Thursday, 18 April 2019

Hot Cross Buns

Do you ever go through phases, where you crave real home-made food? Take the humble chip, for instance.

The triple-cooked chunky version, cooked to the right method, with the correct type of oil, at the appropriate temperature, can be supreme.

Timing matters, too.

I like Hot Cross buns.

Lest you employ a chef, you'll buy these traditional Easter buns from a bakery.

If you are one of those consumers who aims for perfection, however, I can suggest a recipe from the renowned culinary author, Felicity Cloake:-

Makes Sixteen

200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of saffron
20g fresh yeast
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
450g strong white flour
100g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
150g currants
50g mixed peel
3 tbsp plain flour

1. Heat 200ml milk gently in a pan along with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron until just boiling, and then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to blood temperature and then mix the strained milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.

2. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and grate over the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, or in a food mixer, until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar and the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.

3. Make a well in the middle, and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir in, adding enough milk to make a soft dough – it shouldn't look at all dry or tough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then lightly grease another bowl, and put the dough into it. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this will probably take a couple of hours.

4. Tip it out on to a lightly greased work surface and knead for a minute or so, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on lined baking trays and score a cross into the top of each, then cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff paste. Paint the top of each bun with egg wash, and then, using a piping bag or teaspoon, draw a thick cross on the top of each. Put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

6. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with this before transferring to a rack to cool. Eat with lots of butter.

Are hot cross buns what they used to be, or has our year-round greed taken the shine off them? Which modern additions do you approve of (please, no cranberries, we're British!), and what do you eat them with? (To start the ball rolling, I'll offer black pepper Boursin – an inspired topping idea from my friend Sharon.)

Dromore Palace

THE foundation of this diocese is ascribed to St Colman in the 6th century.

It is extremely compact, and the smallest in extent of any in the island of Ireland, which is not annexed to another see.

It extends only 35 miles from north to south; and 21 from east to west; yet it includes some part of three counties, namely Down, Armagh, and Antrim.

The lordship of Newry claimed the same exemption from episcopal jurisdiction, to which it was entitled when it appertained to a monastery before the Reformation.

The proprietor of the lordship, the Earl of Kilmorey, exercised the jurisdiction in his peculiar court, granting marriage licences, probates to wills etc under the old monastic seal.

THE PALACE, Dromore, County Down, afterwards called Dromore House or Bishopscourt, was a three-storey, Georgian house built in 1781 by the Rt Rev and Hon William Beresford, Lord Bishop of Dromore, 1780-82.

The palace was enhanced by Bishop Beresford's successor, the Rt Rev Thomas Percy (1729-1811), who laid out plantations, gardens and a glen, adorned with obelisks.

The palace was frequented by a circle of poets and painters during Bishop Percy's time, including Thomas Robinson, a pupil of the portrait painter George Romney.

The last prelate to reside at the palace was the Rt Rev James Saurin, Lord Bishop of Dromore, 1819-42.

It was sold in 1842, when the See of Dromore was merged with Down and Connor.

Dromore House was in use for some years in the late 1800s as a Jesuit school, when it was known as Loyola House.

Thereafter the old episcopal palace remained "untenanted and desolate."

After 1945 the trees and woods were all cut down and the house was left to decay.

First published in January, 2013.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Mount Stewart Acquisition


PROPERTY: Mount Stewart Gardens, County Down

DATE: 1955

EXTENT: 77.38 acres

DONOR: Derek, Viscount Bury


PROPERTY: Temple of the Winds, Mount Stewart Estate

DATE: 1963

EXTENT: 3.61 acres

DONOR: Mairi, Viscountess Bury (the Lady Mairi Bury)


PROPERTY: Mount Stewart House

DATE: 1976

EXTENT: 13.03 acres

DONOR: The Lady Mairi Bury


PROPERTY: Mount Stewart Land and Buildings

DATE: 1987-2009

EXTENT: 6.43 acres

DONOR: The Lady Mairi Bury


PROPERTY: Mount Stewart Lands

DATE: 2015

EXTENT: 900 acres.

First published in January, 2015.

Cappoquin House


The family of KEANE is descended from the O’Cahan clan of Ulster, who were feudal tenants of the O’Neills.

