Kiltullagh/Killimordaly on-line





One of the most exhaustive and extensive guides to our country is the Shell Guide to Ireland, written by Lord Killlanin and Michael Duignan in 1967. There is one reference, and one reference only, to Kiltullagh in this book, that being that Kiltullagh North is the birthplace of one Count Patrick D'Arcy.

You may wonder why this should be of any great significance as Count patrick D'Arcy was not a familiar character in our history books. While he may not have done anything to irreversibly alter the course of Irish history, he did lead quite a full and interesting life.

Let us look at the origins of the D'Arcy family itself. There are two theories as to where the roots of this family begin , the first and the more romantic one being that it originated in France. This theory suggests that the family is descended from David D'Arcy whose surname is derived from Castle D'Arcie which lay thirty miles outside Paris. There is a possibility, although quite an unlikely one, that Joan D'Arc the famous French martyr was a member of another branch of this family. In Hardimans History of Galway we are told that John D'Arcy, a descendant of David, was appointed Justice of Ireland in 1323 and that all the D'Arcy's of Ireland are directly descended from him.

The most recent and probably more accurate theory is that the D'Arcy's are of Irish origin. A Walter O'Dorchaidhe (O'Dorsey) settled in the toen of Galway and his immediate descendants dropped the prefix "O" from their surname which was then written as Dorsey. This was the case up to the begginning of the 17th century. However it still does not explain why the family would then begin to use the spelling "D'Arcy".

The family in Kiltullagh are descended from James Riveagh D'Arcy, "Riveagh" meaning the "the swarthy". james was a man of such influence in Connaught that he was appointed Vice-Presidentas of the Province. he server as Mayor of Galway (1602-1603), and died in 1603 leaving seven sons and one daughter. Patrick D'Arcy, the seventh son, was the first of the D'Arcy family to reside in Kiltullagh. he was educated as a lawyer and became an active member of Parliament. he died in 1668 and is buried in Kilconnell Abbey.

Count Patrick D'Arcy a great-grandson of the above Patrick, was born in Kiltullagh in 1725. the family were devout Catholics and they suffered much persecution as a result of the penal laws. This made it necessary for them to send their children to be educated in France, and Patrick, at the age of 14, joined his uncle in paris in 1739. he showed a great aptitude for mathematics and having found accommodation with a great mathematician of the time called Clairaut, he made rapid progress.

His studies were to be soon interrupted as he was called upon to serve in the French army, however even while in the field of battle he was constantly proposing new theories for several mathematical problems of the time. In 1749 he was accepted into the French Academy of Sciences and he worked on such diverse subjects as geometery, the equinoxes and electricity. he published a paper on hydraulics in 1754 and another on optics in 1765. These papers contained many ideas years ahead of their time which were only subsequently proven to be correct.

In 1767 he returned to visit his native Kiltullagh and while passing through London he found his fame had preceded him. A niece of his had previously moved to Paris to be educated and Patrick became extremely fond of her. Having obtained the necessary dispensation Patrick married Jane D'Arcy in 1777. The Countess was an extremely charming woman as she became lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. Sadly their marraige was to be a brief one as Count Patrick D'Arcy died of cholera in 1779. He had already expressed a wish to return to his native country but the tyranny of the penal law system discouraged him from doing so. He died in the hope that Ireland would eventually gain its own independence, and that both sides of the religious divide could co-exits peacefully.

The Countess D'Arcy returned to Ireland a few years before the French revolution and consequently escaped losing he head like many others of the French aristocracy. She married again in 1783 and died in 1826. A nephew of hers John D'Arcy founded the town of Cliften, and his son Mark is believed to have designed the castle there.

While there is an abudance of information on the D'Arcy family itself, the same cannot be said of their magnificent home in Kiltullagh. By researching various references we can assume that it was constructed sometime in the late seventeenth centuary or early eighteenth century. For example we are told that "Francis D'Arcy died in 1692 seized of all siad premises at Kiltullagh, Co. Galway."(from a claim entered in the Public Records Office, Dublin in 1700). Other than that all we can be reasonably sure of is that it was detroyed by fire sometime in the 19th century. It will take quite a bit more research to ascertain exactly when it was build and by whom, how it must have appeared when it was inhabited and how exactly it was destroyed.



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