Monday, 31 October 2016

Search Box

A reminder to new readers that any key word, name or place can be entered in the Search box - a white box - at the top left-hand corner of the Blog.

This is a useful feature.

There are lots of categories on the blog, too, if you scroll down the left-hand side of the page.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Brackenber In The 1950s

A fellow Old Brackenbrian, Tom Graham, has kindly sent me three photographs of staff and pupils at Brackenber House prep school, Belfast, during the mid-fifties.

Many thanks, Tom, for such a wonderful contribution. If you click on the image below, it ought to enlarge.

Tom describes these pictures in his own words:-


"Above is a school photo from about 1956/57. So few pupils, so many teachers!. A student/teacher ratio which would bring a tear to the eye of any modern educator.

On Mr Craig's left is the famous Miss Rankin. I can't name any of the young women to her left.

To his right is Mr Henry, Deputy Principal .

He left to become an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon; then Mr Hunter, next, I believe is the Sport/PE master, whose name escapes me".

"Mr Ferguson and two unknown trainee teachers complete the line-up.

They were all good teachers. Their skills greatly eased the transition to Secondary education".


The photo above suggests that not all reds are equal.

Substantial differences in the blazers are clearly visible. The BHS monogram is missing from many pockets.

My guess is that many families must have struggled financially, and economised by not buying blazers from the approved supplier".

"My parents managed to outfit my brother as well as myself from the approved supplier, but only just, I suspect.

The parents at my daughter's private school ran a thriving a second hand uniform shop. I can't remember any such thing at Brackenber.

I do not recall an overcoat being part of the uniform. It's cost might have been the final straw which would have deterred some parents".

PS That's me, Tom, in the top left corner!


"Above is the football team from 1956/57. We tried hard, but rarely succeeded. The school was small,  so the talent pool was shallow.

We played against Rockport and Cabin Hill, but not against nearby Inchmarlo. The school supplied the shirts, but not the socks, shorts,or boots.

As you can see, the sports budget did not stretch to providing more than one size of shirt! For away matches, Mr Craig took all 12 of us in his car!"

First published in 2009.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Castlecoote House

THE COOTES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 10,348 ACRES

This is the parent stock, whence the noble houses of COOTE, Earls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated.
The first settler of the Cootes in Ireland, descended from a very ancient English family, was Sir Charles Coote, 1st Baronet, Knight, who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain, of 100 foot-soldiers, with which he was at the siege of Kinsale.
Sir Charles was appointed, by JAMES I, provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642.
The surprising passage through Mountrath woods justly caused the title of Mountrath to be conferred upon his son; and the Coote Baronetcy, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, one of the oldest creations (1621) in the Baronetage.
Sir Charles Coote, 1st Baronet, Provost-Marshal and Vice-President of the Province of Connaught, greatly distinguished himself at the relief of Birr, 1642.

The 2nd Baronet, also called Sir Charles, was created, in 1661, Earl of Mountrath, when the baronetcy merged in the peerage.

The 7th Earl and 8th Baronet, having no heir, obtained, in 1800, a new creation, that of Baron Castle Coote

This title became extinct in 1827, when the baronetcy reverted to the great-great-grandson of the 2nd son of the 1st Baronet.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John Coote CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58.


CASTLECOOTE HOUSE, near Castlecoote, County Roscommon, is situated on the site of a medieval castle, thought to have been built between 1570 and 1616.

It was a strategic site, and may have been the base of the Chieftains of Fuerty, the MacGeraghty clan. 

In 1616, it fell into the hands of Sir Charles Coote, who improved and re-fortified the castle.

The castle was attacked three times by the confederate forces in the 1640s.

Castlecoote House was built in the second half of the 17th century, within the enclosure of the old castle, which had by now fallen into ruins.

In the basement tower rooms, musket chambers still overlook the entrance steps.


In the 18th century the property passed into the ownership of the Gunnings, rumoured to have won it in a poker game.
The two Gunning sisters (one of whom was later to become Duchess of Hamilton and then Duchess of Argyll) were renowned for their beauty. Their portraits, painted by Joshua Reynolds, can be viewed in the main hall.
In the 20th century, the house was owned by Henry Strevens, a noted equestrian.

