Landed Estates
NUI Galway

MacDonnell (Newhall)

This family was descended from the MacDonnell family of Dunluce, county Antrim. In the late 17th century family members contracted a number of marriages with members of the O’Brien family of Dough and with the 2nd Viscount Clare. Captain James MacDonnell of Kilkee, parish of Kilfearagh, barony of Moyarta, county Clare, was the second son of Daniel MacDonnell and Penelope, daughter of Teige O’Brien of Dough. Power writes that in the late 17th century he first supported the Jacobite side and then switched allegiance. The forfeited estates of Viscount Clare were granted to a Dutchman, General Joost Van Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, but he was not interested in them and sold over 30,000 acres to a syndicate of Francis Burton, Nicholas Westby and James MacDonnell in 1698. In 1712 James MacDonnell bought more land in the parishes of Inchicronan, Kilmurry-Ibrickane and Doora from the Earl of Thomond. He built a house in the townland of Kilbreckan, parish of Doora, barony of Bunratty Upper, county Clare. He died in 1714 and was succeeded by his son Charles James who, in 1728, married Elizabeth, only daughter of Christopher O’Brien of Ennistymon, and their only son Charles married Catherine O’Brien, third daughter of Sir Edward O’Brien of Dromoland in 1760. Their home at Kilbrecken was destroyed by fire in 1762 and in 1764 they purchased lands in the parish of Killone, barony of Islands, from Edward O’Brien of Ennistymon, included the house known as New Hall. Charles MacDonnell died in 1773 aged 36. He and his wife had built an extension to New Hall. Power writes that “It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the county. It is a two-storey house with a pink brick façade. The design is attributed to Francis Bindon…” (see page 353). Two generations later the Armstrongs of Mount Heaton, county Offaly succeeded to the MacDonnell estate, William Henry Armstrong having married a granddaughter of Charles MacDonnell in 1809. The second son of this marriage, William Edward Armstrong, succeeded his uncle John MacDonnell in 1850, adopting the name MacDonnell in 1858. In the 1870s his estate amounted to 6,670 acres in county Clare. C.R.A. MacDonnell sold 3,485 acres of tenanted and 256 acres of untenanted land to the Congested Districts' Board in October 1912 for over £26,000.


Name Townland Civil Parish PLU DED Barony County Map Ref
Newhall Newhall Killone Ennis Clareabbey 31 Islands Clare OSI Ref: R318 735
OS Sheet: 41
Discovery map: 57
Liscrona House Lisheencrony Moyarta Kilrush Moyarta 78 Moyarta Clare OSI Ref: Q877529
OS Sheet: 65, 66
Discovery map: 63

Archival sources

  • Lists of the sheriffs of Co Clare 11375-1862 and of justices and magistrates 1737-1862, probably compiled by Lt Col W E A MacDonnell, New Hall, Ennis. Ms. 3 A. 55; Royal Irish Academy Library
  • Pedigree of MacDonnell of Kilkee & New Hall, c 1680-1809. GO MS 178: 383; National Library of Ireland
  • Inchiquin Papers: rental 1883 & executor’s account of estate of Col W. [F]. A. MacDonnell of New Hall. MS 14,796; National Library of Ireland
  • Genealogical notes on MacDonnell of Kilkee & New Hall by Charles French Blake Foster, c 1865. MS 13,560; National Library of Ireland
  • Maps of Quakerstown, barony of Inchiquin and of Reanagalhinny, parish of Drumcliff, barony of Islands, estate of Charles McDonnell, [?] & 1724. 21 F. 75(8-9); National Library of Ireland
  • Large collection of solicitors' records including documents re the McDonnell family, 18th-19th centuries. E.J.French solicitor's collection, Small Accessions Index 8; National Archives of Ireland
  • Maurice Lenihan Papers include printed family trees of W.E. Armstron MacDonnell of New Hall & Kilkee, Mac Donnell of New Hall, Armstrong of Mount Heaton, Mealiffe & Farney Castle, Co Tipperary and Carleton of Darlinghill & Knockananama, Co Tipperary, 19th century. MS 133; National Library of Ireland

Contemporary printed sources

Modern printed sources