Ancient history Of Kildare
An inland town on Ptolemy’s map of Ireland of 100 AD may be Rheban on the Barrow river, the only written records from pre-Christian County Kildare. The estimated date for the abandonment of the sacred pre-Christian site of Knockaulin/ Dún Áilinne is 400 AD, the traditional date for foundation of the monastery at Cill Dara is 490 AD, the date for the death of first Bishop Conlaed ua hEimri, (St Conleth) is 520 AD and the estimated date for the death of foundress Naomh Bríd/ St Brigid, is 524 AD (also dated 521 and 526, traditionally February 1). The rise of Kildare sept the Uí Dúnlainge after 633AD. helped promote the cult of Naomh Bríd, giving her status as one of three ‘national saints’ of Ireland and increase the status of the two monasteries where they had influence, Kildare and Glendalough.
The first biography of Naomh Bríd, Vita Brigitae, already containing familiar wonder tales such as the story of how her cloak expanded to cover the area now known as the Curragh of Kildare, was compiled in 650AD by Cogitosus for Faolán mac Colmáin the first of the Uí Dúnlainge kings of Leinster. In 799 a reliquary in gold and silver was created for relics of Conlaed (St Conleth). Further south the death of Diarmait (St Diarmuid), anchorite scholar and founder of Castledermot created a second major monastic site in the county. There were also about 50 local saints associated with pattern days and wells in the county. Kildare is home to five surviving round towers at Kildare town, Castledermot, Old Kilcullen, Taghadoe near Maynooth and Oughter Ard near Ardclough.Kings of Leinster
The Uí Dúnlainge claimed descent from Dúnlaing, son of Enna Nia. Their positions as Kings of Leinster were unopposed following the death of Aed mac Colggan in the Battle of Ballyshannon, on 19 August 738. The dynasty then divided into three kindreds, amongst which the kingship rotated from c.750 until 1050. This is unusual in early Irish history, according to Professor Francis John Byrne of University College Dublin, for it was the equivalent of “keeping three oranges in the air.” 14 Uí Meiredaig kings (later to become the O'Tooles) were based at Mullaghmast/Máistín 9 Uí Faelain kings (later the O'Byrnes) were based at Naas/ Nás na Ríogh and 10 Uí Dúnchada kings (later the Hiberno-Norman FitzDermots) were based at Lyons Hill/ Líamhain. The influence of the family helped secure place-myths for prominent Kildare landmarks in the heroic and romantic literature such as the Dindeanchas, Dinnshenchas Érenn as one of the “assemblies and noted places in Ireland”
In 833 Vikings raided Kildare monastery for first of sixteen times, the second and most destructive raid following three years after, and the power of the Uí Dúnlainge waned after the battles of Gleann Mama, beside Lyons Hill in the north of the county in 999 and Clontarf in 1014. After the death of the last Kildare-based King of Laighin, Murchad Mac Dunlainge, in 1042, the Kingship of Leinster reverted to the Uí Cheinnselaig sept based in the south east.
In the Gaelic-era "Triads of Ireland", Kildare was described at line 4 as: "The heart of Ireland".End of the Abbacy
In 1132 Kildare monastery was destroyed by Diarmait Mac Murchada /Diarmait MacMurrough, King of Laighin, when he forced the abbess to marry one of his followers and installed his niece as abbess. It was the end of the only major Irish church office open to women, in 1152 the Synod of Kells deprived the Abbess of Kildare of traditional precedence over bishops and when the last abbess of Kildare, Sadb ingen Gluniarainn Meic Murchada, (niece of Diarmait Mac Murchada), died in 1171 the Norman invasion of Ireland brought the famous abbacy to an end. Gerald of Wales/ Giraldus Cambrensis visited Kildare in 1186 and described the (later lost) Book of Kildare as the “dictation of an angel.” He also recorded the sacred fire of Kildare, the pagan nature of which was subject of iconoclastic suspicion as early as 1220 when it was extinguished by Henry de Londres, archbishop of Dublin. According to folklore, it was rekindled and continued to burn until the Protestant Reformation in 1541.Boundaries---Origins as Diocese
The first attempt to define the borders of Kildare was in 1111 when a sphere of influence for Kildare diocese was defined by the synod of Raith Bressail. For a short time Kilcullen was also a diocese.Initial Norman structures
After the Cambro-Norman invasion removed the Uí Dúnlainge dynasty from power in 1170, Diarmait Mac Murcada’s Norman allies led by Strongbow divided Kildare amongst themselves: the Barony of Carbury to Meyler FitzHenry, Naas Offalia to Maurice Fitzgerald, Norragh to Robert FitzHereford and Salt (Saltus salmonus – Salmon Leap) to Adam FitzHereford. In 1210 Kildare became one of original twelve Norman counties of Ireland, originally known as the “Liberty of Kildare”. The Normans introduced the feudal system which was the usual landholding system in western Europe at the time.
In 1247 the estate of Anselm Marshall was subdivided, Kildare was assigned to Sybilla (fourth daughter of William Marshall and Isabella, heiress to Strongbow and Aoife). Sybilla was already dead so the “Liberty of Kildare”, including what is now counties Laois and Offaly, passed to her daughter Agnes and husband William de Vesci. In 1278 the “Liberty” (later County) of Kildare was restored to Anges de Vesci. On her death in 1290 her son William succeeded to the Lordship of Kildare.Beginning of the County
In 1297 William de Vesci surrendered the “Liberty of Kildare” to the English crown. “County Kildare” came into being and was defined as such by an Act of Edward I.
Shortly afterwards De Vesci fled to France, leaving the FitzGeralds of Maynooth to become the pre-eminent family in the county. John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 5th Baron of Offaly, was created first Earl of Kildare on May 14, 1316.
The Norman settlers also had their own literature. In 1200-25 the "Song of Dermot and the Earl" was drafted in Norman-French, and mentioned parts of Kildare. Soon after 1300 the "Kildare Poems" were written in medieval English.
County Kildare assumed its current borders in 1836 when it was reassigned three detached sections of County Dublin (including Ballymore Eustace) and one detached district of Kings County (the western Harristown and Kilbracken), while a detached district of Kildare, around Castlerickard, was reassigned to County Meath.Monastic Houses
The establishment of a Cistercian Abbey at Monasterevan by the O’Dempsey’s in 1189 and an Augustinian priory in Naas in 1200 brought a new monastic tradition to Kildare. In 1202 Great Connell Priory Augustinian priory, set to become one of the finest in medieval Ireland, was founded by Meyler FitzHenry. In 1223 the last Gaelic bishop of Kildare, Cornelius MacFaelain, was succeeded by Ralph of Bristol and control of the church remained in Norman hands. In 1253 a Dominican friary was established at Athy and in 1302 a Franciscan abbey at Castledermot. In the early 14th century, the Kildare Poems, comprising some of the earliest written documents of English in Ireland, are thought to have been composed by Franciscan monks from Kildare.The Fitzgeralds
In the years leading to the ascendancy of the FitzGerald family (1470–1535) Kildare came virtual capital of Ireland. The Irish Parliament sat in Naas on twenty occasions between 1255 and 1484, and there were also sittings in Kildare in 1266-67 and 1310, 12 in Castledermot between 1264 and 1509, Ballymore Eustace in 1390 and Great Connell Priory in 1478. English King Richard II took the submission of Irish chiefs at Great Connell Priory Augustinian Priory in 1395. in 1481, Gerald FitzGerald, Gearóid Mór, eighth earl of Kildare, was appointed English King’s Deputy in Ireland by Edward IV. The principles of the county, Edmond Lane, Bishop of Kildare, the Prior of Great Connell Priory and Gearóid Mór all assisted in coronation of Yorkist pretender Lambert Simnel in Dublin but were pardoned by the new king Henry VIII after Simnel’s defeat.
In 1488 Gearóid Mór became one of first to use guns in Ireland, importing six handguns from Germany for his personal guard and using cannon to destroy Balrath Castle in County Westmeath. When he was established in 1496 as Lord Deputy of Ireland, English King Henry VIII’s man in Ireland, the king allegedly said “if all Ireland cannot rule this man, let him rule all Ireland.” In 1504 Gearóid Mór defeated Clanricard and O Bríain in Knockdoe, Co Galway, the most important battle of his career. Gearóid Mór built Athy castle to secure his southern frontier in 1506 but died in Athy in 1513 from gunshot wounds received in an engagement with O’Mores and was succeeded by Gearóid Óg. Gearóid Óg established Ireland’s first University at Maynooth in 1518.
Even at the supposed height of their power, accusations by rivals that the family was plotting against Henry VIII bedeviled the FitzGerald dynasty. Gearóid Mór spent two years and Gearóid Óg 11 years in all as the King’s prisoner in the Tower of London. In 1534 Gearóid Óg was recalled to London once more (February), leaving his 20-year-old son Silken Thomas in charge. Thomas declared rebellion (11 June) on false information that his father had been executed. In 1535 Maynooth Castle, stronghold of Silken Thomas, was bombarded by cannon for 18 days and taken by William Brereton. Rathangan castle was also taken before Thomas submitted in October. Despite a guarantee of personal safety, Silken Thomas and five uncles were executed in the Tower of London in 1537. Thomas’s younger brother Gearóid was smuggled to Tuscany. The FitzGerald lands were confiscated and the biggest share-out of Kildare land since the Cambro-Norman conquest took place. In 1552 Gearóid the only survivor of FitzGerald family, was restored to his ancestral title and possessions.Religious change
After King Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church in 1533 after his decision to remarry, the Pope appointed Franciscan Dónall O Bóacháin bishop of Kildare. When he died almost immediately Thady Reynolds was appointed and initially recognised by Henry VIII. Reynolds refused to break with Rome in common with most Irish bishops and while he continued to minister Henry VIII appointed William Miagh in opposition as the first Protestant bishop of Kildare. Some later documents refer to his 1550 successor Thomas Lancaster as the first Protestant bishop, partly because he was Kildare’s first married bishop and partly because Henry VIII also disliked Lutherans until his death in 1547. By 1550 Edward VI was formulating a more Lutheran state religion.
When the English crown turned back to Catholicism under Queen Mary in 1555-58, Thomas Leverous became the first native Kildare bishop in 400 years, being of Norman descent. From 1558 the new Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne and as he refused to take the Oath of Allegiance he was deprived of his see. In 1570 the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis finally declared Elizabeth to be an illegitimate heretic, and from this point on it became harder for Kildare's landed families, most of whom were Catholic, to be simultaneously loyal to the queen and also to be observant Catholics. Kildare's numerous Norman families became known as Old English, to distinguish them from newer arrivals who conformed to the state religion.Elizabethan Kildare
Queen Elizabeth I granted charters to Naas in 1568 and Athy in 1613. In 1576 the earliest record of grazing rights on the Curragh named Robert Bathe as the beneficiary. In 1580, during the Second Desmond Rebellion, 200 Spaniards who had arrived in Smerwick in the Dingle Peninsula as part of the 1579 Papal invasion force and marched to Naas were massacred by the English crown forces at Fód Spáinigh. In 1581 Catholic martyrs Fr James Eustace and Fr Nicholas FitzGerald were executed in Naas.Wars of the 1640s---See also: Irish Confederate Wars
Kildare suffered greatly in the civil wars of the 1640s that ravaged both Ireland and Britain -see Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Lord Deputy Thomas Wentworth came to reside at the uncompleted Jigginstown House in Naas, Ireland’s first royal palace, in 1637. When he was recalled and executed in 1641 it remains unfinished and today only the basement is still standing.
The wars began in Ireland with the Irish Rebellion of 1641 that broke out in October of that year. The early fighting in Kildare saw small bands of Irish Catholic rebels attacking English troops and Protestant settlers, followed by a punitive English expedition led by the Earl of Ormonde. In early 1642 Ormonde led out his royalist forces to subdue Kildare; burned the town of Lyons Hill, gave up Naas to his soldiers to plunder, reduced Kildare cathedral to ruins through cannon-fire and sent parties to burn Kilcullen, Castlemartin, and “all the county for 17 miles in length and 25 in breadth”. Butler garrisoned Naas and then defeated the Confederate Irish forces under Lord Mountgarret in the Battle of Kilrush (April 15). When Father Peter Higgins of Naas was hanged, he became the county’s third famous Catholic martyr.
In May 1642, the landed Catholic rebels set up their own government at Kilkenny known as Confederate Ireland. Most of the Kildare landowners participated in this assembly. The English position was weakened by the outbreak of the English Civil War, the recall of many of their troops and the split of the remaining forces between Royalists and Parliamentarians.
The Parliamentarians were the more hostile faction to the Confederates and a truce known as the first Ormonde Peace, a ceasefire between Royalists and Irish Confederates, was signed at Jigginstown House in Naas (Sept 15). The ceasefire broke down in May 1646 and Confederate forces marched through Kildare to besiege Dublin. The Royalists then handed the capital over to Parliamentarian troops in 1647 and the Confederate armies tried to eliminate this hostile force. Owen Roe O'Neill took Woodstock Castle in Athy briefly in 1647. Thomas Preston also took Maynooth castle in that year and hanged its garrison. However, Preston's Leinster army was destroyed, losing 3000 killed at the battle of Dungans Hill, on the road between Maynooth and Trim in August 1647, crippling Confederate power in the area. Kildare landowner and Confederate cavalry officer Garret Cron Fitzgerald was killed early in the battle. In 1648 Owen Roe O'Neill refused to ally his army with Ormonde's royalists and the moderate Confederates, and engaged in a brief war with them which fatally weakened the Confederate cause.
In 1649, Oliver Cromwell landed in Dublin with over 10,000 Parliamentarian troops and began a thorough re-conquest of Ireland. In 1650 Naas and Kildare surrendered to Cromwellian forces. Cromwell’s Dublin-based commander John Hewson took Ballisonan Castle by force. Athy and Castledermot were captured without opposition.Lands Redistributed
The first major map of Kildare, The Down Survey was completed in 1656. It served as the basis of more redistribution of land confiscated after the Cromwellian conquest, in line with the Adventurers Act (see also Plantations of Ireland). After the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, further estates in Kildare forfeited included those of Talbot, Dongan, Tyrrel, Eustace, Trant and Lawless who continued to support the losing Jacobite cause. The best known buyer of land from the new grantees was the Donegal-born lawyer and estate agent, William Conolly, who built what was then the largest private house in Ireland at Castletown House, Celbridge in 1722-28.Diocese of Kildare
The Catholic diocese of Kildare first united with Leighlin Diocese to the south in 1676 when Mark Forstall, bishop of Kildare, was also appointed administrator of Leighlin by St Oliver Plunkett. He was arrested in 1678 and again in 1681 for ‘having exercised papal jurisdiction.’ The union was formalised in 1694 when John Dempsey was appointed bishop of Kildare and administrator of Leighlin, despite penal laws. The last Catholic bishop to reside in Kildare was James Gallagher, much of it in hiding near the Bog of Allen. His Sixteen Irish Sermons (1736) is the major Irish language theological work of the age and has gone through 14 editions by 1820. The Anglican/Episcopalian Diocese of Kildare merged with Dublin in 1846 after the death of the last Church of Ireland bishop of Kildare, Charles Dalrymple Lindsay. In 1976 the Church of Ireland diocese of Kildare separated from Dublin and joined to Meath.Georgian Kildare
Kildare enjoyed prosperity during the 18th century, as the focus of economic life turned to the large landed estates and market towns. The Earl of Kildare purchased and started reconstruction of Carton House near Maynooth in 1739. Henry Boyle Carter purchased and started reconstruction of Castlemartin near Kilcullen in 1730. The running of horse races on the Curragh, well established for centuries, was formalized in 1717 when the duties of the Ranger of the Curragh were extended to supervising “the proper conduct of the King's Plate”. Maps of the county compiled by Noble & Keenan in 1753 and Alexander Taylor in 1783 show the advent of arterial drainage and the boglands of the north west of the county being reclaimed for agriculture.
Turnpike (toll) roads were laid from the 1730s, largely in line with today's main roads. In the late 1700s the grand canal and the Royal Canal passed through the county on the way from Dublin to the Shannon. The county was run by landowners on the grand jury system. While much of Ireland had a problem with absentee landlords living and spending their rents mostly in Dublin or London, most Kildare landlords lived on their land and reinvested more of their income locally.Constituencies
In the Parliament of Ireland (1297-1800), by 1684 Kildare was represented by two men for Kildare County, and two each for the boroughs of Naas, Kildare, Athy and Harristown. Therefore the county had 10 seats in the 300-seat Irish House of Commons.
In the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1918) Kildare became the single constituency of Kildare in 1801-1885, returning 2 members; two constituencies of North Kildare and South Kildare, returning one member each;
In 1918 both elections were won by members who sat in the First Dáil
From the 1921 election and the creation of the Irish Free State the county has been merged with other constituencies, or has been divided:
Kildare North 1997-
Kildare South 1997-
Industrial projects were started by largely Quaker families at Ballitore by Abraham Shackleton in 1726 while Robert Brooke was assisted by a £25,000 grant from the Irish Parliament in building a cotton mill and town of 200 houses at the newly named town of Prosperous in the 1780s. Turnpike roads were built from the 1730s. John Wynn Baker opened Kildare’s earliest factory, manufacturing agricultural instruments at Loughlinstown, Celbridge in 1764. John Cassidy established a distillery in Monasterevan in 1784. In 1729 Ireland’s first turnpike road was created from Dublin to Kilcullen. In 1756 the year that construction work on the Grand Canal commenced in the north of the county. 31-year-old Celbridge-born brewer Arthur Guinness leased a brewery at Leixlip in 1755 and bought a second brewery at St James's Gate in Dublin. In the 1790s the Royal Canal was dug from Dublin along the north of the county and the first railways were laid in the 1840s.Population growth
Early estimates of Kildare’s population include GP Bushe’s 1788 return of the number of households in Kildare at 11,272 (population afterwards estimated at 71,570) and DA Beaufort’s household returns of 11,205 in 1790, and estimated population at 56,000. Mason’s Statistical Survey of 1813 calculated the number of households at 14,564, and the population at 85,000 with figures for towns: Athy 3,192, Naas 2,018, Maynooth 1,468, Kildare 1,299. The first census in 1821 recorded a population of 99,065 (Athy 3,693, Naas 3,073, Kildare 1,516, Maynooth 1,364).
Year Pop. %±
1653 11,983 —
1659 13,825 15.4%
1788 71,570 417.7%
1813 85,000 18.8%
1821 99,065 16.5%
1831 108,424 9.4%
1841 114,488 5.6%
1851 95,723 -16.4%
1861 90,946 -5.0%
1871 83,614 -8.1%
1881 75,804 -9.3%
1891 70,206 -7.4%
1901 63,566 -9.5%
1911 66,627 4.8%
1926 58,028 -12.9%
1936 57,892 -0.2%
1946 64,849 12.0%
1951 66,437 2.4%
1956 65,915 -0.8%
1961 64,420 -2.3%
1966 66,404 3.1%
1971 71,977 8.4%
1979 97,185 35.0%
1981 104,122 7.1%
1986 116,247 11.6%
1991 122,656 5.5%
1996 134,992 10.1%
2002 163,944 21.4%
2006 186,335 13.7%
Maynooth, which had been the site of Ireland’s first 'college' in 1518, was re-established by the government as a seminary for Catholic lay and ecclesiastical students in 1795, with Kildare-born Fr John Chetwode Eustace among first professors. In 1817 Maynooth's lay college closed and it functioned solely as a Catholic seminary for 150 years. In 1910 it became a constituent college of the National University of Ireland and reopened for lay students in 1967. Nobel Peace prize winner John Hume is among its alumni. In 1812 Clongowes Wood College near Clane was founded by the Jesuit order as a centre for second-level education. James Joyce and three Taoisigh of the Republic are among its alumni.
What is not generally know, is that when the Chuch of Ireland was dis-established and most of it's lands were confiscated by the State, as a result of the sale of these lands a substantial sum of money was given to the creation of Maynooth College. The English realised that they could not beat Catholism or Irish out of the Irish so they decided to set up a mirror image University similar to Trinity College Dublin, which was Maynooth College.
Work on the Grand Canal began in 1756 and it reached the Kildare border in 1763. In 1779 the first section of Grand Canal was opened to goods traffic, from Dublin to Ballyhealy, near Celbridge and in 1780 to passenger boats. Ten years later the Naas branch of the Grand Canal completed. The canal reached Tullamore in 1784, and a southern branch known as the Barrow navigation reached Athy in 1791.
Work began on the Royal Canal in 1789 and it reached Kilcock in 1796, but this more northerly line was never a commercial success.
Traffic on the Grand Canal peaked at 120,615 passengers in 1846 and 379,045 tons of cargo in 1865. The canal was motorized in 1911-24 and closed for commercial traffic in 1960. The Grand Canal remains open for pleasure boats and restoration of the Royal Canal was completed in 2006. Both were seriously affected by the advent of railways in Kildare from the 1840s.
Support in Kildare for the United Irishmen’s revolutionary democratic movement at the time of the 1798 rebellion has been estimated at 10,000. It has also been suggested that Valentine Lawless who inherited Lyons near Ardclough was a prominent member of the government in waiting should the rebellion succeed. United Irish leader and later informer Thomas Reynolds lived at Kilkea, Lord Edward Fitzgerald returned to Maynooth in 1796 to organise the United Irishmen and Theobald Wolfe Tone was buried at his godfather’s family plot at Bodenstown. In the years leading up to the rebellion there were anti-militia riots in riots in Kilcullen and Ballitore. Lawrence O'Connor was executed in Naas for plotting against the English administration in 1795. In December 1797, 1,500 guns and 3,000 bayonets were captured on a boat on the canal at Athy.
The first shots of the 1798 rebellion were fired in Kildare. On May 23, the signal for rebellion given when mail coaches were seized at Johnstown and Maynooth. Kildare rebels attacked Kilcullen Prosperous, were repulsed at Naas and Clane, and a force under William Aylmer was eventually defeated at the battle of Ovidstown on June 18. 350 surrendering prisoners were slaughtered in the Gibbet Rath massacre at the Curragh despite an initially successful effort by General Dundas to defuse the rising with a policy of mass pardons. In turn, the two loyalist garrisons at Rathangan were also slaughtered after surrendering. The fighting in Kildare did not end until the surrender of William Aylmer in mid-July.
