A record of 19th Century NAMA: the Dunboyne Collection of Landed sale notices at NUIG – Marie Boran

Presented at the CONUL Conference, July 2015, Athlone, Ireland by Marie Boran, NUI Galway
In this paper I propose to examine the Dunboyne collection of sale notices relating to the Encumbered (later Landed) Estates Court, principally relating to county Clare. The 29 bound volumes, now housed in the Special Collections of the Hardiman Library, originate from the Butler family, Lords Dunboyne, who had a house at Knappogue, county Clare, in the nineteenth century. It is likely that they were compiled by Theobald Fitzwalter Butler, 14th Baron Dunboyne, between 1850-1880.
The Encumbered Estates Court was established after the Famine to address the sale of estates which were bankrupt, primarily due to that catastrophe but also to generations of mortgaging, borrowing and provision for extended family through jointures and pensions. It became known as the Landed Estates Court in 1858 and continued to operate until the mid 1880s when its functions were absorbed into the Land Judges’ Court.
The sale notices are similar to a prospectus prepared by auctioneers today for the sale of property. They contain descriptions of the estate, usually highlighting its advantages. Frequently there are maps and occasionally drawings of the big house if it formed part of the sale. Many notices also included lists of lands by townland, with the names of the occupying tenants and details of their leases. Depending on the size of the estate the sale notices can run from two or three to over fifty pages.
As well as outlining the content of the collection I also intend to comment on its unique qualities, its value to researchers at NUI, Galway and outreach and linkage possibilities that it affords.