Sunday, 31 July 2016

Blue Trail Walk

Today is a Jazz in the Garden day at Mount Stewart, the National Trust's beautiful property on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

However, my purpose was to walk the brand new Blue Trail.

This new trail doesn't officially open until next Wednesday, I gather, though visitors are being treated to a preview.

The trail passes a field of barley and a derelict cottage with a rusty corugated iron roof.

I searched for the ruins of an ancient church in a field close to the Glen, though all I could find were several large stones.

The trail meanders through lovely woodland till it joins the Red Trail at a junction which leads to The Folly, where I lunched this afternoon.

I sat on a wooden chair in the folly, had a beaker of tea, and ate my fresh fruit.

Thence I walked along the track, past a wild-flower meadow with cornflowers, past the old piggery, and back to my car.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Gloucesters in Ulster

Wednesday, 27th July, 2016.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the Clogher Valley Show, Augher, County Tyrone, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, Mr Robert Scott OBE.

Their Royal Highnesses visited Enniskillen Airport, County Fermanagh, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, the Viscount Brookeborough.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Barr Hall Bay

I spent the morning with a number of other National Trust Strangford Lough volunteers at a field beside Barr Hall Bay today.

Bar Hall Bay is located near the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

We were cutting Dock and Ragwort.

I spotted a bee nest (top) and if you look closely you'll see two bees emerging or hovering at the entrance.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gloucesters in Fermanagh

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have arrived in Northern Ireland for a two-day visit to counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

This afternoon TRH visited Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, to mark Four Centuries of Service to Education, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough).

TRH were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.

Their Royal Highnesses later visited Waterways Ireland, 2 Sligo Road, Enniskillen.

The Duke of Gloucester afterwards presented The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Ballinamallard United Football Club, 70 Enniskillen Road, Ballinamallard, Enniskillen.

The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened the Sensory Garden at Killadeas Day Care Centre, Lackaghboy Road, Lackaghboy, Enniskillen, and was received by Mr Roland Eadie (Deputy Lieutenant of County Fermanagh).

where they were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Green Island

Braddock Island

Today was another fine summer's day in County Down.

I motored down to Killinchy, turned left at Balloo House, and travelled over the drumlins to Strangford Lough Yacht Club at Whiterock.

There were about ten of us today - National Trust volunteers - and we were going to Green Island and Inisharoan Island.

Half of us, including myself, spent some time on Green Island, not far from Ringhaddy.

There is another Green Island closer to Killyleagh.

We embarked at the jetty at Whiterock and motored past Braddock Island, where the Andrews' have a holiday home. St Patrick's Flag flew proudly.

Sir Dennis Faulkner, CBE, brother of the Lord Faulkner of Downpatrick (Brian Faulkner, last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland) lives near by at Ringhaddy.

Sir William Hastings, CBE, and Lady Hastings also live near by, on Simmy Island.

Green Island is very small, probably about fifteen acres, with a hill at the top.

On the eastern side, opposite Great Minnis's Island, there is - or was - a pond.

It had become totally overgrown, so our task was to commence digging it out in preparation for livestock.

The entire island is overwhelmed with thick grass and undergrowth, so cattle are required to control the growth.

I lunched most contentedly on home-made chicken and stuffing sandwiches, with redcurrant jelly, on buttered wholemeal bread.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

New DL


The Earl of Caledon KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, has been pleased to appoint:
Mr Simon Thomas Alexander DOUGAN
County Armagh
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his Commission bearing date the 5th day of July, 2016.


Lord Lieutenant of the County

Monday, 18 July 2016

Woodstock Park


The name of TIGH, TEIGH, or, as now written, TIGHE, was assumed from a village in the county of Rutland, the earliest abode of the family, whence, however, it departed at a remote period and settled at Carlby, in Lincolnshire, where Lister Tigh, the last of the English line, resided during the reign of CHARLES II.

In the previous reign, and before the rebellion of 1641,

RICHARD TIGHE  (son of William Tighe) went over to Ireland and settled there.

