Tuam Herald 15th November, 1913 p4
In the Co. of Galway are yet to be found many fine old historic structures, unfortunately some of them in a more or less advanced stage of decay, partly from Time’s effacing fingers, and perhaps more frequently from Man’s debasing destructiveness. Dotted over its 16 baronies and 4,148 townlands are ruins of castles once the strongholds of the De Burgos (there were the ruins of 48 Clanricarde castles alone in the Barony of Clare as described and delineated by the late Colonel Nolan) and in other places were the fortified dwellings of the O’Shaughnessies, O’Heynes or Hynes and the O’Kellys. There are castles within a radius of ten miles of Kinvara, the part of the county I am dealing with. Many are in a more or less creditable state of repair, principally those are Tillyra, Fiddance, Ardmulevan, Lydican and Dungory Castles.
The story of the last mentioned is the most interesting, its historical associations the most notable. Standing as it does apart and in a commanding situation, it forms a remarkable landmark on the high road from the County Galway to the County Clare. One was induced to put together the life story of this fine old pile. There are no special records of the place that one can resort to for information. The history of a building is the life of those who lived in it, so with Dungory. One cannot read the legendary and later history of the district, and the accounts of the great men of royal state who lived there, without being impressed with its importance. We find references to the grand old King Guaire, after whom the mound on which the castle stands and the castle are called. It is a truly picturesque situation. It stands beside the sea – erected on a part of the land that abuts on the Atlantic ocean at Galway – Kinvara bay being an inner bight of the larger bay. The high road from Kinvara (from which town it is distant about a quarter of an English mile) to Galway and Ardrahan, runs close beside its walls. Near them spring up from the mysterious recesses of the caverned limestone several springs of fresh water which came underground six miles away from the far off waters of Coole Lake which itself was fed by the seething cauldron of water to be seen at Lough Cutra near Gort and is known familiarly as the Devil’s Punch Bowl. It was discovered that the waters which rise up at Dungory were those that went aground at Lough Cutra, thence after a subterranean journey of some four miles came up in the Lake at Coole and again took their silent course underground there until some six miles off they rose up for the last time in pellucid and sweet springs at Dungory and there mingled with and were lost in the ocean.
This natural phenomenon of subterranean springs alone lends an air of mystery to the place. Apart form that is the exquisite natural beauty of its surrounding. Almost entirely surrounding the narrow tongue of land on which the castle stood is the sea in all its terror in storm, in all its rapture in calm. Farther on inland were the famous Burren hills – those bleak, barren but still beautiful ranges that seem like a rampart of stern stone dividing the two counties. At their base almost is the stream which separates the counties of Clare and Galway.
Mr Edward Martin, the present worthy and patriotic descendant of the Martins of Tullyra, is the popular owner of Dungory. He happily segregated the castle and the land on which it stands from the property when changing hands and he not only has laid out some money in repairing it and keeping the structure in a very good condition but he has appointed a resident, Mr Hansberry, to be the caretaker of the building – thus doing all that can reasonable be expected to keep it as it should be kept. Thanks to his efforts and expense the Castle is now in a very fair state and as it has the surrounding wall intact so the visitor can form a very good impression of the style and size of these structures. The wall is in a good condition and on the interior has a kind of walk round which the defenders can travel the whole extent of the building.
In a work called “The State of Ireland” it is stated that one Oliver Martin was owner of Tullyra Castle. It remains in the hands of a descendant of that man, the present popular proprietor for a period at least 300 years. Their armorial bearings were given to one Oliver Martin by Richard III who accompanied the king on an expedition to the Holy Land. In 1642 one Richard Martyn, who was then elected Mayor of Galway, resided at Dungory. He was a counsellor at law and described in the State papers as a “rank Papist.” His family then in the seventeenth century owned Dungory. He married a daughter of James Darcy, who was Vice President of Connacht at the close of Elizabeth’s reign and while they lived chiefly at Tullyra Castle, not far distant, they retained to this day the possession of the ancient royal residence of King Guaire at Dungory, whose story, so far as materials are available, I have endeavoured to tell.
Some forty years ago the modern mansion and castle of Tullyra was build after designs by an eminent architect and the interior decorated and stained glass put up according to the designs of the late Mr Street.
