Thursday, 30 July 2015

1st Baron Killanin

THE BARONS KILLANIN OWNED 1,274 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY GALWAY

The family of MORRIS is one of the "Tribes of Galway", an expression first used by Cromwell's soldiers in 1652.

So far back as 1486 Richard Morris was Bailiff of Galway under a charter granted in 1485 by RICHARD III to the inhabitants of Galway, empowering them to elect a mayor and two bailiffs.
From him were lineally descended John Morris, Bailiff of Galway, 1501; William Morris, Mayor of Galway, 1527; Andrew Morris, Mayor of Galway, 1588; George Morris, Bailiff of Galway, 1588; John Morris, of Galway; Andrew Morris, of Galway; and James Morris, of Galway.
GEORGE MORRIS, of Spiddal, County Galway (son of JAMES MORRIS), served in JAMES II's army.

He married, in 1684, Catherine, daughter of John Fitzpatrick, of Loughmore, in the south island of Arran, whose nephew Richard Fitzpatrick represented Galway in the Irish parliament, 1749-61.

By this marriage the property of Spiddal was acquired.

His only son,

ANDREW MORRIS, of Spiddal and Galway, wedded Monica Browne, of the family of Gloves, near Athenry, and had two sons,
George;
JAMES, of whom we treat.
The second son,

JAMES MORRIS (1732-1813), of Spiddal and Galway, espoused, in 1762, Deborah, daughter of Nicholas Lynch, of Galway, and by her had issue,
Ambrose;
Michael;
MARTIN;
Monica; Mary.
His third son,

MARTIN MORRIS JP (1784-1862), of Spiddal and Galway, served as High Sheriff of Galway in 1841, the first Catholic who held that office since 1690.

He married, in 1822, Julia, daughter of Dr Charles Blake, of Galway, and by her he had two sons and two daughters,
MICHAEL, of whom presently;
George (Sir), KCB DL MP etc;
Jane Caroline; Lizzie.
Mr Morris's elder son,

THE RT HON SIR MICHAEL MORRIS QC (1826-1901), of Spiddal and Galway, wedded, in 1860, Anna, daughter of Henry George Hughes, Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland.

Mr Morris rose to become one of the most distinguished judges of his time, as LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE KING'S BENCH FOR IRELAND, 1887-89.

In 1885, Mr Morris was created a baronet, of Spiddal, County Galway; and on his appointment as a law lord, in 1889, he was elevated to the peerage, as BARON KILLANIN, of Galway.

By his wife he had issue,
MARTIN HENRY FITZPATRICK, his heir;
George Henry, father of the 3rd Baron;
Michael Redmond;
Charles Ambrose;
Lily; Rose Julia; Maud Anna; Mary Kathleen;
Frances Anne; Eileen Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

MARTIN HENRY FITZPATRICK, 2nd Baron, PC, JP, (1867-1927), of Spiddal, High Sheriff of Galway, 1897.

His lordship was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Galway, from 1918 until 1922.

He died a bachelor, and was succeeded by his nephew, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon George Henry Morris, Irish Guards,

MICHAEL, 3rd Baron (1914-99), MBE, TD, of Spiddal, who espoused, in 1945, (Mary) Sheila Cathcart Dunlop MBE, daughter of the Rev Canon Douglas Lyall Cathcart Dunlop.

The 3rd Baron, a journalist, author, and sport official, was renowned for his presidency of the International Olympic Committee.

He was appointed MBE (Military Division), 1945.

By his wife he had issue,
GEORGE REDMOND FITZPATRICK, his successor;
Michael Francis Leo "Mouse";
John Martin;
Monica Deborah.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE REDMOND FITZPATRICK, 4th and present Baron, born in 1947, a well-known film producer.

He wedded firstly, in 1972, Pauline, daughter of Geoffrey Horton, and had issue,
LUKE MICHAEL GEOFFREY, born in 1975;
Olivia Rose Elizabeth, born in 1974.
He married secondly, in 2000, Sheila Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Lynch.

The present Baron lives in Dublin.


SPIDDAL HOUSE, Spiddal, County Galway, replaced a considerable smaller Georgian house.

The present mansion consists of two and three storeys, in different places.

It was built in 1910 for the 2nd Lord Killanin.

The windows are rectangular, plain, Romanesque-style.

One end of the house features a tower (a belvedere prior to the 1923 fire) with Romanesque columns.

Beside this tower there is a two-storey veranda with further Romanesque columns and arches.

The opposite end has a loggia, joined to the house by a colonnade with an iron balcony.

Spiddal House suffered a fire in 1923 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1931.

The 3rd Baron sold Spittal about 1960.

1st Baron's town residence ~ 22 Lower Ftzwilliam Street, Dublin.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Rosegarland House

THE FAMILY OF LEIGH WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 8,280 ACRES

FRANCIS MacLAOISIGH, MacLYSACH, MacLYE, or LYE, petitioned for a lease of the dissolved monastery town and lands of Killeigh, near Geashill, King's County, in 1551, and obtained a lease of them the following year.

Two months later, in 1552, he obtained a grant of English liberty to enable him to hold the lands.

