The title Earl of Kenmare (Lord Kenmare) was created in 1801. Long before this, around 1555, Sir Valentine Browne was granted over 6000 acres in county Kerry after the Desmond Rebellion. The Brownes were a Catholic family and like all Irish Catholic families, their fortunes and the size of their estates fluctuated over the centuries depending on marriage alliances, political and religious allegiances. Following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 when the Catholic Brownes supported King James, portions of their estates were confiscated. A report from the Commissioners in Dublin on the 1688 Forfeitures railed against the great waste committed by those who were granted some of the forfeited woods ‘especially those of Sir Valentine Browne in Kerry, whose woods to the value of £20,000 have been cut down and destroyed’. [1
A large portion of Sir Valentine’s estate was let without his permission for a period ‘not exceeding twenty-one years’ for ‘at least £1,000 per annum less than it was worth’ to ‘John Blennerhassett and George Rogers then members of the Parliament of this Kingdom’. Both of these gentlemen were presumably Protestant supporters of the victorious King William of Orange.
However ‘ The Earl of Kenmare’s Estate … was happily preserved to his descendants. Queen Mary , granting his wife and children an annuity, which was confirmed by the Privy Seal of William, 29th September 1692. While a reading of the tale of his hardships … and of the trafficking in his hereditary estates by honourable members and English Commissioners, it must however be remembered that just one hundred years before the Boyne, his ancestor, Nicholas Browne had endeavoured to inflict hardships just as great on the widow and heiress of the Mac Carthy Mór, Earl of Clancare, until [Queen] Elizabeth and the Council interfered and required him to restore a large portion of their inheritance’.
By the early 1700s their estates amounted to over 91,000 acres in county Kerry as well as over 22,000 in county Cork and in excess of 400 acres in county Limerick.
Lord Kenmare was one of the principal lessors in the parishes of Aghadoe, Aglish, Currans, Kilcredane, Kilcummin, Killarney, Killeentierna, Kilnanare, Molahiff & Nohavaldaly at the time of Griffith’s Valuation.
The Kenmare papers deposited in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland [PRONI], which include most of the former contents of the Estate Office at Killarney, amount to well over a ton of records. Summary of the most significent and interesting content here.
Portions of the Kenmare Estate rent Ledgers (for late 1800s) are digitised and available online on the Muckross House Library website.
Just as I am about to publish this blog, I have seen a great description of the present Killarney House and the last members of the Browne family who lived there on my friend Mary Cogan’s blog. Well worth having a look here if you are interested in the Brownes.
- Centre for Kentish Studies: Marquess of Camden Papers U840: Letter from Valentine Browne, 1st Earl of Kenmare, 1754-1812, principally relating to his title.
- Kerry Library, Local History & Archives Section : Irish Tourist Association Survey, 1942-43: Parish of Firies & Parish of Killarney.
- King’s Inn Library: Case of Valentine Browne, Lord Kenmare versus others, re title to parts of forfeited estates of Nicholas Browne in counties Limerick and Kerry, 1731. House of Lords Appeals, Vol.X.
- Muckross House Research Library: Kenmare Papers
- National Archives of Ireland: Landed Estates’ Court Rentals (O’Brien), O’Reilly, Kenmare & Bagot, 11 July 1861, Vol 62 (59) & 8 May 1862, 65 (14), (Kilgory estate, Co Clare) MRGS 39/031 & 39/033, (microfilm copy in NUIG)
- National Library of Ireland: Kenmare Papers: documents relating to the linen industry in Kerry, 1748, 1759-65.
- National Library of Ireland: Kenmare Papers, letters to and by Browne family re their estates in Kerry, 18th century.
- National Library of Ireland: Ms. 2770: Copy of maps and survey of Viscount Kenmare’s Kerry estate by William Raymond and Thomas Ledman, 1720-1724.
- National Library of Ireland: Copy of manuscript map of the deer park, Knockreer estate, by John Barry, 1729. 16 H 8 (20)
- National Library of Ireland: Microfilm copy of Rent ledger of the Kenmare estate, 1736-1794. n.5430
- National Library of Ireland: Notebook of Thomas, fourth Viscount Kenmare, 1755-57, published in McLysaght, The Kenmare Manuscripts.
- National Library of Ireland: Marriage Settlement of Nicholas Browne, son of Sir Valentine Browne, of Ross, Killarney and Eylon, daughter of Thomas Browne of Hospital, county Limerick, 1684. Baker Papers, D.27,171 [in poor condition].
