1830) of Lumclone, second son of Samuel Watson of Ballydarton, Co. Carlow by his wife Mary, daughter of Jonathan Beale of Mountmellick, Co. Laois by his wife Rebecca Lecky and left one son, Thomas Henry Watson of Lunclone, Co. Carlow.[17]

Brewster in Griffith’s Valuation for Carlow

In the time of Griffith’s Valuation (c.1850) the Brewster family held the following property in County Carlow. At Rathnapish townland in the parish of Carlow Abraham Brewster was joint landlord with the Rev. Thomas Durdin of just over 36 acres of lands with a house and outbuildings (rented by James Nolan). In the parish of Haroldstown, Abraham Brewster was landlord of a number of properties in the townland of Ballykilduff Upper amounting to about 119 acres. In the townland of Haroldstown (parish of Haroldstown) Abraham Brewster rented 338 acres from Sir Ralph Howard and was landlord of three vacant houses and two occupied houses. In the parish of Tullowphelim and in the townland of that name Abraham Brewster was landlord of over 20 acres and 4 houses. In the town of Tullow Abraham Brewster was landlord of three houses.

This Abraham Brewster was son of William Bagenal Brewster of Ballinulta, Wicklow, by his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Bates. Abraham Brewster was called to the Irish bar in 1819. In 1846 he became Solicitor-General for Ireland and in 1853 was made Attorney-General.[18] In 1866 he became Lord-Chancellor of Ireland. On 26th July 1874 Abraham Brewster died at his residence, 26 Merrion Square South, Dublin, and was buried at Tullow, co. Carlow, on 30 July. By his marriage in 1819 with Mary Ann, daughter of Robert Gray of Upton House, co. Carlow, who died in Dublin on 24th November 1862, he had issue one son, Colonel William Bagenal Brewster, and one daughter, Elizabeth Mary, wife of Mr. Henry French, both of whom died in the lifetime of their father.[19]

Other Brewster land owners 1850

Other members of the Brewster family held land in County Carlow about 1850. In Fennagh parish Edward Brewster was landlord of 59 acres in the townland of Mountmelican with Henry Bruen as landlord for the remaining two acres of that townland. In the townland of Kilknock (parish of Kellistown) Sarah Brewster was landlord of about 450 acres. In the townland of Commons (parish of Ballon) William Brewster was landlord of 39 acres. Michael Brewster rented land in Dunleahny and a house in Tullowphelim.[20]

Brewster family in 1876

In 1876 the only property owned by the Brewster family in County Carlow was the 59 acres 2 roots and 17 perches held by Edward Brewster at Mountmelican.[21]

Robert A.F. Brewster as landlord

By 1889 the Brewster family had expended their holdings in the county. In that year Robert A. Brewster French-Brewster was landlord of Bennekerry. In about 1850 the townland was held by Walter and Philip Newton (Philip also owned Coole in Rathvilly, another Brewster property).[22] In 1889 John Gorman got a judicial reduction in his rent from £18 to £13 for a holding of 15 acres and 37 perches that he rented from Robert Brewster.[23]

Robert A.F. Brewster as MP

Robert Abraham Brewster French-Brewster elected Conservative M.P. for Portarlington in 1883 with 70 votes against Thomas Mayne, Liberal, with 57 votes.[24] He served as M.P. until the general election of 1885 when the constituency was abolished.

Robert A.F. Brewster in the army

After his short lived Parliamentary career Robert A. Brewster joined the army. By 19th July 1899 he was a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers and was a lieutenant by 27th June 1900. In 1899-1900 he served with the Fusiliers in the South African War. He was engaged at the battle of Colenso, and was also the at Pieter’s Hill, Hussar Hill, and Hlangwani, and went to the relief of Ladysmith. Robert Brewster also took part in operations in Transvaal, including engagement at Rooidam and the operations in the Western Transvaal under Sir Archibald Hunter.

He then changed to the Irish Guards and by 10th July 1901 was a second lieutenant. On 22nd January 1902 Robert Brewster was made a lieutenant.[25] Later Robert Brewster became a major in the Irish Guards.[26]

Death of Robert A.F. Brewster

On 17th February 1917 Robert A.B. French-Brewster died at 10 Hanover Square, Middlesex in England. In his will he left effects totalling £15,380 19s 8d. Probate was granted in London on 3rd May 1917 to Houston French and Philip Martineau.[27] The death of Robert Brewster in 1917 possibly released any impediments to the sale of his County Carlow estate to the occupying tenants. The land purchases at Ballintrane in 1918 and 1919 noted above formed part of that change of ownership which was repeated across Ireland since the 1870s and continued into the 1960s.




End of post




[1] Evening Telegraph (Dublin), 2nd February 1918, front page

[2] O’Connor, S., (ed.), The Revolution Papers, 1916-1923, number 13 (Dublin, 2016)

[3] Evening Telegraph (Dublin), 2nd February 1918, page four

[4] accessed on 12th March 2017

[5] accessed 12th March 2017

[6] accessed on 12th March 2017

[7] accessed 12th March 2017

[8] accessed on 12th March 2017

[9] accessed on 12th March 2017

[10] Freeman’s Journal, Wednesday 14th May 1919, page two, five

[11] Freeman’s Journal, Wednesday 14th May 1919, page two

[12] accessed on 12th March 2017

[13] accessed on 12th March 2017

[14] Griffith’s Valuation, Coole, Rathvilly parish, Barony of Rathvilly

[15] Walford, E., The County Families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860), p. 73

[16] Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1899, p. 162

[17] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1191

[18] Walford, E., The County Families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860), p. 73

[19] Dictionary of National Biography at,_Abraham_(DNB00)

[20] Griffith’s Valuation for County Carlow – various locations

[21] accessed on 12th March 2017

[22] Griffith’s Valuation, Bennekerry, Ballinacarrig parish, Barony of Carlow

[23] accessed on 12th March 2017

[24] Walker, B.M. (ed.), Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801-1922 (Dublin, 1978), p. 308

[25] Hart’s Annual Army List, Militia List and Imperial Yeomanry List, 1908 (London, 1908), pp. 224, 224a

[26] accessed on 17th March 2017

[27] accessed on 17th March 2017

Carlow History

Adelaide Memorial Church, Myshall, Co. Carlow

Adelaide Memorial Church, Myshall, Co. Carlow

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Church of Ireland engaged itself in erecting new parish churches that were almost uniform in their architectural form. These churches of simple lines were mostly financed by the Board of First Fruits, the official body responsible for building churches for the Church of Ireland.

In contrast to these simple churches, the parish church at Myshall, Co. Carlow is a riot of ornate style, pinnacles and colour.[1] The beauty of the Adelaide Memorial Church of Christ the Redeemer is as breath-taking as it is unexpected. And the tragic love story behind its construction is as compelling as its craftsmanship.



The legend of the Adelaide Memorial Church at Myshall, Co. Carlow was that it was raised by John Duguid of Dover, England, in memory of his wife Adelaide and his daughter Constance who were killed in a riding accident while visiting friends in Myshall area.[2]

After the burial of his wife and daughter at Myshall John Duguid erected a memorial statue of ‘Innocence’ carved by Thomas Farrell from Sicilian marble over the grave. But the harsh Irish weather caused the marble to deteriorate rapidly. This prompted John Duguid to build the Adelaide church as a protective structure around the sculpture.

The church is described as an architectural gem and is a miniature of Salisbury Cathedral in England. It is constructed in limestone over a granite base. The limestone came from Stradbally, in Co Laois, and was transported by steam engine to Myshall, 15 tons at a time. The finest of materials were used and no part of the building was left unadorned. Delicate carving can be found everywhere and especially on the Bath stone which lines the interior.[3]

Inside the church are ten rows of carved-oak pews flanking the single aisle leading up the step, into the choir stalls. Polished Peterhead granite, quarried close to the Duguid ancestral home in Aberdeen, was used for the columns of the archway into the chancel, where the eye is drawn to the colourful mosaic behind the altar. Mother-of-pearl and gold leaf are used in this depiction of the Last Supper, in the style of Leonardo da Vinci

The interior has some fine stained glass including some by Evie Hone.[4] At the consecration the local bishop described the church as “one of the finest and most finished specimens of ecclesiastical art in Ireland”.[5]


The church was consecrated in September 1913 and continues, under the official name of The Church of Christ the Redeemer, to provide a beautiful place of worship for the local Church of Ireland community.[6]

Within the church was built a mausoleum where John, Adelaide and Constance Duguid are buried. Sculptured panels on the mausoleum show the English rose and Scottish thistle (Mr. Duguid was of Scotch descent, his wife was English).[7] Much of the information about the construction and opening of Adelaide Memorial Church comes from a book written by Canon Pettipiece’s wife Kate for the occasion of the church’s consecration in 1913.

