Saturday, 26 May 2018

The French Rooms

I've been spending a few days at Portballintrae, County Antrim, on Ulster's north coast.

The weather has really been very good, mostly sunny in fact.

I explored Ramore Head and the headland at Portstewart, places I was unfamiliar with.

On Friday evening I dined at The French Rooms, a restaurant, café and artisan shop in Bushmills.

Bushmills, probably my favourite village in County Antrim, is a mere hop, skip and jump from Portballintrae.

It usually suits me to dine early, so I had reserved a table for six-thirty.


On arrival I was shown to a lovely little table, directly opposite the bar counter, which happened to have particularly comfortable leather chairs.


In fact I quipped to the waiter at the time that they were reminiscent of some ancient Bentley or Daimler.

The staff here are engaging and courteous.

Having perused the excellent menus, I opted for Spicy Prawn Pot on Spicy Leaves as a starter.


The trusty nose-bag was donned and I tucked in to a dainty little pot of prawns, dressed in a kind of seafood sauce.

I had motored in to the village, so simply had iced water with the meal.

After a short interval my main course arrived, viz. Cajun French Sea Bass, oven-baked and drizzled with a dill-infused rapeseed oil dressing.

I also had creamed purée potatoes and roast beetroot and cherry tomatoes with it.

The sea bass was delicate, moist, mild, boneless, and complemented my vegetables famously.


During the course of my dinner I chatted with the waiter, recounting tales of The Ugly Ducking in Corralejo, Canary Islands, which was so outstanding and popular that it had to turn away most passers-by.

Another restaurant across the street gained the extra business.

This was the case with The French Rooms last night, so it is advisable to book ahead for dinner.

I had the iPad and headphones with me, the plan being to settle self in the Bushmills Inn a few doors up, so I approached the counter to settle my bill.

To my utter astonishment the staff apprised me that my bill had been paid for by an American couple.

They had been seated at a table twenty or thirty feet away, though I never caught their eyes or even encountered them.

I still have no idea who they were or where they were staying.

This was an opportunity for another good turn, so I gave the staff a good tip instead.

I don't think I've enjoyed myself at a restaurant for years.

Muckross House

THE HERBERTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KERRY, WITH 47,238 ACRES

Since the merging of the elder branch of the family of CLIVE, by the marriage of the heiress of the last Herbert, Earl of Powis, with the son of the celebrated General Lord Clive, the chieftainship of the name seems indubitably to rest with HERBERT of Muckross, in County Kerry.
Descended from Thomas Herbert, of Kilcow, he went to Ireland under the care and patronage of his relative Lord Herbert of Chirbury and Castleisland, in 1656; which Thomas was the son of Matthew, the son of Sir John, the son of Sir William, the son of Sir Matthew, of Colebrook, only brother of the Earl of Pembroke of the 1st Creation.
These brothers suffered as Yorkists in the wars of the Roses.

The heir-general of the Earl of Pembroke married into the family of Somerset, Earl of Marquess of Worcester, and Duke of Beaufort.
From Richard Herbert descended in the younger branches the Lords Herbert of Cherbury, afterwards Earls of Powis, and Herbert, Earl of Torrington, both extinct in the male line; while from a senior, but never ennobled branch, the family of Muckross and Kilcow now remains the existing and legitimate representative of the famous name of HERBERT.
The Herberts were granted land in County Kerry during the reign of ELIZABETH I.

THOMAS HERBERT, of Kilcow, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1659, married Mary, daughter of Edward Kenny, of Cullen, County Cork, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John, dsp;
ARTHUR.
The eldest son,

EDWARD HERBERT MP (1660-1737), of Muckross, High Sheriff of Kerry, married, in 1684, Agnes, daughter of Patrick Crosbie, of Tubrid, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John, dsp;
Arthur, dsp;
Elizabeth; Margaret.
The eldest son,

EDWARD HERBERT (1693-1770), of Muckross, MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, 1756, married Frances, daughter of Nicholas, 2nd Viscount Kenmare, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Nicholas (Rev);
Edward, MP.
The eldest son,

THOMAS HERBERT, of Muckross, MP for Ludlow, married firstly, Anne, daughter of John Martin, of Overbury, Worcestershire, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Edward (Rev);
Frances; Catherine; Mary; Emily.
He wedded secondly, Agnes, daughter of the Rev Francis Bland, Vicar of Killarney, and had issue,
Thomas, dsp 1798, buried at Worcester Cathedral;
Francis, killed in a duel at Gibraltar, 1797;
Cherry; Elizabeth.
Mr Herbert died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT (1756-1821), who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Lord George Sackville, and sister to the last Duke of Dorset, and had issue (with a daughter), a son and successor,

