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Annals :: Glencorrib

Glencorrib history:: Robert Dillon-Browne

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Dillon-Browne of Glencorrib

The family originally came from further north in county Mayo, they owned what was left of the Mochorrha castle and lands, previously held by the MacDonnell Gallowglass and they named their mansion Glencorrib house, name which was later given to the townland.

Dillon Arms


Browne Arms


Robert Dillon-Browne was the outstanding member of that family and the most remarkable landlord in our area prior to the famine, quite a character. He was able to amaze the multitudes by his speeches at public meetings, he was well known as a duellist and always carried a pistol with him, he was fond of drink which often left him short of money, and most of all he was a personal friend of Daniel O’Connell whom he strongly supported in as many ways as he could.

As an M.P. for Mayo he helped O’Connell in his obstruction policy in parliament, talking for hours about anything and nothing, and he could talk! One days the British M.P.s started to cough, hoping to make him lose his concentration. He took out his loaded pistol and aimed it towards those M.P.s one by one, that surely stopped the coughing and there was complete silence, eventually broken by the clear voice of O’Connell proclaiming “Good man Dillonm-Browne! You have a sure cure for the cough, a leaden pill”. Robert Browne was a kind and considerate landlord who took good care of his tenants during the famine, but because of his extravagances and mainly his losses during the famine years he died bankrupt

He was succeeded by his eldest son Arthur who had no idea on how to run an estate, some say that he was also simple-minded. A story goes that a man ploughing a field for him and having a foal running beside the mare charged him for a team of horses and that he paid up without question. Eventually with his father’s creditors demanding payment, he had no option but to sell all his estates through the Encumbered Estate Court.

A report in the Connaught ranger by Robert Dillon Browne – 27 October 1843

Robert Dillon Browne, Esq., of Glencorrib, M.P. for Mayo, Head repeal inspector for Connaught.

“Loyal repeal association . We held in Shruel on yesterday the Mayo arbritation court, I had the honor of presiding and was associated with Mr. Hunt of Riverview and Mr. Lynch of Ballycurren castle,1st cousin of Charles Lynch,who, in the absence of that gentleman, was unanimously selected by the people, and whose acting, though not yet published, we consider quite in conformity with the declaration made by the liberator in his speeches explanatory of the arbritation system…..however, on yesterday, so perfectly satisfied were the people that one man,who claimed a balance of rent for grazing, said (when we judged he had not established his claim) that so confident was he in the justice of our decision, that if we ruled that he was not entitled to the money he had already received he would restore it on the spot.We attend next Wednesday in Kilmaine, next Thursday in Shruel again and next Saturday in Cong. Mr. Lynch of Ballycurren Castle is nominated by the clergy and the Wardens as a fit person for the neighbouring district.”

R.D. Browne

Dillon-Browne lineage by Francois Browne de Kilmaine

Robert Dillon Browne belonged to the Brownes of The Neale (Baron Kilmaine, Earl of Altamont then Marquess of Sligo) and not to the Brownes of Galway (Baron Oranmore and Browne).Robert Dillon Browne was the only son of :

Arthur Browne (+ 1841) (and Mary Kirwan), of Turin Castle and Glencorrib, only son of :

Robert Browne, third son of :

Valentine II Browne, of Ellistron, eldest son of :

Josias II Browne (+ 1726) (and Anastasia Kirwan, daughter of Alexander Kirwan), son of :

Valentine I Browne (and Julia Lynch, widow of Walter Bourke and daughter of Alexander Lynch), second son of :

Josias I Browne of The Neale (+ 1634) (and Joan Bermingham), only son of :

John Browne of The Neale (+ 1589) (and Anne Kardyff, of Dunsink), first sheriff of Mayo.

Josias II is remembered in Kilmaine’s church : “Pray for Iozeias Browne of Ellistron and Anstas Kirwan his wife – 1726”

The eldest brother of Valentine I Browne was Sir John Browne of The Neale, 1st Baronet of Nova Scotia, whose three sons were :

(1) Sir George, ancestor of the Barons Kilmaine of The Neale, and who married Mary Browne, of Castle MacGarrett ;

(2) Colonel John Browne of Westport, ancestor of the Marquesses of Sligo, and who married Maude Bourke (daughter of 3rd Viscount Mayo) ;

(3) Captain Dominick Browne, ancestor of the Brownes of Breaghwy, and who married Barbara Talbot.

His youngest brother was Andrew Browne, ancestor of the Brownes of Brownestown, who married Catherine Burke, of Castle Hacket. George Eakins Browne, MP (1870-1880), was a member of this branch of the family.

Robert Dillon Browne married Anne Blake, daughter of Dr Henry Blake, of Glenloe, Co Galway, and had three sons : Arthur, Thomas and Robert.