Most of their lands were forfeited in the first Plantation of Ulster, 1610.

At the end of the 17th century, George O’Cahan changed his name to Keane, conformed to the established church, and entered government service as a lawyer.

On his retirement he leased the town of Cappoquin, with extensive farm and mountain land, from the Earl of Cork under three 999 year leases.

RICHARD KEANE, of Belmont (son of John Keane, of Cappoquin, County Waterford), married Jane, daughter of Michael Green, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
He was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN KEANE (1757-1829), of Belmont, MP for Bangor, 1791-7, Youghal, 1797-1800, who was created a baronet in 1801, denominated of Belmont and Cappoquin, County Waterford.

He married firstly, Sarah, daughter of Richard Keily, of Lismore, and sister of John Keily, of Belgrove, and had issue,
RICHARD, of whom presently;
John, 1ST BARON KEANE; Commander-in-Chief, India;
Henry Edward;
Sir John wedded secondly, in 1804, Dorothy, widow of Philip Champion Crespigny, of Aldborough, Suffolk, and had further issue,
George Michael.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD KEANE, 2nd Baronet (1780-1855), Lieutenant-Colonel, Waterford Militia, who married, in 1814, Elizabeth, widow of Samuel Penrose, of Waterford, and daughter of Richard Sparrow, of Oaklands, Clonmel, and had issue,
JOHN HENRY, his successor;
Leopold George Frederick.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN HENRY KEANE, 3rd Baronet (1816-81), who espoused firstly, in 1844, Laura, daughter of the Rt Hon Richard Keatinge, and had issue,
RICHARD HENRY, his successor;
George Wilfred;
Laura Ellen Flora.
Sir John married secondly, in 1880, Harriet Thorneycroft.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD HENRY KEANE, 4th Baronet, DL (1845-92), High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1882, who wedded, in 1872, Adelaide Sidney, daughter of John Vance, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
George Michael;
Richard Henry;
Sir Richard was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN KEANE, 5th Baronet (1873-1956), High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1911, who wedded, in 1907, the Lady Eleanor Lucy Hicks-Beach, daughter of Michael, 1st Earl St Aldwyn, and had issue,
RICHARD MICHAEL, his successor;
Adelaide Mary; Sheila; Madeline Lucy.
Sir John was succeeded by his only son,

SIR RICHARD MICHAEL KEANE, 6th Baronet (1909-2010), who married, in 1939, Olivia Dorothy, daughter of Oliver Hawkshaw, and had issue,
JOHN CHARLES, his successor;
David Richard;
Vivien Eleanor.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR (JOHN) CHARLES KEANE, 7th and present Baronet (1941-), of Cappoquin, who married, in 1977, Corinne, daughter of Jean Everard de Harzir, and has issue,

CAPPOQUIN HOUSE, Cappoquin, County Waterford, is a square, two-storey house of 1779.

It has a handsome seven-bay ashlar front which faces the town of Cappoquin, towards the River Blackwater.

The centre block has a three-bay breakfront, with round-headed windows; prominent quoins; balustraded roof parapet with urns.

The house was burnt in 1923, though later rebuilt with the fine plasterwork interior restored.

When Cappoquin was rebuilt, the front facing the river became the garden front.

The entrance hall has a stone, flagged floor and a frieze of plasterwork in the 18th century manner.

Beyond this hall, there is a top-lit staircase hall with coffered dome.

CAPPOQUIN HOUSE dominates the River Blackwater. Downstream, Dromana, the great castle of the Earl of Desmond, can be seen.

The Keane family have lived at Cappoquin for the last three centuries. They are an old Irish family, descended from the O’Cahan clan of Ulster, who were feudal tenants of the O’Neills.
Most of their lands, beside the River Bann in County Londonderry, were forfeited in the first Plantation of Ulster in 1610. The family consequently resettled in County Waterford, west of the River Shannon.

At the end of the 17th century, George O’Cahan changed his name to Keane, became a protestant and entered government service as a lawyer.
On retirement he leased the town of Cappoquin with extensive farm and mountain land from the Earl of Cork under three 999 year leases.

THE GARDENS were laid out in the mid-19th century, but there are vestiges of earlier periods in walls, gateways and streams.

