Mount Blakeney

Associated Families


”Burke’s Irish Family Records” states that this family claim descent from the Blakeneys of Norfolk. William Blakeney was granted lands at Thomastown, parish of Kilbreedy Minor, barony of Coshma, county Limerick by patent of Charles II in 1666/7. His son William Blakeney of Mount Blakeney and Thomastown married Elizabeth Bowerman of Cooliney, county Cork and their eldest son was created 1st [and only] Baron Blakeney in 1756. The Baron’s younger brother Robert Blakeney married Deborah daughter of Grice Smyth of Ballynatray, county Waterford in 1729.

Although Robert had a number of sons it was the descendants of his daughter Gertrude who succeeded to the Mount Blakeney estate. In 1752 she married her cousin Colonel Robert Blakeney of Abbert, county Galway and their daughter married Thomas Lyon of Watercastle, Queen’s County (Laois). Gertrude Blakeney Lyon married Robert Uniacke Fitzgerald of Corkbeg, county Cork and at the time of Griffith’s Valuation she is recorded as the immediate lessor of Mount Blakeney (562 acres) and Thomastown (952 acres).

Robert and Gertrude Fitzgerald did not have children and the property passed to a niece of Robert U. Fitzgerald’s, Anne Stewart and her husband Thomas Stewart who took the additional names of Blakeney and Lyon.

In the 1870s Thomas B. Stewart of Whitegate House, Midleton, county Cork, owned 1,510 acres in county Limerick and 199 acres in county Tyrone. His wife Anne owned 80 acres in county Cork. She was a daughter of James Penrose of Woodhill, county Cork, He was the fourth son of Henry Stewart (died 1840) of Tyrcallen, county Donegal and of the land agency firm of Stewart and Kincaid and a grandson of William Stewart of Killymoon, county Tyrone. Stewart and Kincaid were agents for the Fitzgerald of Mount Blakeney estate in county Limerick and Norton writes that Thomas Stewart succeeded to the Mount Blakeney estate in 1855. His wife Anne Penrose was a niece of Robert Uniake Fitzgerald who was married to Gertrude Blakeney Lyon. Thomas Stewart assumed the additional names of Blakeney Lyon before Stewart and died in 1874. He was succeeded by his brother James Robert Stewart .



House Name / DescriptionTownlandCivil ParishPLUDEDBaronyCountyMap Ref
Mount Blakeney (H4929)
Mount Blakeney is south west of the town of Kilmallock and very close to the border between counties Limerick and Cork. No large house is marked in the townlands of Mount Blakeney or Thomastown on the first Ordnance Survey map (Sheet 47) but a castle is marked in the townland of Mount Blakeney on the Discovery map No 73. In 1786 Wilson refers to Mount Blakeney as the seat of Mr. Blakeney. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation the townlands were in the possession of Mrs. Blakeney Fitzgerald. [Grid Reference is approximate].
Mountblakeney  Kilbreedy Minor  Kilmallock   Coshma  Limerick  Lat/Lon: 52.37994

OSI Ref:
R635255 Discovery map #73. OS Sheet #47.

Archival sources

  • Public Record Office, Northern Ireland: Stewart of Tyrcallen Papers: Letters and papers about the estates of Mrs Gertrude FitzGerald, née Lyon (Watercastle, Queen’s County, and Mount Blakeney, Co. Limerick) 1764-1882. D3319/5

Contemporary printed sources

Many of these resources are now available online. For a list with Web links please see the Online Printed Sources Links

Modern printed sources

Audio Recording of Opening of Hall in Effin 1958

Recently a 60 yr old audio reel recording of the opening of the Hall in 1958 came to light thanks to John Upton who found a collection of audio recordings of Fr. Browne. Digitised by Michael Mulcahy for the collection holder John Upton.

John Upton found this blog on the hall in Effin and contacted me to get some photos to use in the video included in link below.

Follow this link to listen to that night,  sadly many of those voices have now passed on to their eternal reward.

This 55 minute long recording captures long lost voices of a county Limerick community.

