The History of Delamain Lodge

The History of Delamain Lodge
(and a few other related tid-bits)

This One Is For Harriet. Without her participation, and enthusiastic enjoyment, of what has to be the premier
Branick Family Foible, we would not now have our “Delamain Lodge”.     -R.I.B May, 2011


The Author, Robert I. Branick

The Author, Robert I. Branick

The following information is the result of 33 years of Branick family snooping, searching, conversing, corresponding, visiting, exploring, and, excavating.

Specifics will be listed later. For now, suffice it to say they include library searches, history books, monographs, pamphlets, countless conversations, and correspondence from the U. S., Ireland, France, Wales, and New Zealand.

Field trips took us as far as the Delamain Cellars in Jarnac, France, and as near as the castles of south Galway. There were, of course, many other personal observations and experiences.

Older friends and historians in Kinvara, all gone now, were happy to share their wisdom, memories, and advice. Some of their thoughts were recorded (though not all carefully filed). As for the rest, many were so unique and interesting, remembering them has not been a problem – yet.

Current Kinvara friends, and historians interested in local, Delamain, O’Heynes, and O’Shaughnessy history, are still contributing. Additions and corrections to this “History” are certain.

Delamain family dates vary by several years, depending on the source. The dates chosen were those most consistent, and best in keeping with the flow of events.

Almost everything mentioned is based on the above sources, or conclusions related thereto. Occasionally, common sense was the primary resource, and these occasions will be obvious (cf. Eillis’ lying-in, and James’ birth), and are open to discussion.

Compliments, constructive criticisms, and documented historical additions or corrections are sought, and welcomed. Idle speculation will be ignored.

Some old history of the old house:

In Brief:

1842 Charcoal Sketch of Dunguaire Castle

1842 Charcoal Sketch of Dunguaire Castle (click to view larger)

It is generally accepted that Delamain Lodge was built on, or of, the remains of the 16th C. “Kinvara Castle” (or one of its out-buildings) in the townland of BallyBranaghan. That castle and Dun Guaire Castle have been referred to as the “twin towers of Kinvara”.

The castle of Ballybranaghan was destroyed, probably by Cromwellians, or at the very latest, King Billie’s boys in 1690. The Lisbon earthquake, 1755, probably did not help. In any event, many of its stones were taken for construction when the nearby pier was improved by Richard Gregory of Coole in 1808. Still, there are tantalizing stones, walls, and old foundations remaining in the grounds, testifying to the ancient history of the old “cottage”. The walls in the lower rooms have been described as 500 – 600 years old (cf. “Downstairs”). The walls in the upper half are about 300 years old. The entry gate, Georgian fireplaces, cornices, etc. are obviously very new – probably no more than 200 years old.

The castle in BallyBranaghan was one of several O’Heynes castles in the area. They, and their surrounding townlands, were confiscated in the 1640’s and given to a Cromwell officer (Col. Cary Dillon). The lands – including Kinvara –  then passed through a succession of landlords including the Frenches, DeBasterots, Gregorys, Comerfords, Sharpes, etc – most, benevolent – one, (Comerford), heartless. The O’Heynes clan, dispersed and disorganized, ceased to be a presence.

The Daly family lived in Delamain Lodge in the early 19th C., and in the 1840’s, the Catholic Church obtained the Lodge, and it served as the parish house (presbytery) until 1976 – initially leased, then purchased “freehold” in 1900.


In the 17th – 18th centuries, “informal” (contraband) trade in wines, cognacs, tobacco, and arms, between the west of France, and the west of Ireland, for wool and beef, thrived.

The Irish, and English Delamain familys’ original French ancestor, a Huguenot from Paris (cf. Delamain Geneology), was knighted by the unfortunate Charles I and appointed a member of the English Court. He managed to survive Cromwell, and his descendants prospered. In Ireland since 1639, they had wealthy estates, successful legitimate Dublin businesses, and were respected members of Irish society, having completely assimilated as Anglican French-Irish (Hugenout origin acknowledged).

It seems young Captain William Delamain (1713 – 1793) was a bit of a rogue (at least by polite, contemporary, English standards). The fourth son of the fourth generation of this Knighted, wealthy, aristocratic family, he chose to continue the contraband Kinvara and O’Shaughnessy trade connections of his much older French acquaintance, Chevalier De Tourville. Most shocking, his south Galway acceptance was such that, c. 1737, he married Hannah (Eilis), a Catholic daughter of south Galway Gaelic Chieftain, Roebuc O’Shaughnessy (later to be “The O’Shaughnessy”).

Smuggler's Pier

The current, restored Smuggler’s Pier jutting into Galway Bay.

A product of this very unusual – probably unique – union, was Delamain Lodge. It has been suggested, the original cottage, probably built of 16c. castle ruins, was given as a “dowry”. The fact that it had a small stone pier with a tunnel running to a cellar, would have been quite convenient for contraband trade.

The second product of this marriage was an Irish son, James (cf. Eilis).