The present owner bought Castlecoote House in 1997,
The house was a cavernous ruin, with no floors, no ceilings, no stairs, no windows and crumbling interior walls. The entire basement was submerged beneath the earth and the main entrance steps had collapsed.
The restoration work took five years to complete, and included underpinning the foundations, consolidating the castle towers, rebuilding the mill race walls, landscaping the grounds and restoring the ceilings and ballroom to their former splendour.
First published in October, 2012.

Brackenber Memorabilia



A fellow Old Brackenbrian has kindly conveyed several nostalgic illustrations which, I hope, are of considerable interest to others.

I have sought old photographs of the School for some time, so it gives me great pleasure to share these illustrations with readers.

Brackenber House Preparatory School (above) was located at Cleaver Avenue in Belfast.

The scarlet cap and striped tie are on the right. 

First published in June, 2009.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Post Tardiness


Fret not, dear readers. The posting this morning was later than usual because I'm not using my normal BT connection.

The wifi where I happen to be can be, shall we say, hit or miss.

I shall try to post articles during the evening, when I tend to have a more reliable connection.

I dined at an old favourite earlier: Avenida Restaurant, Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

The food is relatively simple and unpretentious, as is the restaurant.

The standards, however, are first-rate.

My chicken escalope, served with crisp and dry chips, lettuce and tomato slice, was as enjoyable as ever.

Always order a half portion, lest you have the appetite of a hippopotamus.

One is brought a complimentary basket of fresh bread and strong alioli (my preference).

The bill came to a mere €5.90: a bargain.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Castle Durrow

THE VISCOUNTS ASHBROOK WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTIES KILKENNY AND OFFALY, WITH 16,768 ACRES


The family of FLORE, or FLOWER, formerly seated at Oakham, Rutland, represented that county in parliament during the reign of RICHARD II, in the person of ROGER FLORE MP, Speaker of the House of Commons during the time of HENRY VI, who died in 1427.

The Irish branch was founded by

SIR GEORGE FLOWER, Knight, who, in ELIZABETH I's reign, embracing a military life, was a very active and brave officer against the rebels in Ireland, having command of 100 foot-soldiers in the old army.

In 1601, he was Sergeant-Major of Her Majesty's army; and thereafter was knighted and appointed Governor and Constable of Waterford Fort, 1627; and soon after died.

Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR WILLIAM FLOWER, Knight,  also a military man in service under Lieutenant-General Michael Jones, Governor of Dublin, during the Irish rebellion in 1641, and subsequently one of the Privy Council of CHARLES II.

Sir William was born at Whitwell, Rutland, in 1600. During the Irish rebellion, he was seized, in 1648, with other officers, on suspicion of affection to the Marquess of Ormonde (Lord Ormonde was their former general at that time, upon his return to the Kingdom), where they were sent prisoners to England. 

Sir William lived to see the restoration of CHARLES II, to whose first Parliament, in 1661, he was returned as Member for St Canice (Irishtown).

He was made captain of a company of foot and afterwards lieutenant-colonel to GEORGE II's Regiment of Guards, in Ireland.

He was appointed, in 1662, one of the trustees for "Satisfying the Arrears of the Commissioned Officers" who served His Majesty in Ireland before the 5th June, 1649.

He wedded Frances, daughter of Walter Weldon, of St John's Bower, County Kildare, and widow of William Savage, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS FLOWER, of Durrow, County Kilkenny, who married, firstly, in 1683, Mary, fourth daughter of Sir John Temple, Attorney-General for Ireland, by whom he had one son, WILLIAM; and secondly, Miss Jeffries, by whom he had two other children, Jeffreys and Catherine.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM FLOWER (1685-1746), of Durrow, who represented County Kilkenny in parliament until elevated to the peerage, in 1733, as Baron Castle Durrow, of Castle Durrow, County Kilkenny.

His lordship espoused Edith, daughter of the Hon Toby Caulfeild, and had two sons and two daughters.

He was succeeded by his only surviving son,

HENRY, 2nd Baron, who was created, in 1751, VISCOUNT ASHBROOK.