It was taken in hand by Olivia, Lady Keane, in the 1950s and expanded by her in the late 1970s.

It reflects much of her taste and extensive knowledge of plants.

First published in January, 2013.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Campbell College Charter

CAMPBELL COLLEGE stands in its own grounds on the outskirts of east Belfast.

It is located on the site of what was once Belmont House, seat of Sir Thomas McClure Bt.

The 1st June, 1951, was a very special day for Campbell: The presentation of a Royal Charter by Her Majesty The Queen (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) on behalf of The King (GEORGE VI).

The Chairman of the Governors was the Rev J K L McKean; the Headmaster, Ronald Groves MA BSc.

Major Lytle was Commanding Officer of the Corps.

Among those presented to the Royal Party included:
  • Major R D Williams MC BA
    The Rev Canon L W Crooks MA
    The Rev R Hyndman DD BA
    W H Niall Nelson
    R Watts MC
    The Rt Hon the Lord MacDermott MC PC
    John Archer MA
    The Ven C I Peacocke TD MA
    Lieutenant-Colonel J R H Greeves TD BSc
    Dr James Boyd CBE MD BSc
    R S Brownell CBE (Permanent Secretary, Dept of Educ.)
    Mrs Dermot Campbell
    The Headmaster of Cabin Hill School & Mrs Sutton
    Major C A Bowen TD MA (Second Master)
    C B Mitchell MA (President, Old Campbellian Society)
    Major T B Dunn (Chairman, OC Council)
HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH The Princess Margaret

The weather was clement; the grounds were at their best; the College, "the warm red brick building [standing] out nobly against the background of the trees" (W V Thomas).

Guest began to arrive shortly after two o'clock; the Boys took up position along one side of the Quadrangle under the Masters' Common-room windows.

The Guard of Honour, drawn from the College's CCF, stood on the east side of the Quadrangle.

At three twenty-five, the Royal Standard of Her Majesty was broken over Campbell.

The Royal Party had arrived: HM The Queen; HRH The Princess Margaret; HE the Governor of Northern Ireland, the 4th Earl Granville; the Chairman of the Governors, the Rev JKL McKean; the Headmaster and Mrs Groves.


It is with great pride that we welcome Your Majesty and Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret to Campbell College. Since its foundation in 1894, boys have gone forth from this school to serve the Empire and their generation in many and varied walks of life - in Church and State, the Armed Forces, the liberal professions, the commercial and industrial life of Northern Ireland, and in your Dominions at home and overseas ... in the two world wars 236 Old Boys laid down their lives for God, King and Country; it is with pride that we remember that two of these were awarded the Victoria Cross.
In many other ways its sons have enriched the Ulster heritage and helped to forge the link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland ... which will inspire us and those who follow to even greater efforts to serve Your Majesty and your people with equal loyalty in the future.


The King has asked me to say how very sorry he is not to be able to be here today, as he had been looking forward to the opportunity which his visit to Northern Ireland afforded of coming to one of its most eminent schools, and of seeing some of the boys who will hold many important positions in the varied life of the country in the future ... the notable record to which you have referred prompted your Governors to propose the Campbell College should be given a Royal Charter. The King was very glad to approve this...
On His Majesty's behalf I now present this Charter of Incorporation to the Chairman of the Governors. The King would like to mark this occasion in a form which boys most readily understand and I would therefore ask your Headmaster to add a week to your summer holidays.

Thereafter the Chairman of the Governors replied with a brief word of gratitude.

The Head Boy, Stewart Johnston, came forward and was presented to The Queen.

 The Royal Party were shown the Central Hall and the War Memorials.

Afterwards, the Royal Party walked round the front of the Quadrangle; HM spoke to some of the masters and boys; HM and HRH kindly posed for the rows of boys with cameras; and, as the Royal Salute was played once more, and The Queen's Standard was hauled down, HM and HRH bade farewell.

So ended in every way a golden day in the history of Campbell College.

First published in June, 2011.

