Thursday, 17 December 2015

Dunsandle House

THE BARONS DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 33,543 ACRES
The family of DALY, or O'DALY, is of very ancient origin, deducing its descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland in the 4th century, who was also common ancestor of the O'NEILLS of Tyrone and O'DONNELLS of Tyrconnell, from whom the pedigree of this family is lineally traced in the Heralds' office.
THE RT HON DENIS DALY (c1638-1721), son of James Daly, of Carrownakelly, by his wife, Anastase D'Arcy (niece of Patrick D'Arcy), had a son,

DENIS DALY, of Carrownakelly, whose son,

JAMES DALY MP (1716-69), represented Athenry and the borough of Galway in the Irish parliament.

He married firstly, Bridget, daughter of Francis, 14th Baron Athenry; and secondly, Catherine, daughter of Sir Ralph Gore Bt.

By his second wife, he had issue,
St George;
DENIS, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

THE RT HON DENIS DALY (1748-91), of Dunsandle, County Galway, married, in 1780,  Lady Henrietta Maxwell, daughter of 1st Earl of Farnham

His eldest son,

JAMES DALY (1782-1847), was created BARON DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL in 1845.

His lordship  married, in 1808, Maria Elizabeth, second daughter and co-heiress of Rt Hon Sir Skeffington Smyth Bt, MP, of Tinny Park, County Wicklow.

His eldest son,

DENIS ST GEORGE, 2nd Baron, a captain in the 7th Dragoons, wedded, in 1864, Mary, daughter of William Broderick; though dying without issue, the family honours devolved upon his next brother,

SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron, who, dying unmarried and without issue, was succeeded by his cousin,

JAMES FREDERICK, 4th Baron (son of the Hon Robert Daly, youngest son of the 1st Baron); Assistant Private Secretary to Lord Beaconsfield, 1874-80; Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury, 1885-87; Assistant in the National Debt Office, 1888.

On the death of the 4th Baron in 1911 the titles became extinct.


DUNSANDLE HOUSE, near Athenry, County Galway, was a five-bay, three-storey country house, built ca 1780, now in ruins and roofless.

It was said to have been the finest house in the county, famed for its neo-classical plasterwork.  Various visitors commented that it had a good cellar and a fine library.

The basement housed some of the servants, the money room, and the boiler. On the ground floor were the drawing room, the bathrooms, the function room and one of the sitting rooms.

There was also a spacious hallway which led into a highly decorative interior with neo-classical plasterwork.

Photo credit: Eamonn McNally

The second floor had more sitting rooms, several bedrooms and a very large bath, and the attic was used for storage and for water tanks.

According to The Buildings of Ireland,
Although ruinous, the high quality of construction employed in this country house is clearly evident. String courses, cornice and window surrounds are the work of skilled stonecutters and masons. The associated outbuildings and the fine entrance archway enhance the house. The detailing hints at the formerly splendid architectural quality that has been lost in the ruination of Dunsandle House.
The centre block had three storeys over a basement with five-bay entrance and garden fronts, each with a three-bay pedimented breakfront; joined by long, straight screen walls with pedimented doorways and niches to low and wide-spreading two-storey wings.

The saloon had elaborate plasterwork; a coved rococo ceiling in the morning-room; Adamesque ceiling in the drawing-room.


Dunsandle was sold by Major Bowes Daly MC, grandson of the 2nd Lord Dunsandle, about 1954. Major Daly was aide-de-camp to the Viceroy of India, and Master of the Galway Blazers

 A reader has provided me with more information:
Major Bowes Daly divorced his first wife Diane Lascelles to marry a divorcee Mrs Hanbury (whose first husband Guy Trundle had an affair with Wallis Simpson). This created a scandal in Country Galway on a par with the abdication crisis of 1936!

Major Daly was the last of his family to reside at Dunsandle House and the furore over his re-marriage led to the Catholic clergy boycotting the Galway Blazers of which he was Master. He sold up in 1954 and the house was later demolished.

After going to East Africa he returned to Ireland and lived his last years on Lord Harrington`s estate in Co. Limerick. He is buried in Loughrea near his former home. 
The Irish land commission demolished parts of Dunsandle House and sold all the valuable parts of the house in 1958.

They divided the land of the estate between the local farmers.

Dunsandle arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I understood only the wings had been demolished and that the main house stood, roofless?