In 1803 Kildare-men recruited by Michael Quigly participated in a brief United Irish uprising organised by Robert Emmet. Maynooth was the only town successfully seized by the rebels (July 23–25) and Kildare troops under Nicholas Gray marched to Thomas Street in Dublin to participate in the ill-fated rebellion. Emmett’s uniform was later found at Rathcoffey. The most prominent victim of the Emmet rebellion, Arthur Wolfe, Lord Kilwarden, was buried at Oughterard in Ardclough.Military camp
One outcome of the rebellion was the establishment of a temporary military encampment at the Curragh in 1805. In 1816 a new town came into being with the building of a military barracks near a bridge over the Liffey – it was to be called Newbridge. In 1855 a permanent encampment was built for 10,000 infantry on the Curragh.Local politicians
Kildare had ten parliamentary representatives in old Irish House of Commons - two for the Kildare county and two members each from Athy, Harristown, Kildare Borough and Naas. Two of the most powerful figures in 18th century politics resided in the county, Speakers of the house William Conolly at Castletown House near Celbridge and John Ponsonby at Bishopscourt near Kill. The post-1801 Act of Union Kildare county constituency had two seats in the British House of Commons. The La Touche and Fitzgerald families controlled local politics through the first half of the 19th century until challenged by Balyna-born Richard More O'Ferrall. Naas Corporation, countrolled by the Bourke family, was dissolved in 1840. In 1898 Stephen J Brown was elected first chairman of the first Kildare County Council to be directly elected. With the rise of the Home Rule movement and the establishment of a nationalist newspaper, the Leinster Leader in Naas in 1884, William Cogan and Otho Fitzgerald were succeeded by Home Rule Members of Parliament Charles Henry Meldon, James Leahy and James Carew, owner of the Leinster Leader and founder of the Irish Independent newspaper.Railways
The first sod on the new railway line from Dublin to Cork was turned at Adamstown near the Dublin-Kildare border in January 1846. By June the line had been completed to Sallins. The first train ran to Carlow in 1846 and to Cork in 1850. The third worst rail accident in Irish history occurred at Straffan Station in 1853, when a goods train ran into the back of a stationary passenger train killing 18 people, including a nephew of Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell. As rail traffic declined Straffan Station was closed in 1947 and Hazelhatch and Sallins stations in 1963. Kildare was also served by the Tullow Extension, running south from Naas, through Harristown (for that area and Kilcullen) and on to Tullow in County Carlow. Main article: Dublin Suburban Rail
In 1995 a section of the line was opened for a new Dublin area commuter service, the Arrow, and Sallins and Hazlehatch stations reopened as part of the "Southwestern Commuter" line. Another reopened line runs westwards, serving Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock, continuing towards Enfield, County Meath.Sporting Revolution
The Turf Club was founded at the Curragh horse racing circuit in 1790 to regulate the racing of horses, but attempts to establish an Irish 1000 guineas in 1815 and an “O'Darby Stakes” in 1817 were unsuccessful until the most important flat race in the country, the Irish Derby was established on an annual basis from 1866 on. The Turf Club regulated to famous bare knuckle contests involving Dublin prize fighter Dan Donnelly against Tom Hall in 1814 and George Cooper in 1815, drawing estimated crowds of 20,000 to the Curragh. In 1846 the first railway excursion organised for a sporting event worldwide ran on the new Great Southern and Western Railway line to Curragh races. The first annual ball of the Kildare hunt was held in 1860, soon to become the social event of the year in the county. Punchestown Races were reorganised and reconstituted as 'Kildare and National Hunt Steeplechases' in 1861. The first day of the 1868 meeting attracted an estimated 150,000 spectators.Athletes and horses
Cricket clubs were established from the 1850s on and Ireland’s first golf course laid out on the Curragh in 1852 by Musselburgh club member David Ritchie. In 1871 County Kildare Cricket Club was formed “for the promotion of cricket, football, archery, pigeon shooting, lawn tennis and, if possible, polo. Kildaremen winning sporting fame in the USA included Clane-born Jack Kelly, alias Jack (Nonpareil) Dempsey who won the world middleweight boxing title in 1884 in Great Kills, New York, held the title for seven years and inspired a later heavyweight boxer to borrow his name. In 1893 Clane born Tommy Conneff ran a new world mile record of 4 minutes 17.8 seconds, a record that was to stand for 20 years. In 1903 the fourth Gordon Bennett Cup Motor Race staged in Athy, setting new speed records of over 60 MPH. The GAA was established in the county in 1887 and Kildare GAA helped establish Gaelic football as a major sport meeting Kerry three times in 1903 GAA All Ireland “home” final attracting attendances of 12,000, 18,000 and 20,000. In 1995 the annual staging of the European Open golf tournament was moved to Straffan from Birmingham and the course staged the Ryder Cup in September 2006. Kildare was designated the “Thoroughbred County” by its county council in recognition of its equine tradition. In 2000 Kildare-trained racehorses won the leading races in England and Ireland over jumps and on the flat, Ted Walsh from Greenhills, Kill won the Irish (Comanche Court) and English (Papillon) Grand Nationals while Sindaar, trained by John Oxx on the Curragh, won the Irish and English Derbies. Kildare’s reputation as a stud capital was undamaged by the high profile kidnap of English derby winner Shergar in 1983.A New State
Kildare did not participate in the Fenian rebellion of 1867, though John Devoy was born at Kill. Incidents in the Land War such as the Clongorey evictions politicised the largely agricultural county and one of the first politicians elected to the new Irish parliament, Dáil Éireann in 1922, Hugh Colohan, was a veteran of the Clongorey campaign. Several Kildare politicians have held high rank since independence including Dónal Ó Buachalla, last Governor General of the Irish Free State, who had led a column of volunteers from Maynooth to participate in the 1916 Easter Rising, Art O'Connor, appointed Minister for Agriculture by the first Dáil in 1919 and briefly leader of Sinn Féin after Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fáil in 1926 before he, too, joined Fianna Fáil, William Norton leader of the Irish Labour Party 1932-60 and Tánaiste 1948-51 and 1954–57, Alan Dukes leader of Fine Gael 1987-90 and Minister for Finance 1982-86, Gerry Sweetman Minister for Finance 1954-57, Charlie McCreevy Minister for Finance 1997-2004 and later EU commissioner, and Paddy Power Minister for Forestry and Fisheries 1979-81 and Defence 1982.Towns and trends
Kildare’s population plunged to a low of 57,892 in 1936. Athy, Kildare’s most populous town since records began, was briefly overtaken by Naas as Kildare’s largest in 1901 (Naas 3,836, Athy 3,599) but regained its position by a small margin in 1926. By 1956 Newbridge was the largest town with a population of 4,157, (Athy 3,948, Naas 3,915). In 1986 Leixlip became the largest town, and Celbridge was recorded as the fastest growing town in Ireland. Naas was the largest town in 1996 only to be overtaken by Newbridge again in 2002 when the census recorded a highest ever population of 163,995 for the county, a 21.5pc increase on 1996. Infrastructural projects helped change the demographics of the county. The Kildare leg of the dual carriageway to Naas opened in 1963 and was followed by Ireland’s first section of motorway, the Naas Bypass in 1983, the Newbridge bypass (1993), Kildare bypass (2003) and Monasterevan bypass (2004) on the M7, the Maynooth bypass (1994) and Kilcock- Kinnegad bypass (2005) on the M4.Coats of Arms and Genealogical Notes.
Arms connected in some way to the county, as taken from the Irish Book of Arms. The original listings provide specific locations for families, and clues for future research. Among those in this section with rough sketches of coats of arms are Joshua Allen; Aylmer of Kilcock; Borrowes of Gilltown; Bourke of Naas; Burdett of Ballymany; Clements of Killadoon; O'Coonor Henchy of Stonebrook; Cooke Trench of Millicent; Anne Crofton of the line of Croker of Backwestern; De Burgh of Oldtown; De Courcy of Robertstown House; Eustace of Kilcock; Finny of Leixlip; James Fitzgerald of Carton; Margaretta Foster; Greem of Millbrook; Dr. George Lewis Jones of Kildare; Kennedy of Baronrath; Lawless of Cloncurry; Mansfield of Morristown Lattin; Palmer of Rahan; Wogan-Browne of Castle Brown; Arthur Wolfe; Joseph Leeson; Alice Howard of Wicklow; John Henniker; John Stratford of Baltinglass; Richard Wingfield; Bayly of Ballyarthur; Somerville of Clermont; Spedding; Stoney of the Downs; Deane of Glendaragh; Tynte of Tynte Park; Warren of Ballydonarea; Henry Maynard, Baron; Bagenal of Carlow; Burton of Burton Hall; Delany of Bagnalstown; John Dawson, Baron Dawson; Kavanagh of Borris; Robertson of Huntington Castle; Vigors of Burgage; Philip Wharton; and Wolseley of Mt. Wolseley.
Estate maps Estate maps of Kildare, Maynooth, and Carton House dating from the 18th and 19thcentury survive in the National Library of Ireland, in the Irish Archictectural Archive andin repositories outside the state such as Cambridge University Library, with a small selection reproduced (Andrews 1986 & Horner 1995). Notable estate maps include:
“A survey of the town of Kildare belonging to his excellency James, Earl of Kildare”. Kildare, 1757, John Rocque, National Library of Ireland, MS 22004 (5)
“A survey of the town of Maynooth”. Kildare, 1757, John Rocque, Cambridge, University Library, MS Plans x.4.
“Maynooth, 1781”, by Thomas Sherrard, Cambridge, University Library, MS Plans x.4. “Proposed Redevelopment of Maynooth”, c. 1757, Cambridge, University Library, MS Plans x.4.
“Maynooth, 1773” by Bernard Scalé, (Carton)
“A survey of the town of Kildare, the estate of his grace the duke of Leinster”, Kildare, 1798, by Thomas Sherrard, National Library of Ireland, MS 22004 (6)
“Kildare”, 1817 by Sherrard, Brassington and Greene, National Library of Ireland, MS 22004 (7)
“Survey of the town and town-parks of Maynooth …“, c. 1821, by Sherrard, Brassington and Greene, National Library of Ireland, MS 22004 (12)
1655 French maps Copies of a series of nine maps from 1655 reproduced from the originals held in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris at a scale of 80 to 160 perches to an inch and including the baronies of Kilcullin, Carbury, Claine Great Connel Kilcah, Norrogh & Rabane, Ikeathy & Oughterany, Naas and Salt. Copies are available for consultation at the Local Studies Library.
Noble and Keenan Map of the County of Kildare, 1752. Copies are available for consultation at the Local Studies Library, and the Map Library, Trinity College Dublin.
The following is a listing of surnames for which there are manuscripts, periodicals or information of some kind at the National Library of Ireland. This list will be updated on a regular basis, however, what you see is what you get: I'm afraid that I am unable to provide more information than what is listed here. Sorry, folks.
(1). "Burke's Colonial Gentry", see p 754. (Balrath, Meath).
(2). Kildare Journal, vol. III, p 178. (Donadea).
1. Hort of Hortland. "Kildare Journal" Vol VII p 207
2. Hort of Hortland, Co Kildare. "Lodge's Peerage" Vol II p 204 Kildare Journal
Ongoing Computerisation of Co. Kildare Graveyards
No. Graveyard Parish
Computerised Source No. of records
1.Abbey Graveyard Naas a Naas Local History Group. 1987 82
2.Ardreigh Athy a FAS 20
3.Ballitore Quaker Burial Ground Ballitore a Jonathan Shackleton 1985 253
4.Ballybracken Monasterevin War Graves of British Empire (1)
5.Ballyhade Castledermot a Schools Project (1970s) 3
6.Ballaghmoon a Schools Project (1970s) 68
7.Ballymore Eustace (St. John) Churchyard War Graves of British Empire (1)
8.Balraheen Barreen a Oughterany Vol. 1 No. 2 1995 9
9.Bodenstown Naas a War Graves of British Empire (1)
10.Carrick-Oris Balyna a 1992 – Seamus Rafferty 382
11.Castleroe Rath (see also Dunmanoge) a Schools Project (1970s) 1
12.Celbridge (Church Lane) cemetery Kildrought a War Graves of British Empire (1)
13.Church Lane, Kilcock a Kevin Lynch 1981 116
14.Churchtown Athy a FAS 386
15.Clane Abbey Church Graveyard Clane a Noel Reid (1985) & Website of COI, Clane at www.kildare.ie/MillicentChurch 69 16.Clane (St. Michael’s) COI Churchyard Clane a War Graves of British Empire (1) 149
17.Cloncurry a Cloncurry through the years – Martin Kelly 335
18.Clonshanbo Des O’Leary & Seamus Cullen
19.Confey Cemetery Leixlip a War Graves of British Empire (1)
20.Crookstown a War Graves of British Empire (1)
21.Curragh Military a FAS & War Graves of British Empire 103
22.Donacomper Celbridge a War Graves of British Empire (2)
23.Dunfierth Carbury a War Graves of British Empire (1)
24.Dunmanoge a Schools Project (1970s) 42
25.Dunmurraghill a N. Reid 24
26.Geraldine Old Graveyard Kilberry a War Graves of British Empire (1)
27.Grangewilliam Laraghbryan a War Graves of British Empire (1)
28.Grey Abbey Kildare a FAS/War Graves of British Empire
(1)/Mario Corrigan-Grey Abbey Conservation Project 191
29.Hortland a Unknown 55
30.Kilbelin Newbridge FAS & War Graves of British Empire (4) 648
31.Kilcock (Boycetown) Catholic Cemetery a War Graves of British Empire (2
32.Kilcock (Whitetown) COI Churchtown a War Graves of British Empire (1)
33.Kilcullen (Abbey) a War Graves of British Empire (2)
34.Kilkea a Schools Project (1970s) 64
35.Killeencormac a Brian Cantwell 1978 108
36.Killeighter Kilcock a Oughterany Vol. 1 No. 2 1995 B. Gilligan 38
37.Killelan a Schools Project (1970s) 71
38.Killerick a Schools Project (1970s) 15
39.Kilteel a C. Manning. 1979 48
40.Kineigh Kilcullen a Schools Project 28
41.Knockbane Castledermot a R. J. Hetherington 3
42.Knockpatrick a Unknown 143
43.Kyle a Schools Project 49
44.Ladychapel Maynooth a Martin J. Kelly & War Graves of British Empire (1) 370
45.Leixlip COI Leixlip a E. J. McAuliffe & R. J. O’Kelly-Lynch The Irish Genealogist 361
46.Levitstown Tankardstown a Schools Project (1970s) 87
47.Maudlins Naas a Brian McCabe/Naas Local History Group & War Graves of British Empire (1) 354
48.Monasterevin (St. John) COI Churchyard a War Graves of British Empire (2)
49.Monasterevin Old Catholic Graveyard a War Graves of British Empire (1)
50.Moone Abbey Moone a Schools Project (1970s) 47
51.Moone Parish Churchyard Moone a Schools Project (1970s) 329
52.Moyle Abbey Ballitore a Schools Project (1970s) 10
53.Naas New Cemetery a War Graves of British Empire (15)
54.Nicholastown Burial Ground Tankardstown a War Graves of British Empire (2)
55.Nurney Catholic Churchyard a War Graves of British Empire (1)
56.Old Carton Maynooth a Seamus Cullen 1994 52
57.Old Kildrought Church Celbridge a Oughterany Vol. 1 No. 2 1995 D. O’Leary 38
58.Presentation Convent Burial Ground Maynooth a Irish Family History Society Journal Vol. XIV 1999 Peter J. Riordan 53
59.Quaker Burial Ground Ballitore a Jonathan Shackleton 1985
60.Rathangan Old Graveyard a Transition Year Project 1995 532
61.Rathmore COI Churchyard a War Graves of British Empire (1)
62.St. Bridget’s Cathedral Kildare a FAS & War Graves of the British Empire (4) 243
63.St. David’s Naas a Irish Family History Society Journal Vol. IX 1993 Brian McCabe 166
64.St. James’, Castledermot a Brian Cantwell 1978 158
65.St. John’s Athy a War Graves of British Empire (1)
66.St. Mary’s Burial Ground, Woodstock North Athy a Irish Family History Society Journal Vol. 17 2001 Peter J. Riordan
67.St. Michael’s Athy a FAS War Graves of British Empire (6) 2812
68.St. Mullin’s (see Timolin) a 53
69.St. Patrick’s COI Kilcock a S. Cullen. 1994 44
70.St. Peter’s Church, Donadea Donadea a Oughterany Vol. 1 No. 2 1995 N. Reid 126
71.Taghadoe Maynooth a Martin J. Kelly 25
72.Timahoe Graveyard Clane a Noel Reid 1985 130
73.Timolin (see St. Mullin’s) a Schools Project 1970s 46
74.Tipper Naas a 123
75.Toberara Graveyard, Tyrellstown Athy a Irish Family History Society Journal Vol. 17 2001 Peter J. Riordan 18
76.Yewtree Monasterevin a Monasterevin Historical Society
Instituted Sept. 13, 1611.
1767 Hort, Josiah William, Hortland, Co. Kildare
1623 Stewart, James, Fort-Stewart, Ramelton, Donegal
Oughterany - Journal of the Donadea Local History Group Vol. II No. 1 1999
Editors - Seamus Cullen, Hermann Geissel, Des O’Leary
©The Editors and Contributors
Layout and Design The Editors
Editorial Editors 4
Noel Reid – An Appreciation Des O’Leary 5
Ballinafagh Parish Noel Reid 6
Ballinafagh Graveyard Seamus Cullen and Des O’Leary 18
Mesolithic Hunters and Medieval Folk in Clane Niall Brady 21
Via Magna in Ballagh Hermann Geissel 23
Donadea Forest Park Richard Aylmer 41
Hortland Des O’Leary 56
Hortland Graveyard Des O’Leary and Seamus Cullen 66
The Baltracey Quakers Seamus Cullen 70
Poverty and Destitution in Kilcock during the 1880s Karina Holton 79
A Druid Relic on Cappagh Hill Karina Holton 85
A Possible causeway at Knockanally Crannog Seamus Cullen 86
Early Christian Burial at Carrigeens Hermann Geissel 87
Royal Dun at Duncreevan Kevin Lynch 88
In Search of Moss's Road Martin Kelly 89
In Memory of a Colleague Sean Lynch 93
Possible Henge Monument at Boherhole Cross Thaddeus Breen 94
An Aerial Perspective of Oughterany Noel Murphy and Karina Holton 97
Clane Millenium Project Tony McEvoy 107
Rededication of Aylmers of Painstown Stone Tablet Richard Aylmer 108
Bicentennial events in North Kildare Editors 109
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our President and Editor, Noel Reid, on 24 December 1997. His initiative was instrumental in starting the Donadea Local History Group and Oughterany Journal, and we are proud to be able to include a posthumous article by him.
We, the present editors, have decided to start a new volume with the present issue. Apart from the format, there will be no major changes, but we intend to broaden the scope of the journal somewhat by placing more emphasis on areas like archaeology, historical geography and related fields. Particularly in this issue we have included an article by Dr Noel Murphy on aerial photography, a research method open to all who are interested in practical landscape studies.
We invite contributions from the general north Kildare areas for inclusion in future publications, though we are aware that too tight a geographical restriction is not always possible. Like the article on the Maynooth – Edenderry Railway in Vol. I, No.2, the present article by Hermann Geissel on the Via Magna extends into neighbouring territories. A linear structure is by its very nature not as localised as other monuments, and it seemed illogical to study the Great Road in Kildare without covering its extent in County Dublin, especially with the St Mochua link to Clondalkin.
We like to take this opportunity to thank some people who have given us their continued help and support over the years. Particularly, we would like to mention Michael Kavanagh of Kildare County Library, Pat Sherry who has always provided us with drawings and illustration (including the cover picture of this issue) and Tracy O’Leary for her untiring typing work. We are delighted that John Larkin and Owen Denenny have taken the task of organising the launch out of our hands.
Seamus Cullen, Hermann Geissel, Des O’Leary
The Slighe Mór in Dublin and North Kildare by Hermann Geissel
The most fascinating of all ancient roadways must no doubt be the Esker Riada, the great east-west axis that traverses Ireland from Dublin to Galway Bay and has played such a great part in Irish History, Legend and Mythology. Not only was it the road on which roving poets, saints and armies travelled; it was the arena in which Finn MacCool and the one-eyed Aed (alias Gonn) fought out their battles, moving in a constant see-saw like fashion east and west according to which of the two happened to be favoured by fortune, destiny or superior wit. They were, of course, the sun gods of the East and West, respectively, symbolising in their fight the constant struggle between the rising and the setting sun. The need to portray them as human in Irish legend arose from the pressure on the Celtic storytellers in early Christian times to present their traditional mythology as historic fact and former gods as their mortal ancestors, in order to avoid conflict with the high priests of the new religion.
The Esker Riada is also known as the Slighe Mór, one of the five great prehistoric roads supposedly converging on Tara. It is referred to in medieval Latin texts as Via Magna, a synonymous term also denoting the Great Road. It is therefore somewhat surprising that this roadway also marked a division between the northern and the southern halves of this island, Leth Chuinn and Leth Moga, a dichotomy which, during the second and third centuries ad, prevailed over the traditional division into four (or sometimes five) provinces.
One of the problems arising here is the exact location or course of the Slighe Mór. It is well known that, in general terms, it followed the modern road system from Dublin to Galway (N4/N6), but this is very vague and in part incorrect. Uncertainty prevails in many places, and some documented stretches are mutually exclusive. Which is hardly surprising since we are not looking at a continuous gravel ridge extending from Dublin to Galway, but rather a system of more or less interconnected eskers running in a general east-west orientation, with several parallel ridges allowing a choice in places, and intervening stretches of low ground, even bogland, in other areas.
The present article is an attempt to track this ancient roadway through North Kildare, with a look over the fence into neighbouring Dublin and just a furtive glance into Meath and Offaly. The route in question was identified in a 1940 paper by Colm O’Lochlainn as part of the Esker Riada / Slighe Mór system which was said to have extended from Dublin to Clonmacnoise, and further on to Galway.
The roadway was traced from Dublin through North Kildare to Monasteroris (Edenderry), with the emphasis on the Iron Age / early Christian periods. The investigation focused on historical information, topography and cartography, without undue emphasis on the question whether actual manmade roads were in existence or whether the terrain just offered itself as suitable for traffic on foot or on horseback. Of major interest were in this regard eskers and other stretches of well-drained high ground, suitable river crossings and manmade trackways through the bog (toghers and bog roads).
In this article, the term roadway is generally used in preference to road, though for stylistic reasons this rule is not always strictly adhered to. A manmade road may or may not have existed in a particular location in late prehistoric or early Christian times. Alfred P. Smyth, in his book, Celtic Leinster, points out that the important places to look out for are bottlenecks where traffic is forced through a narrow passage: a ford, a narrow esker in marshy country, a togher, a pass through dense forest – in a generally open, un-enclosed countryside, the traveller is not bound to adhere to a clearly defined route. Still, O Loughlainn argues that there were manmade roads in existence, probably built during the reign of Cormac MacAirt, 3rd century ad, and this is broadly supported by Fergus Kelly who places a period of major road construction around 300 ad.
It is an underlying assumption of this paper that where a known evolved road rides an ideal stretch of high ground between identified destinations (settlements, fords or passes), that it marks an older, possibly prehistoric, roadway.
It is also assumed that roads which have in modern times given way to alternative routings may have left traces on maps as well as in the landscape. Of particular interest here are old field boundaries, especially those with discontinuities, as though taking a ‘leap’ from one roadside to the other. Also, a sudden sharp turn in a road often indicates a deviation from the original route.