He married the daughter of John O'Carrol, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Arthur;
Francis;
Henry.
Francis MacLaoighsigh or Lye was dead in 1573, and his lands were in possession of his eldest son,

JOHN MacLAOISIGH or LYE,
who having a perfect knowledge of the English language as well as the Irish, was appointed Interpreter to the State, and was granted for his services as interpreter, in 1584, in the reign of ELIZABETH I, the fee of the monastery of Killeigh, which he then held under the lease of his father, and obtained a grant of Rathbride, County Kildare, dated 1591.
He married Amy, daughter of George FitzGerald, of Tircroghan, County Meath, and sister of Sir Edward FitzGerald, Knight, of the same place, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Andrew;
Katherine; Mabel; Mary;
Margaret; Bridget; Amy; Ellen.
He died in 1612, and was buried at Kildare Cathedral, where his tombstone still remains.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH, of Rathbride, who with mother having alienated some of his father's lands, got a pardon for alienation dated 1613.

He had by his wife, whose name was Dowdall, the following issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Robert;
Mabel.
John Leigh died abroad and intestate. Administration was granted in 1660 to his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH, of Rathbride, who was appointed Escheater-General of Leinster in 1663; and MP for Kildare, 1689.

Having supported King JAMES II, he was attainted of high treason in 1691, when all his lands were forfeited.

He espoused, in 1662, Judith, daughter of Henry Spencer, by whom he had
Robert, died unmarried;
John, of Dublin, died unmarried;
Andrew, of Friarstown;
FRANCIS, of whom hereafter;
Judith, died unmarried.
The fourth son,

FRANCIS LEIGH, of Rathangan, County Kildare, succeeded his brother in the Wexford estate, and became of Rosegarland.

He married firstly, in 1699, Alice, widow of John Rawlins, of Rathangan, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, Miss Carew, by whom he had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Robert;
Andrew;
Cecilia; Judith; Mary.
Mr Leigh died in 1727, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH, of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1727-58, who wedded, in 1727, Mary, daughter of John Cliffe, of Mulrancan, County Wexford, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Grace, m to Anthony, 8th Earl of Meath.
Mr Leigh, whose will was proved in 1758, was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT LEIGH DL (1729-1802), of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1759-1800, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Wexford Militia in 1763.

He espoused, in 1750-1, Arabella, daughter of Robert Leslie, of Glasslough, County Monaghan, by whom he had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Charles;
Joseph;
Arabella.
Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH (1758-1839), of Rosegarland, Collector of Wexford, 1794, Sovereign of New Ross, 1799.

He married, in 1788, Grace, daughter of Richard Baldwin, by whom he had issue,
John Robert, father of FRANCIS AUGUSTINE;
Charles, died unmarried;
Francis, of Sion;
Cecilia; Grace; Mary.
Mr Leigh, who was MP for Wexford from 1793 to 1802, was succeeded by his grandson,

FRANCIS AUGUSTINE LEIGH JP DL (1822-1900), of Rosegarland, High Sheriff, 1867, lieutenant, 10th Hussars, who wedded Augustine, daughter of Monsieur Charles Perrier, of Metz, Lorraine, France, and by her had issue,
FRANCIS ROBERT, his heir;
Edward;
Rose Jane; Frances; Jane.
Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS ROBERT LEIGH JP (1853-), of Rosegarland, 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, who espoused, in 1903, Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Barton Bell, of Black Hall, Lanark, and had issue,
FRANCIS EDWARD (1907-), his heir;
Robert;
Augustine Anne Leigh;
and two other daughters.

ROSEGARLAND HOUSE, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, is an early 18th century house comprising two storeys and a high basement.

It stands beside an old tower house, once the seat of the Synnotts.

In the late 1700s, a bigger two-storey, gable-ended range was added at right angles to the original mansion house; thus providing the building with a seven-bay front.

There is a fine doorway with fanlight and columns.

To the rear of the house there is a notable office courtyard, close to the old tower-house which was transformed into a kind of folly, with crenellated turrets.

The estate today is renowned for its equestrian and shooting activities and extends to 650 acres.

The house itself is private, though self-catering accommodation is available for rent.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Portumna Castle

THE MARQUESSES OF CLANRICARDE WERE THE SECOND GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 56,826 ACRES

The family of DE BURGH, DE BURGO, BOURKE OR BURKE (as at different times written), Earls and Marquesses of Clanricarde, ranked among the most distinguished peers in the British Isles, and deduced an uninterrupted line of powerful nobles from the Conquest.

HUBERT DE BURGH (c1160-1243), 1st Earl of Kent, was one of the greatest subjects in Europe, in the reigns of JOHN and HENRY III.

His uncle,

ADELM DE BURGH, settled in Ireland, and was ancestor of

RICHARD DE BURGH (c1194-1242), surnamed the Great Lord of Connaught, who was Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1227.
This Richard rebuilt Galway Castle in 1232, and that of Loughrea in 1236. He was a man of high authority and power, and died on his passage to France, in proceeding to meet the King of England at Bordeaux, attended "by his barons and knights".
He espoused, before 1225, Egidia, daughter of Walter de Lacy, and had issue,
Richard,  Lord of Connaught;
Walter, 1st Earl of Ulster;
WILLIAM;
Margery; Alice;
two unnamed daughters.
His third son,

WILLIAM DE BURGH, known by the surname of Athankip, from being put to death at that place by the king of Connaught, was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM DE BURGH, who, having married a daughter of the family of MacJordan, left, with other issue, at his decease in 1324,
ULICK;
Edmond;
John (1350-98);
Walter;
Richard;
Redmond;
Thomas, Lord Treasurer of Ireland, 1331;
John, father of John, Archbishop of Tuam;
Henry.
The eldest son,

SIR ULICK DE BURGH, feudal Lord of Clanricarde, was a person of great power, and distinguished, like his progenitors, in arms.

