BIRD FAMILY

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Land at Ardeelan Lower, Donegal, Ireland 

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It is believed that the Bird family lived on the land at Ardeelan Lower as early as 1720, which at the time would have been leased.   The holder of the lease in the Bird family (name unknown) had 3 sons, Samuel, Robert and William.  Samuel had land in Ballyshannon and ran a store selling groceries and seed, which meant the lease would be passed to Robert, the second son.

As far as we know Robert had 7 children, 4 of which were males.  When Robert Bird died in 1796 and if Samuel Bird was Robert's oldest son the lease on the land would have been passed on to Samuel.  In 1824 Samuel and his family left Ireland and went to live in Birdton, New Brunswick, Canada where he joined his brother, James and his family.  This would leave the land at Ardeelan Lower to the youngest brother, John because Robert (brother #3) was raising his family on another piece of land at County Fermanagh.

John Bird died in 1847 and the lease was passed to his oldest son Robert Bird.

When the Griffith Valuation was done it showed Robert Bird was leasing the land at Ardeelan Lower from Thomas Conolly in 1858.  The description of the land was House, Offices and Land which was about 23 acres.  When Robert died in 1880 the lease would be passed to his wife Mary Jane Bird (nee: McGee).

While Mary Jane Bird held the lease on the land she built a lodge/B&B (late 1890's or early 1900's) on a corner of the land near the main road.  The B&B still exists today.  On 25 October 1900 Mary Jane was allowed to purchase the land at Ardeelan Lower.   (One scenerio may be that Mary Jane purchased the land in 1900 and divided it up giving the farm to her son William John and kept the corner lot (about 3/4 of an acre) for her B&B which would also be her home.)  Mary Jane died in 1906 and when her will was granted in 1909 the B&B  went to her son, William John Bird.

In 1909 once the will was granted William John put the B&B up for auction.  William John Bird died in 1938 at Ardeelan Lower so at that time the land was probably still in the Bird name.  It is not know how long after his death the land was owned by the Bird's.

Tyrone Constitution – Friday 7 May 1909; 16 July 1909; 23 July 1909 Sales of Robert Lipsett & Co. – Rossnowlagh (County Donegal) – Splendid Two-Storey – Slated Dwellinghouse Known as “Ardeelin Cottage”, With 3 Roods of Land Attached. – For Sale by Public Auction We have been instructed by Mr. William J. Bird, to Sell by Public Auction, on the Premises, on Friday, the 21st day of May 1909, at the hour of Twelve o’clock, sharp the above Splendid Dwellinghouse, known as “Ardeelin Cottage” with Three Roods of Land attached, Held with other Premises, at the Yearly judicial Rent of 11 7s. 0d., of which the House now for Sale will be liable to the Small Proportionate Rent of 2 0s. 0d. per Annum. The Sale is being held with the consent of the Landlord. Descriptive Particulars This House, which is situated adjoining the County Road, contains Dining Room, Drawing Room, Five Bedrooms, also Kitchen, etc., with Coal House outside. It is situate within one minutes’ walk of Rossnowlagh Strand, and in convenient to the Railway Station, and the New Golf Links. It is also close to the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches. A splendid water supply may be obtained from an excellent spring well, situate adjacent to the House, which Purchaser will have the right to use. The House is in good repair, and immediate possession can be given. As Rossnowlagh is rapidly coming into prominence as one of the best watering places in Ireland, owing to its large extent of magnificent Strand, this Sale should prove most attractive. There is every prospect the House Property purchased at the present time should double in value within the next few years. Terms: Purchaser to pay of the Purchase Money, with Auctioneers’ Commission, at time of Sale; Remainder on a date to be named. For full Particulars, Conditions of Sale, etc., apply to Lewis R. Lipsett, Solicitor having Carriage of Sale, Ballyshannon; or to Robert Lipsett & Co., Auctioneers, Ballyshannon.

In the 1901 Ireland Census the land had the following buildings on it:
Private Dwelling, 1 Stable, 1 Coach House, 1 Harness House, 1 Cow House, 1 Calf House, 1 Dairy, 1 Piggery, 1 Fowl House, 1 Barn, 1 Turf House, 1 Potato House

When William John died the Bird family had lived on this piece of land for over 200 years.

Note about land leases -   The leases were called three life or 99 year, meaning the family could pass the lease on for two more generations before it had to be renewed.

Contact Gordon Bird or Jane Gillard

last updated 19 November 2016