Constance Duguid

The story of the Church began in 1887 with an accident involving Constance Duguid. Constance was the daughter of John and Adelaide Duguid. Constance Duguid first came to Myshall on holiday to visit her sister, Madeline who married to a cleric and was living in the local rectory. While there she met Inglis Cornwall-Brady of Myshall Lodge. The couple began to see each other more often as they both enjoyed the fun of horse riding and their own company. The relationship blossom and they got engaged to be married.

But it was while out fox hunting that plans for the wedding came to a crashing end. It was in the field adjacent to the Adelaide Church that then 25-year-old Constance Duguid was seriously injured when she fell from a horse. A cross in the field marks the beginning of a chain of events that led, many years later, to the consecration of the new Church of Ireland place of worship in Myshall.

One, possibly fanciful version of the incident, was that a jealous former girlfriend of her fiancé spooked Duguid’s horse. The marriage of Constance’s intended to another woman within months of the accident seems to support some foul play. Constance Duguid lived for some time after the accident and knowing that she would not recover, Constance wished to be buried at Myshall.

Inglis Cornwall-Brady

The intended husband of Constance Duguid was Inglis Cornwall-Brady of Myshall Lodge. Myshall Lodge was built by Robert Cornwall on land acquired in the late eighteenth century. Robert Cornwall came from Co. Tyrone and was a nephew of Sam Faulkner of Dublin. As a barrister he was able to pick up some properties that were in trouble on the cheap such as that of Richard Whaley in Carlow. Robert Cornwall was very active in 1798 suppressing the Rebellion in County Carlow.

Major John Cornwall inherited Myshall Lodge and in 1810 married Jane Brady, daughter of Henry Brady of Limerick. They had no children and Myshall was inherited by Jane’s cousin, John Beauchamp Brady who added the name of Cornwall to his own. John Beauchamp Cornwall-Brady was High Sheriff of Carlow in 1853 and had three sons and one daughter by his wife Jane Harriet George. The eldest of these sons was John Cornwall-Brady, father of Inglis Cornwall-Brady, the intended husband of Constance Duguid.[8]



If the tragic accident of 1887 played on the mind of Inglis Cornwall-Brady he didn’t show it in public. Instead on 14th February 1888 (St. Valentine’s Day) he married Mary Louisa Watson of Ballydarton. They had one daughter called Mona. Inglis Cornwall-Brady died in 1896 aged 37 years. Three years later, in 1899, his widow married Hon. Ralph Bowyer Norton.[9]

Inglis Brady left two sisters; Florence (died 1898) and Georgiana who married (1882) Edmond Hartstonge-Weld of Rahinbawn, Co. Carlow and inherited Myshall Lodge. Georgiana and Edmond left the house in 1915 and it was burnt by the I.R.A. in 1922.[10]

Adelaide Duguid

The mother of Constance Duguid was Adelaide Duguid, an English woman. It is Adelaide’s name that was given to the new Myshall church. In the 1891 census Adelaide Duguid was living in Dover, Kent. She was born in about 1842 in Sussex.[11] Adelaide Duguid never forgot her daughter’s grave at Myshall and when she died on 30th March 1903 she was buried beside her at Myshall.[12] It was after this double loss that John Duguid decided to build a new church at Myshall as a memorial to his wife and daughter.

John Duguid

The English census of 1911 records that John Duguid was 83 years old and was born in 1828 in Argentina. The occupation of John Duguid was given a private means.[13] These private means was a wine importer.[14] By all accounts John Duguid was a well-travelled, formidable man, standing more than six feet tall. He was the son of a Scottish father and English mother, and was raised in the manner of Spanish nobility.

In his early life John Duguid lived many adventures included riding coast to coast across bandit-country Mexico. Into adulthood he decided to settled down and in time he took over his father’s successful wine business, based himself in Dover and made it a success.

Earlier in 1889 John Duguid appeared among the Register of Electors in the parish of St. John the Apostle in the Borough of Dover in Kent.[15] In 1891 John Duguid was also on the same Register of Electors.[16]

After the death of his wife John Duguid further put to grief. When she was laid to rest at Myshall John Duguid struck up a close friendship with the then rector, Canon Pettipiece.

An offer by Duguid to fund the reroofing of Pettipiece’s church, as well as the need to erect a protective case around the weather-beaten statue of Innocence, developed into a far more ambitious plan for a new church on the site, incorporating his loved ones’ tombs.

“For him it was to stand as an exemplary mark of permanence, when everything in life can be swept away,” said today’s rector in Myshall, the Rev. Lester Scott.



John Duguid died, aged 87, just months before the church was consecrated, on September 29th, 1913, so he was there only in spirit to hear the opening service. John Duguid did get to see the church and, in fact, there is a photograph in existence of him outside the church. John’s ashes were buried in Adelaide Memorial Church, alongside his wife and daughter. On consecration day the Duguid family was represented by his nephew Basil Duguid and his wife.[17]

Architect of the Adelaide Church

The Adelaide Memorial Church stands in beautifully maintained grounds and was designed by George Coppinger Ashlin, one of the foremost architects in the country in the early twentieth century.[18]



George Coppinger Ashlin was born about 1837 at Carrigrenane House, Little Island in Co. Cork. He was the third son of John Mason Ashlin (who died when George was an infant) and Dorinda Coppinger of Midleton. George Coppinger Ashlin was educated in Liege (Belguim), at Oscott College and at the Royal Academy in London. Between 1856 and 1860 he studied architecture under Edward Welby Pugin, son of Augustus Welby Pugin.[19]

George Coppinger Ashlin returned to Ireland and worked on various commissions with Edward Welby Pugin. These included SS Peter and Paul’s, Cork, (1859), Convent of Mercy, Clonakilty, County Cork (1867), Convent and Orphanage, William Street North, Dublin (1867) and the SS. Augustine and John, Thomas Street, Dublin (1860).

In 1867 George Coppinger Ashlin married Mary Ashlin (aged 66) who was born about 1845 in England. Mary Ashlin was formerly Mary Pugin, Edward’s sister. They had one child. In 1911 George Ashlin was lived on Killiney Hill Road.[20]

Among the works of George Coppinger Ashlin, apart from the Adelaide Memorial Church, included about fifty other churches, Clery’s Department Store in Dublin, St. Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh and SS. Peter and Paul’s Church in Cork. On 10th December 1921 George Coppinger Ashlin died at his residence.[21]




“It cost £50,000 to build the church, which is literally, millions in today’s money. At the time, it would have bought up most of Carlow,” explained Rev. Lester Scott. In conclusion to the story of the Adelaide Memorial Church we leave with the words of Rev. Scott when he said “The church is a memorial to love and that love comes from God, so really this church is a testament to God’s love.”[22]







End of post



[1] Anon, An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Carlow (Government of Ireland, 2002), p. 36

[2] accessed on 16 September 2015

[3] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say! (Carlow, 1993), p. 36

[4] accessed on 18 September 2015

[5] accessed on 16 September 2015

[6] accessed on 16 September 2015

[7] accessed on 16 September 2015

[8] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 40

[9][9] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 38

[10] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 38

[11] for Adelaide Duguid in English census 1891 accessed on 16 September 2015

[12] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 35

[13] for John Duguid in English census 1911 accessed on 16 September 2015

[14] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 34

[15] accessed on 16 September 2015

[16] accessed on 16 September 2015

[17] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 36

[18] accessed on 16 September 2015

[19] Tim Cadogan & Jeremiah Falvey, A Biographical Dictionary of Cork (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006), p. 8

[20] accessed on 18 September 2015

[21] Tim Cadogan & Jeremiah Falvey, A Biographical Dictionary of Cork, p. 8

[22] accessed on 16 September 2015

Carlow History

Huntington castle, Clonegal, Co. Carlow

Huntington castle, Clonegal, Co. Carlow

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

Huntington castle lies on the edge of the village of Clonegal in County Carlow. The castle is a private house, yet it is open to the public for guided tours throughout June, July, August and September. It was the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon.[1]


Front facade of Huntington castle

The original tower house was built in the 15th century as a stronghold for the Cavanagh family.[2] In 1607, Richard Netterville, Corballies, Co. Dublin, owned part of Clonegal. In that year he entrusted all his Irish lands, including Clonegal, to Christopher Fleming and others for the use of Richard Netterville. On 4th September 1607 Richard Netterville died and was succeeded by his nephew Nicholas Netterville.[3]

