The Townland of Belleville - Séamus Gillhooley


Since Cornwall's time the Brownes owned the land of Belleville and its surrounding area especially Mount Browne (formerly Clarebrown and Ollardmore) and Castle Ellen (formerly Castle Brown).  In Cornwall's time this whole area was called Cahire McGrenoge or McGrenog's division.  In 1808 Thomas Mahon came from Rindifin near Gort to this area.  He, we are told, lived in Cussaun Castle until 1814 and then moved to Belleville,   probably when the new house was built.  This castle in Cussaun is reputed to have been the hiding place of Liam Joyce the highwayman in later years.  The once grand Belleville House is now a ruin. 

The Mahon Family of Belleville
Thomas Mahon of Rindifin (near Gort) had a son called Bryan. Bryan Mahon of Rindifin married Juliana Taylor of Castle Taylor and had a son called Thomas. Bryan held leases from Lord Gort and Ffrenchs of Drumharsna and had a large fortune of about £40,000 when he died in 1771. Thomas Mahon of Belleville came to Belleville from Rindifin in 1808.  In 1774 he married a daughter of Peter Lambert who was a merchant of Dublin.  He was one of three trustees of Castle Taylor and in the 1780s he sold Castle Taylor back to John Taylor. He lived in Cussaun until 1814 and then moved into Belleville House. Thomas Mahon of Belleville married Jane Blake of Glenloe Abbey 1822. Blake Mahon of Belleville married Margaret Seymour of Ballymore Castle with a dowry of £3,000. General Sir Bryan Mahon of Belleville in 1913 sold part of Belleville estate, to Mary Sadlier Perrse wife of Col Dudley Perrse (brother of Burton R.P. Perrse of Moyode. Their daughter Rita married Brig. General Cary Bernard and their daughter was Mrs. Trundle. 

Sir Bryan Thomas Mahon   

Sir Bryan Thomas Mahon (1862-1930), General, the eldest son of Henry Blake Mahon of Belleville, Co. Galway, by his wife Matilda, second  daughter of Colonel Thomas Seymour of Ballymore Castle, Co. Galway, 2nd of April 1802. Connaught Ranger in India. Five years (Captain) 1893 Egyptian army (Major). 1900 South Africa with rank of (Brig.-General) 1901 Egypt- Colonel. 1904 India- Major General. 1913 England- Lieutenant General and K.C.V.0. 1914 World War One appointed to command the 10th (Irish) division of the new armies. 1915 Gallipoli.  In May 1916, after accomplishing all that was possible in most difficult circumstances, Mahon was succeeded as British commander-in-chief by Sir George Milne.

Once more Mahon went to Egypt, and there commanded for a month the Western Frontier. He then returned England, and towards the end 1916 was sent to Ireland as commander-in-chief. This appointment was made in the hope that Mahon's knowledge of his fellow countrymen and his long   established popularity would help to relieve the situation in Ireland after the bitterness around the Easter Rebellion. The appointment was fully justified, but Mahon was not destined to hold it long, for when Lord French was appointed Viceroy of Ireland in May 1918, he requested that Sir Frederick Shaw should be appointed. Mahon therefore returned to England, and in the following October took over the duties of military commander at Lille.  Here he remained in what proved to be his last active appointment, until March 1919. 

Retiring in 1921, Mahon went to live in Ireland, and in the following year became a senator of the newly formed Irish Free State. He was sworn of the Privy Council of Ireland in 1917, became colonel of his own regiment, and received the K.C.B in 1922.  He was a grand officer of the legion of honour, and held the grand cross of the white eagle of Serbia.  Mahon married in 1920 Amelia (died 1927), daughter of the Hon. Charles Frederick Crichton, and widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Milbanke, tenth baronet.  He had no children.  

Mahon was essentially a Cavalry leader.  He was fond of shooting, hunting, pig sticking and polo and was a fine steeplechase rider. In 1925 he took over the management of the Punchestown race meeting, and showed himself a very efficient administrator of turf affairs.  He also became chairman of the committee for the control of mechanical betting in Ireland.  He died in Dublin the 24th of September 1930.

Séamus Gillhooley for "The Lamberts of Athenry" 1999
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