An earlier version of this essay 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).
The extensive remains of the 17th. Century Kilmore House lie within the townland of Carrowphadeen in the parish of St. John's in South Roscommon. The name Kilmore, from theIrish 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 whichthe name refers once stretched all the way from Roscommon to Athlone but now only a smallremnant of this mighty forest remains at St. John's Wood about two miles north of KilmoreHouse.The house was built of blue Roscommon limestone by Sir. Arthur Shaen (later spelled Shane,McShane or O'Shane)
sometime in the early 1600's. The Shaen's ancestors were
from Annaly in Co. Longford. These O' Fearghail of Muintir Anghaile were very active inthis area from at least the early 1300's. Their plundering was such that in 1305 the Justiciar of Connaught had to put a thirty-two oared galley on Lough Ree
"which shall constantly remainat Randon for the defence of the castles of Athlon and Randon if it shall be necessary"
But by the time of Elizabeth the First things had changed. Francis Farrell, or Sir Francis Shaen ashe became, was knighted by the Queen for services to the crown. His chief residence was atGranard, 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 crown although bothhis son and grandson were again active officials during the reigns of Charles I and Charles II.
In the 1660’s Sir James Sha
en of Kilmore, Farmer (
) of the Revenue, Commissioner of Excise and Surveyor General of Ireland, bought a large portion of the barony of Erris in Co.Mayo from Robert Viner, a London goldsmith, who had been granted the lands by Charles IIIin payment of a debt. In 1695 the estate was inherited by his son Arthur. On 3
August 1706Sir Arthur leased four acres at Kilmore to William Hartley.
A funeral card for the death of Sir Arthur on 24
June 1725 informs us that his remains were
to be taken from “his
late Dwelling House at Kilmore in the Co. Roscommon”
. Sir Arthur died without male issue, leaving three daughters, who were minors at the time of his death. In"Pue's Occurrences" for 1731 we find the following 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"
The eldest daughter, Francis, would marry John Bingham of Newbrook, Co. Mayo in 1738and the youngest, Suzannah, married (first) James Wynne MP for Co. Sligo, son of OwenWynne of Hazelwood and (secondly, in 1750) Captain Henry Boyle Carter of Robertstown,Co. Meath, who had service at the Siege of Derry and fought with King William at theBoyne.
The Kilmore lands would form part of the Shaen-Carter estate.