In October 1641 the manor of Clonegal was held by Lawrence Esmond, Lord Esmond and his wife, Dame Ellis.[4] Lawrence Esmond was the second son of Walter Esmond of Johnstown, Co. Wexford, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Michael Furlong of Horetown. Lawrence Esmond was sheriff of Co. Waterford in 1607 and was constable of Duncannon fort, Co. Wexford from 1606 until his death in 1644 or May 1645; the year is different in various sources.[5]

In 1622 Lawrence Esmond was created Lord Esmond, Baron of Limerick. In 1628 he married Ellis, widow of successively John Sherlock and Sir Edward Gough, daughter of Walter Butler, 4th son of James Butler, Earl of Ormond. Although Lawrence Esmond at one time was Major General of all Royal forces in Ireland, Lord Esmond joined the Parliament cause in 1644 and defended Duncannon fort during a long siege by Confederate forces. The fort surrendered in March 1645. After his death with no children, his titles became extinct and administration of his estate was granted to his nephew, Richard Esmond.[6]

Clonegal passed in 1645 to Katherine Gough, wife of the late Patrick Esmond, for use during her life. Revenue from half the manor was assigned to the daughters of Patrick Esmond.[7] Due to the strategic importance of the village of Clonegal on the road between Dublin and Wexford, the castle was captured by Oliver Cromwell as he marched on Kilkenny in 1649.[8]

The Esmonde family laid out most of the gardens in the 17th century. In 1663, Lawrence Esmonde of Ballignestragh, Co. Wexford, filed a claim for various properties in Counties Wexford Tipperary, and Carlow including the manor of Clonegal. This Lawrence Esmond called the place Huntington castle after the ancestral home place in Lincolnshire and was the son of Sir Thomas Esmond, baronet.[9] Thomas Esmond was the son of Lawrence Esmond, Baron of Limerick, by his first wife Ailish O’Flaherty, a granddaughter of Grace O’Malley. Lawrence Esmond was an ardent Protestant while his wife was a devout Catholic and they disagreed on what religion their son Thomas should follow. One night Ailish left with the child and returned to Connacht and Lawrence Esmond subsequently married Ellis Butler. Thomas Esmond was declared illegitimate and excluded from inheriting the Barony of Limerick.[10]


The Huntington castle gardens

The gardens at Huntington castle include the French limes on the avenue, the lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the majority of yew trees which comprise the Yew Walk.[11]


In the second half of the seventeenth century, Huntington castle passed from the Esmond family on the marriage to John Durdin, a prosperous merchant from Essex who moved to Ireland in the 1630s. John Durdin enjoyed the good Carlow air and lived to the remarkable age of 108.[12]

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century further extensions were made around the original tower house at Huntington. Yet the house does not figure highly in the recorded social life of the Carlow gentry. In Edward Walford’s book of 1860 recorded the gentry families of the United Kingdom and Ireland, Huntington castle is excluded from the thirty-three gentry houses mentioned.[13] The house also escapes mention in the work of the Carlow gentry by Jimmy O’Toole.[14]

In 1875 Alexander Durdin of Huntington castle held 296 acres in County Carlow which was valued at £269. Rev. Alexander Durdin of Lower Mount Street in Dublin held 1,121 aces in County Carlow.[15]

Alexander Durdin made further improvements to the gardens at Huntington. A lake at the bottom of the wilderness garden at Huntington was built for ornamental purposes and next to it was constructed one of the earliest water turbine houses in Ireland, providing the castle with its own electricity as early as 1888.[16]


In 1880, Melian Durdin married a Robertson. The Durdin-Robertson family have kept Huntington castle since that time.[17] In 1901 Helen Durdin-Robertson was living in the castle with her mother-in-law, Melian Durdin. Also there was Helen’s son, Magnus Robertson and her daughter, Helen Robertson with nine servants.[18] In 1901 there were 40 windows in the front façade and 22 rooms within along with 31 outbuildings.[19] In 1911 Arthur M. Haines rented Huntington castle from Herbert Robertson. The house then had 38 windows in the front façade and 25 rooms within with 30 outbuildings.[20] The castle today (2016) is still a private house, yet it is open to the public for guided tours throughout June, July, August and September.





End of post


[1],_Clonegal accessed on 17 December 2016

[2],_Clonegal accessed on 17 December 2016

[3] Margaret C. Griffith (ed.), Calendar of Inquisitions formerly in the Office of the Chief Remembrancer of the Exchequer prepared from the MSS of the Irish Record Commission (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 1991), No. J1 54/35

[4] Geraldine Tallon (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663 (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 2006), no. 415

[5] G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage (Alan Sutton, Gloucester, 1987), Vol. V, p. 112; Geraldine Tallon (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663, no. 415

[6] G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. V, p. 112

[7] Geraldine Tallon (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663, no. 415

[8],_Clonegal accessed on 17 December 2016

[9] Geraldine Tallon (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663, no. 415

[10] accessed on 17 December 2016

[11],_Clonegal accessed on 17 December 2016

[12] accessed on 17 December 2016

[13] Edward Walford, The County Families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860), p. 812

[14] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say! (Carlow, 1993)

[15] accessed on 17 December 2016

[16],_Clonegal accessed on 17 December 2016

[17] accessed on 17 December 2016

[18] accessed on 17 December 2016

[19] accessed on 17 December 2016

[20] accessed on 17 December 2016

Carlow History

Duckett’s Grove: a mansion house that’s upside down

Duckett’s Grove: a mansion house that’s upside down

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


Duckett’s Grove is a ruined mansion near the northern boundary of Co. Carlow. Its name is taken from the Duckett family who held the area for about two hundred and fifty years. At its height many visitors came to Duckett’s Grove to enjoy the place and their company. After the departure of the Duckett family and the fire of 1933 the visitors still come. Today visitors come with curiosity to understand the place which is home only to the birds. Yet Duckett’s Grove is no straight forward gentry’s mansion. It is rather a mansion house that’s upside down in many respects.


The front door and side of Duckett’s Grove

Duckett’s Grove in the wrong townland

The present ruined mansion and associated buildings lie just inside the eastern boundary line of townland of Rainestown. Yet when Thomas Duckett, ancestor of the Ducketts of Duckett’s Grove, came to the area in 1695 he purchased the townland of Kneestown which adjoins Rainestown on the east.[1] In 1852 John D. Duckett owned the entire 201 acres of Kneestown where he had some farm buildings and land and no residents. The entire area of the townland of Rainestown (620 acres) was in 1852 owned by William Burton of Burton Hall. John Duckett only had a long term lease on 179 acres around Duckett’s Grove from William Burton thus the Duckett family didn’t really own the land their house was built on.[2] This long term lease was taken out sometime in the eighteen century as Jonas Duckett (1720-1797) was the first to address himself as of Duckett’s Grove.[3]


The area around Duckett’s Grove c.1840 and c.1900

John Duckett also didn’t own the grand entrance gateway at Russellstown Cross Road which was owned by his brother, William Duckett of Russellstown Park.[4] The grand house at Russellstown Park was demolished in the 1950s by the Land Commission but in the early 1900s the Ordnance Survey had already removed the house and outbuildings from their maps.[5]

Russellstown Cross Roads gateway

The grand entrance gateway at Russellstown Cross Roads is the wrong way round and in the wrong place. There are in fact two gateways in one structure at the Cross Roads. The smaller gateway opens to along avenue the heads north-east across Russellstown townland and towards the two grand houses of Rainestown House to the left and Duckett’s Grove to the right. This long avenue is used by present day visitors to Duckett’s Grove. The grander gateway at the Cross Roads is not in use today but in the past lead eastwards at first before curving round to the north-east and heading straight for Duckett’s Grove. This abandoned avenue can still be seen today as visitors leave the mansion house and take the right hand turn towards Rainestown House. The abandoned avenue was joined by another abandoned avenue that came from a gate way further east along the Russellstown road at a ninety degree turn. Thus the Russellstown gate way takes visitors in the wrong direction.


Russellstown gateway – the usual entrance is on the left

The Russellstown gateway is also in the wrong place because before 1840 the straight avenue from the Russellstown Cross Road was just an ordinary public road. The original entrance to Duckett’s Grove was via a gate way and gate lodge located half way down the straight avenue on the right. The third gateway into Duckett’s Grove is located straight past the house and out onto the R418 Castledermot to Killerrig road. The accompanying map shows the road patterns around Duckett’s Grove in the 1840s and around 1900.


