Associated families, etc.
Mathew, Geoghegan, Burke, O’Brien, McDonnell,
Fitzgerald, Armstrong-McDonnell, Joyce
E of the main Kilrush road, 4-5 km SSW of Ennis
House: Standing. inhabited.
Demesne: Large quantities of mature trees. Original main gateway, lodges and driveways. Yards and utility buildings standing and used,
New Hall is a delightful large, mid eighteenth-century and earlier, (pink) brick, two-storey, steeply pitched hip-roofed house, with two bays on either side of a central two-storey three bay, canted bay topped by a balustrade. The latter is surmounted by four equally-spaced urns, and contains the pedimented cut stone front doorcase. At each end of the house are two-storey bows, each containing windows of curved glass. The windows, which have keystones, are smaller on the upper storey than those on the ground floor, and there is a large area of wall above the former before the roof is reached. There is a stone string course above the ground floor. The house faces south-south-east over a large tree-lined park towards Killone Lough. To the rear is an extensive return, which is earlier than the front, and which no doubt was the original New Hall. Extensive yards and utility buildings are situated some distance to the east-north-east, and to the rear are the remains of a magnificent formal garden. In the octagonal main hall, there is a cupboard in the form of an elegant organ. Throughout the house there are fine cornices and friezes as well as other decorative plasterwork.
Honora, the widow of Thomas Mathew of Annfield, County Tipperary left rents and arrears due from the farm at Newhall to her nephew David Geoghegan of Donore, County Westmeath in 1735. In 1747, Richard Burke of Newhall’s daughter married Donough O’Callaghan of Kilgorey (q.v.) as his second wife. New Hall was bought from Edward O’Brien of Ennistymon (his maternal uncle) by Charles McDonnell of Kilkee in 1764 (the McDonnells were living at Kilkee in 1671). The O’Briens had owned it since the seventeenth century. Charles McDonnell immediately set about building the present magnificent front o fthe house, and which was probably designed by Francis Bindon. In l760 he married Catherine, fourth daughter of Sir Edward O’Brien, Bart., of Dromoland. Their eldest son, Charles, Was born the following year. Charles was Colonel commanding a regiment of Volunteers in Canada during the American war. He was also a Member of Parliament for County Clare and for the borough of Great Yarmouth. His grandson, William E. Armstrong-McDonnell, J.P., D.L., M.R.I.A., High Sheriff in 1853, and Colonel commanding the Clare Militia, married the Honourable Juliana O’Brien, eldest daughter of Lucius, the 13th Baron Inchiquin, in 1858. He owned six thousand, six hundred and seventy acres in County Clare. His son, Charles Randal McDonnell inherited in 1883. His wife was Mary Stacpoole of Edenvale. It is reputed that the McDonnells were great cat lovers, and that at one time there were so many cats inhabiting the top floor of the house that it had to be boarded off. There is supposed to have been a mermaid in the cellars! This delightful house is now in the hands of the Joyce family who originated in County Galway, and who are gradually restoring the residence to its original form. At one time during its long history a curse was placed on the house that no O’Brien would again reside in it. [Now owned by the Commane family].
Weir, Hugh, W.L. Houses of Clare, Ballinakella Press, 1985.
With kind permission of the author.
See also below:
Rowe, David, The Irish Sketches of Florence Vere O’Brien, Ballinakella Press, 2017, Chapter 4, pp.35-46.
With kind permission of the Editor.