Read more about the building of the hall  Muinter na Tire in practice and concrete –

Effin, its Landscape and History

Map of Parish of EffinThe Modern Parish of Effin combines three older religious parishes of Effin, Kilquane and Kilbreedy Minor.

To understand the local history of Effin, we need to examine these old parishes which today form the civil and religious parish of Effin.

As part of the course on local history I conducted some research on the Effin’s, boundaries physical, administrative, artifical and religious. 



For the purposes of this essay a study of the parish of Effin, Co. Limerick, will demonstrate how the parish today is comprised of different boundaries, both administrative and artificial. Gillespie[1][2] claimed that ‘local history is the study of people in a particular place over time’. However, in order to understand the particular place the researcher has to look outside the local area to understand what external influences impact on local history.  On examination of the literature available on Effin there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that local history cannot be confined to artificial or administrative boundaries.  

Effin is a rural parish located between the towns of Charleville in north Cork and Kilmallock in south Limerick It combines three old parishes Effin[3], Kilquane[4] and Kilbreedy Minor[5].  Lewis description of Effin describes the different boundaries both administrative and religious, “Effin a parish partly in the barony of Costlea, but chiefly in that of Cosma, County of Limerick and Province of Muster, 1 3/4 mile (s.s.w) from Kilmallock, on the road to Charleville, containing 2090 and 8281 statue acres of which 5138 are applotted under the tithe act…. in the R.C divisions it is united with those of Kilbreedy-minor and Kilquane….”. [6] 

To understand the local history of Effin, we need to examine these old parishes which today form the civil and religious parish of Effin. The evidence of early boundaries in Effin called ‘tuath’ were Kilquane Parish [7] mentioned in The Ancient Territory Book of Fermoy  “Cell Chuáin (Kilquane) out of which are the Hí Fhiadhain—or I Iain—and the Hí Laegairi are its chieftains”  the ancient boundaries were described local landmarks.” boundary of the two triucha; even as flows the stream of Muilenn Mairteil in Sliabh Caín and Loch Luigni through An Machaire (the plain) and Glen na nDíbergach (the glend of the reavers) through Móin Mór.”[8]   In medieval times this area was part of a larger boundary.  Begley[9] claims that the tuath originally ment a tribe of people but its meaning had changed to signify a place where people lived.  He cites that the tuaths were districts for political and legal administration ant that the large track of land was the tuath mor and the smaller sub divisions were to become parishes.  He claims that the present Diocese of Limerick and the parishes represented this form of boundaries. Effin and Kilquane evidence as being part of a tuath (Fig1)  “churches of Kilbegly, Kilconegan (Kilquane), and Effin, which incidently discloses that the manor was at least co-extensive with the present parish of Effin and that the old tuath of Desibeg extended to the confines of the County Cork”.   

Figure 1 Map showing the ancient tuaths

Earliest Settlements

The earliest form of physical evidence of settlement and boundaries in Effin are what remains of ringforts, there are approximately 30 ringforts documented in the Ordinance Survey Maps of the Parish. Ring forts were fortified settlements which would have occupied by septs or families, or their cattle, the areas around their ringforts would have been their boundaries and their land may have been marked out by standing stones or other markers. Some evidence exists that ringforts were in use by families up to the 12th Century. In O’Donovan’s Ordanance Survey in 1837[10] he identified and named many of ringforts in Effin  for example Caher Fort, Regans Moat, and Finneasys Fort.  Early boundaries would have been marked by a stream or a natural markers.   Later townlands were marked out by stone banks or “ditches”.

 Manors and Castles

In the Thirteenth century the Manor of Tiberneyum (Tobbernea)[11] was an important castle at the time holding a weekly market and yearly fair.[12] It was given to Gerard de Prendergast as a part dowry from Richard De Burgh in 1240.