The grand entrance at Russellstown cross road which once led to Duckett’s Grove

Duckett’s Grove built of brick

Another oddity about Duckett’s Grove is the materials used in its construction and the manner of its eventual destruction. The vast majority of Duckett’s Grove is built of brick. Often when you build with brick, one thinks of fire brick. If the builders of Duckett’s Grove had ideas that the extensive use of brick would protect the house from fire they were to be sadly mistaken. In April 1933 locals notice smoke coming from the empty house and took swift action to prevent disaster. But on 20th April 1933 a second fire took hold of the building and consumed it in its entirety. Nobody knows if the two fires were started accidentally or otherwise but the red bricks did little to stop it.[6]


Remains of spiral stairway from basement to ground floor

The unseen servants made visible

The fire of 1933 destroyed the mansion of Duckett’s Grove yet exposed the underground cellars where the servants who kept the house in running order worked away unseen when the house was standing.

But even long before the fire the servant quarters were empty. In 1911 Duckett’s Grove was described as a house with 24 windows in front and 40 rooms within and 27 outbuildings.[7] The census records show no servants were living in the house. Instead, at that time William Mackey lived in the house with his sister and acted as land agent for Maria Duckett.

This is in contrast with the early years of the house when the servant quarters were a hive of activity. In the 1841 census 17 people lived in Rainestown in two houses and by 1851 there were 32 people in the townland living in three houses.[8]Although we can’t say for certain how many of these people lived at Duckett’s Grove it would seem to be the case that the number of servants at the house increased in those years.

At one time there were eleven men employed full-time maintaining the lawns, gardens and driveways. Along these driveways for nearly eighty years visitors in great numbers came to picnic on the well maintained grounds. As many as 150 sat down for lunch on the same day. The great kitchens under Duckett’s Grove were hot with cooking at those times. The ice house out by the back avenue would help to keep thing cool. But by 1900 the family had turned cold against this open policy as visitors damaged flowers entered the enclosed yards, looking in the windows and laughing loudly.[9]


The main kitchens 

Catholic servants not approved but still employed

Maria Duckett, wife of William Duckett (last male owner of Duckett’s Grove), was said to have a hatred of Catholics and the Catholic Church. It was said that she would not employ Catholics. She was reported as saying that “people are in league with the Catholics to poison and kill me”.[10] Yet the census returns for 1901 and 1911 show at that time that she was not so against Catholic servants as later commentators may have suggested.

In 1901 the census returns account for six servants at Duckett’s Grove of whom five were Roman Catholics or as William Duckett called them “Church of Rome”.[11] William Duckett died in 1908 and his widow left the house for Raglan Road in Dublin. There in 1911 Maria Duckett had five servants two of whom were Roman Catholics or as it is written “Church of Rome”.[12] If Maria Duckett was totally against Catholics among her employees it must have occurred later in life.

The 1926 census, which is the next after 1911, is not due for publication until 2026 and thus we must wait ten years to see the religious affiliations of her servants at that time. Maybe Maria’s dislike of Catholics could be from a discovery that the Duckett family were not all Protestant. Back in the days of religious Reformation and Counter Reformation in England many members of the Duckett family in Lancashire and Westmoreland stayed Catholic while a prosperous Protestant branch settled in Wiltshire. The Catholic branches produced two Catholic martyrs in the form of James and John Duckett. Another member, John Duckett, was priest in 1660 to Colonel Mervyn Touchet, later Earl of Castlehaven.[13]

Servants well cared for

Even if the Ducketts kept their servants unseen in the basement or even may have disliked their religion, the family did have a reputation of caring for their servants. New suits of clothes, boots and a cash bonus was given to the men servants at Christmas while their wives got new bed clothes and cash with gifts for the children. Such was the respect for the family by the locals that when the I.R.A. occupied the house they left it intact and did not burn it or loot it like they did at other houses like Mitchelstown Castle in Co. Cork.


Servant’s quarters

Of course in any relationship there will be ups and downs. In 1893 William Duckett of Duckett’s Grove brought an action against his former coachman and groom, John Sweeney, for theft. John Sweeny countered with an action of slander and claimed damages of £500. The case was settled with Sweeney getting £65 in damages.[14] In 1901 John Sweeney was living at Strawhall near Carlow town and employed as a coachman – though not for the Ducketts.[15]

The walled gardens at the far end

Another curiosity at Duckett’s Grove is the situation of the two walled gardens. The two walled gardens are separated from the mansion house by the enclosed farm yard and servant buildings. Because today’s visitors enter the mansion complex via the farm yard entrance with the walled gardens to the left and the mansion far to the right you get a strange sense of situation. It would seem that visitors to the house of the nineteenth century would have to walk through the farm yard seeing servants and heaps of horse dung to get to the gardens from the house.


It is only when you go to the far end of the gardens that you find a sculptured doorway through which visitors of the past entered the gardens. This doorway is on the south side of the gardens.



Yet still the gardens seem to be place in an odd place. Visitors of the nineteenth century would have to exit the mansion by a side door or the front door and walk around the outside of the walled farm yard to get to the gardens. It would seem better if the walled gardens were at the side of Duckett’s Grove rather than at the further rear of the house.

Of course if the original Duckett’s Grove was in Kneestown townland then the walled gardens would be right beside the house and not far away from it. The townland boundary between Kneestown and Rainestown passes just outside the eastern wall of the walled gardens.

Duckett’s Grove entry by the back door

Owing to the 1933 fire present-day visitors don’t enter the mansion house by the front door or the door frame of the front door. This is because the front door is barred with an iron gate which is mostly locked. Instead modern visitors enter the enclosed farm yard, pass through the servant’s area and enter the mansion house via the back door. This line of approach allows visitors to see the workings behind the big house and get an appreciation that these large gentry’ houses may have been built by a landlord family but could only operate with all the servants and their associated buildings in the back.


The front door – or should say gate – into the mansion house

Duckett’s Grove in conclusion

There are possibly other curiosities at Duckett’s Grove waiting to be discovered such as the oval window on the south side of the main reception room that was changed into a square window with semi-circular top. Every visit brings new discoveries and new wonders. It is a wonderland of exploration and discovery – an Alice in Wonderland place – even if it is a mansion house that’s upside down.


The north facade with gateway to enclosed farm yard in middle picture & house to right




End of post




[1] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say! (Carlow, 1993), p. 101

[2] Griffith’s Valuation, Rainestown townland, Killerig parish, Carlow barony, Co. Carlow

[3] Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (London, 1899), p. 125

[4] Griffith’s Valuation, Russellstown townland, Killerig parish, Carlow barony, Co. Carlow

[5] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 107; historic 25 inch maps 1888-1913

[6] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 104

[7] accessed on 15 September 2016

[8] accessed on 15 September 2016

[9] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 102

[10] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say!, pp. 97, 98

[11] accessed on 15 September 2016

[12] accessed on 15 September 2016

[13] J. Anthony Williams, Catholic recusancy in Wiltshire 1660-1791 (Catholic Record Society, 1968), p. 100

[14] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 103

[15] accessed 23 September 2016

Carlow History

John Burgess: an evicted Carlow tenant reinstated

John Burgess: an evicted Carlow tenant reinstated

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


In the 1910 Parliamentary report of the Estates Commission only one former tenant in Co. Carlow was successfully reinstated in his former holding under the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Act, 1907. On 25th April 1898 John Burgess was evicted from his holding at Coolnamara in Co. Carlow. John Burgess paid £16 9s 4d for sixteen acres of land on the estate of Walter Kavanagh.[1] The townland of Coolnamara was situated in the civil parish of Ullard in the Barony of Lower St. Mullins in County Carlow. It contains about 261 acres and is on the R703 heading north-east out of Graiguenamanagh.

Coolnamara in 1827

In 1827 an earlier John Burgess held thirteen aces and three roots of land in the townland of Coolnamara according to the Tithe Applotment books. Coolnamara measured about 261 acres but only 155 acres qualified under the Tithe books.[2] Pasture land was not subject to Tithe payments. We can say therefore that John Burgess had thirteen acres of tillage ground and the remaining eleven acres was in pasture.

In 1827 the Church of Ireland churchwardens for Ullard and Graig calculated £69 10s as the money needed to pay parish expenses for the year. This money would be mainly raise through the payment of Tithes on tillage land with Protestants and Catholics contributing to the collection.[3]

In the late 1820s and early 1830s there was great unrest and resistance across the country to the continuation to paying Tithes to the Church of Ireland. Due to intimidation and outrages the Tithe collectors had made no attempt at recovering the amounts due. In a report to the government the collectors said any legal proceedings against the defaulters would be unsuccessful due to the unrest. In 1831 John Burgess, farmer, was listed among eleven other people in Coolnamara as a Tithe defaulter. In the parish of Ullard there were 147 defaulters. After further unrest and long debate in Parliament the Tithe payment was transferred to the landlord who in most cases passed the bill onto the tenants as part of the rent payment.

