Madden of Killinehy (Eyrecourt)

© Donal G. Burke 2017

Excluding the immediate family of Owen balbh O Madden of Cloghan castle in Lusmagh, another important family group held lands on both sides of the Shannon in the mid sixteenth century, stretching at that time from an area north-west of Redmount Hill in an arc to the north of the manor of Meelick and across the river into Lusmagh. This family group shared a common descent from one Fearadhach or Ferriagh the son of Donagh O Madden. Fearadhach flourished about the middle of the sixteenth century and had six sons; Cathal carragh, Shane kittagh, Donagh, Murrogh, Brasil and Ambrose. Of these only Shane kittagh, Brasil and Ambrose were survived by offspring.[i]

The lands of the extended family group that included the O Maddens of Lismore extended at its most westerly in the time of Ferriagh son of Donagh to Oghilmore and Lissreaghane and included Killinehy, in the parish of Donanoughta, approximately four kilometres to the north west of the friary of Meelick.[ii] At Killinehy was built a long robust two-storey early-seventeenth century house, similar in many respects to the Protestant Bishop’s substantial residence at Clonfert. This may have been the residence of a branch of the greater extended family, although in the mid-seventeenth century the land was held by Donogh mcBrasil O Madden who was most closely associated with the castle of Lismore. Donogh’s father Brasil of Lismore, son of Ferriagh, had died in May of 1620 and in addition to his son and heir Donogh mcBrasil would appear to have had at least another son in Morrogh mcBrasil who claimed a right to certain lands of their father. It is noteworthy, however, in relation to the property at Killinehy that Donogh was in all likelihood the same Donogh mc Brassell who, when party to a mortgage involving property at Corragh boy in County Roscommon in April of 1627 was described as ‘of Killinihy, County Galway’.[iii]

Location of earlier house in relation to Eyrecourt Castle

The location of the earlier Seventeenth Century house (in red) in relation to Eyrecourt Castle and the ringfort at Killinehy (circa 1842).

An eighteenth century descendent of the Killinehy branch, John Butler O’Madden, then resident in France, would describe his descent as ‘of the house and family of Killinehy, now called Eyrecourt,’ son of Murtaugh son of Denys son of one Murtaugh O Madden, which latter individual was dispossessed of his Killinehy estate in the Cromwellian period. His descent and the circumstances of his family’s loss of Killinehy were confirmed by twenty-three individuals of Ireland, including the Earl of Clanricarde, when they appended their signatures to a document asserting the same for use by O’Madden in applying for a commission in a French regiment in 1780.[iv] John Butler O’Madden, son of Murtaugh Madden and his wife Catherine Butler, was baptised in Birr in 1752. That the family were of some local social standing and that their estate at Killinehy was lost to the Cromwellians would appear to be the common consensus of all of those who appended their signatures to the 1780 document.

The same 1780 document confirmed that O’Madden’s former estate was then in the possession of Lord Eyre. The Cromwellian Captain John Eyre was one of the largest beneficiaries of confiscated lands in the east of County Galway in the late 1650s. Eyre acquired considerable lands by purchase, in particular the lands about which he would later establish his family seat. While resident initially at Clonfert, he purchased in 1656 and 1657 approximately five hundred acres of land in the parishes of Donanoughta and Clonfert from Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart. Esmonde was at that time resident at Claddagh in the barony of Ballymoe in north-east Galway, having been transplanted by the Cromwellians and allocated an estate in various locations in County Galway. It was therefore Esmonde, rather than Eyre, who was the original recipient of at least part, if not all, of the former lands of Murtaugh O’Madden, given that the transaction included the lands of Killinehy. The lands purchased by Eyre from Esmonde were described specifically as ‘the town and lands of Killeno alias Killmigho (ie. Killinehy), Bodella and Killdallaghty two quarters and one third of a quarter containing one hundred and forty acres, Killtallaffy, half a quarter fifty nine acres, Kinahan two quarters and a half one hundred fourty six acres and in Culecartron one quarter one hundred fiftie eight acres containeing in all five hundred acres and lying in the parish of Donenaghty and Clonfertt Barony of Longford and county of Galway.’[v] Settling on his new Irish lands Eyre chose Killinehy as the centre of his extensive estate. He appears to have resided for a time nearby at the former Lawrence castle of Ballymore while he constructed a large mansion at the location of the former O Madden house, incorporating the earlier house into the yard at the rear of the new building. To the immediate west of the mansion he erected a small Protestant chapel near the site of a ringfort known as ‘Killinehy fort’ by the late 1670s and about Eyre’s new house, Eyrecourt Castle, the village of Eyrecourt developed.

Joh Eyre's purchase of lands of Killeno etc later Eyrecourt from Sir Thomas Esmonde Bart dated 1656

Detail of one of the documents dated 3rd September 1656 whereby John Eyre ‘of Clonfeart in County Gallway, Esquire’, purchased the lands from Sir Thomas Esmond, Bart., that would later form Eyre’s demesne and about which the village of Eyrecourt would develop.

Second Lieutenant John Butler O’Madden

At the age of eighteen years John Butler O’Madden joined the Irish regiment of Berwick as a cadet in the regimental company of Michel Carroll. In 1775 he left the regiment and two years later married Marie Francoise Trochon de la Ceslerie in Nantes, by whom he had five children; Catherine, born in 1776 and later legitimised, Victor-Anne, born in 1777 and died in 1783, Alphonse-Edouard-Florimond, born 1779, Philippe, who died in infancy in 1780 and Gabriel-Louis, born in 1782.

