Landlords and Big Houses in Killererin

Extract from chapter in Killererin - A Parish History

Toghermore House early 1900s. Carriage driver was Denis Geoghegan and his assistant was John Cunningham, Togher.
Photo: Christy Butler, Toghermore

This chapter details the names of the landlords in the parish and their families as well as what happened to the lands they once held. By the 1860s, many landlords, including the largest landlord family, the Kirwans, were in debt and their holdings had to be sold to the Encumbered Estates Court. The names of tenants who rented the lands at the time of the sale were recorded in the court’s documents and are listed in the Appendix where they were available. The original documents are in the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin. Unfortunately, existing tenants had little or no protection and many were left in a precarious position and very little security on the land they leased.

Source of Employment

In 1840, The Tuam Herald refers to a visit of T.B. Martin MP ‘accompanied by Mrs. and Miss Martin … on their way to Moyne, the hospitable residence of Michael J. Browne, Esq’.[1] Estates were a much needed source of employment. Toghermore House, for example, the home of the Henry family, employed a kitchen maid, a housemaid, a cook, a parlour-maid and a coachman in 1901.[2] Absentee estates were managed by an estate agent, one of whose responsibilities was the collection of rents. Often bailiffs and stewards were also employed to carry out day-to-day administration, working with the agent, or directly with the landlord in cases where he was resident on the estate. In Killererin in 1851, Pat McGann was listed as the bailiff in the townland of Garra and, in the townland of Forty Acres; Connor Warde was listed as the steward.[3]

Four Principal Seats in Killererin

Samuel Lewis, in Lewis Topographical Dictionary, published in 1837, listed 4 principle seats or places of residence in the parish of Killererin; Brooklodge, the residence of Martin J. Blake, Hillsbrook, the residence of J.A. Kirwan, Castlemoyle, the residence of M. Browne and the Glebe House, the residence of the Rev. W. Le Poer Trench.[4] However, Griffith’s valuation, published for Galway in 1851, recorded 6 landlords, namely David Ruttledge of Barbersfort, Robert Henry of Toghermore, Walter Martin Blake of Ballyglunin, Michael J. Browne of Moyne Park, William Le Poer Trench of the Glebe House and J.A. Kirwan of Hillsbrook[5]. As mentioned, Lewis referred to 4 of these landlords in 1837 and these landed families would, therefore, have been living in the parish during the famine years. Others who held large amounts of land in the parish were the Nolans from Garra House and Robert Waithman who bought Moyne House in 1847.

Kirwans of Hillsbrook

[1] Tuam Herald, 18 July 1840.
[2] NAI, ‘Census 1901’ ( (20 Sep 2012).
[3] Galway County Library, ‘O’Donovan’s Field Name Survey Book’ ( (20 Sep 2012).
[4] OSI, Lewis Topographical Dictionary ( (24 Sep 2012).
[5] Ask About Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation Place Name Search ( (24 Sep 2012).

This page was added on 13/02/2020.

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