Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Kiltanon House


The Milesian family of MOLONY is one of great antiquity in the sister island. The Molonys were formerly princes of Clare, where they possessed a large tract of country called the O'Molony's Lands, as may be seen from some of the old maps of that county.

In Catholic times, three members of the family attained the mitre, as appears from the following epitaph on the tomb of John O'Molony, Bishop of Limerick in 1687, who after the siege of that city, followed JAMES II to Paris, where he assisted in the foundation of a College for the education of Irish priests, in the chapel belonging to which he was buried in 1702.

The Bishop's nephew,

JAMES MOLONY, of Kiltanon, the first of the family who laid aside the prefix "O," served first in JAMES II's army, but subsequently sided with WILLIAM III.

He married twice, by his first wife, Jane, daughter of Colonel Richard Ringrose, whom he wedded about 1690, he had a son, JAMES, his heir; and by the second, he left two sons and a daughter, 
James Malony died in 1738, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MOLONY, of Kiltanon, second son of JAMES MOLONY, of Kiltanon and Ballynahinch, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of James Lambert, married, ca 1715, Elizabeth, widow of Major Morgan Ryan, and second daughter and co-heir of Thomas Croasdaile, of Clostoken, County Galway, by Mercy his wife, daughter of Colonel Richard Ringrose, of Moynoe House, County Clare, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Mr Molony was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MOLONY (1717-), of Kiltanon, who married, in 1751, Mary, daughter of Stewart Weldon, of Raheenderry, Queen's County, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Walter Weldon;
Weldon John (Rev);
Mr Molony was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MOLONY (1742-1823), of Kiltanon, High Sheriff of County Clare, 1802, who married, in 1780, Selina, daughter of the Rev John Mills, of Barford, Warwickshire, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Charles Arthur, b 1790;
Edmund, b 1794;
Selina; Mary; Harriet; Anne; Lucy.
Mr Molony was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MOLONY JP DL (1785-1874), of Kiltanon, High Sheriff of County Clare, 1828, who wedded firstly, in 1820, Harriet, daughter of William Harding, of Baraset, Warwickshire, and had issue,
James, 1822-34;
WILLIAM MILLS, his heir;
Harriet, died in infancy.
He espoused secondly, in 1828, Lucy, second daughter of Sir Trevor Wheler Bt, of Leamington Hastings, Warwickshire, and had further issue,
Francis Wheler (Rev);
Edmund Weldon;
Trevor Charles;
Frederick Beresford;
Charles Mills, CB;
Mary; Lucy Anne; Harriet Selina.
Mr Molony died at Leamington Hastings, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM MILLS MOLONY JP DL (1825-91), of Kiltanon, Major, 22nd Regiment, High Sheriff of County Clare, 1865, who married, in 1865, Marianne Marsh, elder daughter and co-heir of Robert Fannin, of Leeson Street, Dublin, by his wife Henrietta, daughter of Croasdaile Molony, of Granahan, and had issue,
James Edmund Harding (1873-79);
Henrietta Mary; Iva Kathleen; Selina Charlotte; Maud Alice.
Major Molony was succeeded by his only surviving son,

WILLIAM BERESFORD MOLONY (1875-1960), of Kiltanon, High Sheriff of County Clare, 1908, Colonel, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, who wedded, in 1905, Lena Maria Annie, only daughter of George Wright, of Heysham Lodge, Lancashire, and of Coverham Abbey, Yorkshire, without issue.

KILTANON HOUSE, near Tulla, County Clare, was an attractive, pale brick three-storey Georgian mansion with stone facing which overlooked rolling parklands of mature trees of both native and imported variety.  

The house was burnt in 1920

Unique family mementos, including a marble table and an inlaid set of playing cards, perished.  

This classic heirloom was said to have been given to Bishop John O'Molony by LOUIS XIV in atonement for having once lost his temper when playing and tearing up his card.

The top floor was an attic storey.

The fenestration was said to be unusual.

A two-storey wing was set back.

The Molonys managed to hold onto Kiltannon House in the 1690s by a fortunate clause in the Treaty of Limerick which exempted serving officers within the city walls.

In 1878, it was estimated that the lands comprising the Kiltannon Estate numbered 10,000 acres with a rateable valuation of £2,500.

It was then owned by Major William Mills Molony.  

His son, Colonel William Molony, was the last of seven generations to own this estate.

Kiltanon was the home of the Molony family for at least two centuries.

The house, built in 1833, had a drive which linked it to the other nearby Molony residences at Bunavory and Cragg.

The house is now ruinous.

In the second half of the 19th century another house, known as the Home Farm House, was built at Kiltanon for Marcus Molony, eighth son of James Molony, and his agent.

This house remains today.

Kiltanon home farm is on the grounds of the Kiltanon Sport Estate and is 1,000 yards south-west of Kiltanon House and estate.

The folklore history of the Kiltanon Estate is that the lands were given to a Cromwellian soldier as payment for his services in the Cromwellian Army.

After arriving in Galway Harbour, he began his journey on foot, and crossing the mountain from Gort, heading south for Tulla with the newly signed property deed on his person, he stopped a member of the Molony clan at Laughan Bridge to ask directions to his estate:
‘Is the lands of Kiltanon as bad as all of the land around here?" the soldier asked. ‘It’s worse’ said Molony, pointing to the snow covered rocks and heather that formed part of the mountain and was many miles from the fertile Kiltanon lands. "Then I have no business being here’ replied the soldier, ‘do you want to buy it from me?’.
Accepting what money Molony had in his pocket as payment, he handed over the deed to Kiltanon Estate and returned to Galway.

Thus, as local folklore has it, the property came into the Maloney family.

A book by Hugh Weir states that the soldier was James Molony, of Ballinahinch and Kiltanon, who served in O’Brien’s regiment of foot in support of JAMES II.

His property was saved at the Treaty of Limerick by a clause which exempted those from within the city walls.

Kiltanon Home Farm was built for Marcus Molony JP, son of James Molony JP DL, of Kiltanon, who married Christina Emma of neighbouring Tyredah Castle and acted as land agent for the family estate which comprised of 10,095 acres.

Colonel William (Willie) Molony (1875-1960), of Kiltanon, was the last of seven direct descendents to own Kiltanon. 

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