Landed Estates
NUI Galway

O'Brien (Dromoland)

Family title

Baron of Inchiquin


Estate(s)

Name Description
O'Brien (Dromoland) The introduction to the Inchiquin Papers in the National Library of Ireland records that, in about 1685, Sir Donough O'Brien, [created 1st Baronet of Leamanegh and Dromoland in 1686 and one of the wealthiest commoners in Ireland], decided to move from Leamaneh Castle near Corofin, county Clare to Dromoland. His son, Lucius O'Brien, and Catherine Keightley were married in 1701 and by 1707 were living in a house at Corofin built by the Lucas family. Lucius died in January 1717 predeceasing his father by a few months so it was his son Edward who became the second baronet. Lucius's half brother, Henry, founded the Stafford O'Brien family. In 1799, the grandson of the 2nd Baronet, another Sir Edward O'Brien, married Charlotte, co heiress with her sister Harriet Arthur, of William Smith of Cahirmoyle, county Limerick. Their second son, William Smith O'Brien, was to become very well known as a supporter of Catholic Emancipation and as a Young Irelander. He succeeded to his grandfather's property at Cahirmoyle. His elder brother, Sir Lucius, became the 5th Baronet and 13th Lord Inchiquin. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Sir Lucius's estate was mainly located in the parishes of Kilnasoolagh and Tomfinlough, barony of Bunratty Lower. He also had townlands in the parishes of Clareabbey, barony of Islands, Clooney, Kilfenora and Kiltoraght, barony of Corcomroe, Kilnamona and Inagh, barony of Inchiquin and Doora, barony of Bunratty Upper. In the 1870s the Dromoland estate was comprised of over 20,000 acres. The 5th Baronet (died 1872) was married twice, first to Mary Fitzgerald of Adelphi and secondly to Louisa Finucane. The Vere O'Briens were descended from another younger brother of the 5th Baronet. They lived at New Hall and Ballyallia and Florence Vere O'Brien was involved in the setting up of Limerick lace making. Her husband, Robert Vere O'Brien, was agent to the Inchiquin and de Vere estates in county Limerick. There is a collection of Vere O'Brien papers in Trinity College, Dublin. The Inchiquin estate was still comprised of about 20,000 acres in the early 1920s but was gradually sold off to the tenants in subsequent years. In 1962 Dromoland Castle itself was sold by the 16th Baron Inchiquin to an American developer. A large collection of estate and family papers in the National Library of Ireland documents the history of the O'Briens and their estates from the 17th to the 20th centuries and is now available for consultation.
O'Brien (Inchiquin Castle) Murrough O'Brien, 6th Baron Inchiquin, was created 1st Earl of Inchiquin in 1654. An estate of almost 40,000 acres in county Clare, over 1000 acres in county Limerick and over 15,000 acres in county Cork, was granted to Morrough O'Brien, Earl of Inchiquin, in 1666 and 1667. In 1680 his son William received a further grant of 4,890 acres in county Clare. His great grandson, William O'Brien, 4th Earl married the 1st Countess of Orkney in 1720 and was succeeded by his son-in-law and nephew, Murrough O'Brien, who became Marquess of Thomond in 1800. The 1st Marquess married twice. His first wife was his first cousin, Mary 2nd Countess of Orkney, by whom he left a daughter, also Mary. His second wife was Mary Palmer, a niece of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was succeeded by his nephew William, 2nd Marquess. The 2nd Marquess had no sons so the title devolved on his brother James, 3rd Marquess in 1846. Following the death of the 3rd Marquess in 1855 without male heirs the Marquessate of Thomond and the Earldom of Inchiquin became extinct and in 1862 the title Baron of Inchiquin passed to Sir Lucius O'Brien, 5th Baronet of Dromoland. In 1857 the trustees of the will of James, 3rd Marquess of Thomond, sold the Earl's estate consisting of over 40,000 acres in