Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Kirwan (Castlehacket)


Name Description
Kirwan (Castlehacket) In the 16th century the Castlehacket and Cahermorris estates near Tuam in county Galway belonged to a branch of the Burkes of Clanricarde. These Burkes lost this estate under the Cromwellian regime and moved to a smaller estate at nearby Ower. The Castlehacket estate was purchased by the Kirwans from Sir Patrick Barnewell in the late 17th century and by the mid 19th century it included lands in the parishes of Annaghdown, Killower, Belclare, Cummer, Kilcoona, Donaghpatrick and Kilmoylan, barony of Clare, county Galway. In the 1870s the estate amounted to 8,374 acres. Following the death of John Kirwan in 1875 the estate was inherited by his sister Mary. She was married to Captain Percy Brodrick Bernard, son of the Bishop of Tuam and nephew of the 3rd Earl of Bandon. Their son Denis followed a military career and retired to Castlehacket where he died in 1956. The estate was inherited by his nephew Percy Paley, a keen genealogist, who accumulated a fine library at Castlehacket. Denis J. Kirwan and Sons of Tuam were the land agents for this estate in the second half of the 19th century.
Cuniffe Henry Cuniffe of Kiltolla, Co Galway, owned extensive sugar plantations on the island of Jamaica in the second half of the 18th century. He founded the town of Martha Brae there in 1762 and was a member of the Assembly for St James in 1768. In 1799 he sold his Jamaican estates to the Tharp family. He also held land in Co Galway, including Fahymactibbot in the parish of Killeeneen and Dunkellin in the parish of Killely, near Kilcolgan. Melvin writes that an estate at Cappagh in the parish of Kilkerrin inherited by the Brownes of Westport from Denis Kelly of Lisduff was sold in 1799 to Henry Cunniffe 'who bequeathed a perpetual lease to the Beytagh family', which is documented in Cuniffe's will of 1803. Cuniffe's two granddaughters, Henrietta and Martha Bingham, were his heiresses and married Martin Darcy of Houndswood, Co Mayo and Henry Kirwan of the Castlehacket family. Their grandfather's will led to much litigation.