'Lord Leitrim was not a bad man - if he got his own way', or so one contemporary writer described the 3rd Earl of Leitrim.

Lough Rynn Castle, near Mohill, Co. Leitrim, belonged to one of the most notorious landlords of 19th century Ireland: William Sydney Clements, 3rd Earl of Leitrim - or simply Lord Leitrim. While most of this site is about the 3rd Earl of Leitrim, it is also about all the people who lived on and around the Earl's estates and about how they shaped and were shaped by national and local events. This website supports the book "By Hereditary Virtues: a History of Lough Rynn". The book mirrors the website but provides more depth and stories.



"A marvellous read providing a wonderful insight into landlordism in 19th century Ireland. A beautifully-presented, well-researched scholarly work.” Brendan Kennelly


"This is a book which is marked by lucidity, elegant prose, judiciousness and unsentimentality as well as sharp psychological and social observation. We need this kind of intelligent, analytical and on occasion sceptical history that the author has given us both to understand that we can't re-experience the past, and to understand and preserve, for instance, what real and concrete heritage we have. This is the classic local history, a scholarly mosaic of political, social and cultural life which has a focus in a part of North West Ireland during the zenith years of landlordism. The author is to be commended highly for producing this rigorous and thoroughly researched study; no one has waded through more collections of papers and records than Fiona Slevin. It is a must for all lovers of local history." Professor Michael L. O'Rourke, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin


"By Hereditary Virtues" is a most welcome book that deals with the most famous "Big House" in Leitrim and also with its most famous, or infamous, character, William Sydney Clements, Lord Leitrim himself. The book gives a very readable account of the family who displaced the old native chieftains, the MacRanalls. The Clements had their "virtues" but the lasting memory is their "vices" and all is revealed in this excellent book. Seán Ó Suilleabháin, Leabharlann Chontae Liatroma


Another fascinating book of West of Ireland history is Fiona Slevin's "By Hereditary Virtues A History of Lough Rynn". The Lough Rynn estate is just outside Mohill, Co. Leitrim and the landlord there from 1839 to 1870 was the notorious Lord Leitrim. This book tells the full story for the first time and is a must for anyone interested in the social history of 19th Century Ireland. Desi Kenny, Kenny's Bookshop


"Fiona Slevin's long-awaited book on the history of Lough Rynn is now available. The book describes the history of the Lough Rynn estate from early times to the present and focuses largely on Lord Leitrim and the period of The Great Famine. . . .  With Lough Rynn Castle now open as a luxury hotel, the book is a timely recounting of just how much Mohill and Ireland has changed over the last 150 years and will make compelling reading for anyone with an interest in history and the local area." http://www.leitrimobserver.ie/