- National Library of Ireland: Photostats of maps of parts of Kenmare estates in parishes of Knockany & Hospital Co Limerick, 1720, 1748, 1766. 16 H 32 (5-9)
- National Library of Ireland: Pedigree of Browne of Hospital, later Lords Kenmare, c 1550-1640. GO MS 159:48-49
- National Library of Ireland: Kenmare Estates: Rental of Visct. Kenmare’s estates in Kerry, Limerick and Bantry as set at May, 1740. Rental of the estates, 1747-61 (cont. on next reel). n.3169, p.2789
- SMITH, Charles. The ancient and present state of the county of Kerry. Containing a natural, civil, ecclesiastical, historical and topographical description thereof. Dublin: 1774. : 32, 37-49.
- WILSON, William. The Post-Chaise Companion or Travellers Directory Through Ireland. The author: Dublin, 1786 : 187-200 (Detailed description of the lakes of Killarney & Lord Kenmare’s estate,including map)
- Parliamentary Archives: Private Act, 13 George I, c. 28 HL/PO/PB/1/1726/13G1n63 1726: An Act for Sale of Part of the Estate of Valentine Brown Esquire, commonly called Lord Kenmare, in the Kingdom of Ireland, for Payment of Debts and Incumbrances affecting the same
- Public Record Office, Northern Ireland: D4151: 17 th cent-20th cent: family and estate papers
- Public Record Office, Northern Ireland: D/4210 : 1858-1945: Killarney estate leases and accounts
- Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society: Donnelly, James S. The Kenmare estate during the nineteenth century, Part I. Vol XXI (1988), 5-41.
- Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society: Donnelly, James S. The Kenmare estate during the nineteenth century, Part II. Vol XXII (1989), 61-98.
- Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society: Donnelly, James S. The Kenmare estate during the nineteenth century, Part III. Vol XXIII (1990), 5-45.
 Hickson, Mary Agnes, Selection from Old Kerry Records. ( ) p. 204.
 Ibid p. 216
Are these members of the same Browne family who owned the land where the remnants of old castle Browne now still stands in Clashmelcon?
Mike, yes they would appear to be the same Brownes who took this castle after the defeat of the Desmonds. Very good stuff here from the pupils of Slievewadra national School in the 1930s. on Dúchas https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4678374/4673217/4678930
Thank you you these additional poems regarding Castle Browne and the Browne family. I do have one of these poems from volume 416 (C.) on page 263. It called “A Song about Castle Browne”. It was written by my great uncle Patrick Conway either on his visit back to Clashmelcon in 1903 or his visit in 1922. Not certain when but in the credits at the end Kathleen Connell mentions that she obtained it from a William Casey of Sheepwalk, Ballyduff Tralee. Using this poem I tried to trace my ancestors arrival into the States to no avail. I can confirm however that he lived in Chicago with two of his 4 brothers. I cannot find any information pertaining to Philadelphia though. Or of his two sisters. By the way my 2nd cousin Barbara (great grandchild of Patrick) did use this poem to find the cottage they grew up in. It was the McGrath cottage in Clashmelcon. The purchased the land as freeholders in the early 1900’s. As it happened my great uncle visited them in 1903 when he visited. He mentions them not by name in a journal he left. I sent you a picture through your email address
Thanks for all this great information, Kay. I’m looking forward to your report on the overlord of Dingle!
Re:Kerry Landlords -Browne Lord Kenmare
Kay, re other landlords near near the present day town of Kenmare, such as Landsdowne, Duckett, and Maybury, we’re they granted or deeded land from Browne Lord Kenmare ?
No not from Browne, Duckett and definitely Maybury arrived in the Kenmare area via the Orpens. Will be doing some of these later.
The Ducketts were one of the original families to arrive in Kenmare as part of Petty’s first settlement – they were to work on the new ironworks. The Maybury’s arrived at the same time and from memory the first was a linen manufacturer.
Bob, thank you … all information greatly appreciated.
Good stuff. Thank you.
Fabulous information Kay. Looking forward to researching some of my ancestors who lived on Lord Kenmare estates in Firies and Aghadoe.
Good to hear from you Maurice. Hope all is well.
Such a fabulous wealth of information which helps understand the history of the English and their theft of Irish lands.