Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for Co. Roscommon, 1834-1876. John Kelly, who was born circa 1808, was apprenticed to his father, a land surveyor in Co. Down.(1) In 1832 he was employed by the Board of Works as an inspector of works on the Drumsna-Bundoran road. Two years later, on 17 May 1834, he was appointed the first county surveyor for Co. Roscommon.(2) He held the post for over forty years, during which he was responsible for large-scale famine relief works. He also acted as land agent for the Mahons of Strokestown Park for a few years after the murder of Major Denis Mahon in November 1847. He was involved in land reclamation and development schemes and in 1865 was called evidence to a House of Lords select committee on the drainage and navigation of the river Shannon.

Kelly retired on account of failing health in July 1876, although he had to remain in office until 27 October, when his successor, EDWARD TANKERVILLE QUILTON EDWARD TANKERVILLE QUILTON , took up his duties.(3) After his retirement he became a justice of the peace and a Poor Law guardian. He died at the age of seventy on 8 May 1878 at his house, Essex Lawn, Roscommon, and was buried in the family vault at the Abbey cemetery.

ICEI:  founder member, 1835;(4) not on list of members for 1870.(5)

Address: Church Street, Roscommon; Essex Lawn, Roscommon, <=1846(6) until death.


All information in this entry not othaerwise accounted for is from Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 222-223, which gives the fullest account of Kelly's career.

(1) Possibly John Kelly or Thomas Kelly, see Sarah Bendall, ed., Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Map-Makers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850 (2nd edition, 1997), II, 289 (K042), 290 (K049.6).
(2) Dublin Evening Post, 20 May 1938).
(3) Roscommon Journal, 10 Mar 1877 (B.O'D.).
(4) Photocopy of transcript of minutes of first meeting of Engineers' Society of Ireland, 6 Aug 1835, in IAA, Jones File F73.
(5) IB 12, 15 Aug 1870, 197.
(6) NA, RLFC3/1/2008.