Cairncastle Lodge


CAPTAIN WILLIAM AGNEW (1747-1828), of Kilwaughter, County Antrim, said to be a lineal descendant of the Agnews of Lochnaw, Wigtownshire, was succeeded by his son,

JAMES AGNEW (1794-1880), of Kilwaughter and Fisherwick, Doagh, both in County Antrim, who married, in 1832, Catherine Hamilton, and had issue, with a daughter, Harriett, two sons, William and Charles, who both predeceased him.

Mr Agnew inherited the Kilwaughter estate in 1834, when he proceeded to build Cairncastle Lodge, Carnfunnock, about 1839.

The coastal road was constructed about this period.

Mr Agnew, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1839, died at his home in Highbury Grove, London, in 1880.

Owing to impecunious circumstances, Mr Agnew was compelled to sell his estate, in 1865, to

JAMES CHAINE (1841-1885), son of James Chaine, of Ballycraigy, County Antrim, who was born at Muckamore, into a prosperous family in the linen industry.

Mr Chaine, MP for Antrim, 1874-85, married, in 1864, Henrietta de Salis Creery, of Newcastle, County Down, and had two sons,
WILLIAM (1864-1937), of Cairncastle Lodge;
JAMES (1867-1910).
For a short time the family lived in the Chaine’s ancestral home, Ballycraigy Manor.

The Chaine family owned 5,110 acres of land in County Antrim during the 19th century.

A year after his marriage, James purchased Cairncastle Lodge, Carnfunnock, (above) and adjacent lands from James Agnew, at a cost of £12,800 (£1.4 million in 2012).

He also bought Larne harbour (including the lands of Curran and Drumalis) for £20,000 from the Agnew family, in 1866.

Chaine bought when the future of Larne Harbour was in doubt and annual income was only £50 (Larne Times, 8 August 1896).

He invested heavily, improving greatly its primitive quays and facilities, promoting Larne as a port and re-establishing the Larne-Stranraer passenger service in 1872.

A mail route was established in 1875 and a trans-Atlantic service between Glasgow, Larne and New York began in 1873.

Using the renowned State Line vessels, this service continued until December, 1889, and many emigrants left for a new life in America.

In 1878, the railway was extended to the harbour and, to provide travellers with accommodation, he opened the Olderfleet Hotel.

During the construction of Larne Harbour, the Chaine family enlarged their summer residence, Cairncastle Lodge, to incorporate eleven bedrooms, a drawing-room, dining-room, morning-room, halls, coach-yard etc.

The house was approached by two avenues on the landward side of the Coast Road.

The current entrance to Carnfunnock Country Park was originally the back entrance for servants and deliveries to Cairncastle Lodge.

The former main entrance, for the owners and guests, is now the sealed-off laneway leading from the Coast Road to the Activity Centre.

There were four small lodges for employees connected to the estate: Two on the Coast Road; one being at the back entrance; the other on the shore side of the road, opposite the front entrance.

These are now in private ownership.

The land steward's house, together with the farm buildings, was a short distance from the Lodge and was called Home Farm.

The fourth lodge is now gone.

In 1874, James Chaine was elected as Conservative MP for Antrim, and his last official engagement was to entertain the Prince of Wales (later EDWARD VII) and Princess Alexandra, on their royal visit to Northern Ireland.

Sadly, when bidding the royal couple farewell, he caught a chill which developed into pneumonia and, within a week, he died aged 44 in his own hotel, the Olderfleet.

At the time of his death, his residence was Ballycraigy and his estate amounted to £63,000, part of which stemmed from the sale of the majority of his mills, bleach greens and watercourses in Muckamore to the York Street Flax Spinning Company Ltd.

His dying wish was to be buried in the moat near Waterloo House, in the townland of Curran and Drumalis, with the ground to be consecrated by the Church of Ireland, and for it to be an enclosed family burial ground. This can still be found at Bankheads/Town Park.

As a mark of respect, the townspeople of Larne raised funds by public subscription to build the Chaine Memorial Tower in 1887/88.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights converted the tower into a lighthouse in 1899.

In his will James Chaine left his eldest son, William, the businesses, but requested he first finish his education at Marlborough and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he obtained a Master of Arts.

William was also given the responsibility of looking after his mother in whichever of the Chaine residences they preferred.

They chose Cairncastle Lodge.

