Boyles and the 'new towns' of Ireland

Robert Boyle and the Munster 'new towns'


Richard Boyle (later Earl of Cork) was the grand-uncle of Michael Boyle. 


Richard Boyle was one of the 'New English' colonists who arrived in Ireland at the time of the Elizabethan Plantation of Munster, in the very early 1600s.  In the course of his long career he either founded or was involved in the development of Lismore, Clonakilty, Youghal, Midleton, Castlemartyr, Doneraile and Bandon.


Clonakilty for example, was founded by Richard Boyle and granted a Royal Charter by James I in 1616.  Prior to this it had been a haven and base for pirates.  


Youghal had existed as a town prior to Richard Boyle, but Boyle established estates there and became Lord Boyle, Baron of Youghal in 1616.  He had a house in the town, and always travelled via Youghal and Briston on his way to England, where he also had estates and official business to conduct.


Robert Boyle maintained order on his Munster estates by 13 castles which were garrisoned by his own retainers.  Cromwell thought highly of his ability, and commented that if every province of Ireland had had an equal of Boyle, he would not have had to wage his campaing to subdue Ireland in the 1640s.


Town Charters in the reign of Charles II

From the time of his restoration in 1660 Charles II decided to exercise a strict control of the town corporations in order to secure not only submissive parliaments, but also a pliant executive among the borough justices, and pliant juries, which were selected by the borough officers.


The Corporation Act of 1661 gave power to royal commissioners to settle the composition of the town councils, and to remove all who refused the sacraments of the Church of England or were suspected of disaffection, even though they offered to take the necessary oaths.



New towns in Restoration Ireland

Seventeen towns in Ireland received Royal Charters from Charles II, including Blessington (1669, charter granted to Michael Boyle).  Charleville and Castlemartyr were founded by Michael Boyle's cousin, the Earl of Orrery in 1661 and 1675.  Doneraile, 1660, has associations with the Boyles.  Hillsborough recieved its charter in 1663, granted to Wills Hill, and Baltinglass in 1663, granted to Sir Maurice Eustace. 


The Author













John Hussey is a historical-geography.  His studies focus on human settlement and industry in north-west of County Wicklow - the area extending from Blessington into the upper Liffey valley and the Kings River valley.


He has researched and written on the region's Granite Quarrying Industry, its Weaving Industry and its Quaker community.


His most recent research has focused on the Woolpack Road, along which the region's wool and cloth was transported to Dublin. 


His book on the Quaker community of Baltyboys was published by the Irish Society of Friends (Quakers) in July 2017.