Saturday, 17 March 2018

St Patrick's Day

The Duchess of Cambridge presenting shamrock to the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day, 2012.

Her Royal Highness travelled to their barracks to meet officers and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the regiment.

This tradition was maintained for many years by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002).

Prince William is Royal Colonel of the Irish Guards.

The royal tradition dates back to 1901, when Queen Alexandra asked for shamrocks to be presented to the newly-formed regiment.
The badge of the Irish Guards comprises a star, within which is a shamrock with three crowns on its leaves (the historic kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland), the shamrock being placed on a cross of St Patrick.

The centre is surrounded by a circle which bears the legend QUIS SEPARABIT - who shall separate - and the date MDCCLXXXIII (1783), the establishment of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP).

Friday, 16 March 2018

1st Earl of Thomond

This family (one of the few native houses to be found in the Peerage of Ireland) deduces its descent from the royal line of THOMOND, a race of princes which sprang from the celebrated Hibernian monarch, Brian Boru, who commenced his reign in 1002, and terminated it with his life at the battle of Clontarf in 1014.

The last of those princes,

CONNOR O'BRIEN, who was inaugurated King of Thomond in 1528, died in 1540, when his son was set aside and the principality usurped by his brother,

MURROUGH O'BRIEN, who surrendered his royalty to HENRY VIII, and was created in consequence by His Majesty, in 1543, EARL OF THOMOND, with remainder to his deposed nephew, Donough O'Brien, and BARON INCHIQUIN to his own male heirs; and for the better support of these honours, the King granted and confirmed to him and his male heirs all his lands, possessions, and patronages in Thomond beyond the River Shannon, bishoprics excepted.

His lordship died in 1551, when the Earldom devolved accordingly upon the said

DONOUGH O'BRIEN, who, on surrendering the patent to EDWARD VI, obtained a new grant of the dignities to himself and his male heirs, in 1552, and also possession of all the honours and lands which had fallen to the Crown by the death of his uncle.

From this nobleman the Earldom of Thomond passed in regular succession to

HENRY, 8th Earl, 1st Viscount Tadcaster (1688-1741); at whose decease, without male issue, it expired with his lordship's other honours.

The barony of Inchiquin was inherited by the 1st Earl's son and heir by Eleanor, daughter of Thomas FitzGerald,

DERMOD, 2nd Baron; to whom his father assigned the castle and lands of Inchiquin and other extensive territorial possessions.

His lordship wedded Margaret, eldest daughter of Donough, 2nd Earl of Thomond; and dying in 1557, was succeeded by his son,

MURROUGH, 3rd Baron (c1550-74), who espoused Mabel, eldest daughter of Christopher, 6th Baron Delvin, and was succeeded at his decease by his son,

MURROUGH, 4th Baron (1563-97), who married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and was succeeded by his son,

DERMOD, 5th Baron (1594-1624), who wedded Ellen, eldest daughter of Sir Edmund FitzGerald, Knight, of Cloyne, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

MURROUGH, 6th Baron (1614-74), who was advanced, 1664, to the EARLDOM OF INCHIQUIN.
The 4th Earl was succeeded, in 1777, by his nephew and son-in-law,

MURROUGH (1726-1808), as 5th Earl; who was created, in 1800, MARQUESS OF THOMOND, and was enrolled amongst the peers of the United Kingdom, 1801, as Baron Thomond, of Taplow, Buckinghamshire.

His lordship had several children by his first consort, Mary, 3rd Countess of Orkney, none of whom lived, however, except MARY, who succeeded to the honours of her mother, as 4th Countess of Orkney, and wedded the Hon Thomas Fitzmaurice.

He espoused secondly, in 1762, Mary, eldest daughter of John Palmer, of Great Torrington, Devon, and niece of Sir Joshua Reynolds, but had no other issue.