His lordship married Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-General William Tatton, and dying in 1752, left, with two daughters, a son and successor,

WILLIAM, 2nd Viscount (1744-80), who wedded, in 1766, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ridge, by whom he had two sons and four daughters,
WILLIAM, his successor;
HENRY JEFFREY, 4th Viscount;
Harriet; Caroline; Sophia; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Viscount (1767-1802), at whose decease, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY JEFFREY, 4th Viscount (1776-1847), who espoused firstly, in 1802, Susannah, only daughter and heiress of the Rev William Maximilian Freind, and granddaughter and heiress of THOMAS WALKER, of Woodstock, by whom he had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Caroline; Susannah Sophia.
He married secondly, in 1812, Emily Theophila, daughter of Sir Thomas Metcalfe Bt, and had, by that lady, one surviving daughter, Charlotte Augusta.

Henry Jeffrey Flower, 4th Viscount (1776–1847);
Henry Jeffrey Flower, 5th Viscount (1806–71);
Henry Jeffrey Flower, 6th Viscount (1829–82);
William Spencer Flower, 7th Viscount (1830–1906);
Robert Thomas Flower, 8th Viscount (1836–1919);
Llowarch Robert Flower, 9th Viscount (1870–1936);
Desmond Llowarch Edward Flower, 10th Viscount (1905–95);
Michael Llowarch Warburton Flower, 11th Viscount (b 1935).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Rowland Francis Warburton Flower (b 1975).
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Benjamin Warburton Flower (b 2006).


CASTLE DURROW, near Durrow, County Laois, is an early 18th century mansion, with a high-pitched roof and tall chimney-stacks.

It was constructed by Colonel William Flower MP, later 1st Lord Castle Durrow. Colonel Flower commenced with the construction of the manor in 1712.

The Flower family assumed residency of Castle Durrow in 1716.

The house consists of two storeys with a dormered attic in the roof; nine bays, of which the front is divided into three groups of three bays by huge Doric pilasters, formerly crowned with urns (now erected on the porch).


Later generations of the Ashbrooks adorned the house with 18th century plasterwork and 19th century stained-glass.

There is a notable castellated entrance gate in the square of the town of Durrow.

Castle Durrow was sold by the 9th Viscount in 1922.

Subsequently, the property was sold to a Mr Maher of Freshford, County Kilkenny, who was primarily interested in the rich timber reserves of the estate.

By 1928 the old hard wood forests of Durrow were scarce.

Eventually the Irish Land Commission divided up the arable portions of the property, and the forestry department took over many of the woods for further plantation.

During this time Castle Durrow was vacant for a few years.

In 1929, with the Bishop’s approval, the parish of Durrow acquired the estate for the purchase price of £1,800 and Castle Durrow was transformed into a school, St Fintan’s College and Convent.

Peter and Shelley Stokes bought the castle in 1998 and transformed it into a hotel.

Other former seat ~ Beaumont Lodge, Old Windsor, Berkshire.
Present seat ~ Arley Hall, Cheshire.

First published in October, 2012.   Ashbrook arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Barretstown Castle

THE BORROWES BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 6,089 ACRES


This family derives (as proved by the patent from Sir William Roberts, Ulster King-of-Arms, granting an augmentation to the arms of Sir Erasmus, 1st Baronet) from a scion of the ancient house of DE BURGH, for centuries so eminent, both in England and Ireland, under the names of Burgh, Bourke, Burke, and Borough. 

HENRY BORROWES, who settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I, married firstly, Jane, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Arthur Savage MP, of Rheban, County Kildare; and secondly, in 1585, Catherine Eustace, of Gilltown.

He was succeeded by his son, 

ERASMUS BORROWES, of Gilltown, MP

This gentleman, who was high sheriff of County Kildare, at the breaking out of the rebellion in 1641, testified, upon oath, that he was unable to resist the Irish by the Posse Comitatus; and that he had lost in goods, corn, and cattle, at his several houses of Grangemellan, Gilltown, and Carbally, £9,396; in debts, £11,932; besides a yearly income of £1,200, or thereabouts; in consideration whereof, and of his goods and rightful services, CHARLES I, in 1646, created him a baronet.

Sir Erasmus married Sarah, daughter of Walter Weldon MP, of Woodstock Castle, and granddaughter maternally of the Rt Rev John Ryder, Lord Bishop of Killaloe, by whom he had, with a daughter, two sons, by the survivor of whom he was succeeded, viz.

