By 1914, the future of many a country house was hanging in the balance. Death duties, heavy taxation, increased cost of maintenance, declining farm rentals, and shortages in domestic labour had left many owners struggling to manage their estates. The death of an only son in the Great War was often the final blow and resulted in the sale of part or all of the property.
Although Moyaliffe Castle was not in financial difficulty, Pat Armstrong’s death in 1917 left the family estate without a male heir. Captain Armstrong now had a dilemma: who should inherit the property? In the end, his deep affection for his middle daughter Jess won the day. ‘I feel that Moyaliffe would always bring you happiness, as you also love it so much’, he wrote to her near the end of his life. ‘You know my wishes so well and that I want everything that has been in the house for so many generations to be preserved.’
Captain Armstrong died from heart failure on 12 September 1923 in Dublin, where he had been receiving treatment for his condition. He was buried two days later in Moyaliffe. He was 64 years old.