Friday 30 May 2014

The Vandeleurs of County Clare

The Vandeleur family in Clare is descended from Maxmilian Van Der Leur, a Dutch merchant, who had settled in Ireland by the early 17th century. They first settled in Clare in Ralahine, Sixmilebridge in the 1660s. In 1665 Giles Vandeleur became High Sheriff of Clare , and his son, also Giles, was appointed High Sheriff in 1683. Maxmilian’s grandson, Rev John Vandeleur moved to Kilrush as Rector in 1687. This branch of the family became one of the best-known landlord families in West Clare and were instrumental in the development of Kilrush town. Their involvement with the Kilrush area is evident in the early chapters of ‘Kilrush, County Clare: Notes from c 1760 to 1960’ by Senan Scanlan.

By the mid 19th century the Vandeleur estate amounted to almost 20,000 acres in, a large portion of it in the Barony of Moyarta. The family’s history is related in another book by Senan Scanlan, ‘The Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare’.

Two beautiful family photograph albums capture the world of the Vandeleurs and their circle about this time.

The family was also associated with evictions in the Kilrush area during the Land War of the late 1880s, memorably photographed by the Lawrence Studio. The Kilrush estate was eventually taken over by the Land Commission in the 1910s.

At the original estate in Ralahine John Vandeleur invited socialist Edward Craig to set up an ill-fated co-operative in 1831 but the experiment failed and the estate was sold in 1834.

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