Coolnamara and Mount Leinster

Coolnamara looking towards Mount Leinster

Coolnamara in 1850

In about 1850 John Burgess held twenty-four acres and twenty perches of land with a dwelling house and outhouses at Coolnamara. The land of John Burgess was worth £16 and his buildings valued at £2. John’s landlord was Michael Sweetman who in turn held his property from Thomas Kavanagh. John Burgess was one of seven farmers in the townland which included Michael Sweetman. The biggest farmer was Redmond Dalton was forty-two acres.[4]

In the 1851 census reported 103 people living in Coolnamara compared to 113 people in 1841. In 1841 there were 16 dwelling houses and this had increased to 17 houses by 1851.[5] Clearly Coolnamara was little affected by the Great Famine of the 1840s and the 1850s were good also as the population remained at 103 in the 1861 census.[6]

The Kavanagh landlords of Coolnamara

This Thomas Kavanagh III was the first son of Thomas Kavanagh II of Borris House by his second wife Lady Harriet Le Poer Trench, daughter of 2nd Earl of Clancarty, a staunch Presbyterian. Thomas Kavanagh II was the youngest son of Thomas Kavanagh I by his wife Lady Suzanne, daughter of the 16th Earl of Ormond. Thomas Kavanagh II succeeded to the Kavanagh estate following the early deaths of his three brothers. Sometime before 1798 Thomas Kavanagh II conformed to the Church of Ireland. Thomas Kavanagh II was twice married. His first wife was Lady Elizabeth Butler by whom he had nine daughters and one son. In 1825 he married his second wife, Lady Harriet Le Poer Trench and she gave birth to three sons, the youngest of whom was the limbless Arthur McMurrough-Kavanagh.

Thomas Kavanagh II died in 1837 and was successively succeeded by his sons Walter Kavanagh, Thomas Kavanagh (owner of 1850) and Charles Kavanagh. After the death of Charles Kavanagh in 1853 the limbless Arthur McMurrough-Kavanagh became lord of Borris House.[7]

Michael Burgess of Coolnamara

In November 1846 Michael Burgess of Coolnamara was sponsor for the baptism of Daniel, son of Arthur Kavanagh and Margaret Burgess.[8] In October 1850 Michael Burgess of Headfield married Anne Moran with Michael Dalton and Anne Doyle as witnesses.[9] In February 1853 Michael Burgess of Coolnamara and his wife Anne Murrin baptised their daughter Bridget. Ellen Burgess and Stephen Murrin were the sponsors.[10] Michael Burgess was possibly a son of John Burgess.

Kavanagh evictions

After the death of Thomas Kavanagh II in 1837 a good number of tenants were evicted from the estate in the name of land improvement. At Ballydine 208 people were evicted. Some of the evictions were in situations where the leases of middlemen had expired.[11] In 1850 John Burgess held his land from a middleman. After these middlemen leases expired some of the under-tenants were adopted as direct tenants of the Kavanagh landlord. As we see from the above the Burgess holding at Coolnamara came directly under the Kavanaghs between 1850 and 1898.

In 1879-80 the Kavanagh estate came under pressure from tenants who variously were unable or unwilling to pay their rent. The estate was the biggest recipient of financial support from the Government to keep it out of the bankruptcy courts. See related article =

On 25th April 1898 John Burgess was evicted from his holding at Coolnamara. John Burgess had paid £16 9s 4d for sixteen acres of land.[12] But it seems that John Burgess was unable to pay the rent, or unwilling to do so, and was evicted. The exact circumstances are unknown but non-payment of rent was the official reason.

eviction in co clare

Photo of an eviction in Co. Clare not unlike

Burgess house with its three windows and thatched roof

In the three months from April to June 1898 there were twelve eviction notice filed in the Carlow county court.[13] A small number compared to the 309 evictions in County Mayo but every eviction is somebody’s life and not just a statistic. It seems that in the twelve Carlow cases above, eviction was not immediate and that all were given caretaker status on their holdings for a brief time.[14] Overall there were 1,438 evictions in 1898 across Ireland for non-payment of rent, a small increase on the 1897 figure.[15]

The 1901 census

After his eviction in 1898 John Burgess disappears from the records for a time. The 1901 census records that the house of John Burgess was vacant and held by Walter Kavanagh.[16] The evicted John Burgess is not recorded in the census. He was not living in Ireland on census night in April 1901 but it is unclear if he had moved temporarily or permanently abroad. Instead the 1901 census a person called John Burgess (aged fifty-two years), was an unmarried farm servant in the household of Michael Dalton at house number three in the townland of Coolnamara.[17] Elsewhere another John Burgess (aged forty years) lived with his family at Ballaghaderneen by Fennagh in Co. Carlow.[18]

Political fortunes of Walter Kavanagh

It is not known where John Burgess lived between 1898 and 1907. After the passage of the Tenant eviction Act of 1907 John Burgess applied to the Estates Commission for redress. In the meantime the political fortunes of his former landlord were temporarily restored. In 1908 Walter McMurrough-Kavanagh was nominated as a Nationalist candidate in the Co. Carlow by-election. The vacancy was caused by the death of John Hammond, an anti-Parnellite, who was first elected M.P. for the County in 1891. At the end there was no contest and Walter McMurrough-Kavanagh was elected unopposed. It was a big change from the heavy defeat suffered by his father, Arthur McMurrough-Kavanagh, in 1880 when the tenants voted comprehensively for two Home Rule candidates.[19] But Walter’s time in Parliament was short lived. Before the 1910 Walter disagreed with the Government’s tax policies and didn’t contest the general election in January 1910 in which Michael Molloy was returned for Carlow.[20]

At a local level Walter McMurrough-Kavanagh served as chairman of Carlow County Council from 1907 to 1918 but lost his job due to his support for conscription. He died July 1922 leaving two sons.[21]

John Burgess reinstated to family land

By December 1909 the Estates Commission had reinstated John Burgess on a holding of twenty-four acres and twenty perches at Coolnamara. This was the same area and place as his ancestor had in 1850. Back in 1898 John Burgess was evicted from sixteen acres. It is not clear if the eight acres was held under a different lease agreement.

The annuity payable was £12 14s 10d on the twenty-four acres. John Burgess received £80 towards his building and other improvements. This amount was to be repayable as part of his annuity payment. John Burgess got £100 as a free non-repayable grant towards purchasing stock and farm implements.[22] The Poor Law Valuation of the former holding held by John Burgess and his new farm is not given.

1911 census

In the 1911 census John Burgess lived as a single farmer in house number four in the townland of Coolnamara. John Burgess was a Roman Catholic and was born in Co. Carlow. In 1911 John Burgess gave his age as thirty-nine and could read and write.[23] John’s dwelling house had three windows at the front of the house and was strongly built with a slate roof. It seems that John Burgess may have put on the slate roof as in 1901 the house had a thatched roof. John used three rooms in the house and had three outhouses.[24] The three outhouses consisted of one cow house, one barn and one shed.[25]

Later history

The later history of John Burgess after 1911 is unknown to this author. It is hoped that he enjoyed a long and happy life on his ancestral property. No person with the Burgess surname lives today at Coolnamara according to the telephone directory.




End of post




[1] accessed on 19 August 2016


[3] accessed on 19 August 2016

[4] Griffith’s Valuation, Coolnamara, Ullard Parish, Lower St. Mullins Barony, Co. Carlow

[5] accessed on 19 August 2016

[6] accessed on 19 August 2016

[7] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say! (Carlow, 1993), pp. 131, 132

[8] accessed on 19 August 2016

[9] accessed on 19 August 2016

[10] accessed on 19 August 2016

[11] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, p. 136

[12] accessed on 19 August 2016

[13] accessed on 19 August 2016

[14] accessed on 19 August 2016

[15] accessed on 19 August 2016

[16] accessed on 19 August 2016

[17] accessed on 19 August 2016

[18] accessed on 19 August 2016

[19] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow Gentry: What will the neighbours say!, pp. 134, 135, 136

[20] B.M. Walker (ed.), Parliamentary election results in Ireland, 1801-1922 (Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 1978), p. 332

[21] accessed on 19 August 2016

[22] accessed on 19 August 2016

[23] accessed on 19 August 2016

[24] accessed on 19 August 2016

[25] accessed on 19 August 2016

Carlow History, Pre-Historic Ireland

Browneshill Dolmen, Co. Carlow

Browneshill Dolmen, Co. Carlow

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

Browneshill dolmen

Browneshill dolmen is located a few miles outside Carlow town on R726, also known as Pollerton Road. The dolmen is located on the right side of the road when heading eastwards out of Carlow town and towards Killerrig and Hacketstown. The townland name is Kernanstown and the Browneshill name comes from the fact that the dolmen was located in the Browneshill estate.