He wedded Agnes, daughter of the Earl of Warwick; and dying in 1429, was succeeded by his son,

ULICK DE BURGH, of Clanricarde, who espoused Egeline, daughter of Hugh de Courtenay; and dying in 1451, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ULICK DE BURGH, who was succeeded by his son,

ULICK DE BURGH
who was created, by HENRY VIII, at Greenwich, in 1543, Baron of Dunkellin and EARL OF CLANRICARDE; and obtained, at the same time, from the King, a grant of the monastery of Abbeygormican, alias de Via Nova, in the diocese of Clonfert, with the patronages and donations of all the rectories etc in Clanricarde and Dunkellin belonging to the Crown.
His lordship did not, however, long enjoy his honours; but dying in the following year, 1544, was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; who overthrew, in conjunction with Sir Richard Bingham, the Scots army, at the river Moye, in 1553.

His lordship married Margaret, daughter of Murrough, Earl of Thomond, and had issue, ULICK, Lord Dunkellin.

His lordship died in 1582, and was succeeded by his son,

ULICK, 3rd Earl, who wedded Honora, daughter of John Burke, and had issue,
RICHARD;
Thomas;
William;
Edmond;
John, 1st Viscount Burke, of Clanmories;
Mary.
His lordship died in 1601, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD (1572-1635), 4th Earl, surnamed of Kinsale, from the valour he had displayed against the rebels there.

This nobleman was created an English peer, in 1624, Baron Somerhill and Viscount Tunbridge, in Kent.

In 1628, he was advanced to an earldom, as Earl of St Albans.

His lordship married Frances, daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, and widow of Sir Philip Sydney, and of ELIZABETH I's unfortunate favourite, the Earl of Essex, by whom he had one son, ULICK, his successor, and two daughters, Mary, wife of Edmund, son of James, Earl of Ormonde; and Honora, married to John Paulet, Marquess of Winchester.

He was succeeded by his only son,

ULICK (1604-57), 5th Earl of Clanricarde and 2nd Earl of St Albans.



This nobleman was created MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE in 1644.

He espoused Lady Anne Compton, only daughter of William, Earl of Northampton, and had an only daughter,
MARGARET, who wedded Charles, Viscount Muskerry.
The Marquess dying thus without male issue, the marquessate and his English honours expired; while the Irish earldom of Clanricarde, and barony of Dunkellin reverted to his first cousin,

RICHARD, 6th Earl, at whose decease, without issue, the honours devolved upon his brother,

WILLIAM, 7th Earl, who married firstly, Lettice, only daughter of Sir Henry Shirley, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
JOHN, succeeded his brother;
Thomas.
His lordship wedded secondly, Helen, daughter of Donough, 1st Earl of Clancarty, and had
Ulick, 1st Viscount Galway;
William;
Margaret; Honora.
His lordship was succeeded at his decease, in 1687, by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 8th Earl, who wedded Elizabeth Bagnell, and had an only daughter, Lady Dorothy Bourke.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN (1642-1722), 9th Earl, who espoused Bridget, daughter of James Talbot; and was succeeded by his son,

MICHAEL. 10th Earl, who wedded Anne, daughter and co-heiress of John Smith, of Tudworth, Hampshire, Speaker of the House of Commons, and subsequently Chancellor of the Exchequer, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. 

Dying in 1726, he was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JOHN SMITH (1642-1722), 11th Earl, who died in 1782 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON HENRY, KP.

This nobleman, who was a privy counsellor, a Knight of St Patrick, and Governor of County Galway, was created MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE (2nd creation) in 1785; 

but dying without issue in 1797, the marquessate expired, and his lordship's other titles devolved upon his only brother,

JOHN, 13th and 1st Earl of Clanricarde, a general officer in the army, and Colonel of the 66th Foot, who wedded, in 1799, Eliza, daughter of the late Sir Thomas Burke Bt, of Marble Hill.
In 1800, Lord Clanricarde obtained a grant, conferring the dignity of countess upon his daughters in succession, and that of Earl of Clanricarde upon their male issue, according to priority of birth, in case of the failure of his own male descendants.
His lordship's eldest son,

ULICK JOHN, KP, 14th and 2nd Earl, who married, in 1825, Harriet, only daughter of the Rt Hon George Canning, HM Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

This nobleman and statesman was created MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE (3rd creation), in 1825. 

Earls of Clanricarde; Second creation (1800; Reverted)



PORTUMNA CASTLE, built near the shore of the northern extremity of Lough Derg on the river Shannon in the reign of JAMES I, was stated to be without equal in Ireland at the time in style, grandeur and distinction.

The elegance of Portumna can be attributed to the taste, experience and wealth of its builder, Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde.

It was built between 1610 and 1618 at a cost of £10,000, and Lord Clanricarde also built a mansion at Somerhill, Tonbridge Wells, in Kent.



Portumna was one of the first, if not the first, building in Ireland to admit some of the Renaissance refinements already common in Italy and France for over a century, but which took so long to filter through to Ireland.

The shell of this great mansion conveys an impression of alien splendour, and the overall effect is unique and has a curiously continental air.

The Renaissance features of the exterior of Portumna are - strictly speaking - limited to the fine doorcase of the front entrance and the Tuscan gateway of the innermost courtyard, but the very layout is an expression of Renaissance ideas.



The castle is symmetrical in shape and consists of three stories over a basement with square corner projecting towers.

A central corridor runs longitudinally from top to bottom, supported by stone walls, which contain numerous recesses and fireplaces.

The approach is elaborate from the north with gardens, avenues and three gates.

