Saturday, 10 September 2016

(229) Athy (alias Lynch-Athy) of Renville

Athy of Renville
The Athy family were settled in Galway from at least the 15th century, and were one of the Catholic merchant families collectively known as the 'tribes of Galway', who ran the town's affairs. In 1639 Francis Athy was sheriff of Galway, and he must have been a Protestant, at least on paper, to have been selected for office. During the Irish rebellion in the 1640s, however, Galway's citizens ejected the Protestant garrison which had been quartered in the town, and it seems probable that Athy's sympathies remained Catholic. In the late 17th century several members of the family emigrated to Maryland (USA) in search of greater religious toleration. It is not quite clear how Edmund Athy, with whom the genealogy below begins, was related to the earlier Athys of Galway. His father, Andrew Athy, lived at Beleek (Mayo), and had been a soldier in the Catholic army of King James II in 1689-90, but he was almost certainly connected to the earlier Athys of Galway. In the early 18th century Edmund married Margaret Lynch, the daughter and heiress of Philip Lynch of Renville Castle at Oranmore, just outside Galway town. The Renville estate passed into the control of the Athy family, and Edmund and Margaret may have been responsible for alterations and additions to the medieval tower-house after they gained possession. The subsequent routine use by their descendants over many generations, of Lynch as a final forename, particularly for the heirs to the estate, led in the 19th century to the surname of the family being commonly given as Lynch-Athy (with or without a hyphen).

The old Renville Castle remained the seat of Edmond's son, Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) and his grandson, Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807). In 1807 the estate passed to Philip Edmond Lynch-Athy (c.1778-1840), who built a new three-bay two-storey house on the estate in about 1820. At this time the family seem to have been prominent among the Catholic gentry of the west of Ireland and Philip (d. 1840) joined O'Connell's Catholic Association in 1829. His eldest son having predeceased him, Renville passed in 1840 to his second son, Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75), who was educated at Downside and married an English woman, Margaret Buckle. The family had more English connections after this time, but their focus of attention remained firmly in Ireland: Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch-Athy (1859-1935) was Sheriff of Galway in 1904. The family had over several generations married late and produced only small numbers of surviving children. Edmond's only child was a daughter, Muriel Pauline Annette Lynch-Athy (1883-1943), who married a local farmer, Christopher Crofts (1878-1946) and seems to have lived at Renville. After her death, however, the house would appear to have been abandoned and the estate sold, and the ruins of Renville are today an even more extensively ivy-clad ruin than the medieval castle which it replaced.

Renville House, Oranmore, Galway

Renville Castle

Renville House in the early 20th century
The Athy family lived in the old Lynch tower at Renville until about 1820, when a new three-bay two-storey big house was built that is typical of so many early 19th century Irish gentry houses. The new Renville was a little less plain than some similar properties, with a rather low (and perhaps later) four-column Ionic porch, and the windows either side set within blind arches. The bays either side of the centre were stepped forward very slightly, creating a subtle movement in the facade. Over the porch was a central tripartite window, and round the side of the house, the ground floor room also had a big tripartite window, set under a relieving arch with a decorated tympanum. The house was occupied into the 1930s, but was abandoned after the estate was sold, and is now a ruin so completely covered in ivy as to be almost unrecognisable. You can see more pictures of the house in its present state here

Renville House: the ruins today
Renville House should not be confused with Renvyle House, also in Galway but miles away on the coast of Connemara, nor with Renville Lodge, which confusingly is now known as Renville House, and which stands just a few fields away from the original Renville House and was built at very much the same time and in a similar style. Renville was sometimes spelt Rinville.

Descent: Philip Lynch; to daughter, Margaret, wife of Edmond Athy; to son, Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774); to son, Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807); to son, Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1778-1840); to son, Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75); to son, Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch Athy (1859-1935); to daughter, Muriel Pauline Annette (1883-1943), wife of Christopher Charles Walpole Crofts (1878-1946).

Athy family of Renville

Athy, Edmond. Son of Andrew Athy of Beleek (Mayo), a captain in the army of King James II, and his wife Anastacia, daughter of Dominick Joyce of Galway. He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Philip Lynch of Renville, Oranmore (Galway) and had issue:
(1) Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) (q.v.);
(2) John Athy;
(3) Oliver Athy; doctor of medicine; married, 2 October 1741 at Galway, the eldest daughter of John Skerrett of Ballinduff;
(4) Christopher Athy;
(5) Edmond Athy;
(6) Sarah Athy;
(7) Jane Athy; married John Moore of Ashbrook (Mayo) and had issue three sons and two daughters.
He inherited Renville in right of his wife.
His date of death is unknown.

Athy, Philip Lynch (d. 1774). Eldest son of Edmond Athy of Renville and his wife Margaret, daughter and heir of Philip Lynch of Renville.  He married Eleanor French, a member of one of the 'Tribes of Galway', and had issue:
(1) Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807) (q.v.);
(2) Andrew Athy;
(3) Katherine Athy;
(4) Jane Athy.
He inherited Renville from his father.
He died 23 August 1774 and was buried at Oranmore (Galway).

Athy, Edmond Lynch (c.1752-1807). Elder son of Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) and his wife Eleanor French, born about 1752. He married, 6 February 1777, Honora (c.1755-81), daughter of Peter Nottingham of Fairfield (Galway) and had issue:
(1) Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1778-1840) (q.v.);
(2) Eleanor Athy (b. c.1780); married Henry Edmond Taaffe (d. 1841) of Woodfield (Mayo), banker, and had issue.
He inherited Renville from his father in 1774.
He died 11 November 1807, aged 55, and was buried at Oranmore (Galway). His wife died 20 April 1781, aged 25, and was buried at Oranmore.