His lordship was thrown from his horse in Grosvenor Square, London, in 1808, and died in consequence of the fall, when the barony of THOMOND, of Taplow, expired; but the Irish honours devolved upon his nephew,

WILLIAM O'BRIEN (1765-1846), as 2nd Marquess, KP, who married, in 1799, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Trotter, of Duleek, County Meath, and had issue,
Susan Maria; Sarah; Mary; Elizabeth.
His lordship, who was installed a Knight of St Patrick in 1809, died without male issue, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

JAMES, 3rd Marquess (1769-1855), GCH, Admiral in the Royal Navy, who wedded firstly, in 1800, Eliza Bridgman, second daughter of James Willyams, of Carnanton, Cornwall; and secondly, in 1806, Jane, daughter of Thomas Ottley; and thirdly, in 1847 , Anne, sister of Sir Charles William Flint.

His lordship, however, left no issue, and the marquessate and earldom expired; the barony of Inchiquin, however, reverted to Sir Lucius O'Brien Bt, in 1855, as 13th Baron Inchiquin.

ROSTELLAN CASTLE, County Cork, was delightfully situated and presented a striking object to vessels entering Cork Harbour.

The ancient castle, from which it acquired its designation, was a residence of the FitzGeralds, built by Robert FitzStephen; and during the wars of 1645 it was twice assailed and captured.

The early Georgian mansion of 1721 was built on the site of the ancient pile, and was considerably enlarged and improved by at least two of its noble proprietors.

The castle was rebuilt at some stage prior to 1750, possibly by the 4th Earl (1700-77), who established the predecessor of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1720.

In 1777 the 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Thomond extended and renovated Rostellan; and further alterations were undertaken by the 2nd Marquess.

Thereafter it comprised three storeys, with a five-bay front between two three-sided bows.

A side elevation consisted of four bays and a three-sided bow.

The house front had noticeable string courses and quoins.

The chapel

A Gothic porch was added in the 19th century; and a substantial Gothic chapel wing with pinnacles and castellated round tower.

Facing the water-front, near the house, there was a battlemented terrace complete with canons, akin to a battery.

The 1st Marquess erected a tower in honour of Mrs Siddons, a house guest.

Following the decease of the 3rd and last Marquess in 1855, Rostellan was purchased by Dr Thomas Alexander Wise.

Sir John Pope-Hennessy, KCMG, formerly of Myrtle Grove, became the next owner; followed by Charles John Engledow MP.

Rostellan suffered the fate of many mansions, in 1944: demolition.

The demesne which surrounded it was exquisite in situation, and commanded an unequalled prospect of the animated, picturesque and grand harbour.

The grounds were well planted, displayed a profusion of luxuriant evergreens, and presented many delightful indications of the mildness of the climate, and the fertility of the soil.

First published in March, 2016.  Thomond arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Johnstown Castle


LORD MAURICE FITZGERALD (1852-1901), second son of Charles, 4th Duke of Leinster, of Carton House, County Kildare, married, in 1880, the Lady Adelaide Jane Frances Forbes, daughter of the 7th Earl of Granard, and had issue,
GERALD HUGH, his heir;
Geraldine Mary; Kathleen; Marjorie.
Lord Maurice, Lord-Lieutenant of County Wexford, 1881-1901, was succeeded by his son and heir,

GERALD HUGH FITZGERALD (1886-1914), Captain, 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish), who wedded, in 1914, Dorothy Violet, daughter of Spencer Calmeyer Charrington (of the famous brewing family), though the marriage was without issue.

Captain FitzGerald was killed in action during the 1st World war.

JOHNSTOWN CASTLE, near Wexford town, is a spacious, castellated mansion, built entirely of Carlow granite, and equal in beauty and magnificence to many of its ilk in the British Isles.

It occupies the site, and embodies one of the towers, of a very ancient structure.

Immediately adjoining it is a fine lake, formed at huge expense, decorated at its edges tastefully and closely overlooked at the margin by several turrets of carved stone.

The mansion has been home to two prominent County Wexford families.

The first owners were the Esmonde Baronets, a Norman family who settled in the county in the 1170s.

They constructed the tower houses at Johnstown and Rathlannon during the 15th or 16th century.

During the Cromwellian period of 1640s the estate was confiscated and changed hands several times before being acquired by John Grogan in 1692, whose descendants remained at Johnstown until 1945.

Following the death of Hamilton K Grogan-Morgan, Johnstown passed to his widow who married, as her second husband, the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Esmonde, 9th Baronet, a descendant of the original owners.

