Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Digby (Aran)


Estate(s)

Name Description
Guinness Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness of the famous brewing family began to purchase Connacht estates for sale in the Encumbered Estates' Court from 1852. He bought the Ashford estate from Lord Oranmore and Browne, the Doon estate from Sir Richard O'Donel, the Cong estate from Alexander Lambert, part of the Rosshill estate from Lords Charlemont and Leitrim, parts of Connemara from Christopher St George and Kylemore from a banking consortium in 1859. Guinness acquired lands in county Kerry in the 1850s and was a principal lessor in the parish of Kilcrohane, barony of Dunkerron South at the time of Griffith's Valuation. He bought the Elwood estate of Strandhill, just across the river from Ashford, Cong, in 1871 and Lord Kilmaine sold him Inishdoorus, islands on Lough Corrib and lands in the barony of Ross, part of Nymphsfield in 1875. William Burke of Lisloughry was his agent. Arthur Guinness (1840-1915) was granted the title Baron Ardilaun in 1880. In the 1870s Arthur Guinnes owned 19,944 acres in county Galway, 3,747 acres in county Mayo and smaller acreages in counties Wicklow and Dublin. In 1906 Lord Ardilaun's estate held over 1700 acres of untenanted demesne land at Moyode, Loughrea as well as the mansion house at Moyode. By March 1916 final offers had been accepted from the Congested Districts' Board for over 2000 acres of the Guinness estate in county Mayo and for almost 28,000 acres in county Galway. The Board paid £50,000 for the Galway acreage. An offer had also been accepted for the purchase of the Aran Islands by the Board. The Guinness and St Lawrence families had inherited the Aran Islands from the Digbys through the Barfoots. The Guinness family retained Ashford Castle and the surrounding woods until 1939 when the property was sold to the Irish Government.
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.
Barfoot Peter and Henrietta Barfoot were major lessors of property in the barony of Aran at the time of Griffith's Valuation. Peter Barfoot is recorded as the proprietor of over 11,000 acres in county Galway in the 1870s. This represents much of Aran Islands estate of the Digby family as Peter Barfoot was married to Henrietta Digby. The Barfoot's only child Henrietta married in 1851 Thomas St Lawrence 3rd Earl of Howth and a daughter of this marriage married Captain Benjamin Lee Guinness, brother of Baron Ardilaun. The St Lawrence and Guinness interest in the Aran Islands was sold to the Congested Districts Board circa 1915.
Harris At the time of Griffith's Valuation the representatives of Thomas Harris held an estate in the parishes of Kilbrin and Kilmeen, barony of Duhallow, county Cork. Marianne Wrixon, sister of Sir William Wrixon-Becher, married Thomas Harris of Bathview, Mallow, county Cork and had a number of children. Their eldest daughter married Henry Keating of Mount Esk, county Cork, and the lands of Spring Gove were charged with a jointure for her. In 1810 William Wrixon of Ballygiblin had leased the lands of Rath and Assolas to William Harris of Assolas for the life of Thomas Harris of the city of Cork, sheriff. In the 1850s, William Harris was among the principal lessors in the parishes of Abbeymahon and Templequinlan, barony of Ibane & Barryroe. In July 1871 the Harris estate in the barony of Duhallow was advertised for sale. It amounted to 1,153 acres and included the house and demesne of Spring-Grove. In April 1875 lands at North and South Knocklohart, barony of Duhallow, the estate of William Thomas Harris were advertised for sale. These lands were held by fee farm grant from Peter and Anne Barfoot and Elizabeth Francis Digby to William T. Harris dated 27 February 1851. The Harris family of Lakeview, Cork, were a branch of the Harris family of Assolas.