Lady Elizabeth Dowdall (fl. 1641) was an Irish noblewoman, known for her defence of Kilfinny Castle against the rebels during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Dowdall was the daughter of Thomas Southwell and his wife the poet Anne Southwell. Her parents were married at St Clement Danes in London on 24 June 1594, so it seems likely that Elizabeth was born in England in the mid 1590s. After her father was knighted in June 1603, the family moved to occupy land at Poulnelong, near Bandon, county Cork in Ireland as part of the Plantation of Munster. Her father died in 1626 and her mother moved back to England. Elizabeth however remained in Ireland, having married Sir John Dowdall, a wealthy landowner in County Limerick, Ireland, (alive in 1623) and then Donough, eldest son of Daniel O'Brien later 1st Viscount Clare, to whom she appears to have been married by 1626. Donough died on 6 August 1638.
Defence of Kilfinny Castle
In 1641, during the Irish Rebellion, Elizabeth successfully defended Kilfinny Castle against the rebels, and is reputed to have hung several of them during the fighting.
It is not known what happened to Dowdall after 1642.
Family and descendants
Together Elizabeth and John Dowdall had five daughters: Anne, Elizabeth, Jane, Bridget, and Honora.
Anne (d. about 1673) married John Southwell, a captain with the English forces. He was killed in an ambush on his way to relieving the siege of Newcastle, Limerick in 1642. She later married George Piggott, of Kilfinny.
Elizabeth (d. 1658) married Sir Hardress Waller in 1629, who was made Governor of Cork in 1644. He then joined the Parliamentary forces in England, and was later to become one of the regicides of Charles I. After the Restoration of Charles II her husband was convicted of regicide and sentenced to death. He was reprieved and died in prison in 1666.
Elizabeth and Hardress Waller had a son and four daughters. One, Elizabeth Waller, Baroness Shelburne, became the wife of the economist Sir William Petty. Another, Bridget, was the mother of the statesman William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan and of Charles Cadogan, 2nd Baron Cadogan.
Jane (d. before 1638), Bridget, and Honora (d. 1638) married respectively Redmond Roche, fifth son of Viscount Fermoy; Thomas Casey of Rathcannon; and Lawrence Dowdall of Mountown in Meath.