The demesne subsequently passed to Grogan-Morgan's daughter Jane, Countess of Granard; thence to Lady Granard's daughter, Lady Maurice FitzGerald.

The old tower house was the home of Cornelius Grogan, who was unjustly executed for treason after the 1798 Rebellion.

By 1863, Johnstown Castle estate was at its peak of development and comprised of a large demesne of over 1,000 acres.

The demesne occupies a hollow at the head of a fertile valley, a brief distance from the base of a picturesque mountain.

It was divided in two, with a deer park to the north, and the castle, pleasure grounds, home farm and two lakes (with a third lake under construction) to the south.

In 1945 Maurice Victor Lakin presented Johnstown Castle estate as a gift to the Irish state.

Today Teagasc, the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority, owns Johnstown Castle estate and has a research facility on site.

The Irish Agricultural Museum is housed in the old stable and farmyard buildings of the demesne.

Burke's guide describes Johnstown as being,
An old tower house of the Esmondes, engulfed in an impressively turreted, battlemented and machiolated castle of silver-grey ashlar built about 1840 for H K Grogan-Morgan MP, to the design of Daniel Robertson, of Kilkenny.

The entrance front is dominated by a single tower with a porte-cochere projecting at the end of an entrance corridor and a Gothic conservatory at one end. The garden front has two round turrets, a three-sided central bow with tracery windows.
First published in November, 2011.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Lizard Manor



The manor of Lizard was established by the Honourable The Irish Society in 1618, and a conveyance of this manor to the Ironmongers' Company from the Society was executed in November of the same year.
By this deed, the Society did "fully, clearly, and absolutely grant" the Manor of Lizard, and all the rents, advowsons [sic], tithes, and all other profits whatsoever, except timber, &c., at the yearly rent of £11. 6s. 8d., to the Ironmongers' Company, their successors and assigns for ever, to the only use and behoof [sic] of the said Company. 
Towards the end of 1614, George Canning, a native of Barton in Warwickshire, was appointed agent by the Company and charged with building a bawn and castle at Agivey. 

A lease was granted to George Canning in 1617 for 41 years [no fine; annual rent, £120]. 

In 1630, Paul Canning, a member of the Ironmongers' Company and their agent in Ireland, sold his estate in England, and spent it in planting and stocking the Company's estate, and also at his own charge built a church.

The charter to the Irish Society granted by JAMES I was revoked in the reign of CHARLES I, by decree of the Star Chamber, in Hilary Term, 1638, and all the estates were escheated to the Crown.

In 1662, in the reign of CHARLES II, letters patent were issued, containing, with but little alteration, all the clauses of the charter of JAMES I.

The renewed grant from the Society to the Ironmongers' Company of the Manor of Lizard, dated 1663, recites, that
The King takes into consideration the vast sums of money the Society and the several Companies of London had laid out and disbursed in their building and planting.
In 1658, Paul Canning acquired a new lease [fine, £500; annual rent, £270].

This lease was assigned to another George Canning, whose son, George, obtained a new lease in 1705 for 21 years [fine, £1,900; annual rent, £250]. 

Stratford Canning, a son of George, failed to renew this lease and the estate was leased to Messrs Leckey, Macky, Cunningham and Craighead, 1726, for 41 years. 

When the lease expired in 1767 it was auctioned, and after William Alexander failed to pay with a fine of £21,000, the estate was leased to a Mr Dupree from London, for 61 years and three lives [fine, £21,000; annual rent, £600]. 

Dupree never visited the estate and his son sold the lease in 1813 to the Beresford and Hill families, who retained the estate until the death, in 1840, of the Most Rev Nathaniel Alexander [Bishop of Meath], the last of the three lives in the lease. 

LIZARD MANOR, near Aghadowey, County Londondery, is a two-storey, mid-Victorian house built ca 1861.

Henry Anderson, the local agent to the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, was the first occupant.

In 1861, offices were completed. These offices (which may have included the two-storey, red brick stable block to the west of the dwelling) were completed by 1864.

The servant’s block, which abuts the northern return of Lizard Manor, was utilised as a dwelling by the estate steward.

Henry Anderson continued to reside at Lizard Manor until his death in the 1870s.

In 1874, the property was acquired by the Stronge family of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh, who continued to hold Lizard Manor until the 1950s.

