Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Geoghegan/O'Neill (Bunowen)


Estate(s)

Name Description
Blake (Towerhill & Bunowen) The Blakes of Menlo Castle, county Galway, held the lands of Clonyne and Clooneen or Towerhill, parish of Touaghty, barony of Carra, county Mayo, from the time of Strafford's Survey in 1636. Clooneen may have been purchased from Oliver Bowen in 1632 by the Blakes of Menlo for £400. In the early 18th century Isidore Blake had a lease from his cousin, Sir Walter Blake, 6th Baronet, of the lands of Clooneen and his son Maurice bought the fee simple in 1753 from Sir Ulick Blake, 8th Baronet. Most of the Blake estate was in the parish of Touaghty. Maurice's son, Isidore Blake, was the first to live in the house at Towerhill. A member of a junior branch of this family bought the Fisherhill estate from the trustees of Richard Martin in 1788. When Isidore's son married in 1803 he went to live at Oldhead, parish of Kilgeever, barony of Murrisk. In 1853 Valentine O'Connor Blake bought Bunowen Castle and estate in the parish of Ballindoon, county Galway, from John Augustus O'Neill. He is also recorded as holding several townlands in the parish of Kilbeacanty, barony of Kiltartan, in south county Galway and in the parishes of Athenry and Claregalway, barony of Clare, in 1855. In the 1870s Valentine O'Connor Blake of Towerhill and Bunowen Castle, Clifden, owned 4,198 acres in county Mayo and 7,690 acres in county Galway. The county Galway property was sold to the Congested Districts Board in 1909 and half the county Mayo property in February 1914.
Frewen In 1850 Thomas Frewen of Brickwall House, Sussex, purchased two townlands in the parish of Omey, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway from the sale of the D'Arcy estate for sporting purposes. The Frewens were also supporters of the Irish Church Missions. They later acquired two townlands in the parish of Moyrus from Samuel Jones and Munga in the parish of Ballindoon from John Geraghty, who had a 999 year lease from the O'Neills. In 1870 Moreton Frewen inherited his father's estate of 2709 acres in Connemara. Moreton Frewen was a colourful personality who married one of the Jerome sisters of New York and at one time had one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States of America. In 1917 he transferred his Connemara estate to his nephew, Layton Frewen, from whom it was eventually purchased by the Land Commission. A distinctly related branch of this family had purchased the Adderley estate at Innishannon, county Cork, by the mid 19th century.
Geoghegan/O'Neill (Bunowen) Art Geoghegan of Castletown, county Westmeath, was transplanted to the confiscated O'Flaherty lands at Bunowen, parish of Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway, by the Cromwellian Commissioners. During the 18th century the Geoghegans became Protestants and at the beginning of the 19th century changed their surname to O'Neill. The Geoghegans were originally one of the septs of the south Uí Neill. John Augustus O'Neill, Member of Parliament, succeeded to the estate in 1830 but after the Famine he was in severe financial difficulty and sold most of his estate in 1852 to Valentine O'Connor Blake of Towerhill. At the time of Griffith's Valuation a Thomas Geoghegan held a townland in both the parishes of Moyrus and Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch.
Jones (Ardbear) At the time of Griffith's Valuation Samuel Jones held Ballyconneely and islands in the parish of Ballindoon, previously part of the estate of the O'Neills of Bunowen and two townlands in the parish of Moyrus, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway. In November 1864 John Campbell Jones advertised for sale in the Landed Estates' Court an estate of over 3,600 acres in the Clifden locality in twelve lots. Part of the estate was readvertised in July 1865 and again in May 1868. Moreton Frewen acquired the Jones estate in the parish of Moyrus. John C. Jones still owned 455 acres in county Galway in the 1870s.
Smyth (New Park) In 1808 Ralph Smyth of Barbaville, Collinstown, county Westmeath, married Eliza daughter and heiress of Matthew Lyster of New Park, county Roscommon. At the time of Griffith's Valuation their eldest son William Barlow Smyth of Barbaville, held 3 townlands in the parish of Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway, previously part of the Bunowen estate of the O'Neills. Pádraig Lane states that Smyth bought 2,796 acres from the O'Neills. A copy conveyance in the Joyce, Mackie and Lougheed collection documents the William Barlow Smyth's purchase of Bunowenbeg from the O'Neills in 1852. The collection includes a rentroll of the Smyth's estate at Callow, Dolan, Bunowenbeg and part of Ballyconnelly, dated 19 November 1877. In the 1870s William Smyth of county Westmeath owned 2,449 acres in county Galway, 2,108 acres in county Westmeath and 478 acres in county Meath. William B. Smyth was succeeded by his brother Henry Mathew Smyth in 1886. Henry Smyth of New Park, county Roscommon, married a Coote of Ballyfin and at the time of Griffith's Valuation held lands in the parishes of Kiltoom and Taghmaconnell, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon. In November 1860, over 1,800 acres in county Roscommon belonging to Henry Mathew Smyth were advertised for sale. The purchasers included Messers Gannon, Gaynor, Keogh and Meredith. On 9 June 1859 William Tuthill conveyed Drominagh to Frederick Smythe and in July 1870s Frederick Smythe put the estate up for sale in the Landed Estates' Court.
Boswell At the time of Griffith's Valuation John K. Boswell held 2 townlands in the parish of Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway, previously part of the Bunowen estate of the O'Neills. Robinson writes that he was one of the first persons to scientifically develop a fishery (in the Doohulla area) in Ireland and England and that he sold his Connemara property to W. Young in the early 1860s. In the 1850s a John Boswell also held 2 townlands in the parish of Killinvoy, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon.
Foreman At the time of Griffith's Valuation Richard Foreman held two townlands in the parish of Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway, amounting to over 1,700 acres and previously part of the Bunowen estate of the O'Neills. Thomas Bennett had bought one of the townlands, Beaghcaunneen, from the O'Neill sale and leased it in late 1852 to Richard Foreman for 999 years. The assignees of Thomas Bennett advertised the sale of his interest in Beaghcaunneen in 1858 and 1859. The Freeman's Journal reported in March 1859 that the townland had been bought in trust for J.C. Lyons. In the 1870s William Foreman [a medical doctor] of Wigan in Lancashire, England, owned 3,236 acres in county Galway. It is not clear if the two Foremans are connected but the letter in the Lancashire Record Office tends to suggest that William Foreman was corresponding with a Mr Hart of Clifden, Connemara, close to the parish of Ballindoon.
Lyons In 1871 the trustees of the will of John Charles Lyons advertised for sale lands in the parishes of Ballindoon and Moyrus, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway. These lands were in the hands of Richard Foreman and Thomas Geoghegan at the time of Griffith's Valuation.