Connacht Tribune 2nd July, 1932p7
Interesting lecture at Gort by P.J. Murray N.T (abridged)
In 1761 Dun Guaire, Ballybrick, Tullick and Poulnaveigh in Kinvara parish, belonged to Oliver Martyn, Tullyra. He was a descendant of Richard Martyn who, though a Catholic and a royalist during the Cromwellian war, was allowed to retain possession of his estates owing to his hospitable entertainment of Cromwell’s troops.
In 1704 a Registration of Popish Clergy was drawn up in order to keep Catholic activities under strict surveillance. The penalty for failure to register was imprisonment or exile. The list contains the following names;
Tonach Money, Drumcoo;
Denis Heyne, Kilcolgan;
Anthony Heyne, Killiny;
Turlough Heyne, Kinvara;
Thomas Burke, Aradrahan.
The inclusion of above names proves that though these illustrious families were deprived of their vast estates, many of them still resided in the district and laboured assiduously for the faith for which they had sacrificed so much.
In 1744 Dr. Kilkelly was Bishop of Kilmacduagh. He was a descendant of the ancient and noble family who occupied Cloughballymore castle and estates in the sixteenth century.
Richard Kirwan – Clough
Richard Kirwan, born in Clough in 1733, was a man of extraordinary literary genius. A distinguished scholar, the subjects on which he wrote include the most varied and recondite. These include Chemistry, Philosophy, Mineralogy, Law, Music, Magnetism etc. His “Elements of Mineralogy” was so valued on the Continent that it was translated into German, French and Russian.
In London he was an honoured guest among the highest society. He was the recipient of many coveted degrees and distinctions, including President of the Royal Irish Academy, President of the Royal Dublin Society (Doctor of Laws degree conferred in Trinity), Fellow of Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh. He was also a member of several foreign academies, including Berlin, Stockholm and Philadelphia.
That the ahem of a man of such remarkable literary attainments has been allowed to sink into oblivion is an unflattering commentary on the cultural pride of our people.
The records of the period of the penal laws show that, despite the religious persecutions, the Catholics were still in a twenty to one majority, and the number of Catholic clergy was four times that of non-Catholics. The Catholic population was then at least as great as now.
Most Rev Dr. Archdeacon, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, who was P.P. of Kinvara before his episcopal elevation, was a son of Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Redington and Sarah Burke, Kilcornan. During his episcopate the modern church of Kinvara was founded.
Dr French, Bishop of Kilmacduagh resided in Kinvara. He had eight of nine churches erected in the district. During the famine years, in addition to ministering to the spiritual and material needs of his flock, his mightiest endeavours were necessary to circumvent the many agents who availed themselves of this golden opportunity to proselytise the district.
St. Coman’s Church
St Coman’s Church
The present parish of Kinvara includes the parishes of Kiloveragh, Killina and Duras. The ruins in the village of a church about 500 years old occupy the site of the ancient church of St. Coman. At Killina the ruins of a very ancient church can be traced. It is probably dedicated to St. Enda, who is known to have spent some time in the neighbourhood.
The results of the penal enactments were keenly felt in Galway City. The rapid decline of trade had, as its sequel, the springing up of illicit commerce between Kinvara and the neighbouring towns. This smuggling was continued for a long period. Wines, Tobacco, brandy and silk were extensively smuggled from France and Spain, and cargoes of wool, skins and cattle exported. Often also, these ships had on board young men departing to receive abroad the education which was denied them at home. On returning, after years of exist they would bestow on their unfortunate fellow countrymen the benefit of such instruction.
Many young men also embarked on these vessels to enlist in foreign service on the Continent. The Galway gentry were so skilful in the use of the sword that they earned for their native county the name of ‘the fighting county.’ This skill in the art of self-defence (acquired abroad) and for which the Clare gentry were also noted, proved a valuable accomplishment in checking the cruelties of the Williamite settlers.
The result of this illicit traffic was evidence by the well stocked cellars of the local gentry. Visitors to these western chiefs were invariably treated to the choicest wines, while fresh oysters from the Kinvara beds further contributed to the delectation of the chieftains and their guests.