SIR WALTER BORROWES, 2nd Baronet (c1620-85), who wedded firstly, in 1656 (the ceremony being performed with great pomp, before the Rt Hon Ridgeway Hatfield, Lord Mayor of Dublin), the Lady Eleanor FitzGerald, third daughter of George, 16th Earl of Kildare.

He married secondly, Margaret, fifth daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Adam Loftus MP, of Rathfarnham.

By the former he had, with a daughter, an only son, his successor,

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 3rd Baronet, MP (c1660-1709), who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Dixon, and sister of Robert Dixon, by whom he had two sons and three daughters.

Sir Kildare, who represented County Kildare in parliament for nine years, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 4th Baronet (1691-1741), MP for the borough of Athy, who inherited the estates of his maternal uncle, Robert Dixon, already mentioned, in 1725.

He married, in 1720,  Mary, daughter and co-heir of Captain Edward Pottinger, by whom he had three sons; the second and third died unmarried, and the eldest succeeded to the baronetcy, and became, 

SIR KILDARE DIXON BORROWES, 5th Baronet (1722-90), High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1751, for which county he had been some years before (1745) returned to parliament.

He married firstly, in 1759, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of John Short, of Grange, Queen's County, by whom he had three sons and one daughter; and secondly, in 1769,  Jane, daughter of Joseph Higginson, of Mount Ophaley, County Kildare, by whom he had four sons and two daughters.

Sir Kildare was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 6th Baronet (1759-1814), who wedded, in 1783, Harriet, youngest daughter of the Very Rev Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise, and great-granddaughter (maternally) of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Granard, and had issue,
WALTER DIXON, his successor;
Arthur;
Kildare;
ERASMUS, 8th Baronet;
Marianne; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 7th Baronet (1789-1834), who, dying a bachelor, was succeeded by his only surviving brother, 

THE REV SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 8th Baronet (1799-1866), Rector of Ballyroan, Queen's County, who married, in 1825, Harriet, daughter of Henry Hamilton, and niece of Hans Hamilton, MP for County Dublin, and had issue,
Kildare (1828-37);
ERASMUS;
Walter Joseph;
Henrietta Mary; Adelaide Charlotte Marianne; Eleanor Caroline.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 9th Baronet (1831-98), of Barretstown Castle, High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1873, and of the Queen's County, 1880, who espoused firstly, in 1851, Frederica Eaten, daughter of Brigadier-General George Hutcheson, and had issue, a son,
KILDARE, his successor.
He married secondly, in 1887, Florence Elizabeth, daughter of William Ruxton, and had issue,
Walter (1892-1915);
Mary Adelaide Vernon.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his son,

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 10th Baronet (1852-1924), who married, in 1886, Julia, daughter of William Holden, by whom he had no issue.
Sir Kildare was Captain in the 11th Hussars and aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
The baronetcy expired on the death of Sir Eustace Dixon Borrowes, 11th baronet, in 1939.


BARRETSTOWN CASTLE, Ballymore Eustace, Naas, County Kildare, is an old tower-house with a two-storey, Gothic-Victorian addition.

The latter has rectangular, pointed and segmental-pointed plate glass windows.

One side of the front has a four-storey tower with a stepped gable.


The first historical mention of the place is in a 1547 inquisition held after the dissolution of the monasteries, when Barretstown Castle was listed as the property of the Lord Archbishop of Dublin, from whom it was promptly confiscated by the Crown.

Thereafter the Castle was held by the Eustace family on a series of "permanent leases."

In the 17th century, Sir Walter Borrowes married a daughter of the Earl of Kildare and acquired the estate, and the family retained possession for over two centuries.

Members of the family, such as Sir Kildare Borrowes, 5th Baronet, represented Kildare County and Harristown in the former Irish Parliament.

Unlike the Eustace Baronets of the 16th and 17th centuries, the five Borrowes Baronets, who spanned the 19th century, played no part in public life.

Sir Kildare, 10th Baronet (1852–1924), whose father, the Rev Sir Erasmus, 8th Baronet, had significantly modified the residence in a medieval, romantic, asymmetrical style, was the last of the family to live at Barretstown.

