Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Portstewart Strand Acquisition


PROPERTY: Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

DATE: 1981

EXTENT: 225.82 acres

DONOR: Philip McIntyre

First published in ,January, 2015.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Rahinston House


STEPHEN FOWLER (younger son of Richard Fowler, by Margaret, daughter of Richard, 1st Baron Newport), wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Cock, of Skendleby Thorpe, Lincolnshire, and had issue.

His only surviving son,

GEORGE FOWLER, espoused Mary, daughter and co-heir of Robert Hurst, and had,
George, died unmarried;
Hurst, left a daughter;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
His third son,  

THE MOST REV AND RT HON ROBERT FOWLER (1724-1801), Lord Archbishop of Dublin, who was educated at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, was one of the Chaplains to GEORGE II, and Prebendary at Westminster.

In 1771, he was consecrated Lord Bishop of Killaloe and Kilfenora in Ireland, and, 1773, was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Dublin.

His Grace was subsequently sworn of the Privy Council and became, at the institution of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1783, its first Chancellor.

The Archbishop married Mildred, eldest daughter (and co-heir of her brother) of William Dealtry, of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and had a son, ROBERT; and two daughters:
Mildred, m 1793, Edmund, Earl of Kilkenny;
Frances m 1795, the Hon and Rt Rev Richard Bourke.

The Prelate of the Order was ex officio the Lord Archbishop of Armagh; the Chancellor was ex officio the Lord Archbishop of Dublin.

The Chancellor's Badge (above), part of the insignia of the Order, was a small, purse-shaped item, which was suspended by a broad ribbon from the neck.

The office of Chancellor became secular when the Church of Ireland was disestablished.

His Grace died in 1801, and was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT REV ROBERT FOWLER, educated at Westminster School, and Christ Church, Oxford, who was appointed Dean of St Patrick's, became Archdeacon of Dublin, and was afterwards consecrated Lord Bishop of Ossory and Ferns.

He married, in 1796, the Hon Louisa Gardiner, eldest daughter of Luke, Viscount Mountjoy, and sister of Charles John, Earl of Blessington, and had issue,
ROBERT, of Rahinston House;
Luke, of Wellbrook.
His lordship died in 1841, and was succeeded by his elder son,

ROBERT FOWLER JP DL (1797-1868), of Rahinston and Rathmolyon, County Meath, who wedded firstly, in 1820, Jane Anne, eldest daughter of the Hon John Crichton, and sister of John, 3rd Earl of Erne, and had issue,
ROBERT, of Rahinston;
John Richard;
Jane Margaret; Louisa Catherine.
Mr Fowler wedded secondly, in 1831, the Lady Harriet Eleanor Wandesforde-Butler, eldest daughter of James, 2nd Marquess of Ormonde, and had issue,
James Haddington;
Grace Louisa; Harriet Selina; Anne Mildred; Emily.
Mr Fowler was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT FOWLER JP DL (1824-97), of Rahinston, High Sheriff, 1871, called to the Irish Bar, 1850, who married, in 1856, Letitia Mabel, daughter of Henry Barry Coddington, of Oldbridge, and had issue,
ROBERT HENRY, his heir;
John Sharman, DSO;
George Hurst;
Francis FitzHerbert;
Louisa Marian; Florence Mary; Eleanor Katherine.
Mr Fowler was succeeded by his eldest son,

CAPTAIN ROBERT HENRY FOWLER JP DL (1857-1957), of Rahinston, and Rathmolyon, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1899, Captain, 85th King's Light Infantry, who espoused, in 1890, Mabel, daughter and co-heir of the Hon St Leger R Glyn, and had issue,
ROBERT ST LEGER, his heir;
George Glyn, b 1896.
Captain Fowler was succeeded by his elder son,

CAPTAIN ROBERT ST LEGER FOWLER MC (1891-1925), Captain, 17th Lancers, Military Cross, 1916, who died a bachelor, and the family estate devolved upon his cousin,

BRIGADIER BRYAN JOHN FOWLER DSO MC (1898-1987), of Rahinston (son of George Hurst Fowler and Mabel Blakiston-Houston), who married, in 1944, Mary Olivia, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Patteson Nickalls, in 1944; Military Cross, 1918; Distinguished Service Order and Bar, 1943.