Tobacco at Nogra
The following extracts from “The Connacht Journal,” March 1st, 1892 show that illicit trading persisted up to the twentieth century;
“Last Tuesday Messrs. Morrison and Mason, assisted by a party of the 17th Regiment on foot, seized 23 bales of leaf tobacco at a village called Knoggery, and lodged same in His Majesty’s stores.”
Knoggery (or Nogra) is a little village near Durus. Later in the same month the following seizures were made;
At Tureen (near Kinvara) – twelve bales of tobacco and four large cases of bottled wine;
At Durus and Kinvara – nine bales of tobacco and two hogsheads of wine;
At Aran – three bales of tobacco.
An extract from the same paper in August of that year states; “Five hundred pounds of leaf tobacco and a quantity of French bottled wine were seized at Duras.”
This nefarious commerce was engaged in by those loyal to the Government as well as others, for obvious reasons, hence the difficulty of suppressing it. Its abolition was eventually effected, however, by the vigilance and activities of the Government’s agents and by the imposition of heavy fines on the offenders.
In the beginning of the nineteenth centre the population of Kinvara was 1900 families. As there was not accommodation in the church for one-tenth of the congregation, the need for a more commodious building was claimant.
De Basterot of Duras, generously granted the site, together with some land for a suitable enclosure. The church which was completed in 1819, was one of the oldest erected since the religious resurgence. The estimated cost is £2,000, but this is probably in excess of the actual amount. James De Basterot also presented some good oil-paintings (executed by himself) and a beautiful altar piece. This benevolent gentleman was a generous donor to the Catholic churches of the parish.
John Blake Dillon and 1848
Father Arthur was appointed P.P. in 1847. After the collapse of the ’48 rising John Blake Dillon, to evade arrest, sought refuge in Father Arthur’s house. Scarcely had he arrived, however, when intelligence reached Gort. Father Arthur was apprised of this fact by a friend, so he despatched his visitor to a farmhouse at Durus. Here he secured the services of an experienced boatman named John Holland to take him to Aran.
Disguised in Father Kelly’s (the curate’s) clerical attire, and accompanied by the latter he set out. Though encountering heavy seas off Black Head, Holland, undeterred, continued on his course, while all the fishing boats in the bay fled for shelter.
Both the priest and the fugitive became ill and descended to the little cabin (luckily as it happened). Here they still lay when the boat was pursued by one of the cutters guarding the bay. Seeing only a solitary boatman they allowed him to continue on his way unmolested, and he landed his passengers safely at the middle island while one of Her Majesty’s boats lay at anchor in Kilronan.
Dillon now assumed the disguise of an Aran boatman and sailed the next day for Barna. Here he secured a passage on board the “Barbara”, and embarked for America while the police were still vainly searching for him in the environs of Kinvara.
Famine in Kinvara
The ravages of the famine in Kinvara were deplorable in the extreme. On the departure of Father Arthur there were less than 700 families in the parish, as compared with 1,800 when he was appointed. This represents a decrease of about 5,000 in the population in this short lapse of time. The chief proprietors were compelled to sell their land in order to settle accounts with their clamorous creditors.
Rackrent – Kinvara
In 1819 Mr Lynch, Galway, bought a large portion of the De Basterot property at Durus. The remainder was purchased by Issac Comerford, who was a most undesirable acquisition to the district. The town of Kinvara and the extensive districts owned by the Gregorys were also sold, and unfortunately to the same purchaser.
The old rents were moderate and never harshly enacted, as the proprietors preferred ruin to sacrificing their tenants. The new landlord, unhappily, had no such delicate sensibilities. He revised the rental, more than trebling the amounts, imposing upon the tenants a burden unbearable even at the best of times. The inevitable result was not long-delayed; the geese which provided the golden eggs succumbed to the rigour of the “egg-laying test,” and the rapacious proprietor, having wreaked ruin on 1,000 in twenty years, saw the property from which he had endeavour to reap such a golden harvest at the expense of the stricken peasantry, a useless encumbrance. It was soon after given into the Court of Chancery.
Father Moloney was P.P. of Kinvara when the convent was built, about 1870. The site and grounds were bestowed by Captain Blake Forster, Galway. A sum of £2,000 was bequeathed by W. Murray, Esq., Northampton, for its erection and an equal amount for its endowment by the same benefactor.