In 1918, the Borrowes family left Ireland and Barretstown was purchased by Sir George Sheppard Murray, a Scotsman who converted the estate into a fine stud farm, and planted many of the exotic trees that dominate the landscape.

In 1962, Elizabeth Arden acquired the castle from the Murray family. Over five years, Arden extensively reconstructed, redecorated, and refurnished the castle.

Her influence dominates the look of the house to this day.

The door of the castle is reputed to have been painted red after her famous brand of perfume Red Door, and remains so to this day.

After Arden's death in 1967, the billionnaire Garfield Weston took up residence.

Under his ownership the grounds were significantly improved, particularly through the addition of a magnificent lake in front of the castle.
The Weston family, which owns Dublin's famous Brown Thomas department store, presented the estate to the Irish government in 1977, during which time it was used for national and international conferences and seminars, as well as being used as a part of the Irish National Stud.
The Irish government has leased the castle and its grounds to the Barretstown Gang Camp Fund for the next 90 years.

First published in September, 2012.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Prince Edward In NI

The Earl of Wessex, Trustee, yesterday carried out engagements in Northern Ireland to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim (Mrs. Joan Christie OBE).

His Royal Highness met young people participating in the Grass Roots Challenge, at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

The Earl of Wessex visited a Probation Board Project at the Book Reserve, 407 Lisburn Road, Belfast.

His Royal Highness afterwards visited Belfast Activity Centre, Barnett's Stable Yard, Barnett's Demesne, Malone Road, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

HRH later visited Strangford Integrated College, Abbey Road, Carrowdore, Newtownards, County Down,and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down (Mr. David Lindsay).

His Royal Highness yesterday evening attended a Dinner in County Down.

TODAY His Royal Highness visited Ballyclare High School, Ballyclare, County Antrim.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Derryquin Castle

THE BLANDS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KERRY, WITH 25,576 ACRES

SIR CHRISTOPHER BLAND WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE BBC BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 1996-2001


This family was originally seated in Yorkshire.

The first who settled in Ireland was

THE VERY REV JAMES BLAND, Archdeacon of Limerick and Dean of Ardfert.

In a deed of sale registered in Wakefield, 1717, he is described as "of Killarney, County Kerry", and as disposing of his estates in Sedbergh, Yorkshire, to Richard Willen.

Dr Bland was the son of John Bland, of Sedbergh, as proved by the records of St John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted in 1684.

He went to Ireland as Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Henry Sydney, Earl of Romney, in 1692.

Dr Bland wedded Lucy, eldest daughter of Sir Francis Brewster, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1674-5, by whom he had issue, and was father of the Rev Francis Bland (whose great-grandson, THE VEN NATHANIEL BLAND, Archdeacon of Aghadoe, was the head of the family); and of

NATHANIEL BLAND LL.D, Judge of the Prerogative Court of Dublin, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, who married firstly, Diana, only daughter and heiress of Nicholas Kemeys, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
John.
He wedded secondly, Lucy, daughter of Francis Heaton, and had further issue,
Francis;
Nathaniel;
George;
Lucy; Hester; Dorothea.
Dr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV JAMES BLAND, of Derryquin Castle, who espoused firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Julian, and had issue,
FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
Nathaniel;
James;
Letitia; Diana; Maria; Elizabeth.
He married secondly, Barbara, daughter of _____ Nash.