CHARLES JOHN HERBERT, of Muckross, who married, in 1814, Louisa, daughter of Hugh Middleton, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Charles, dsp;
Louisa; Jane; Maria.
Mr Herbert died in 1836, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT (1815-66), of Muckross, Lord-Lieutenant and MP for County Kerry, Colonel, the Kerry Militia, Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1857-8, who married, in 1837, Mary, daughter of James Balfour, by Lady Eleanor his wife, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Charles;
Eleanor; Blanche.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT DL MP (1840-1901), of Muckross, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1881, MP for Kerry, 1866-80, Major, London Irish Rifles, Captain, Coldstream Guards, who espoused, in 1866, Emily Julia Charlotte, only child of Edward, 2nd Lord Keane, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR EDWARD KEANE, his heir;
Kathleen Mary Eleanor.
The only son,

HENRY ARTHUR EDWARD KEANE HERBERT JP (1867-1931), died unmarried.
Smith indicates that two members of the family received lands in Kerry after the Desmond rebellion, Sir William Herbert receiving over 13,000 acres; while Charles Herbert received over 3,000 acres. 

Over the next three centuries they were to remain amongst the foremost families in County Kerry.

Henry Arthur Herbert was one of the principal lessors of property in the baronies of Dunkerron North and Magunihy, as well as holding some property in the barony of Trughanacmy, at the time of Griffith’s Valuation.

The family fortunes declined systematically in the late 19th century and most of the estate was sold in the 1890s.

MUCKROSS HOUSE, County Kerry, is an irregular-plan, six-bay, two-storey over basement, quadruple-gable-fronted, Elizabethan-Revival style country house with dormer attic, built between 1839-43, designed by William Burn.

It is situated close to the shores of Muckross Lake, amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park.

The house is a focal point within the park.


It was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolour painter Mary Balfour Herbert.

This was the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two centuries. 

Originally it was intended to build a more ornate house than that which exists today.

The plans for a larger servants' wing, stable block, orangery and summer-house are believed to have been altered at Mary Herbert's request. 


Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century gentry; while, in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores.

During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. 

Later, the Bourn Vincent family continued this gardening tradition.

They purchased the estate from Lord and Lady Ardilaun early in the 20th century.

It was at this time that the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden were developed.

First published in December, 2011.  BIBLIOGRAPHY: MUCKROSS HOUSE WEBSITE

Friday, 25 May 2018

Causeway Hotel: A Brief History


In November, 1836, Elizabeth Henry leased just over four acres of land in the townland of Ardihannon, County Antrim, from Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten, 1st Baronet.

The Macnaghten Baronets, of Dundarave, were the major landowners in the area, owning 7,134 acres in 1876.

Miss Henry, formerly the proprietress of The Copeland Arms in Coleraine, proceeded building on the site; however, by 1841, her financial circumstances were such, that she was unable to complete the construction of her hotel on the Macnaghtens' land at The Giant's Causeway.

When she died, the Macnaghten mortgage debt was still outstanding.


In 1844, the Hotel was let to William McNaul, who pledged
BY diligence and attention to do all in my power to promote the comfort of my Guests, and they may depend on my always keeping a well stocked larder and being well supplied with the choicest Wines and Liquors.
Twenty years later, in 1863, a new lessee, William Coleman, ran the Hotel, the business at least servicing the interest on the debt for the Macnaghtens.

Mr Coleman was the proprietor of Coleman's Portrush Hotel.

On acquiring the Causeway Hotel, he demonstrated his flair for the catering industry in his press advertisement:
W Coleman begs to inform his patrons that he has become Proprietor of the GIANT'S CAUSEWAY HOTEL, which he has completely refitted. The arrangements and rates are the same as those which have given so much satisfaction at his Portrush Establishment.
The GIANT'S CAUSEWAY HOTEL, being immediately above the Causeway itself, is admirably situated for Tourists having only a short time to spare, and also for those who wish to spend some time in the neighbourhood. The Hotel is commodious, and, in every respect, a First class Establishment.
Mr Coleman added, in small print presumably (!),
Tourists are particularly requested not to engage either Guides or Boatmen till arrival at Giant's Causeway Hotel.
HOTEL CHARGES:-
Sitting-room per day ~ from 2 shillings (/) to 3/-
Bed-room ~ from 1/6 to 2/-
Sitting-room fire per day ~ 6d
Breakfast ~ from 1/6 to 2/-
Hot Lunch ~ 1/6
Cold Lunch ~ 1/3
Dinner ~ from 1/8 to 3/-
Visitors' Servants per day ~ 4/-
HOTEL ARRANGEMENTS:-
VISITORS taken at the under-mentioned charges:-
Board, including Bed-room ~ 35/- each per week
Sitting-room ~ from 12/- to 21/- each per week
Attendance ~ 5/-  each per week
Visitors' Servants ~ 21/- each per week
 