Where an ancient roadway is described in relation to its proximity to an existing or documented road, or a Spot Height (‘Spt’) marked on the OS 1:50 000 Discovery Series map, it is done without claim that the exact position of the roadway was fully congruent with the reference feature.
Apart from topographic characteristics and maps both historic and modern, documentary sources, placenames and folklore have been looked at.
All grid references relate to 1:50 000 Discovery Series maps, even where another map is being discussed or referred to. For the general reader, maps of this series (Sheets 49 and 50) are sufficiently accurate to follow the proposed roadways as outlined in the article.
North and South
There seems to be little doubt in the minds of most writers on the subject that the Great Roadway ran from Dublin to Lucan. O Lochlainn’s research has led him to conclude that beyond Lucan the ancient road went along a route via Celbridge, Taghadoe, Timahoe and Monasteroris (NW of Edenderry); he then names a few more stopovers further west, including a crossing of the Shannon at Clonmacnoise, with the roadway ending at Clarinbridge on Galway Bay. Unfortunately, he does not give a clear record of the evidence that led him to this conclusion, though he does mention that St Patrick joined the Slighe Mór at Dunmurraghill, the latter referred to in the Book of Armagh (quoted by the Reverend Comerford) as situated on the 'Via Magna in valle'. Yet O Loughlainn also points out that, according to the Book of Leinster, the Esker Riada passed through Clonard and crossed the Shannon at Athlone. So could there have been a northern and a southern route?
While at the time of Conn of the Hundred Battles, the putative road builder (or discoverer?), the country may have been fairly pacified and united under his powerful high-kingship, there was a definite border between Meath and Leinster in early Christian times (along the Liffey – Ryewater system), with hostile tribes living on either side. Would they each have had their own road?
And what is the meaning of the phrase, in valle? Literally translated, it means in the valley, suggesting that this was the low road and hinting at an alternative high road – perhaps further north, in Meath. It is of course quite possible that valle is merely a corruption of the Irish bealach, as St Patrick must indeed have passed through Ballagh prior to arriving at Dunmurraghill! Either way, the qualifier hints at another via magna.
I shall now sketch out a likely northern route and then take a closer look at the southern route.
The Northern Route
The Esker Riada is generally believed to start in Dublin’s High Street / Cornmarket area. High Street near Christ Church Cathedral is the highest spot in the area, with the terrain falling off towards the Liffey (N - for north), St Patrick’s Cathedral (S), Dame Street (E) and to a lesser degree Thomas Street (W). It is not difficult to trail the ridge down Thomas Street and James Street to Kilmainham, but somewhat harder for the casual investigator to follow when arriving at the gates of the IR railway depot on a Sunday morning. It is therefore better to go back to Islandbridge and take a parallel route driving west on the N4, then taking the first turn left into Ballyfermot. The height of the ridge is visible to the left, but soon the modern road joins it at the Ballyfermot roundabout.
While it is unlikely that the planners of the Ballyfermot street system paid much heed to ancient esker roads, the modern road nonetheless follows the old road west (and the presumed ancient roadway) fairly faithfully up to Cherry Orchard Hospital. However, from here to Ronanstown, the present road system in no way resembles the older roads of only a generation ago, and we have to find our way by taking a left at the tee-junction, followed by a right turn. From Ronanstown – if we don’t miss the old road into Lucan for the maze of new housing estates, roundabouts and cul-de-sacs – we are privileged to enjoy one of the finest esker roads in the country. The ridge is extremely well defined, too perfectly shaped to be totally natural in its present form and now barely more than the width of the road, running at rooftop level. Lucan has always been well aware of its esker heritage, with placenames old and new a constant reminder. But the spectacular Esker Road apart, there is good high ground all the way from Cherry Orchard to Lucan.
Accepting the route so far, it is necessary to cross the Liffey. The most likely ford was at the rapids just upstream of the bridge at Leixlip, with the high ground near the Spa Hotel and golf course providing the link from the eskers at Lucan. This rocky outcrop is very near the present bridge and probably identified a suitable settlement site for the Norse founders of the town.
The rising road from Leixlip – Captain’s Hill – took over from an earlier road between 010 360 and 012 372, now only a footpath leading up the valley of a small (nameless) stream from the fire station. Once on the high ground (beyond modern housing estates, Canal and football pitch), the roadway would have turned west and followed the modern road to the rear (east) gate of Carton Estate, passing right through the Carton grounds and continuing north of the Ryewater to 899 396 just east of Kilcock. (It is obvious that the old roadway would follow the high ground where the present road is too near the river, as at 936 394.)
A system of ridges and remnants of trackways recognisable on the Discovery Series map provide a likely link with the high ground of Ardrums, Spt113, 818 442, and Rathcore, but an investigation of this route into Clonard is outside the scope of this inquiry. Or did the roadway cross the Ryewater into Kilcock? This possibility will be explored below.
Noble and Keenan 1752 shows the road up the hill starting east (downriver) of the bridge at Leixlip; Taylor1783 (right) shows the new road and parts of the old one.
We also need to consider another possibility. If there was indeed a northern and a southern route then the northern route would not have passed through Lucan or started at Leixlip. It would have started in north Dublin probably even at Howth following Howth Road to Fairview, Fairview Strand, Ballybough Road, Summerhill Parade, Parnell Street and across Capel Street. Leaving the high ground at Summerhill Parade the roadway was obviously descending towards the Liffey ford.
Church street Bridge is the oldest bridge in town and there is always good reason to assume that the oldest bridge was built near a pre-existing river crossing a ford thereby facilitating existing approach roads. The exact location of the Ath Clíath, the Ford Of The Hurdles has yet to be determined, but I would go along with Dr Kearns that it was just upriver from Church Street Bridge. I now like to present some cartographic evidence to support this hypothesis together with an attempt to pinpoint its exact location.
Four evolved roads from the North Side converge on a roughly rectangular area enclosed by Blackhall Place, North King Street, Capel Street and the River: Parnell Street (from Howth), Dorset / Bolton Street (from Drogheda), Phibsborough Road / Upper Church Street and Manor Street / Stoneybatter. All four roads get lost in a street system which was laid out with almost complete disregard to older evolved roads. To find the ford, their point of convergence has to be extrapolated. A good fit is halfway between Queens Street Bridge and Church Street Bridge at the point where Lincoln Street meets the Quays. Making allowance for the fact that the Liffey was much wider then especially on the less steeply rising north bank the ford would have stretched out a distance past the present quay walls. I suggest that it extended to the point where Bow Street, whose curved part is the only remaining length of evolved road left in our quadrangle, meets Lincoln Lane, and that Lincoln Lane is in fact built upon the northern part of the early ford or a causeway leading to it. It is worth noting that Lincoln Lane runs level on low ground but Bow Street rises quickly onto high ground.
Lower Church Street is not a part of the old road system; it was diverted from Upper Church Street to meet the bridge. Applying the same line of reasoning to Bridge Street, we extend Upper Bridge Street until it intersects an imaginary extension of Lincoln Lane across the river, just south of Ushers Quay. The intersection point is consistent with the theory proposed above.
A map displaying roads in Dublin---Lincoln Lane---the site of Dublin’s ancient Ford of the Hurdles
The ford it said to have been constructed on the orders of the Ulster Poet, Aithirne the Importunate, who pressed the lesser kings into paying tributes of cattle, sheep and even women to his Ulster king. After crossing the Liffey from the Leinster side, the booty was then driven to the Hill of Howth (Benn Étair). (For an interesting Clane connection, see The Shady Roads to Clane, by H. Geissel and R. Horgan.) Aithirne is said to have lived in the 1st century ad, and, if this account is reliable, then we have good evidence for the antiquity of those roads.
We now follow Stoneybatter and Manor Street to Stoneybatter village. A plaque on the old village green claims that the ancient Road from Tara to Glendalough passed through here, coming down Prussia Street. This may be so, even though O Loughlainn does not show it on his map. However, we are here interested in the other route, up Aughrim Street. It leads onto Blackhorse Avenue and from there to Castleknock, Luttrellstown, staying north of the Liffey and joining up with the road described above at 012 372, north of Leixlip.
St Mochua’s Road
For us the southern route is of greater local concern as it passes through several baronies of north Kildare. And even if it is not the Great Road, it is of interest for its association with one of our local saints, St Mochua. St Mochua is the reputed founder and first abbot of the monastery of Clondalkin and also has strong links with Celbridge. Furthermore, the ecclesiastical site of Balraheen was dedicated to him, and Timahoe (Teach Mochua) is believed to have been named after him. It is easy enough to link Clondalkin to Timahoe by modern road, and local researchers have been tempted to call it 'St Mochua’s Road'.
Reputedly flourishing in the 6th century ad, St Mochua might have been a contemporary and acquaintance of St Kevin of Glendalough. It is known that Kevin did not set out to found a monastery but rather went to the secluded Valley-Of-The-Two-Lakes to live there as a hermit. Then when word got out that a holy man lived there, others came to join him, and a monastic community began to grow. It was therefore quite conceivable that something similar happened to St Mochua; that he went to live his lonesome life at Clondalkin when he found himself surrounded by a group of followers, went west to Celbridge, where the process repeated itself, then to Taghadoe, Balraheen and so forth until he finally ended up in Timahoe.
Unfortunately, there are certain problems with this line of argument. St Mochua (whose name originally was Cronan Mac Lugdach, the patronymic later corrupted to Mo-chua.) is said to have been Abbot and probably also Bishop of Clondalkin, which does not harmonise well with a hermit on the run. Celbridge is all right. Taghadoe, however, is named for another saint, Ultan ("the Ulsterman") Tua, strongly linked to Clane and at one time sharing its abbot with the Clane monastery. The founder of Balraheen is not known, but its links with St Mochua are documented.
Before we go on to Timahoe, we pass two more ancient monastic sites en route, neither connected with Mochua. The first is Clonshanbo, associated with St Garbhan, brother of St Kevin of Glendalough, and with St German. The other is Dunmurraghill, linked to St Patrick, who is said to have founded there a domus martyrum or martyr house; also in the area is a holy well dedicated to St Peter. Neither does St Mochua appear to be the founder of Timahoe nor is there any record or tradition that he died there. The name, Tigh Mochua, is the only link. We may therefore conclude that while St Mochua certainly was associated with that road and would have used it in his travels, we cannot go so far as to hold him responsible or give him credit for its existence. Nor is it likely that the road was built during his lifetime. It must have been there before him.
Dublin to Celbridge
So what course did the southern route take? O Lochlainn says that it went to Celbridge via Lucan. Judging by the topography, it is quite possible, even likely, that a direct roadway from Lucan to Celbridge existed in early Christian (or pre-Christian) times; but in light of the St Mochua connection I shall propose an alternative. I shall propose that the roadway went from Dublin to Celbridge via Clondalkin. Clondalkin was located on the Slighe Dhála Meic Umhóir (alias Belach Muighe Dála). According to O Lochlainn, this major prehistoric road proceeded from Dublin through Drimnagh, Clondalkin, Newcastle, Oughterard, Naas, Newbridge and Kildare into Munster.
OS 1837 still shows field (and townland) boundaries where the old approach road to the Celbridge ford used to be.
Going back to Kilmainham (see above) we follow Tyrconnell Road to Drimnagh, turn right onto the Old Naas Road, then via Robinhood Road (now interrupted by the Long Mile Road but continuing on the other side) back onto the modern Carriageway, across the Red Cow roundabout and along Monastery Road into Clondalkin, then out on the Newcastle road to Milltown. The roads so far follow high ground all along, are irregular in shape and likely to represent a series of very early roadways.
At 010 305 an elevated ridge runs NW towards Peamount and thereafter two interrupted stretches (broken by the Grand Canal) of small, narrow roads are extant, leading to the railway crossing at 996 314. From here the roadway continued to the west side of the modern Hazelhatch road where soil conditions are more favourable. Field boundaries on the OS 6" map show the way to the ford. According to Tony Doohan, author of A History of Celbridge, there were two fords in Celbridge, one at the Castletown gate and one just upstream of the bridge. The latter is the more likely one for our road; it is in fact directly in line with "Tea Lane", the road leading past the old graveyard with St Mochua's Church, 968 330, and therefore a perfect fit with a known landmark on our proposed roadway. Apart from his accurate description of the ford’s location, Tony says that stone slabs can be seen jutting into the river and stepping stones right across the river, at low water.
Celbridge to Timahoe
From Celbridge the unclassified road continues on high ground, first straight along a modern (corrected) course and then in a winding pattern to Taghadoe Cross Roads. Alexander Taylor’s 1783 map shows no cross roads here, but a strange detour which I am unable to explain. It appears to be a mistake, for Noble & Keenan 1752 does show a cross roads.
Generally the terrain from here on looks less than ideal for an ancient roadway, though there are intermittent stretches of raised ground with good drainage, merging gradually into poorly drained low-lying areas. On the other hand, a manmade road with a metalled surface and drainage ditches must have been viable. Besides, the route is dotted with early Christian settlements, so we have to accept the obvious as evidence.
Following the present road west from Taghadoe we pass Ladychapel cross roads. Here the first Edition Ordnance Survey map (OS 1837) shows field fences that indicate that the old road ran south of the present one, on the high ground. It deviates from the present road at 909 347 and later crosses it at 896 342. From there a raised trackway can be recognised on the ground. The graveyard of Ladychapel does not represent an early monastic or ecclesiastic site. Much of the road between Taghadoe and Donadea has been re-aligned in the last century, and the routes of the old 17th/18th century roads have been described by Seamus Cullen in an earlier issue of Oughterany. But that is not what we are looking for. Here we are interested in the roadway as it might have run a thousand years earlier.
A possible approach to the oval enclosure of Clonshanbo from the east. The only extant roadways are in the bottom right of the picture (parallel to the Baltracey River) and in the centre left, leading away towards Donadea.
We follow the road past Baltracey Cross and on to Clonshanbo. The old roadway can be recognised, partly on the ground, partly from features on the OS 6" map, like sudden bends in modern roads, or field fences that seem to "leap" by the width of a (possible former) roadway. Topographically the stretch between the last esker bumps NW of Baltracey Cross and Clonshanbo is most unsuitable, being low-lying and subject to severe waterlogging, and there is no ready detour; therefore we must postulate an artificial trackway if we insist on including the Clonshanbo site in our itinerary.
From the early Christian site of Clonshanbo, easily recognisable on the OS 6" map as an oval enclosure with its long axis running N-S, a road past the derelict graveyard points directly at Donadea and further on to Dunmurraghill. This is the only high ground leading away from Clonshanbo. Only a short spur of this road is still extant, but there is also a little lane in Donadea Demesne pointing back in the direction, and a field boundary on the OS 1837 map linking the two, thus providing good evidence that the road went this way and on to Dunmurraghill.
Going south from Dunmurraghill we follow a field fence on the OS 6" map to the road east of Staplestown. The straight road through the village is recent. OS 1837 shows remnants of a road bypassing the village at Staplestown Bridge 824 318 to the south and joining up again further west at 815 315. From there it continues to Timahoe, though the ancient roadway would have kept to the high ground north of the modern road between 813 315 and Hodgestown Hill, Spt 116, 791 312; then over Spt 102 to link up with the existing road at Timahoe graveyard 775 321. The extant road between the graveyard and the modern road to Donadea / Dunfierth (Mucklon) is the only stretch of the old road left. It now ends in a tee junction, (772 322), but OS 1837 shows that it once continued straight into the bog.
Hodgestown Hill to Timahoe -- Across the Bog
Several toghers – wooden trackways through the bog – have been revealed during turf-cutting operations in the last few decades. Site 17 on the Sights and Monuments Record map, Kildare, Sheet 9 (SMR 9/17), shows a perfect fit between the dry ground at Derrylea 764 332 and the end of an existing cul-de-sac at 745 345 in Drehid townland.
SMR 9/18 shows a togher running from a slight bend in the modern road at 754 327 in a WSW direction to Kilkeaskin 727 319. Ted Craven of Coolearagh, who was then working for Bord na Móna, tells me that this togher was exposed during the early sixties and was found to be at a depth of 4-5’ (1.2-1.5m) from the surface. Going by a rule of thumb of 1m growth per 1 000 years, that would place its time of construction into early Christian times. It appears to aim at Ballybrack, via Dillon’s Bridge and Kilpatrick Cemetery, from where there existed a 'Bog Road' system, known as The Danes' Road, leading through the bog islands of Derrybrennan and Lullymore to Rathangan. Alternatively, it could have aimed at Ticknevin, from where an older togher led to Derrybrennan. Professor Etienne Rynne, who did the excavations there, tentatively accepts a previous dating of The Danes' Road to be contemporary with St Patrick. He concludes that the togher, because of its greater depth below the bog surface, would have to be of an even earlier date.
A third togher (SMR 9/19) has been found and recorded. It ran between Timahoe West 320 755 and Loughnacush 734 328. Since Ted Craven had no recollection of this togher being discovered during his time, I assumed it to have been at a higher stratum and therefore of a more recent date than SMR 9/18. In the event, it was excavated by Professor Rynne in 1966 and was later tree-ring dated by Martin Munro of QUB to 1 485 bc, placing it into the Bronze Age! This togher aims at 719 333, from where the roadway followed the present road to 709 332 and continued on high ground, heading for Carbury.
Notwithstanding these known trackways, I believe we are missing one more. The modern road crosses the bog at its narrowest point, but the builders of an early, prehistoric road or wooden trackway would not have had exact information about the geography of the bog and therefore would have aimed at the island of Drumahon (around Spt 93, 757 329) for the most economical route to the high ground on the Carbury side. There is an existing short length of roadway around 770 323 which OS 1837 shows linked to 772 322. Some 400m of roadway, in line with this stretch, is still extant on the island. Extending our imaginary line across the bog, we meet high ground in Drehid near Spt 90, 733 348, then a spur of roadway at 728 352, and following it across the Kilcooney River another dead-end road at 722 359. I believe this to be the original route from which SMR 9/17 was later branched off.
Three known fossil toghers and one hypothetical one.
This proposed continuation from Drumahon to Spt 90, 733 348, passes through uncut bog. I chance to predict that a togher will be unearthed there in time.
I am told that the UCD Wetland Unit are coming to Kildare this summer, so we can perhaps expect more detailed results soon and, in due course, more accurate dating. But since one togher in the area has already been shown to date back to the Bronze Age, this is strong evidence that our Via Magna in valle – or parts of it – is/are of a similar ancient date. It also shows that the area around Timahoe was the ancient point of departure for travellers intending to cross the Midland Bogs.
Our next target is Monasteroris. SMR 9/17 runs a considerable distance north of the modern bog road and its continuation would skirt Carbury Hill to the north while passing through the barony, whereas 18 and 19 would aim at a route bypassing it to the south. It is known that (the later barony of) Carbury originally belonged to Leinster but later (c. 500 ad) was taken over by and named after Cairpre, a scion of the Ui Néill of Tara, whose allegiances were with Meath rather than Leinster. This may have been a sound motive for re-routing the Via Magna onto a more southerly course. The northerly route would therefore appear to be the older one and is followed up here. (Accurate dating results will shed light on the validity – or otherwise – of this hypothesis.)
In the townland of Drehid there is a bridge called Art’s Bridge and, 400m to the north, New Bridge. Both bridges are of a similar modern date, built with ashlar blocks and concrete lintels. But Art’s Bridge must have had a predecessor of considerable age, old enough to give the townland its name. Townlands and (in many cases) their names go back to the 12th century, if not earlier.
Topography and field boundaries suggest that the roadway continued NW to Mylerstown Castle near Spt 122, 708 371, then more or less following the present road past Duffy’s Cross 667 380 to Williamstown. However, this route bypasses Carbury Hill which is the dominant height and with its prehistoric antiquities must have been an important site since the very early days. There must have been a connection, probably over the high ground at Newbury Demesne. From the foot of Carbury Hill a good high road runs WNW to Teelough cross road then NW to Williamstown.
At Williamstown the roadway crossed the Boyne River and its valley to the ruined castle and graveyard at Carrick 640 369 and from here it probably continued west to Grange Cross Roads 621 366 to Monasteroris 611 335. Alternatively, it may have followed the modern road (from Carrick) to Edenderry and from there to Monasteroris. Both routes necessitate passing through some unfavourable terrain.
The modern road from Carbury to Edenderry is another possibility, though topographically it is inferior to the northern routes.
What if the northern Via Magna passed through Kilcock? It is of interest to look for the old roadway from Kilcock to Cloncurry. The High Road, branching off from the modern N4 at 856 410, aiming for Cappagh Hill, 826 413, was the old stage coach road, but I would contend that an older road existed. It ran along the south side of the former race course (Commons West), providing a link between the town and the Ballycahan road at 871 393. It followed the latter to the sharp left turn at 856 393, continuing straight, where the Discovery map still shows a trackway at 848 397. A connection to Grange Hill, Spt 145, 401 836, marked by the proximity of a standing stone, is obvious. Here the roadway linked with the ancient roadway from Naas via Clane and Cloncurry into Meath. For a short distance of some 300m the modern road points directly at Cloncurry Cross, suggesting the ancient route. This is supported by the fact that this sight line passes through the site of the medieval town of Cloncurry.
I had earlier made a case for an important ancient route linking Naas with Tara. Based largely on topographic and cartographic evidence, as well as legend, Roger Horgan and I traced a roadway from Naas to Johnstown along the esker ridge to Bodenstown, through Blackhall estate, across the Liffey to Clane, on the esker to Boherhole, then along the modern road to Mount Armstrong and Donadea. The weakest part of that hypothetical roadway, the stretch from Clane to Mount Armstrong, has recently been validated. The hypothetical henge site at Boherhole Cross described by us has been examined by a team of archaeologists and confirmed as a definite monument, though its dating and exact nature are still uncertain. I now believe that that was indeed the ancient roadway, but that the first manmade road from Clane to Donadea / Dunmurraghill went via Kilmurry. From Donadea the road went by Ballagh, Hortland, Ovidstown, Grange Hill to Cloncurry and further on into Meath.
The exact course of the Slighe Mór, alias Via Magna, is not known, though it is generally understood to have run from Dublin to Galway roughly along the N4 / N6 road system. Medieval sources suggest two alternative routes, perhaps made necessary by political rivalry in early Christian times. Within the present framework, a route from Howth to the Dublin Ford (Ath Cliath) – Stoneybatter – Castleknock – Luttrellstown – Carton – Kilcock is suggested, with two alternatives from there: staying north of the Ryewater heading for Clonard via Rathcore, or crossing south to the Ballycahan Road – Cloncurry – Clonard.
A southern Route is followed up from Dublin (High Street) to Lucan – Celbridge – Taghadoe – Clonshanbo – Donadea – Dunmurraghill – Staplestown to Timahoe, with several alternatives through the bog to Monasteroris (Edenderry) in accordance with several identified (and one hypothesised) fossilised toghers. Because of the St Mochua connection, the route from Dublin to Celbridge is traced via Clondalkin. The importance of Timahoe as a jumping-off point for travel across the bog is recognised.
Links between the two routes would have existed at Dublin, Leixlip and Cloncurry.