The formal gardens of Portumna Castle were laid out in the 17th century and were the first Italian or Renaissance gardens to be introduced to Ireland.

Lord Clanricarde was a friend of Sir John Danvers and shared his great love of gardens.

It is reputed that the 4th Earl copied the style of Sir John’s garden for his castle at Portumna.

The stately gardens of the 17th century contained formal walks, arbours, parterres, and hedges, as well as jets d’eau, or fountains, artificial cascades, columns, statues, grottoes and similar puerilities.

The inner courtyard, known as the Grianan, was the ladies' pleasure ground.

It contained shrubs, seats, pathways and lawns, where the ladies of the castle congregated, did their embroidery, and discussed womanly affairs.

Fifteen Earls and Marquesses of Clanricarde owned Portumna from 1543-1916.

In the latter years, Hubert de Burgh-Canning, 2nd Marquess, 15th and 3rd Earl of Clanricarde (1832–1916) died. 
He was said to have been a notorious miser and eccentric who dressed like a tramp and spent his life in London; and on his death the estate at Portumna passed to his nephew, Henry Viscount Lascelles, afterwards 6th Earl of Harewood. 
In 1928, Princess Mary and her husband, the same Lord Lascelles, visited Portumna, and by all accounts received a great welcome.

They mixed with all the people and visited all the formal schools and institutions in town as well as attending various meetings.

The Portumna estate was acquired by the Irish Government in 1948, with the castle being allocated to the then Office of Public Works, the 1,500 acre demesne to the Forestry Commission and land being given for a Golf Course and sports pitch.

The Castle itself was burned down accidentally in 1826, and remained as a ruin until work commenced on its restoration by the State in 1968.

It contained some beautiful furniture, a fine library, ancient and valuable paintings and family portraits.

It was richly decorated with plasterwork friezes, carved armorial bearings and handsome panelling.

To date, the shell and the internal walls have been faithfully restored, and the roof and chimneys which are in place protect the castle from the elements.

The windows, fireplaces and flooring joists and basement have been restored and elaborate archaeological work has been carried out on the outside.

Once the main staircase and internal floors have been installed, the most difficult of the restoration work will have been achieved. 

First published in August, 2011.  Clanricarde arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Royal Train

The Queen's Bedroom

The Royal Train  is used regularly throughout England, Scotland and Wales to carry senior members of our Royal Family.


It has been said that The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales all have Roberts radios in their saloons, usually tuned to BBC Radio Four, as they like to wake up in the morning to the Today programme.

The Prince of Wales's Study

The joys of awakening from one's slumber by the mellifluous tones of Mr John Humphrys!

Sitting-room

Bedroom

First published in October, 2008.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mulroy House

THE EARLS OF LEITRIM WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 54,352 ACRES.

This family is originally from France, where Albert Clements is said to have been a Marshal in 1183.

This family settled in Ireland some time during the reign of JAMES I.

DANIEL CLEMENTS JP (c1624-80), son of Robert Clements, went over to Ireland with Oliver Cromwell.

He was a cornet in the New Model Army, probably in Colonel Thomas Coote's regiment.
It is thought that this family came from Leicestershire. About 1657, Daniel Clements received a grant of land at Rathkenny, County Cavan. He was High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1674; JP, 1675. 
His son,

ROBERT CLEMENTS (1664-1722), Deputy Vice-Treasurer for Ireland, wedded Mary, eldest daughter of Theophilus Sandford, an ancestor of the Lords Mount Sandford, by whom he had three sons,
THEOPHILUS, his heir;
Robert;
NATHANIEL, succeeded his brother.
This Robert was attainted by the Irish parliament convoked by King JAMES II in 1689, but was restored to his states in Cavan on the establishment of the government of WILLIAM III, and appointed Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland. 

He sat as MP for Carrickfergus, 1692, and for Newry, 1715-22; High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1694; Teller of the Irish Exchequer and Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland.

Mr Robert Clements was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON THEOPHILUS CLEMENTS, also one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Francis Burton, of Duncraggy, County Clare; but dying without issue, was succeeded by his next brother,

THE RT HON NATHANIEL CLEMENTS (1705-77), MP, also one of the tellers of the Irish Exchequer; and upon the decease of the Rt Hon Luke Gardiner, Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland.

This gentleman espoused, in 1729, Hannah, eldest daughter of the Very Rev William Gore, Dean of Down, and had issue,
ROBERT;
Henry Theophilus;
Elizabeth, m to Lord Conyngham;
Hannah, m to Sir George Montgomery Bt;
Catherine, m to Eyre, Lord Clarina;
Alicia, m to Ralph Gore, Earl of Ross.
Mr Clements was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

ROBERT CLEMENTS (1732-1804), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1783, as Baron Leitrim, of Manor Hamilton, County Leitrim, in 1783.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Leitrim, in 1793; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF LEITRIM, in 1795.

He wedded, in 1765, Elizabeth, daughter of Clotworthy, 1st Earl of Massereene, and by her had issue,
NATHANIEL, his successor;
Robert Clotworthy;
Louisa; Caroline.
Robert, 1st Earl (1732–1804)
Nathaniel, 2nd Earl (1768–1854)
Robert Bermingham, Viscount Clements (1805-39)
William Sydney, 3rd Earl (1806-78)
Robert Bermingham, 4th Earl (1847-92) 

Another residence of the Earls of Leitrim was Lough Rynn Castle, near Mohill, County Leitrim.

