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Rathdonnell Rental Account Books for Rathvilly, Celbridge, Swords etc 1929-1973

Lady Rosamund Langham (née Rashleigh) and her husband Sir John Langham, 14th baronet, who ran Lisnavagh during the war years. These portraits were by Carlos Sancha in 1968. 

Detailing tenants of family properties owned in Carlow (Rathvilly, Mountneill , Moanavoth, Lisnavagh, Ballybit), Kildare (Celbridge), Dublin (Swords) and Meath (Flemingstown), including the post office, Molloy’s and the Harp Bar in Rathvilly. As transcribed by 5th Baron Rathdonnell on 2 November 2016.




Mention of Lisnavagh in the Irish Farmers’ Gazette, 1857 of rents of a shilling a week for wretched cabins in Rathvilly made me remember that they were not much more a hundred years later. Examining our rent book for comparisons, I realized that a fuller article on the matter might be enlightening.

The fine hardback book is printed out with columns and entries for tenant, townland, valuations, rent, arrears and poor rate, && and has 103 double pages. This volume starts on the “gale day” 24th March, 1929, in the fine hand of Jack (later Sir John) Langham, the Agent; I think he started here about then too, shortly after the death of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell.




No.1. O.L. Cummins, Mountneil, who in 1929 paid £91.5s.7d. faithfully twice a year. This was for a building, valuation £8, and land £179 so quite a lot (alas I know not how much). Some of this was redeemed for 41/2 % Land Bonds a couple of years later and the rent reduced proportionally, but again I do not really understand this land tenure via the Land Commission. This continued until 1952, in fact 5 years after Cummins had died. [also page 2 and 34].





The next few properties are in Rathvilly and somewhere there is a map that shows which they are. They all start in 1929 and there is no change in the rent to the end in most cases.


No.3. Mrs. E. Salter. I think this is the Rathvilly Inn. £15.4.6. p.a. regularly paid half yearly. P.L.V. from £7 to £20 in 1949 when tenant right assigned to Charles O’Keefe. In 1951 tenant right sold to William Jones; by 1954 rent was £26 including a 2a. field. 1969 assigned to his son, Noel Jones. In 1971 to Stephen Redmond and in 1973 to Patrick Farrell. Final rent, still £26 in 1975. [also page 4, 35, 45 and 61].

No. 5. Mrs. M.K. Lawson. PLV £11.10.0. This may be the former butchers adjacent S. of Harp Bar. In 1925 Mrs. Johanna Lawson assigned this to her son James Lawson, who assigned it to his wife Mary Kate. Yearly rent £9.14.6. In August 1929, £67.16.0. arrears was paid following a Court Order. In 1948 assigned to her daughter Miss Josephine Lawson. From 1956 Mrs. Chris Lawler, ? another daughter (I think Vera?) to whom it was sold in 1971. [also page 6, 36 and 46].

No.7 Edward Nolan. Now Molloy’s Bar. 1929 £20 p.a. 49 year lease 1922; tenant to keep in repair. Handed to daughter, Mrs Eithne Molloy in November 1959. Regularly paid to November 1971. [also page 8, 37, 47 and 59].

No.9 Edward O’Toole. E. of Molloy’s “hanging gale” PLV £4. 1929 £6.3.0. p.a. to Miss Kathleen O’Toole 1943. Sub let to Tom Halligan, 1955. (note in R’s handwriting “ there is no clause in agreement preventing subletting”) Final Jan. 1962. [also page 10, 38 and 48].

No.11. Peter Tracey. 1929 £6.17.6. PLV £4 arrears decree 1940 paid. Sold tenant right in 1941 to Margaret Foley for £47.10.0. Transferred to Miss O’Toole 1945 and sold to her in 1946 for £150. [also page 12 and 39].

No. 13. Hannah Geraghty. Post Office. PLV building £2.10.0, land 10/-. 1929 £10 p.a. obtained by decree 1941 and in 1944; more trouble 1948. Became William Bolger, 1960, and last paid 1969. [also page 14, 40 and 49].

No. 15. John Molloy. PLV £7.10.0. 1929 £12.14.0. p.a. (from a map it adjoins Nolan’s (Molloy’s) to W.) He died 1935, to Mrs. Molloy. Decree March ’47, put out 30th June. Sold in 1948 by A. Caldbeck to Philip McEnroe for £650. [also page 16 and 41].

No. 17. Edward Dempsey (could be up beside St. Mary’s, former doctor’s) PLV land (1a 0r. 3 perch) £1.5.0., building £1.15.0. 1929 £3 p.a. became Mrs. Ellen Dempsey after 1953. In 1961 Smith Griffin & Co. sold it to her for £40. [also page 18, 42 and 50].