A Two-horse van leaves daily, from The Portrush Hotel for The Giant's Causeway, from 1st June to 1st October, at 9.40am, on arrival of first train from Belfast, returning at 2pm, in time for the afternoon trains. Fare:- Return, 2/-; Single, 1/6.
£2 (40/-) in 1860 was worth about £200 today.

By 1884, the Causeway Hotel and its strategic importance had, not surprisingly, come to the notice of the entrepreneurial Traills of Ballylough House.

Sir Francis Workman-Macnaghten, 3rd Baronet, had a meeting with William Atcheson Traill and his brother, Anthony, the result being that the Giant's Causeway Tramway took over the Causeway Hotel.


William Winter was employed to manage it.

This was a mutually beneficial arrangement: Sir Francis acquired a good tenant (with an option to purchase the hotel) to pay off the old debt; whereas the Traills' tramway company got vertical integration in their business.

Their passengers would be directed to their hotel to avail of the conveniences (!) etc.

Advertisements proclaimed that “the Causeway Hotel is now worked in connection with the Tramway."

In 1910, the Kane family purchased the Causeway Hotel; and in 1963 the Hotel was sold to Frank Fleming.

The last private proprietors of the Hotel were the Armstrong family, who sold it to The National Trust in 2001.

If there are any inaccuracies in this article, please let me know.

First published in May, 2014.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Heritage Apple Trees

THE APPLE TREES WE PLANTED AT BALLYQUINTIN ARE NOW ALMOST FIVE YEARS OLD. WE REVISITED THE SITE ON WEDNESDAY, 23RD MAY, 2018.

HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POST FROM 2013.

I spent today at Bar Hall, a property of the National Trust close to Ballyquintin Point, on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

We all met at the old Mount Stewart estate schoolhouse, from where the trucks were loaded with spades, stakes, mulch sheeting and, of course apple saplings.


We have established a new orchard at the side of a sheltered field near the entrance to Ballyquintin Farm.

The little apple-tree saplings are not ordinary ones. They are heritage varieties, including Bloody Butcher, Lady's Finger of Offaly, Ballyvaughan, Ballyfatten, Ross Nonpareil, Widow's Friend, and Kemp.

Eighteen saplings were planted and they cost about £200.


Therefore, unsurprisingly, we devoted the day to planning the layout, planting at appropriate distances, ensuring that no same varieties were planted together; and stakes were hammered in at a 45-degree angle.

There was fresh manure in the field, which we put to good use.

The mulch sheets will protect the little trees from long grass and weeds, thereby fostering growth and providing them with the best chance of flourishing.

Published in November, 2013.

Milford House

THE McCRUMS OWNED 46 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ARMAGH

WILLIAM McCRUM (1785-1879), son of William McCrum (1756-1818, a farmer from County Armagh, by his wife, Elizabeth Harper, of County Armagh), married, in 1818, Judith, daughter of Moses Paul, and had issue,
ROBERT GARMANY, of whom presently;
Martha, died in infancy.
The only son,

ROBERT GARMANY McCRUM JP DL (1827-1915), of Milford House, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1909, wedded, in 1864, Anne Eliza Riddall, of Armagh, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
HARRIETTE, b 1867.
Mr McCrum was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM McCRUM (1865-1932), of Milford House, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1888, who espoused, in 1891, Maude Mary, daughter of Dr W W Squires, of Montreal, Canada, and had issue, an only son,

CECIL ROBERT McCRUM OBE* (1892-1976), of The Mall, Armagh, Captain, Royal Navy, who wedded Ivy Hilda Constance (1891–1990), daughter of William Nicholson, and had issue,
Patrick, 1917-22;
Antony, b 1919; 
MICHAEL WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Robert.
The third son,

MICHAEL WILLIAM McCRUM CBE (1924-2005), a distinguished academic and historian, married, in 1952, Christine Mary Kathleen, daughter of Sir Arthur Brownlow Frederick fforde GBE,  and had four children, of whom 

(John) Robert McCrum, born in 1953, is a well-known editor and writer.

