A graphic of a blue unicorn.The Family of Kemmis

Edition 3.3 - 5 June 2020

Kemmis of Ballinacor

The townland of Ballinacor, anciently spelled "Bailinacuire," lies in the parish of Ballinaclash and barony of South Ballinacor, Co. Wicklow, an is situated some for miles west of Rathdrum, in the centre of Wicklow mountains and at the entrance of Glenmalure. For some six centuries after the conquest of Ireland the tribe of O'Byrne, who occuppied this mountainous country, retained their independence and waged war against the English who held various posts along the sea coast, until in the reign of Queen Elizabeth their chief, the celebrated Pheagh Mac Hugh O'Bryne, being slain in Glenmalure their country was gradually occupied by the English. Ballinacor would appear to have been the special property of the head of the tribe, since Pheagh Mc. Hugh had his chief castle or residence on the north side of Ballinacor mountain, where its site may still be traced. It seems probable that this townland with the neighbouring lands was first granted by the Crown to the Rawdon family, as in a Roll of 1667 the following lands are mentioned as being then held by Edward, Lord Viscount Conway and Sir George Rawdon, Bart. viz: Ballynecorr, 1,857 acres, £37.12.0d. : Faninerin, 187 acres, £3.15s.8.75 : Ballyshanterriffe (Ballyshane), 193 profitable and 423 unprofitable acres, £3.18s. 2d : Ballykiery als. Ballycriny aso. Ballycrine, 404 acres 1 rood, £8.19s.11d : Grenane,17 profitable and 22 acres unprofitable, 6s.10.5 : Ballincarragan, 19 profitable and 14 acres unprofitable, 7s.8.5 : Ballinconagh or Ballynetonagh, 180 acres, £3. 12s. 11d : all in the barony of Ballacorre and County of Wicklow. In 1805 Thomas Kemmis(XXIV) of Shaen purchased from the Rawdon family the townlands of Ballynecor, Ballynanty, Ballyshane, Lower Ballycreen, Upper Balycreen, Moneymore, Fananerring, Drumkitt, and Drumgoff, and appears immediately to have settled these lands upon his third son William (XXV), of Killeen upon the latter's marriage. William Kemmis added to the estate the townlands of Upper Ballinatone and Clonerkin, and subsequently his eldest son and successor William Gilbert further added those of Lower Ballinatone and Aughavanagh Ram; all of which are in Ballinaclash parish and contiguous to the townland of Ballinacor. Upon the settlement of the estate upon him in 1805 William Kemmis commenced the erection of the present house, selecting for its site Cawrawn Hill, or Drumkitt as it was then known, an eminence at the foot of Ballinacor mountain. A portion of an old dwelling house known as Drumkitt Lodge is incorporated in the present building. Drumkitt was famous for its medicinal spring, which much valued in bygone days, is still well known in the neighbourhood. Thomas Dineley in his journal, 1681, thus refers to it - "Within a little more than a mile to Ballenderry you cross a river descending from Glandmalurr near which, somewhat above half a mile out of the way, is a spring well or spaw water called Drumkitt. This Spaw is much frequented by people of quality and others during the season. It spouts out of a rock, which it stains of an Orenge tawney colour and the Poole that receives it is rarely without a blew scum." The parish church of Ballinaclash stands in Lower Ballinatone. It is a modern edifice of small dimensions. There are several mural tablets within it to members of the family, and also a memorial East Window in the Chancel: in the churchyard is a family vault.

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Table of Contents
Kemeys of Killeen
Kemmis of Pantêg

John L. & Irene Kemmis