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Kennedy - Cary Papers, Loughash National Model Agricultural School, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Catalogued & Submitted by Seamus Kennedy

Seamus Kennedy is a great-great-great-grandson of The Rev. John Pitt Kennedy (1759-1811) who married Mary Cary, only child of Major Thomas Cary of Loughash, Co. Tyrone. The Reverend's son, Lt. Col. John Pitt Kennedy, established the Loughash National Model Agricultural School.

A quantity of family papers were passed to Seamus, who collated and deposited them with the National Library in Dublin in 2006. There is a body of material relevant to the Cary family, and the agricultural school which may be of interest.

The collection is available for public consultation, with no access restrictions, from the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Ireland. You can expand the collection and view the individual records within via the “context” button.' Click this link to the catalogue record.


Below is a sample of the material and references to the full extent of the material can be seen on the National Library's on-line system


Brown Envelope


Mrs James Hack Tuke’s Diary 1883 – 1896.

Née Georgina Mary Kennedy.

Given to Lucy Kennedy and son George Laurence Kennedy by Geoffrey Young in 1922.

Gilbert Kennedy notes:

Mainly about work with James Hack Tuke to assist emigrants from Western Irish seaboard, but mentions other events at the time. Interesting reading but little historical value.


Framed b/w photographic copy of portrait of Reverend John Pitt Kennedy, born 1758, died 1811


Framed b/w photographic copy of portrait of Frances Portalés with her great great niece Frances Margaret and great great nephew William


Unframed b/w photographic copy of Kennedy Coat of Arms tapestry


Unframed b/w photographic copy of portrait of unknown woman


Framed colour photographic copy of unknown man


Folder entitled ‘Major Francis Kennedy, Correspondence including Kennedy Pedigree’






Letters from Civic Authorities 1938


Letters Re. Family History from:


Letters Re. Family History from:


Letters Re: Family History from:


Letters Re: Family History from:




Letters to Major Francis Kennedy in relation to Foyle College, Londonderry, Northern Ireland from:



Bundles of letters etc



Handwritten notebook on agriculture written around 1846 / 1847 by John Pitt Kennedy.

Subject Headings:


Notebook containing handwritten copies of letters 1820 –1830. Mostly to family, others to officials. Mainly written from Cephalonia, Greece.



Details of John Pitt Kennedy’s life and works


Report, 1864, on Loughash Agricultural school from its Manager James Moore to John Pitt Kennedy.

Ten page handwritten report followed by progress report table reproduced below:



October 11th 1864


To Colonel Kennedy

Sir- In accordance with your desire, I send you an outline of operations and their results in Loughash since I first took charge under you:


In the Spring of 1834 I was engaged by you to manage the school of Loughash; to superintend and instruct the tenants in the best method of cultivating their farms and reclaiming waste land; and to teach them how to cultivate the different kinds of crops with which they had heretofore been unacquainted. At that time there were only thirteen tenants on the property, cultivating small patches, where the greater facilities existed for labour; leaving every piece of land that was either wet or difficult to work un-cultivated, whether it was at the end or middle of the field. Large, wet irregular gripes existed everywhere, just as nature had formed them, without any attempt on the part of the cultivator to improve them or render any part more productive than what nature intended it to be. It was likewise their opinion that any attempt to change the system of cultivation or increase the productiveness of the soil beyond what they themselves were doing, would end in ruin or disappointment to those who attempted. Believing, as they imagined, that the land and climate were both unsuited for yielding remunerative crops no matter what kind of labour was bestowed. The result of this ignorance was evident in the wretched condition of the people, being scarcely able to raise more than was able to afford a miserable support for so small a number of inhabitants.