Illegal trade continued through the 18th c., by which time, the English had begun intercepting smugglers heading for Kinvara. A coast guard depot was established in a small house near the pier, next to Brogan’s arch (subsequently said to be the home of Paddy O’Laughlin’s mother, and now Paddy and Eilene themselves).

Whether this “Custom House” was for the storage, sampling, or selling of the confiscated cargo, is not known. Since the “interceptions” were carried out by a regiment of foot, the coast guards (“Marines”) obviously, were not the ones spending their time tramping around the rocky fields of BallyBranigan, Croshua, or Duras, chasing wild Irish smugglers.
Eilis (Hannah) (c.1720-1738):

Mary Forde

Mary Fordes talking with Bob Branick, Sr. and Bob Branick, Jr.

Delamain tradition tells us that Capt. Wm.’s first wife’s first name was Hannah. Grandmother Mary Forde (previous keeper of the keys at Fidane Castle – not one to have been messed with, and no longer with us) told us “Hannah” was not a proper baptismal old Irish name. It is a “pet” name (“nick-name” in the U. S.).

Sir William Hannikin, Knight Master, King Of Arms Of All Ireland, in an officious Dublin Castle heraldry document dated 1785, tells us her name was Elizabeth (the English version of Irish Gaelic’s “Eilis”).

Nowhere in O’Shaughnessy family history books is the name Hannah mentioned, and Roebuc O’Shaughnessy’s children (including Eilis) were the only generation appropriate for Capt. Wm.’s marriage (and, sadly, the last of the O’Shaughnessy chieftains, Eilis’ brother, Joseph).

A recent historian says her name was Hannah Frances. One of her French granddaughters was named Frances Elizabeth. It is noted that Capt. Wm. had a sister named Hannah.

As brief and tragic as the relationship was, it seems “Hannah” must have been a compromise between “Eilis” – far too Gaelic for polite Dublin Society – and, “Elizabeth” – unacceptable to a dispossessed Gaelic family, with lingering memories of Elizabeth I’s pillage of Ireland.

Delamain tradition tells us that Hannah – Eilis – was very young (about 17) when she married Capt. William (about age 24) in 1737. She gave birth to the eventually renowned James, and died shortly after, presumably from complications of childbirth (probably post partum problems such as hemorrhage or sepsis, as her already delivered son survived. Irrespective, it would not have been pleasant).

Being of an old large Irish country family, such a young girl would not likely have left her Galway parents, sisters, and home to join a sea captain, and have a baby in the strangeness of Dublin’s society (did she even speak proper Dublin English, or wear proper English shoes?).

The O’Shaughnessys had been driven from their last castle – Fidane – in 1729. Young Eilis O’Shaughnessy likely spent some of her early years at Fidane, close to Kinvara, but she gave birth to Capt. William Delamain’s first son – and died, c.1738, almost certainly in her own Kinvara home – the “cottage” that inherited her marriage – perhaps the reason the name still exists, and the story endures.

It is possible, of course, that James was born elsewhere. Unfortunately, Irish birth records did not exist at that time. If, as believed, he was born in Kinvara, he was brought to Dublin at a fairly early age – after his father’s second marriage would have been a logical time.

He was christened in Dublin (Parish of St. Peter & St. Kevin), and probably spent his early years in Dublin.

The Delamains:

Capt. William remarried, a year after Eilis’ death – this time, a proper British lady, Mary Auckland, the daughter of Major Dudley Auckland, “36th.Regt., E.I.C.S.”. She bore him two (English) sons, both of whom (not surprisingly) had careers in the East Indies Constabulary Service. That branch of the family has not been mentioned in any of our Delamain correspondence since Kinta D’s last (2000).

Capt. Wm.’s first (Irish) son, James, was sent to France in 1751 (age 13), to learn French, and the Cognac business. It has been suggested, his English step-mother may have influenced this decision – essentially his exile.

James’ guardian and tutor in France, Mr. Peter Brihon, was French of Irish origin. He is known to have been successful in contraband wine and cognac trade between Cognac and the Isle of Man, a renowned transit point for smuggling in the 18th C.

The Isle of Man was a possession of the Count of Derby, and Capt. Wm’s mother was a niece of the Countess of Derby. His travels between Brest and Duras on the “White Rose” in the 1740’s would have exposed him to these trade – and family – connections, and likely introduced him to Mr. Brihon (“Duras” is a townland at the confluence of Kinvara, and Galway bays in south County Galway. Ocean-going smugglers offloaded at Duras to shallow drafted hookers for the trip down tidal Kinvara Bay).

James learned the cognac business very well. He maried Marie Ranson, the only child of a successful cognac merchant. He maximized the business opportunities of his combined Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant heritages, and, established the precursor of the famous Jarnac cognac firm, known today as Delamain & Co. (still owned and managed by James’ Delamain descendants). He had a successful (French) family, and, as far as is known, never returned to Ireland.

Aside from sailing his ship, “White Rose”, from Brest to Duras in the 1740’s, and his Kinvara O’Shaughnessy connections, nothing additional has been learned of Capt.Wm.’s early years.

