|Clare County Library||
in County Clare 1534 - 1911
Thomas Dineley, Journal of County Clare, 1681
Thomas Dingley or Dineley was the son and heir of Thomas Dingley, controller of the customs of Southampton. Educated by the dramatist James Shirley in London, he registered as a student at Gray’s Inn in 1670 but apparently did not complete his legal studies. Travelling through Holland in 1674, he left an illustrated manuscript of his travels there. The following year he completed a similar tour of France. In 1680 he visited Ireland; unfortunately the circumstances surrounding his Irish visit are unknown. He obviously had a connection with either the earl of Thomond, then resident in England, or with a tenant of the Thomond estate. He travelled from Dublin to Carlow, the principal Thomond manor outside of Clare, and from there to Limerick and Bunratty. He appears to have stayed in the vicinity of Bunratty, making occasional forays into Tipperary and Limerick, and travelling as far west as Ennis and Kilrush in County Clare. The most valuable part of his account are the many line drawings with which he illustrates his tour. Ancient abbeys, church monuments and castles occupied by English settlers attracted his attention. Clearly the newly arrived settlers were not yet sufficiently secure in their holdings to reside in the mansion houses which were to become such a prominent feature of the landscape in the eighteenth century. Dineley’s drawings, though valuable, are not always accurate and need to be treated with caution. The last leg of his Irish tour was from Bunratty to Youghal, where he took ship and sailed for England. In 1684 he completed a tour of Wales. In later years he resided at Dilwyn in Herefordshire, where he compiled a History from Marble, a collection of epitaphs, church notes and sketches of domestic and public buildings. He died in May of 1695 at Louvain in Flanders. The original manuscript of his Irish tour is preserved in the National Library of Ireland.
Taken from ‘Extracts of the Journal of Thomas Dineley,
Esquire, giving some account of his visit to Ireland in the Reign of Charles
II’ in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, 6 (1867),
pp 73-91, 177-201.