The 4th and 5th Earls, however, mainly used Mulroy House, near Letterkenny, County Donegal, as their residence.


MULROY HOUSE is a large two-storey Tudor-Revival stone house, ca 1865, possibly by William Burn, with fine views over Mulroy Bay, in good condition.

Austere externally but commodious inside and maintained as a dwelling, wings added in 1890s.

Important plant collection begun by the 5th Earl and Countess; later the residence of the Hon Hedley Strutt, Lord Leitrim's nephew.

Extensive and important planting, by the 5th Earl and Countess, of rhododendron, magnolia, eucryphia and other species put in from 1936, mainly along the drives and sheltered by pre-existing shelter belts from the 1860s; a great deal of the latter suffered during Hurricane Debbie in the 1960s.

Lady O'Neill (in an article pre-1985) refers to huge specimens in 'first class condition' but noted that they were very overgrown with lesser material.

Now even more overgrown, but the collection is supervised by Uel Henderson. Said to be a site for the rare Killarney fern. (Lamb & Bowe).

The village of Carrigart originally formed part of the Leitrim estates, near Mulroy House.

*****


THE THIRD EARL was murdered in nearby Cratlagh wood, in 1878, by men from the neighbouring peninsula.

It has been claimed that the 3rd Earl's "overbearing behaviour as a landlord brought him much hatred from his tenants, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, whom he evicted with equal enthusiasm".

Former town residence ~ 44 Grosvenor Gardens, London.

First published in August, 2011.  Leitrim arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Prince George of Cambridge

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is two years old today.

Prince George, third in line to the Throne, was born at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

County Londonderry Visit

Ballyronan House

I arose from the heavenly slumber about seven-thirty this morning, made the customary breakfast of tea and toast, and decided it was time to pay Ballyronan, County Londonderry, a visit.

Ballyronan lies on the north-western shore of Lough Neagh, the largest inshore lake in the British Isles.

Ballyronan is, or has been, a charming little village of sorts.

Its nucleus seems to be at Ballyronan House, former seat of the Guassens, which itself is close to the shoreline.

I ambled for perhaps half an hour, wandering over to the main street, where there are several public bars and a little supermarket.

I might have stayed for lunch, though, since no particular hostelry appealed to me, I motored onwards towards Springhill.

Springhill from the rear

Springhill, in the same county, is, of course, the property of the National Trust.

Old Market-house, Moneymore

It is close to the village of Moneymore, itself a delightful little village possessing considerable charm; though traffic seems to pass right through the main street, at a steady pace, without stopping.

New Market-house, Moneymore

Moneymore, to my mind, has always afforded great potential, given its heritage, including two market-houses, a former dispensary, the manor house, and former inn or public bar opposite the new market-house.

Springhill demesne is a few minutes' drive from Moneymore.


The new visitor centre, housed in a former barn, is beside the car-park.

Incidentally, they have free BT wifi.

I chatted with a number of staff, in the barn, the tea-room, and the House itself.


I lunched in the tea-room and enjoyed a delicious bowl of thick soup, viz. carrot and coriander, with a generous, thick slice of Ulster wheaten bread and butter.

This was well worth its £3.50.

The house tour guide was particularly witty and enthusiastic. We all appreciated her fascinating tour, especially her rapport with the kids.

Thence I walked up the slope to the old corn mill at the top of the hill; and onwards along the Sawpit Hill Walk, a distance of one mile.

I passed the former walled garden here, which now seems to be used as allotments.

Having browsed briefly in the second-hand book-shop, in a little gate-lodge, I headed home.

Ballinahown Court

THE ENNIS BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WESTMEATH, WITH 8,774 ACRES

The family of ENNIS, originally from County Down, became established in County Meath a considerable time since.

ANDREW ENNIS, of Roebuck, County Dublin,
was engaged extensively in commercial pursuits and realized a very large fortune. He purchased, in 1800, the Griffinstown estate, County Westmeath, and subsequently made considerable additions to his landed property by the acquisition of portions of the Rochfort and Malone estates, including Ballinahown, the seat of the Malones.
Mr Ennis married Mary, daughter of Matthew McManus, and died in 1834, leaving issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Ellen; Marianne;
Jane; Alicia.
Mr Ennis was succeeded by his son,

JOHN ENNIS DL (1809-78), of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1837, and of Dublin, 1839; a Dublin merchant, a director of the Bank of Ireland, and MP for Athlone, 1857-65.

Mr Ennis married, in 1833, Anna Maria, eldest daughter of David Henry, of the city of Dublin (and sister of Sir Thomas Henry, of London), by whom he had issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
Mary; Josephine; Elizabeth.
Mr Ennis was created a baronet in 1866.

He was succeeded by his only son,

SIR JOHN JAMES ENNIS JP DL (1842-84), 2nd Baronet, of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of Westmeath, 1866, MP for Athlone, 1868-74, and 1880.

The baronetcy expired in 1884, following the 2nd Baronet's decease.


BALLINAHOWN COURT, near Athlone, County Westmeath, was built in 1746 for Edmond Malone MP.

It has three storeys over a basement; a three-bay front; and tripartite doorway with pediment and fanlight.

The pediment extends over the door and side-lights and is carried on pilasters.

There is parapet roof. A single-storey wing is at one side.

Ballinahown was sold about 1830 to Andrew Ennis.