The decadence continued apace. In a couple of decades the tools of the town were reduced from £200 to £60. From 1872 to 1890 the number of families decreased from 689 to 451.
LAND LAW (IRELAND) BILL.
I may here mention that the result of this sale had a very strong influence afterwards in my political career, and rendered me a very advanced politician on the tenants’ side, on the landlord and tenant question. Shortly after my father’s death, I visited every holding on the estate, and was struck with the results of the unflagging industry of the tenants who occupied the light stony land about Kinvara. They had by their labour, and with no allowance from the landlord, cleared large portions of their farms, and the great monuments, as they called them, of stones attested their industry. From these clear patches they had excellent barley crops, and were in prosperity.
My great-uncle and father were both just men, and allowed them to enjoy the fruits of their toil for many years without raising the rent. On the occasion of my visit, when I was about to drive away, I said to these tenants, who had assembled to greet me, that I was surprised to see so much good land, and that I thought it was capable of bearing a higher rent. Of course, this called forth a general protestation, and very sad were their faces; but they soon cleared up when I said to them, ‘Were I to take one shilling out of your pockets on account of the additional value yon had given to my properly by your industry, I should be a robber and ashamed to look you in the face. You can go on in good heart with your work, and be assured that while I own this property, your rent shall never be raised on account of your improvement.
Such were my intentions, and such was the confidence of those tenants that they never asked for a lease, or I should have gladly given it to them. When the sale came on I was so occupied with other matters that I quite forgot their danger. Indeed, it never crossed my mind, for I had then heard of no particular instances of rapacity on the part of new purchasers; but I very soon had a terrible account of my remissness in not securing these poor folk. Mr.——, to whom I have referred, as soon as he was placed in possession of the lots he had purchased, on which those tenants dwelt, lost no time in dealing with them in the most remorseless fashion. The rents were raised so as to pay £5 per cent. on the borrowed capital, and a large income besides for himself. They were almost invariably doubled, and in some cases £5 was charged where £2 had been the rate of the former rent. But he killed the goose for the golden egg, the town of Kinvara was all but ruined, and the best tenants ran away.
I met one in Australia, at Ballarat, and he assured me he was well off when I was his landlord, but a pauper three years after, when he emigrated. It is things of that kind that have sent thousands and tens of thousands of Irish across the sea, not only to Australia, but still more to the United States, with hatred in their hearts for the system which exposed them to these abominable cruelties, and for the Government and this Parliament which allowed such wrongs. I am all the more glad to have read that passage, because Sir William Gregory and his ancestors had none of this harsh spirit, and it shows that there were some exceptions, at all events, to Mr. Justice Keogh’s violent description of the Irish lairds as “the most heartless, thriftless, and indefensible landocracy in the world.” The history of Ireland is a history of confiscation, of plantations and transplantations, of settlements and re-settlements.
The great fee of Ireland has been, transferred half-a-dozen times—in the time of King Henry, of Elizabeth, of James I., and of Cromwell—sometimes by soldiers and violence, sometimes by lawyers and chicane. The unwritten history of Ireland is the important thing, and the thing that is worth remembering. While all these changes were going on—all these great superficial processes of plantation and transplantation—the cultivation of the soil was all that time being carried on under difficulties untold and discouragements indescribable by men who were kept in a condition not much better than that of serfs and bond slaves. It was they who, under the system of Irish landholding, made all the improvements that were made, and who now claim that the fruits of their labours shall not be taken from them. I am not going to read passages, although they abound in the reports of the Devon, Bessborough, and Richmond Commissions, to show that the tenant has really made the improvements. What I want the House to do is, not to look at the past, but to consider the future. That is what gives its importance to this Bill.
CALENDAR OF PAPAL REGISTERS RELATING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND VOLUME 7; 1417-1431
J A TWEMLOW
(f. 309d.) To the treasurer of Kilmacduagh.
