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ANDREW BYRNE OF LONGTOWN DEMSENE

Andrew Byrne of Longtown Demesne

England resident Mike Byrne sent the following article and photographs to the Local Library and Arts Service, Newbridge. ‘I am studying my family history. My late uncle, Andrew Byrne, owned The Longtown estate near Clane in Co. Kildare. My grandfather was Nicholas Byrne, brother of Andrew, who was born at Two Mile House.

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Two Mile House

I first visited the original Longtown house in about 1947 which was about the time of my first visit to . I was then seven years old. I also remember on that journey we travelled on the narrow gauge railway that went from Dun Laoghaire to Dublin , having crossed a very rough sea from Holyhead on the ‘Hibernian.’ I would guess that both these methods of transport are now long gone. The impression I got was that the Byrne family had been there for a lot longer, but I now know that to be wrong. Andrew Byrne, my uncle, originally farmed at Two Mile House farm and made a good deal of money clearing timber from the land, thus providing him with the means to buy Longtown in 1943. This is what my father, Bartholomew Byrne told me in the past. I always thought that it was a great pity that the old house was pulled down, but I believe that a lot more Irish stately homes met the same fate.’

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 Longtown House Clane

Longtown Demesne was the ancestral home of the Sweetman family and the palatial mansion and land was sold by Senator Gerald Sweetman, Co. Council, to Andrew Byrne, the Saw Mills, Two Mile House. The sale, which involved a substantial sum, in the vicinity of five figures, was negotiated by Messrs. Denis Brennan and Son, Auctioneers, Kilcullen and Newbridge. The solicitors for the vendors were Messrs. G. D. Fottrell and Son, Fleet Street, Dublin, and for the purchaser, Messrs. O'Connor and Coonan, Naas. 'Two Mile House farmhouse was where Andrew Byrne and my grandfather Nicholas Byrne were born. Their father was Bartle Byrne, also a farmer like Andrew. Nicholas was not on the 1911 census as he was in the British Army in the Irish Guards at the time of the census.’ Sergeant Major Nicholas Byrne served with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, in the 1914-18 War.

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‘The house was a very imposing place and had about 57 rooms! These included a chapel on one of the upper floors and a library which had a door covered in the spine ends of books so that you had a job to find your way out once the door was closed! The estate comprised about 350 acres and included about seven smaller houses.  All the cooking was done in the basement area by the Delaneys (I think). From what I remember of the house, the lower floor was very dark and dismal. In summer time a boys club was put up on the upper floor for the summer holidays. Andrew bought the house from the Sweetman family but had to demolish it in the 1950’s when running costs were too high. A smaller farmhouse was then built on the same site as the old house. An interesting point re. the old house was the Ice Store. This was a short walk from the house, up an incline to the left-hand side in some trees and was where all the meat, etc., was stored before fridges came into use. There were two lodges at the main gate and I believe there was another one at the rear gate.’

 

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 Leinster Leader 1943
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

England resident Mike Byrne sent the following article 'Andrew Byrne of Longtown Demesne' and accompanying photographs to the Local Library and Arts Service, Newbridge. Our thanks to Mike. Posted by James Durney.

 


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