In his book about the history of Kilmacduagh, (1893), Fr. J. Fahey, D.D., describes Capt. Delamain’s Kinvara vaults as being full of brandies and tobaccos of great quality and value. While describing “mysterious cargoes which frequently arrived from abroad”, he avoids conclusions.

We have not been able to find Capt. Wm’s “White Rose” – yet.

New Zealand Delamain family historians had interesting thoughts about their ancestors.

Cresswell D. wrote in 1982, since boyhood, he had been told “…at least two of them were very much engaged in the smuggling business.” He was the first to suggest Capt. Wm. might have been the owner of the newly discovered Galway Bay (Kinvara) home.

Brenda D. wondered if we had uncovered a smuggling scheme – Bordeaux to Galway Bay to London where cousin Henry had a wine business (Speaking of her English ancestors: “However, though they were perhaps evaders of the law – they do not appear to have been nabbed, and were NOT convicts” (i. e.transported to Australia, a possibility suggested by an Oakland CA. relative).

About 1758, Capt. William Delamain was appointed “Marshall of Dublin” (c. age 45). After serving this position honorably for 30 years, he moved to France in 1788, and lived with his Irish son’s French family until his death in 1793 (about age 80). They were obviously not estranged. If they had earlier “business” connections, they were very discrete.

What became of Mary Auckland Delamain or her English military sons is unknown, and, in actual fact, of little interest – to us.

Delamain Lodge, along with its furniture, was offered for sale by auction on March 25, 1793, (Connaught Journal). This could have been related to Capt. Wm.’s death, but definitely coincided with the end of south Galway’s smuggling enterprises.

The name of the house endures, but otherwise, this marks the end of the Delamain presence in Kinvara – ethereal as it was. Prior to our 1982 letters, our Delamain corespondents had no records, or knowledge of any sort, of a Delamain “Western White House”. They were aware, of course, of the O’Shaughnessy connection.

The O’Shaughnessys, in the meantime, their lands confiscated by the English, struggled on. A few Kinvara descendants, their lands presumably no longer confiscated, are still our good friends. The remnants of the O’Heynes clan – dispossesed, disorganized, and dispersed – have only recently begun to reassert their heritage (cf. James Heynes).

The transition:

  The lease of Delamain Lodge was sold at auction in 1793 – about the time of Capt. Wm.’s death in France.  We do not know who was living in, or caring for, the house, at that time.  Perhaps his earlier in-laws, the O’Shaughnessys, from whom it had almost certainly originated, and with whom he had earlier close contacts.  In any event, historians tell us  smuggling continued on Galway bay until the end of the 18th C., and, as has been suggested, Delamain Lodge was one terminus.

  A prominent Galway family, the Dalys,  lived in Delamain Lodge early in the 19th C.  We believe it was about this time that the cottage was enlarged, and given its elegant Georgian features – gated driveway, entry door, marble fireplaces, etc.

    An old historian told us “after the Dalys, came the church”, and that one of the last of the Kinvara Dalys died fighting for the Boers in the Anglo-Boer war  (c. 1900).

The Church:

The Catholic church owned the lease,  at least by the late 1840’s.  Fr. Francis Arthur  (P.P. 1847-1866)  lived there after Fr. P. Forde’s heroic death (Dec. 25, 1847), (and paid William H. Gregory 13 Pounds for the lease of Delamain Lodge). We haver no residence records preceding Fr. Arthur’s – yet – but have been told Delamain Lodge was the parish house well before Fr. Arthur’s appointment.

Fr. Arthur had previously been Canon Forde’s parish assistant (Curate). He would have lived in Delamain Lodge, and answered the Parish’s needs, as he watched Fr. Forde die, either from “the Fever” (Typhus), or “the bloody flux” (Cholera), diseases to which he had been repeatedly exposed as he ministered to his ill and dying parishioners.

It is not surprising Fr. Arthur became an outspoken critic of Britain’s inept, indifferent efforts to alleviate the suffering of the time.  It is also not surprising that he offered refuge to a fugitive from the abortive “Young Irelander’s”  1848 rebellion.  Of the three leaders of that movement, John Blake Dillon was the only one to escape capture.  He was a friend of Fr. Arthur’s parish assistant priest (curate), Fr. Martin Kelly, and made his way to Kinvara where the priests gave him refuge.

On learning that the English had been alerted to his presence, the priests disguised Dillon in clerical garb.  Fr Kelly led him out of Delamain Lodge and  across the rocky fields of BallyBranaghan, Townagh, and Croshua, to a farm house in Duras.  A Kinvara fisherman, John Holland, previously alerted, met them there.  He sailed them across Galway Bay on an adventurous, wild, trip to the Aaron Islands, from whence Dillon escaped to the United States (In the U. S., Dillon found a number of  “Young Irelander” co-conspirators, including  co-leader, Australia escapee, Brig. Gen.Thomas F. Meagher, commander of the renowned Irish “Fighting 69th”  Brigade, during the war between the states).

Fr. Kelly, recovered from “mal de mer”, returned from Aaron to his priestly duties.

Fr. John Maloney replaced Fr. Arthur about 1870.  Besides his parish achievements, which were major, he is remembered for planting the large trees around the walls and house, now huge, and unique for the neighborhood.