In 1780, having sought a commission as a second lieutenant in the Irish regiment of Dillon in the French army, he was required to provide a pedigree proving his gentility. His connections with Ireland was such that the then Earl of Clanricarde, the foremost peer in County Galway, was among those who confirmed the validity of the pedigree, alongside others of that county and many of King’s County. This pedigree detailed his descent from ‘Killenihy, now called Eyrecourt’ and the loss of their estate in the mid seventeenth century. Thereafter, it claimed, ‘this family embraced a military life in the services of the King of Spain, the Queen of Hungary, etc. and never did submit to live in a less distinguished state, though more lucrative.’ From his mother, the pedigree claimed a connection with the Butler family of Kilcash in Munster, ‘nearly related to the Ormond family.’[vi]

John Butler O’Madden was serving as a second lieutenant in grenadier companie in Dillon’s Regiment in 1784 and died alone at Nantes in December 1786, aged thirty-four years.

Alphonse-Edouard-Florimond O’Madden

John Butler O’Madden’s youngest son, Gabriel-Louis married Julie Rolleste de Vieux Pont, by whom he had two sons; Gabriel, a priest and Charles-Alphonse. The latter married at Nantes in 1881 and had two daughters. With no male offspring this junior branch became extinct.

Alphonse O’Madden, the eldest surviving son of John Butler O’Madden, was aged about seven years when his father died. In 1802 he married Marie-Anne Coustard de Souvre at Château-Gontier in Anjou, by whom he had a son Alphonse-Pierre in 1803. His twenty-six year old wife died several days after childbirth. In 1817 Alphonse-Edouard Florimond married secondly Felicité, daughter of Augustin-Lancelot de Quatrebarbes, an officer of dragoons and a chevalier of St. Louis. Having served as an officer in the National Guard and as Deputy-Mayor of Château-Gontier during the Restoration, he died in 1819. By his second wife he had two sons; Augustin, born in 1818 and Edouard, born in 1819 after the death of his father.[vii]

Alphonse-Pierre O’Madden

In 1825 Alphonse-Pierre O’Madden married Hortense Cousin de la Briderais and resided at chateau de la Faucille at l’Hotellerie de Flée, near Segre in Anjou. By his wife he had three children; Alphonse-Anne, born in 1826, Hortense and Charles.

Alphonse-Anne O’Madden

Alphonse-Anne married Marie-Louise Miomandre de Saint Pardoux in 1858, by whom he had two daughters; Francoise and Louise-Marie. He died after being shot in a hunting accident at La Faucille in 1871. Three years later his widow married her brother-in-law Charles O’Madden, by whom she had an only child, a son, Charles-Edouard, born at Château-Gontier in 1875.

Charles-Edouard, nephew of Alphonse-Anne O’Madden

In 1907 Charles-Edouard Madden married Mathilde de Virto in Spain, by whom he had three daughters; Marie, Mathilde and Amelie. He died at Alicante in 1967.

Junior lines of the French branch

Of the the junior line descended from the second marriage of Alphonse-Edoaurd-Florimond, his eldest son by that marriage, Augustin, remained a bachelor and died in Tripoli while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1853. Edouard, the second son of Alphonse-Edouard-Florimond married in 1848 Armandine Foucault des Bigottiéres and resided at Bazouges, near Château-Gontier and after 1852 at La Leziere, a mansion in Maisoncelles en Mayenne until 1884. They had four children; Georges, born in 1849, Marie, Augustin and Madeleine, born in 1861.

Augustin, the second son married Miss Goupil in 1881 and had an only daughter, Suzanne. Georges, the eldest son and a cavalry officer, married Blanche Carpentier. They had an only son Edouard, born in 1891. He married Louise du Coudrez by whom he had four daughters and died in 1978. His sisters Marie and Madeleine also had children. Madeleine Madden married René Déan de Luigné, from whom descended Alain Loncle de Forville who undertook significant research work in the late twentieth century relating to the descendants of the Maddens of Killinehy in France.[viii]

For details relating to the arms of this family, refer to ‘Madden’ under ‘Heraldry.


[i] National Archives Ireland, Dublin. Chancery Bills D 19, pp. 3-4, I 236, pp. 41-2, M 183, pp. 33-34, P 61, pp. 13-16, Q 4,pp 3-5, S 63, pp. 24-7. Ambrose Madden held lands in Cappenlahan in Lusmagh in 1619 and was almost certainly a son of Fearadhach or Farragh. Ambrose or ‘Anmagha Mc Farrie Mc Downy of Lishmore’ was among the many issued a general pardon in 1603, the first year of the reign of King James I. (Calendar of the Patent Rolls of the Chancery of Ireland, 1800, I James I, Part I, p. 18.) Both Donnogh mcBrasil and John oge mcShane kittagh later held lands in Lusmagh held in 1619 by Ambrose or Anmchadh mcFerrigh ‘of Cappaghlevan’. Both men appear to have been nephews of this Ambrose, who was described in 1603 as ‘of Lismore’.

[ii] Variously given in the seventeenth century as ‘Killinehy’ and also ‘Killenno als Killmigha Bodella & Kildalaffy.’

[iii] Ainsworth, J.F., MacLysaght, E., Survey of Documents in Private Keeping, Second Series, Analecta Hibernica, Vol. 20, Dublin, IMC, 1958, p. 39. Dillon Papers.

[iv] Research undertaken by Alain Loncle de Forville, a descendant of John Butler Madden.

[v] Family and Estate Papers of the Eyre Family of Eyreville, County Galway, in the possession of the author.

[vi] Research undertaken by Alain Loncle de Forville, a descendant of John Butler Madden.

[vii] Research undertaken by Alain Loncle de Forville, a descendant of John Butler Madden.

[viii] Research undertaken by Alain Loncle de Forville, a descendant of John Butler Madden.