Effin During the 1840’s and Famine Times


I  came across this very interesting piece last week written by Desmond Norton who go access to various papers from the Steward and Kincaid Collection while doing some research on Effin, called; 

Distress and Benevolence on Gertrude Fitzgerald’s Limerick Estate in the 1840s, WP02/14, April 2002 – A Record of Mount Blakney Estate and Tenants during Famine Times (Norton, 2006).

This paper is well worth reading and gives a fascinating insight into social and economic conditions in Effin particularly around Mount Blakney/Thomastown area in the 1840s and during the Famine times.

Read Norton’s Paper: HERE https://researchrepository.ucd.ie/bitstream/10197/1287/1/WP02.14.pdf

It contains extracts of letters written by tenants and land agents of Gertrude Blakney Fitzgerald who was the landlord in Mount Blakeney at the time. Gertrude Blakney had no children and the estate was left to her niece Anne Steward and her husband Thomas Stewart in 1855. Steward and Kincad were a land agency firm and agents for Mount Blakeny Estate.

The letters originally came from the archives of a firm of Dublin solicitors, Stewart and Kincaid, who acted as landlords’ agents on a large scale. The letters are from landlords’ agents and sublandlords nationwide, concerning the collection of rent.  

On 27 September 1844 Murnane informed SK that;

“the potatoes are very bad with most of the tenants”.

The Keeffes were not the only tenants who petitioned Mrs Fitzgerald in October 1844. On 30 October she wrote to Kincaid:

I enclose a Letter which I received … from Maurice Foley …. I hope you will excuse my troubling you with it, as I am persuaded you will both act impartially, and allow the Tenants any reasonable indulgence you may think them entitled to. Since I wrote the above I received the accompanying Petition from John and James Keefe … which I leave to your better judgement”.

It would be interesting to see what happened the families that emigrated and are there any descendants still in the parish today.

These letters were put up for sale with Adams Auction House in the 2010 but fortunately were withdrawn as there was some question as to their ownership. Thankfully they were not sold off but remain as a special collection.  I am  trying to locate their current whereabouts and where they are stored as they may contain more important information about Effin during that time.

Norton’s Stewart and Kincaid, Irish Land Agents in the 1840s” also includes some some further information and insight in his other article.

One thought on “Effin During the 1840’s and Famine Times

  1. The “difficult tenant” John Callaghan who is mentioned in the Stewart & Kincaid Letters is my 3-times-great grandfather. I ran across the Desmond Norton White paper a while back and the story shed light on John and his family’s later lives. The ended up in Australia as indentured laborers in 1858, where I have lost track of all but my great-great grandfather Michael Callaghan, who married in Melbourne in 1860 and emigrated to California in 1965. I have written about him and his descendants at https://www.callaghansofbirdslanding.com/

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