The dolmen is situated on a north facing slope under the ridge line. It consists of a massive capstone sloping to the south and resting, in 2016, on a flat stone. In former times the capstone was embedded into the earth. A sloping capstone is a feature of dolmens in which the capstone slopes towards the back of the monument.

This capstone is estimated to weight about 100 tons (the information board beside the dolmen claims 150 tons) and is claimed to be the heaviest in Europe. The north end of the capstone is held up by three standing stones, with a fourth stone standing free nearby.[1] It is not clear if the capstone was sourced locally or was brought from a distance.



Megalithic monument

The Browneshill dolmen is an example of the numerous megalithic monuments which dot the landscape. The word ‘megalithic’ comes from two Greek words mega and lithos which mean large stones. The 100 ton capstone at Browneshill certainly keeps to that meaning.[2]

About 40,000 megalithic monuments exist across Northern and Western Europe. Many are situated in imposing landscapes and a good number have a cult following on the tourist map. These megalithic monuments are the most visible relics of the prehistoric past in Northern Europe.[3]

There are about 1,200 megalithic monuments in Ireland of which the best known is Newgrange. The Irish megaliths, like there Northern Europe cousins, are grouped into four main types: court-cairns (329 examples), portal-tomb (161), wedge-tomb (387) and passage-tomb (300).[4]

Megalithic tomb

The megalithic monuments of Northern Europe have attracted the interest of antiquarians since the seventeenth century but it is only since the 1960s that a proper scientific study of the monuments has occurred.[5] In the past the megalithic monuments have been generally described as megalithic tombs but so few have been excavated that a blanket term of ‘tombs’ may not be accurate in every case. Of the small percentage of Irish megalithic tombs that were excavated only a certain number contained human bones.[6] But the soil type may have erased any previous remains over the centuries.

Dating the monuments

Because so few monuments have been excavated, and the structures are made from un-dateable stone, it is difficult to put a precise date on the monuments. They are generally dated by radiocarbon analysis to the middle to late Neolithic period.[7] The Neolithic period is dated to about 4,000 to 2,000 BC. This period saw the large scale introduction of agriculture across Northern Europe and the decline in the hunter/gathering culture of the Mesolithic. Wheat and barley were the new crops and Browneshill portal-tomb continues that heritage as it sits in a field of barley or wheat in most years.

From about 3800 BC the Neolithic people started to build megalithic monuments of stone. Why they started to build these grand monuments when all around them were timber structures is difficult to answer. Because cremations and human remains lie within the monuments it is presumed they were tombs to honour the Neolithic dead or maybe they were built as a combination of religious centre for the living and home for the dead.[8]

Medieval churches were religious buildings that were occasionally used as burial places within for important local people. When the churches went into ruins after the Reformation with the change over from the Roman Catholic religion to the Protestant religion, increasing numbers of locals were buried within the abandoned churches.


In the past, these megalithic monuments have been called variously druid’s altar, dolmens, cromlechs, giant’s graves or Diarmuid and Grainne beds.[9] The Browneshill monument is usually called a dolmen and in the first Ordnance Survey map of 1840 was called a cromlech.[10] To avoid confusion with other megalithic tombs the dolmen is now usually referred to as a portal-tomb.[11]

Most portal-tombs in Ireland are found in Mid-Ulster in Counties Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Cavan. Another group lie in north County Clare and south Galway while in Leinster there is a chain of portal-tombs from south County Dublin through Carlow, Kilkenny and into east Waterford. Munster south of a line from Limerick city to Dungarvan in Co. Waterford has no known portal-tombs. Another empty area for portal-tombs is in the great central plain of Leinster and the centre of Connacht.[12] On the other hand Munster just loves wedge tombs and an arc from Dublin through Meath and Westmeath onto Sligo loves passage tombs. This regional preference is not totally understood – could it be different races of Neolithic people or just changing fashion?

Scholars disagree on where portal-tombs originated. Some says that they started in Mid-Ulster and spread to Clare and Leinster before crossing the Irish Sea to Wales and Cornwall with further examples in the Cotswold/Severn area. Other scholars say portal-tombs started in Cornwall and spread into Wales and onto Ireland.[13]

The portal-tomb is generally seen as an early example of megalithic monuments. It is generally agreed among some scholars that portal-tombs are derived from court-tombs and that court-tombs are the earliest example of the megalithic tomb.[14] But other scholars question this theory and that portal-tombs because of their very simplicity may predate the other types of megalithic tombs.[15] Over time the tombs became more elaborate, complex and larger.[16] But a good portal-tomb such as that at Poulnabrone in Co. Clare or at Kilclooney in Co. Donegal can be the most dramatic of megalithic monuments when viewed against the skyline. The Browneshill portal-tomb is set into the hillside and doesn’t display the same dramatic image of its cousins.



A portal-tomb is an above-ground burial chamber, consisting of between three and seven standing stones holding up one or two capstones with the capstone sloping downwards to the rear of the monument. Usually a closing slab was placed between the front portal stones. The Browneshill portal-tomb has two portal stones, one closing stone and a spare free standing stone to the side.[17]

In former times there could have been other free standing stones surrounding the portal-tomb but were remove. An proper archaeological excavation would establish if any large stones are missing from the site. If stones were removed, they could have been reused on early church buildings to continue a religious attachment to the Browneshill portal-tomb.



The word ‘dolmen’, which was formerly used to describe these monuments, comes from two Breton words which mean ‘stone table’ and portal-tombs look like giant tables.[18] Portal-tombs usually have only one chamber but two chamber examples exist as at Ballyrenan, Co. Tyrone.[19]

Although a full examination of every portal-tomb is needed to establish beyond doubt, it is generally believed that portal-tombs were not covered by earthen mounds even if some portal-tombs are near mounds such as at Malin More in Co. Donegal. The Browneshill portal-tomb did have cairn around it up to the nineteenth century and a subsidiary chamber which stood at some distance to the rear of the tomb. What we see therefore in portal-tombs is what is left for us to see. What kind of portal-tomb the Neolithic people saw at Browneshill and elsewhere is difficult to say for certain.[20]

Within the portal-tomb, based on the few excavated examples, was discovered cremated bone or a combination of cremation and inhumation bone.[21] Also in the tombs were grave goods such as Neolithic pottery, flint leaf-shaped arrow-heads, and stone beads.[22]

Wider landscape

The Browneshill portal-tomb is no isolated monument in the Carlow countryside. Across the wider landscape are other monuments to the Neolithic people. At Haroldstown there is a well preserved portal-tomb consisting of two slightly tiled capstones supported by ten standing stones.[23]

Away from the grand monuments of port-tombs Carlow is noted for a distinct group of Neolithic single burials known as the Linkardstown type, after the excavations of Joseph Raftery there in 1944. The burials in a massive stone cist consist of a single adult with occasionally a small child and occasion animal bones. Pottery is also sometimes found as a Baunogenasraid, Co. Carlow.[24]

Of more uncertain date is a large flat stone at Aghade. This once upright stone has a hole six inches wide at one end. It was possibly a ‘port-hole’ stone to close the chamber of a megalithic tomb. Legend says it was this stone which was used by Niall of the Nine Hostages to tie up Eochaidh, son of Enna Cinnselach. But Eochaidh broke free and killed the nine men sent by Niall to kill him.[25]

Beyond the Carlow landscape

Some scholars see the megalithic tombs as territorial markers to show the centre of a district or the boundary of same. But the Neolithic landscape of those far off days has changed so much from there to here that such ideas are difficult to prove. It would be too parochial to see each megalithic tomb in isolation or a group of such tombs. The transfer of information across great parts of Northern Europe on the building and functionality of these tombs should be seen as not difficult.[26] Many tombs are within a short distance to rivers or the coast and water travel was the easiest and fastest form of communication. The River Barrow near to Browneshill portal-tomb connected the area with the outside world and allowed the tomb to be no isolated monument in a field of barley.



The photos below were taken in May 2016.