The locations of the fords across the Liffey in Dublin, Celbridge and Leixlip are discussed. The present attempt to give the exact location of the Dublin ford should be of considerable interest.
In more general terms I have arrived at the conclusion that the original, natural Esker Riada roadways do not necessarily coincide with the first manmade Slighe Mór roads. With reference to the first sixty or so kilometres inland from Dublin, the topography in Meath suggests the more favourable natural route, whereas the roads linking all the monasteries and ecclesiastical sites in Leinster may represent the first major constructed road in the area. But then there are the ancient toghers at Timahoe.
Detail from O’Loughlainn’s map of Roadways in Ancient Ireland
I like to thank Mario Corrigan, Ted Craven, Seamus Cullen, Tony Doohan, Michael Jacob and Michael Kavanagh for their assistance.
The Society of Friends or Quakers, as they were more widely known, became established in Ireland from the late 1600s. Following the wars of the 1640s there was a shortage of merchant class citizens in the country, and this void was filled by planters and emigrants from England. Many of these people joined the Society of Friends, and within a short time Quaker families spread throughout the country.
Quaker communities sprang up in the northern half of Kildare with Meeting Houses at Edenderry, Rathangan, Baltyboys (near Blessington) and Timahoe. These rural Quakers were mainly engaged in farming, milling and brewing as well as small merchant businesses.
Prominent among the Edenderry Quakers was a branch of the Watson family, who originally moved from Cumberland to Carlow in the pre-1640 period. Samuel Watson (1659-1732) prospered in Edenderry and leased land in the immediate neighbourhood. One estate was at Ballinamullagh, Carbury, which he acquired in 1715. It had an area of 462 acres (185 hectares), and the lease was for the lives of two of his sons, William and Benjamin. Benjamin died shortly after and William subsequently took over the management of the farm. This William married his (unrelated) namesake Mary Watson from Derrygarron, Rathangan, in 1720. Mary was the daughter of a Colonel Tom Watson who served in King William’s campaigns in Ireland in the 1690s.
A letter in the Watson family possession, dating from 1853, gives an account of this Colonel Watson as follows:
Colonel Watson came over to Ireland with King William […]. Though pressed by the King to accept of an estate refused it and purchased the interest of land from the natives and settled at Derrygarron (in English a horse grove) it was mostly in wood of oak. Colonel Watson was […] cousin to the late Marquess of Rockingham. After the battles were over he was disgusted with wars and joined our Society [the Quakers].
William and Mary had two daughters and a son, William (II). However, William (I) seems to have contracted an illness and died in 1729, aged 31. His will has survived and in it he left his estate to his son, with provision for his wife and daughters.
Also prominent among the Edenderry Quakers at that time were the Eves family. They originally came to Ireland from Leicestershire in 1660 and settled in County Wicklow. Two Eves brothers, Joseph and John, moved to Edenderry in the 1715 period and became successful businessmen. Another brother, Caleb, later followed them and in 1731 married William Watson’s widow Mary. Caleb then moved into the Watson house at Ballinamullagh and managed the farm. The next year a son, Mark, was born to the couple.
In 1734 Caleb purchased Baltracey Townland from a Dublin Baronet named Sir William Fownes. This townland is situated six kilometres south of Kilcock and has an area of 707 acres (283 ha), all arable land. Fownes had acquired Baltracey in 1707 from the previous owner Margaret Eustace. She was the widow of a prominent Jacobite officer, Sir Maurice Eustace from Castlemartin, Kilcullen, whose family had held the Townland from the medieval period. Fownes made many improvements to the estate, laying out orchards and plantations, building dwelling houses and possibly the original Baltracey House, a stone-walled slated farmhouse situated a quarter of a mile (400m) north-east of Baltracey Cross on an old road system. Beside this house was a farmyard consisting of barns, stables and a pigeon house. (Fat pigeons made up part of the payment which the Eves were required to pay Fownes for some years afterwards.) In about 1730 Fownes built a new corn-mill on the Baltracey River. This mill was probably built on or close to the site of a previous mill mentioned in the Civil Survey of 1654 and would have been one of the main attractions of this estate to the Quakers.
The Eves-Watsons moved to Baltracey, successfully managed the estate and operated the corn-mill. They were not isolated from fellow Quakers, as Timahoe was only five miles away and two families there were related to them. William Watson’s two paternal aunts, Sarah and Ruth Watson, were married to Henry Russell from Hodgestown and Robert Wyley from Gilltown, respectively. Timahoe was also their spiritual centre as they attended meetings in the Meeting House on a regular basis. In 1744 Elizabeth Watson, eldest daughter of Mary Eves, married Joseph Toplinson from Edenderry, and the next year her sister Mary married Isaac Haughton from Castlebibbon. Both weddings took place at the Meeting House in Timahoe. In 1747 their brother William Watson married his stepfather’s niece, Margaret Evens from County Wicklow. However, this marriage was not in accordance with their religion as the couple were married by a priest and as a result lost their membership of the Quaker religion. The couple lived in Baltracey with William working as a successful proprietor of the mill. His mother, Mary Eves, died in 1757 and was buried in Edenderry. Tragedy struck the tiny communities later that year when Mary and Caleb’s son Mark, who was heir to the estate, died at the age of twenty-three. With Caleb’s death in 1762 ownership of his estate passed to a relative, also named Mark Eves, from Co. Wicklow. It appears that William Watson, Caleb’s stepson, retained certain rights to the Estate but was not considered as the heir.
The Eves and Watsons continued to run the estate together. William Watson and his wife, Margaret, had nine children between 1748 and 1771. The community was not without it’s scandal when in 1775 Mary Watson, the eldest of the family, was expelled from the Quaker religion because she had dishonoured the community. The following is an account of this affair from that year:
Whereas Mary Watson, Daughter of William Watson of Baltracey, near Timahoe, was Educated in Profession of us the people called Quakers and did some time frequent Our Religious meeting but for want of taking heed to the Spirit of Truth in her heart which would have preserved her, Did join with the Temptation of the Enemy of her happiness so as to cohabit with a man in A criminal manner by whom she has had a child. Wherefore in order to clear the Truth we profess from the Reproach Occasioned by her Disorderly and Wicked Actions and for a Causion [sic] to Others We are concerned thus publicly to Testify against her and Deny her to be of Our Society nevertheless We Sincerely Desire that she may come to a true Sight and Sense of her misconduct and Witness that Godly Sorrow which Worketh True Repentance and thereby Find mercy with the Almighty.
After this incident the Watsons seem to have discontinued to practice their religion. Samuel, the second eldest son, was the first of this generation to get married in 1784 when he married his second cousin, Margaret Russell, from Hodgestown, Timahoe. Mark Eves that year leased Balfeighin Estate which is situated one kilometre north of Kilcock, and Samuel and his wife Margaret went to live there in the original Balfeighin House which dates from that time. In 1788 Thomas, William’s eldest son, leased land at Pheopstown from the Prentice family. This estate, situated just over three kilometres north of Balfeighin, is known as Larchill and is adorned with follies and artificial lakes. The follies pre-date the Watson ownership, but Larchill House dates from this time and was most likely built by the Watsons. Two years later, in 1790, Mark Eves let the area of Baltracey known as The Mill Land to William Watson’s daughters, Nancy and Sarah. The present Baltracey House is situated in this area of land and the oldest part of the building was built at that time by the Watsons. The two youngest Watson sons, Mark and William (III), had moved to Dublin and set up businesses. Mark subsequently leased Larchill for some years from his brother, Thomas.
William, having successfully served his apprenticeship as a haberdasher and tape manufacturer, went into business and opened a shop named The Spinning Wheel at No.30, New Row, Thomas Street, and he re-joined the Quakers in 1793 and married Margaret Wright from Co. Wexford. The couple then lived over the shop until William died at the early age of 29 in 1801, leaving three daughters under six and a fourth born later that year.
Mark Eves let the remainder of the Townland, known as Baltracey Farm, to Peter Doyle, a grazier by occupation and a member of the Quaker Community from Carlow in 1792. Included in the area of land was the original Baltracey House, outhouses, barns, stables, pigeon house and also orchards and gardens. A marriage was arranged between William’s daughter, Margaret, and Peter Doyle, and the couple took up residence in Baltracey, though it is not clear in which house. Mark Eves had also obtained the lease of Raheen Old, a neighbouring Townland, in 1794, from Revd Richard Cane, Rector of Larabryan, Maynooth, and two years later made an agreement with Robert ("Robin") Aylmer of Painstown which would result in the lands reverting to the latter at Mark’s death.
In 1793 the tiny community was shocked by the death in child birth of Margaret Doyle. The couple had been married for less than a year. Margaret’s baby, a daughter, survived and was named Margo.
The trying years of the late 1790s did not pass untroubled for the community. In 1796, when there was considerable Defender activity in the general area, the house of Mark Eves at Baltracey was attacked, which resulted in some damage to his property. It appears that during the attack Mark threatened to shoot at his attackers (he "fired a gun threat"). This was contrary to the laws of his religion, and a committee of Quakers was appointed in March of that year to investigate the matter. In the following August the committee also reported that Peter Doyle of Baltracey and Alexander Wiley of Timahoe kept firearms for the defence of their persons and property, and furthermore, that they had expressed their intentions to use them if necessary. This was not in accordance with the Quaker religion, and both men were expelled.
The following month, Mark Eves, who was in the process of making a claim for damages caused during the robbery of his home earlier in the year, was visited by at least one elder of his religion. Proceeding with the compensation claim was not regarded as proper by the Quakers. The inconsistency of his application was pointed out to him, and he appeared to see it was improper. He then expressed regret at not having consulted with his fellow Quakers on the matter, and from this it appears that he dropped his claim.
Mark Eves passed away in 1800, and under the terms of his will transferred the freehold of the Baltracey estate to his cousins, the Eves brothers William, Joshua and Samuel, from Edenderry. Mark’s lease of Balfeighin was subsequently acquired by it’s occupant, Samuel Watson. Samuel’s wife, Margaret, died the same year and was buried in Timahoe. They had two children, Samuel E. (Eves) and Anna. Their father remarried in 1805 to a widow from Kilcock named Ellen Kelly.
Peter Doyle died in 1805. His daughter, Margo, then aged 12, inherited the lease of Baltracey farm and it is likely that she was brought up by her relatives, the Watsons. (Her grandmother, Margaret Watson, was then still alive. Her husband, William Watson (II), had died in 1798.)
A marriage was arranged in 1811 between Margo Doyle, then aged 18, and Samuel E. Watson, her first cousin. Their marriage arrangement would unite the three estates then in the family’s possession. Thomas Watson, the senior member of the family, and his brother Mark transferred Larchill to their nephew, Samuel E., and the house there became the residence of the newlyweds. Samuel senior transferred the lease of Balfeighin to his son, Samuel E., while Margo Doyle brought to the marriage the lease of the greater part of Baltracey.
In 1820, Samuel E. Watson inherited half the estate of his uncle, Samuel Russell, in Hodgestown, Timahoe. This brought together four estates with a total area of 1,627 acres (650ha). Thomas Watson died in Baltracey House in 1822, and with the death of his sister, Nancy, four years later, finally brought to an end over ninety years of residence by the Quaker families in the Townland.
In 1828 the corn-mill was let by James Webb, a nephew of the Watsons, to Samuel Walsh who had earlier moved into Baltracey House, together with his family. Margo Doyle Watson died childless in 1820 and her husband, Samuel E., died in 1836 at Larchill. They were both buried in the Quaker cemetery at Timahoe. Samuel E. had one sister, Anna, who had married Richard Neale, from Coolrane Mill, Mountrath. Anna’s eldest son, Samuel Neale, became the heir to the Watson estates, but he had to fulfil one important stipulation, laid down by his uncle’s will, in order to inherit the property. This required him to change his surname to Watson, and failing to comply with this stipulation, the estates would then be offered to his younger brothers, with the same arrangement. Samuel complied with his uncle’s wishes and changed his name by deed-poll and thus inherited the Watson estates. Samuel Neale Watson, as he was now known, married Susanna Davis in 1840 and lived mainly in Dublin.
The freehold ownership of Baltracey townland passed to Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Eves of Edenderry, at this time. Following Elizabeth’s death in 1854, the estate passed to her two unmarried daughters, Sarah and Jane. Her only son, Thomas, was disowned and disinherited for marrying outside the Quaker religion. In 1854, Sarah and Jane re-let the mill and the Mill Land at Baltracey to their tenant, Samuel Walsh. Two years later, they also re-let the former Doyle estate to Samuel Neale Watson. With the passing of the Land Acts of the 1880s, the Eves and the Watsons lost considerable control of their estates to the tenants, finally losing the freehold following the Land Act of 1903.
Samuel Neale Watson died in 1883. His heir, Samuel Henry, kept up the family tradition in milling when he married Margaret Goodbody, a member of that prominent milling family, the Goodbodys of Clara. Samuel Henry’s son, Cecil, was a well known Dublin Quaker and pacifist all his life. He founded the Court Laundry in 1906 and was a model employer. In 1920 he added the name Neill to his surname, in recognition of his grandfather’s family, changing the family name to Neill-Watson.
Only one local tradition of the Quaker families in Baltracey survives. A raised area in a field close to the original Baltracey House has been traditionally referred to as ‘Quaker burial ground’. This area has not been enclosed since at least 1837, and no record of Quaker burials in the locality exists. It is likely to have been a children’s burial ground and may have been used by the Quaker community to inter stillborn babies.
Today, over two-and-a-half centuries later, three surviving buildings, Larchill House, the present Baltracey House and the original but now roofless Balfeighin House, remain as a reminder of this once prosperous Quaker family.
Name: Richard CASTLE,architect designed
Building: CO. KILDARE, HORTLAND
Nature: Attr. to RC by Knight of Glin. For Archbishop Hort. Demolished
Refs: The Knight of Glin, 'Richard Castle, architect, his biography and works' in BIGS 7, no. 1 (Jan - Mar 1964), 32-38
HORTLAND, or BALLYSCULLOGE, also called SCULLOGESTOWN, a parish, in the barony of IKEATHY and OUGHTERANY, county of KILDARE, and province of LEINSTER, 5 miles (S. W. by W.) from Kilcock, on the road from Naas to Enfield; containing 539 inhabitants. This parish is bounded on the south by the bog of Allen, and contains Hortland, the seat of Sir Josiah W. Hort, Bart.; and Knockanally, of W. Coates, Esq. It is a vicarage, in the diocese of Kildare, forming part of the union of Kilcock; the rectory is impropriate in Lord Cloncurry. The tithes amount to £58. 18. 11. In the R. C. divisions also it forms part of the union or district of Kilcock
SALLINS kil Millicent
M. Bence-Jones, A Guide to Irish Country Houses, London, 1988.
HORTLAND BY DES O’LEARY
Ballysculloge, the original name for this area in North Kildare, was later anglicised to Scullogestown. In 1745 it was acquired by Revd Josiah Hort and renamed Hortland, a name still in use today.
Balliscullogue(‘town of the small farmer’) rises from the Bog of Allen in the south to the higher, more arable lands in the northeast. In medieval times it was one of the four parishes, which formed the barony of Oughterany, the other three being Cloncurry, Donadea and Drumurraghill. It is clear from the evidence that the area was inhabited from the earliest times. In 1958 a stone axe-head was found in a field bank in Hortland. In the same town land are the remains of an old Celtic rath, and in 1973 a crannog, which could date from early Christian times, was discovered at the back entrance to Knockanally.
Shortly after the Norman invasion in 1169 most of North Kildare area became the property of Adam de Hereford. In order to protect their lands and possessions from the unconquered Irish to the west of Ballyscullogue, the de Herefords constructed the earthen motte, in the town land, basically the same as it stands today, although the wooden castle on top has long since disappeared.
The next landlords associated with Ballyscullogue are the de Flatesburys. In 1286 Robert de Flatesbury was seneschal of the county palatine of Kildare and in 1288 Lord of the Manor of Ballyscullogue in Co. Kildare. In 1305 Robert’s son, Symon, sued the Abbey of St Thomas for the advowson of Ballymascoloch. i.e. right to appoint a clergyman.
Symon’s son. Robert, was appointed collector of the King’s Revenue in the Barony of Offelan, and held the manor of Ballymascolloch at the date of his death in 1367. Robert’s son Patrick became sheriff of Kildare in 1394 and in 1425 was still in possession of Ballymascolloch. Patrick’s eldest son, James, married Eleanor Wogan of Rathcoffey, they had two daughters. The eldest daughter, Margaret married John Fitzjohn Fitzgerald who became proprietor of Ballyscullogue. In 1442 one John Duff sold his holdings in the area to the Fitzgeralds, including parcels of land in Le Carnagh, Ardkepagh, Gurtin, Baghall, Gurtindoon and Lana, all town lands within the parish of Ballyscullogue.
The most famous member of the Flatesbury family was Philip Flatsbury of Johnstown who is credited with writing The Earl of Kildare’s Red Book, a section of which has been translated by Mr Tadgh Hayden, and is available in Newbridge Library.
In 1588 over 100 years after the Fitzgeralds had first acquired parts of Ballyscullogue, Thomas, Earl of Ormond, made a grant of the Barony of Oughternay, sometimes known as the Cloncurry grant, to Richard Aylmer of Lyons. This grant did not include the parish of Ballyscullogue. In the Civil Survey of 1654 the area is referred to as Skulloghstown and the proprietor was given as Maurice Fitzgerald of Osberstown, with a reference as follows:
The Town and Parish of Skulloghstown afore said lyeth Eastward of the river called Blackwater. Westward of George Aylmer of Hartwell his lands at Fenagh. Northwards of Sir Andrew Aylmer his lands of Ovedstown. There is upon ye aforesaid lands at Skulloghstown one stone house, which is value to be worth twenty pounds. There is also upon the said lands one quarry of stone.
The stone house identified above may be what O’Keeffe referred to in the Ordnance survey Letters as an ‘old castle beside the moat (motte)’, which formerly belonged to the Fitzgeralds. The civil survey makes no reference to any other town land in the parish. It says , ‘The great and small tithes were in the year 1640 possessed by Christopher Colborne Clerke. According to an old land lease the original village of Scullogstown was located along the old road adjacent to the pond.
Fairs were held in the village on 2nd May and 9th December.
There is no reference to any church or any association with an early Christian saint connected with the area prior to the Norman invasion. The first reference to a church in Scullogstown was a transaction early in the thirteenth century, when the church was given by Roger de Hereford to St Thomas Abbey Dublin. In 1336, a clergyman named William was described as vicar of Ballysculloge. The paternal feast of the parish of Scullogstown is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. In the early 1700s William Balfe is described as being the Parish Priest of Scullogstown, he was ordained in 1698 in Cork by Dr John Sleyne, Bishop of Cork; sureties were Simon MacEvey of Graigesallagh, and Peter Walsh of Donecomfort, farmer.
Thomas Boyle, Vicar of Kilcock, reported to the Protestant Archbishop in 1731:
Ballyscullogue had no Chapel of Masshouse, nunnery or Friary, but public mass is said on Sundays by Andrew Egen at the house of Mr John Fitzgerald in Ballynafagh.
There is within the confines of the graveyard the octagonal head of an ancient limestone font. One of the earliest recorded burials was that of Bryan McDonal who died 1745.
In the established church of Ireland register of 1807 Scullogstown is described as being part of the Benefice of Kilcock Cloncurry and Ballinafagh, but there was no reference to a church in Scullogstown. It is likely that the church was in decline from the reformation period.
In 1666 Edward Sutton leased the town and lands of Scullogstown from Maurice Fitzgerald for 41 years. Over the next number of years the lease of lands of Scullogstown changed hands on numerous occasions while remaining in the hands of the Fitzgeralds. In 1710 a George Brehaold sub-let 700 acres (284 ha) to Charles Armstrong of Mount Armstrong, Donadea.
When dealing with old land documents and leases it is not always clear if the title referred to is that of overlordship, or of a subordinate degree.
Reference is made in 1715 to other townlands in the parish when the said Charles Armstrong purchased the lands of Newtown-Monyluggagh, Ballyteigh, Achacka, LinnKeile.
In 1723 the Fitzgeralds sold the lands of Knockanally to Joseph Leeson, later Earl of Milltown.
In 1742 James FitzGerald let part of the hill of Scullogstown as well as foxes holdings and two parks behind James Magavins house to Charles Fitzgerald of Clonshambo. This agreement was witnessed by Denis Kanavan, and contained 120 acres. Two years later James Fitzgerald let 35 acres to a Robert Daly of Dublin; also included was a house and garden lately held by Patrick Germon and Marks Dooney.
In 1745 the Fitzgeralds seemed to have redeemed the remaining leases of Scullogstown. They sold the manor, containing 868 acres, including a watermill to Revd Josiah Hort, Bishop of Tuam, for the sum of £5,373. Horts purchase did not include the town land of Knockanally (seat of the Coats family for some time) Ballyteige, Achacka, LinnKeile, and Newtown-Monyluggagh. The Fitzgeralds continued to lease the lands at Scullogstown until 1766.
THE HORT FAMILY
Josiah Hort was born in Maresfield near Bath in England in 1673, he was educated at Clare College Cambridge, where he graduated. He was ordained Bishop of Norwich and became chaplain to Mr Hampden M.P. for Bucks. In 1709 he became chaplain to Earl Wharton the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. After his arrival he obtained a parish (Rathdrum Co Wicklow), and after holding two deaneries (Ferns and Leighlin) and two bishoprics, (Kilmore and Ardagh), he became eventually Archbishop of Tuam in 1742.
The above pages show the Hort family as taken from Burke's Peerage
Although he owned Scullogstown for a short period prior to his death he certainly created an impression in the area. Firstly he changed the name of the area to Hortland. He erected a mansion on his lands in 1748 designed by Richard Castle. In the same year he constructed a windmill on which the following inscription was inserted ‘This mill was erected by his grace Josh Hort. Archbishop of Tuam 1748’. The outline of this mill is still visible. Hort constructed a new stone bridge over the Blackwater known as the Bishops Chair with the inscription ‘This bridge was built by Josiah Hort Lord Archbishop of Tuam one of his Majesties most honourable privy Councillors in the year 1745.
HORTLAND HOUSE IN 1913(LSDK) Source: K.A.S. Jn., vii p 208.
Josiah Hort married Elizabeth Fitzmaurice of Gallane Co. Kerry in 1725. Its likely that Hort or his wife ever lived in the New Mansion, as can be seen from an agreement made in 1750 whereby Hort let the Mansion previously held by Patrick Luby to a Mr Colligan. Hort resumed the lease agreement with Charles Fitzgerald of Clonshambo except for 38 acres,which was let to Laurence Downey.
Archbishop Hort died in 1751 and was buried in the churchyard of St Georges Church in Dublin, where there is a monument to his memory. In his will Hort identified his estates as Moyvalley, Clonduff, Ballinderry, Ballydrummy, and Hortland; this seems an extraordinary accumulation of lands in such a short period of time.
All his property was left in trust for his second son John.