The Rev James Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER BLAND, of Derryquin Castle, who wedded, in 1798, Lucinda, daughter of Arthur Bastable Herbert, of Brewstersfield, near Killarney, by his wife Barbara, daughter of Maurice FitzGerald, Knight of Kerry, and had issue,
JAMES FRANKLIN, his heir;
Arthur;
John;
Edward;
Nathaniel;
George;
Francis Christopher;
Elizabeth; Lucy; Frances Diana; Mary Matilda;
Christina Frances; Laetitia; Barbara; Laetitia; Clara Delinda.
Mr Bland died in 1838, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES FRANKLIN BLAND JP (1799-1863), of Derryquin Castle, High Sheriff, 1835, who espoused, in 1825, Emma, daughter of Major Joseph Taylor, of Dunkerron Castle, County Kerry, and had issue,
FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
James Franklin;
Nathaniel Franklin;
Alice Phillis.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER BLAND JP (1826-99), of Derryquin Castle, High Sheriff, 1859, who married, in 1849, Jane, daughter of the Rev Archibald Robert Hamilton, and had issue,
JAMES FRANKLIN, his heir;
Archibald Robert Hamilton;
Francis Christpher Earle;
Richard Townsend Herbert;
Emma Alice; Jane Hamilton; Catherine Cotter;
Alice Phillis; Mary Evelyn.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES FRANKLIN BLAND (1850-1927),  late of Derryquin Castle, and of Drimina House, Sneem, County Kerry, who wedded, in 1873, Agnes Margaret, eldest daughter of Samuel Wilson Block, of 15, Talbot Square, Hyde Park, London, and had issue,
FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER CECIL, his heir;
Archibald Franklin Wilson;
Godfrey Hamilton;
Agnes Emma; Evaleen Wilson; Ethel Hamilton.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER CECIL BLAND (1875-1953), of Drimina House, who married, in 1904, Mary Green, daughter of Henry Albert Uprichard, and had issue,
JAMES FRANKLIN McMAHON;
Henry Archibald Forster.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES FRANKLIN McMAHON BLAND (1905-84), of 14, Tullybrannigan Road, Newcastle, County Down, who married, in 1936, Jess Buchan, daughter of Major Harry Campbell Brodie, and had issue,
FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER BUCHAN;
Godfrey Hamilton.
The elder son,

SIR (FRANCIS) CHRISTOPHER BUCHAN BLAND (1938-).


DERRYQUIN CASTLE, Sneem, County Kerry, was a Victorian pile of rough-hewn stone by James Franklin Fuller, built for the Bland family.

The main block was of three storeys, with a four-storey octagonal tower running through its centre.


The entrance door was at one end, flanked by a two-storey, part-curved wing.

There were rectangular, pointed and camber-headed windows; battlements, and machiolations.


The castle was eventually sold by the Blands to the Warden family.

In 1906, it was owned by Colonel Charles W Warden and valued at £70.

The Wardens resided there until it was burnt in 1922.

It was located in the grounds of what is now the Parknasilla Hotel, but the ruins were demolished in 1969.

In 1732, the Rev Dr Nathaniel Bland obtained his grant of the Parknasilla area, the grantors being described as 'Rt Hon Clotworthy, Lord Viscount Massareene, and Philip Doyne, with the consent of James Stopford.'

The link with these three gentlemen is Elizabeth Smyth.

Her father, the Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, married secondly, the Hon Mary Skeffington.

She was the daughter of Clothworthy, 3rd Viscount Massareene. Elizabeth married James Stopford in 1726.

In 1762, he was created Viscount Stopford and Earl of Courtown.

His sister, also Elizabeth Stopford, was the third wife of Philip Doyne.

The Rt Rev Richard Pococke, Lord Bishop of Ossory, visited the area in 1758.

He was an avid traveller who published accounts of his visits to the Middle East, Scotland and England.

The Bishop went in search of Dr Bland's house, which was a summer residence located between the Sneem River and the Owreagh River.

He found the house, known as 'The White House', abandoned by its owner, in favour of Parknasilla, a fine Georgian residence a little further east.

Nathaniel Bland's first wife Diana, was the daughter of Nicholas Kerneys or Kemis of County Wexford. They had two sons, John and Rev James.

It was to Rev James that Nathaniel left the bulk of his estate and we shall return to him presently.

John served in the army at Dettingen, Fontenoy and Clifton Moor.

Nathaniel's son Francis, by his second marriage, was a captain in the army and gave it up to become and actor in Thomas Sheridan's company in Dublin.

He fell in love with Grace Phillips, a Welsh actress, and married her in 1758.

They had several children. Grace was the daughter of the Rev Phillips of St. Thomas's Haverfordwest.

Nathaniel  died in 1760 just before the birth of Francis and Grace's child, a daughter, in 1761.

She was christened Dorothea and known as Dorothy, although she referred to herself as Dora and acquired a surfeit of names.

In 1774, Francis decided to leave Grace and his family and marry an heiress.

This time he chose the well-to-do Catherine Mahony from Kerry.

Dora became an actress and was also known by her stage name, Mrs Jordan. She was seduced by her actor manager in Dublin.