Robert Garmany McCrum's only daughter,

HARRIETTE (1867-1951), of The Mall, Armagh, married, in 1898, the Rev David Miller, and had issue, four sons,
Robert Craig;
William McCrum;
David Riddall;
Edward Wentworth.
*Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, St James's Palace, SWl. 1st January, 1943: The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following to be Additional Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order : Captain Cecil Robert McCrum, RN (Ret.).


MILFORD HOUSE, near Armagh City, County Armagh, is a two-storey, Italianate country house, built for Robert Garmany McCrum between 1865-1904.

It has a three-sided bow; pedimented three-bay projection; and camber-headed windows.


There is an elaborate range of glasshouses running at right-angles from the middle of the front.

During the Victorian era, the grounds extended to 46 acres.

The manor house passed into the ownership of William McCrum in 1915.

Never adept at business, he lost heavily in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and was forced to auction the contents of the house the following year and sell the mill the year after that.

Mr McCrum died penniless in 1932 and the Milford House came into the ownership of the Northern Bank.

In 1936, the bank leased it to a private boarding school for girls (Manor House School), who bought it outright for £3,000 in 1940.

The school closed in 1965; and in 1966 the property was sold to the Northern Ireland Hospital Authority for use as a special care home.

This shut in 1988 and since then the property became vacant.

In 1936, the house was leased and ultimately sold to a girls' school.


In 2000, the Friends of Manor House was established by Stephen McManus in collaboration with Armagh Council to secure the future of the property.


The building was sold to the current owners in 2002.

The Milford Buildings Preservation Trust continues to work tirelessly to protect Milford House, its parkland and gardens.

First published in May, 2014.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dunsandle House

THE BARONS DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 33,543 ACRES
The family of DALY, or O'DALY, is of very ancient origin, deducing its descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland in the 4th century, who was also common ancestor of the O'NEILLS of Tyrone and O'DONNELLS of Tyrconnell, from whom the pedigree of this family is lineally traced in the Heralds' office.
THE RT HON DENIS DALY (c1638-1721), son of James Daly, of Carrownakelly, by his wife, Anastase D'Arcy (niece of Patrick D'Arcy), had a son,

DENIS DALY, of Carrownakelly, whose son,

JAMES DALY (1716-69), MP for Athenry, 1741-68, MP for the borough of Galway, 1768-9, married firstly, Bridget, daughter of Francis, 14th Baron Athenry; and secondly, Catherine, daughter of Sir Ralph Gore Bt, by whom he had issue,
St George;
DENIS, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

THE RT HON DENIS DALY (1748-91), of Dunsandle, County Galway, married, in 1780, the Lady Henrietta Maxwell, daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Farnham, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Robert (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Cashel and Waterford;
Henrietta; Katharine; Charlotte; Elizabeth; Emily; Mary.
Mr Daly was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES DALY (1782-1847), MP for County Galway, 1812-27, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1845, as BARON DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL, of Dunsandle, County Galway.

His lordship  married, in 1808, Maria Elizabeth, second daughter and co-heiress of Rt Hon Sir Skeffington Smyth Bt, MP, of Tinny Park, County Wicklow, and had issue,
DENIS ST GEORGE, his successor;
Charles Anthony;
SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron;
Bowes Richard;
Robert;
Margaret Eleanor; Rosa Gertrude Harriet.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

DENIS ST GEORGE, 2nd Baron, a captain in the 7th Dragoons, wedded, in 1864, Mary, daughter of William Broderick, though dying without issue, the family honours devolved upon his next brother,

SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron (1810-93), who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

JAMES FREDERICK, 4th Baron (son of the Hon Robert Daly, youngest son of the 1st Baron), Assistant Private Secretary to Lord Beaconsfield, 1874-80, Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury, 1885-87, Assistant in the National Debt Office, 1888.

On the death of the 4th Baron, in 1911, the titles became extinct.


DUNSANDLE HOUSE, near Athenry, County Galway, was a five-bay, three-storey country house, built ca 1780, now in ruins and roofless.

It was said to have been the finest house in the county, famed for its neo-classical plasterwork.  Various visitors commented that it had a good cellar and a fine library.