Brigadier Fowler retired from the army in 1949.

His eldest son,

JOHN ROBERT HENRY FOWLER (1946-2008), of Rahinston, married, in 1971, the Lady Jennifer Chichester, daughter of the 7th Marquess of Donegall.

Since John Fowler's tragic death in 2008, Lady Jennifer took over the mantle.

Lady Jennifer Fowler died on 12th March, 2013.

The training establishment continues.

Her son Harry and his wife Lorna are committed to developing the stud farm at Rahinston.

RAHINSTON HOUSE, near Summerhill, County Meath, is an Italianate house of ca 1875, "attributed stylistically to Sir Charles Lanyon" [Bence-Jones].

It has a three-bay front, faced in Roman cement with sandstone dressings; pediments over the windows.

The roof is carried on a bracket cornice. There is a bow window at the side with curved glass.

First published in October, 2012.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Loughry Manor


The first of the family of LINDESAY who settled in Ulster, upon the confiscation of the O'Neills in that province, were two brothers, BERNARD LINDESAY, of Lough Hill, Haddington, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to JAMES VI, King of Scotland, and ROBERT LINDESAY, Chief Harbinger to that monarch, sons of THOMAS LINDESAY, of Kingswark, in Leith, which Thomas held several offices of high honour and trust, as well as emolument, under MARY, Queen of Scotland, and her son, JAMES VI, such as Searcher-General of Leith, in 1562, which he resigned in favour of his son, Bernard, in 1594.

The King provided, not only for him, but his family, by pensions, to his daughters, Agnes and Elizabeth, out of the rents and tithes of the abbey of North Berwick; also to his sons, Bernard, Thomas, and Robert, from other lands belonging to the Friars of Linlithgow.

Thomas Lindesay, the Snawdoun Herald, and Searcher-General of Leith, was living in 1594.

His son, 

ROBERT LINDESAY, of Leith, Chief Harbinger and Comptroller of the Artillery to JAMES I in Scotland, obtained from that monarch a grant of the manor and lands of Tullyhogue, Loughry, etc, County Tyrone, by patent dated 1611.

He married Janet Acheson, and by her (who survived him, and was living in 1619) he had a son and successor,

ROBERT LINDESAY, of Loughry and Tullyhogue, who obtained a second patent of the said manor and lands of Loughry and Tullyhogue, described therein as Manor Lindesay, in the 14th year of the reign of CHARLES I, and who built the mansion house of Loughry in 1632, which was burnt by the rebels in 1641, and rebuilt by him in 1671.

He was an officer in the royal army at the battle of Worcester.

This gentleman married Margaret, daughter of James Richardson, of Castle Hill, County Tyrone, and died in 1674, aged 70, having had issue (with three daughters) three sons,
ROBERT, of whom presently;
Alexander, of Cahoo;
The elder son, 

ROBERT LINDESAY, of Loughry and Tullyhogue, a refugee and defender in Londonderry during the celebrated siege, wedded Anne, daughter of John Morris, of Bellville, County Tyrone.

He died in 1691, leaving issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
JOHN, of whose line we treat.
JUDGE (ROBERT) LINDESAY (1679-1742), of Loughry and Tullyhogue, MP for County Tyrone, 1726, Judge of the Common Pleas, 1733, married, in 1707, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Singleton, of Drogheda (and sister of Henry Singleton, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, and afterwards Master of the Rolls, in that kingdom), and had issue one son and one daughter: Robert, died an infant; Anne, died unmarried.