Fr. Tom Burke was the next P.P., and he stayed on a very long time.  He was quite aged and ill at the time of the 1916 Easter uprising, and almost certainly aware his curate, Fr. John O’Meehan, was an avid Irish Nationalist, and the quartermaster of  the Galway brigade of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (I.R.B.), precursor of the I.R.A..  It was rumored Fr. O’Meehan had smuggled guns, through Delamain Lodge, to the Galway Volunteers.  The authorities in Gort were told of this, and on learning of Easter Monday’s Dublin revolt, made plans to arrest Fr.O’Meehan that night.

Galway Volunteer, Capt. Liam Mellows, also had plans for Fr. O’Meehan.  He dispatched Vol.s Padraig O’Fathaigh and Tom Odea, with a driver, Vol. Morrissey, to Kinvara to rescue Fr. O’Meehan, and bring him to Volunteer headquarters at Killeneen – that same night!

In the early, dark, hours of Tues. morning, the Irish Volunteer escorts arrived at Delamain’s gates shortly after the arresting authorities.  In the ensuing confusion and melee shots were fired.   No one was injured, but it is accepted, in the Irish rebellion of 1916, the first shots fired in the west of Ireland were outside the gates of Delamain Lodge.  Pauric O’Faithaig was captured by the British,  but released after the general amnesty a year later.

Fr. O’Meehan, forewarned, had earlier left for a “safe house”.  He later returned to his priestly  parish duties in Kinvara, and remained  active in recruiting, organizing, and giving spiritual advice to the I. R. B. recruits.  Later,  Bishop O’ Dea transferred him to  Rahoon Parish, Mont Pellier Terrace, Salthill, where the  “Volunteer’s Priest” continued his republican activities.  He escaped capture by the British during the rebellion – several times, in very close calls.  His parishmate, Fr. Griffin, was not as fortunate. In their fury for missing Fr.O’ Meehan in a 1921 raid, the English “Auxies” summarily executed Fr. Griffin. His body was dumped in a shallow grave near Barna where grazing cows indicated his remains (the road on which the priests lived in Salt Hill    Mt Pellier Terrace – is now Fr. Griffin Road).

Bishop O’Dea, wisely, sent Fr. O’Meehan to Scotland for the duration of the rebellion.  He returned to Ireland after the truce, and died, April 12, 1923 – from a ruptured appendix!

Fr. Burke had previously died in 1917. His successor, Canon Fahy, P.P (1918), was very energetic.  First, he “closed” the tunnel.  He then had the thatch roof removed, raised the gables, and installed the slate roof.  This required installation of huge attic beams, strapped together with iron in the “King”s Post” fashion. 

Local lads had been enlisted to help remove the thatch, and were rewarded at the end of the day with a meal (remains of the thatch coated the attic floor, including the old electric wires and junction boxes, until the ceilings were replaced 60 years later). 

Fr. Fahy later installed the first back door out to the garden, now in the center of the house, and then added the small extension which included the first bathroom. (This allowed the outhouse to be retired with honors.  Its business end became a dump for old bottles, many of which are now proudly displayed in the wash room. )      

Canon Fahy  is also remembered for blessing the remains of the Laughnane brothers – tortured to death by the Auxies – in spite of serious personal risk.

Cannon Garrihy became P.P. in 1944.  He was a proud athlete, and a large picture of him in his football uniform dominated the parish office (now the sitting room), along with his many trophies – apparently quite intimidating to those seeking permission for marriage, baptism, burials, etc.

In 1950, parish volunteers constructed the bungalow up the “Green Road” (now Mickey Sullivan’s family home), for the curate’s residence, and, in 1954 they constructed the final Delamain extension, which included the present kitchen, an adjacent room (now the washroom),  and another bathroom – all said to be for the housekeeper.  The downstairs was then abandoned, and allowed to mildew and decay for 25 years.

Canon Mulkerrrin followed, and was the last priest in residence, as  Bishop Browne sold the property out from under him, in 1976, to a small Galway corporation. The village was stunned, and rumors were rampant, esp. after one of “His Lordship’s” relatives bought the lodge a year later.

We visited the last housekeeper in residence, Katie Killeen, at Maryfield Nursing Home in Athenry, about 1985.  The staff were amazed she was receptive to us.  Among other pithy comments, she told us she refused to milk the cow, or slaughter the chickens – “if he wanted milk, he could buy it”.  This would have been during Canon Garrihy’s term.

The barn was abandoned shortly after Katie’s rebellion. The chopping block, discovered outside the lower door, is now a light stand in the lower bedroom.

Thus ended the official ecclesiastical, and unofficial revolutionary, history of Delamain Lodge.  Besides demolition remnants in the barn, generated by repairs to St. Colman Church, the only artifacts saved thus far have been an old wooden kneeler, found in the attic, and a very old, ornately carved wooden candle holder, discovered when the new sewage line was dug, now on a shelf in the kitchen.  There were a last rites anointing  kit and a number of  framed religious pictures in the barn when we first inspected, but they quickly disappeared.