Shortly afterwards she became pregnant and fled to England and fell in love with Richard Ford , a handsome lawyer, who was knighted some years later.

She lived with Ford and had three children by him.

When he failed to do the decent thing and marry her, she left him.

She became mistress to William Henry, Duke of Clarence, 3rd son of George III in 1790. He became William IV upon the death of his brother George IV.

They lived together in Busy House in Teddington, near Hampton Court from 1797 until 1811, when he took a new mistress.

Their children, ten in total and all illegitimate, were known as the FitzClarences. The boys were ennobled, the eldest was created Earl of Munster.

The girls married well, viz. two earls, a viscount, the younger son of a duke and a general in the army.

The Duke pensioned Dora off. She was swindled out of money by a son-in-law.

When Nathaniel Bland died in 1760, his son, the Rev James Bland, inherited the estate. Derryquin Castle was probably built during his era.

His son, Francis Christopher Bland, married Lucinda Herbert in 1798.

His son, James Franklin Bland, was born in 1799. Under him the Derryquin estate witnessed its golden years and was self-supporting.

His sister Frances "Fanny" Diana married Thomas Harnett Fuller of Glasnacree and their son James Franklin Fuller was to become the architect of the new Parknasilla hotel in 1897.

James Franklin Bland was succeeded in turn by his son Francis Christopher.

This Francis Christopher joined the Plymouth Brethren.

He neglected his estate and devoted his energy to preaching.

Land agitation was rife in Ireland at this juncture and it was unfortunate that Bland decided to absent himself.

The estate inevitably went into rapid decline.

First published in September, 2012.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Marble Hill House

THE BURKE BARONETS, OF MARBLE HILL, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 25,258 ACRES


This branch of the Burkes claims to be a scion from the house of CLANRICARDE; but more immediately connected with the Barons Bourke of Brittas.

THOMAS BURKE, of Gortenacuppogue (now Marble Hill), died at an advanced age, in 1714.

During the civil wars, in the time of CHARLES I, and subsequently in the revolution of 1688, his predecessors and himself lost a considerable portion of their lands; but he still preserved the estate upon which he resided, and it became the seat of the Burke baronets.

He married into the family of TULLY, great landed proprietors in County Galway, and owners of the Garbally estate, in the possession of the Earl of Clancarty.

The son of this Thomas,

JOHN BURKE, wedded the daughter of Carroll of Killoran, who was nearly allied to the Donelans, County Galway, and to the Carrolls of King's County.

By this lady the family acquired the Killoran estate.

Mr Burke died in 1793, aged 80, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS BURKE, of Marble Hill, who was created a baronet in 1797, denominated of Marble Hill, County Galway.

He espoused Christian, daughter of ____ Browne, of Limerick, of the Browne family of Camus, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
James, d 1812;
Maria; Julia; Elizabeth; Anne; Eleanor.
Sir Thomas died in 1813, and was succeeded by his elder son,

COLONEL SIR JOHN BURKE, 2nd Baronet (1782-1847), of Marble Hill, who married Elizabeth Mary, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon John Calcraft MP, and had issue,
THOMAS JOHN, his heir;
Charles Granby;
James Henry;
Edward Howe;
Maurice William Otway;
Henry Ulick;
Elizabeth Anne; Caroline Jane.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS JOHN BURKE, 3rd Baronet (1813-75), DL, of Marble Hill, MP for County Galway, who wedded the Lady Mary Nugent, daughter of Anthony, 9th Earl of Westmeath, and had issue,
JOHN CHARLES, 4th Baronet;
HENRY GEORGE, 5th Baronet;
THOMAS MALACHY, 6th Baronet;
William Anthony;
Julia Catherine Anne; Mary Clare Theresa.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN CHARLES BURKE, 4th Baronet (1858-90), who died unmarried, and the title devolved upon his next brother,

SIR HENRY GEORGE BURKE, 5th Baronet (1859-1910), JP, DL, who died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR THOMAS MALACHY BURKE, 6th Baronet (1864-1913), JP, who married, in 1893, Catherine Mary Caroline, daughter of Major-General James Henry Burke, and had issue, an only child,

SIR GERALD HOWE BURKE, 7th Baronet (1893-1954), DL, who wedded firstly, in 1914, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Patrick Mathews, and had issue,
THOMAS STANLEY, his successor.
He espoused secondly, in 1920, Merrial Alison, daughter of Edward Christie, and had issue,
Bridget Alison;
Elizabeth Anne.
Sir Gerald was succeeded by his only son,

SIR THOMAS STANLEY BURKE, 8th Baronet (1916-89), who married, in 1955, Suzanne Margarete, daughter of Otto Theodore Salvisberg, and had issue,
JAMES STANLEY GILBERT, his successor;
Caroline Elizabeth.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his son,

SIR JAMES STANLEY GILBERT BURKE (1956-), who wedded, in 1980, Laura, daughter of Domingo Branzuela, and has issue.