He had four sisters :

(1) Mary, who married Edward Gonne-Bell and had a son, Arthur, who married Mary Laetitia Martin, of Ballynahinch Castle, known as the “Princess of Connemara”,

(2) Julia, who married Captain Potlock,

(3) Eliza (died. unmarried.),

(4) Elinor (died. unmarried.).

Kindly submitted by Francois Browne de Kilmaine , Mallievre , France




Captain Fitzgerald-Higgins purchased Glencorrib lodge and the land of Bunafolistrane, now Glencorrib, from the Dillon-Brownes in 1850. The Captain is said to have been a just landlord, trustworthy and religious, but it was his son George G. Ouseley Higgins, Colonel and M.P. for Mayo, who made the headlines at the time by being accused of taking bribes and of betraying the people (see The Mayo election of 1857).

If the colonel did not seem to have inherited the better traits of character from his family, his sister did. She was Sister Mary Augustine, in the convent of mercy in Westport, she served in Crimea during the war there and she distinguished herself by her work with the sick and the wounded, exhausted she returned to Westport where she died shortly afterwards in 1855.

notes from Glencorrib history articles

Arthur Browne

The Browne family originated from Ellistron, Kilmaine and Hollywell, Ballyhaunis. They owned what was left of the Mochorra castle and lands, previously held by the MacDonnell Gallowglass family. Arthur Browne built a great house and Lodge on his Bunnafollistran estate prior to his marriage to Mary Kirwan of Dalgan Park, Shrule in 1796 and named it Glencorrib House. Arthur Browne’s ancestry can be traced to the 1500s. The Glencorrib estate comprised of the villages of Mochara, Cahir, Bunnafollistran and Ravenhill. Very little is written about Arthur, except for a letter that he wrote to his sister Mary on 15th May 1755.

Robert Dillon-Browne

Robert Dillon-Browne was the only son of Arthur Browne. Robert Dillon Browne was the outstanding member of that family and the most remarkable landlord in our area prior to the famine, quite a character. He was able to amaze the multitudes by his speeches at public meetings, he was well known as a duellist and always carried a pistol with him, he was fond of drink which often left him short of money, and most of all he was a personal friend of Daniel O’Connell whom he strongly supported in as many ways as he could. He was a well known MP of Mayo and supported Daniel O’Connell’s obstruction policy in parliament. He died bankrupt in 1850.

George Gore Ouseley Higgins

In 1850, the Glencorrib estate was purchased by Captain Fitzgerald Higgins. The house was later to be the residence of his son George Gore Ouseley Higgins. In 1850, on the death of Robert Dillon Browne, George Ouseley Higgins was elected MP of Mayo defeating Isaac Butt. Colonel Higgins was a liberal in favour of tenant rights and every measure of civil and religious liberty. He served as MP for 7 years. George Ouseley Higgins leased the site of the old Glencorrib National School (now the community centre) to the Board of Education in January 1853. That lease continued until the death of King Edward VIII in 1910. Then the lease expired and it wasn’t until this year 2010, that the title to the site was finally resolved. George Gore Ouseley Higgins never married and died on 8th May 1874 at his London residence. In his will of 1874, George’s sister Sr. Margaret Higgins (Sister’s of Charity) was empowered to raise the sum of £1,000 by way of a mortgage on the security of the estate. This made it possible for her to finance the construction of the Church in Glencorrib in 1876.

General John Palmer Brabazon

Following on death of Margaret Higgins in 1903, George’s cousin General John Palmer Brabazon inherited the estate. He commanded the 10th Hussars in the Boer War and the Afghan War of 1878-79. He finished his life at the court of George V. His estate was managed by Michael O’Dea who managed the estate until the death of Brabazon in 1922.

The tenant purchase

The estate was eventually transferred to its tenant farmers by was of an indenture (loan) made on 19th March 1921. The 17 purchasers were Patrick Tom Flood, Patrick (Pat) Flood, Michael Flood, Thomas Mohan, Patrick Mohan, Thomas Donoghue, Edward Morrin, John Murphy, Thomas Madden, Thomas Martyn, James Murphy, Patrick (& Nora) Biggins, Patrick Moran, Michael Murphy, Patrick Hennelly, Patrick Maye and Michael O’Dea (all farmers). The transfer was registered at 1.55pm on 7th March 1923, the land was vested in the ownership of the local farmers and the tension and strife between landlord and tenant was finally laid to rest.

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Comment Feed

2 Responses

  1. Teresa FaheyNovember 14, 2016 @ 4:53 pmReply

    Would you have more architectural historical detail on church features – bell, windows, gothic style arches etc

  2. Edward KingMarch 27, 2013 @ 2:02 pmReply

    Sir George Browne of the Neale ( died 1698 ) married Alicia Bingham only daughter of Sir Henry Bingham of Castlebar . Not Mary Browne as in this family tree .

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