It was subsequently inherited by the family of The O'Donoghue of the Glens, by whom it was sold ca 1965 to Mr Basil Crofts-Greene, who re-sold the house ca 1976.
An accomplished and very well-proportioned mid-18th century country house, built in a sophisticated classical style, which retains it early form, fabric and character. This building is, perhaps, the most elegant example of a country house the south of County Westmeath, certainly of its date, and must have been designed by an architect of some note, perhaps even by Richard Castle (died 1751) as suggested by some sources.

This grand house is unusual in that it is constructed of brick, a very rare building material in Westmeath at the time of construction. The proximity of this house to the River Shannon (transport) probably accounts for its use here at Ballinahown Court. The juxtaposition between the warm red brick and the extensive grey ashlar limestone detailing creates an interesting and visually appealing textural and visual contrast. The fine pedimented Tuscan door-case is a noteworthy feature of artistic merit and this door-case dominates the entrance fa├žade.

This fine house was originally built for Edmond Malone (lawyer and later MP for Granard) and his wife Ruth Malone. It later passed into the ownership of the Ennis Family (Andrew Ennis bought the house in 1828), who much improved the estate during the mid-to-late nineteenth-century and were probably responsible for the construction of the single-storey wing to the south-west side, which blends in seamlessly with the mid-eighteenth century fabric. It later passed into the ownership of John Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1857, and subsequently to his son, John James Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1868.

The present house is built on the site of an earlier castle, the home of a branch of the Malone Family since the middle ages, of which no extant remains are readily visible. The house forms the centrepiece of an interesting group of related structures and is an important element of the architectural heritage of Westmeath and of the history of the Ballinahown local area. 
Former town residences ~ 36 Curzon Street, London; Merrion Square, Dublin.

First published in July, 2013.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Castle Saunderson Visit


I paid a fleeting visit to Castle Saunderson on the 22nd July, 2013.


The mansion is roofless and ruinous, alas; once the nucleus of a great estate in County Cavan.


The Saunderson arms adorn a section of the wall.


First published in July, 2013.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

St Cuthbert's


After the constitutional breakfast of tea and wholemeal granary toast with butter and marmalade, I felt the urge to revisit St Cuthbert's church, ruinous for a very long time indeed, and not used as a place of worship for two centuries.

This little church was used by worshippers at and within the proximity of Dunluce Castle.

I gather that it used to have a thatched roof.

There is a porch at the west end.

St Cuthbert's is today surrounded by gravestones, apart from the north side, where there is a solitary grave.

It's notable that the window openings are all (wisely) on the south side; the north side is solid.

I hope to write an article about St Cuthbert's at some stage.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Portballintrae Visit


I've been spending a few days at the County Antrim seaside resort of Portballintrae.

For those who don't know, Portballintrae is very close to Bushmills, a larger village, celebrated for its whiskey distillery.

Today, after breakfast, I motored along the coast to Portbradden, a spectacular old cluster of fishermen's cottages at the bottom of a cliff.

There is a National Trust holiday cottage here; and my acquaintance Con Auld was in residence at his charming cottage, decorated and beautified in his inimitable style.

I brought Con an apple pie, though I was a bit early for him. I might call again some afternoon.

Thence I drove further along the coast, to Ballintoy harbour, another spectacular place, renowned nowadays as a Game Of Thrones setting.

The little tea-room and cafeteria, Roark's Kitchen, was open; and I noticed that fresh chowder and wheaten bread was on the menu for lunch.

Two well-coiffured elderly ladies were seated outside, apparently "people-watching"; because, as I passed, I overheard one of them - a woman of some corpulence - make a remark about the "scallywag wearing skinny jeans". 

The irony of it.

On my way back to Portballintrae I stopped at the whitewashed little Ballintoy Parish Church, where I took the opportunity of photographing several headstones in the adjoining graveyard.


Names included Trail, Macartney, and Stewart.


IN the afternoon I visited Dunluce Castle, a historic monument well worth a visit. It is well preserved.


At the car-park there is a charming little cottage which sells souvenirs and provides meals and refreshments. 


Somebody has a keen sense of humour!

The bridge over to the old castle originally had a drawbridge, though this was later replaced with an arched bridge.


I ambled across the main road to the ruinous and roofless St Cuthbert's church, which presumably was once used for divine worship by family or servants at Dunluce Castle.

Dunsany Castle

THE BARONS DUNSANY OWNED 3,988 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

The family of PLUNKETT is supposed (claimed the historian Sir Richard Lodge) to be of Danish extraction.

The time of its first settlement in Ireland cannot be decidedly ascertained, but it was certainly as early as the reign of HENRY III.

It has extended into many parts of Ireland (particularly the counties of Meath, Dublin, and Louth), and three distinct peerages have been enjoyed by different branches, viz. the earldom of Fingall, and the baronies of Dunsany and Louth.

JOHN PLUNKETT, the earliest of the name on record, appears to have been seated, towards the latter end of the 11th century, at Bewley, or Beaulieu, County Louth, where he died in 1082.

From him descended another JOHN PLUNKETT, who lived in the reign of HENRY III, and had two sons, John, ancestor of the Barons Louth; and RICHARD, ancestor of the Earls of Fingall; and Baron Dunsany.

SIR CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, Knight, grandson of the above-named Richard, was deputy to Sir Thomas Stanley, Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1432, and subsequently under Richard, Duke of York.

He wedded Joan, daughter and sole heir of Sir Lucas Cusack, knight, Lord of Killeen and Dunsany, by whom he had, with other children, JOHN, ancestor of the Earls of Fingall, who inherited the lordship of Killeen; and

CHRISTOPHER (1410-63), that of Dunsany, of which he was created, in 1439, BARON DUNSANY.