Marble Hill (Photo credit: Dr Patrick Melvin & Eamonn de Burca)
MARBLE HILL HOUSE, near Loughrea, County Galway, was built ca 1775 for John Burke, and enlarged after 1813 by Sir John Burke, 2nd Baronet.

It was an exceptional country house prior to its malicious destruction by fire in 1921.

Architectural quality and refinement are apparent in the design and detailing.

The masonry was executed by skilled craftsmen, as is apparent in the detailing of the door-case.

It forms part of a group of demesne-related structures that includes the gate lodge, outbuildings, walled garden and ice-house.

The house is now an ivy-covered, roofless ruin.

It comprised three storeys over a raised basement, with a canted entrance bay to the front (east) elevation, and two-storey return to rear.

Four-bay side elevations, with bowed bay to north side elevation, and with rear two bays of south projecting; moulded cornice; rubble limestone walls, with evidence of weather-slating to the west gable wall.

Square-headed window openings with stone sills and red brick surrounds; square-headed entrance doorway within pedimented carved limestone door-case, having channelled pilasters with plinths and moulded capitals.

Wrought-iron railings to entrance avenue.


The well designed range of outbuildings originally served the adjacent Marble Hill House.

The high-quality stonework suggests that it was a significant part of the former demesne and was possibly by the same architect responsible for the house.

Some original sash windows and gates survive.

Marble Hill estate once incorporated a weigh station, forge and smokehouse that are no longer standing.

The ruin of the original house is an ivy-covered shell beside the remains of a courtyard which included a pigeon loft, carriage house, abattoir and worker accommodation.

The mansion house was equipped with running water and flushing toilets, which was the state of the art at the time.

The house also had a central heating system based on technology developed in Roman times, still visible today.

When the estate was in full operation, it had a full complement of blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, gardeners, an engineer, and a catholic priest who said mass in a specially-built private chapel in the house every morning.

Several generations of Burkes were raised at Marble Hill until the family departed in 1922 for their house in London due to the political climate in Ireland.

Several of the Burke gentry throughout the generations served at Westminster and government bodies up to the late 1800s, Ted Burke being the last to serve in political office.

At this point they concentrated solely on the land.

The downfall of the Burke family began at this point as the only source of income for the once wealthy family was now rates paid by tenants.
By the early 1900s the estate was in decline and in severe financial difficulties. Burnt down in 1922 by the local IRA, the house burned for 4 days and 4 nights. The only thing that remained was a complete window which had been bricked up in the blue room.
The blue room was a child’s nursery. After the tragic death of a young infant, the window was sealed as the residents believed the house to be haunted. It was locked and never opened until the house burned down.
Like most landowners, the Burkes were known to sympathise with HM Government, and Thomas Burke helped raise a military regiment, the Connaught Rangers, in 1793 to support Great Britain in its war with France.

Although the Burkes had already left for England, the house was burned during the time known as “The Troubles”.

Over the following years the estate was divided among tenants and families.

The original farmyard and store buildings were given to the estate’s herd (an unofficial vet who cured animal illnesses with natural remedies).

Some of the buildings in the courtyard were knocked and the stone sold by the land commission.

The main house itself was completely destroyed, but the servant’s quarters and gardens were intact, including a glasshouse that was operational until the 1970s.

The Rafferty family resided here until the 1990s. Kate Rafferty, the Burkes' former housekeeper, purchased the remaining estate, operating it as a guest-house for many years.

After her death, the house passed to her son and fell into disrepair.

With no heirs, the ruin was eventually sold to a developer, whose plans have been halted by the current recession in 2012.

First published in August, 2012.