Mandate to collate and assign to Donatus Oleayn, clerk, of the diocese of Kilmacduagh (who lately received papal dispensation, as the son of a priest and an unmarried woman, to be promoted etc. as above, f. 10d), the perpetual vicarage of Kynmara in the said diocese, value not exceeding 8 marks, void by the deprivation, made by Eugenius, bishop of Killaloe, then of Kilmacduagh, for his faults and demerits, of Donatus Omarthantayn, who still unduly detains possession and is to be removed. Dignum etc. (Franciscus. xx. Nono Kal. Aprilis Sexto. de Agello.)
CALENDAR OF PAPAL REGISTERS RELATING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND VOLUME 14; 1484-1492
J A TWEMLOW (ED)
St. Peter’s, Rome.
(f. 236r.) To the treasurer, the chancellor, and the official of Kilmacduagh (Duacen.).
Mandate to collate and assign to Richard de Burgo, scholar, of the diocese of Annaghdown (Enachdunen.), who is illegitimate, being the son of unmarried parents of noble birth and related in the fourth degree of affinity, after he has been made a clerk, a canonry of Kilmacduagh and the prebend called the prebend of Kynmara therein, yearly value not exceeding 5 marks sterling, so long void that by the Lateran statutes its collation has lapsed to the apostolic see, although Malachy Omulony, clerk, of the diocese of Killaloe (Laon [i]en.), who is to be summoned and removed, has detained possession of them for between one and two years without any title or right. The pope further specially dispenses the said Richard to be made a clerk, and to be promoted to all holy, even priest’s orders, and receive and retain the said canonry and prebend, notwithstanding the said defect, etc.Laudabilia probitatis. (Gratis pro deo. Juravit.) [3½ pp. In the margin at the end: ‘Mart (ii).’]
CALENDAR OF PAPAL REGISTERS RELATING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND VOLUME 7; 1417-1431
J A TWEMLOW – EDITOR
15 Kal. Feb.
SS. Apostoli, Rome.
(f. 237d.) To the abbot of St. Mary’s de Petra, Kilmacduagh, and the dean and the official of Kilmacduagh. Mandate to collate and assign to Nicholas Obdugilla (rectius Odubgilla), canon of Kilmacduagh—who has this day resigned to the pope, by his proctor William Occorcrayn, canon of Kilmacduagh, the archdeaconry of that church, and who lately received papal dispensation, as the son of a priest and an unmarried woman, (i) to be promoted etc. as above, f. 88d, (ii) after obtaining, by collation made to him by papal authority, the perpetual vicarage of Ardrathayn in the diocese of Kilmacduagh, to hold the canonry and prebend of Kyndmara in Kilmacduagh, provision of which had been canonically made to him, (iii) to receive and hold one or two benefices, even if such one or one of such two had cure or were a canonry and prebend, dignity, not major nor principal, personatus or office, elective and with cure, provision of which the pope had ordered to be made to him, and to resign such two benefices, simply or for exchange, as often as he pleased, and hold four compatible benefices, in virtue of which said provision the canonry and prebend of Baleynaballuguyrth in Clonfert were collated to him—the said vicarage of Ardrathayn, value not exceeding 8 marks, which became void by his resignation to bishop John, and has been so long void thereby that its collation has lapsed to the apostolic see, summoning and removing Denis Macgillavanach, priest, of the said diocese, who has unduly detained possession for more than two years, and who is disabled from holding it, in virtue of Execrabilis, because, before he obtained it, he held certain incompatible benefices; notwithstanding that Nicholas holds the said canonries and prebends of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh, value not exceeding 8 marks. He is hereby dispensed to hold the said vicarage, and to resign it and the said canonries and prebends, simply or for exchange, as often as he pleases, and hold three compatible benefices. Vite etc. (Pe. xxviii. Sexto Id. Februarii Anno Decimo. de Casatiis.) [See above, pp. 120, 121, 133.]
CALENDAR OF PAPAL REGISTERS RELATING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND VOLUME 9; 1431-1447
EDITED BY J A TWEMLOW – PUBLISHED 1912 PAGES 383-390
6 Kal. July.
(f. 203.) To Denis Odubgylla, (fn. 5) dean of Kilmacduagh.
Grant as below.