No. 19. Revd. Delaney PP. (could be next N. of P.O.) PLV land (0.1rood 23p.) £1.5.0., building £9.5.0. 1929 £9.13.0. p.a. Sold in 1944 for £50, when the new parochial house was built. Langham remarked “roof in very bad & dangerous state”. [also page 20].

No. 21. Mrs. Bodle. PLV £5.15.0. +land 15/- +£3. 1929 £20. In 1936 let to Guard J. Furlong until 1950. “House completely done up by Jack Halpin before Kathleen O’Toole moved in, Sept ‘55” £16.1.6. per half year. Sold to her, June 1961 £300. [also page 22].

No. 23. H.J. Sofrain. Has a page but no entries. I think this is the house on the bend just above the railway bridge.

No. 25. Mrs. English. PLV £5. 1929 £9.4.6. to 1935, when she died, to Mrs. Cogan. Miss S. Deering from 1937, later becoming Mrs. Mooney of Dunlavin. (this is next W. to Molloy’s No. 15 from map or maybe Mace / Centra shop?). 1961 transfer to Wm. Bolger of P.O., until 1963. [also page 26, 43 and 51].

No. 27. James Lawson has a page but no entries. One of these must be the Harp Bar?

No. 28. Reps James Morgan ditto no entries.


Rental now moves out of the village.


No. 53. The Rectory. Representative Body of the Church of Ireland. 99 years from 1898; “only for use of Incumbent of Rathvilly” £19.12.0. Note says no rent paid from 1950 to Sept. 1955 when arrears paid up. Sold 1960 to Revd. O’Rourke for £2,000.




No. 54. Moanavoth No.4 (to SE) John McCabe. Commences October 1959 3/6 per week. House empty from Sept. 1960. Pathetic letter August 1961 asking to return, which was refused.

No. 55. Moanavoth No.2. Henry McKenna. PLV £2 Rates £3.10.4. Rent 3/6 per week. Record from Oct 1959. Moved out August 1960 when John McCabe from No.4 was there until June, 1961.

No. 56. Moanavoth No.1. (Rathvilly end) Miss Kathleen Lawler. PLV & rates similar. Record from June, 1959. Should pay 3/6 per week, seemingly a bit less and left in May, 1961. Refuse to pay rates £3.9.5. Typed note confirms details for all four cottages; each 1rood 15 perches. All sold not long after to county council for £300; in boon one fetched €250,000!

No. 57. Moanavoth No.3 James Lawler. PLV & rates similar. No individual entries but note PR’s writing “free house for life”.


Lisnavagh & Ballybit


No. 58. Schoolhouse N. later termed Groom’s Cottage. Gerald McManus. PLV £4 . Rates (1960) £7.10.0. “Half share” suggests he paid £3.15.0. Rent from June, 1960 7/6 per week. To February, 1961. (some rent concession as “leaks in passage”) Empty to June, 1963, when Bernadette Smith (Mr. & Mrs. Jim Fanning) moved in for 1/- a week, pending repairs. Paid Feb. 65. (She, long widowed, still lives in farm at Williamstown turning)

No. 60. Germaines. Mrs. Doyne. PLV £30 First entry 1959. Rent £120 +£36 for rates, raised to £56.5.6. 1960/1. Mrs. Lenaghan from October 1962 to March 1964. Sold to Mrs. Makin for £6,500 in c.1964.

No. 62. Ballybit. Scott (Betty) for life. PLV 25/-. Rent £2.10.0. (“1/- a week”) Rates 1960/1 £2.6.11. Sept. ’60 paid £1.3.5. only entry, all in pencil, PR’s hand.

No. 65. Gatelodge. M.Cullen (who reportedly raised 12 children there) PLV 30/-. £1 a month. Left December 1960. Mr. & Mrs. Henry McKenna seemingly there one month -£1. Aug.1961 Mr. & Mrs. Michael Walsh. ESB connected 16.x.61. Paid and left 29.i.65. Miss Molly Murphy, 23.viii.65 at 5/- a week until 15.v.68.

No. 66. Green Lane. Mrs. P. Murphy. PLV 30/- Rates 1960/61 £2.16.3. Only entry paid September 1960 £1.8.1. (looks like rates only) all in pencil in PR’s hand.


The Rental now leaves Co. Carlow:


County Meath


No. 75. Clonalvy, Flemingstown, Co. Meath. Mrs. Kathleen Malone starting annual rent to 1.xi.36 £4. 8. 9. (occasionally plus Income Tax) Continues back on page 74, last entry 23.xi.57.