Athy, Philip Edmond Lynch (c.1778-1840). Only recorded son of Edmond Lynch Athy (d. c.1808) and his wife Honora, daughter of Peter Nottingham of Fairfield (Galway), born about 1778. Joined the Catholic Association, 1829. He married, 16 December 1809 at St Catherine, Dublin, Bridget Mary (c.1791-1864), daughter of Randal MacDonnell of Fairfield House, Dublin, and had issue including:
(1) Edmond Athy (c.1811-34); died unmarried in London, 16 August 1834;
(2) Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75) (q.v.);
(3) Honora Lynch Athy (c.1815-18); died in infancy and was buried at Oranmore, November 1818;
(3) Elizabeth Mary Athy (1818-63); died unmarried at Islington, 20 April 1863; will proved 7 May 1863 (effects under £800);
(4) Rev. Myles Athy (1819-92), baptised at St Catherine, Dublin, 9 December 1819; emigrated to Australia, 1856, where he became a Roman Catholic priest of the order of St. Benedict and curate of St  James, Forest Lodge in the diocese of Sydney (Australia); died unmarried, October 1892;
(5) Eveline Athy (c.1825-41); died unmarried at Southampton, 4 June 1841, aged 16;
(6) Catherine Athy (1828-70); died unmarried in Galway, 1870.
He inherited Renville from his father in about 1808 and built Renville House. His widow lived after his death at Buckingham House, Islington (Middx), with her unmarried daughters.
He died 18 May 1840, aged 61. His widow died in Islington (Middx), 7 February 1864; her will was proved 1 March 1864 (effects under £100).

Athy, Randal Edmond Lynch (1814-75). Eldest surviving son of Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (d. 1840) and his wife Bridget, daughter of Randal MacDonnell of Fairfield House, Dublin, born 1814. Educated at Downside. JP for Galway; member of the Galway Board of Guardians. He married, 27 April 1858, Margaret (1825-91), daughter of William Hill Buckle of Piers Court, Stinchcombe (Glos) and Chaceley (then Worcs; now Glos), an officer of 14th Regt., and had issue:
(1) Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch Athy (1859-1935) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Elizabeth Athy (c.1863-1944); married, 28 April 1889, Frederick Claude Wright Hounsell (1865-1933), surgeon, and had issue one son; died at Tenterden (Kent), 18 December 1944; will proved 20 August 1945 (estate £285);
(3) Randal William Athy (b & d. 1865); was born and died 13 October 1865; buried at Oranmore (Galway).
He inherited Renville from his father in 1840.
He died at the Imperial Hotel, Dublin, 10 April 1875; his will was proved in Dublin, 19 May 1875 and sealed in London, 15 June 1875 (total effects under £7,000). His widow died in Dublin, 31 March 1891; administration of her effects was granted 26 May 1891 in Dublin (effects £1,643) and 9 June 1891 in London (effects in England £474).

Athy, Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch (1859-1935). Only recorded son of Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75) and his wife Margaret, daughter of William Hill Buckle of Chaceley (Worcs/Glos), born 2 June and baptised at Oranmore, 4 June 1859. JP for Galway; High Sheriff of Galway, 1904. Capt. in Galway Artillery. He married 1st, 26 October 1881, Annette Frances (c.1856-1923), younger daughter of Richard Gradwell of Dowth Hall (Meath) and Carlanstown (Westmeath), and 2nd, 25 November 1924, Mary Blake, and had issue:
(1.1) Muriel Pauline Annette Lynch-Athy (1883-1943), born 28 April and baptised 16 May 1883; married, Jul-Sep 1922, Christopher Charles Walpole Crofts (1878-1946), farmer; died Oct-Dec 1943 and was buried at St Nicholas, Galway.
He inherited Renville from his father in 1875 and came of age in 1880.
He died 1 March 1935; his will was proved 30 June 1936 (effects in England £nil). His first wife died 14 January 1923; administration of her goods was granted in Dublin, and sealed in London, 26 April 1923 (effects in England £454). His widow died 29 June 1947; her will was proved 15 April 1948 (effects in England £921).


Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912, pp. 15-16; P. Melvin, Estates and landed society in Galway, 2012, pp. 117, 434;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Chequy, gules and argent, on a chevron of the first three estoiles or.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
  • Can anyone supply further images of Renville House before it fell into dereliction, and especially any views of the interior?
  • As a result of the sad incompleteness of Irish genealogical records and in the apparent absence of family papers, the genealogy of this family, particularly for the earlier generations, is unusually incomplete. If anyone can add additional information I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Can anyone supply images of portraits or photographs of any of the members of the family whose names are given in bold type above?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 10th September 2016.


  1. Most Lynches sere buried at Saint Nicholas in Galway. My ancestors fled to Spain in 1640,and then to Argentina as Spanish colonial officials, there Justo Pastor Lynch is said to have been the largest landowner in South America. They carried the chevron and threefoil arms.

  2. a big Hi to all the Lynch family members.
    I descend from the Athey family in Renville. I am on FTDNA, kit no 165126 harley. G2a2b2b1b*
    my male line ancestors migrated to Thorne Yourkshire. and then Australia.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.