 (Note:  In 1982, we were pleasantly surprised by a visit from San Francisco Salesian priest friend, Fr. Larry Byrne.   He was the first to bless the house for us, and said Mass in the sitting room on an old kitchen table salvaged from the back yard (later repaired by Brian Honan (Gort), and now in the downstairs kitchen).  Cousin, Sr. Joan Clement B.V.M., began her regular visits shortly after, and over the years, left rosaries and scapulas hanging throughout. To date, they have not been disturbed.  Her Denver pastor, Fr. Mel Thompson, started his regular visits soon after, and cousin Fr. Charles Durkin did likewise, leaving the small St. Francis shrine in the kitchen representing San Francisco, and the “Star Of the Sea” plaque (the name of his last parish), now by the first “back door”.  Shortly after, Canon Mulkerrin’s successor, Kinvara’s current P.P., Fr. Frank Larkin, lived in Delamain Lodge for six months while arranging for the new parish house.

Finally, Fr. Patrick Frietag, P.P. St. Monica parish, Mercer Island WA, visited in 2011 to start his “Sabbatical”.  He said daily Mass to pray for all associated with the house (including those from the distant past  – cf. “Paranormal”). His gift, the Holy Water font from Knock, is just inside the front door.

In spite of Bishop Browne’s controversial sale, Delamain Lodge has not exactly  been a devotional desert.

Some recent history of the old house:

Here come the Yanks!:

In the three years following the Bishop’s sale of Delamain Lodge, a few interior repairs had been attempted.  After closure of the “Delamain Lodge Seafood Restaurant”,  the property was again offered for sale by auction.

Friend Jarlath O’Connor (San Francisco, Ca / Milltown, Co. Galway), having previously alerted us to the sale, arranged for our interests to be secretly represented at the event – Great Southern Hotel, Galway (we have subsequently learned, there are very few secrets in Irish villages).               

By May, 1979, the California Branick family owned a historic old Irish country home.  Harriet  agreed to the purchase sight unseen (“If you really want an Irish house, it’s O.K., we can have an Irish house.”). The often asked question,”why”, has yet to be answered.

Damage Control:

Over the next 30 years, the entire house – interior and exterior – was repainted, restored, or replaced.  Sean Conole (Townagh) was the first tradesman to come to the rescue, upgrading the kitchen and bathrooms to a functioning level, just days before our first Kinvara family vacation (1979). Grandparents, Irene and Brennan Davis spent that entire “vacation” cleaning, painting, and repairing the interior.  Jarlath, with the help of Johnny Fahy (Townagh) had already furnished the bedrooms with 150 year old iron beds, complete with horse-hair mattresses, from the old abandoned Imperial Hotel in Lisdoonvarna (just recently replaced), and very old, hand made, wooden chairs from a Polish Jewish furniture company – Mundus & J. Kohn (obviously no longer in existence, but still mentioned on the Internet).

 Johnny’s wife, Mary (no longer with us), looked after the interior in our absence, in the early years.

 Tommy McCormick (Kinvara) salvaged the outbuildings, rebuilt stone walls, and replaced rotted wooden windows.  The family pitched in with their daily chores (Harriet’s philosophy was “work a day – play a day”).

Around 1984, we were introduced to “decorator” David Flaherty (an expert in “very, very, old houses”).  For the next 25 years, David devoted his time and expertise to restoring and improving the house and gardens.  He occasionally made a firm suggestion, but usually prefaced his remarks with “Wouldn’t it be lovely, if…….”.  If, however, he found anything to be “pure rotten”, there was no hesitation.  The repair would be finished before our next visit.

David enjoyed surprising us with special improvements – rosettes around the chandeliers,  a stone barbecue with matching table and benches, “Heritage” colors in the interior, etc. Best of all, he found two hairy donkeys and a pony!  His wife Bridie, and the Flaherty sons (Gort) soon became very involved.  They had to, if they ever wanted to see David!

The magnitude of the eventual total job would have been almost too intimidating, if known beforehand, but nothing intimidated our contractor – decorator – friend, David Flaherty (1946-2009) – “Keeper of the Keys, and Master at Arms”  (Bridie and her “boys” have filled the void, while continuing David’s traditions).

Some special projects were particularly interesting:


The downstairs was initially tolerated, but after Harriet’s cousins, the Murphys from Cork, told us creatures of the night were scurrying around behind the chipboard walls, action was forced.    

 The job was the same in all rooms   The chipboard was removed, along with generations of decayed wall paper, and damp crumbly plaster (plus a few mummified carcasses).   The original stone walls were still secure. Some interesting findings were uncovered – a deep recess in the scullery wall above a still functioning scullery sink (all previously sealed off), evidence of a past fireplace fire, etc.

The hope was to accent the stones with pointing, but they were too irregular in size, shape, and texture.  David explained this was typical of 500 – 600 year old construction.  Rough textured white plaster was applied throughout – also typical of 500 – 600 year old construction.