His recent petition contained that formerly—after the present pope had ordered provision to be made to him of the said deanery, a major dignity with cure (which Denis, [now] bishop of Kilmacduagh, held at the time of his promotion by the present pope to the said church), upon its becoming void by the said promotion, or by the lapse of the canonical time for consecration, or in any other way than by the said bishop’s death, and had dispensed him to hold therewith for life his perpetual vicarage of Kyndmara in the diocese of Kilmacduagh—he (supposing, on account of the lapse of time for the said bishop, then elect, to obtain possession of the rule and administration of the said church, that he had been consecrated, and that the deanery was therefore then void) obtained possession thereof (collation and provision of it having been made to him by vigour of the said letters), and held for some time deanery and vicarage (of which latter he has since been despoiled by a certain adversary, against whom he has obtained by way of a possessory suit a definitive sentence, from which an appeal is said to have been made to the apostolic see), and still holds the deanery and in good faith takes its fruits.
Seeing, however, that as the said petition added it is alleged by some that the deanery became void, not then but afterwards, by the said bishop’s obtaining possession of the said rule and administration, and by his consecration, and is at present void, and that Denis fears to be molested in future, the pope hereby wills and grants to him (who has been dispensed by papal authority, as the son of a priest and an unmarried woman, to be promoted to all, even holy orders and hold a benefice even with cure) that the said collation and provision and their consequences shall hold good from the date of these presents, (fn. 6) even if the said deanery, value not exceeding 12 marks sterling, (that of the said vicarage, provision of which the pope has this day granted to him, not exceeding 8) became then void by the said promotion and consecration or in any other way etc., or be void at present; and dispenses him to hold deanery and vicarage together for life; notwithstanding that his father is a canon in the said church of Kilmacduagh, etc. (fn. 7) Vite ac morum. (An. and G. de Elten. | An. xxx. Terciodecimo Kal. Augusti Anno Terciodecimo. de Adria. Correct(a) Septimo Id. Februarii Anno Sextodecimo, An. de Adria.)
CALENDAR OF PAPAL REGISTERS RELATING TO GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND VOLUME 12; 1458-1471
J A TWEMLOW EDITOR
3 Non. Sept.
St. Peter’s, Rome.
(f. 155.) To David Odonchir, clerk, of the diocese of Kilmacduagh (Duacen.).
Grant as below.
It was set forth by him to Calixtus III that after he had been dispensed by papal authority on account of illegitimacy, as the son of a priest and an unmarried woman, to be promoted to all even holy orders and hold a benefice even with cure, he, in virtue thereof, obtained, collated to him by authority of the ordinary and with the consent of the lay patrons, the rectory of the parish church of Desert Ceallaig in the diocese of Kilmacduagh, value not exceeding 3 marks sterling, and detained it for more than a year without having himself ordained priest, and without dispensation for the purpose; that he afterwards obtained, also by authority of the ordinary, a canonry of Kilmacduagh and the prebend of Kyndmara therein, value not exceeding 2 marks sterling, then void by the resignation of David Valen(tis) to Denis bishop of Kilmacduagh; that on account of the slenderness of the fruits etc. of the said canonry and prebend and rectory he obtained, with the consent of the said patrons, the union by authority of the ordinary, for the term of his life, of the said rectory to the said canonry and prebend; that he obtained provision by papal authority of the deanery of Kilmacduagh, a major non-elective dignity with cure, value not exceeding 10 marks sterling, on its voidance by the death of Denis Ydubgilla, in virtue of which provision he obtained the deanery; that subsequently, on account of the slenderness of the fruits etc. of the deanery, he procured for his life the union thereto by authority of the ordinary, with the consent of the chapter of Kilmacduagh, of the perpetual vicarage of the parish church of Behac in the same diocese, in virtue of which union he obtained that vicarage, value not exceeding 3 marks sterling; and that he was detaining all the said benefices. The said pope Calixtus therefore absolved him on 15 Kal. Aug. anno 4 (18 July, 1458) from all sentences of excommunication etc., and rehabilitated him, requiring him to resign all the said benefices. Inasmuch as the said pope died before his letters were drawn up, the pope hereby decrees that these presents shall suffice as proof thereof. Racioni congruit. (P. and Jo.de Rizonibus. | P. xx. de Varris.) [22/3 pp.]