Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Conway - Contents

  Killorglin Castle

The first Castle Conway

The new Castle Conway

Modern pictures (before beer garden)

The beer garden, Kingston's bar

The Conway-Blennerhassett tomb

The churches at Killorglin

Castle Conway, Killorglin, Co.Kerry

Castle Conway (formerly Killorglin Castle), Killorglin, Co.Kerry.

Killorglin Castle

The castle here was originally "Killorglin Castle".
It was built 1215 by Maurice Fitzgerald.
[Dodd, 1945, p.159] says that Killorglin castle and manor belonged in 1572 to the rebel Earl of Desmond.
After the Earl's rebellion was finally defeated in 1583 his vast estates were taken by the Crown and the Munster Plantation began.

Killorglin and castle were granted to Capt. Jenkin Conway.
He was granted "custodiam" of Killorglin in 1585.
A letter of 10 Oct 1587 from him survives, written from Killorglin Castle.
Grant of Killorglin to him apparently dated 1587 (confirmed 1592).
Killorglin Castle was burned in Aug 1600, during the Nine Years' War.


Capt. Jenkin Conway writes a letter of 10 Oct 1587 from "my Castle of Killorglin".

Killorglin Castle was burned by Florence MacCarthy in Aug 1600, during the Nine Years' War.
This was during the Munster campaign of George Carew, President of Munster.
Extract from [Pacata Hibernia, 1633].
This is from pp.238-239 of vol.1 of 1896 edn.

Discussion of the above section of Pacata Hibernia.
Extract from [Hickson, 9 May 1908].

Killorglin Castle ("Killorgan") is mentioned as a strategic castle in Kerry in 1600.
This is a dispatch of Dec 1600 by George Carew, President of Munster, during the Nine Years' War.
He refers to Florence MacCarthy, who was organising for a Spanish force to land.
From p.138 of the published Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, vol.10.

The same mentioned on pp.223-224 of [MacCarthy, 1867].
See also [Hickson, 9 May 1908].


The first Castle Conway

Capt. Jenkin's son Jenkin Conway built a new castle here after 1613 and re-named it "Castle Conway".
A letter of 25 Mar 1628 survives from Jenkin Conway at "Castle Conway".
A letter of 22 July 1634 survives from Jenkin Conway at "Castle Conway".
Castle Conway passed by marriage to Robert Blennerhassett around 1660.
The castle was in ruins as at 1682.
Avice Conway was buried 1683 in the Chapel at Castle Conway.


Jenkin Conway writes a letter of 25 Mar 1628 from Castle Conway.


The new Castle Conway

The Blennerhassetts, probably in the time of John Blennerhassett, "Black Jack" (1690s to 1730s) built a fine new residence there.
Elizabeth Cross was buried 1732 in the Chapel at Castle Conway.
Castle Conway was inherited by Conway Blennerhassett.
Page 70 of [Smith, 1756] says Killorglin church was then "in ruins".
Castle Conway was inherited by Harman Blennerhassett in 1792.
He sold it to 1st Baron Ventry in 1795.
Castle Conway is still intact on 1829 to 1842 map.

Demolished in 1820s-40s:
Castle Conway was largely demolished by 1848.
The site is mostly cleared by time of 1887 to 1913 map, except for one wall.

Wall survives today:
One old ruined wall (on the S side) survives today.
It is on high ground, on the inside of an urban block, hidden from the street behind buildings.
It is accessible through Kingston's bar on Market St. See street view.
In 2010 the area in front of the wall (to the N side) opened as the beer garden and live music venue of Kingston's bar.

Castle Conway still intact (red cross) on 1829 to 1842 map.

Castle Conway on the map of [Griffiths Valuation].
Looks like it still exists, though we know it was largely demolished by 1848, so the map might be out of date.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland map. Date created: 1894. Date issued: 1895. From here.
Castle Conway is gone. All that survives is a ruined wall on the S side of the site (above "LOWER").
"Church" is the Church of Ireland church built 1816.

On the modern map slightly less survives.
See also Google Maps.
See 2000 photo from the S side.
See street view from the S side.


Modern pictures (before beer garden)


The remaining ruined wall of Castle Conway, from a distance.
Photo 2000. See larger and full size.

The surviving ruined wall of Castle Conway.
Photo 2000. See larger and full size. See other scan.

The remaining ruined wall of Castle Conway.
Photo 2000. See larger and full size.
See other shot.

The beer garden, Kingston's bar

The beer garden, Kingston's bar, Killorglin, incorporates as a backdrop the surviving wall of Castle Conway.

Photos from 2010 album at Kingston's bar on Facebook.

The Conway-Blennerhassett tomb

A marble memorial in memory of Conway and Blennerhassett was erected in 1732 in the chapel at Castle Conway.
The memorial to Elizabeth Cross was erected by her husband John Blennerhassett, "Black Jack" of Castle Conway.
He also included his mother Avice Conway and her Conway ancestors.
The memorial is now vanished.
See inscription transcripts and translation by Bill Jehan.

It is unclear where this chapel was:

The tomb inscription written in the original Ms of "Black Jack's Book" (c.1737).
This is by the man who erected the tomb, so this is accurate.
Note it says his mother Avice Conway died April 1683.
This is pp.38-39 of MS 7937.

Castle Conway on p.148 of [Smith, 1756].
Transcription of the Conway-Blennerhassett tomb.
Smith makes an error in the reading of the tomb. He has Black Jack's mother Avice Conway dying in 1663. But the original Ms of "Black Jack's Book", by her son, clearly shows she died in 1683.

Transcript of the memorial written in transcript of "Black Jack's Book" by Mary Agnes Hickson.
From p.55 of [Hickson, 1872].
She repeats the "1663" error from Smith, rather than copying down what was on the Ms of "Black Jack's Book" in front of her, which clearly says 1683.
This "1663" error is still circulating today.

Hickson in Kerry Evening Post, 24 Mar 1897, makes clear that she did not see the inscription herself.
She says the inscription is both in [Smith, 1756] and in "Black Jack's Book".
It is clear she just copied it from Smith instead of either seeing it, or copying it from Black Jack.


Translation of the inscription

Here lies Elizabeth, dearest wife of John Blennerhassett, gentleman.
Pious, sober, chaste, kind, missed by many; died 22 March 1732, in her 63rd year. Her grieving husband buried her.
Here also lies Avice, mother of said John, who was drowned at sea in April 1683.
Also Jenkin and Edward Conway, grandfather and father of said Avice.
As well as Henry the brother of said John.
In the memory of all of these the heir himself of Avice had this marble made.

The churches at Killorglin

KILLORGLIN in [Ardfert and Aghadoe Clergy] says: "The old Church stood at Dungeel, and there was also an old Church at Dromavally. The modern Church was built in 1816".
  1. Dungeel is some distance E of Killorglin. See map.
  2. Dromavally is close to Killorglin, on the E side. See below.
  3. The 1816 church was built in Killorglin town just opposite Castle Conway. See the maps above. It is now a restaurant, Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar. See street view of entrance. See photo.
  4. There is a new (1997) church elsewhere in Killorglin town, St.Michael's church. See street view.

Dromavally, Killorglin par, Co.Kerry, on 1829 to 1842 map.
This is on E side of Killorglin town.
See modern street view of entrance to graveyard.



Sources yet to be consulted



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