A farm of four acres was attached to the school to be cultivated as a model farm by me where the children had an opportunity of seeing the success or failure of every operation that was performed and who were sure to carry home to their parents information of every thing that was going on. Every operation being minutely criticized and watched expecting a total failure as they at first had predicted but in these misgivings they were disappointed; for every year they saw the crops on the model farm becoming more productive, the waste land reclaimed drained, cleared of stones and yielding crops equally as productive as the other parts of the farm and green crops which it was supposed impossible to raise in this climate growing most luxuriantly. In this way the doubts of the people became removed in a few years and no difficulty was experienced in getting them to adopt whatever appeared to be most conducive to their interests.


The entire townland consists of about 1160 acres (statute) most of which in 1834 was covered with peat bog and heath giving a scanty subsistence to a few miserable cattle kept grazing on it during the summer season only. A portion of my duty was to lay this out in small farms of from ten to twenty acres which were offered to every person who came to take them as tenants, on condition of their reclaiming a certain portion each year. The farms were given free of rent for the first seven years with a gradually increasing rent of a shilling an acre each year for the next seven. Thus, a tenant taking a new farm of 20 acres, had it free for the first seven years; the 8th year he paid on pound rent, the ninth year, two pounds, and so on for seven years when his standing rent became seven pounds.


The class of persons who became tenants was generally farm labourers; no other persons being willing to undertake them. They were without capital and for the first few years had to spend as much of their time labouring to others, or in some other employment as afforded the means of subsistence while they were reclaiming the first portions of their own farms. The first year a large part of their time was employed in this way; but every succeeding year less till the return from their own farms enabled them to spend their whole time in their reclamation. – Some had families who were hired out as servants the wages being saved and devoted to the maintenance of their parents for the first years of their settlement. A sod house of small dimensions and simple construction was first used as a temporary residence till their means enabled them to build stone houses a small allowance being made by the landlord to each, for purchasing timber and paying for mason work. The application for farms was not numerous for the first few years; but when the success of the first settlers became apparent, the applicants were more numerous, and all the farms were in a short time taken up. Between forty and fifty new farms were in this way let.


The farms were necessarily small; spade labour being the only plan of reclaiming, and the limited means of the occupier rendered it necessary not to give large tracts to each. This caused a greater quantity to be reclaimed, and as any tenant wanted to remove or sell his interest, the farm was added to the adjoining by which they are gradually becoming larger holdings.


The success of this colony is now beyond doubt; the tenants are now in as good a position and many of them better off than those on old farms who thought a living could never be made out of such places. Some in a small way saving money for the use of their families when about to take up house for themselves. The tenants were kindly treated. I, being constantly on the ground, gave every necessary advice; plans of reclaiming were pointed out; their ditches and fields arranged; their disputes settled; grievances removed; and every thing done that could render them contented and industrious.


In 1840 when the unexpected failure of the potato crop set in the tenants at this time had only got their farms into such a state as to be able to raise as much as was sufficient for own subsistence. This failure gave rise to some misgivings on the part of many as to the success of the colony; but I made application through the landlord to the Board of Works, for a loan for reclaiming and draining on the old tenants holdings. This was obtained, and employment and wages was afforded to every tenant who acquired work up till 1852 when no further employment was required. Every tenant who wanted food, or seed to crop the land, he or some of his sons, if he had any, came and wrought at this work till as much was earned as met their requirements. This kept them from getting into debt or from purchasing on credit and the result was that in 1852 no employment was required and one instalment of the money still unexpended never was lifted. This outlay benefited both the old tenants and the new, giving employment to the latter whilst the improvements on the formers holdings became highly remunerative and rendered the instalments easily paid by the tenants to the Board of Works.


From that time till the present the state of these new settlers has been progressive. They are now able to manage for themselves and instead of being servants as many of them were, they are now employers of servants. The population of the entire townland in 1830 amounted to 96, no servants being then employed by any. At the present time the resident population is 246 with 36 servants making a total of 282 receiving support and employment on the same extent of land and yielding almost treble the rent now than it did in 1830. Contrast this with the decreasing population of Ireland and it will at once be seen that by proper estate management by affording agricultural instruction to the tenants; teaching them by example and advice, habits of industry and economy not only the population of 1846 might have been maintained, but a gradual increase have taken place, food and employment being afforded to all their reproductive labour and increase of produce saving the importation of large quantities of foreign grain which is now required to support the diminished population.