Mr Tighe was High Sheriff of Dublin, 1649, Colonel, Dublin Militia, Mayor of Dublin, 1651-55, and Member of the same city in Cromwell's Union Parliament, 1656.

He acquired considerable estates in counties Carlow, Dublin and Westmeath, during the time of the two CHARLESES.

Alderman Tighe married Mary, daughter of Thomas Rooke, of London, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Anne; Rebecca; Mary.
He died in 1673, and was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1657-79), who wedded Anne, daughter of Christopher Lovat, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Mr Tighe was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT HON RICHARD TIGHE (1678-1736), MP for Belturbet, 1703, Newtownards, 1715, Augher, 1727, who was sworn of the Privy Council during the reign of GEORGE I,

He espoused Barbara, daughter co-heir of Christian Borr, of Drinagh, County Wexford, by his wife, an heiress of the family of Hore in the same county, and had, besides daughters, a son and heir,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1710-66), of Rossana, County Wicklow, Keeper of the Records in Bermingham Tower, MP for Clonmiles, 1733, Wicklow, 1761, who married firstly, in 1736, the Lady Mary Bligh, eldest daughter of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Richard William;
He wedded secondly, Margaret, eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Theaker MP, by whom he had a son, Thomas.

Mr Tighe was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1738-82), of Rossana, MP for Rathboy, 1761, who married, in 1765, Sarah, only child of the Rt Hon Sir William Fownes Bt, of Woodstock, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
John Edward;
Elizabeth; Marianne Caroline.
Mr Tighe was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1766-1816), of Woodstock, MP for County Wicklow, 1806-16, who wedded, in 1793, Marianne, daughter and co-heiress of Daniel Gahan MP, of Coolquill, County Tipperary, and eventually co-heiress of her uncle, Matthew Bunbury, of Kilfeacle, County Tipperary, and had issue,
Daniel, of Rossana;
Mr Tighe was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM FREDERICK FOWNES TIGHE JP DL (1794-1878), of Woodstock, who married, in 1825, the Lady Louisa Lennox, fifth daughter of Charles, 4th Duke of Richmond, and had an only daughter, Charlotte Frances, who died an infant in 1827.

Mr Tighe was succeeded by his nephew,

FREDERICK EDWARD BUNBURY-TIGHE JP (1826-91), of Woodstock, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding, Kilkenny Militia, who espoused, in 1858, the Lady Kathleen Louisa Georgina Ponsonby, daughter of John William, 4th Earl of Bessborough, and had issue,
William Frederick (1860-87);
Colonel Tighe was succeeded by his only surviving son,

EDWARD KENDRICK BUNBURY-TIGHE JP DL (1862-1917), of Woodstock, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1895, and Westmeath, 1903, Lieutenant, Grenadier Guards, who wedded, in 1894, Viola, only daughter of Edward Skeffington Randal Smyth, of Mount Henry, Queen's County, and had issue,
Kathleen Augusta Louisa;
Oonagh Frances Geraldine; Moira Gertrude Florence.
Rear-Admiral Wilfred Geoffrey Stuart Tighe CB was a member of this family.

The Tighe Papers are deposited at PRONI.

WOODSTOCK HOUSE, Inistioge, County Kilkenny, was built in 1745-47 for Sir William Fownes by the architect Francis Bindon.

It has a rusticated front façade and is unusual in being built around a small central court. 

The decorative emphasis of the house was focused upon the front façade.

In 1804-06 flanking wings were added to designs by William Robertson. 

The service yards either side were added at the same time.

Both the main house and the wings were built of stone with brick lining inside.

The basement vaulting was, unusually, also of brick.

Only parts of the east and west walls of the centre block and parts of the wings had no internal brick lining. 

Like many early 18th century Irish country houses, the decorative emphasis of the building was focused upon the front façade.

The five bay garden frontage (below) is much plainer though a very decorative iron staircase was added in the 1850s by Richard Turner.

The main house was maliciously burnt in 1922.

The east wing apparently was not burnt and remained occupied for some years subsequently. 

The house is now in an unstable condition, having been in a ruinous state for approximately eighty years.