Sir Charles Stronge, 7th Baronet (1862-1939), lived at Lizard Manor.

After 1889, the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers began to sell portions of its estate; and in 1891 the Stronge family purchased Lizard Manor and its associated lands from the company.

The Stronges employed a large number of domestic servants, cooks and maids to manage the estate.

Lizard Manor was described at that time as
"a first class dwelling that consisted of 22 rooms and possessed a large number of outbuildings, including two stables and two coach houses, five cow houses, a boiling house and a barn."
The layout of Lizard Manor has not been altered since 1904, although some of the original minor outbuildings have been demolished in the intervening years.

Sir Charles Stronge had taken over possession of Lizard Manor from his father in 1897, although Edmond Stronge continued to reside at Rusky until his death about 1910.

Sir Charles Stronge remained at the site until his own death in 1939.

Lizard Manor remained in his family until coming into the possession of the Rt Hon Phelim O’Neill (later 2nd Baron Rathcavan) in 1953; and who resided there till 1978, when he moved to County Mayo.


Lizard Manor dates from ca 1861; however, due to its association with the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, the origins of the Victorian manor stretch back to the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th Century.

The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers was granted lands in the parish of Aghadowey.

In 1614, George Canning, the first agent of the company in Ulster, constructed a bawn and castle in the parish.

The ‘Manor of Lizard’ was established by the company in 1618, comprising lands which amounted to a total of 38,470 acres.

The title of the manor was derived from the Company’s armorial bearings, which included lizards.

The Ironmongers, having leased out their land to their agent for almost two centuries, took over control of the Manor of Lizard ca 1840 and carried out a survey of all its properties and land.

With the completion of the survey the company carried out a number of improvements to their lands, which included the construction of a permanent residence for their agent in the townland of Rusky.

Lizard Manor continues to be utilised as a private dwelling and has undergone few alterations over the past 150 years, retaining much of its original mid-Victorian character.

The demolition or dilapidation of the associated outbuildings has been the only notable alteration to have occurred to the original property.

The house comprises two storeys, with a five-bay front, centre break-front with two narrow windows above; plain projecting porch below; a three-sided bow in side elevation; eaved roof on a plain cornice.

Many trees surround the grassed area near the house, which is on a hill above the Aghadowey River.

The Company’s arms comprise lizards, hence the name.

There is a maintained ornamental garden, enclosed by a beech hedge, near the west side of the house.

A free-standing glasshouse has gone. An orchard to the north of the house is backed by a walled garden, which is of brick.

Tennis Court in 2012

The glasshouses, on the north wall of the walled garden, are ruinous and uncultivated.

First published in March, 2012.

1st Baron Lurgan


SIR WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1591-1660), of Brownlowsderry, County Armagh, the first of the family who settled in Ulster, was born at Epworth, Derbyshire.

The said gentleman received the honour of knighthood, 1622, from Henry, Viscount Falkland, Lord Deputy of Ireland.

In 1629, he received a patent and grant of lands in County Armagh.

Sir William left his property to his grandson (the son of his daughter, Mrs Chamberlain),

ARTHUR CHAMBERLAIN, who, assuming the surname and arms of BROWNLOW, wedded, about 1677, Jane, daughter of Sir Standish Hartstonge Bt, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Anne, m Matthew Forde;
Lettice, m Robert Cope.
Mr Brownlow died in 1710, and was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1683-1739), MP for County Armagh, 1711-39, who married, in 1712, the Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Jane, died unmarried;
Elizabeth, m to John, Lord Knapton;
Anne; Mary; Isabella.
Mr Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM BROWNLOW (1726-94), of Lurgan, MP for County Armagh, 1753-94, who married firstly, in 1754, Judith Letitia, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Charles Meredyth, Dean of Ardfert, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
CHARLES, heir to his brother.
He wedded secondly, in 1765, Catherine, daughter of Roger Hall, of Mount Hall, County Down, and had issue,
James (1772-1832);
Francis (Rev), b 1779; m Catherine, 6th daughter of 8th Earl of Meath;
Catherine, m, in 1783, M Forde, of Seaforde;
Isabella, m, in 1796, Richard, 4th Viscount Powerscourt;
Elizabeth, m, in 1791, John, 4th Earl of Darnley;
Mary Anne, d unm 1791;
Frances Letitia, m, in 1800, John, 2nd Viscount de Vesci;
Selina; Louisa.
Mr Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM BROWNLOW, who dsp 1815, and was succeeded by his brother,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CHARLES BROWNLOW (1757-1822), of Lurgan, who wedded, in 1785, Caroline, daughter and co-heir of Benjamin Ashe, of Bath, and had issue,
William, a military officer, killed in Spain, 1813;
CHARLES, of whom we treat;
John (Rev), b 1798;
Frederick, b 1800; army major;
George, b 1805; East India Company;
Henry, b 1807; East India Company;
Isabella, m, in 1818, R Macneill, of Barra;
Anna, m, in 1821, Col Maxwell Close, of Drumbanagher;
Mary, m, in 1822, Rev John F Close.
Colonel Brownlow was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON CHARLES BROWNLOW (1795-1847), of Lurgan, MP for County Armagh, 1818-32, who married firstly, in 1822, the Lady Mary Bligh, second daughter of John, 4th Earl of Darnley, by whom he had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth.

