Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Ballinlough Castle


This family paternally derives from the Milesian sept of O'Reilly, Princes of Lower Breffny.

Of the O'Reillys, Richard Gough, in his additions to William Camden's Britannia, makes the following observations:-
WHENCE Mr Camden received his information that the O'Reillys derive from the Ridleys does not concern us to inquire. 
Spencer falls into a similar error; he derives the MacMahons from the Veres of England, because the one in Latin, and the other in Irish, have some affinity in sound to the name of bour pig [sic] in those languages; but both are equally the impositions of etymology. 
Before the English got footing in Ireland, the O'Reillys of Cavan, the MacMahons of Monaghan, the Maguires of Fermanagh, the O'Donnells of Donegal, with other chieftains in their own septs, were tributaries to O'Neill of Tyrone. 
Such of the descendants of those chieftains as I have conversed with seem rather to glory in their Milesian extraction. 
When Hugh O'Neill threw off his allegiance to ELIZABETH I, he also threw off the title of Earl of Tyrone, saying that he would "rather be O'Neill of Ulster than King of Spain."
JAMES O'REILLY, of Ballinlough Castle, County Westmeath, married Barbara, daughter of Andrew Nugent, of Tullaghan, in the same county, and granddaughter, maternally, of Thomas, Earl of Westmeath, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Mr O'Reilly was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH O'REILLY (1741-1821), Lieutenant-Colonel, Westmeath Militia, who wedded, in 1781, Catherine Mary Anne, only daughter and heir of Charles Mathew, of Thurles, County Tipperary, cousin of the Earl Landaff, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
JOHN, 3rd Baronet;
Eliza; Barbara; Isabella.
Mr O'Reilly was created a baronet in 1795, designated of Ballinlough, County Westmeath.

On the death of his uncle, John Nugent, of Tullaghan, he assumed his maternal surname of NUGENT solely, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES NUGENT, 2nd Baronet, who espoused, in 1811, Susan Victoria Regina Mary, only daughter of Baron D'Arabet, of the Holy Roman Empire, and dying sp, 1843, was succeeded by his next brother,

SIR JOHN NUGENT, 3rd Baronet (1800-59), 1st Count of the Austrian Empire, and an officer of rank in the Austrian Service, who married, in 1842, Letitia Maria, daughter of Charles Whyte Roche, of County Limerick, and had issue,
HUGH JOSEPH, his successor;
CHARLES, 5th Baronet;
John Nicholas;
James O'Reilly;
Andrew Greville;
Letitia Mary; Kathleen Mary Georgina; Helena Mary.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HIGH JOSEPH NUGENT, 4th Baronet (1845-63), who was accidentally killed while shooting, and was succeeded by his next brother,

SIR CHARLES NUGENT, 5th Baronet (1847-1927), 2nd Count, Lieutenant, 17th Lancers, who wedded, in 1871, Emily Ruth Eades, daughter of Thomas Walker, and had issue, an only child,

SIR HUGH CHARLES NUGENT, 6th Baronet (1904-83), 3rd Count, who espoused, in 1931, Margaret Mary Lavallin, daughter of the Rev Herbert Lavallin Puxley, and had issue,
JOHN EDWIN LAVALLIN, his successor;
David Hugh Lavallin.
Sir Hugh was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN EDWIN LAVALLIN NUGENT, 7th Baronet (1933-2009), JP, 4th Count, High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1981, Lieutenant, Irish Guards, who married, in 1959, Penelope Anne, daughter of Brigadier Richard Nigel Hanbury. and had issue,
NICHOLAS MYLES JOHN, his successor;
Grania Clare.
Sir John was succeeded by his son,

SIR NICHOLAS MYLES JOHN NUGENT, 8th and present Baronet (1967-), 5th Count of the Austrian Empire, of Ballinlough Castle, Director, Goffs Bloodstock Sales, who married, in 1999, Alice Mary, daughter of Captain Peter Dane Player, of Whatton Manor, Nottinghamshire, and has issue,
Lucy Rose, b 2001;
Katie Violet (2003-10).
BALLINLOUGH CASTLE, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, was reconstructed in the 1730s.

The main part of the castle, however, was built in the early 17th century: "1614" is the date on the O' Reilly coat-of-arms above the front door, although this may be inaccurate by several decades.

The newer wing at Ballinlough was added by Sir Hugh O'Reilly, 1st Baronet, ca 1790, and is probably attributable to the amateur architect Thomas Wogan Browne, also responsible for Malahide Castle, County Dublin, the home of Sir Hugh O'Reilly's sister Margaret, Baroness Talbot of Malahide.

The ground floor contains a large drawing-room and dining-room, with four first-floor bedrooms approached by a vaulted corridor above.

The spacious interiors have what may be the tallest windows in a private house of this period, overlooking the woods and lake.

The chimneypiece in the drawing-room is identical to a Wyatt chimneypiece at Curraghmore, County Waterford.

The Nugents of Ballinlough are almost unique in being a Catholic Celtic-Irish family who still live in their family castle.

First published in September, 2018

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