Due to its constant exposure to weathering there has been considerable decay of the fabric and undermining of the structural stability of parts of the building.

The central bay of the front façade collapsed in March 2001 during a storm which has left the building now even more unstable and extremely dangerous.

Works are now under way to protect the building from further deterioration. 

The Victorian gardens, which contain elements of international importance, were laid out with the house as a central focus.

The restoration of the gardens which is being carried out by Kilkenny County Council, has highlighted, both the significance of the house in relation to the gardens and the precarious condition which the structure is currently in.

With public access to the restored gardens, the area around the house has been fenced off for safety.

It is proposed that the conservation works to Woodstock House, to be carried out on a phased basis, will provide for its stabilisation and preservation as a ruin.

Ultimately it is recommended that there should be public access to the interior of the building to enable a full appreciation of the gardens.

This access may be limited and controlled, depending upon the extent of conservation/restoration works carried out.

In principle, the phases of conservation building works are as follows:

Phase One: Emergency works to make structure safe to work on. This involves:

1. Digital/photographic survey of front and garden façades to provide dimensional photographic record and measured elevations. This will be carried out prior to any dismantling works.

2. Careful dismantling of loose fabric of the front (collapsed ) façade to a level where the remaining wall is stable and safe.

3. The removed fabric will be stored on pallets in the grounds and where safely possible, dressed stones will be numbered prior to removal. Loose material already on the ground will be retrieved, labelled and stored on pallets.

4. Wall tops to be weathered with a hydraulic lime mortar flaunching.

Phase Two: Removal of loose rubble at ground/basement internal level, to provide safe ground for erecting scaffold.

Carrying out consolidation and stabilisation works to masonry walls including rebuilding of certain sections to include removed wall and reinstatement of cross walls etc.

Also removal of vegetation and making good brickwork/stonework around; brickwork repairs including re-pointing, mortar repairs and replacement where necessary.

Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum are open to the public.

Former town residence ~ 25 Norfolk Street, Park Lane, London.

First published in June, 2012.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Mermaid Kitchen

I've had mixed weather at Portballintrae, one of the Province's seaside resorts on the Causeway Coast in County Antrim.

Earlier I motored into Portrush, arguably our principal resort, and made the customary beeline for the celebrated Ramore group of restaurants at the harbour.

They must have five or six distinctive restaurants, included the latest, Neptune & Prawn, across the road.

The Wine Bar was very busy and buzzing, as ever. 

I heard the patrons in front of me in the queue being advised that they might have to wait 45 minutes for a suitable table.

It was suggested that I go upstairs to The Mermaid Kitchen and Bar.

I was shown to a low counter at the bar, table-height, where one has a good view of the staff making cocktails.

Tonight I opted for the Royal Fish Pie, comprising scallops, prawns, cod, salmon and lobster, served with a rich, creamy Thermidor sauce and a medley of fresh vegetables.

 I enjoyed it. 

For pudding I had the salted caramel and toffee tart with chantilly cream and chocolate; another good choice, not too heavy and delicious.

The bill came to £1.40 for tomato juice; £14.95, the seafood pie; and the pudding, £5.95.

New PC

The First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, has been appointed a Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.

House of Alexander

The elder branch of this family was ennobled in 1663 by the title of EARL OF STIRLING, in the person of WILLIAM ALEXANDER, of Menstrie, secretary of state for Scotland in the reign of CHARLES I.

His lordship's ancestor,

ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Londonderry, was attainted, in 1689, by the parliament in Dublin held by JAMES II after his abdication.

From him descended

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock, of Dunmore, County Donegal, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom presently;
The youngest son,

JAMES ALEXANDER, having filled several important offices in India, was elevated to the peerage, in 1790, by the title of Baron Caledon, of Caledon, County Tyrone.

In 1797, his lordship was advanced to the dignity of Viscount Alexander.

In 1800, this nobleman was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF CALEDON.

In 1774, he had married Anne, second daughter of James Crawford, of Crawfordsburn, County Down, and had issue,

DUPRÉ ALEXANDER, 2nd Earl; Knight of St Patrick (KP); Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone; colonel, Tyrone Militia.