He wedded secondly, in 1828, Jane, fourth daughter of Roderick Macneill, of Barra, Inverness-shire, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Clara Anne Jane.
Mr Brownlow was elevated to the peerage, in 1839, by the title of BARON LURGAN, of Lurgan, County Armagh.

His lordship was succeeded by his edlest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Baron (1831-82), KP, of Lurgan, Knight of the Order of St Patrick, who espoused, in 1853, Emily Anne, fourth daughter of John, 3rd Baron Kilmaine, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John Roderick;
Francis Cecil, father of 5th Baron;
Mary Emily Jane; Clara Agnes; Louisa Helene; Isabella Anna;
Clementina Georgiana; Emmeline Harriet Annette.
His lordship, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1864-82, was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Baron (1858-1937), KCVO, of Lurgan, State Steward to HE The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1895-1905, who married, in 1893, the Lady Emily Julia Cadogan, eldest daughter of George, 5th Earl Cadogan, and had issue, an only child, 

WILLIAM GEORGE EDWARD, 4th Baron (1902-84), who wedded, in 1979, (Florence) May Cooper, widow of Eric Cooper, of Johnannesburg, South Africa, and daughter of Louis Francis Squire Webster, of Johannesburg.

His lordship died without issue, when the title reverted to his cousin,


The title expired following the death of the 5th Baron in 1991.


UNDER the Plantation of Ulster, John Brownlow, of Nottingham, offered himself as an undertaker of land in O'Neilland, County Armagh.
Brownlow stated Nottingham as his place of origin, his family's native city and where his father had served as Mayor; but he himself had actually been living in Epworth, Lincolnshire, and had only returned to Nottingham on his father's death to claim his inheritance.
He was granted the 'middle proportion' of Doughcoron in the barony of O'Neilland by patent from JAMES I in 1610.

Doughcoron contained 1,500 acres and included many townlands.

In 1610, John Brownlow's son William was granted 1,000 acres by James I, the proportion of Ballynemony.

This land also lay on the southern shore of Lough Neagh, adjacent to his father's land, and stretched from the upper Bann eastward to Doughcoron.

With the death of John Brownlow, his son, William inherited his father's property; and in 1622 William was knighted by Lord Falkland, the lord deputy of Ireland.

The existing Brownlow estate was not only consolidating and prospering but also being extended, for on the death of Sir William Brownlow in 1660, he was succeeded by his grandson, Arthur Chamberlain, eldest son of Lettice Brownlow. 

Arthur Chamberlain assumed the surname of Brownlow as directed in the will of his grandfather Sir William Brownlow and resided in Brownlowsderry.

Arthur Brownlow, alias Chamberlain, was a prudent manager and accumulated a considerable amount of money which he invested in other lands, chiefly in County Armagh were he acquired the manor of Richmount and thus became one of the largest property owners in the county.

Meanwhile throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the County Armagh Brownlow estate in the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmound continued to prosper and with it the Brownlows, while Lurgan continued to grow as a town.

However, the changing political situation in Ireland, especially in regard to the land question, and the introduction of the Land Acts, meant the end of the great estate.

