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The Moores of Moorehall

By Kevin Coyne

George Moore (1729-1799)

Merchant and builder of Moore Hall

George Moore of Ashbrook had amassed a considerable fortune in Alicante, Spain. He owned a fleet of ships. He was a wine merchant and manufactured iodine out of seaweed shipped from Galway. Moore sold his property in Alicante for 250,000 in 1784. The previous year he purchased from Farragh Mc Donnell land at Muckloon, Ballycally and Killeen. George returned to Ireland in 1790 and set about the task of building a house. The original site selected was at Roy overlooking both sides of the lake. When George changed to Muckloon hill he ignored local advice in his choice of site. The folklore in the area was that the site was unlucky because of events that took place around 400 a.d.- In 365 a.d. Brian Orbsen was King of Connaught. Towards the end of the century Brian was killed by enemies and his Druid Drithliu escaped into hiding on Muckloon Hill. Drithliu was eventually hunted down and killed on the shores of Lough Carra. Unlucky or not, the house was commenced on Muckloon Hill in 1792 and completed in 1796.Aenach Drithlind,the Royal Fort of Carra bore the Druids name ; Muckloon for the future would bear the name MooreHall. George took the oath of allegiance to King George 111. This entitled him to lease land. His estate amounted to 12,330 acres. He spent 2,200 defending his son John after 1798 rising. George went blind from a stroke before his death. He died November 1799, one month before his son John. He is buried in Ashbrook (near Straide Co. Mayo).



John Moore (1767-1799)

President of Connaught

John like his father was educated at the catholic school of Douai and university of Paris under the assumed name of Bellew. On his return to Ireland he studied for the bar but seemed uninterested. In 1798 a force of about 1000 French under General Humbert landed at Killala. John joined the French as did a considerable number of the Moore tenants. John Moore was proclaimed " President of the Republic of Connaught" after "Races of Castlebar". Insurgents surrendered at Ballinamuck and John Moore was captured and held prisoner under very bad conditions. Moore died in Waterford during captivity. The whereabouts of his grave were unknown until it was discovered by chance in Ballygunner Cemetery, Waterford in 1960. On 12th August 1961 the remains were exhumed and conveyed under Army Guard to Castlebar. John Moore was reentered at the Mall Castlebar with full Military Honours on 13th August 1961.


George Moore (1770-1840)

The Historian

George was a brother of John Moore. He was a historian and political theorist. His history of the British Revolution of 1688 was published in 1817. He never enjoyed good health. He married Louisa Browne, a niece of the second Earl of Altamont. Louisa's cousin Denis Browne prosecuted John Moore after 1798 surrender. George was something of a recluse and left behind his manuscript history of the French Revolution. He is buried at Kiltoom (near Moorehall).



George Henry Moore (1810-1870)


Horseman, M.P. and Famine ameliorator

His schooling was done at Oscott and Cambridge. He also studied law in London for a short time but his interest was mainly in horses. In 1835 the Church at Carnacon was built at a cost 2,000. Moore contributed substantially to the cost. A painting of Crucifixion by James Browne was hung over altar (Painting missing after reconstruction). His brother Augustus was killed while riding Mickey Free in the 1845 Grand National. The grief stricken George Henry withdrew and shut himself in Moore Hall House, reflecting on the catastrophe of his brothers death and the plight of his hungry tenants. He conceived the idea of entering his horse Coranna for the Chester Cup and placing bets on him to win. With Frank Butler in the saddle Coranna won the Chester Cup on 6th May 1846. The prize money and George Henry's backing exploit netted 17,000. Back again in Ireland he set about aiding his tenants in their plight. With the help of the Marquess of Sligo and Robert Blosse the ship "Martha Washington" was chartered. The ship arrived in Westport July 1847 with 4,000 tons of maize. The population on Moores estate was secured by his compassion. In 1846 George Henry stood for election in Mayo but was defeated. The following year he was elected M.P. for Mayo and headed the poll. He began his political career by pressing the English Government for immediate relief for the starving population of Ireland. He was returned for Mayo again in 1852. Irish Members numbered 50 after election and they brought about the defeat of the Tory Government. But some of the Irish including Saddlier and Keogh accepted posts in the subsequent coalition Government. Moore looked on M.P's who accepted appointment as traitors to their country. Moore was elected again in 1857 but was disqualified by petition claiming priestly intimidation. George Henry again invaded England in 1861 with his great sprinter "Croagh Patrick" and won the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood and Chesterfield Cup two days later. He sold his horses in 1869 and contested the General Election successfully. He joined the Fenian brotherhood around this time. George Henry Moore died on 19th April 1870 in the midst of a dispute over reduction on rents which his Ballintubber tenants were demanding. Fr. Browne officiated at the funeral ceremonies. The coffin was borne by sixteen tenants to Church at Carnacon. Not many gentry were at the funeral but the poor came from all over Mayo. He was buried in Kiltoom. Father Lavelle (the Land League priest) delivered the oration at the graveside.