End of post



[1] Peter Harbison, Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1992), p. 50

[2] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts (Guild Publishing, London, 1988), p. 42

[3] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region (Vorda, Highworth, 1982), p. 1

[4] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 42

[5] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region, p. 1

[6] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 42

[7] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region, p. 28

[8] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region, p. 89

[9] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 42

[10] Peter Harbison, Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland, p. 50

[11] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 42

[12] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 43

[13] M.J. O’Kelly, ‘Neolithic Ireland’, in A New History of Ireland: Vol. 1: Prehistoric and Early Ireland, edited by Dáibhí Ó Cróinin (Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 81

[14] Laurence Flanagan, Ancient Ireland: Life Before the Celts (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1998), pp. 44, 55

[15] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 54

[16] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region, pp. 28, 29

[17] M.J. O’Kelly, ‘Neolithic Ireland’, in A New History of Ireland: Vol. 1: Prehistoric and Early Ireland, edited by Dáibhí Ó Cróinin, p. 81

[18] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 53

[19] Laurence Flanagan, Ancient Ireland: Life Before the Celts, p. 55

[20] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 54; Michael Herity & George Eogan, Ireland in Prehistory (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1977), p. 89

[21] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, p. 53

[22] Laurence Flanagan, Ancient Ireland: Life Before the Celts, pp. 56, 57

[23] Peter Harbison, Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland, p. 51

[24] Peter Harbison, Pre-Christian Ireland: From the First Settlers to the Early Celts, pp. 85, 86

[25] Peter Harbison, Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland, p. 49

[26] T.C. Darvill, The megalithic chambered tombs of the Cotswold-Severn region, pp. 82, 91

Carlow History

Arrears of Rent Act, 1882 in Carlow

Arrears of Rent Act, 1882 in Carlow

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien



This article tells of the background and of the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882 which Act benefited seventy-eight County Carlow landlords who would have been financially under pressure without as would their distressed tenants. For much of the nineteenth century the poverty and insecurity of the Irish tenant farmer was an explosive issue underlying Irish life. In difficult times the rise in evictions due to the non-payment of rent led to a corresponding increase in agrarian violence. After the horrors and difficulty of the Great Famine, conditions seemed to have improved for most people up to the 1870s. By 1875 increased competition from America caused a decline in agricultural prices in Ireland and Britain. This led to a double whammy for many families with declining farm prices and less money sent home from migrant workers in England. Many tenant farmers, even those on moderate rents, fell into rent arrears and the number of annual evictions increased.

To add to these difficulties a number of years of bad weather reduced yields and particularly the yield of the potato crop. In 1876 there was more than four million tons of potatoes produced but this fell by 1879 to just over one million tons. Scenes of actual starvation, not witnessed since the days of the Great Famine, were seen across Ireland and especially in the West.[1]

The Irish Land League was formed in 1879 by Michael Davitt to demand justice for the tenant farmer. Although the League campaigned by peaceful means agrarian violence quickly formed part of the mix that was developing. In 1880 there were 2,590 agrarian outrages. The government felt the pressure to restore order and introduced two Coercion Bills to control the violence. With these sticks the government introduced a carrot to control the violence and in 1881 passed the Land Act. This Act introduced fair rents, fixity of tenure and free sale along with a provision for tenants to buy their holdings. But the Act excluded from its operation 130,000 tenants who were in rent arrears.[2]

The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882

To help these people the government passed on 18th August 1882 the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882 (also referred to as 45 & 46 Vict., Cap. 47). The Act was a supplement to the Land Act (Ireland), 1881. The Arrears of Rent Act was to be a short, sharp correction to the landlord-tenant relationship. The application time was very short and more especially in the case of evicted tenants. The Act also didn’t apply to every holding in the country as outlined in Section 1, sub-section 1; “In the case of any holding to which the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, applies and which is valued under the Acts relating to the valuation of rateable property in Ireland at not more than thirty pounds a-year”.[3]

If a tenant held two or more holdings the total valuation was taken into account to determine if the tenant was over the thirty pound valuation.[4] In Griffith’s Valuation (c.1852) Anne Nolan held two holdings in the townland of Ballintrane in the parish of Templepeter valued at £25 5s and £10. If she had rent arrears for one of these holdings she could have got relief under the Arrears of Rent Act but because the combined value of the holdings was over £30 (total value £35 5s) she would not qualify for relief.[5]

Sometime a number of tenants would occupy one large parcel of land valued as one holding. In such case the rent of each tenant would be divided into the total value of the holding to get the value of each tenant’s proportion. Thus an individual tenant, with rent arrears, could qualify for relief under the thirty pounds rule.[6]

The three main conditions of the Act were:

  • That the rent payable in respect of the year of the tenancy expiring on the last gale day of the tenancy in the year 1881 has been satisfied on or before the 13th day November 1882.
  • That antecedent arrears of rent are due to the landlord
  • That the tenant is unable to discharge such antecedent arrears, without loss of his holding, or deprivation of the means necessary for the cultivation thereof.



The gale day

The gale day was the day on which the rent on a holding was due and it usually fell twice a year – March and September; May and November. But a tenant had to be careful when they paid their rent. If a tenant had 1st May and 1st November as the gale days he had to pay on those days and not before. If a tenant paid the rent before 1st May 1881 it would be offset against old arrears as the rent for 1881 was not legally due until 1st May. If a tenant paid a half year rent after 1st May 1881 it may be on account of old arrears but the Land Commission would take the payment as on the 1881 rent. In such circumstances a tenant may not be judged to have paid the 1881 rent and so not subject to relief under the Arrears of Rent Act.

The hanging gale

The antecedent arrears referred to those which accrued for 1880 and before. But this was not so simple in practice. During the passage of the Act a number of M.P.’s asked “What is to be done about the hanging gale? The hanging gale was a practice where the rent due was not paid until after the next gale day. This caused problems in some cases as the rent for 1881 had to be accrued due and not pre-paid but still paid before 13th November 1882. If the rent was legally due on 1st May but usually not paid until 1st December then no rent for 1881 would be accrued due until 1st December. If money was paid between 1st May and 1st December it would be judged as towards the payment of old rent and so the 1881 rent would be still unpaid.[7]

It gets more complicated if a tenant owed two or three years rent. If the gale days were 25th March and 29th September 1881 any payments paid between those dates would be on the earliest rent due. A half year rent paid on 25th April 1881 would be for the rent due on 29th September 1879. Under the operation of the Act a tenant in such circumstances would still owe the 1881 rent and may even have some or all of the 1880 rent still due and not extinguished by the Irish Land Commission.

If a landlord accredited the payment to the 1881 rent rather than to the 1879 rent, then the tenant could claim a clean bill of health as the Land Commission extinguished all previous arrears and the landlord got one year’s rent in full.

Applying under the Act

The landlord and tenant, or either of them, of any holding under the Act could apply to the Irish Land Commission for judgement. The 30th April 1883 was the last day for people to apply for relief under the Act. The landlord or tenant had to give the tenant or landlord ten days’ notice before applying to the Land Commission.

The Irish Land Commission was to implement and operate the Act. The Irish Land Commission was established under the 1881 Land Act to fix fair rents between landlords and tenants and did much good work in this area in the succeeding thirty years. As the nineteenth century moved on the work of the Commission was more devoted to assisting tenants to buy their holdings. By 1914 twelve of the seventeen departments of the Commission worked on land purchase. The work of the Commission was so valued that it survived independence and continued in operation until recent times.[8]

The Land Commission was to pay the landlord of any holding under the Act a sum “equal to one-half of such antecedent arrears, subject to the limitation that the sum so paid shall not exceed the yearly rent payable in respect of the holding”.[9] Under this rule William R. Garrett was paid £16 10s for one holding where the antecedent arrears was £33, and where the annual rental was £16 10s.[10]

William Raymond Garrett was a member of the Garrett family of Janeville, also called Kilgarron, near Fennagh, Co. Carlow. He was born on 11th August 1840 as the eldest son of Rev. James Perkins Garrett of Janeville by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Moore of Elgantine House, Co. Down. On 24th January 1867 William Garrett married Anna, daughter of William Elliot of Radipole, Weymouth. The couple had three sons; James (born 1867), John (born 1869) and Arthur (born 1875).[11] In 1875 his father, Rev. James Garett owned 874 acres and valued at £739.[12]

On the payment by the Land Commission to the landlord, the antecedent arrears was to be extinguished and any court judgement made on the holding in respect of such arrears was to be vacated. But the extinguished arrears only applied to the antecedent arrears up to the gale day of 1880. Any subsequent arrears of rent fell outside the Act.


Janeville House – home of the Garrett family

Extended life of the Act

Although the Arrears of Rent Act was concerned in the main with antecedent arrears of rent up to the last gale day of 1880 the life of the Act could be extended for up to seven years. The Land Commission were instructed to pay the landlord of the holding but establishing who actually the landlord was, could take some time. On the face of it, people like Sir Robert Paul and Philip C. Newton were the landlords of their respected holdings but Irish estates were so subject to family settlements, mortgage securities and long term leases that a number of people could claim to be the actual landlord and not necessary the landlord who collected the rent. The Encumbered Estates Court was introduced after the Great Famine because many bankrupt estates could not be sold because the actual owner could not be established.