William was to give his brother James £20,000 within ten years of his fathers death, and if Larne Harbour proved successful, a further £10,000.

James enjoyed travel and lived a gentleman’s life, never taking any prominent part in the businesses.

At the close of his university career, William returned to Larne to manage the family estate.

Like his father, William became a director of the old Northern Counties Railway Company and, in succession, a member of the Northern Counties Committee.

Amongst his many business interests, William was a director of the York Street Flax Spinning Company; a member of the Board of Superintendents of the Belfast Bank; a Director of the Shamrock Shipping Company; Larne Harbour; and the owner and chairman of Messrs Frederick King & Company.

As the senior magistrate in the district, he often sat at Larne Petty Sessions and served also as High Sheriff of County Antrim; being afterwards appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the county.

For some years he represented Larne on Antrim County Council.

In politics he was President of East Antrim Unionist Association.

His modesty however made him refuse any honours in connection with his political work.

A devoted member of the Church of Ireland, he gave valuable service to the parish of Cairncastle as churchwarden and honorary treasurer.

He also supported the parish of Larne and Inver.

In 1913, a militia, known as the Ulster Volunteer Force, was established to oppose Home Rule.

As commandant of the Larne Battalion, Chaine was the driving force behind organisation of the corps and enlistment in Larne.

His interest in ex-servicemen and the dependents of those who had fallen in the 1st World War was unbounded and he sat as Chairman of the British Legion’s Old Pension Committee, dealing with the chaotic conditions during the aftermath of the war.

William Chaine donated a piece of bog ground north of his family’s private burying-place at Waterloo to create a public park.

Chaine Park was offcially opened in 1929 by William Chaine as the first pleasure ground under the control of the Urban Council.

William Chaine died in Smiley Cottage Hospital in 1937, leaving no wife or children, but a personal estate valued at £375,867.

His passing marked the end of a family which had played a large part in County Antrim affairs for nearly 70 years.

He bequeathed to each of his servants two months wages for each year of service.

He also bequeathed monies to the Protestant Orphan Society and the Church of Ireland, with the remaining £200,000 left to his cousin, Augustus Alexander Nickson, who changed his name to Chaine by deed poll in 1938.

Cairncastle Lodge was subsequently sold to Sir Thomas Dixon in January, 1938.

Though William Chaine travelled extensively, he was never so happy as when in residence at Cairncastle Lodge, where he spent nearly the whole of his adult life and amongst his friends and neighbours there and in Larne he quietly and unostentatiously lived a life of well-doing.

Paying close a mention to the affairs of his estate, he yet found time to interest himself in the affairs of others, to their great advantage (Larne Times, 8 May 1937).

First published in April, 2013.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Cahir Park


This is a branch of the noble house of ORMONDE, springing from

JAMES, 3rd Earl of Ormond (c1359-1405); who, besides legitimate children, had two illegitimate sons, Thomas, Prior of Kilmainham and Lord Deputy of Ireland in the reigns of HENRY IV and HENRY V; and

JAMES LE BOTELLER or BUTLER, whose descendants, by the settlement of Thomas, the 10th Earl, were made next in remainder to the house of Ormonde after the family of Dunboyne.

From this James lineally descended

THOMAS BUTLER, of Cahir, who married Ellice, daughter of the Earl of Desmond, and was father of

THOMAS BUTLER (1448-76), who wedded Catherine, daughter of Sir Piers Power, of County Waterford, by whom he had two sons; the younger of whom, Piers, was father of Theobald, 3rd Baron Cahir; and the elder,

THOMAS BUTLERwas elevated to the peerage, in 1543, in the dignity of Baron Cahir.

His lordship espoused Eleanor, fifth daughter of Piers, 8th Earl of Ormond, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

EDMUND, 2nd Baron; who died without issue, in 1560, when the barony expired, and his two half-sisters became his heirs.

The dignity was, however, revived in 1583 by a new patent granted to his lordship's first cousin,

SIR THEOBALD BUTLER, Knight, who became thus 1st Baron Cahir of the second creation.