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Frederick James Alexander, styled Viscount Alexander (b. 1990).
Seat ~ Caledon Castle, County Tyrone.
Town residence (19th century) - 5 Charlton House Terrace, London.

The town residence of the 7th and present Earl is 3 Petyt Place, London, SW3. 

The Caledon Papers are deposited at PRONI.

Caledon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in March, 2012.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Lyons Demesne


The family of LAWLESS was of English extraction, but were settled for many years in Ireland, and became first enriched by commerce, and then ennobled on account of their wealth.

SIR HUGH DE LAWLESS, of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, settled in Ireland during the reign of HENRY II and obtained a grant from the crown of the manor of Shanganagh, County Dublin, where he erected a castle, the ruins of which are still visible.

RICHARD LAWLESS was Provost of Dublin, 1311, and held the office of Chief Magistrate for three successive years.

STEPHEN LAWLESS was consecrated Bishop of Limerick in 1354, and died on Innocents' Day, 1359.

WALTER LAWLESS, of Talbot's Inch, County Kilkenny, had a grant from JAMES I, in 1608, of seven manors, situated in counties Tipperary, Waterford, and Kilkenny, with rights of patronage, to be held for ever, in capite, by knight's service.

He married Margaret, daughter of Robert Wrothe, and died in 1627, leaving an only son,

RICHARD LAWLESS, who succeeding at Talbot's Inch, wedded Margaret, daughter of Patrick Den, of Grennan, County Kilkenny; and dying in 1670, left issue, two sons,
Walter, an adherent of JAMES II;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

THOMAS LAWLESS, of Talbot's Inch, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of James Butler, of Kilkenny; and dying in 1704, was father of

JOHN LAWLESS, of Shankill, County Dublin, who married Frances, daughter of John Usher, of Crumlin, and had issue, Peter, ancestor of the family seated at Shankill, and

JOHN LAWLESS, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Richard MacDonnell.

He died in 1730, and was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT LAWLESS, of Abington, County Limerick, by Mary, daughter of Dominick Hadsor, of Dublin. and had issue,
NICHOLAS, his heir;
Mary (1736-67).
Mr Lawless died in 1779, and was succeeded by his only son and heir,

NICHOLAS LAWLESS (1735-99), of Abington, County Limerick, who, having returned to Ireland from Normandy subsequently to his father's decease and conformed to the established church, obtained a seat in parliament as MP for Lifford, 1776-89.

Mr Lawless was created a baronet in 1776, denominated of Abington, County Limerick.

Sir Nicholas was elevated to the peerage, in 1789, by the title of BARON CLONCURRY, of Cloncurry, County Kildare.

He married, in 1761, Margaret, only daughter of Valentine Browne, of Dublin, and had issue, 
VALENTINE BROWNE, his successor;
Mary Catherine; Valentina Alicia; Charlotte Louisa.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

The 5th Baron, who served on the staff of two Lords Lieutenant of Ireland, was unmarried and the titles expired on his death in 1929.

LYONS, near Hazlehatch, County Kildare, was originally the seat of the Aylmer family, though they sold it to the 1st Lord Cloncurry, who had a new house built in 1797.

The present mansion house is a three storey block with a curved bow on either side of its entrance front, joined to two-storey wings by curved sweeps.

About 1801, shortly after his release from the Tower of London, the 2nd Lord Cloncurry hired Richard Morrison to undertake improvements and alterations to his father's house, work continuing till 1805.

During this period, Lord Cloncurry was in Italy, collecting antiques and objets d'art for the house.

The seven-bay garden front was left fairly plain, though an immense formal garden was laid out, with abundant statuary and urns.

Beyond the lake, reputedly the largest artificial lake in Ireland, lies the Hill of Lyons.

The Grand Canal passes along one side of the demesne, with a very fine range of Georgian buildings, comprising the Cloncurry private canal station.