This, coupled with family financial crisis, forced the Brownlow family to sell off most of their remaining estate, including Brownlow House, in 1893. 

They moved to London, although maintaining their contact and links with the town and people of Lurgan.

The barony of Lurgan was created in 1839 for Charles Brownlow, MP for County Armagh.

His son, the 2nd Baron, joined the Liberal Party and became a government whip in the Upper House; and he was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP) in 1864.

The 2nd Lord Lurgan owned the celebrated greyhound, Master McGrath; and his brother-in-law was Mr Maxwell Close whose home, incidentally, was Drumbanagher House, built to the design of William Playfair who also designed Brownlow House.

The barony expired in 1991, following the death of the 5th Baron.

BROWNLOW HOUSE, near Lurgan, County Armagh, is a large Elizabethan-Revival mansion, built by William Playfair about 1836.

This large mansion is built of a honey-coloured stone, with numerous gables and lofty finials; abundant tall chimney-pots; oriels crowned with strap-work; and a tower with a dome and lantern.

The walls of three main reception rooms are decorated with panels painted to look like verd-antique; the ceilings grained to resemble various woods.

The windows overlooking the great staircase boast heraldic stained glass.

Brownlow House was sold by the Lurgan family to the Orange Order in 1903.

The surrounding parkland is the largest public park in Northern Ireland

The Brownlow Papers are held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

By 1883, the Brownlow estate was valued at £20,589 a year (£1.8 million today).

This consisted of the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmount.

The memory of the Lurgan family lives on, in the form of a charitable trust.

First published in November, 2009.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Ballinahown Court


The family of ENNIS, originally from County Down, became established in County Meath a considerable time since.

ANDREW ENNIS, of Roebuck, County Dublin, was engaged extensively in commercial pursuits and realized a very large fortune.

Mr Ennis purchased, in 1800, the Griffinstown estate, County Westmeath, and subsequently made considerable additions to his landed property by the acquisition of portions of the Rochfort and Malone estates, including Ballinahown, the seat of the Malones.

He married Mary, daughter of Matthew McManus, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Ellen; Marianne; Jane; Alicia.
Mr Ennis died in 1834, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN ENNIS DL (1809-78), of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1837, and of Dublin, 1839, Dublin merchant, Director of the Bank of Ireland, MP for Athlone, 1857-65.

Mr Ennis married, in 1833, Anna Maria, eldest daughter of David Henry, of the city of Dublin (and sister of Sir Thomas Henry, of London), and had issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
Mary; Josephine; Elizabeth.
Mr Ennis was created a baronet in 1866, denominated of Ballinahown Court, County Westmeath.

He was succeeded by his only son,

SIR JOHN JAMES ENNIS JP DL (1842-84), 2nd Baronet, of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1866, MP for Athlone, 1868-80.

The baronetcy expired in 1884, following the 2nd Baronet's decease.

BALLINAHOWN COURT, near Athlone, County Westmeath, was built in 1746 for Edmond Malone MP.

It has three storeys over a basement; a three-bay front; and tripartite doorway with pediment and fanlight.

The pediment extends over the door and side-lights and is carried on pilasters.

There is a parapet roof.

A single-storey wing is at one side.

Ballinahown was sold about 1830 to Andrew Ennis.

It was subsequently inherited by the family of The O'Donoghue of the Glens, by whom it was sold ca 1965 to Mr Basil Crofts-Greene, who re-sold the house ca 1976.
An accomplished and very well-proportioned mid-18th century country house, built in a sophisticated classical style, which retains it early form, fabric and character. 
This building is, perhaps, the most elegant example of a country house the south of County Westmeath, certainly of its date, and must have been designed by an architect of some note, perhaps even by Richard Castle (died 1751) as suggested by some sources. 
This grand house is unusual in that it is constructed of brick, a very rare building material in Westmeath at the time of construction. 
The proximity of this house to the River Shannon (transport) probably accounts for its use here at Ballinahown Court. 
The juxtaposition between the warm red brick and the extensive grey ashlar limestone detailing creates an interesting and visually appealing textural and visual contrast. 
The fine pedimented Tuscan door-case is a noteworthy feature of artistic merit and this door-case dominates the entrance fa├žade. 
This fine house was originally built for Edmond Malone (lawyer and later MP for Granard) and his wife Ruth Malone. 
It later passed into the ownership of the Ennis Family (Andrew Ennis bought the house in 1828), who much improved the estate during the mid-to-late nineteenth-century and were probably responsible for the construction of the single-storey wing to the south-west side, which blends in seamlessly with the mid-eighteenth century fabric. 
It later passed into the ownership of John Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1857, and subsequently to his son, John James Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1868.
The present house is built on the site of an earlier castle, the home of a branch of the Malone Family since the middle ages, of which no extant remains are readily visible.

The house forms the centrepiece of an interesting group of related structures and is an important element of the architectural heritage of Westmeath and of the history of the Ballinahown local area. 

Former town residences ~ 36 Curzon Street, London; Merrion Square, Dublin.

First published in July, 2013.

Derrynoid Lodge


This family is reputed to have derived its descent from a noble house of Sweden.

THOMAS TORRENS, a cavalry officer from Sweden who served in the army of WILLIAM III, resigned his commission and settled, about 1690, at Dungiven, County Londonderry, and had issue,
Thomas, d 1735;
Henry, d 1755;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Robert (Rev), Rector of Hervey Hill; father of Robert Torrens;
The third son,

THE REV JOHN TORRENS (1708-87), of Templemore, County Londonderry, Rector of Ballynascreen, 1722, Headmaster of Derry Diocesan School, 1734-5, Prebendary of Derry, 1747, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Derry, married firstly, in 1733, Anne, daughter of the Rev Roger Blackhall, headmaster of Derry Diocesan School, 1702-34, and had issue,
Roger, 1733-1804;
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Robert, b 1748;
Martha; Jane; Anne; Elizabeth.
Mr Torrens wedded secondly, in 1752, Elizabeth Fisher.

His second son,

THE REV THOMAS TORRENS (1741-79), of Londonderry, espoused, in 1765, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Curry, and had issue,
John (Ven), Archdeacon of Dublin;
Samuel, captain, 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
Henry (Sir), Major-General, KCB.
Major-General Sir Henry Torrens KCB

The Rev Thomas Torrens's third son,

ROBERT TORRENS (1775-1856), of Derrynoid Lodge, Draperstown, County Londonderry, was a senior judge, having been appointed, in 1823, a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland.

The Hon Mr Justice Torrens married, in 1809, his cousin Anne, daughter of Thomas Torrens, and had issue,
THOMAS FRANCIS, b 1810, died in Italy;
Robert Samuel (1818-51), captain, 42nd Regiment;
Samuel John (1825-46), died in Madeira;
HENRIETTA, of whom presently;
Ann, 1829-32.
Mr Justice Torrens's elder daughter,

HENRIETTA TORRENS (1819-57), espoused William, 1st Baron O'Neill, and had issue,
Edward, 2nd Baron O'Neill;
ROBERT TORRENS, of whom we treat;
The Lady O'Neill died in 1857, and bequeathed the Derrynoid estate to her third son,

MAJOR THE HON ROBERT TORRENS O'NEILL (1845-1910), of Tullymore Lodge, County Antrim, who died unmarried.

DERRYNOID LODGE, near Draperstown, County Londonderry, was built ca 1809 for the Hon Mr Justice Torrens.

It was originally a thatched cottage though, about 1816, the house was extended and a slate roof was erected.

The Lodge was last inhabited before the start of the 2nd World War.

In 1952, Derrynoid Lodge suffered severe fire damage and was subsequently demolished.


In 1995, with funding from the Department of Agriculture, International Fund for Ireland and the European Union, the former land steward’s house and other servants’ quarters were refurbished to form a striking sandstone frontage to the Derrynoid Centre.

THE DERRYNOID CENTRE is situated in 250 acres of secluded forest woodland, on the site of the Georgian manor house, Derrynoid Lodge.

It contains 40 en-suite bedrooms, an on-site restaurant & bar and leisure facilities.

Conference facilities include a multi-media lecture theatre which could accommodate 110 guests, and 8 fully equipped syndicate rooms.

Hobby & leisure courses, and training & consultancy services are available.

The Centre closed down, however, in March, 2011.

First published in March, 2014.