Judge Lindesay, a close friend of Dean Swift, having dsp 1742, was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN LINDESAY (1686-1761), of Loughry and Tullyhogue, who married, in 1744, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Bellingham Mauleverer, Rector of Maghera, County Londonderry, and granddaughter of the Most Rev William Nicolson, Lord Archbishop of Cashel.

He died in 1761, leaving a son and successor,

ROBERT LINDESAY (1747-1832), of Loughry and Tullyhogue, MP for Dundalk, 1781, a Deputy Governor of Tyrone, Assistant Barrister, County Tyrone, who married, in 1775, his second cousin, Jane, eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Mauleverer, of Arncliffe Hall, Yorkshire, and had issue,
John, father of JOHN LINDESAY;
Robert, died in infancy;
FREDERICK, of whom hereafter.
Mr Lindesay was succeeded by his eldest son,  

JOHN LINDESAY (1780-1826), Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Tyrone Militia, Mayor of Cashel, who wedded Mary Anne, daughter of Richard Pennefather, of New Park, County Tipperary, MP for Cashel, and had an only son,

JOHN LINDESAY DL (1808-48), Lieutenant, 7th Royal Fusiliers, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1840, who succeeded to the family estate on the death of his grandfather, 1832.

Mr Lindesay married Harriott Hester, daughter of the Rt Hon Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn MP, of Llangedwin, brother to Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn Bt, MP, of Wynnstay, Denbighshire, but died without an heir, and was succeeded by his uncle, 

FREDERICK LINDESAY JP DL (1792-), of Loughry, Barrister, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1859, who married firstly, in 1823, Agnes Cornish Bayntun, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Sir Edwin Bayntun Sandys Bt, of Miserden Park, Gloucestershire, and Hadlington Hall, Oxfordshire (who died in 1842), and had issue,
Robert Sandys, Capt. Royal Tyrone Fusilier Militia; d 1870;
Frederick John Sandys (1830-77), of Loughry, military officer;
Thomas Edward, 27th Bengal Native Infantry, killed in 1857;
Jane; Philippa Allen; Agnes Sarah.
The fourth son, 

JOSHUA EDWARD CHARLES COOPER LINDESAY JP DL (1843-93), of Loughry, Lieutenant-Colonel, 3rd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment; late 50th Regiment, died unmarried, and was succeeded by his cousin,

HENRY RICHARD PONSONBY LINDESAY (1843-1903), of Loughry, and Donore, Ivybridge, Devon, Lieutenant-Colonel, Reserve of Officers, 60th Rifles and 20th Regiment, who wedded, in 1898, Frances Mary, daughter of the Rev J Irwin, Rector of Hurworth-on-Tees.

He dsp 1903.

LOUGHRY DEMESNE, near Cookstown, County Tyrone, dates from the early 17th century.

The origins of the demesne can be traced to 1611, when land in the area was granted by JAMES I to his Chief Harbinger, Robert Lindesay, who is thought to have built himself a timber residence on the southern side of the river Killymoon, close to the village of Tullahogue, "surrounded by a ditch with a high bank of Clay and a quick-thorn hedge".

Robert died ca 1629 and his lands passed to his son Robert, who built a new residence on the present site in 1632.

This house was destroyed in the 1641 rebellion and the site was abandoned until 1671, when a new dwelling was commenced.

This second house was finished in 1674, shortly after Robert's death, and survived until about 1750, when it, too, was destroyed by fire, although it is thought to have been accidental.

Although there appears to be no extant documentary evidence to prove it, the relatively steeply-pitched roof and simple symmetrical lines of the present building suggest that it is that built ca 1754 to replace the 17th century residence.

On this, the main two-storey, five openings-wide, gabled block to the south is shown, along with a rear return and the long wing to the north, an arrangement which is by and large repeated on the revised map of 1857, but with somewhat more extensive rear returns.

It is said that Frederick Lindesay added a "saw mill, steward's house offices and lodge" to the demesne in 1863, and that in the house itself was "improved" by his son, Frederick Lindesay, upon his coming into the estate in 1871-72.

