James Kirkwood, Esq. (1808-1857) of Woodbrook, J.P. and D.L. for co. Roscommon, and High Sheriff in 1847 had his story immortalised in David Thomson's best-selling memoir "Woodbrook" (1974). 

The Kirkwoods were a Church of Ireland family (originally of Scottish extraction) that had been settled at Woodbrooke* (Parish of Tumna) since the 16th century [Walford 1882]. Although the townland of Woodbrook* was the family seat, held in fee.  The Kirkwood's favoured grander residences centred around the district of Croghan until the eve of the Great Famine. 


It should be noted that the house known as Woodbrook in Thomson's novel, was not occupied by the Kirkwoods until circa 1847. The historic "seat" of this family was located two townlands further south from Usna. 

Born Cavetown in 1800 to Anne Knott and Thomas Kirkwood Esq. (High  Sherriff of Co Roscommon 1808) James' family home was the Hermitage, Croghan by 1814 [Mason]. 

In 1829, he was appointed Justice of the Peace for the co. Roscommon. The 1833 Tithe records, James Kirkwood Esq reveal he had come into ownership of the townland of Woodbrook (all held in fee as pasture, no small tenants). On 27 March 1839, the Hermitage, Croghan was still his home. On 7 Oct 1839, he took a wife - Sarah Mary Dodd, a widow:

MARRIED, October 7th, at Calry Church, James Kirkwood, Esq., of Hermitage and Woodbrook*, co. Roscommon, to Sarah Mary Dood, eldest daughter of the late Captain James Nicholson Soden, of Moneygold, County Sligo.  [Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette - 12 October 1839 ]



Circa 1846, James Kirkwood took up residence nearer to Woodbrook at  Usna the property of the late Coote Mulloy Esq. This property, known as Hughestown, was occupied by John Irwin Esq. up to 1842. Kirkwood quickly re-named it "Woodbrook Lodge".

In 1847, "James Kirkwood Esq. of Hughestown", Carrick on Shannon was shortlisted for the position of High Sherriff of Co. Roscommon and appointed in February 1848 during the Great Famine. He also sat on the Board of Guardians for the workhouse.  

In June 1857, James Kirkwood died. James' heir,  Thomas Yayden Lloyd Kirkwood Esq. (1843-1911) was only 15 at the time. By the time of Griffith's Valuation, Woodbrook Lodge at Usna was occupied by James' relict, Sarah Kirkwood (leased from the Frrench family). She also held the lease to the Hermitage at Croghan.  


[Research by Rua Mac Diarmada 2017]

Ancestors from Hughestown/ Usna / Woodbrook? If YES ... post your connection below ~

Additional Information
Date of Birth 14th Feb 1800 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 25th Jun 1857 VIEW SOURCE
Associated Building (s) The Hermitage CROGHAN Hughestown CARRICK ON SHANNON Cavetown House CROGHAN Woodbrook House CARRICK-ON-SHANNON  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Thomas Kirkwood Esq. of Woodbrook residing at Cavetown
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Anne Knott (1767-1835) dau. of James Knott Esq. of Battlefield Co. Sligo.
Townland born Cavetown
Names of Siblings Thomas Kirkwood Esq. (d1854) of LAKEVIEW, Harlow Kirkwood (d.1850), Joanna MOORE, Mary FRAZER
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Sarah Mary Dodd, dau. of Capt. James Nicholson Soden, Esq., of Moneygold and Castle Baldwin, co. Sligo,
Names of Children Thomas Yayden Lloyd Kirkwood Esq. (1843-1911) | James Nicholson Soden Kirkwood (1846 - c.1935) | Kingston Dodd Lloyd kirkwood | Isabella HACKETT | Nina | Johanna | Sarah | Eveleen.
Occupation Landowner / Gentleman Farmer
Place of Death Woodbrook Lodge, Usna, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Roscommon
View less entries


Burkes Landed Gentry: Kirkwood of Woodbrook Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Walford's County Families of the UK. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Story of Woodbrook | RTE documentary Ireland VIEW SOURCE
The Famine years at Usna aka Woodbrook | Thomson Ireland VIEW SOURCE


  • Isabella Matilda Emily Kirkwood of Woodbrook is my g grandmother, married g grandfather 1869 at Woodbrook house to John Law Hackett, sub high sheriff Ardcarne House and son of Rev Thomas Hackett of Boyle

    Patrick Feland

    Wednesday 4th July 2018 01:58PM
  • Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Friday 27th August 2021 06:10AM

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