The fireplace was rebuilt using the fireplace stones from the old “Black and Tan” barracks in Gort – the same fireplace that warmed the British authorities before they were dispatched to Delamain Lodge in the 1848 and 1916 incidents previously mentioned, and, possibly, even from the old O’Shaughnessey Gort Castle.

The ceiling beams were uncovered, cleaned of old nails, creosoted, and left exposed (interesting fragrance that summer).  The cement kitchen floor and stairs were surfaced with slate from Moher, and finally, a double core radiator was installed in each room.

Harriet then began enthusiastically furnishing, and decorating an 18th C, Irish country kitchen, along with its two old bedrooms and scullery.


 Whether to level or repair the outbuilding ruins was decided by another of Harriet’s philosophies – “They were here before we were”.

As mentioned, Tommy McCormick agreed to save the old buildings – rebuilt walls, new roofs, doors, and shutters.  A large opening in the center of the barn was reconstructed with a stone arch Tommy found in a ruin in the countryside.  The animals, hay, donkey carts, and the old Massey-Ferguson tractor now had proper homes.   

Of great importance, the two-holer seat over the business end of the outhouse was saved, and stored in one of the sheds, just in case.


The household water was collected off the roof, stored in a cistern, and pumped to the attic as needed.  The Regional Hospital laboratory found it fit for human consumption (after a ceramic filter was installed, the tiny bugs swimming around in flower vases were no longer visible – reassuring).  In dry spells, the roof run-off was supplemented by a Ballindereen water truck (its water out of a local river, nearby cattle notwithstanding).

The existing system functioned as well as could be expected, until the summer of 1987, when three U. S. Congressmen and their wives were coming for their first ever Irish vacation, arranged by cousin Dan Flanagan (Wash. D. C.).   

We went over shortly before the visit to be sure all was well.  It had been a very dry summer, the cistern was almost empty, and the Ballindereen truck was no longer in service!

Again, the village came to the rescue.  Toddy Byrne, was a good friend, highly respected, and wise to the ways of Irish bureaucrats.  On learning of the crisis, he  delayed his vacation exit (he was literally backing out of his driveway when approached), took us first, up the hill to the man in charge of the Kinvara waterworks for a permission slip, then down the road to the local county engineer for another signed paper, and then to Tommy McCormick to arrange for an immediate hook-up.  David Flaherty was alerted for the in-house plumbing adjustments, and Toddy, justifiably satisfied with a job well done, drove off on his “holiday”, after about an hour’s delay.

The Congressional delegation had a wonderful Irish vacation.  They thanked us and cousin Dan profusely, and left very special gifts from the Capitol as expressions of their gratitude.

Only in Ireland……..

The pier, the tunnel, and the cellar:

Historians have described a tunnel  connecting the pier to the cellar – sounds reasonable.  The location of the pier was obvious. Its foundation was clearly visible at lower tides .  At the base of this foundation, a few feet above high tide, there was a cave-in, including the overlying stone wall, probably deliberate, and long overgrown with bushes and weeds.  It was eventually repaired.  Fortunately, we have a pre-repair photograph taken in 1979.  When no more  practical projects  were available, the old stone “jetty” was restored, starting in 2005.  Permission to finish was eventually granted, and the “smuggler’s pier” was resurrected.

What about the cellar?

In the 1793 notice of auction, the description of the house included the mention of a “cellar”.  Though “extensive vaults” were also described by Fr. J. Fahey in 1893 –  in connection with suspected smuggling –  their location was a mystery.

The remains of the cellar were discovered by pure accident.  Just as  the pier project was getting underway, we received a very early morning phone call from a very excited David.  Along with his sons, he had been digging a new drainage ditch for household (grey) water, and came into the collapsed remains of what must have been a very large underground room. 

The large stones, many with smooth faces and cement remnants, extended  beyond the depth and perimeter of David’s excavation.  Those extracted can be seen lining the planters, pathways  and curbs in front of the house, most are still undisturbed – cellar located, though, in a rather sad state of repair.

That left the tunnel.

About 25 years ago, nonagenarian Ritchie Burke (Kinvara) proudly told us of his adventure with friend Mickie Greene exploring the tunnel in 1917.  About 10 feet in, their candles blew out, and they fled in fright (maybe ghosts?).  He clearly remembered a cut lintel stone over the entrance, which was down at the end of the sea wall (i.e. at the pier).  This would have been shortly after Curate O’Meehan’s    I..R. B. arms smuggling adventure. In 1982,  Mr. Quinn (Croshua) mentioned that while he was helping with the new roof, Canon Fahy “closed” the tunnel.  He thought it was about 1917.

The tunnel has been described as running from the pier to the cellar.  A line drawn from the cave-in at the base of the pier to the caved-in cellar runs  straight across the barnyard – itself artificially raised well above the level of MacInerney’s adjacent field,  supported by a stone wall.  The distance from pier to cellar is, perhaps, 30 yards..

