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

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, in the dignity 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.

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".