His lordship married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, of Cussington, County Meath, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Ellen; Mary.
He died in 1596, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron, who died in 1627, and leaving an only daughter and heir, Margaret, who wedded Edmund, 3rd Baron Dunboyne, the barony devolved upon his nephew,

THOMAS, 3rd Baron, who espoused Eleanor, granddaughter of Lord Poer, by whom he had seven children.

His lordship died ca 1648, and was succeeded by his grandson,

PIERCE, 4th Baron; who died in 1676, when the family honours reverted to

THEOBALD, 5th Baron, son of Edmund (3rd son of the 1st Baron), who died in 1700, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS, 6th Baron; whose son,

JAMES, 7th Baron, succeeded in 1744, though died without issue, 1746, and was succeeded by his brother,

PIERCE, 8th Baron, at whose demise, unmarried, in 1788, the title reverted to his kinsman,

JAMES, 9th Baron, who was in India at the time of his predecessor's death and so never received the news of his elevation as he died a month later, in 1788.

RICHARD (1775–1819), 10th Baron (son of James Butler, of Fethard, County Tipperary, and grandson of Richard Butler, of Glengall, who was descended from Sir Theobald Butler, 1st Baron Cahir through his third son, the Hon Pierce Butler).

His lordship wedded, in 1793, Emily, youngest daughter of James St John Jefferyes, of Blarney Castle, County Cork, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Harriet Anne, m George, 3rd Marquess of Donegall;
Charlotte Butler; Emily Georgina Arabella.
His lordship was advanced, in 1816, to the dignities of Viscount Cahir and EARL OF GLENGALL.

He was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl (1794-1858), who espoused, in 1834, Margaret Lauretta, younger daughter and co-heir of William Mellish, of Woodford, Essex, and had issue, two daughters.

Having no male issue, the titles expired on his decease in 1858.
Harriet Anne, Countess of Belfast 

The 1st Earl's daughter, the Lady Harriet Anne Butler (above), married George, 3rd Marquess of Donegall, in 1822.

Glengall Street in Belfast is named after this marital union.

Richard, 2nd Earl of Glengall

One of his daughters, the Lady Margaret Butler, inherited her father's extensive estate at Cahir, County Tipperary, following his death in 1858.

In that year she married Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon Richard Charteris (1822-74), and built Cahir Park as the family home.

She was succeeded by her eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Butler Charteris (1866-1961), who continued to live at Caher until his death.

CAHIR CASTLE stands on an island in the River Suir by the town of Cahir.

It was built in the 13th century on a site of an earlier native fortification called a cathair (stone fort), which gave its name to the place.

The castle was built in two parts, with the side now by the street being built 200 years before the side now housing the audio-visual show.

Granted to the Butlers in the late 14th century, the castle was enlarged and remodelled between the 15th and 17th centuries.

It fell into ruin in the late 18th century, when the family ceased to live in it, though was partially restored in the 1840s. The Great Hall was partly rebuilt in 1840.

It is now a national monument, managed by the Irish state.

Instead, they built a house of three storeys and five bays, now the Cahir House Hotel, facing the main square of the town and backing on to the Castle park.

Swiss Cottage, a delightful cottage orné, was built in the early 1800s by the 1st Earl, it has been said, for a mistress, to a design by the famous Regency architect John Nash.

Its interior contains a graceful spiral staircase and some elegantly decorated rooms.

The wallpaper in the salon manufactured by the Dufour factory is one of the first commercially produced Parisian wallpapers. 

Cahir Park

Following the death of the 2nd Earl in 1858, his daughter, Lady Margaret Charteris, built the house known as Cahir Park, or Cahir Lodge, across the river from the ancient Castle.

This mansion served as the family seat from then on.

It was built about 1861, designed by Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon; though, according by Bence-Jones, was neither "worthy of its architects, nor of its glorious setting".

It was said to be exceptionally dull and dour, quasi-Baronial, with steep gables, pointed plate-glass windows, and a turret with a pyramidal roof.

Its rooms were apparently "meanly proportioned", though redeemed with some French furniture.

During the 20th century, Colonel Charteris added a billiards-room-cum-library.

The house, somewhat ingloriously, was gutted by fire shortly after it had been sold following the Colonel's death, at the advanced age of 94, in 1961.

Former London residence ~ 54 Grosvenor Street.

First published in January, 2013.  Glengall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.