The Aran Islands comprised 3 parishes: Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore, all in the barony of Aran, county Galway. At the time of the Acts of Settlement the islands were granted to Richard [Butler] Earl of Arran.
From the mid 18th century they belonged to the Digby family of Landenstown, county Kildare, a junior branch of the Digby family granted the title Baron Digby of Geashill in 1620. The Digbys bought the islands from John Richard Fitzpatrick and Sir Stephen Fox. The islands had been granted to Richard Butler, Earl of Arran, in 1669. The issue of ''The Connaught Journal'' dated 4 June 1840 reported the marriage of John William Digby of Landenstown and landlord of the islands of Arran with Frances Georgina Townsend.
By the time of Griffith's Valuation the Aran Islands were in the possession of Peter Barfoot, his wife Henrietta and her sister Elizabeth Digby. Henrietta and Elizabeth were sisters of John William Digby. In the 1870s Henrietta Barfoot and Elizabeth Digby each owned 5596 acres in county Galway.
By the early 20th century the islands appear to have been owned by the Guinness family, Baron Ardilaun, who was negotiating with the Congested Districts' Board for the sale of the islands by March 1916.
In the early 19th century Digby Devenish, revenue officer, was a prominent resident of the Aran Islands. In 1803 he married Elizabeth Digby of Aran and during the following 20 years their children were baptized in St Nicholas Church, Galway.
Archival History ↴
Acquired by the James Hardiman Library in the 1990s.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Digby Estates ↴
Photocopy of letter of appointment of Mr. Martin Hernon of Kilmurvey as bailiff for the land agent (Mr. George Thompson) of the Digby estates. It outlines his duties and wages.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
One item only – no arrangement applicable
Conditions of Access & Use
The material in this collection is open to all bona fide researchers, and subject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at the James Hardiman Library, NUI, Galway.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
No material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist and reproductions are subject to to the conditions of access.
Dublin: National Archives of Ireland: Documents relating to the Digby family's interests and property on Aran Islands and in Co Kildare, 1688-1956. M. 1023.
Dublin: National Archives of Ireland: Miss Digby's account & rental, Arran Islands, Nov 1891-Nov 1892 & a list of householders in Arran not having farms, 1838-1839. Small Private Accessions No 1/689. M.1462 & 1456.
Tuam: Tuam Diocesan Archives: Fr. Martin J. Heaney Collection, Mayo Abbey, refers to how the Digbys came to hold the Aran Islands. P45/09/03: 47.
GALLAGHER, Bríd. The evolution of the agrarian structure of the Digby estate, 1840-1880. Unpublished B.Ed. thesis. Carysfort College of Education, 1987.
Descriptive Control Area
Kieran Hoare; Fergus Fahey
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions
1999, Revised 2007