George Augustus Moore (1852-1933)

The Novelist

As a boy he spent most of his time around the environs of Lough Carra fishing and riding horses. Except for period 1861 - 1868 at St. Mary's College, Oscott, he had no formal education. He was expelled from the school at the age of sixteen for idleness and general worthlessness. A further vain attempt to educate him was made by the old priest Father James Browne,Carnacon. Oscar Wilde was later to say of Moore that he conducted his education in public. In 1868 he was with his family in London. The painter Jim Browne brought him around the galleries and whetted his appetite for art. With local man William Mullowney by his side Moore moved to Paris in 1873. There he attended his university the Cafe de la Nouvelle Athenes. He met famous writers and artists such as :- Renoir, Pissaro, Degas, Daudet, Turgenev, Monet, Mallarme, Manet (did portraits of Moore), and Zola, the French naturalist. George Moores Naturalist-realist novels were much influenced by Zola. "A Mummers Wife" is recognised as the first realistic novel in the English language. George's other realistic novels were - "A Drama in Muslin","Esther Waters", "Evelyn Innes" and " Sister Theresa". A side effect of "Esther Waters"(sold 24,000) was the establishment of Fallowfield Home for Homeless Children. George returned to Dublin in 1901 to 4 Ely Place. His literary associates were George Russell, Edward Martyn,Nathaniel Hone, Mahaffy, W.B.Yeats,John Butler Yeats, Walter Osborne, John Hughes, John Eglinton, Douglas Hyde and Lady Gregory. Moore became involved in the Irish literary revival and founding of the Abbey Theatre. The birth of the Irish short story took place in 1903 with the publishing of Moores "The Untilled Field". George Moores autobiographical trilogy, "Hail and Farewell" created a new art form - the fictional autobiography. All the famous names of the Irish Literary Renaissance are interwoven into the three part book Ave Salve and Vale. Other works of Moore include "The Lake", "Confessions of a young Man", "The Brook Kerith", "A Story Tellers Holiday", "Lewis Seymour and Some Women", " A Mummers Wife", "Spring Days", "Celibate Lives", "Modern Painting", "Conversations in Ebury Street", "The Strike at Arlingford", "Memoirs of My Dead Life", "Avowals", "The Coming of Gabrielle", "Heloise and Abelard", "The Apostle", "Pure Poetry", "Daphnis and Chloe", "Ulick and Soracha" and "The Making of an Immortal". In February 1923 in the midst of the civil war Moore Hall was burned by anti-treaty republican forces. His remark to a condoling friend on the burning of the house was that Ireland was not a gentleman's country. George received 7,000 on claim for burning of house. George Moore died on January 21st 1933 at his residence Ebury Street, London. He was cremated at Golden Green. On May 27th 1933 his ashes were laid to rest in Castle Island on Lough Carra.



Maurice Moore (1854-1939)

Senator & Colonel

Maurice had a strained relationship with his brother George Augustus. They quarreled over the education of Maurice's eldest son Rory. George had agreed to pay for his education on condition that the boy be brought up a Protestant. (The Moore family were Protestant prior to George Moore of Ashbrook (1729-1799) and George, the Novelist had become a very vocal Protestant) Maurice was enraged by his brothers conditions and left Ireland to complete the education of his family in Belgium. Maurice served with the Connaught Rangers in the Boer War and was raised to the rank of Colonel. His son Ulick Augustus, a lieutenant in Connaught Rangers was killed in St Emilie France on 22nd March 1918. Colonel Maurice was involved in organising the Irish Volunteers. He was appointed envoy of the 1st Dail to the new state of South Africa where he was well received. On his return he was nominated to the Senate. He is buried in Kiltoome, which was his wish.



Maurice (Rory) Moore (1894-1964)

Rory of Santa Barbara

Rory was son of Colonel Maurice Moore. He emigrated to Canada in 1912. He joined the 161st Infantry of Montana and served during the Argonne offensive. Rory settled in Wyoming where he raised cattle and horses. He married Nancy White in 1920. They had one child, a girl, Kathleen Ann. In 1953 the family moved to Santa Barbara, California. Rory and his wife Nancy visited Ireland in 1961 and attended the reinterment of John Moore at Castlebar. Rory had a great love for the local area and had a keen interest in his ancestral background. He had a large circle of friends in Moorehall, Castlecarra, Carnacon, Claremorris, Balinrobe, Castlebar and Straide. He was very proud of the monuments of stone erected to the memory of the Moore family. He was particularly proud of the Kiltoome monument as the choice of words were his (KILTOOM: burial place of the moores of Moorehall this catholic patriot family is honoured for their famine relief and their refusal to barter principles for english gold. Erected by ballyglass coy old ira 1964). Rory is buried far from Kiltoom on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.