County Dublin (Louth?)


No. 76. The Cottage, Dublin St., Swords. “Co. Louth” it says! Miss B.C. Long. Rent 1930 £5.16.0. p.a. paid regularly every 6 months. Tenure “1922. Tenant pay P. Rates. Landlord repair roof and walls”. A note for 21.vii.30 says “adjoining cottage demolished by Bd. Health”. A 1932 note says “see correspondence re repairs cost £32.15.0 – £15.7.6. received from Dublin Bd. Of Health. 23.ix.32”. In 1936 7/6d. was allowed off rent for roof repairs, a further 20/- in 1939 and £5 similarly in 1945, but “25.x.45. £5 sent to Miss Long for repairs – refunded, repairs not done.” “Miss Long taken to hospital 18.ix.47. she will be unable to live by herself again. Key of house returned.” Something illegible then” Unoccupied. Roof demolished” Finally, in R’s hand, Sold March 1952, £120. [also page 77 and 86].

No. 86. Swords. Miss B.C. Long. Rent from May 1946 £5.16.0. p.a. “£5 sent to Miss Long for repairs 25.10.45 – refunded repairs not done”. Miss Long taken to hospital 18.9.47. She will be unable to live by herself again. Key of house surrendered. SchA. Unoccupied. Roof demolished. Sold March 1952 £120.


Celbridge, County Kildare


No. 78. Celbridge. James Moore (ex R.I.C.) Died Aug.’34. Mrs. Moore, died June 1939, then Miss Angela Moore. PLV building £9, land 15/-. “Rates & Taxes (SchA excepted) by Tenant 22.11.1922” Interior repairs – Tenant- roof/ Rent 1930 £16 p.a. First entry for 1930, paid meticulously half yearly until 1941. “Half cost of new kitchen range paid 6.6.32.” Jan. 1939 allowed £10.8.0. for rebuilding wall between Moore and Bell. 1942 allowed £12.10.0. for planting front of house per M. Whelan. More allowances 46/47 but serious arrears went on into fifties. £60 owing in 1959. Sold to tenant in 1961. [also page 79, 87 and 93].

No. 80. Celbridge. Captain N.A. Ryan. PLV building £9, land 15/-. Landlord repairs roof & walls. Rent £18 p.a. First entry for 1930 with arrear of £37.10.0. Evicted 10.6.33 “Bad P. Debt. Costs £10.4.4.” 14.6.33. let to William Kelly. 1939 £1 allowed for repairs to roof. 1946 £1.10.0. allowed for leaks in roof also “Colour front of house paint gutters & repair plaster £3.” 1947 “chimney pot blown off” – allowed £2.15.0. Rent meticulously paid until Sept. 1948 when Kelly died; house in the name of his daughter Mrs. Teresa Casey. £5 for new window 1950. 1952 “Repairs to windows and doors of £8” in R’s hand. Last entry she paid £9 on 12.5.55. Sold. [also page 81, 88 and 91].

No. 82. Celbridge. Mrs. James Lennon. PLV £8, land 15/-. Rent £7.10.6. Rent reduced by reason of large amount of space taken up by archway under house to Gardens” First entry for 1930; meticulously paid half yearly throughout. 1937 £5.17.0. allowed for new range and in 1945 repairs £12.10. front house plastered and pebble dashed (Christopher Goshan, Newtown). 1950 note says “Mrs. Lennon been tenant for over 50 years” Miss Kathleen Lennon daughter. May 1960 note in PR’s hand £3.15.3 “sent receipt and letter ref. sale” Sold 1961 to Tenant. [also page 83, 89 and 92].

No. 84. Celbridge. C. Bell. Rent 1930 £ 18. 1935 and later, some arrears by instalments. 1937 allowed £7.10.0. for “Elsan” lavatory and in 1939 roof repairs £1; more repairs 1941 £%.15.11. Bernard Caulfield from 28 August, 1941. Allowed £5 repairs roof & wall 1n 1944. 1946 house front plastered and pebble dashed, windows & doors painted – £15. In 1951 slates £1 and Water Supply £17 allowed; this enabled “Rent to be increased by 30/- p.a.” and again later that year Geraghty Water Supply £12, Co-op water £5, slates £1. Last payment £9.15.0. for 1st May, 1954/ Sold 1955. [also page 85, 90 and 94].

This I hope completes the summary of all the 103 pages in the Rental Account Book which have an entry. There are some loose papers in the back of the book with more interesting information (Whiskey for £2.3.9. – a bottle, not a tot!)