His lordship wedded Anne, daughter and heir of Richard FitzGerald, of Ballysonan, County Kildare, younger son of Maurice, 3rd Earl of Kildare, by whom he had four sons, and was succeeded by the eldest son,

RICHARD, 2nd Baron, who espoused Joan, daughter of Sir Rowland FitzEustace, Lord Treasurer of Ireland in 1471, and Lord High Chancellor in 1474; and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 3rd Baron, KG, who married Catherine, daughter of John Hussey, feudal baron of Galtrim, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 4th Baron, who was slain by the rebel O'Connor, 1521, and was succeeded by his son (by Amy, daughter and heir of Philip de Bermingham),

ROBERT, 5th Baron; one of the peers of the parliament held at Dublin, 1541, when he was ranked immediately after his kinsman, Lord Killeen.

His lordship wedded firstly, Eleanor, youngest daughter of Sir William Darcy, Knight, of Platten, vice-treasurer of Ireland, bt whom he had four sons and nine daughters.

He married secondly, Genet, daughter of William Sarsfield, alderman of Dublin, and widow of Mr Alderman Shillenford, by whom he had two other sons.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

CHRISTOPHER, 6th Baron, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Christopher Barnewall, Knight, of Crickstown, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PATRICK, 7th Baron, who married Mary, eleventh daughter of Sir Christopher Barnewall, Knight, of Turvey, and was succeeded by his only son,

CHRISTOPHER, 8th Baron, who wedded Maud, daughter of Henry Babington, of Dethick, Derbyshire; and dying in 1603, was succeeded by his only son,

PATRICK, 9th Baron (1595-1668), who received a patent of confirmation, from JAMES I, of the several castles of Dunsany, Corbally, etc.

His lordship was subsequently summoned to parliament in the reign of CHARLES I, and suffered considerably in the cause of that unfortunate prince.
A short time before 1541, the Lords Justices and supplied the lords of The Pale with arms, but suddenly recalled them, which occasioned much discontent among the Catholic peers, who, having assembled, appointed Lord Dunsany to assure the justices of their attachment and loyalty, and of their readiness to co-operate in every measure that could be conducive to the peace of the country. 
The Lords Justices, however, took no further notice of the proffered service than by confining his lordship in Dublin Castle, where he remained for several years; but on the restoration of CHARLES II, he again took his seat in the House of Lords, and continued to sit until 1666.
His lordship espoused Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Heneage, of Haynton, Lincolnshire, and was succeeded at his decease by his grandson,

CHRISTOPHER, 10th Baron (son of the Hon Christopher Plunket, by Catherine, 4th daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim); at whose decease unmarried the barony devolved upon his brother,

RANDALL, 11th Baron who, adhering to the falling fortunes of his legitimate sovereign, JAMES II, was outlawed in 1691; but being included in the Treaty of Limerick, his estates were restored; neglecting, however, the forms necessary to re-establish himself in the privileges of the peerage, neither his lordship nor his immediate descendants had a seat in the House of Lords.

He married firstly, Anne, widow of Theobald, 1st Earl of Carlingford, and daughter of Sir William Pershall; but by that lady had no issue.

He wedded secondly, in 1711, Bridget, only daughter of Richard Fleming, of Stahalmock, County Meath; and dying in 1735, left an only son,

EDWARD, 12th Baron (1713-81), who conformed to the established church, but took no step to confirm the barony and his right to a seat in the House of Lords.

His lordship espoused Mary, eldest daughter of Francis Allen, of St Wolstan's, County Kildare, MP for that county, and had (with two daughters) an only son,

RANDALL, 13th Baron (1739-1821), who claimed, in 1791, and was allowed his seat in parliament.

His lordship married firstly, Margaret, widow of Edward Mandeville, of Ballydine, County Tipperary, and had issue,
EDWARD WADDING, his successor;
Randall (1780-1834);
Margaret; Anna Maria.
He wedded secondly, in 1800, Emma, sister of Sir Drummond Smith Bt, of Tring Park, Hertfordshire, by whom he had no issue.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD WADDING, 14th Baron (1773-1848), of Dunsany Castle, County Meath.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Oliver Plunkett (b 1985).


DUNSANY CASTLE, Dunsany, County Meath, is a modernised Norman castle, begun ca 1180-81 by Hugh de Lacy, who also commissioned Killeen Castle, nearby, and the famous Trim Castle.

It is possibly Ireland's oldest home in continuous occupation, having been held by the Cusack family and their descendants by marriage, the Plunketts, to the present day.

The castle is surrounded by its demesne, the inner part of the formerly extensive Dunsany estate.

The demesne holds an historic church (still consecrated), a working walled garden, a walled farm complex, an ice house, various dwellings and other features.

Dunsany castle was built, probably in succession to basic "motte" fortifications, remnants of which can still be seen to the left and right in front of it, in the period 1180-1200, construction being thought to have begun in 1180-81.

Foundations and the lower parts of the four main towers are thought to be original, and some interior spaces, notably an old kitchen, but much additional work has been carried out, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the current castle is more than three times the size of the original.

The castle, along with Killeen Castle, was held by the Cusacks, initially on behalf of the de Lacys, and passed by marriage in the early 15th century to the Plunketts.
Originally, it and Killeen lay on a single estate but the first generation of Plunketts gave Killeen to the eldest son, and Dunsany to the younger, Christopher, following which the estate was divided, and the Castle descended in the hands of the Barons of Dunsany, who enjoyed almost uninterrupted ownership, aside from issues around Oliver Cromwell's operations in Ireland (the then Lady Dunsany defended the castle against an initial approach but the family were later forced out, some dying on the way to Connaught), and the aftermath of some other troubles between Ireland and England.
They were cousins of St Oliver Plunket.