the baronies of Burren (mainly in the parish of Carran), Corcomroe (parish of Clooney) and Inchiquin (mainly in the parishes of Kilkeedy, Ruan and Killinaboy), county Clare. The barony of Inchiquin contained by far the largest portion. Houses on the estate in the first division including Rockvale and Rathorpe. Reid writes that Richard Darcy of New Forest, county Galway, purchased the largest acreage, some 2,782 acres in the parish of Kilkeedy, barony of Inchiquin. Other purchasers included the Right Honourable Francis Blackburn of Rathfarnham Castle, county Dublin, Thomas Crowe of Dromore and James O'Gorman of Buncraggy. In 1837 Inchiquin Castle and the mansion attached were described by Lewis as in a "greatly dilapidated condition". He writes that the Castle on the shore of Inchiquin Lake was for a long time the residence of the Marquess of Thomond. At the time of Griffith's Valuation the Marquis also held a large estate in county Cork. He was one of the principal lessors in the parishes of Kilmacdonogh, Aghada, Ballintemple, Cloyne, Corkbeg, Garranekinnefeake, Inch, Rostellan, barony of Imokilly, county Cork. His county Cork estate included the village of Ballymacooda. The county Cork estate, amounting to 8,833 acres, was advertised for sale by the trustees of his will in December 1857.
Smith (Cahermoyle) At the beginning of the 19th century William Smith, an attorney, had an estate in the western part of the county of Limerick, mainly in the baronies of Connello Lower and Shanid. Caleb Powell in his list of Jurors states that the Smiths were descended from Thomas Smyth, consecrated Bishop of Limerick in 1695. In 1774 William Smith purchased the lease of Cahermoyle from Boles Felan who held the property from the Southwell family. He was married to Grace Stevelly and died in 1809 leaving his two daughters as co heiresses. In 1799 Charlotte had married Sir Edward O'Brien baronet of Dromoland and it was their second son William Smith O'Brien, one of the leaders of the Young Ireland movement, who eventually inherited the Smith estate of Cahermoyle through his mother. Charlotte's sister Harriet married Thomas Arthur of Glenomera, county Clare. In 1864 William Smith O'Brien was succeeded by his son William Edward O'Brien who married Mary Spring Rice, sister of the 2nd Baron Monteagle of Brandon. Cahermoyle was sold by their son Dermod O'Brien in 1919.
De Vere This family were descended from Vere Hunt, a Cromwellian soldier who was granted land in county Limerick and at Glangoole, county Tipperary in the mid 17th century. John Hunt of Glangoul purchased 177 acres in the barony of Kenry, county Limerick in 1703. In 1784 a descendant, also named Vere Hunt, was created a baronet. The 1st Baronet married Elinor Pery, sister of the 1st Earl of Limerick. Their son, Sir Aubrey, assumed in 1832 the surname of De Vere only. He wrote poems, developed the estate and married Mary Rice of Mount Trenchard, county Limerick. They had five sons, none of whom left male heirs so Currah Chase passed to the descendants of their daughter Elinor who married Robert O'Brien. Robert Stephen Vere O'Brien, grandson of Elinor, succeeded to Currah Chase in 1898 and assumed the name De Vere in 1899. In the 1870s the De Vere estate was comprised of over 4,000 acres in county Limerick. In the mid 19th century the De Vere estate was mainly in the parishes of Kilcornan and Adare, barony of Kenry and Kilmeedy, barony of Connello Upper, county Limerick and in the parishes of Kilcooly and Fennor, barony of Slievardagh, county Tipperary. The agent in the early 1840s was Stephen Edward De Vere. The Hollypark demesne was advertised for sale in December 1854, Catherine Taylor, widow, was the petitioner. The county Tipperary property, comprised of over 6,000 acres and including coal mines at Glangoole, was advertised for sale in June 1855. This sale rental is annotated with the names of some of the purchasers.