Its size and boundaries were defined in 1251 as[13] “7 fees, 7 carucates and 59 ½ acres”   Some of this land was sub-let as part payment for knights fees.  There is evidence of serfdom[14] in this manor and the native Irish had given up their freedom and some rights in order to be protected by the local lord. They could not move out of their area without the permission of their lord. The serfs in Tobernea Manor held 3 carucates for 3 marks a year,  “…the natives here as elsewhere where treated as serfs by the Norman, though it is pleasant to find that some of them occupied a more elevated position in the organisation of this manor than is usually allotted to them”[15].  The serfs boundaries would have been defined a boundary of by the area of the manor they were attached to which may have been in operation in other castles in Effin,  like Ballymacshaneboy Castle[16] and Brickfield Castle[17].

 Religious Boundaries

The Celtic Church was primarily based around monastic settlements, it is a local tradition that the first church at Effin was named after St. Eimhin17. He was son of Eoghan McMurchad of Munster.  He formed a church in Effin, and later it is believed he moved to Co. Kildare to form a monastery and as a result the town of Monasterevin was formed.  In the 12th century, the Irish Church adopted the parish form of boundary moved towards a parish form of boundary and, and following restructuring 1152, thirty-eight dioceses, were approved which comprised of the Catholic parishes of Effin, Kilquane and Kilbreedy-Minor.  In 1287, Effin became the prebend[18] of the Church of Limerick, the religious boundaries were defined and when Queen Elizabeth I changed the Catholic

Church into the Protestant Church of Ireland in the 1560’s the old parish of Effin, Kilquane and Kilbreedy-Minor now became protestant parishes and upon these the civil parishes were based. Edmund Spencer the famous Elizabethan poet has been mentioned as being a prebend of Effin parish   “Collection of the arrearages of first fruits. These contain the names of many of the clergy of the time, amongst others . Edmondus Spenser, prebendary of Effin.”[19]

 First Official Boundaries

The first official boundaries and maps in existence for Effin whish is spread across Baronies of Coshlea[20] and Coshma[21] (Fig2) is in the Down Survey, with which was known as the Civil Survey. An extensive mapping of Ireland was carried out by William Petty in 1655 and 1656.  After the Cromwellian Conquest the government had to pay many of the adventurers and soldiers for their support in the wars in Ireland, They were to be repaid using the confiscated lands and in order to discover the size and quality of land. He listed parishes under their barony boundaries.  The Civil Survey lists Parish of Effyne,  as being owned by George Earl of Kildare, English Interest and The Manor of Tobernea, it describes the land and defines the boundaries and some of the townlands within his ownership.[22]  In the 17th Centaury 331 Baronies and counties became established in the government land surveys.

Figure 2 Map of Baronies in Co. Limerick


 In the 1830’s a detailed mapping of townlands was required to make the tax system more equitable as local taxes were based on the valuation of the townland units. On examining the 6” Ordinance Survey Maps of 1820 for Effin and Kilquane parishes (Fig 3), they illustrate very detailed mapping of local features such as ringforts, location of castles, churches, graveyards, large houses, large farms, and smaller holdingsTownlands were traditionally less than acre and up to several thousand acres, depending on type and quality of land. Richard Griffin was appointed in 1825 to lead a new boundary department.   He began compiling a list townlands and began to define the boundaries of each townland by using local ‘meresmen’ to show the OS officers along the boundaries.   In the 1840’s  John O’Donovan regularised the spelling of townlands and places which are still in use today  his “Book of Field Names”, which is an invaluable source for local historians  The Tithe Applotment Census[23] records for the Effin Civil Parish in 1828, locals are listed under their Surnames, and Townland. Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland in 1851 used the townland system of land division for valuation purposes.

Figure 3 Sample of the 6″ Ordinance Survey map of Effin Parish

Link to OSI Maps on line

Poor Law Union

In 1838, a system of Poor Law was introduced into Ireland which saw the establishment of a workhouse system.  Effin is included in the Poor Law Union of Kilmallock whose workhouse was built in 1839-40.  Poor Law Unions were made up of other parishes in the region. 

