Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Surveyor and canal engineer. John Killaly, who was born in 1766,(1) received a small payment for work on DANIEL AUGUSTUS BEAUFORT' DANIEL AUGUSTUS BEAUFORT' s map of Ireland(2) and carried out surveys for the Grand Canal Company before he entered the regular employment of the latter in 1794 at a salary of £150 Irish per annum. After two years with the company during which he worked on the Shannon Line under RICHARD EVANS[1] RICHARD EVANS[1] , he had earned the high opinion of the directors, who noted that from being 'a mere measurer and surveyor' he had mastered 'all kinds of work', and in 1798 he was promoted to the position of company engineer with a salary of £400 Irish. He was still with the company in 1806(3) but by 1809 had joined JOHN BROWNRIGG  JOHN BROWNRIGG as engineer to the Directors General of Inland Navigation,(4) a position which he held until 1831.(5) In this capacity he advised on the Corrib Navigation, the Lagan Navigation, the Newry Navigation, the Royal Canal, the Shannon Navigation, the Suir Navigation and the Ulster Canal.(6) He also appears to have had a private surveying practice in Dublin; in 1821 he was in business in Charlemont Street, Dublin, with a partner named Oates, presumably JAMES OATES JAMES OATES , with whom he had previously collaborated.(7) JOHN PLANT GAYNOR  JOHN PLANT GAYNOR worked as a draughtsman in their office.(8) In 1831, shortly before his death, Killaly was appointed engineer to the Board of Works.(9) He died suddenly on 6 April 1832,(10) survived by his wife Alicia, née Hamilton (d.1837). Husband and wife are commemorated by a monument in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.(11) He was the father of HAMILTON HARTLEY KILLALY HAMILTON HARTLEY KILLALY ; he also appears to have been married to a daughter of JOHN MCMAHON. JOHN MCMAHON. (12)

There are drawings by Killaly in the following collections: Pembroke Estate Papers, National Archives (Design for a ship canal from the Grand Canal Docks in the Royal Harbour at Kingstown, 1825), National Library of Ireland (Plan for Richmond Bridge and Harbour House, 1817);(13) Pakenham Collection, Tullynally (Plan and section of Derrycooly supply, 1802; Plan of Richmond Harbour, Cloondara, 1817; Section of the line of Lough Allen Canal, 1818). The National Library of Ireland and Pakenham drawings were formerly part of the Henry, Mullins & McMahon collection in the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland.

In the IEI collection in the IAA is a small scrapbook containing printed specifications and drawings (some annotated) for bridges, tunnels, locks and lock keeper’s cottage for Royal Canal Extension (IEI 434). A set of ‘Instructions for persons proposing (tendering) for the execution of the works on the Royal Canal Extension’ bears the printed name John Killaly and is dated February 1814. An undated specification for lock–gates, land-tunnel sluices and machinery is also by Killaly.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Ruth Delany,The Grand Canal of Ireland (1973), 42. The middle initial 'A' in Killaly's name is supplied by the biography of Hamilton Hartley Killaly in Dictionary of Canadian Biography X (1972), 402.

(1) R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 282.
(2) J.H. Andrews, Plantation Acres (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1985), 339.
(3) Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack (1806), 120.
(4) Peter Clarke, The Royal Canal: the Complete Story (1992), 58.
(5) Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack (1831), 109.
(6) For further details, see V.T.H. & D.R. Delany, The Canals of the South of Ireland (1966) and W.A. McCutcheon, The Canals of the North of Ireland (1965).
(7) Sarah Bendall, ed., Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Map-Makers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850 (2nd edition, 1997), II, 294.
(8) Bendell, loc. cit.
(9) F. O'Dwyer, 'Building empires: architecture, politics and the Board of Works 1760-1860', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 5 (2002), 146.
(10) R. Delany, A Celebration of 250 Years of Ireland's Inland Waterways (1988), 56.
(11) B.O'D.
(12) R. Delany, A Celebration…, 107.
(13) IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44. This drawing may be at Tullynally, Co. Westmeath.

5 work entries listed in chronological order for KILLALY, JOHN A.

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Date: 1814-1817
Nature: Carries Royal Canal over River Inny near Abbeyshrule. Contractors: Henry, Mullins & MacMahon
Refs: Inscription on bridge; R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 66-67(illus.); Frederick O'Dwyer, 'The architecture of John Skipton Mulvany', Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 3 (2000), 25,26(illus.)

Date: 1817
Nature: -
Refs: 4 sheets of drawings formerly in Henry, Mullins & McMahon collection, Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (one of these now in NLI?, another in collection of Thomas Pakenham, Tullynally).

Date: 1824
Nature: To carry coast road between Kilkee and Miltown Malbay across Annagh River near Spanish Point. Castllated Gothic.
Refs: R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 249-50(illus.)

Date: 1826
Nature: New gaol. FS laid 13 Sep 1826. Plaque over entrance records that 'John Killay[sic], Esq.' was engineer for same. Is this a mistake for John Killaly?
Refs: William Garner, Tullamore Architectural Heritage (An Foras Forbatha, 1980), 13

Date: 1830
Nature: With Alexander Nimmo. Completed 1830.
Refs: R.C. Cox & M.H. Gould, Civil Engineering Heritage: Ireland (1998), 222