The Dunsany estate was reduced by the operation of the Irish Land Acts in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the castle is still surrounded by its original demesne, and other estate lands remain around the district, some adjacent to the demesne and some remote.

Much of the work of the writer Lord Dunsany (18th Baron) was done at the Castle, notably in a room in one of the building's towers.

Dunsany Castle is entered through a projecting porch and a lobby with a worked plaster ceiling, which opens into the central hallway, featuring the principal stairway and a vaulted ceiling, and into a secondary hall.

The ground floor holds the grand dining-room, with portraits of past family members, and a fine arts and crafts billiards-room, as well as kitchen spaces, ancient and modern, and other rooms.

On the first floor are the library, and drawing-room, which has Stapleton plasterwork from 1780.

The library, which may have been worked on by James Shiel, is in the Gothic-Revival style, with a "beehive" ceiling.

Also on this floor is a secondary stairway (where a "priest's hole" for hiding Catholic ministers formerly existed). The third floor holds ornate bedrooms.

The demesne is surrounded by a drystone wall, much of which was built during the Great Famine as a relief work.

There is a full-scale walled garden, over 3 acres in size, still producing fruit and vegetables for the estate.

A cottage, historically occupied by the head gardener, is built into the walls of the garden.

Nearby are working beehives.

Also within the demesne are stone-built farm and stable yards, an ice-house and wells.

There is a home within the stable yard, and at least one ruined cottage near the walls. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Sir George White VC

© National Museums Northern Ireland
FIELD MARSHAL SIR GEORGE STUART WHITE VC GCB OM GCSI GCMG GCIE GCVO JP DL

George Stuart White was a son of James White, of White Hall, County Antrim, and his wife Frances Ann, daughter of George Stewart, Surgeon-General to the Army in Ireland and his wife Frances (daughter of Colonel William Stewart MP, of Killymoon Castle, County Tyrone).


He was born at Low Rock Castle, Portstewart, County Londonderry, in 1835.


He was educated at Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, and later at King William's College on the Isle of Man.

From 1850, he attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he was commissioned into the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot in 1853, prior to serving at the Indian Mutiny.

In 1874, he married Amelia, daughter of the Ven Joseph Baly, Archdeacon of Calcutta, with whom he had one son and four daughters.

Major White fought in the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War in 1879 as second-in-command of the 92nd Regiment of Foot (later The Gordon Highlanders).

He was 44 years old when the following deeds took place in Afghanistan, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross:

CITATION
For conspicuous bravery during the engagement at Charasiah on the 6th October, 1879, when, finding that the artillery and rifle fire failed to dislodge the enemy from a fortified hill which it was necessary to capture, Major White led an attack upon it in person.

Advancing with two companies of his regiment; and climbing from one steep ledge to another, he came upon a body of the enemy, strongly posted, and outnumbering his force by about 8 to 1. His men being much exhausted, and immediate action being necessary, Major White took a rifle, and, going on by himself, shot the leader of the enemy. This act so intimidated the rest that they fled round the side of the hill, and the position was won.

Again, on the 1st September, 1880, at the battle of Candahar, Major White, in leading, the final charge, under a heavy fire from the enemy, who held a strong position and were supported by two guns, rode straight up to within a few yards of them, and seeing the guns, dashed forward and secured one, immediately after which the enemy retired.
He became the commanding officer of the 92nd Foot in 1881.

He commanded a brigade during the 3rd Anglo-Burmese War of 1885, as a result of which he was promoted to major-general and was knighted in 1886.

In 1889 he took command at Quetta District.

Sir George became Commander-in-Chief, India, in 1893.
He was appointed Quartermaster-General to the Forces in 1898, holding that post until the following year. He was commander of the forces in Natal during the opening of the 2nd Boer War; and commanded the garrison at the Siege of Ladysmith 1899–1900, for which he was appointed GCMG.
General White became Governor of Gibraltar, 1900-04, and was promoted to field marshal in 1903.

He was Governor of the Royal Chelsea Hospital from 1905 until his death there in 1912.

Sir George was buried at Broughshane, County Antrim, his ancestral home, where a memorial now stands.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.

First published in May, 2013.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Tall Ships Belfast 2015


A stiff restorative is now the Order of the Day for self.

I spent the afternoon at the Tall Ships festival at the Belfast docks.


I cycled in the trusty two-wheeler through Titanic Quarter and found a discreet parking space under the Lagan railway bridge, at Queen's Quay.


Thence I joined a queue for the shuttle bus, which took us to the County Antrim side of the river Lagan, specifically Pollock Dock, where HMS Northumberland is presently docked.

Northumberland, a Type 23 frigate, was commissioned in 1994; has a complement of 185; and weighs about 5,000 tons.


The queue for Northumberland was hundreds of yards long and it took an hour to reach the gangway, or whatever it's called these days.


Alas, Belmont was not whistled aboard (!), though we had a fairly free run of the main deck.

The interior messes, cabins and quarters were closed to the general public today.


A number of the ship's crew hail from Northern Ireland.


I gather that the new captain is Commander Patricia Kohn RN, and judging by the duty rostrum, she was aboard or afloat this afternoon.


You shall be relieved to hear that the two-wheeler was in situ when I walked back (quicker to walk - the bus queue was hundreds of yards long).