This essay first appeared in The Rindoon Journal Volume 1.
Some historical notes on Kilmore House in St.John's Parish, Roscommon.
by Liam Byrne,
(© St. John's Parish Heritage Group).
he extensive remains of the 17th. Century Kilmore House lie within thetownland of Carrowphadeen in the parish of St. John's in South Roscommon. Thename Kilmore, from the Irish Cill - a church or as in this case, Coill - a wood, is a popular one with at least seven of the name Kilmore or Killmore in Co.Roscommon alone. The big wood (Coill Mór) to which the name refers oncestretched all the way from Roscommon to Athlone but now only a small remnantof this mighty forest remains at St. John's Wood about two miles north of KilmoreHouse.
ittle is known about the history of the site. The house was built of blueRoscommon limestone by Sir. Arthur Shaen (later spelled Shane, McShane or O'Shane)
, sometime in the 1600's. The Shaen's ancestors were O'Farrells fromAnnaly in Co. Longford. These O' Fearghail of Muintir Anghaile were very activein this area from at least the early 1300's. Their plundering was such that in 1305the Justiciar of Connaught had to put a thirty-two oared galley on Lough Ree
"which shall constantly remain at Randon for the defence of the castles of Athlonand Randon if it shall be necessary"
But by the time of Elizabeth the First thingshad changed. Francis Farrell or Sir Francis Shaen as he became was knighted bythe Queen for services to the crown. His chief residence was at Granard, Co.Longford where he was described by Haynes for the year 1598 as having
"free(fee) farms & leases of religious lands"
He later rebelled against the crownalthough both his son and grandson were again active officials during the reigns of Charles I and Charles II.
is house, or mansion as it was by then, at Kilmore was still in the family whenupon the death of the great-grandson of Sir Francis and last male heir in 1730 thehouse and lands were put up for rent. In "Pue's Occurrences" for 1731 we find thefollowing advertisement,
"the house and lands of Kilmore, containing 620 acres,near Athlone, on the Shannon... There are 12 acres of gardens and orchards, stabling for 40 horses, with large malt-house, brew-house and barns, to be let during the minority of the Miss Shaens"
y 1744 the house may have been in the possession of the Earl of Clanrickard, ashe gives his address as Kilmore, Athlone. An advertisement the local press on 3rd.January that year saw him looking for the hire or purchase of a "good milk ass".