The Hon Kathleen Lawless bequeathed Lyons to a cousin, Mr G M V Winn, who sold it about 1962 to University College, Dublin.

Sir Michael Smurfit KBE owned Lyons from 1990-96.

Lyons was later purchased by Dr Tony Ryan, who reputedly spent €100 million on its restoration.

The house stands in nearly 600 acres, including some fine formal gardens.

The orangery and hall contain a large swimming-pool.

There are seven suites in the main house, a self-contained guest wing with four bedrooms, and staff quarters in the north wing.

A further five lodges are located around the estate which include a 22-acre spring-fed lake which is stocked with trout and, for equestrian enthusiasts, there are stables, stud farm facilities and outstanding natural gallops.

Dublin is a 45-minute drive, but private jet access is available on request at nearby Baldonnel's Casement Aerodrome which is three miles from the estate.

It has undergone a total refurbishment which was recognized as outstanding when it received the Europa Nostra and Institut International des Châteaux Historiques joint award for refurbishment.

Cloncurry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in June, 2012.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Dromore Castle


The O'Mahonys were, in early times, powerful chieftains in the province of Munster, and had extensive estates along the sea-coast of counties Cork and Kerry.
Opposite Horse Island, off the former county, was their castle of Rosbrin, boldly erected on a rock over the sea; and its proprietor, in the time of ELIZABETH I, availing himself of the natural advantage that it possessed, led a life of such successful piracy, that Sir George Carew, when Lord President of Munster, was obliged to demolish it.
From old family documents, it appears that the ancestors of RICHARD JOHN MAHONY, of Dromore Castle, held for a long period the office of Seneschal of Kerry, even down to the time of the Commonwealth.
In 1639, MacDermot O'Mahony was confirmed as High Sheriff of Kerry by CHARLES I. Not long after, the O'Mahonys, true to their allegiance, suffered fine and confiscation, and finally sought in foreign climes the distinction denied them at home.
COLONEL DERMOT O'MAHONY, of Rosbrin, a faithful adherent of JAMES II, fought and fell at Aughrim.

His brother, DANIEL MAHONY, received the honour of knighthood from that monarch at St Germain's for his gallant conduct at Cremona, and afterwards for his good services in France, Spain and Italy, obtained the title of Count from LOUIS XIV.

This was the celebrated General Count MAHONY, of the Spanish service, so distinguished at Almanza and in Sicily as Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish troops.

A chief line of the great House of Mahony resident in County Kerry was

JOHN MAHONY, of Dromore Castle, who married firstly, in 1794, Miss Higginbotham, of Bath, who died without issue; and secondly, Miss Day, daughter of the Ven Edward Day, Archdeacon of Ardfert, of Beaufort House, County Kerry, and had issue,
DENIS, of whom presently;
He married thirdly, Miss Godfrey, daughter of Sir William Godfrey Bt, of Kilcoleman Abbey, County Kerry, by whom he had a daughter, Agnes, who wedded R C Hickson, of Fermoyle, County Kerry.

Mr Mahony died in 1817, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV DENIS MAHONY JP, of Dromore Castle, who married firstly, in 1827, Lucinda Catherine, only child of John Segerson, of West Cove, County Kerry, and had a son,

RICHARD JOHN, of whom hereafter.
He wedded secondly, in 1829, Jane, daughter of Sir John Blake Bt, of Menlo Castle, and by her had issue,
Rose; Margaret.
He espoused thirdly, in 1843, Katherine, daughter of Mathew Franks, of Merrion Square, Dublin, by whom he had one daughter, Mary Ellen.

The Rev Denis Mahony died in 1851, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD JOHN MAHONY JP DL (1828-), of Dromore Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1853, who was father of

HAROLD SEGERSON MAHONY JP (1867-1905), of Dromore Castle, County Kerry, who succeeded his father in 1892.

When Harold Mahony was killed in a bicycle accident in 1905, he left no heirs.

The estate passed to his sister, Norah Eveleen Mahony, wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Hood TD JP, who, in turn, left the castle to her cousin, Hugh Bolton Waller.