Archbishop Hort was succeeded by his eldest son Josiah George, (who later became a clergyman). He married Jane Marie Hawkins in 1766. In the same year Revd J G Hort leased Hortland to Thomas Eyre.
Revd J G Hort died in 1786 and was succeeded in Hortland by his brother John. In 1767 John was appointed Consul-General of Lisbon and was at the same time given a baronetcy. He married Margaret Aylmer, daughter of Sir Fitzgerald Aylmer of Donadea. After the 1798 Rebellion, Sir John Hort Bart., lodged a claim for compensation for £950-12-9 for damages to Hortland House caused by the United Irishmen prior to the Battle of Ovidstown. He died at Brighton on 23rd October 1807 and is buried at St George’s, London.
It is unlikely that Sir John Hort and his wife ever resided at Hortland and it seems that he son Sir Josiah William 2nd Baronet was the first of the family to live in the mansion. He held the office of High Sheriff of Kildare in 1818, and represented the Country in parliament from 1831 to 1832.
Sir Josiah William married Louisa Georgina Caldwell from County Fermanagh in 1823. As part of the marriage settlement; it was agreed that ‘Sir John Caldwell would within six months after the solemnization of the said marriage pay to Sir Josiah Hort the sum of £5,000 also payment of a further £8,000 after the death of Sir John Caldwell.
It was during Sir Josiah William’s time at Hortland that the various changes took place. These included the re-alignment of the existing road away from his residence. Some traces of the old road are visible still from Leonard’ s Avenue across the hill to a position a short distance to the east of Knockanally gates. Sir Josiah William Hort was responsible for moving some tenants and workmen from the vicinity of his house to newly constructed stone houses on the west side of the Blackwater.The Horts also constructed a lime kiln adjacent to the existing quarry.
This photograph was of the last remaining house in "The Street". In 2000 planning permission was granted to demolish the ruins and build a new house on the site. Sadly in 2010 nothing remains of "The Street" except a few stones. This settlement was commonly known as "The Street" of Hortland.
HORTLAND, in the Barony of Ikeath and Oughterany, Co. of Kildare, and Province of Leinster ; in the parish of Ballysculloge. It is 5 m. S. W. b. W. from Kilcock. The Fairs are holden on the 2d of May, and 9th of December.
Griffiths Valuation of Ireland fot Hort
Hort Baronet Willia Derryarmush Annagh Cavan
Hort Baronet Willia Derryhoo Annagh Cavan
Hort Baronet Willia Faharlagh Annagh Cavan
Hort Baronet Willia Shancorry Annagh Cavan
Hort Baronet Wm. Grilly Annagh Cavan …
Hort William Henrietta Street St. Michans Dublin
Hort Rev. Charles Montpelier Hill St. Pauls Dublin
Hort Patrick James Madras Place St. Georges Dublin
Hort Baronet William Ballykeelan Cloncurry Kildare
Hort Baronet William Corcoranstown Cloncurry Kildare
Hort Baronet William Hortland Scullogestown Kildare
Hort Baronet Josiah W. Doonane Rathaspick Laois
Hort Anthony Gort Turlough Mayo
Hort Anthony Largan Turlough Mayo
Hort Thomas Fawnmore Inishbofin
Hort Josiah Wm. Sir 30 Kildare
Hort J. W. Sir 77 Laois
Hort Charles Rev. 164 Tipperary
From the National Library Of Ireland
1. Letter from Josiah Hort, bp. of Kilmore, to George Bubb Dodington 1733 03
2.Letter from Josiah Hort, Bishop of Kilmore, to George Bubb Dodington 1734 Jan. 10.
3.Letter from Josiah Hort, Bishop of Kilmore, to George Bubb Dodington 1734 Apr. 13.
The earliest written on behalf of his father-in-law, Sir John Caldwell.
Financial matters; difficulties with landed property at Redwood; illness of Sir William's daughter Georgina
Personal Name: Caldwell, John, Johnston, George, Captain J G Hort listed as Adjutant to Royal Hospital Kilmainhamm (Toms Directory 1857) National Library Dublin.
In 1822 parliament passed as act, which stated that tithes due to the established church should be paid in money and not crops as was previously the case. Commissioners were appointed for each parish to access the tithe payment due from the landlord. The commissioner appointed for the parish of Scullogstown was Joseph Wybrant, who carried out the survey in 1833 and recorded the information in the Tithe Applotment books.
Fifty-one farmers were assessed as being eligible for the payment of tithes. The assessment was based on 543 acres with the majority of holdings measuring from 2 to 10 acres. Sir William Horts liability was calculated on 137 acres and amounted to £4-10-00. The combined tithes for the parish amounted to £58-18-11. Wybrant included three other townlands in his survey of the parish: Knockanally, Ballyteigue and de Cathea Newtown or Scarletstown. It is probable that Scarletstown was the original mane of the present town land of Newtownmoneenluggagh as Walter Fitzgerald referred to Scarletstown in connection with the Flatsbuty Family in Trustee Maps of 1688-1702.
In 1837 Lewis describes Hortland parish containing 539 inhabitants and the seat of Sir Josiah William Hort. It is a vicarage in the diocese of Kildare forming part of the Union of Kilcock. The rectory is impropriate in Lord Cloncurry. In the RC Divisions it forms part of the union or district of Kilcock.
In the same year the Ordinance Survey Office produced the first accurate maps of the county on a scale 6” to a mile. Those maps defined the town land boundaries and the exact acreage.
The Irish Poor Law Act of 1838 made it necessary for all lands and buildings to be valued, so that a rate of so much per pound could be levied to finance the relief of the poor. Richard Griffith was commissioned to provide a general valuation of rateable property in Ireland. This work was completed in the 1850s, and was commonly known as ‘Griffiths Valuations’. Sir William Hort 2nd Baronet held the townlands of Hortland and Ballyteige totalling 1571 acres. There are 43 holdings leased from the estate and Hort himself held almost 700 acres, mostly bogland.
In the census of Ireland, 1841, the population of Hortland was 453, with 58 families someway involved in Agriculture. By 1851 the population was 366 a decrease of 19%. This decrease is similar to the national average and was due principally to the effects of famine.
To alleviate the suffering and poverty of this period some landowners iniated famine relief works: and in 1847 Sir Josiah William Hort was granted £800 from the Commissioner of Works for improved drainage in Hortland and Ballyteige. In the same year he contributed £15 to the Donadea Poor Relief Committee. In 1848 Lady Louisa Hort wrote to the Society of Friends requesting aid for what she described as the ‘truly destitute and most depressing poor people by whom we are immediately surrounded’.
Shortly before Sir Josiah William Hort died in 1870 he had moved residence from Hortland House to No 1. Merrion Square Dublin. Hortland House was let to J. H. Peart, Esq.
After Sir Josiah Williams death the Hortland estate passed to his first son, Sir John Josiah Hort 3rd Bart..
Sir John was Lieutenant General in the army and served through the Crimean wars. He died unmarried in 1882, and the estate passed to his brother, Sir William Fitzmaurice Josiah Hort, 4th Baronet, and Barrister at Law.
Sir William married firstly Harriet Stevenson in 1866, secondly Catherine Anne Villiers. Sir William and Catherine lived at Canices Cottage, Co. Kilkenny. He died without issue in 1887. The estate then passed to his brother, Sir Fenton Josiah Hort, 5th Baronet. Sir Fenton was Lieutenant Colonel 3rd Battalion Royal Enniskillen Fusealers. He died without issue in 1902 and the baronetcy passed to his first cousin Sir Arthur Fenton Hort, 6th Baronet of Hortland.
The mansion designed by Richard Castle was at the turn of the century described as being in a dilapidated condition.,(Castle also designed Powerscourt House).
From 1869 the ownership of land was transferred gradually from the landlords to the tenant farmers. The process was carried out through a series of land purchase acts. The last act administered by the British government occurred in 1909. It was this act that divided the Hortland estate amongst the tenantery. The principle recipient was Herbert Warren, who received 162 acres.
Sir Arthur Fenton Hort 6th Baronet, was the last member of the dynasty to hold the Hortland estates.
THE MUTINY OF THE NORTH TIPPERARY MILITIA by Brendan Hall
One of these militiamen, John Barron (or Barrow), was later charged with intent to murder some of the 200 soldiers then in the barrack and with intent to murder Colonel Henry Hort
Private Thomas Gleeson (Tried with Devereux, below): Charged (1) with inciting soldiers to fix bayonets and charge the guardhouse, (2) charging at Captain Adjutant Hort with bayonet fixed and (3) releasing prisoners confined in the guardhouse. Verdict: Guilty. To be transported for life.
ReferencesKevin Lynch. ‘The Derry – Hortlands Islands Oughterany’ (1993) p 25.
Joseph Raftery. ‘Archaeological Acquisitions in 1958 (1960) pp 1-40.
T. P. O’Neill. ‘Crannog at Knockanally’ JKAS p250 Seamus Cullen. ‘Knockanally Crannog’ in this issue.
G. H. Orpen. Ireland under the Normans vol 1 Oxford (1968) p 379.
G. E. Hamilton. ‘Parishes in county Kildare’ JKAS (1915) p 251.
Sir Arthur Vicars. ‘The Family of Flatsbury’ JKAS Vol iv (ed) Rev E. O’Leary (1903) p 87.
Vicars. Flatsbury p 88.
Richard Aylmer. ‘The Aylmer’s of Donadea’ Oughteraney p 5.
RD BKI 42.
Nicholas Carlile. Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, London. (1810)
R. G. Simington (Ed) The Civil Survey 1654-1656 (Dublin 1952) P 203.
NAU 45th report of the deputy keeper p 51. Revd M Comerford, Collection relating to the dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, second series (Dublin 1883) pp 163 165.
Comerford. P 263
Walter Fitzgerald. Churchyard at Hortland. JKAS (1909-1911) p 357.
Papers relating to the Established Church of Ireland p1807.
Registry of Deeds (RD) Book 30, Memorial 25314 p 287.
Joseph Leeson’s son, also named Joseph, was created Earl of Milltown in 1763. Their country seat was Russborough House in Co Wicklow.
THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF HORTLAND GRAEVEYARD BY OLIVE MORRIS
Hortland Graveyard is situated c. two miles northwest of Newtown. Formerly called Ballysculloge alias Scullogestown, it was one of eight parishes in the Barony of Ikeathy and Oughterany. The present parish of Kilcock and Newtown now contains the former ‘ancient ecclesiastical divisions of Kilcock, Newtown, Cloncurry, Scullogestown and Clonshambo’.
According to Samuel Lewis in 1837 Hortland is bounded on the south by the Bog of Allen and contains the seat of Josiah W. Hort and W. Coats Esq. of Knockanally.
In the Church of Ireland parochial divisions Hortland was a vicarage in the diocese of Kildare, which formed part of the Union of Kilcock, and the rectory was impropriate in Lord Cloncurry.
In Roman Catholic divisions it also formed part of the Union or district of Kilcock. The town lands in the parish were Hortland, Ballyteigue, Knockanally, Newtown-Hortland and Newtownmoneenluggagh. The Blackwater River runs close to the west of the graveyard to the immediate southwest.
The parish of Scullogestown contains 2,468 acres. The older Irish Ballysculloge or Baile Mac Sculoig came eventually to mean the town of the ‘small farmer’. Originally according to Joyce ‘scoil’ meaning school was associated with young monks or scholars who carried out the farm work for the monastery and so the term came to mean a small farmer who worked the land.
The first reference to a church in Scullogestown was in the early thirteenth century when Roger de Hereford gave the church to St. Thomas Abbey Dublin’. Later that century Galfridus de Hereford and St Thomas Abbey settled a lawsuit between them concerning the right of patronage of the church of ‘Balimascoloe’. On the 25th June 1245 Galfridus dropped his claims and the convent ex gratia agreed to give Galfridus and his heirs the right to appoint vicars. A clergyman named William was named as vicar on Ballysculloge in 1336.
Maurice O’Doghyrde was presented to the benefices of ‘Balimascoloe’ by Walter Wellesley last bishop of Kildare before the Reformation. The disturbed and confused state of the catholic clergy probably explained why on the 23rd May 1538, although described as vicar of Balmascolloke, he was included in a list of absentee clergymen holding benefices. Dr Roche Mac Geoghegan who was Bishop of Kildare from 1629 -1644 had a list drawn up of the sites of ancient parish churches and chapels in the Diocese of Kildare. Scullogestown is listed as Ecclesia de BallynaScolloigy. In the early 1700s William Balfe is described as the Parish Priest of Scullogestown. He was ordained in 1698 by Dr. John Sleyne Bishop of Cork.
The effects of the Reformation, Penal laws and Plantations, which started in the sixteenth century and continued into the eighteenth century, had devastating effects on the catholic population. Impropriated parishes were deemed monastic property, hence they passed to the crown and soon laymen who collected the tithes from a reluctant population controlled much of the area. Church buildings had been poorly maintained even before the Reformation and by the end of the disturbed sixteenth century many were in ruins.
In the Civil survey of 1654-56 Morrice FitzGerald of Osberstown, an Irish Papist is the proprietor of the town and lands of Scullogestown. He is in possession of 420 acres whose letting value in 1640 was estimated to be £160.00. On the land is a stone house worth £20.00 also a quarry of stone. An indication of the dispersion of the catholic population is made evident by the entry: The great and small tithes of the aforesaid parish of Skullogstowne were in the years 1640 possessed by Gabriel Goldborne Clerke, but how the same were then set or worth to be set cannot be found out by reason yet most of the inhabitants of the aforesaid Barony of Keathy and Oughterreny are either dead or transplanted into Connaught.
The glebe land of the Parish of Scullogstowne in 1640 was in possession of Lieut. Wainman. It was estimated to be four acres and its letting value to be 15 shillings.
In post-Reformation Ireland the Mass was at the centre of organized religion. Its pervasiveness was an indication of the failure to enforce the Act of Uniformity. If a Catholic had property, Mass was often said in his house, where plantation was extensive Mass was said in sheds or in open air on makeshift alters. Sometimes Catholics managed to build their own places of worship. They were called ‘chapels’ as the word ‘church’ was reserved for Protestant buildings. The Protestants used the more derogatory term ‘mass-house’ and both terms were used. In the Report on the State of Popery in Ireland 1731 Thomas Baylie Vicar of Kilcock reported that: Balliscullogue hath no chappell or mass house, Nunnery or Friary or popeish Schoolmaster, but publick mass is said on Sundays by Andrew Egan… at ye house of Mr John Fitzgerald.
The Rev. Shem Thompson, Vicar of Kilcock recorder the religious population of his own and surrounding parishes. On the 3rd April 1766 he reported that the Parish of Scullogstown had:3 Protestant families, 32 Popish do. The two popish priests who officiate in Kilcock officiate also in Cloncurry and Scullogstown.
In 1745 Revd. Josiah Hort, Archbishop of Tuam, purchased 868 acres in Scullogestown from the Fitzgeralds. He changed the name of the area to Hortland, although in Church of Ireland parish records it continued to be known as Scullogestown up to the latter part of the nineteenth century. In 1748 he built a mansion using the stone from the old church, which explains why not a trace of the old church remains. In the Ordinance Survey Letters in 1837 P. O, Keeffe reported that: in Hortland Town land there is an old graveyard in which my informant said he saw the ruins of an old church but of which not a vestige now remains. Beside the graveyard is a moat. In the Town land there was an old castle (beside the Moat) which formerly belonged to the Fitzgeralds, but which they sold to Mr Hort. None of it remains at present.
There is no saint associated with Scullogestown, but the patronal feast of the parish of Scullogestown was the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin or as it appears in the parochial register Parochia Natae Virginis de Scullogestown. Patronal continuity was maintained in the parish when the first Newtown church was built in 1860s was confirmed with the same dedication. The Archbishop Hort, died in 1751 and it is unlikely that he ever lived in his mansion.
The first Hort to actually live in Hortland was Sir Josiah William Hort the 2nd Baronet who succeeded his father in 1807. He represented the county in Parliament in 1831-32. Sir William carried out certain changes to his estate. He resettled some of his tenants and workmen away from his house to a new settlement known as the Street of Hortland. It is probable too that it was he who enclosed the graveyard with a railing and a small gate.
According to local tradition the graveyard formerly covered a larger area, but was reduced when enclosed by the railing. In common with all old graveyards there are many unmarked graves,and several families from the Derry area would have buried their dead in Hortland.
After the Battle of Ovidstown in the 1798 Rebellion some bodies were taken back by mules and buried just inside the gate, which is also unmarked.
The earliest headstone inscription in Hortland belongs to Bryan McDonaugh who died on 24th February 1745 aged 95 years.
The only physical evidence of a church in Hortland, which now remains, is a baptismal font. Walter Fitzgerald a noted antiquarian described it as an octagonal head of limestone font perforated in the centre. Its outer circumference is 72 inches, diameter 24 inches, and height 13 inches.
By an Act of Parliament in 1823 the method of collecting tithes was to be streamlined and paid in money rather than crops. Liability was calculated according to the fertility of the land occupied, e.g. arable land was valued at 40 shillings (£2) per acre, wet moorey at 10 shillings (20 shillings in £) and improved bog at 7 shillings 6 pence per acre (12 pence in 1 shilling). The results of this survey are contained in what is known as the Tithe Applotment Books which can be seen in the National Archives Dublin.
OTHER REFERENCES TO THE HORT'S IN IRELAND
From the Cavan Observer 12th November 1862 and repeated 3rd January 1863
In the Landed Courts Ireland Counties of Fermanagh and Cavan
In the matter of the estate of Sir Josiah William Hort, Baronet and colonel John Josiah Hort, owners and Petitioners.
To be sold by order of the Judges of the Landed Estates Court o, on an early day to be hereafter named, the following fee-simple land and premised, via:-- The lands of Brockagh, Gorryglass, Cornacully, Drumlaghy, Killypurt, Inniskeen Island in Lough M’Nean, Rahollon, Bohiveney, Drumderrige, and The Tannaghs all in the Barony of Glenawly in the County of Fermanagh and Tenemants and Premises in the adjoining town of Enniskillen, in the Barony of Tyrkennedy, in the same county, and the lands of Lowery,in the Barony of Lurg and same county. Houses and Premises in the town of Belturbet, the lands of Bunumary, Corleggy, Derryeerry, Derrycark, Derryarmish, Edenterrif, Faherlagh, Grilly, Lough Dooly, Port Ruin and, Shancorry, in the Barony of Lower Lough tee, and the County of Cavan, the lands of Druminiskion, Derryhoo and Tunker, in the Barony of Tullygarvey, and the came county. The above lands consist of rich tillage and pasture land with bog attached, and are occupied and solvent and industrious Tenants, all of whom , with few exceptions, hold from year to year.
Robert Keys, Solicitor for said Owners and Petitioners, having carriage of the proceedings,24 North Earl Street Dublin.
(No reason for the sale was given) although it may have had to do with the passing of the Land Purchase Acts of the time.
The Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet 22nd January 1824.
Birth on the 14th inst at the Dowager Lady Hort’s in Merrion Square Dublin,
the Lady of Sir William Hort, Bart. Of a son and heir.
Anglo Celt Cavan 2nd November 1849 Sir William Hort, Bart. of Hortland Kildare appointed as a High Sheriff of Cavan by the Judges of Assizes.
Anglo Celt Cavan 1st July 1852 Sir William Hort, Bart. Of Hortland Kildare appointed to Sir John Young’s Central Committeee
Articles taken from Kildare History and Society.
Reports from Griffith Valuations 1852, In Hortland townland the 31 residents of small houses, with miniscule land holdings attached, probably provided labour for the Hort estate.
Sir Josiah William Hort, Baronet resident of Merrion Square Dublin in 1876 had 1847 acres in the townland of Hortland and contiguous townlands. P 558
In Trees and Houses from Taylors map of 1783, demesne plantations of trees was fairly extensive in Hortland and Knockanally, p 31.
In Chapter 6 page 159, on The Medieval Parish Churchs of County Kildare, is the following: Oftentimes the exercise of patronage that went with the right of advowson caused disputes between the manorial holders and the church in the second and subsequent generations after the Anglo-Norman invasion. Scullogestown ‘Balimascoloc’ church was, for example, early in the thirteenth century, given to Roger de Hereford to St Thomas Abbey, Dublin. On the 25th July 1245 the Abbot and Convent of St Thomas and Galfridus de Hereford arrived at a settlement of a lawsuit between them, concerning the right of presenting the vicar thereto. At the end of the Medieval period almost the same tactic was used to dissolve the monasteries: the clergy who theoretically had only a life interest in their institutions and were pensioned off.
On page 188 reference is made to ‘The Inquisition’ which recommended: ‘That there should be 25 churches erected and maintained in the County of Kildare for the inhabitants to resort unto to hear the Word of God taught, and for Preaching Ministers to live upon the same; In the Barony of Ikethy and Oughterney 2 churches namely Scullockstown (different spelling) and Kilcock.
On pages 262-3 a list of the key property owners from the 1640s is shown, which includes the Aylmers of Donadea and the Fitzgeralds. Maurice Fitzgerald of Osbertown was the 4th most significant proprietor in Kildare with rental amounting to £273 coming from lands in Sculloguestown, Old Connell, Clane and Killybeggs.
Sculloguestown was subject to a mortgage of £100 made by Charles Clarke Esq., who claimed that he had a lease on Sculloguestown dating from 1635 for the yearly rent of £160.
(Details of Stewarts paying Tithes are listed on the Valuations Page).
The total tithable area of the parish of Scullogestown was 543 acres 3 roods and 5 perches. Only William Hort and John Fitzpatrick possessed arable land, most of the rest had what was classified as improved bog, and the majority of holdings were between one and five acres.
In 1833 the survey for the parish of Scullogestown was carried out by Joseph Wyrant and amounted to £58 18s 11p. Which was to be paid to Rev. Charles Caulfield. Although Kildare as a county did not suffer as severely as other counties in the Famine, this area with its impoverished land and smallholdings were badly affected.
Teresa Brayton’s phrase ‘where bog and uplands meet’ encapsulates the physical significance of this area. It probably explains why the Normans choose this strategically advantageous location to build their castle, church and possibly monastery. On the edge of this fertile upland they also built a motte, which served as a lookout over the bog of Hortland. The disposed native Irish consigned to the verge of bogland posed a constant threat.
Lord Walter Fitzgerald described the motte in the early part of this century as a: Sepulchral moat or tumulas, not as large as most, but with a peculiar feature in being terraced. One terrace encircles the base, and another narrow terrace is about halfway up. He did not recall seeing a similar one anywhere else. The motte is approximately seven meters in height and is surrounded at the base by a small fosse.
An unusual feature of the church and graveyard at Hortland is that they are enclosed. Churches are not normally sited within Norman enclosures or baileys. To the west of the graveyard, facing the bog of Hortland is a deep ditch, which could be considered a bailey. It peters out as it runs to the south. This possible defence mechanism was situated to the side of the most likely attack. There is also the possibility that the enclosure predates the Norman period and could be an early Christian enclosure. However, although there is no documentary evidence of early Christian history, there is the tentative link to the existence of a monastery from the place name (Baile na Scolog). As the Irish traditionally sought monastic cemeteries as their burial-places, it is probable that the enclosure boundary was the outer limits of a larger burial ground. This may have been the case in Hortland and is supported by local tradition that the burial ground eventually extended from the area surrounding the Church to the boundary of the ‘bailey’.