It is probably not prudent to put in writing the source of the following observations and conclusions.  Suffice it to say, excavations along the line from the pier to the caved-in cellar would come upon construction rubble starting at a depth of about three feet –  stones, cement remnants, and, interestingly, some old tan fenestrated bricks (bricks had been used as ballast on the old sailing ships).   Of course, some of this would have been saved for investigation, in case anyone was interested.  If David had been present at such an exploration, he would have said, “Well, something was  down there, that’s for sure!”.

While the findings of such an excavation could initially seem disappointing, they would have supported long held suspicions.  Canon Fahy was extremely thorough in solving the nuisance of the smuggler’s tunnel, and its terminus, the cellar (both almost certainly wet and rat infested by that time).

Smuggler’s tunnel located, though also in a very sad state of repair.


It seems every very old, large, Irish house has its own resident spirit(s).  Delamain Lodge was always very quiet in that regard.  Recently, however, there have been some suggestions of change.

The report, six years ago, of tattered, starving, peasants, clinging to the lower carriage gate, begging for food, was, admittedly, a bit dramatic.  It is known, however, that Fr.s Ford and Arthur were receptive to the starving, and as generous as they could be, sacrificing and working tirelessly for those ill and dying during the 1840s’ famine.  Fr. Ford, in fact, died a martyr to that cause, almost certainly in Delamain Lodge. His spirit has, obviously, been at peace.

Ellis’ spirit, in the meantime, may be making a presence (though not a problem).  The usual reports of lingering hallway perfumes, an unexplained blur in a sitting-room photo, lovely young ladies in a nocturnal hallway, are all interesting, but not worrysome.  Perhaps she has just been waiting all this time to be found, and is now thanking us for our interest.

It has been suggested we pray for such a spirit – also not a problem, now that we believe we know who she is.


One of the first responsibilities of which we were advised after the purchase of our Irish folly, was to introduce ourselves to Mrs. Tiffy Moylan. Tiffy Winkle Moylan – the unofficial “Queen of Kinvara”- and her husband Kieran, (both now gone) ran the family’s famous old hotel and pub, “Winkles” (no longer extant), on the small town square (now, barely extant). Tiffy was intensly curious about, and probably knew most of, everything going on in Kinvara.

After introducing ourselves, I explained our Kinvara presence. Tiffy stared from behind the bar for a seccond or two, then quietly folded her towel, came out from behind, took my hand and silently led us to the adjacent small hotel parlor. There, in no more than 20-25 minutes, she learned the entire Calif. Branick family history, including our professions, Irish connections, finances, etc. Kieran, dutifully, tended the bar.

Apparently satisfied, Tiffy brought us back to the bar for a glass of Guiness – on the house. As she served it, she shook her head and said, “You are very young to be making such an expensive purchase – don’t forget to buy your petrol at our pump”.

Her husband, Kieran, quiet and reflective, was a retired school master with an avid interest in Irish history – local and national. He was obviously pleased that someone had an interest in the history and future of the old house. He was the first to point out its name on an old ordinance survey map (misspelled), and told us of the “Castle of BallyBranaghan”, and the tradition of the “twin towers of Kinvara”. He told us of the tunnel, with its smuggling tradition. and introduced us to the abortive tunnel explorer, old Richie Burke (mentioned previously). He was always interested in, and enjoyed, our findings and progress.

Years later, just before Tiffy and Kieran left the pub for good, we had our usual conversation about the summer visit. We mentioned how much the family enjoyed Delamain Lodge. Tiffy responded with a prediction, “You will never sell Delamain Lodge – once a Yank’s, always a Yank’s”.

So far, Tiffy has been correct.

But we never did buy petrol at her pump.



Below is the paragraph concluding KNIGHT MASTER, KING OF ARMS OF ALL IRELAND, SIR WILLIAM HANNIKINS’ Dublin Castle pronouncement, re. James Delamain’s right to the coat of English Arms given to his G-G-G-grandfather, Nicholas I by King Charles I, in 1639. Circumstances tell us this declaration was sponsored by his father – Capt. William D., who, while Marshall of Dublin and an officer in Dublin Castle, was anticipating retirement, and his life in France with his first son – who seems to have been doing quite well with his large French family, and his a Cognac business (apparently well enough to help fill the legendary Delamain cellar in Kinvara).

About this time, Irish-French expats, many, wine and Cognac merchants, successful enough to worry about heritage and politics, were searching for documentation of their Irish genealogy, heraldry, etc. – perhaps concerned about the outcomes of the interminable wars. Capt. William D. joined the searchers on his son’s behalf.

Obviously, Capt. William D. would not have forgotten his first wife’s first name, nor would his first son, James, have forgotten his own mother’s first name, clearly present at the bottom of the family tree cascade in this important document (along with the dispossessed O’Shaugnessy’s coat of arms – interesting).

The document was Dublin Castle (English) generated, so, of course her name was in English, Elizabeth.

In 18th C. O’Shaugnessy Galway (Kinvara) that name would surely have been rejected, and Eilis, her Irish-Gaelic baptismal name acknowledged instead. It certainly was consistently recorded as such in O’Shaugnessy family history adn genealogy trees with followed.

“Hannah” is not mentioned in Sir Hannikin’s document.

Following the family history chart, with the list of James’ ancestors, we are told:

“To All and Singular to whom these Presents shall come, I Sir William Hanikins Knt Master King of Arms of all Ireland and Knight in Attendance in the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick sendeth Greeting. Know Ye therefore that I the said King of Arms by the Power of Authority to me Granted by his present Majesty King George the III under the Great Seal of the Kingdom of Ireland do hereby Certify that Jame Delamain now of Jarnac in the Kingdom of France Esq is Lawfully descended in a direct line from Sir Nicholas Delamain Knt. and that the Arms above depicted are the proper Arms of the said James Delamain Esq as the Above Genealogy doth appear by Records in my Office adn other Proof lodged therein. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto inscribed my Name & Title and affixed the Seal of the College of Arms and Deeds.
the 7th day of August 1786


A copy of this document is on a wall in the “tasting” (sniffing) room, on Rue Delamain in Jarnac, France, as well as in our files, and possibly still available in Dublin Castle.



The following was found one afternoon while Harriet and I searched the old, very unimpressive, building serving as the Galway Antiquaries Library – behind the Cathedral parking lot. It probably has been upgraded since then.

It obviously refers to Delamain Lodge, as there is nothin else remotely resembing it in the neighborhood or on contemporary maps.

An excerpt from


[VOL. XXXIV] MONDAY, March 25, 1793 [NUMB. 24]

To be SOLD by AUCTION on Thursday the 4th day of April next, a New HOUSE pleasantly situated; within a few Yards West of Kinvara, with Stabling for Four Horses, and other Offices; the House consists of Two Parlours, 15 by 17 Feet; a Hall, 10 by 15 Feet; Four Bed-chambers; Two Rooms for Servants, with Kitchen, Pantry, Dairy, Cellar, and Scullery — The House being Finished in the best manner, with Grates and other fixtures, must make it a desirable Situation for a Watering Lodge, there being a Bathing House and Strand close to the Gate entering the Lawn — The above Concerns are particularly well adapted for any Person willing to carry on Business, as there is a Salt House with two New large Pans, Cisterns, Pump, and every Fixture necessary for carrying on said Business; it has the further advantage of having a complete Quay, close to the Works, where the Fuel can be Landed; there is also about 50 Tons of choice Rock Salt which, with the Salt Pans, will be Sold, with or without the House; also a Variety of Household Furniture. March 25, 1793


This reflects the peculiar English landlordism of the times. Delamain Lodge could be bought and sold, but not the land on which it stood. The land was owned by the ‘landlord’, who charged annual “land rent”. The Gregorys were acknowledged to be benevolent landlords. Fr. Arthur probably did not mind (very much) payin ghte 13 Pounds “land rent” to William H. Gregory (cf. “The Church”).

The result of the auction is not known – yet. We have an idea, but it is speculation so must be ignored.


Sources of information – in no logical order:

History Books:
History of Galway – Hardiman, 1820
Annals of Ireland – Four Masters, translated 1845
Topographical Dictionary of Ireland – Lewis, 1849
The Irish Chieftains, Or, A Struggle For the Crown – Blake Forster, 1872
The Diocese of Kilmacduagh – Fahy, 1893
The Story of an Irish Property – Rait, 1908
Irish Names and Surnames – Woulfe, 1969
The Huguenots and Ireland – Calicott, Gough, Pittman, 1987
A History of Ireland – Somerset-Fry, 1988
The History of Galway – Spellissy, 1999
The Great Shame – Keneally, 1999
The Irish Brandy Houses of 18th C. France – Cullen, 2000
Cognac – The Seductive Saga of the World’s Most Coveted Spirits – Jarrard, 2005
The Hynes of Ireland – Hynes, 2011
The O’Shaughnessys – Hynes, 2011

Booklets, monographs and articles:
Padraig O’ Fathaigh’s War of Independence – O’ Fathaigh, 2000
The First Shot (newspaper article) – O’Fathaigh
O’Shaughnessys of Munster – Scheney, 2008
Kinvara, a Seaport Town In the West of Ireland – O’Connell, 1995
The Delamain Family In Ireland – Parkinson, 1996
Dunguaire Castle – Hynes, 1984
Nat. Archives Witness Statements: Mary (O’Meehan) Leech, Kinvara, 7 Nov., 1954,
Thomas Reidy, Towna, Kinvara, and Micky Hynes, Dungora, Kinvara, May, 1955.
Connaught Journal – March 25, 1793

Brenda Delamain, Keri Keri, New Zealand, 1982
Cresswell Delamain, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1982
Alain Delamain Brastaad, Jarnac, France, 1982-2010
Charles Delamain Brastaad, Jarnac, France, 2010
Kinta Delamain, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, 2007-2010
James P. Hynes, Cardiff, Wales, 1982- 2012

Contributors not previously mentioned:
Sister Cecelia Corless, Mercy convent, Gort
John and Emir Mahony, Kinvara
Rory O’Shaughnessy, Ardrahan
Sean McMahon, Kinvara
Don Delamain, Oakland , CA
Tom Hanlon, Gort
Colum O’Shaughnessy, Kinvara