DROMORE CASTLE, near Templenoe, County Kerry, looks out over the River Kenmare.

It was built in the 1830s for the Mahony family to a neo-gothic design by Sir Thomas Deane.

It was designed and built for Denis Mahony.

Work began in 1831, although the account books show that only a negligible amount had been carried out before 1834.

Building work was completed in 1839.

The house is in the castellated Gothic-Revival style, with an external finish of Roman cement with limestone dressings.

With the notable exception of the grand south-facing window with its pointed arch, the windows consist of pointed tracery contained within rectangular frames, a style characteristic of Deane's domestic work.

The entrance hall, which is in the form of a long gallery, takes up half of the area of the ground floor.

The west wing of the Castle takes the form of a round tower, with a spiral staircase contained within an attached turret.
Although Dromore Castle appears to have been built on the instructions of Denis Mahony, his father John Mahony had made the decision to build a large residence earlier in the 19th century, but apparently abandoned the attempt after his yacht, returning from London with lead for the roof and wine for the cellar, sank in the River Kenmare, in view of the site of the house.
Thereafter, no further work took place until Deane began building work for Denis Mahony in the 1830s.

Denis Mahony was a rector of the Church of Ireland and a keen proselytiser.

He is known to have set up a soup kitchen at Dromore during the time of the Irish Potato Famine, and preached in the chapel at Dromore to the hungry who came for food.

His proselytizing activities did not make him a popular figure in the locality, and in 1850 he was attacked in his church at Templenoe.

On returning to Dromore, he found a further angry group had uprooted flower beds, felled trees and were about to set fire to the castle; it is claimed that they were only stopped by the intervention of the local priest.

After the Rev Denis Mahony's death in 1851, the castle was inherited by his son, Richard John Mahony, who successfully ran the estate in addition to farming oyster beds in the bay.

When Richard Mahony died, the castle then passed in turn to his son, Harold Segerson Mahony.

Harold was an extremely successful tennis player, and indeed was the last Irish winner at Wimbledon.

His tennis court can still be found in the gardens at the Castle.
It was in the late 1800s, during Harold Mahony's time as head of the household, that Harold Boulton, best known for writing the lyrics of the Skye Boat Song, came to visit Dromore, and it is then that he is thought to have written the words to the popular song "The Castle of Dromore," published in 1892.
When Harold Mahony was killed in a bicycle accident in 1905, he left no heirs, and the castle was passed to his sister, Norah Hood.

She in turn left the castle to her cousin, Hardrass Waller, and the castle remained in the hands of the Waller family until 1993 when it was offered for sale.

Dromore Castle is now owned by an investment company who are attempting to restore the building.

Beyond the Castle's gardens and outbuildings, the majority of the Castle grounds are now owned by  the Irish forestry board.

The Kerry Way runs through the grounds, and there are various footpaths leading to the Kenmare River. Entrance to the grounds is through a castellated gatehouse, also by Thomas Deane.

Dromore Castle provided some of the filming locations for the 1988 film High Spirits.

First published in June, 2012.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Ashford Castle

The family of GUINNESS claims descent from the ancient and eminent house of MAGENNIS, in which formerly vested the viscountcy of Magennis of Iveagh. Several members of this family are interred in the churchyard of St Catherine's, Dublin, and, in the parish register, the translation of the name from Magennis to McGuinness, or Guinness, is clearly traceable. 
ART ROE or ARTHUR MacGUINNESS, of Rathfriland, County Down, received the honour of knighthood, and assumed the surname of MAGENNIS.

This Sir Arthur was, in 1623, created Viscount Iveagh; though that peerage expired in 1693.

He died in 1629, and was buried at Drumballyroney, near Rathfriland, County Down.

His younger son,

CON MAGENNIS, married and had issue,

HUGH MAGENNIS, who wedded and had,

EVER MAGENNIS, who removed to, and settled in, Dublin.

He married and had issue, 

RICHARD GUINNESS (c1690-1766), of Celbridge, County Kildare, said to be an innkeeper at Celbridge, who was the first of the family to assume the surname.