(Note: A bailey was a circular shaped palisade enclosure built by the Normans beside a motte. The motte and bailey were built between 1171 and 1250).
Mass-paths In the absence of a church in Hortland people from the area walked through he fields to hear Mass in Newtown Church. These well-trodden Mass-paths as they were called were also used by schoolchildren to attend school in Newtown. One Mass-path started close to the graveyard and followed the route, which was the old back entrance to Hortland House. It exited at the gate, which is now at the top of Barry’s boureen. A second path from Ballyteige exited near Tom O’Brien’s gate and recommenced at the gate into Dillon’s field where it linked up with a Mass-path from Tiermohan and continued to Kilbride. Both groups they converged on the road leading into Newtown.
A local committee formed in the early 1990’s for the purpose on maintaining the graveyard has since disbanded. Kildare County Council will give small grants to local groups to maintain graveyards. A small extension was added to the west side of the graveyard when Timothy Houlihan was interred in 1979. Since Seamus Cullen and Des O’Leary transcribed the headstones in 1995, the remains of three local families have been interred in Hortland, Mrs Annie Yallop, was interred on 11th July 1995. Mrs Christine Fennell, on 10th January 1998, and later in the same year her son Dinny. David Houlihan was interred on 15th August 1998.
The topography of Hortland graveyard and its adjoining motte revealed more physical evidence, which suggests a rich, and ancient history. With scant documentary evidence especially from the medieval period, a certain reliance on the physical evidence is inevitable. Although situated in a somewhat remote rural area it’s clear Hortland was part of most of the major events in Irish history.
ReferencesG. V. Hamilton ‘The names of the Baronies and Parishes in County Kildare in J.K.A.S. v. 8 (Dublin 1917) p, 252
Revd. Comerford, Collection relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin (part Carlow) – Second Series Diocese of Kildare (Dublin n. d.) p, 155
Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (Dublin) 1837.
Hamilton. J. K. A. S. v8 p, 251
J. T. Gilbert, Register of the Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyer, (London) (1889), p 97, 340-341.
Des O’Leary, ‘Hortland’, in Oughterany v11, no 1 (Kildare, 1999), p58.
Margaret C. Griffith, Calendar of Inquisition H, viii 116/126 (Dublin 1991), p 63
Comerford, Collection, pp 163-165.
Patrick J. Corish, The Catholic Community in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Dublin, 1981) p 22
Robert C. Simington, The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-56, v9 (Dublin, 1952), p203
Corish, The Catholic Community, p 22
Report on the State of Popery in Ireland 1731 in Archivium Hibernicum v.4 (Dublin 1915).
Comerford, Collection, v.i pp 272-273
Library of the Church of Ireland Representative Body, Churchtown, Dublin.
Comerford, Collection, p 162.
Ordinance Survey Letters – 1837 , (Dublin, 1930), p 32
Comerford, Collection, p 163
Michael Crowley and Seamus O’Conchubhair, A History of Kilcock and Newtown (Kildare198?) p, 35
Interview with Tom and Nan O’Brien, July 1999
Interview with Eileen Mulligan July 1999
Kevin Lynch, ‘1798 in Folklore and Local Tradition’ in Seamus Cullen and Hermann Geissel (eds.) Fugitive Warfare: 1798 in North Kildare, (Clane 1998), p 197.
Walter Fitzgerald ‘The Sepulchral Moat and Churchyard at Hortland’ in J.K.A.S.v6 (Dublin 1911), pp 356-357
O’Leary, Hortland, p 61, 64,
The Applotment Books, N.I. Film 46
Teresa Brayton, ‘Jerry Conors Forge’ in Songs of Down and the Irish Ditties (New York, 1913).
Fitzgerald. J.K.A.S. v6, pp 356-357.
O.P.W.. 004-/15/5, St Stephens Green Dublin.
Corish, The Catholic Community, p 35
Interview with Tom and Nan O’Brien, July 1999 O’Leary, Hortland, p 61, 64, 66-68
The Horts in Ireland
1721-1722 Josiah Hort son of John Hort Esq. Of Maresfield Bath Gloustershire
England. Born C 1674. Maresfield Bath
(He was ancestor of the late Professor Anthoney Hort).
1709 Came to Dublin as Chaplain to Marquess of Wharton.
1718-1720 was Dean of Ardagh.
1721-1722 Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin.
1725 Married Eliza daughter of Colonal William Fitzmaurice Gallane Co Kerry.
Eliza was sister of Thomas 1st Earl of Kerry. She died January 1745
1727 Bishop of Kilmore Ardagh Cavan.
1741 Bishop of Tuam
Married Jane Maria June 1766 daughter of Potentate light
Children, Josiah George Born 1737
John, Counsel General of Lisbon made a Baronet in 1781
Anne, Eliza, Francis, Mary
Charles Josiah Hort son of Captain Josiah Hort Adjutant Royal Hospital Kilmainham Dublin. Born C 1820 in Dublin.
Educated at Trinity College Dublin November 1836 @ 16 years of age.
Earned B.A. 1841, Divinity 1842, Deacon 1842
Priest 1845 Parish Church in Rathdrum Co. Wicklow.
Chaplain to Armed Forces 1842-1845
1879-1881 to Bath in England.
1850 Married Alice Carroll Egan
1883-84 Moved to Clipberto Versailles.
Donadea is a parish, in the barony of Ikeathy and Oughterany, County Kildare, and province of Leinster, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from Kilcock; containing 400 inhabitants.
TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY IRELAND.
DONEDA, or, DONADEA, in the Barony of Ikeath and Oughterany, Co. of Kildare, and Province of Leinster: a Prebend, Rectory, and Vicarage: the Prebend being valued in the King's Books at ,%. Irish Money, and the Vicarage atl,.S..O; and Episcopally united to the Vicarage of Balrahan: a Church, in Doneda, in a tottering state, but neat and clean : no Glebe House, or Glebe Land: The Rev. John Forsaythe, the Rector and Vicar (in 1806), who has cure of souls in both parishes, and is non-resident, being from ill health incapable of performing the duties ; which are discharged by his Resident Curate, The Rev. George Woodward, at a Salary of ,50. per annum. Doneda is in the Diocese of Kildare, and Province of Dublin. It is 6m. S. W. from Maynooth.
Here is the family vault of the ancient family of Aylmer. This parish contains
740 acres of land. The parishes of Doneda, and Balrahan, are about 3 miles
distant from each other.
This parish, which is situated on the western side of the bog of Allen, comprises 1976 statute acres, of which 120 are woodland, and of the remainder, nearly equal portions are under tillage and in pasture; the soil is good, and an improved system of agriculture prevails. There are excellent quarries of limestone, which is procured for building and burning; fuel is abundantly supplied from the bog of Allen.
Donadea CastleDonadea Castleis an ancient structure, belonging to the Aylmer family; in 1691 it was besieged by a party of forces in the interest of James II., but was gallantly defended by Ellen, daughter of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, wife of Sir Andrew Aylmer; it has been lately modernised and improved, and is at present the residence of Sir Gerald George Aylmer, Bart. Woodside, a handsome villa, has lately been built by the Rev. W. J. Aylmer, the rector.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Kildare, episcopally united to that of Balrahan, which two parishes constitute the corps of the prebend of Donadea in the cathedral of Kildare, and in the alternate patronage of the Crown and Sir G. G. Aylmer : the tithes amount to £125. 4. 9 1/2., and the tithes for the whole union amount to £286. 4. 9 1/2. There is neither glebe-house nor glebe.
The church, a neat edifice in the later English style, was erected in 1813, by a loan of £1000 from the late Board of First Fruits, and contains a curious monument to Sir Gerald Aylmer, the first baronet, and his lady.
A neat school-house has been built of stone, at an expense of £340, of which £170 was granted from the lord-lieutenant's school fund, and the remainder raised by subscription and by the Kildare-Place Society; three acres of land were granted at a nominal rent by Sir G. G. Aylmer, on lease renewable for ever, and vested in the rector and churchwardens, for the master; the school is further supported by the Trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity; 30 boys and girls are educated in it. Nearby was a Post Office and a dispensary.
This is a picture of the last school built in Donadea, now a private residence
Donadea. Donadea famed for its beautiful forest with its 14th century castle and lake, it has been the focal point for many people not only from Donadea but from places as far as Dublin and indeed internationally. Donadea Castle was the ancestral home of the Aylmer family until the death of Caroline in 1935.
In 1936 the Land Commission obtained the castle and lands and auctioned the contents of the property.
A Holy Well located at Dunmurraghill sees an annual ecumenical pilgrimage to the site. It is said that St. Patrick visited the site on the feast day of St. Peter on 29th June and gave it this Christian name. Donadea like much of the surrounding area is steeped in a long history and it would take many pages to tell the long tale.
StaplestownStaplestown. The Parish Hall was until recent times the ruin of the old schoolhouse. Through parish funds and voluntary effort the schoolhouse was refurbished and is now a valuable community facility.
The Church adjoining the hall is dedicated to St Benignus and dates from 1750. Local tradition tells us that the church replaced a Mass House which was located nearby. The chapel was burned by Yeomen in 1798 but repaired soon after. The school adjacent was built in 1929 and refurbished in 2006 replacing the old school (beside church) which dates from 1829.
Aylmer BaronetsFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
There have been two Baronetcies created for persons with the surname Aylmer,
both in the Baronetage of Ireland.
Both titles are extant as of 2008.
The Aylmer Baronetcy, of Donadea in the County of Kildare,was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 25 January 1622 for Gerald Aylmer.
The thirteenth Baronet was a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
The Aylmer Baronetcy, of Balrath in the County of Meath, was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 6 November 1662. For more information on this creation, see Baron Aylmer.
Aylmer Baronets, of Donadea (1622)
Sir Gerald Aylmer, 1st Baronet (1548-1634)
Sir Andrew Aylmer, 2nd Baronet (1613-1671)
Sir Fitzgerald Aylmer, 3rd Baronet (1663-1685)
Sir Justin Aylmer, 4th Baronet (1682-1711)
Sir Gerald Aylmer, 5th Baronet (1703-1737)
Sir Gerald Aylmer, 6th Baronet (1736-1794)
Sir Fenton Aylmer, 7th Baronet (1770-1816)
Sir Gerald George Aylmer, 8th Baronet (1798-1878)
Sir Gerald George Aylmer, 9th Baronet (1830-1883)
Sir Justin Gerald Aylmer, 10th Baronet (1863-1885)
Sir Arthur Percy Aylmer, 11th Baronet (1801-1885)
Sir Arthur Percy Fitzgerald Aylmer, 12th Baronet (1858-1928)
Sir Fenton John Aylmer, 13th Baronet (1862-1935)
Sir Gerald Arthur Evans-Freke Aylmer, 14th Baronet (1869-1939)
Sir Fenton Gerald Aylmer, 15th Baronet (1901-1987)
Sir Richard John Aylmer, 16th Baronet (b. 1937)
The Heir Apparent is the present holder's son Fenton Paul Aylmer (b. 1965)
Aylmer Baronets, of Balrath (1662)
Letters to Sir Gerald Aylmer, of Donadea Castle, Co. Kildare, mainly regarding estate matters and household accounts but containing a letter from [- Albarosa?] at Waterford,
a political refugee, and also a letter from Voelken and Co., Frankfurt re a lottery, 1848.
Collection: Aylmer Papers
Subjects: Albarosa,Sir Gerald Aylmer, 8th Bt. Aylmer Papers Voelken and Co. Household Accounts and Expenses Lotteries 1848 Germany, Relations with Kildare, County Estates Donadea County Kildare
Dublin: National Library of Ireland: Aylmer Papers, Ms. 22,314
Letters to Sir Gerald Aylmer of Donadea Castle, Co. Kildare, mainly regarding estate and local matters, and domestic and household accounts, ... Letters to Sir Gerald Aylmer, of Donadea Castle, Co. Kildare, mainly regarding estate,financial and testamentary matters, and household... Receipted bills, and miscellaneous associated papers, of Sir Gerald Aylmer of Donadea Castle, Co. Kildare and his family, mainly household 'Photostat' copy of a petition from Michael Aylmer of Courtown, Co. Kildare, for compensation for losses suffered in the Rebellion of 1798.
Diary of Sir Gerald Aylmer, 9th Bart., of Donadea Castle, Co. Kildare, 1871. Oughterany Vol. I No. 1
References to the Aylmer’s from Kildare History and Society.
Page 234 In Kildare from the Documents of Conquest.
In November 1540 the monastic survey commission listed Richard Aylmer as county official and recipient of the manor of Donadea, formerly the property of the attained Earl of Kildare.
Page 264 The Aylmer’s, who had benefited from the dissolution of the monastic lands, held lands and buildings assessed at £1,142 rental in 1641, in the barony of Salt (parish of Kill) and in the northern barony of Keathy and Oughterany, George Aylmer of Hartwell (£692 valuation) and Andrew of Donadea (£373 valuation) were the principle Aylmer properties.
The survey commissioners were suspicious of George Aylmer’s status as a Protestant acknowledging that though returned as such by the jury was ‘known to have continued wth, ye Rebells in ye first year of the Rebellion and to have gone to Masse wth. Them dyed a Papist and bred his children as Papists. His core property at Lyon was valued at £100 but had the second most valuable house (after Maynooth) in the County.
Administrators note. (It was believed that Aylmers had a secret Chapel in the Donadea Castle, but to all intent and purposes he was claiming and behaving as a Protestant so that he could keep his properties)
A problem occurred with the payment of tithes during 1654 in many parts of Kildare (p 267), as most of the ancient inhabitants are either dead or transplanted into Connaught. Areas mentioned include Cloncurry, Scullogstown, Donadea, Mainham Kilcock, Keathy and Oughterany.
ST. PETERS CHURCH DONADEA.
Parish of Clane and Donadea with Caragh, Ballinafagh and Timahoe. By Noel Reid.
Legend states that the original Church on this site was founded by St. Patrick on his way from Meath through Kilcock and Clane. The ancient name of the place is Donagh Caoide, the Church of Cadoc, who was one of St. Patrick’s Chaplains.
‘Donach’ as contained in place names indicates a very early foundation marled out by Patrick himself on a Sunday. The name ‘Donach’ indicates the Lord’s Day in Irish.
Early mention of a Church in this place is in ‘A Patent’ of 1392 mentioned in Burke’s ‘Visit of Seats and Arms’ the land held by John Bermingham were forfeited for treason, by him committed ‘Where upon the King granted the whole Manor to James, the present Earl of Ormond, for life with liberty to aliene the same, saving and excepting the Church there, which was specially reserved to the Crown’.
‘Ecclesiastical Report 1807‘Church in tottering state but neat and clean. The Rector Rev. John Forsaythe was non-resident and in such ill health as to be incapable of performing his duties’.
The present church was built in the early 1800s by Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt., with a loan of £1,000 and a grant of £923.1.6 from the ‘Board of First Fruits’ and consecrated in 1813.
The Aylmer’s of Lyon appear to have come into possession of Donadea through a marriage in 1470. Richard Aylmer of Lyon bestowed Donadea on his third son Gerald who was knighted in 1598. His first wife was the Dowager Lady Baltinglass, who died in 1610, she was buried in Monkstown. Sir Gerald then married Lady Julia Nugent. They had two children.
Two important features in St. Peters Church:
Pews, which are box type, and are entered through a door at one end.
The Aylmer MonumentThe late Helen M. Roe, a noted antiquarian, expressed an opinion that this Monument may have created from three monuments. Behind it is the Aylmer Mausoleaum, the last resting place of 17 Aylmer’s. It is elaborately carved.
On the vertex is a death’s head winged, below it on each side, are pinnacles, bearing in basso-relievo on one, the Aylmer’s arms, on the other the Nugents’s arms. In the front of the pediment, the Aylmer’s arms are more extensively displayed. On the frieze of the entrance are two tablets. The inscriptions are in Roman capitals: Stay passenger: thy hasty footie: this stone delivers thee a message from the famous twin that here entombed be. Live well for these passeth welth, as we do find it now, Riches, beautie and worldlie state, must all to vertue bow.
The monument has two niches, containing the effigies, in alto-relievo, of Sir Gerald and his Lady, with their son and daughter, the figures being dressed in the fashion of their age. Sir Gerald is in the full lapelled coat, with double rows of buttons and mitred-button holes; the sleeves are also trimmed with mitre loops and buttons in each angle from the wrist to the shoulder, being what was then called a full-trimmed doublet; his son kneels behind him in the same dress, with the addition of the short mantle and hood as that period worn by children. Lady Aylmer is attired in the kirtle and mantle, made close by a girdle, her neck and bosom are covered by a collar and falling ruff, from which hangs a chain and cross, and another cross from the girdle. Her hair is plaited and turned up behind, and on the top of the head she wears the cushion or roll to which the veils were pinned; her daughter also kneels behind her, in the same habit, except the crosses. The middle pilaster of the niches is ornamented in basso-relievo with military trophies, as are those at the sides with sepulchral embellishments.
Between the archivolt of the niches are the Aylmer arms, quartered with those of Nugent.
The inscription on the left hand panel reads: - ‘Pray for the soul of Dame Julia Nugent, daughter of Sir Christopher Nugent, Lord Baron of Delvin and wife to Sir Gerald Aylmer, Knight and Baron by whom he had issue, Andrew Aylmer and Julia Aylmer & she deceased on the 10th November Anno Dom 1617’.
The right hand panel reads: -
‘Pray for the soul of Sir Gerald Aylmer Knight and Baron, who built this chappel, tomb and monument, with all the church and chapel adjoining, thereunto Anno Dom 1626 Deceased the 19th August AO Domini 1634’.
On the front of the alter are four carved figures, they are (from left to right) St. Hierom (Jerome), St. Gregorie, St. Ambros, St. Agustin: on the end of the alter is a representation of the Crucifixion: on the other end, a representation of the Madonna.
There is another inscription, which reads: - ‘This monument was removed from the Old Church, November 1812, by Sir Fenton Aylmer, Bart.’
That the monument is not in its original position can be deduced from the fact that the figures face away from the altar, probably on the north wall of the original church.
The Organ (builder not known) was moved from the Chapel in the Castle by Miss Caroline Aylmer, who died in 1935 leaving the proceeds of her estate to the Church of Ireland parish of Donadea, valued at £40,000.
Tower Buildings – The three story one-room buildings were used for living quarters for single servants who were moved every six months. There were married quarters in Donadea Estate and the families were only permitted to have one child, more if discovered led to dismissal.
The Churchyard, which contains many ancient stones, was closed to burials in 1915 and Sir Gerald George Aylmer presented a new Burial ground to the parish, situated in Donmurraghill.
Aylmer Mausoleum Inscriptions.
Sir Justin Gerald Aylmer 11th Bart. Born 17 November 1863 Died 15th march 1885 21 years Dame Alecia Hester Caroline Aylmer wife of Sir Gerald Geo. Aylmer 10th Bart. of Donadea born 1st June 1831 Died 6th March 1907. Sir Gerald Geo. Aylmer 10th Bart. of Donadea Born 26th May 1830. Died 25th June 1883
Helen Charlotte Nicola Aylmer Died February 1869 aged 9 years.
Caroline Maria Aylmer Died 13th May 1935.
Dame Maria Aylmer widow of Sir Gerald Geo. Aylmer 10th Bart.
Born 30th January 1799 Died 9th May 1879.
Sir Gerald Geo. Aylmer 10th Bart. Died 8th February 1878 Aged 80 years.
Elizabeth Nanette Aylmer daughter of Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt.,
Died 31st June 1829 aged 25 years.
Catherine Jane Aylmer daughter of Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt.,
Died 21st February 1821 Aged 9 years.
Dame June Grace wife of Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt.,
Died 31st December 1827 aged 61 years.
Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt., Died 23 May 1816 Aged 48 years
Sir Fitzgerald Aylmer Bt. died 10th February 1794 aged 58 years.
Dame Elizabeth wife of Sir Fitzgerald Aylmer Bt.,
Died 5th July 1797 Aged 61 years.
Grace Jane Aylmer wife of John Aylmer Died 5th January 1809 Aged 28 years.
Fenton John Aylmer eldest son of Sir Fenton Aylmer Bt.,
Died 30th November 1810 Aged 14 years.
Other Tombs in the Mausoleum
Mary ~Anne Hort daughter of Sir John Hort of Hortland and Dame Margaret his wife who was the daughter of Sir Fitzgerald Aylmer Bt., of Donadea Castle. Born 24th May 1797. Died 2nd October 1820.
By order dated 18th November 1914, the Local Government Board prohibited Burials in Donadea Burial Groundas from 25th July 1915, subject to the schedule of exemptions as follows:
The Family of Aylmer,
Thomas Behan Cooltrim
Elizabeth Behan (Ester) aged 65
Margaret Behan Donadea aged 64
Anne Fitzgerald Donadea aged 75
Michael Field aged 70 and Anne Field aged 70 Derrycrib
Michael Ash aged 65 and Marcella Ash aged 60 Staplestown
Ellen Kenna Tirmoghan aged 72
Mrs Canavan (Senior) Derrycrib aged 82
Anne Seabright Donadea aged 74
Margaret Murray Derrycrib aged 85
James Lee aged 78 and Mary Lee aged 62 Painestown
Ellen Condon Ballinafagh aged 80 Francis Weir Belfast. Anne Keegan Rathcoffey aged 70
Richard Stewart aged 68 and Francis Stewart aged 68 Hortland
Peter Leary Derryavogue Aged 53. Michael Leary Derrycrib aged 56.
Daniel Flanagan Derrycrib aged 59
Elizabeth Lawlor Derrycrib aged 62. Catherine Coyne Hodgestown aged 73
Donadea Graveyard in 2000
EXTRACTS TAKEN FROM SCHOOLS OF KILDARE AND LEIGHLIN A.D. 1775-1835
Written by Rev Martin Brennan M.A. B.D. Ph.D. Published by M H Gill & Son Ltd 1935
These extracts are based on unpublished documents, which were held in Maynooth College and give a vivid picture of the state of popular education in the Catholic Diocese during the closing years of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The book also contains reports on a selection of State Schools (Protestant) by town land. A copy of the above is available in Wicklow County Library Bray Co. Wicklow and was kindly loaned for this project by the Librarian Michael Kelleher
P. 125 Proselytism in action.
Some specific examples may now be given of the proselytising activities such as: London Hibernian Society, Baptist Church and the Kildare Place Society.
Article on Donadea Castle School (Protestant).It is a parish school, built with the aid of the Lord Lieutenant’s School fund and of Kildare Place Society. The local Landlord (Lord Aylmer) has granted a site of 2 acres forever for the School, His wife Lady Aylmer has appointed the Protestant teachers, and his family superintends the school with the assistance of the Parish Minister. Moreover, the school is in connection with the Erasmus Smith Trust, which pays the salaries of the teachers, and the Kildare Place Society, which supplies books and probably gratuities to the teachers. In 1823 when the school opened, scholars flocked in to number 174, mostly Catholics.
