Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Digby (Aran)

The Aran Islands comprised three parishes: Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore, all in the barony of Aran, county Galway. At the time of the Acts of Settlement the islands were granted to Richard [Butler], Earl of Arran. From the mid 18th century they belonged to the Digby family of Landenstown, county Kildare, a junior branch of the Digby family granted the title Baron Digby of Geashill in 1620. The Digbys bought the islands from John Richard Fitzpatrick and Sir Stephen Fox. The issue of ''The Connaught Journal'' dated 4 June 1840 reported the marriage of John William Digby of Landenstown and landlord of the islands of Arran with Frances Georgina Townsend. By the time of Griffith's Valuation the Aran Islands were in the possession of Peter Barfoot, his wife Henrietta and her sister Elizabeth Digby. Henrietta and Elizabeth were sisters of John William Digby. In the 1870s Henrietta Barfoot and Elizabeth Digby each owned 5596 acres in county Galway. In 1851 Sir Thomas St Lawrence, 3rd Earl of Howth married, as his second wife, Henrietta Barfoot, daughter of Peter Barfoot and Henrietta Digby and they had a son and two daughters, one of whom married Captain Benjamin Lee Guinness, a brother of Lord Ardilaun. By March 1916 an offer from the Congested Districts' Board for the purchase of the islands had been accepted by the St Lawrence and Guinness families. In the early 19th century Digby Devenish, revenue officer, was a prominent resident of the Aran Islands. In 1803 he married Elizabeth Digby of Aran and during the following 20 years their children were baptized in St Nicholas Church, Galway.


Name Townland Civil Parish PLU DED Barony County Map Ref
Kilmurvey House Kilmurvy Inishmore Galway Inishmore Aran Galway OSI Ref: L825103
OS Sheet: 110
Discovery map: 44

Archival sources

  • Documents relating to the Digby family's interests and property on Aran Islands and in Co Kildare, 1688-1956. 1023 ; National Archives of Ireland
  • Photocopy of letter of appointment of Martin Hernon as bailiff on the Digby estate, Aran, 7 June 1844. LE11; James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Fr. Martin J. Heaney Collection, Mayo Abbey, refers to how the Digbys came to hold the Aran Islands. P45/09/03: 47; Tuam Diocesan Archives, Tuam
  • Miss Digby's account & rental, Arran Islands, Nov 1891-Nov 1892 & a list of householders in Arran not having farms, 1838-1839. Small Private Accessions No 1/689. M.1462 & 1456; National Archives of Ireland
  • Joyce, Mackie & Lougheed, auctioneers' collection, includes a list of the house holders on the Arran Islands not having any holdings or farms, approximately 200 names, late 1830s. Also Miss Digby & others in account with Henry A. Robinson, land agent, Roundstone, for estates on Arran for one year, 1 Nov 1892. D.15854-15876, Co 3495-3502, M.1462 & 1456; National Archives of Ireland

Contemporary printed sources

Modern printed sources