The basement housed some of the servants, the money room, and the boiler. On the ground floor were the drawing room, the bathrooms, the function room and one of the sitting rooms.

There was also a spacious hallway which led into a highly decorative interior with neo-classical plasterwork.

Photo credit: Eamonn McNally

The second floor had more sitting rooms, several bedrooms and a very large bath, and the attic was used for storage and for water tanks.

According to The Buildings of Ireland,
Although ruinous, the high quality of construction employed in this country house is clearly evident. String courses, cornice and window surrounds are the work of skilled stonecutters and masons. The associated outbuildings and the fine entrance archway enhance the house. The detailing hints at the formerly splendid architectural quality that has been lost in the ruination of Dunsandle House.
The centre block had three storeys over a basement with five-bay entrance and garden fronts, each with a three-bay pedimented breakfront; joined by long, straight screen walls with pedimented doorways and niches to low and wide-spreading two-storey wings.

The saloon had elaborate plasterwork; a coved rococo ceiling in the morning-room; Adamesque ceiling in the drawing-room.


Dunsandle was sold by Major Bowes Daly MC, grandson of the 2nd Lord Dunsandle, about 1954. Major Daly was aide-de-camp to the Viceroy of India, and Master of the Galway Blazers.

 A reader has provided me with more information:
Major Bowes Daly divorced his first wife Diane Lascelles to marry a divorcee Mrs Hanbury (whose first husband Guy Trundle had an affair with Wallis Simpson). This created a scandal in Country Galway on a par with the abdication crisis of 1936!

Major Daly was the last of his family to reside at Dunsandle House and the furore over his re-marriage led to the Catholic clergy boycotting the Galway Blazers of which he was Master. He sold up in 1954 and the house was later demolished.

After going to East Africa he returned to Ireland and lived his last years on Lord Harrington`s estate in Co. Limerick. He is buried in Loughrea near his former home. 
The Irish land commission demolished parts of Dunsandle House and sold all the valuable parts of the house in 1958.

They divided the land of the estate between the local farmers.

Dunsandle arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Agnew of Kilwaughter

THE AGNEWS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 9,770 ACRES


PATRICK AGNEW, of Lochnaw, Wigtownshire, said to be a kinsman of the Agnew Baronets, Collector of Rents for the Earl of Antrim, married, in 1622, Janet Shaw, and built a castle at Kilwaughter, County Antrim.

Mr Agnew was succeeded by his son,

JOHN AGNEW, who wedded his cousin, Eleanor Shaw, and was succeeded by his son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who married and purchased the remaining lands at Kilwaughter which, until 1660, had been in the possession of the Agnews of Lochnaw:
Sir Patrick Agnew, 1st Baronet, 8th Hereditary Sheriff of Galloway, father of Colonel Alexander Agnew, of Whitehills, who, with Andrew Agnew, his brother, afterwards the 9th Sheriff, was frequently in Ulster.
Mr Agnew, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1669, was succeeded by his son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who married and had issue,
PATRICK, of whom we treat;
Margaret, m James Crawford;
Jean, m Robert Blair, of Blairmount;
Helen, m James Stewart.
Mr Agnew died in 1724, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who espoused Martha Houston (or Houseton) and had issue,
WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Frances;
John;
James (?);
Patrick (?);
Henry;
Hugh (?).
The eldest son,

WILLIAM "SQUIRE" AGNEW, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1744, married his cousin, Margaret Stewart, of Killymoon Castle, Cookstown, County Tyrone, and had issue,
James, died unmarried;
William, died unmarried;
MARIA, of whom we treat;
Jane, m Henry Shaw, later of Ballygally.
MARIA AGNEW wedded firstly, James Ross; and secondly, Valentine Jones, by whom she had issue, one son, Edward; and a daughter, Margaret.

Her only son,

EDWARD JONES (1767-1834), High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1803, succeeded his grandfather and assumed the additional surname of AGNEW.

He married Eleanor Galbraith and had issue,
William, born in 1824; succeeded though died unmarried;
Maria, m T C Simon Esq.
William Agnew was succeeded in the Kilwaughter estate by his niece,

(MARIA) AUGUSTA, COUNTESS BALZANI (1847-95), only child of Thomas Collins Simon and Maria (Agnew) Simon.

Countess Balzani died in 1895, leaving two daughters,
Gendoluni, Madame Valensin;
Nora.
First published in June, 2016.