Nineteenth-century Irish history The Land War Westmeath Manuscripts Collection, Trinity College Library Dublin
Trinity College Dublin
In 2003, Trinity College Library acquired the papers of the Smythe family of Barbavilla, Collinstown, Co Westmeath (MS 11198). The collection traces the family's long connection with Westmeath, from their acquisition of extensive lands in the county in the late 17th century and the construction of their residence, Barbavilla House ca 1730. It also provides an overview of the family's business transactions and the maintenance of the estate over the proceeding generations, through to 1929. A key feature of the collection, and of significant value to scholars of landlordism and agrarian conflict in 19th century Ireland, is the material relating to William Barlow Smythe (1809-1889), who ran the estate from 1830. His papers reflect his early hostility to the Repeal movement, his later conflict with the local Catholic clergy and his relations with tenants prior to and during the Land War, culminating in the eviction of tenants on the Barbavilla estate in March 1882 and a subsequent unsuccessful attempt on his life at Collinstown on 2 April 1882, which resulted in the murder of his sister-in-law, Maria Smythe. The collection also throws light on the activities of the Land League and Ladies Land League in Westmeath and the response of the local Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Castle to agrarian violence.
Exhibited at the second Glucksman Memorial Symposium on June 13th 2007
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