By 1824 the scholars numbered only 46, only 2 were Catholics.
The Parish Priest explains: ‘I was led to understand that the School of Donadea was established for the indiscriminate education of Catholic and Protestant without religious distinction, and under this impression I permitted children of my parish to frequent the school. In a few days the number of Catholic children amounted to about 170, the number of Protestants to about 5 or half a dozen.’
‘Feeling it my duty to watch over the education of the children, I did not omit to make enquiries as to the System adopted by the school, and regretted to find that it was such that it could not receive my sanction. The Catholic children were every day obliged to read a portion of the Protestant Bible, or heard it read. The Catholic Catechism was excluded from the School. The Master and Mistress were Protestants, and the school was exclusively superintended by individuals, whose ardent spirit of proselytism was not calculated to receive my confidence or diminish my alarm. Remonstrance with the foundress of the school I deemed quite nugatory, and was thus reduced to the necessity of withdrawing the children from a school, the obvious tendency of which was proselytism. The school was thus reduced to about half a dozen after it existed for about three weeks.’
‘One Catholic was compelled by his unhappy father to resist my prohibition. The father who is a poor aged dependant of Lord Aylmer, has declared to my Curate with tears that had reason to dread the loss of his little means of subsidence were he to withdraw his child from a school, where his conscience told him he should not send him. The poor child has called on me on several times, and declared his determination to resist the mandate of his father rather than sacrifice his religion. My alarm for the faith of boy, and indeed of all of the children that frequent that school, was much increased by the fact that Lady Aylmer’s gatekeeper, though nominally a Catholic; has suffered his children to be educated at the school as Protestants: yielding in part to religious indifference and principally to temporal interest’.
‘Thus it will be seen that I have withdrawn the children, I did it because I felt convinced that education was intended as the barter of religion, and I cannot but deplore that spirit of little less than active persecution which has assumed the semblance of religious zeal, is calculated to excite discontent in every part of this unfortunate country which its influence can reach, and tends to unsettle religious belief and subvert the very foundation of morality, by substituting temporal views for conscience convictions’.
‘With regard to the average number in the above school, I beg to observe that it is taken from May last, whereas the school existed for nearly twelve months before on a much smaller scale. The motive of this means of deciding the average number must be obvious. I have also to observe that children have been brought from Dublin to the school and I have been credibly informed has thus increase of 34 within the last six or eight weeks. I cannot therefore subscribe to the average furnished by the Schoolmaster’
Little commentary is needed on this effective exposure of the Proselytising School. The real danger to the Faith (Catholic) of the people lay in co-operation of the land-lords with the Education Societies: for unless the improvised tenantry complied with the Landlord’s wishes by sending their children to Schools of his choice, they faced inevitable eviction and starvation. The Protestant School, financed by one or more of the Education Societies, and patronized by the Landlord and his family, was the usual type of proselytising agency.
Page 220 lists the details of Donadea School, which included the Teachers, Patrick Legatt aged 26 and Mary Legatt aged 23.
The Donadea School was opened 5th May 1823 and held through the year, Sunday excepted.
Protestants appointed by Lady Aylmer as teachers on 15th April 1823.
Well conducted, the Master was educated at Raphoe, and Mrs at the Seminary in Baggot Street Dublin.
Teaching covers, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Needlework.
The Masters salary is £30 per annum and Mrs £20 and is paid from the fund of the late Erasmus Smith.
Rich farmers pay £1 per annum for each child, for which they are found in stationary and instructed, the Poor 1s and 5p and other 1p.
The Patrons and Superintendents Lady Aylmer, Miss Aylmer and Rev Whitelaw since 5th May 1823.
Average attendance Summer 1824, was Males 26, Females 20
Protestants 44, Roman Catholics 2.
Last Winter 32, Summer (1823) 174
15 in 20 can read: 12 months.
Books available: Bible, version of the Established Church, Kildare Street Society and Deighan’s Arithmetic.
Pages 254-5 Report on Kilcock Protestant School. Similar to Donadea.
School 1, Teacher Robert Boney and Jane Bonynge, and School 2 Letita Goodwin.
Many other Protestant schools were similarly reported on, but this was not the case in many other Protestant schools throughout Ireland at that time.
Oughterany Journal of the Donadea Local History Group Vol. I No. 1 1993.Editor - Noel Reid ©1993: Donadea Local History Group ISSN: 0791 - 8291
General information about Oughterany
Page 3 Aylmers of Donadea Sir Richard J. Aylmer, Bt
5 The Pale in the Donadea area Seamus Cullen
9 Derrywaddreen - Derrynagun Kevin Lynch
23 Coolcarrigan, the Wilson Wright Family Des O’Leary
30 Times Past John P. Lynch
37 My Reminiscences of 1914 - 1923 Patrick O’Keefe
42 Clonshanbo Parish Des O’Leary & Seamus Cullen
51 Timahoe Graveyard Inscriptions Noel Reid
57 Kilcock Graveyard Inscriptions Kevin Lynch
65 Illustrations Donadea Castle
4 Aylmer Family Pedigree
18 Derry - Hortland Islands, Taylor’s Map
24 Coolcarrigan Church 35 Wilson - Wright Family
36 Local Photographs
Early Map of Clonshanbo
50 Map showing Ecclesiastical Enclosure
53 Clonshanbo Graveyard
56 Timahoe Graveyard
64 Kilcock Graveyard
76 1739 Proclamation relating to Timahoe
Oughterany (upper tribe) is an ancient name for an area of Central North Kildare. The Celtic tribe Cenel n-ucha or Uachtar Fine inhabited the hilly ridge that extends from Cloncurry to Donadea.
The feudal Barony of Cloncurry is also known by the name Oughterany which was joined with Ikeathy circa 1600 to form the Barony of Ikeathy and Oughterany, by which name it is still known. Though the use of the term barony has declined over the years to define an area of land, it is still used by the Land Registry Office.
The Donadea Local History Group was formed in 1991. It has met regularly during the winter months for talks, and trips to burial grounds now are a fine weather feature when inscriptions are read and recorded. The Group are concerned with preservation of antiquities of the area and the recording of the past.
Donadea has lost much of its past over the last fifty years, – its Estate house closed and deroofed, now a ruin.
The Court House, the Police Station, the Dispensary, the Post Office, all closed down. What is left is more important: a good, friendly group of people who live in the area, a Forest Park and a Church.
When the Demesne was sold in 1935 to the Forestry Commission, it was planted with trees and in 1981 dedicated a Forest Park which now attracts many visitors, to enjoy the Nature Trail and feed the Mallard on the lake.
The Church, which contains the ancient Aylmer monument, has a Service each Sunday at 10.15 am. See seperate article on St Peters Church and Donadea School.
The Donadea History Group sees the future of the Castle in its preservation as a "Ruin", and the restoration of the farmyard to house an old farm implements museum.
The Committee acknowledge with sincere thanks the help given towards the production of this Journal by Tara Sherry, Sylvia Dempsey, Seamus Tutty, Paul Lynam, Pat Sherry, Michael Kavanagh, Kildare County Library and the contributors.
History of the Area
The civil parish of Donadea occupies the southern area of the ancient barony of Oughterany and contains six townlands, Cooltrim north, Cooltrim south, Donadea, Donadea Demesne, Kilnamoragh north, and Kilnamoragh south, a total of 1937 acres.
The name derives from the Irish word Domnach which signifies a church and also Sunday. It is believed that all churches bearing this name were founded by St. Patrick, and the foundations were marked out on a Sunday.
One of the earliest references of the manor of Donadea was in connection with an inquisition taken in Cloncurry in 1312 Sir Walter Fitzhenry held the lands at that time. In 1356 John De Birmingham held the manor of Donadea, until his son was accused of treason. The lands was confiscated by Richard II and granted to the earls of Ormond. The Ormonds in turn granted the lands to the Aylmers of Lyons, who in 1597 settled the manor of Donadea on Gerald. In 1621, King James I created Gerald the first baronet of Donadea.
By the mid 1800s the Donadea estates were one of the largest in Co. Kildare, amounting to almost 16,000 acres. It was around this time that extensive development occurred in the grounds surrounding the castle. The works included the construction of a stone wall surrounding almost 600 acres, the development of an artificial lake, a massive programme of tree planting within the demesne and the realignment of existing roads.
In 1936 the Irish land commission acquired the lands of Donadea from the Aylmer estate. In 1981 Paddy Power T.D. for Kildare and Minister for Fisheries and Forestry opened Donadea Demesne to the public. The estate is at present under the care and maintenance of An Coillte.
Seamus Cullen’s Personal Web Site Featuring Local History from North Kildare (well worth a visit).
The PalePublished in Oughterany, 1993
The Pale had its origin in the 15th century with the construction of a boundary enclosing an area surrounding Dublin. This boundary could be described as England’s version of Hadrian’s Wall. In 1453 the counties of Kildare, Dublin, Meath and Louth were identified as ‘the four obedient counties’ and the largest section of the country that was regarded as true English land. Similar areas also existed in districts surrounding isolated towns and also an area of the south-east which later became known as the Wexford Pale. The word Pale comes from the Latin Palus—a stake.
The name Pale came from an earthen fortification built at that time around Calais, England’s last French possession.
The English colony in Ireland had shrunk considerably throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. By the 15th century the Norman colonists, brought to the north west area of Kildare in the period after the Norman invasion, had by in large fused with the native Irish who had remained as serfs and to a lesser extent as tenants.
The Irish language had not gone out of use in the great boglands to the west where the population was of pure Gaelic origin. The colonists in this area had abandoned their language Norman-French, and now spoke Irish. The area between the Irish held areas and the English colony was called the marches and adhered to laws called ‘March Law’.
These laws were a mixture of Common Law (English Law) and Brehon Law. The Anglo-Norman or English colonists at this time, who lived inside the Pale, spoke English and adhered to English laws and customs.
One of the most alarming developments at the time was the continued spread of the Irish customs and the Gaelic Brehon laws into North Kildare. An earlier Pale type line of defence had been constructed locally in North Kildare, extending from North to South.
This defence system consisted of three Motte and Bailey castles at Cloncurry, Hortland and Mainham. Its purpose was to safe guard the area from raids by native Irish including the O’Connors who had established a safe haven in the boglands. By the 14th century the Motte and Bailey Castles had been replaced by strong stone castles at Cloncurry, Donadea and Clongoweswood. It is known that a strong stone Castle were in existence at Donadea in the mid 14th century when Sir John Birmingham was lord of the area and this had replaced Hortland as the main fortification for the area.
However, by the 1490s the area found itself in the ‘March lands’ just outside the Pale. Mainham which had suffered greatly from plagues and attacks by the O’Connor’s also found itself replaced as the main fortification by the Castle at Clongoweswood.
The ordinary inhabitants outside the Pale lived in clahans and villages. A clahan is a group of dwelling houses and out houses clustered together in a small area. Sometimes they belonged to people who were related or who were of the same family.
The name Bally which appears in numerous townlands may have come from small clahan communities. The dwellings were one and two roomed mud walled cabins which had a hearth in the middle of the floor and a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. The dwellings of the ordinary people inside the Pale were more modern at this time and chimneys were becoming fashionable.
The most powerful figure in the country at this time was the Viceroy Garret Mór FitzGerald the Earl of Kildare.
As Viceroy he controlled Dublin City and ‘the four obedient counties’. Within this area he held extensive lands mainly in County Kildare and also exerted substantial influence throughout the country. However, he was a supporter of the Yorkest pretenders to the throne and the King, Henry VII, was from the Lancastrian party. Between 1487 and 1491 Garret Mór was implicated in two plots to replace Henry VII by Yorkest pretenders.
The King could not allow the continuance of the threat that his Viceroy presented. In 1494 Garret Mór was replaced as Viceroy by Sir Edward Poynings. An uneasy peace that had existed between the native Irish and the Crown broke down and a campaign of raids against the ‘Crown lands’ took place.
One of the most prominent Chieftains involved was Brian O’Connor of Offaly, who was one of Garret Mór’s allies, and he carried off great numbers of cattle and plunder. The raiders used the bogs and wastelands as hideouts and the section of the Bog of Allen at Timahoe which was the nearest bog to the Pale, was probably used in this manner.
The new Viceroy, Poynings took immediate action and summoned a Parliament to meet at Drogheda. One of the Acts of this Parliament, provided for the security of the four obedient counties by the erection of a Pale boundary.
The limits of the Pale had been defined by an earlier Parliamentary Act of 1788, but the 1494 Parliament provided for a rampart to be built. It was constructed as a line of defence around Dublin to protect the Pale dwellers from attack and plunder from English rebels and Irish enemies, and also to prevent cattle being driven from the Pale to Irish areas.
The boundary consisted of a double ditch with a six foot high earthen wall and at some places this structure was topped with a palisade. Parts of the Pale ‘double ditch’ have survived in an area north of Rathcoffey at Graiguepottle and in two areas on either side of Clongowes wood. Possible sections may also have survived at Baltracey and Painstown.
The Pale north of Rathcoffey
The reason the Graiguepottle to Baltracey section survived may be due to the fact that is was used as a road which was in use until the end of the 18th century. This section was the dividing line between the two medieval parishes of Clonshanbo and Balraheen and a continuation in a southerly direction of that parochial boundary shows signs of is a double ditch and high banks which we can assume is a continuation of the Pale.
In medieval times a bog or moorland extended from the southern area of Clonshanbo to parts of Hodgestown and on to Moortown. This area is between the Graiguepottle section of the Pale and the Clongoweswood section and is in the direct line that the Pale boundary would have to extend across.
So as there was at the time a natural boundary in this area it was unlikely that a continuous Pale ditch was constructed across the latter townland. However, there was one area of arable land at Painstown which was also between the two previous mentioned sections of the Pale.
It appears that Painstown Castle formed another link in the chain of Castles guarding the Pale. There are banks and earth-works in its environs which survived as a section of a road and it is highly likely that this earthwork is also a portion of the Pale.
Clongoweswood Castle one and a half miles south of Painstown Castle was strategically sited as it guarded the pass between the lake at Loughbollard and the Moorland at Moortown. The most southerly section of the Clongoweswood Pale ends close to the townland of Loughbollard.
The area of land between this section and the Town of Clane was part of an ancient lake and it is unlikely that the Pale was constructed here as it formed a natural boundary. With the river Liffey serving as a natural boundary from Clane upstream to Ballymore Eustace, it is also unlikely that the Pale ditch was constructed through the centre of Country Kildare.
The Bishops and Sheriffs of the four counties were to act as Commissioners with the power to call on the inhabitants of the area through which the Pale was to be built, to assist in its construction.
As a reward, their overlords were to grant them fixed rents for one year. Furthermore as long as they or others occupied that land they were responsible for the repair and upkeep of the rampart.
Failure to comply would result in a fine of forty shillings. The lands through which the Pale was to be constructed from Kilcock to the Eustace possession at Clongoweswood was held by Sir William Wogan of Rathcoffey.
Sir William was appointed High Sheriff of Kildare in 1502 and his duties would have included collecting taxes, arresting criminals and seeing to the defence of the county. Therefore he would had a very important role to pay in defending the Pale boundary in Kildare, particularly the section through his own lands between Kilcock and Rathcoffey. It is almost certain that he was responsible for constructing the Pale in this area.
The money raised for these fortifications was also channelled into the strengthening and construction of castles and tower-houses. In some areas the land owners used the money to rebuild and repair castles, this is borne out by the fact that only a few actual lengths of the Pale ditch were constructed as intended while there appears to have been several tower-houses built.
As early as 1429 the King offered a £10 grant to subjects who built a tower-house according to his specifications in the four counties later to be referred to as the Pale.
Tower-houses subsequently sprang up all along the line of the Pale and two probable examples of these are at Painstown and Richardstown. Records from 1515 show the Pale running along the same boundary as it did in 1494.
However, an inner limit of a Common Law area, where English Law was practiced was defined by Justice Luttrell in 1537 and this indicated the Pale had shrunk to its lowest point to within ten miles of Dublin where St Wolstans and Leixlip marked its western boundary.
The Pale defence system was more than likely intended as an inner line of defence to defend Dublin. It would have been impossible to construct a defence system which included the entire area of the four obedient counties which stretched as far west as Mullingar and as far south as Carlow.
This may account for why the Pale extended through the middle of the Wogan and Eustace lands in North Kildare leaving large sections outside the Pale. While Hadrians wall was a limited success the ‘Pale’ as a defensive system was almost a complete failure.
It did not prevent the attacks or cattle raids by the native Irish and many medieval settlements in North Kildare did not survive. Of the five principal villages in the central area of north Kildare, the two inside the Pale, Kilcock and Clane continued in existence, while the three outside the Pale, at Cloncurry, Skullogstown and Mainham eventually declined and disappeared. However, the Pale did provide the launching pad for the Tudor re-conquest of the country in the 16th century.
After the fall of the house of Kildare and the re-conquest of Leinster the term ‘inhabitants of the Pale’ or ‘those inside the Pale’ was used by nobility such as the Aylmer’s of Donadea, the Wogan’s of Rathcoffey and the Eustace’s of Clongoweswood to reflect a superior social order.
The nobility living in the four obedient counties regarded themselves as ‘Pale dwellers’ up until the mid 17th century until the coming of Cromwell who showed no distinction between the old English of the Pale and the native Irish who dwelled outside the Pale.
However, a class culture where Lords or Gentry of the Pale regarded themselves as superior continued into the modern period and the term ‘outside the Pale’ has persisted to this day as a derogatory term for inhabitants who live outside the greater Dublin area.
Sir Fenton Aylmer, 13th BaronetLieutenant General Sir Fenton John Aylmer, 13th Baronet of Donadea VC KCB (5 April 1862, Hastings Sussex - 3 September 1935) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was in command of the first failed efforts to break the siege of Kut in 1916.
He was the son of Captain Fenton John Aylmer (24 Dec 1835-9 Apr 1862) and Isabella Eleanor Darling (d. 27 Dec 1908). 
He attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, as a Gentleman Cadet and was promoted Lieutenant on 27 July 1880. 
1. The Victoria Cross
2. World War I
4. External links
Sir Fenton John Aylmer April 5, 1862 - September 3, 1935 (aged 73)
Place of birth Hastings, Sussex
Place of death 32 Lingfield Road, Wimbledon, Surrey
Resting place Golders Green
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Lieutenant General Unit Corps of Royal Engineers
Commands held Tigris Corps Commandant, Royal Engineers
Battles/wars Battle of Sheikh Sa'adSiege of Kut Battle of Hanna)Dujaila
Redoubt Sinn Abtar Redoubt
Awards Victoria Cross, KCB
Relations Elsie Julie Oppermann (wife)
1. The Victoria Cross
Fenton won the VC for the following deed: On 2 December 1891 during the assault on Nilt Fort, British India, Captain Aylmer, with the storming party, forced open the inner gate with gun-cotton which he had placed and ignited, and although severely wounded, fired 19 shots with his revolver, killing several of the enemy, and remained fighting until, fainting from loss of blood, he was carried out of action.
Fenton was 29 years old, and a captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army and Bengal Sappers & Miners (British Indian Army)  , during the Hunza-Naga Campaign, India when he won the Victoria Cross in 1891.
He was promoted Major on 18 October 1893 in recognition of his services during the 1891-92 Hunza-Nagar Expedition.
 He was part of the Chitral expedition in 1895.
In 1913 he married Lady Risley, the widow of Sir Herbert Risley, head of the Indian Civil Serevice. Born Elsie Julie Oppermann, daughter of Friedrich Oppermann, she was considered a great beauty and had, for many years prior to her marriage to him had an affair with Aylmer -- an affair that was well-known within Indian society and apparently tolerated by Sir Herbert. .  Lady Elsie Julie Aylmer died on 18 July 1934.
2. World War I
Having been appointed Lieutenant General, he was put in charge of the first effort to end the siege of Kut. General Aylmer was in command of the Tigris Corps, consisting of the 7th (Meerut) Division, the 12th Indian Division, and a number of other smaller military units.
All told he had more than 20,000 men. They left Basra in late December 1915 and arrived at Sheikh Sa'ad in 3 January 1916. While the 12th Indian Division (under command of General George Gorringe) made a diversionary move near Nasiriyeh, the 7th (under the command of General Younghusband) staged a direct assault on the Ottoman positions on 6 January (the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad). After two days of fighting, the Ottoman army withdrew.
The British sustained approximately 4,000 casualties - much more than the medical units could cope with. The Ottoman troops, under the generalship of Baron von der Goltz only withdrew some six miles up river and occupied another defensive position near the edge of the Suwaikiya Marshes.
A British assault on this position on 13 January was partially successful, the position was carried but again with significant losses (some 1,600 casualties) (the Battle of Wadi).
By now, a third division had been added to Aylmer's Tigris Corps, the 3rd (Lahore) Division. This new division, along with the weakened 7th Division, attacked Ottoman defensive works at Hanna on 21 January (the Battle of Hanna).
This assault was a complete failure.
The Ottoman troops held their trench lines while some 2,700 British soldiers were killed or wounded.
General Aylmer was reinforced with another division, the 13th (Western) Division. The next month was spent resting the troops and probing the Ottoman defensive positions. With time running out on General Townshend's garrison in Kut, Aylmer finally launched a two pronged attack on the Ottoman positions, one attack at the Sinn Abtar Redoubt, the other attack at the Dujaila Redoubt.
The attacks were launched on 7 March 1916. Both attacks failed due to lack of initiative and an inability to coordinate the timing of the assaults (they ended up being sequential, not simultaneous).
The British lost some 4,000 casualties. Fenton Aylmer was replaced by the former commander of the 12th Indian division, General George Gorringe.
He did not command in battle again, retiring from the army in 1919. However from 1922 till his death he was the Commandant of the Royal Engineers. Following his death in 1935 he was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium where his ashes remain.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham, Kent, England.
1. The Peerage.com
2.London Gazette: no. 24870, p. 4258, 3 August 1880. Retrieved on 2009-05-11.
3.The Royal Engineers Museum - Victoria Crosses held by the Royal Engineers Museum
4.London Gazette: no. 26450, p. 5833, 17 October 1893. Retrieved on 2009-05-11
Summary Guide to Fenton Aylmer from the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives - downloaded January 2006.
The Attempt to Relieve Kut, 1916 - from The Long, Long March website, downloaded January, 2006.
Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross (Richard Doherty & David Truesdale, 2000)
Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
The Sapper VCs (Gerald Napier, 1998)
4. External links
Royal Engineers Museum Sappers VCs
Burial location of Fenton Aylmer "Golders Green Crematorium, London"
Location of Fenton Aylmer's Victoria Cross "Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham"
Fenton John Aylmer at Find-A-Grave
Baronetage of Ireland
Preceded by Arthur Percy FitzGerald Aylmer Baronet of Donadea 1928-1935
Succeeded byGerald Arthur Evans-Freke Aylmer
Categories: 1862 births, 1935 deaths, Baronets in the Baronetage of Ireland,
People from Hastings, British recipients of the Victoria Cross, British Army
World War I generals, British military personnel of the Chitral Expedition,
Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath, Royal Engineers officers, Bengal
Sappers and Miners personnel, British military personnel of the Hunza-Naga Campaign
Donadea Castle as it was in its hayday.
The original Tower was built by Sir Gerald Aylmer c1624. It was extensively damaged in 1641, re built in 1773,and gothicised in 1827 by the architect Sir Richard Morrison.
After Caroline Aylmers death in 1935 the castle remained unoccupied and was de-roofed in the late 50's. Adjacant to the castle is a 19th century four-storey tower. To the rear of the castle are some fine outbuildings including the remains of a walled garden.
Donadea Castle as it is today in 2010.
In Seamus Cullen’s Personal Web Site
Featuring Local History from North Kildare
The Capture of Kilcock by Rebells Published in Balyna Magazine, 1998
The eighteenth century military barracks in Kilcock has been identified from a 1798 map of Kilcock which is on display in the local library.
This map shows the military barracks situated on the Fair Green at this spot. There are no buildings marked there on either the 1837 or 1911 editions of the ordnance survey map.
This wall (pointing to the wall), according to the 1798 map is on the site of the barracks and is more than likely the gable-end wall of the barracks. The stone face of the wall would be the outside wall of a building and this wall has brick facing on the inside.
There was a courtyard at the rear of this building with surrounding out-offices. This courtyard is marked on the map as the barrack yard.
In the late 1700s there was a strong military presence in the barracks.
At one time the Kilcock garrison consisted of seventy soldiers under the command of a major. In 1795, there was considerable rebel activity in the Kilcock area;
this resulted in many prisoners being taken and held in the barracks to avoid transportation and even execution.
So the barracks would have been seen by local people as a symbol of repression.
In April 1798, following the proclamation of martial law, an ultimatum was given to the people of Kilcock.
The army threatened to burn houses in order to recover illegal weapons and the towns people were given ten days to comply. However, it appears no arms were given up.
On the 20th May, a Scottish regiment burned some houses in the town and this had the desired effect with some weapons handed up to the military.
The North Kildare rebellion broke out on 24th May, 1798 in Prosperous and Clane. On the following day, rebels attacked Kilcock, but Colonel Gordon, with a patrol of highlanders, put down the revolt and killed five rebels.
Shortly after this event, the Kilcock garrison was pulled out of the town in order to strengthen the garrisons in bigger towns like Trim and Naas. A rebel camp was formed at Timahoe and Kilcock rebels also joined.
William Aylmer of Painstown, the highest ranking United Irishman in the area, became leader of the rebels in the camp.
On 1st June, William Aylmer led his rebels into the undefended Kilcock, took provisions for his camp and a number of prisoners. The rebel intention was to use their camp in the bog to launch hit and run attacks against the military and obtain provisions mainly from government supporters. On that night, a break-away party of rebels burned Courtown House.
The local yeomen which had been inactive up to this time was mustered.
They were commanded by Sir Fenton Aylmer from Donadea Castle and Michael Aylmer from Courtown House.
The three different Aylmer families were distantly related. So, the scene was set for a show-down between rebels led by William Aylmer and Yeoman led by Fenton Aylmer
On 4th June (200 years ago this very day), William Aylmer and a large number of rebels approached Kilcock.
According to Musgrave, a loyalist writer from that period:
They (the rebels) treacherously made an attack on Fenton Aylmer at Kilcock, with their whole force stationed at Timahoe, which is seven miles distant on Monday 4th June
One of Fenton Aylmer’s yeoman informed him of the rebel approach, he advanced with his corps with an intention of charging them, but perceiving their great superiority of numbers, sounded a retreat after narrowly escaping, being surrounded by them.
Fenton Aylmer and his yeomen retreated to Bridstream House, near Balfeighin where he discovered that most of his troops had deserted him with a large number joining the rebels.
The rebels then entered the town and this was the only time Kilcock, in its seven hundred years history, was captured from a defending force.
The rebels proceeded first to the King’s Arms Inn and searched the building for hiding yeomen; they even searched the chimneys and caused considerable damage to the furniture on the premises.
This Inn, owned by Edward Campbell, was situated close to or at Corscadon’s Hotel (probably the area between the hotel and Monaghan Fields). The rebels next proceeded to the house of Joseph Robinson, an active constable.
Fortunately for him, he had fled the town; his house was torched and it was burned to the ground. The site of this house has not been positively identified, but in the 1850s a Robinson family owned the house where the Christian Brothers monastery is now situated, so that is a probable site of this house.
The rebels next moved to the Fair Green and burned the deserted military barracks. This was an intelligent military move as the building could not then be re-used by the yeomen or indeed used as a base by the military in order to launch an attack on the rebel camp.
The courthouse was also burned, unfortunately the site of this building has not been identified. However, it could have been within the barracks complex.
The residence of Anne Quinn a prominent loyalist was also burned.
She owned a malt house at the rear of her house. Her premises was situated in the area of the present post office, between Davy’s auctioneers and Helen Noonan’s restaurant.
James McNally and Patrick Dease had two houses each burned by the rebels. Those houses were let to tenants who were more than likely yeomen.
There was a tavern in the town which the rebels paid particular attention to. It was owned by Richard Hart and contained one of the largest supplies of beer barrels along the coach road between Dublin and Galway. Richard Hart was no friend of the rebels.
The premises was looted with a large number of beer barrels together with shop goods taken. This tavern was situated on the site of O’Keeffe’s public house.
It would appear that the rebels had taken revenge on the loyalist population of Kilcock for the burning of rebels’ houses in the town two weeks earlier. One man emerged as a leader of the Kilcock rebels at this time, his name was John Reilly.
John was the local shoemaker and his family lived in the area of Davy’s car park opposite the canal turn pub between Jimmy McCormack’s and Angela Fitzpatrick’s. The rebels, after the attack on Kilcock, in keeping with their fugitive warfare tactics, then retreated to their camp at Timahoe.
This was a brief account of the events of this day 200 years ago.
1.Map of Kilcock circa 1798 in Teresa Brayton Library Kilcock
2.Walkers Hibernian Magazine, July, December 1795.<
3.Richard Musgrave, Memoirs of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
4.Rebellion Papers, National Archives.
5.List of Claims for Compensation in 1798, National Library
The Hill of Allen
The Hill of Allen is situated four miles to the north-west of The Curragh. Also known as the Hill of Almhuin "the Great Neck".
The hill rises 676ft in height and is surrounded by the Bog of Allen.The Hill has had many associations with the legendary Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna. It is supposed to have been the site of their camp, and the surrounding area was their training ground.
In 1859 Sir Gerald Aylmer of Donadea Castle, began building a tower on the summit of the hill. The tower was circular and had an internal staircase which lead to a glass-domed platform at the top.
There were Latin inscriptions in the tower and the names of those who helped construct the tower were engraved on the steps of the staircase. While the tower was being built, giant human bones were discovered, and were said to be those of Fionn MacCumhaill. Sir Gerald ordered that they be re-interred in a hollow space under a rock.
The tower of Allen was completed in 1863. Since then much of the westside of the hill of Allen has being removed by quarrying. However, the intention of Messrs. Roadstone was to leave the hill intact. They also made provisions for restoration work to carried out on the Tower.
Last Updated: 08 April 2007 Matt McNamara
My Irish Books
Irish History Books by Art Kavanagh
Leinster Leader – December 2004 Review
Posted on November 6th, 2007 by admin
Leinster Leader – December 2004
NEW BOOK TELLS STORY OF ARISTOCRACY OF KILDARE
Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, was an, if not the, appropriate venue for launch of a new book on the history of Kildare.
The house once owned by one of Ireland’s richest men, Speaker Connolly, hosted the publication of a book the aristocracy of Co. Kildare.
Historian and traveller, Turtle Bunbury, has provided plenty of detail about the life and times of eighteen of the county’s most influential “big house families,” include the Connolly family.
“The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare,” was launched with the support of Kildare Kitchens and Tindal Wines.
A large gathering, including members of some of the families portrayed, turned up on 8 December for a first look at the book which covers more than a thousand years of Irish history.
Families include the Aylmer, Barton, de Burgh (singer, Chris, is related), Clements, Connolly, Guinness, Henry, Fennell, Fitzgerald, Latten, La Touche, Mansfield, Maunsell, Medlicott, More O’Ferrall, Moore, de Roebeck and Wolfe. Mr. Bunbury, who is also working on a travel book on Sri Lanka, has provided much detail about the lives of these often eccentric families, who had their share of failure as well as success.
The book, published by Irish Family Names, describes itself as a short potted history but is a neat and comprehensive overview of its field.
Leinster Leader, January 2005
Con Costello – Looking Back
The families of de Burgh and Clements are each devoted a chapter in Turtle Bunbury’s well researched “The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare”, in a series published by Irish Family Names.
The Clements family is descended from a 17th century English wine merchant, while the de Burghs claim Charlemange as an ancestor.
Settled at Oldtown, Naas, since the late 17th century the family has produced many celebrated soldiers, including General Sir Eric de Burgh, who was a President of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society, and his grandson Chris de Burgh, the popular singer who has sold more than 40 million albums and performed over 2,500 concerts worldwide.
Acknowledging that Guinness is undoubtedly one of the most famous names associated with Ireland amongst the international community, the first identifiable member of the family is Richard Guinness who was born about 1690. Now the best know member of the dynasty is Desmond who, with his late wife Mariga, established the Irish Georgian Society which awakened interest in historic houses, and especially ensured the preservation of Castletown House at Celbridge. Their son, Patrick, initiated a DNA test which confirmed their bloodline’s genetic affiliation with the Gaelic sept of Magennis of Co. Down.
Families which have disappeared from the county in modern times include those of Aylmer of Donadea, Wolfe of Forenaghts, More O’Ferrall of Balyna and Kildangan, Mansfield of Morristown Lattin, La Touche of Harristown, Barton of Straffan, and of course the Fitzgeralds. Bunbury concludes that “It will not be long before the last of the tweed-clad, Spaniel toting gentlemen vanishes in his entirety, taking with him a remarkable chapter in Irish history.” Leinster Leader, January 2005
BETWEEN THE COVERS WITH HENRY BAURESS
A look at Kildare’s most influential families
Historian and traveller, Turtle Bunbury, has provided plenty of detail about the life and times of eighteen of the Kildare’s most influential families.
In “The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare,” he has provided fascinating details about eighteen families whose names pepper the history of not only Kildare but Ireland it one time legal power centre, London.
The Aylmer, Barton, de Burgh (singer, Chris, is related), Clements, Connolly, Guinness, Henry, Fennell, Fitzgerald, Latten, La Touche, Mansfield, Maunsell, Medlicott, More O’Ferrall, Moore, de Roebeck and Wolfe families are among a network of around four hundred families who governed Ireland for more than 200 years after King William’s victory over the Jacobite forces at the Boyne in 1689. These families from the Protestant gentry and aristocracy – the Anglo Irish ascendancy – held great power up until the end of the 1900’s.
Turtle Bunbury and Art Kavanagh have brought together an entertaining overview of the stories of these families, whose role in Irish history will no doubt continue to be debated.
Where did they come from? Some descended from old Irish chieftains. Others came via the Norman invasion 800 years ago and other arrived from England in the 1650’s.
Yet others, like the La Touche and de Robeck, were the modern equivalent of asylum seekers on the run from religious and political turmoil on the European mainland.
Whatever about their origin, Turtle Bunbury says they were the privileged elite and Kildare’s proximity to Dublin brought it to the forefront during those the aforementioned two hundred year period.
The lot of the gentry, while apparently privileged, has not always been a bed or roses. There have been thorns on the rosebushes.
One of the Clement family, Nat, was the architect and designer of the Aras an Uachtarain and is credited with the design of Newberry Hall and Williamstown in Carbury, Lodge Park in Straffan and Colganstown in Newcastle, Co. Dublin. But other members of that family found themselves on the wrong side of the status quo on occasions.
A female member was arrested for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in the United States. Much later, another was a prominent IRA supporter in the 1930’s and was interned in the Curragh during the World War 11 period.
The one time richest man in Ireland, Speaker Connolly, did not have aristocratic blood in him.
The son of a Protestant inn-keeper from Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, went to study law and began collecting land in voluminous amounts at very cheap rates. All above board? One of his friends who aided his development was the London banker, Sir Alexander Cairns, whom Jonathan Swift described as “a shuffling scoundrel.”
Two of Dublin’s best known streets, Henry Street and Moore Street, are named after the Moore family of Monasterevin.
The widow of one of the Earls married the Restoration dramatist, William Wycherly. She died before him and the playwright lost a lot of money fighting the will. One result was he spent seven years in Fleet Prison in London.
The Wolfe family of Forenaughts in Naas, whose home is now part of the Smurfit thoroughbred operation, suffered during the Emmet Rebellion in 1803 when two of them were dragged from their carriage in Dublin and murdered. Another, Richard, died in the Sudan when his army unit was sent to relieve Gordon garrison in Khartoum in 1885.
A member of the Henry family, Michael Charles Henry, the last of his family to live at Straffan House and Lodge Park, was a Commander in charge of the Port Crew on board the first Polaris submarine, Resolution.
Turtle, who is also working on a travel book on Sri Lanka, has provided much detail about the lives of these often eccentric families who had their share of failure as well as success.
What of the author himself, whose surname appears in the index of the book? One of the Lennon sisters, Sarah, who featured in Stella Tillyards book, “Aristocrats,” married the Suffolk racing magnate, Sir Charles Bunbury. She divorced him and later, in 1787, Oakley Park near Celbridge, became her home and that of her husband Colonel George Napier.
If it was not death, gambling also took its toll on the aristocracy. One of the Fitzgeralds lost Carton House in Maynooth as a result.
Turtle’s family are from Rathvilly, Co. Carlow, and came to Ireland 300 years ago. One of his ancestors, a Norman knight at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, got land in Cheshire near a place called Bunbury. One of the family lost almost everything when he supported Charles 1 and hopped it to Ireland.
The family were settled into Carlow by the 1660’s.
There are five or six explanations as to how he was Christian named Turtle. One is because he was a third son and the Latin for that is Tertius. Another, he said, is that his grandmother gave him three turtles when he was a baby. “There are others but we will leave them aside,” he said in an interview with the Leader.
He went to school in Dublin, at Castle Park in Dalkey until he was thirteen and then headed to Perthshire in the Scottish highlands for his secondary education. He loved it there. Back to Trinity where he started law but changed to history finishing there in 1996.
A three year spell in Hong Kong in the magazine/ media area followed but he returned to Ireland and got stuck into the history business where he is now working with publisher, Art Kavanagh.
The Kildare book is part of a series and there could be another Kildare related book by the 32 year old Dublin-based historian.
In between researching the gentry he has been doing a book on Sri Lanka with James Fennell of Athy and that, “Living in Sri Lanka,” will be out next year. Part of that project includes a three month spell in the country.
During his history period in Trinity, Turtle specialised in Irish history from the 17th to 19th centuries. He started work on the Kildare book in April of this year in conjunction with others such as Enneclan.ie.
As far as the author is concerned, entry to the world of the aristocracy was not impossible. Speaker Connolly did it but, he said, Speaker played by the rules of that group of people, which contained both heroes and villains.
Many of those big families are gone. If Kildare had about fifty of them in their heyday, less than half of them remain intact.
He found the families he wrote about “very helpful.”
Publisher, Art Kavanagh, has produced a number of county based books on such families, including Wexford, Tipperary, Kilkenny and now Kildare. Others are due to come on stream this year.
The book describes itself as a short potted history but is a neat and comprehensive overview of its field. Every school and library should have one.
Leinster Leader, October 2005
FAMOUS FITZGERALDS GATHER AT MAYNOOTH CASTLE – HENRY BAURESS
Former Taoiseach, Dr. Garrett Fitzgerald was in Kildare this week to discuss some family linen in public and the gathering at Maynooth Castle revealed a very mixed bag.
Accompanied by leading Irish harpists, Anne Marie O’Farrell and Cormac de Barra, the thoroughly modern Garrett spoke about Garrett Mor Fitzgerald, the 8th Earl and Lord Deputy of Ireland in the 15th century.
Also on hand to dish up yarns on other members of the dynasty was his namesake, Desmond Fitzgerald, the Knight of Glin and Renagh Holohan, author of ‘The Irish Chateaux – In search of the Descendants of the Wild Geese.”
The Fitzgeralds were one of the most powerful families but as Turtle Bunbury and Art Kavanagh highlighted in their recently published history of Kildare’s landed gentry and aristocracy, there were ups and downs and even offs, in the case of a head or two.
In the latter case, those of you who like loyalty in their fellow humans, may be consoled by the fate of Christopher Parese who had his head removed after selling out Maynooth Castle in 1534.
Dr. Garrett told us that when Gearoid Og (Young Garrett), 9th Earl of Kildare, was summoned to London to answer charges against him – the Crown thought its middle management were running away with themselves and perhaps more – he beefed up his stronghold at Maynooth Castle and left his son, best known as Silken Thomas, in charge.
But soon afterwards, Silken or Thomas Fitzgerald, Lord Offaly, hearing a false account that his dad had been executed in England, led his followers in rebellion.
Unwisely, as we now know, he marched to Connaught to get support and left his foster brother,Christy Parese, in charge of the homestead.
Silken thought its defence was so strong that no one could take it over. That would have been all right if Christy and his security team did the business. But when on 14 March 1535, the Lord Deputy, Skeffington, attacked the Castle, a month or so after burning the town, he got an offer which made the Castle take over easy.
Parese shot out a letter – it probably arrived faster than many of our e-mails today – offering to facilitate the take over in return for a sum of money and a “competent stay during his life.”
The corrupt bribe taker arranged it so that when Skeffington’s army arrived resistance was faint from a team which “snorted at the night like grunting hogs.” Parese, expecting knighthood if not sainthood, met the Lord Deputy himself later in the afternoon.
According to Holinshed’s Chronicles of 1570, when the pair met, the Deputy “very coldly and half sternly” casting an eye towards him, said, “Parese, I am to thank thee on my master the King his behalf. And because I may be the better instructed how to reward thee during my government, I would gladly learn what thy lord and master bestowed on thee.”
Parese thinking the Deputy would better the Fitzgerald largesse, told him of all the good they had given him and done for him. The Lord Deputy replied: “Why, Parese, couldst thou find in thy heart to betray his castle who has been so good a lord to thee? Truly thou are so hollow to him, wilt never be true to us.” The Lord Deputy ordered Parese be given his promised money on the surrender of the Castle “and after to chop off his head, declaring thereby that although he embraced the benefit of the treason, he could not digest the treachery of the traitor.”
None of yer auld Tribunal with free barristers for Mr. Parese.
Another Fitzgerald ancestor was luckier.
John Fitzthomas, created the 1st Earl of Kildare in 1316 had an early escape. As a baby, he was supposedly rescued from a fire by a pet ape, thus giving the family its crest.
Another, Garret Mor, the 8th Earl of Kildare, known as the Great Earl, was described in the Annals of the Four Masters as a “mighty man of stature, full of honour and courage.”
But he did have a hot temper, “not so sharp as short.”
The family were often in trouble with the Crown. In 1552, Maynooth Castle, which had been taken from it as a result of the Silken Thomas rebellion was returned to Gerald, Silken’s half brother and he was restored to the title as 11th Earl of Kildare.
But in 1580, he was arrested on suspicion of treachery, and his Countess, Mabel,had to humbly beseech her Majesty for mercy and crave favours.
She appears to have aided the 11th Earl in his hours of need.
Not all the women appeared so supportive. In 1759, the Knight of Glin told us, Gerald Fitzgerald, the 15th Earl of Desmond was proclaimed a rebel.
His wife, Eleanor Butler, Countess of Desmond, told the Privy Council that he was driven to rebel by Government provocation and his “wicked brother John’s” plotting.
But she was also anxious to secure her own livelihood and went as far as to offer to divorce her husband in order “to have some livelihood to live upon.” The family faced further tough times in the 1806-1825 period and Ms. Holohan provided extracts from the diaries of Lady Isabella Fitzgerald, niece of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, recalling her days at Carton, Leinster House and Blackrock.
As they left Carton after the 1798 rising, they were stopped and obliged to get a passport at Leixlip where they were “shocked at the sight of a dead body erected by the soldiers against a cart and covered in derision with green ribbons.” Isabella left for France and when she returned in 1812 she went to see the family home, Leinster House, now hosting the Houses of the Oireachtas. It had been, she said, “quite neglected and was now more like a convent than a nobleman's hotel"
The Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Kildare
Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt.1
M, 127742, b. 14 September 1736, d. 11 February 1794
Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt. was born on 14 September 1736.1 He was the son of Sir Gerald Aylmer, 5th Bt. and Lucy Norris.1 He married Elizabeth Cole, daughter of Fenton Cole and Dorothy Sanderson, on 15 September 1764.1 He died on 11 February 1794 at age 57.1,
Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt. succeeded to the title of 6th Baronet Aylmer, of Doneda, co. Kildare [I., 1622] on 6 January 1736/37.1 He held the office of Sheriff of County Kildare in 1761.1 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Roscommon [Ireland] between 1761 and 1768.1 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Old Leighlin [Ireland] between 1769 and 1776.1 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Kildare [Ireland] between 1776 and 1783.1 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Harristown [Ireland] between 1783 and 1794.
Child of Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt. and Elizabeth Cole
Sir Fenton Aylmer, 7th Bt.+1 b. Nov 1770, d. 23 May 1816
1.George Edward Cokayne, editor, The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume I, page 232. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Baronetage.
2.Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 201. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
Elizabeth Cole F, 127743, d. circa 1797
Elizabeth Cole was the daughter of Fenton Cole and Dorothy Sanderson.1 She married Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt., son of Sir Gerald Aylmer, 5th Bt. and Lucy Norris, on 15 September 1764.1 She died circa 1797.1 Her will was probated in 1797.
From 15 September 1764, her married name became Aylmer.
Child of Elizabeth Cole and Sir FitzGerald Aylmer, 6th Bt.
Sir Fenton Aylmer, 7th Bt.+1 b. Nov 1770, d. 23 May 1816
1.George Edward Cokayne, editor, The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume I, page 232. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Baronetage.
Fenton Cole1 M, 127744
Fenton Cole lived at Silver Hill, County Fermanagh, Ireland.
Child of Fenton Cole and Dorothy Sanderson Elizabeth Cole d. c 1797
1.George Edward Cokayne, editor, The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume I, page 232. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Baronetage.
Dorothy Sanderson F, 127745
Dorothy Sanderson is the daughter of Alexander Sanderson. Child of Dorothy Sanderson and Fenton Cole Elizabeth Cole d. c 1797
George Edward Cokayne, editor,
The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.:
Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume I, page 232. Herein after cited as The Complete Baronetage.