Nina Louisa Mary Moore

A personal profile by Kenelm Gow

My grandmother, Nina Louisa Mary Moore, was born at Moore Hall Co. Mayo, the fourth of the five children of G.H. Moore M.P. and his wife Mary Blake. Nina was the first girl in about 3 generations. She was educated by a governess at Moore Hall and then was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Tours France while in her 'teens. She formed life - long friendships with several of the French girls who were her classmates in Tours and from time to time would return to France to visit them. Some lived in large chateaux along the Loire. She later sent her own daughters., Miriam (my mother) Ethel and Hetty, to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lille. This was because a great friend of my grandmother , Mother de Montelambert of the CSH in Tours was Mother Superior in the CSH in Lille. Mother de Montelambert was of the well known French family the Counts de Montelambert. As a child at Moore Hall she remembered Oscar, and brother Willie, Wilde coming from their summer home at Cong to visit the Moores. Oscar and Willie were the same age as George and Maurice and Augustus. They went sailing on Lough Carra and picnicked at Castle Carra. Nina became a good tennis player and when about 18 or so won the ladies championship of Co. Mayo. The same afternoon as this 'win' she climbed Croagh Patrick and thought this quite a feat She also told me of attending house parties at Ashford Castle where the Guinnesses would have tennis as a main attraction. When Nina's eldest brother, George, became 21 years of age she presented him with a gold ring which he wore for the rest of his life. After her marriage to John Michael Kilkelly he was appointed resident Magistrate in Co. Roscommon where my mother was born. Subsequently my grandfather was appointed R.M. in Co. Clare, then in Co. Louth and finally in Co. Longford . Nina liked very much to give dinner parties and teas, even in her eighties living in Dublin with Edith she had friends to tea every Sunday. When my grandfather retired the family moved from Longford to Belgrave Sq. in Monkstown where my grandfather died in 1912. I believe he was 15 -20 years older than Nina. He was a lawyer (or barrister) briefless according to George Moore, and until his marriage spent most of his time hunting with the Galway Blazers. Nina and my mother continued to live in Dublin after 1912. My grandmother was very Nationalistic - of her ancestors she admired most John Moore, her granduncle, of the 1798 rebellion. Her nationalistic outlook led her to "put up" in her house in Dublin men ' on - the - run' in 1916. My grandmother was, of course, very upset when her eldest son Jack was shot down in flames over France in 1918. He had transferred to the Royal Flying Corps the previous year after service in the Cameroons with the Munster Fuseliers. While in the Cameroons he contracted Blackwater fever, a severe form of Malaria, and was nursed back from near death by Irish Brothers that had been educated at Ballinafad House - his grandmother's old home. After her daughters and son were married, Nina moved to London. It had to do with financial problems as in those days pensions ended when the husband died. George and her younger brother Julian were also in London at the time. One of my earliest recollections of my grandmother was her sending me 1 notes on my birthdays in the late 1920's and also bundles of the Daily Mirror containing a comic strip I liked, Pip, Squeek and Wilfred In the summer of 1934 my parents and I went to stay with her in Dublin. We hired a car and drove to Mayo, staying at McEllins Hotel in Balla for a few days. Nina had stayed there the year before for her brother's funeral on Castle Island. She brought the urn with her from London and had it in the hotel with her. I remember well walking with my mother from Balla to Moore Hall - the others drove, including Mr. McEllin who was very kind to us. We met the Moore Hall steward James Reilly there and all went out to Castle Island. Mr. McEllin and I rowed I was very tired after the long walk and I expect Mr. McEllin did most of the work. My grandmother refused to go up from the lake shore to look at the ruin of her home, finding it much too sad. She liked her brother George, he did not get along with the rest of his family - especially after about 1912. My mother wanted to take me to see George in London in 1930 but my grandmother said not to go as he would probably be very rude and not see us - of course his illness at that time probably made him cranky. Nina got along well with Maurice and her other close relatives for the most part.




MOORES from YORK to MAYO * Thomas More = Mary Apadam b.1635 Flint, Wales Barnborough, York Captain George Moore = Catherine Maxwell b.1666 Ashbrook Castle Teeling,(Vice - Admiral Connaught fought Scotland with William Battle of the Boyne. Granted land Ashbrook.Buried Templemore) George Moore = Sarah Price b. 1680 d.1717 Foxford


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