Part of the latter improvements probably involved the addition of the section to the north end of the north wing, which is believed to have originally contained "a banqueting hall and musicians' gallery", as well as the porch, and the decorative mouldings around the window openings.

Frederick Lindesay led an extravagant lifestyle, and by the time of his death in 1877, he had amassed debts said to have been in excess of £42,000.

His younger brother and successor, Joshua Lindesay, attempted to rectify this by leading a frugal existence.

Consequently he appears to have vacated Loughry during the 1880s, living within the much more modest Rock Lodge, to the south of the estate.

Joshua died in 1893, leaving the family's financial problems unresolved, and shortly afterwards the house and estate were sold to Cookstown businessman, John Wilson Fleming.

According to a family historian, Ernest Godfrey, either before or just after the sale, a fire "destroyed the top storey of the mansion".

The extent of the damage caused by the fire, and the amount of rebuilding - if any- is uncertain.

In 1908, Mr Fleming sold the house and its demesne to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Ireland, which, in 1908, opened the Ulster Dairy School on the site.
Shortly afterwards, the school built a new front wing and, within the original building, converted the library to an office; the dining-room to a sewing-room; the small drawing room to a superintendent's room; the large drawing room to a school room; the blue bedroom to a staff sitting room; another bedroom to a small dormitory; the yellow room to a superintendent's room; Bachelor's Walk to a teachers' wing; and the banqueting hall and musicians' gallery to another dormitory.
In 1922, following the establishment of Northern Ireland, the school was handed over to the Northern Ireland Ministry of Agriculture.

In 1949, it became Loughry Agricultural College.


Dean Swift is thought to have written part of Gulliver’s Travels whilst staying at Loughry.

There is a room perched precariously on rocks above the Killymoon River, which is known as Dean Swift’s Summer House.

Both the summer house and Loughry Manor are listed.

The house has "1632" inscribed on a wall.

Modern planting and landscaping enhances the college buildings and the prospect to the planted top of Rockhead Hill has not been obscured.

There are mature trees in the parkland, in clumps and individual trees.

The river bank is heavily wooded throughout the demesne and old walk-ways survive.

Offices and stables for the manor house have been adapted for college use.

The walled garden contains a small collection of fruit trees, but is not otherwise cultivated.

First published in April, 2013.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Laganview House

Bank of Ireland Chambers

93-95, ANN STREET, BELFAST, occupies a corner site which returns to 1, Oxford Street.

It comprises a three-storey, L-shaped, red-brick block with an attic floor.

The southern elevation is abutted by a three-storey building; whereas the western side comprises four storeys.

The ground floor has a door to the west with a sandstone pediment on brackets above the moulded granite architrave.

Dormer copings (below) boast octagonal finials, panels with relief carvings of urns and foliate decoration over dentilled cornices.

The building is situated on a prominent corner of Ann Street and Oxford Street, facing the river Lagan and Queen's Bridge.

Riddel's Warehouse, at 87-91 Ann Street, stands directly beside Laganview House.

Ann Street elevation

The building was constructed in 1899 and designed by the architects Millar & Symes.

Construction of the Bank of Ireland (Queen's Bridge branch) began in the same year.

Aside from operating as a bank branch, the upper floors of Bank of Ireland Chambers were utilised as office space for a variety of local firms and organisations.

In 1907, for instance, the offices were occupied by insurance firms, grain merchants, and the headquarters of the Belfast Boys' Brigade, among others.
By 1918, the upper offices were occupied by the same Insurance agencies and merchants; however, the Boys' Brigade had vacated the site, whilst new occupants included an engineering firm and a boiler-making company.
During the 2nd World War the upper floors were occupied by the Northern Ireland Port Area Grain & Flour Committee, the Royal Liver Friendly Society, and Government offices.

By the 1950s, many of the upper offices were occupied by the Belfast Mersey & Manchester Steamship Company, a shipping and ferry firm that navigated the route between the two cities.