In 1746, Mr Guinness was described in a Bill in Equity Exchequer as "Richard Guinis, agent or receiver to the Most Rev Arthur Price, Archbishop of Cashel".

He married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of William Read, of Huttonread, County Kildare, and had issue,
ARTHUR, of whom we treat;
Frances; Elizabeth.
Mr Guinness wedded secondly, ca 1752, Elizabeth Clare.

His second son,

ARTHUR GUINNESS (1725-1803), of Beaumont, County Dublin, the first of the family that established the Guinness Brewery, in Dublin, espoused, in 1761, Olivia, daughter and co-heir of William Whitmore, of Dublin, and had issue,
Hosea (Rev);
ARTHUR, of whom we treat;
William Lunell;
John Grattan;
Elizabeth; Olivia; Louisa; Mary Anne.
The second son,

ARTHUR GUINNESS JP DL (1768-1855)of Beaumont, County Dublin, Governor, Bank of Ireland,  held for many years the foremost place amongst the merchants of his native city of Dublin.

He married firstly, in 1793, Anne, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Benjamin Lee, of Merrion, County Dublin, and had issue,
William Smythe Lee (Rev);
Arthur Lee;
BENJAMIN LEE, of whom we treat;
Susanna; Mary Anne; Louisa; Anne; Elizabeth; Rebecca.
Mr Guinness's eldest surviving son,

BENJAMIN LEE GUINNESS JP DL (1798-1868), Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1851, MP for the City of Dublin, 1865-68, married, in 1837, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Guinness, and had issue,
ARTHUR EDWARD, his successor;
Benjamin Lee, father of the 3rd Baronet;
Edward Cecil, created EARL OF IVEAGH;
Anne Lee.
At his own cost of £150,000 (£15,445,000 in 2014) Mr Guinness restored the venerable cathedral of St Patrick, which was almost in ruins.

In commemoration of this patriotic act, Queen Victoria created Mr Guinness a baronet in 1867, denominated of Ashford Castle, County Galway.

Sir Benjamin was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR ARTHUR EDWARD GUINNESS2nd Baronet (1840-1915), JP DL, MP for the City of Dublin, 1868, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1880, as BARON ARDILAUN, of Ashford, County Galway.

He married, in 1871, the Lady Olivia Charlotte White, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Bantry, though the marriage was without issue.

The barony consequently expired following his lordship's death in 1915; the baronetcy, however, devolved upon his nephew, Algernon Arthur St Lawrence Lee Guinness, as 3rd Baronet.

ASHFORD CASTLE, County Galway, is a medieval castle turned luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo/Galway border, on the shore of Lough Corrib.

The original castle built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke following their defeat of the O'Connors, the Royal House of Connaught, who are still extant in the person of the O'Conor Don.

The principal legacy of the native O'Connors is to be seen at the gates of the estate in the form of the Romanesque Augustinian Abbey of Cong.

After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgos, whose surname became Burke or Bourke, Ashford passed into the hands of a new master, following a fierce battle between the forces of the de Burgo's and those of the English official Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, when a truce was agreed.

In 1589, the castle fell to Bingham, who added a fortified enclave within its precincts.

In 1715, the estate of Ashford was established by the Browne Family (Barons Oranmore), and a lodge in the style of a 17th-century French chateau was added to the medieval splendour of the castle.

The Ashford estate was purchased in 1852 by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, 1st Baronet, who extended the estate to 26,000 acres, built new roads, planted thousands of trees and added two large Victorian style extensions.

On his death in 1868, the estate passed to his son Lord Ardilaun, an avid gardener who oversaw the development of massive woodlands and rebuilt the entire west wing of the castle.

He also subsidised the operation of several steamboats, the most notable of which was the Lady Eglinton, which plied between the villages of the Upper Lough Corrib region and Galway City, thus opening the area to increased commerce.

In a time of agitation by tenant farmers in the Land Wars of the late 19th century, epitomised by the action of tenants at nearby Lough Mask House (home of Captain Charles Boycott), he was considered by many to be an 'improving' landlord.