In 1837 you established a small boarding agricultural school, under my management, in addition to the day school, both of which are in connection with the National Board of Education. The object of this was to afford Agricultural and literacy instruction on a more extensive scale to young persons of talent who wanted to pursue such studies and to qualify themselves for a higher position in life. The course of Education embraces reading, writing, English Grammar, Mathematics, Measuration, Geometry, Land surveying, and Mapping with the theory and practice of Agriculture and the Elementary principles of Geology, Botany and Chemistry. For this purpose a larger farm was added to the school farm, which now consists of between sixty and seventy statute acres, most of which was reclaimed from a state of nature. The pupils work half time on farm and half time in school. They have thus an opportunity of witnessing and assisting in carrying through the different operations in and improved system of farming and the economic management of stock: of seeing the results of the treatment of the different kinds of crops and of following a rotation. In fact order, regularity, knowledge, and perseverance being the requisites necessary in every undertaking which is expected to be successful. The pupils who are well advanced before entering on this course of training usually continue from one to four years and are then for the most part qualified for becoming Agriculturalists, overseers, school masters, Clerks, and shopkeepers and some of them even for higher pursuits. Of 184 who received such training, 17 became landstewards, 34 teachers of National and other schools, 13 Clerks and shopboys, 2 Excise Officers, 34 became farmers on their own account, 14 went to Glasnevin Agricultural Establishment to pursue their studies farther, 2 are on the ordinance survey, 9 went out to Trinidad as overseers on sugar plantations, 5 emigrated to America, 3 became clergymen, and 13 still remain at school. The present position of the pupils so far as is known is equally satisfactory their advancement still being progressive and many of them occupying very respectable and independent positions in life.


In order to make the class intended to be benefited the diet and all connected with the establishment are conducted on a most economic scale. The charge to pupils is only £7.10 shillings per anum for board, washing and lodging, their labour, half time, being considered an equivalent for the remaining item of their support. The course of training these pupils receive renders them well qualified for various occupations and we have rarely any difficulty in getting them into employment when their period of education expires. The result of the Loughash Establishment and its example in the district has been highly beneficial. Large tracts of land have been reclaimed fields have been squared and proper fences made, a superior system of farming pursued, employment afforded to all and a spirit of industry contentment perseverance and emulation diffused which is rarely to be met with in communities more favourably situated as regards land and climate. In all our management we took care never to attempt too much, and nothing but what was within the reach of the class intended to be benefited; and to take care that every operation in which we were engaged should prove successful, or where our advice was given or a plan proposed for others to follow the results should always prove equal if not superior to the expectations at the time of giving it. In this way a person establishes confidence among the people and after a few years experience you have little difficulty in getting them to follow an advice which they have found by experience to turn out to their advantage.


Trusting that this hasty and perhaps imperfect outline of the results of improvement in Loughash first set in foot by you may be satisfactory.


I remain your obedient servant,

James Moore


Table showing the progress of Loughash Colony from the date of Mr James Moore’s appointment (1830) as its Agricultural Director, Its General Manager, and Land Agent up to the present time 1864



State in 1830

State in 1864

Period from 1830 to 1864

Area of Colony Total




Area of Arable




Area of Waste




Rental in Pounds Stirling




Chief Rent




Profit Rent




Improvements by Landlord – Roads




Improvements by Landlord – Cottages




Improvements by Landlord – Miscellaneous




Improvements by Govt. loans for Drainage




Agricultural School Boarding Pupils




Agricultural School Day Pupils




Population Total




Population Trained in Agricultural School Leaving




Sire Stock – Cow Cattle




Sire Stock – Sheep




Sire Stock – Horses




Sire Stock – Pigs




Farm Implements – Carts




Farm Implements – Wooden ploughs in 1830

Iron ploughs in 1864




Farms – Total number




Farms – Average size in Acres