District Electoral Division

In 1911 census The District Electoral Division (DED) administrative boundaries were used to organise data. Effin parish is in the District Electoral Divisions of Tobernea and Ballyshonakin.  Examining the ‘House and Building return form B’ the census of the townland of Ballyshonakin[24] in the parish of Effin lists the civil districts under the headings: County, Parliamentary Division, The Poor Law

Union; District Electoral Division, Townland, Barony, and Parish. 


On examining the above literature and source materials on the parish of Effin it was beneficial to look at external influences to understand what was happening at a local level.  It has also been presented from the above material how its landscape and history evolved from the ancient boundaries of Tuath of Desibeg, Manors, Baronies, and effects that colonisation in Ireland and Down Survey had locally.  Effin is a rural area that is linked historically, economically, politically administratively to local towns, cities, counties and nationally and internationally The evidence above demonstrates how these external influences outside of the Parish of Effin have to be considered when researching its local history therefore agreeing with the argument that local history should not be confined to artificial or administrative boundaries. 


[1] Raymond Gillespie and Myrtle Hill, Doing  Irish local history: pursuit and practice (Belfast,

[2] ), p.13




[6] Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Limerick City and County (D-K),


[7] J.G. O’Keeffe, The ancient territory of Fermoy in Ériu. Volume 10, Dublin, Royal Irish

Academy (1926-28) page 170–189, p182

[8] J.G. O’Keeffe, The ancient territory of Fermoy in Ériu. Volume 10, Dublin, Royal Irish

Academy (1926-28) p177 page 170–189

[9] J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Mediaeval (1906)  p3

[10] Ordinance Survey of Ireland 1839 – 1840, Field Name Books of the County and City of Limerick  with the Place Names, English and Irish, as explained and Fixed by John O’Donovan. 

Parish of Kilquane, Barony of Coshlea p1180

[11] J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Mediaeval (1906)  p174  

[12] J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Mediaeval (1906)  p 176

[13] J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Mediaeval (1906)  p 175

[14] serfdom.” The Oxford Companion to Irish History. 2007. 31 Oct. 2010 <>

[15] J. Begley, Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Mediaevial (1906) p176

[16] Michael J Carroll, Castles of Limerick (Bantry Studio Publications 2005) p88

[17] Michael J Carroll, Castles of Limerick (Bantry Studio Publications 2005) p106 17 Cullen, John. “St Eimhin. “The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 26 Oct 2010 <;

[18] “Prebend.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 31 Oct. 2010 <;.

[19] Spenser in Ireland  Frederic Ives Carpenter Modern Philology

Vol. 19, No. 4 (May, 1922), pp. 405-419  Published by: The University of Chicago Press, p 406

Stable URL:

[20] The barony of Coshma in the county of Limerick (1650’s?) Scale 160 perches in an inch

Published at the Ordnance Survey office Southampton 1908, reproduced by permission of the French government from the original in the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris, Map No 20, Limerick Local Studies Library.

[21] The barony of Coshlea in the county of Limerick (1657?). Scale 320 perches in an inch

Published at the Ordnance Survey office Southampton 1908, reproduced by permission of the

French government from the original in the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris. Map No 21 Limerick Local Studies Library  

[22] Robert C. Simington, The Civil Survey 1654-1656 County of Limerick, Vol IV, (Stationery Office, Dublin 1938) p128

[23] The Effin CP Tithe Applotment transcribed for the LDS film #0256608.



Religious Sites in Effin

Effin Parish has two Churches still in use today, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Effin, and St Patricks in Garrienderk, but one time it had up 3 or 4 churches and a couple of graveyards.

According to Lewis in 1937, when Effin was united with the parish of Kilquane and Kilbreedy Minor, there were two small chapels in the parish; one at Effin, the other at Kilbreedy. Prior to that Effin had a church in Kilbreedy-Minor, a church in Ballymacshaneboy (This was a wooden church and can be seen on the 1846 Maps) and a church in Effin.

A new church was built in Effin 1835-6 and the church in Ballymacshaneboy closed. the Church in Effin was modernised in the late 1960s and rededicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace. Garrienderk Church was built in the 19th Century and called St Patricks Church.