Some of his efforts were unsuccessful, particularly the Cong Canal, also known as 'the Dry Canal', which was built to link Lough Mask and Lough Corrib but was a failure, due to its inability to hold water.

Despite such setbacks, the love borne by him and his wife Olive, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Bantry, for the castle and the estate was deep and best epitomised by that fact that when he was ennobled in 1880 he derived his title from the island of Ardilaun, which formed part of the estate on Lough Corrib.

Ashford passed to Lord Ardilaun's nephew, Ernest Guinness, who sold it to Noel Huggard in 1939.

He opened the estate as a hotel, which became renowned for the provision of its country pursuits, such as angling and shooting.

Noel Huggard's parents had been in the hotel business in Waterville, County Kerry, since 1910 and his granddaughters, Louise and Paula, run the Butler Arms Hotel there to this day.

In 1951, the film director John Ford came to the west of Ireland to film what would become a movie classic The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

The grounds of Ashford Castle as well as nearby Cong formed the backdrop for much of the action in the film.

In 1970, Ashford Castle was bought by John Mulcahy, who oversaw its complete restoration and expansion, doubling its size with the addition of a new wing in the early 1970s, building a golf course and developing the grounds and gardens.

In 1985, a group of Irish American investors, which included Chuck Feeney, purchased Ashford.

The Castle was sold by these investors in 2007 for €50 million to Galway-based property investor Gerry Barrett and his family.

Ashford was financed by Bank Of Scotland (Ireland), who placed the property in receivership in November 2011, though the hotel continues as a going concern.

In its time the castle has played host to many notable guests, including: John Lennon, George Harrison, King George V, his consort Queen Mary, Oscar Wilde (whose father, Sir William Wilde, had an estate adjacent to Ashford, where the writer spent much of his childhood), HRH The Earl of Wessex, John Wayne, HSH The Prince Rainier III of Monaco and his consort, HSH The Princess Grace.

Former seats ~ Ashford Castle, near Cong, County Galway; Macroom Castle, County Cork; St Anne's, near Clontarf, County Dublin; Muckross, Killarney, County Kerry. 

10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London

Former town house ~ 11 Carlton House Terrace, London: Gladstone took up occupation in 1856, and was there during the early years of his first great ministry, 1868-74; and finally the Guinness family took over, staying on until the 1920s (with an interruption when the house became an annexe to the Horse Guards' high command).

First published in June, 2012.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Rt Hon


To my knowledge, the prefix "Right Honourable" (usually abbreviated to "Rt Hon") is historically and traditionally accorded to all peers and peeresses of the third, fourth and fifth degrees, viz. Earl, Viscount, and Baron.

Members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council - Privy Counsellors - are styled "Right Honourable".

If a peer is also a privy counsellor, the letters "PC" follow their title.

The Lord Mayors of London and York have been styled "The Right Honourable" since time immemorial.

Other lord mayors are so styled only when granted this privilege by The Sovereign: these are Belfast and Cardiff.

The Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow are also styled "Right Honourable".

The remainder of lord mayors are styled "Right Worshipful".

Friday, 1 July 2016

Mayoral Robe

I'm glad to see the new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Brian Kingston, wearing the official ceremonial robe of office.

I believe this is an important tradition, since Belfast is one of the very few cities in the United Kingdom where its Lord Mayor is accorded the status and style of "Right Honourable".

This rank was conferred upon the Lord Mayor of Belfast by GEORGE V in March, 1923.

Normally nowadays the prefix indicates that a person is a privy counsellor; though in the case of lord mayors of London, Belfast, Cardiff, York etc it alludes to their rank as a baron.

The mayoral robe is probably made of black silk damask, trimmed with gold lace.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Lord Chancellor, 2015-

The Lord Chancellor wears similar official dress on ceremonial and state occasions.

The Rt Hon Nigel Dodds OBE MP, twice Lord Mayor of Belfast

A white lace jabot and white lace cuffs can also be worn.

Pictured above is the Rt Hon Sir William George Turner (a privy counsellor), Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1924-28, accompanying HRH Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood.