File 360 - Copy outgoing letters from Toler Roberts Garvey (Junior), land agent, (1922-1923)

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Copy outgoing letters from Toler Roberts Garvey (Junior), land agent, (1922-1923)


  • 1922-1923 (Creation)

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Biographical history

Toler Roberts 'Rob' Garvey was the third generation of Garvey land agents. He took over the land agency business, with its headquarters at his residence at Tullynisk Park, Birr, in 1914 on the death of his father, Toler Roberts Garvey Sr. He looked after the estate at Birr Castle and other estates of gentry in south Offaly and north Tipperary during the revolutionary period 1916-23 and beyond. As a result he managed the estates through turbulent times, notably the requisitioning of Birr Castle by the Free State Army during the Irish Civil War (1922-23). He died at the age of 80 on 1 April 1946 and is buried at Clonoghill cemetery, Birr.

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Includes letters from Toler Garvey Jr relating to the occupation of Birr Castle by the Free State Army during December 1922 and January 1923. Also contains letters concerning the finances of the Birr Castle estate, theft of silver from Thomastown Park, the execution of three youths on Castle grounds, and a compensation claim to the OPW in February 1923.

Includes a letter from Garvey to the Hon. Geoffrey Parsons on 30 November 1922:

‘I have been unofficially informed that the occupation of the Castle is to continue for the present, and though it is not intended it should be permanent, still no date can be named for evacuation. I expect to hear something official on the matter before long.’

Also includes a letter from Garvey to the Hon. Geoffrey Parsons on 5 December 1922 concerning the precarious nature of the estate finances due to the mass non-payment of rent:

‘I had an interview on Saturday with the Co. Secretary of the Farmers’ Union and representatives of the tenants, but I am much afraid that nothing will result from it, as they renewed their demand of a 50% reduction of rent, to be made permanent until a sale takes place. This of course I could not agree to and made an alternative proposal, on the lines we settled, and they said they would lay it before a meeting, but I am afraid the general trend at present is against paying anything or anyone.’

Includes a report by Garvey on 12 December 1922 regarding silver stolen from Thomastown Park:

‘Report as to silver plate stolen from Thomastown Park, the property of V.J. Ryan. For the last couple of years Mr Ryan, the owner, has not been in residence at Thomastown Park and Patrick Stokes, ex-soldier, and his wife, native of Crinkle, have been employed and living in the house as caretakers. Stokes reported to me immediately afterwards that the house had been raided by armed men on 16th last, when locked and sealed doors, presses, boxes, etc were broken open in the course for an alleged search for arms of which there were none in the house...’

Includes a letter from Garvey to the OC Free State Troops on 26 January 1923 regarding the executions of three youths from Tullamore, William Conroy, Patrick Cunningham and Colum Kelly:

‘Acting on behalf of the Earl of Rosse’s Trustees I wish to enter a formal protest against executions taking place at Birr Castle and the burial of executed persons within the grounds. If such unfortunately had to be carried out, I do not think it should be on privately owned premises. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Chief of Staff.’

Includes a letter from Garvey to Commander in Chief, Portobello Barracks on 26 January 1923:

‘I enclose copy of a letter which I have today addressed to the Office at Birr Castle. I need hardly point out the stigma which will attach to the place in consequence, especially if the executed persons are buried there and I have to request on behalf of the Earl of Rosse’s Trustees that you will make other arrangements.’

Includes a letter from Garvey to Geoffrey Parsons on 27 January 1923, the day after the executions at Birr Castle:

‘I am sorry to say that three executions were carried out in the Castle Grounds yesterday morning and the corpses buried in the old laundry drying ground close to the gravel tennis court. I wrote at once on behalf of the Trustees protesting against this having been done in private grounds and requesting that the bodies be re-interred elsewhere. The Military authorities are taking over several more rooms in the Castle next week and it is rumoured that they may shortly take over the whole house. I will try and keep things as between them and us on a regular footing as possible and I think the time has come, seeing that their occupation has rendered the house impossible for use by family they might be asked to pay the rent of a house elsewhere. We have been without a train from here for over a week and wires are still cut every second day so I can hardly say that things are improving just at present.’

Also includes a letter from Garvey to the Office of Public Works on 28 February 1923 looking for compensation for the occupancy of the Castle:

‘Lord Rosse and family have at present the use of a house lent to them by a friend, but this arrangement has to come to an end and it has become necessary to procure a residence immediately which raises the question of the terms of occupation by the Military at Birr Castle.’

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By appointment only. Contact Offaly Archives at [email protected]

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May be reproduced in accordance with provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Acts (2000). No reproduction online, in print or broadcast without express permission of copyright holder.

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  • English

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Dates of creation revision deletion

July 2019, Sarah Dunning




Shortall, L. Sources for the study of the revolutionary period in King’s County/Offaly (1912-1923) in Offaly Heritage 9, 2016

McConway, P. ‘Offaly and the Civil War Executions’ in Offaly Heritage, Vol 5 (2008), for biographical information on the three youths and detailed examination of the executions.

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