Photos 1:   Our Lady Queen of Peace, Effin        Photo 2: St Patricks Church, Garrienderk

KILBREEDY-MINOR, a parish, in the barony of COSHMA, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER, 2 miles (N. W. by N.) from Kilmallock, and on the road from that place to Charleville; containing 600 inhabitants. It comprises 2087 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the soil is very good, but only about one-fifth of it is under tillage, the remainder being meadow or pasture land. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Limerick, and in the gift of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £130. In the R. C. divisions, the parish forms part of the union or district of Effin. Near the south bank of the structure are the ruins of the old church. Kilbreedy Minor church was badly ruined by the late 1830s. Only the middle and side walls of the choir remained.  The last known burial was in this graveyard in the 1950s.


Kilquane church was a brown sandstone church erected at the foot of Cahir Hill. By 1840, little remained of this ancient structure. Another church, Kilbigly church, had disappeared by 1840.  The parish of Kilquane had its own chapel up to the 1830s when a new chapel was erected in Effin. A few years before its closure, up to 600 people were attending mass there every Sunday. It was a thatched chapel located in Ballymacshaneboy,  Sadly it no longer remains the site of it can be seen in the 1846 Ordnance Survey maps. The last part of it standing was the sacristy and this remained up to and around 1910 when it was occupied by the local shoemaker, a man by the name of Casey. The boundary wall still remains and the entrance can be seen it is on the right-hand side before you come to the Harp Bar.


There are three Graveyards in the parish, Effin and Kilquane still in use but Kilbreedy Minor (Thomastown) is hard to access as it is through a couple of fields is no longer in use. The site of Kilbreedy graveyard is located near the north-west corner of a large pasture field about one mile west of the main Cork-Limerick road, and 2 ½ miles west of Bruree. The field, locally known as ‘Church Field’, is in the townland of Kilbreedy. It is probable that there was once a church dedicated to St Brigid in this townland. The site was later used as a Children’s graveyard. This site is shown as a circle of dots in the 1840 edition of the Ordnance Survey Map. All that remains now is a mound 2 feet high and measuring approximately 36 feet north-south and 18 feet east-west. There is a slight depression on the outside all around

Both Effin and Kilquane graveyards are now digitally mapped and can be found on the Historic Graves website.

The following article was written in the 1840s from the O’Donovans survey of Limerick. describes the old ruined church which can be still seen in the old Graveyard in Effin, and describes some of the holy wells in the area which I’ve talked about in another post.


The ruins of an old church are situated in Effin Townland. It consisted of two apartments (nave and choir); the east and west gables, the north wall of the nave and twenty two feet in length of the south wall of it at the west end are razed all to the foundation. About fifeen feet in  height of the middle gable yet remains. The choir was thirty feet and twenty two feet eight inches. The nave measured fifty three feet and was equal with the choir in breadth. At the distance of three feet ten inches from the east gable, there is placed on the south wall a quadrangular window which measures three and a half feet by two and a half feet on the inside. It measures on the outside two feet five and a. half inches in height and seven inches at the top and eight inches it the bottom in breadth. The quadrangular is its form on both sides, lamely inside and outside. It is built with chiselled brown stones.

There is a door placed on the middle gable, which is pointed and built with chiselled brown stones, measuring six and a half feet in height and four feet three inches in breadth on the choir side, the height being five feet nine inches and breadth three and a half feet on the nave side. The choir seems to have been in use at a later period than the nave.

Distant six feet ten inches from this gable there is, on the remaining part of the south side wall belonging to the nave, a quadrangular window which measures three and a half feet by two feet one inch inside and two feet four inches by seven inches on the outside. It is built with chiselled brownstones. The side walls are about ten feet high and three feet thick. The materials of the building are fieldstones (not lime ones) mostly of round form, and cement of gravelly sand and lime mortar. There is here a large graveyard much in use. The locality is level ground. About half a furlong to the northwest of this place is Our Lady’s Well, at which stations were formerly performed. Another Holy Well called Tober a Cran is situated west of Gortacrank Townland.