Clogher House

Set in its 640 acres of quality farmland and forestry Clogher Lynch, as it was originally known, is a fine, Georgian, three storey mansion that was built in 1770, complete with its own library and chapel.

Clogher House
Clogher House

The Lynches were popular landlords. The last of the family, Marcella, married Major Crean from Hollybrook in the 1840’s, a taciturn and ruthless landlord who was hated by his tenants.

In January 1829, on the Night of the Big Wind, the house was damaged in a ferocious storm and was left roofless.

This disaster came as a blessing in disguise, giving the Creans opportunity to remodel their property. They added another storey to the house and had it roofed with more modern slates.

Helena Mary Crean, who inherited the estate from her father, was to marry James Fitzgerald Kenny of Kiltyclogher in Co. Galway around 1870. He died after only seven years of marriage.

The Fitzgerald Kennys had five children. Master Harry, as the eldest, Henry, was known, inherited the house and estate. Having been orphaned at an early age he grew up wild and conceited, with a love of horses, hunting and racing.

On his way home from the Ballinrobe races Master Harry called into Higgin’s public house in Carnacon, where he met up with Captain Blake (from nearby Towerhill House) who was drinking with friends.

After several rounds of drinks Captain Blake asked Master Harry if he would allow his eldest sister marry him. Master Harry thought little of the idea as he regarded the Blakes to be of lower class than himself.

Master Harry was attacked by Blake’s companions but following the intervention of Blake he was persuaded to return home. Two hours later 23-year-old Master Harry was found dead in suspicious circumstances. The cause of his death was never established. Some say he simply fell from his horse, while others maintain his demise was related to the incident earlier in Carnacon.

James, the youngest of the family, became a brilliant lawyer and subsequently the best known of the family. At times after winning a difficult court case Fitzgerald Kenny (or Master James as he preferred to be called) would go on the beer.

He liked to help his neighbours out when possible and loved to argue the toss with them. He was held in high regard by all.

On one occasion a man was fined £25 for stealing timber from his estate. When Kenny heard of this he had the case quashed.

On another occasion some locals were brought before Castlebar District Court for stealing firewood from Land Commission property. Despite not having been solicited Fitzgerald Kenny appealed to the Justice on their behalf and had the case dismissed.

Master James was elected to Dail Eireann as a Cumann na nGaedheal (Society of the gaels – a political party born at the foundation of the Irish Free State) candidate in 1927 and was appointed Minister for Justice when then Minister Kevin O’Higgins was shot. Delighted with his victory, he threw a big celebration which, much to his dismay, turned into a drunken brawl.

After his re-election later that same year he held another big party to the surprise of many. Fitzgerald Kenny was to spend 16 years as a public representative from 1927 to 1943, when he was replaced by Joe Blowick from Belcarra. Blowick would later became Minister for Lands.

James Fitzgerald Kenny died in 1956. He is buried in the family plot in Drum Graveyard. Though Fitzgerald Kenny was perceived to be well off, on his death his liquid assets were few. All his wealth was in property.

Clogher House and the estate were sold to a timber merchant in the late 1960’s. In 1970, the house caught fire and was burned down, bringing down the curtain on this Romantic period of local history.

The Land Commission took over the estate and it was divided locally.

Today Clogher House stands an empty shell, inhabited only by bats and birds as history fades into folklore.