Remitted rent

During the Land War many tenants protested at the high rents they had to pay in poor economic circumstances. A number of landlords remitted part of the rent due after protests by the tenants. But when it came to seeking relief under the Arrears of Rent Act such a happy tenant with his remitted rent would be in trouble qualifying under the Act. If a tenant normally paid £36 and paid money for the 180 rent but the landlord had remitted 25% then the landlord only received £27 but to satisfy Sub-section 4 of Section 1 of the Arrears Act, the tenant would have to pay the £9 difference to cover the 1881 rent.[13]

One could say that landlords, who formed a large majority in Parliament, wrote parts of the Arrears Act in such a manner to get the most money out of the tenant when that tenant was to benefit from the extinguish of rent arrears.

Evicted tenants

The agricultural depression of 1877-1880 caused many tenants to fall behind in their rent so much that eviction was the end result. In 1877 there were 463 evictions but with the worsening conditions this had increased by 1880 to over 2,000 evictions.[14] These landless people were provided for with some relief in the Arrears of Rent Act.

If a tenant was already evicted for non-payment of rent, before the Arrears of Rent Act came into law, that tenant could apply for relief. But the landlord had to first reinstate the evicted tenant before any relief from arrears could be obtained. If the landlord didn’t agree to reinstate an evicted tenant, the tenant could still apply to the Land Commission for relief if they came within section 71 of the Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment Act (Ireland), 1860. Yet to come under section 71 the tenant had to pay the courts all rent, arrears and costs due before he could be considered as a reinstated tenant. But in all cases an evicted tenant had to apply for relief within six months of the eviction. As the Arrears Act came into operation on 18th August 1882 nobody evicted before 18th February 1882 could seek relief.[15]

Purchased tenants

The long term aim of the Land War was for the tenants to become owners of the land that they farmed. The 1870 Land Act had a small provision to aid tenants to buy their holding. This was the “John Bright Clauses”, which allowed tenants to borrow from the government two-thirds of the cost of buying their holding, at 5% interest repayable over 35 years, provided the landlord was willing to sell but there was no compulsory powers for the landlord to sell.[16] A few holdings were purchased under the Act but the number was very small.

In 1881 Land Act increased the amount of money advanced by the state from two thirds to three quarters of the purchase price, to be repaid over 35 years. Yet this financial assistance was too small for most tenants and only a few hundred holdings were bought under the Act.

Yet the Arrears of Rent Act, 1882 acknowledged these tenants who had purchased their holding. Under Section 17 a person who owned their holding and would have qualified for the extinguishing of any arrears of rents, could have remittance of a year on any public taxes due. These public taxes included tithe rent-charge, income tax and quit-rent amount other taxes. If a person had already paid these public taxes they could have such amounts deducted from future taxes.[17] Landlords could also qualify under this Section if they received no rent on a holding for a number of years.


Some sheep in the Carlow landscape 

Carlow landlords

A report exists among the British Parliamentary Papers on what landlords received money under the Arrears of Rent Act and how much each received. Under the Act seventy-eight Carlow landlords received payments, totalling £4,580 7s 4d, from the Land Commission to satisfy antecedent rent arrears of £9,802 1s 8d up to the last gale day of 1880. There were 529 holdings in Carlow involved with an annual rental of £7,488 2s 7d.[18] Arthur Kavanagh had by far the largest number of holdings subject to the Act with 123 holdings (annual rent of just over £10 per each). His arrears amounted to £1,859 10s 11d and he was paid £852 19s to clear the debt.[19]

Having 123 holdings in arrears seems excessive when compared to the other Carlow landlords and suggests that the tenants on the Kavanagh estate were withholding the payment of their rents in an effort to force Arthur Kavanagh to reduce the overall rents on the estate. The Land War, which started in 1879, had the reduction of rents as one of its chief aims. Tenants would also try to delay evictions for non-payment of rents by legal and physical force methods along with preventing the replacement of evicted tenants. With such methods the landlord system was severely curtailed. The Land Act of 1881 and the Arrears of Rent Act of 1882 took the steam out of the anti-landlord campaign.[20]

Arthur Kavanagh was the fourth son of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House and was born without any limbs yet had a full and active life. When he inherited the Borris estate in 1853 it was in a very run down state. Arthur Kavanagh built a saw mill, erected new cottages and encourage Borris lace as a cottage industry. In 1868 he was elected M.P. for Co. Carlow but lost his seat in 1880 as the county elected two Home Rule candidates. Arthur Kavanagh was bitter at the defeat as he perceived himself to be a good landlord but the days of all landlords, good and bad, was numbered from the 1880s onwards. Arthur Kavanagh died on Christmas morning 1889.[21]

The holding with the lowest rent was that owned by B.F. Bagenal at £3 3s and arrears of £1 11s. He received 15s 9d to clear this debt.[22] In 1875 Beauchamp F. Bagenal, with an address at Bennekerry, Co. Carlow, owned 1,309 acres 3roots and 23perches (worth £1,210 15s) in County Carlow.[23] Beauchamp Frederick Bagenal (born 1846) was the second son of Walter Philip Bagenal of Bennekerry House by his wife Georgina, second daughter of Hon. George Jocelyn, who was son of the 1st Earl of Roden.[24]

The holding with the highest rent was owned by William Duckett at £50 9s 3d with arrears of £50 9s 3d for which he received £25 4s 7d.[25] A holding with a rent of over £50 possibly had a valuation over £30 and so shouldn’t be part of the Arrears Act but a provision allowed redress for holdings over the £30 and under £50 valuation. In such case the tenant pays the 1881 rent, the Land Commission paid the landlord another year’s rent and the balance of the arrears became a rent-charge of £3 per year over 35 years.[26]

The aforementioned William Duckett, of Duckett’s Grove, owned in 1875 over 3,441 acres 1root and 11perches (worth £2,687 5s) in County Carlow.[27] In the mid nineteenth century the Duckett estate extended across six counties and covered almost 12,000 acres with an annual income of about £10,000. William Duckett was born in 1822 as the son of John Dawson Duckett and Sarah Summers, daughter of William Hutchinson of Co. Tipperary. William Duckett was twice married but left no heir at the time of his death in 1908.[28]

Assisted emigration

Although the title of the 1882 Act – Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882 – may lead one to assume that it just dealt with landlord-tenant relationships this would be a false assumption. Section 18 of the Act allowed board of Guardians of any Poor Law Union to borrow money for the purpose of draying or assisting the dray of expenses connected with the emigration of poor people within their union.

Under Section 20 the Commissioners of Public Work could grant to any union money for emigration purposes up to £100,000 and the maximum payable to each individual was £5 per person. This grant only applied to unions located in Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Clare, Kerry and the West Riding of County Cork. In 1882 the unions of Belmullet, Newport, Swinford, Clifden and Oughterard qualified for the grant and the Lord Lieutenant could add other unions within the prescribed counties on the recommendation of the Local Government Board.[29]


As said above, the Land Act of 1881 and the Arrears of Rent Act, 1882 took the steam out of the anti-landlord campaign of the Land War but only the steam. Over the next four decades successive Land Acts facilitated the tenants to buy out the landlords and allow those who worked the land to own the land. Landlordism in urban areas was ignored in these Land Acts and continued into modern times – a story for another day.




End of post



[1] F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine (Fontana Press, London, 1973), pp. 164, 165

[2] F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine, pp. 165, 170, 171, 172

[3] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882 (Hodges, Figgis & Co. Dublin, 1882), pp. 1, 2

[4] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, p. 21

[5] Griffith’s Valuation, Ballintrane, Templepeter parish, Forth barony, Co. Carlow

[6] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, p. 22

[7] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, p. 7

[8] F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine, p. 80

[9] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, p. 2


[11] Bernard Burke, A genealogical & heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, 1906, p. 623


[13] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, p. 11

[14] F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine, p. 168

[15] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, pp. 11, 12


[17] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, pp. 31, 32



[20] Richard Vincent Comerford, ‘Land War’, in S.J. Connolly (ed.), The Oxford companion to Irish history (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 300, 301

[21] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry: What Will the Neighbours Say! (Carlow, 1993), pp. 134, 135



[24] Edward Walford, County families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860), pp. 24, 25


[26] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, pp. 26-30


[28] Jimmy O’Toole, The Carlow gentry, pp. 94, 95; Edward Walford, County families of the United Kingdom, p. 191

[29] W.H. Kisbey (ed.), The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882, pp. 33, 35