In 1993, the bank was described by Marcus Patton OBE, in his excellent historical gazetteer of central Belfast, as a
three-storey building in red brick on red sandstone ground floor and grey granite plinth, with attic gable and full height canted bay at chamfered corner entrance; ground floor pilasters with small rosettes at capitals.
In more recent years an attempt to demolish the former bank with the sole retention of the listed facade was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission.

The former Bank of Ireland Chambers was occupied by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive until 2013.

OX Restaurant

1 Oxford Street is now the premises of the acclaimed restaurant OX.

I passed the premises on a Sunday morning; traffic was light, which made it easy to snap away to my heart's content.

Housing Executive signage remains at the main corner entrance to the block.

The outline of Bank of Ireland signage can still be discerned.

OX restaurant has a simple, unpretentious, almost austere aspect.

A simple sign hangs from the wall.

Its prospect is of the Beacon of Hope sculpture at the Queen's Bridge, at what was known as Canal Quay.

In July, 2013, there was a proposal for a six-storey building comprising restaurant and bar at ground and mezzanine level and 24 apartments on the five floors above, including retention of the existing facade and demolition of the building behind.

Laganview House, as it became known, was sold in January, 2017.

First published in April, 2015.

The Murlough Acquisition


PROPERTY: Murlough Nature Reserve, near Dundrum, County Down

DATE: 1967

EXTENT: 430.27 acres

DONOR: 8th Marquess of Downshire


PROPERTY: Murlough House and lands

DATE: 1975

EXTENT: 265.79 acres

DONOR: Messrs RBS and John Hawkins

First published in January, 2015.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Fellows Hall


EDWARD ARMSTRONG, of Dublin, son of William Armstrong, by Jane Garver his wife, married, in 1760, Grace Jones, and had issue,
The eldest son,

THE REV WILLIAM JONES ARMSTRONG (1764-1825), Rector of Termonfeckin, County Louth, wedded, in 1786, Margaret, third daughter of Alderman John Tew, Lord Mayor of Dublin (by Margaret Maxwell his wife, grandniece of John, 1st Baron Farnham), and granddaughter of Alderman David Tew, Lord Mayor of the same city, 1752, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM JONES, his heir;
John Tew;
Thomas Knox, of Fellow's Hall, JP;
Helen; Anne; Diana Jane.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM JONES ARMSTRONG JP DL (1794-1872), of Killylea, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1840, espoused, in 1842, Frances Elizabeth, widow of Colonel Sir Michael McCreagh CB KCH, and only daughter of Captain Christopher Wilson, of the 22nd Foot, and had issue,
WILLIAM FORTESCUE, 7th Hussars (1843-71);
HENRY BRUCE, of whom hereafter.
His younger son,

THE RT HON HENRY BRUCE ARMSTRONG JP DL (1844-1943), of Killylea, and Dean's Hill, both in County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1875, and High Sheriff of County Longford, 1894, married, in 1883, Margaret, daughter of William Leader, of Rossnalee, County Cork, and had issue,
William Fortescue, lieutenant RA;
Michael Richard Leader;
Henry Maxwell;
JAMES ROBERT BARGRAVE, of whom hereafter;
Christopher Wyborne;
Frances Margaret Alice; Dorothea Gertrude; Margaret Helen Elizabeth.
The fourth son,

JAMES ROBERT BARGRAVE ARMSTRONG (1893-1980), of Fellows Hall, Killylea, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1960, Barrister, North Irish Horse, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars, wedded, in 1930, the Hon Kathleen Marion Napier, daughter of Edward, 4th Baron Napier of Magdala, and had issue,
Henry Napier;
John Fortescue;
Frances Evelyn; Kathleen Mary Perceval; Florence Margaret.
Mr Armstrong was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY NAPIER ARMSTRONG DL (1936-2014), of Fellows Hall, Barrister, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers (TA), who married, in 1967, Rosmarie Alice, daughter of Harold Ducket White, and had issue,
Bruce William, b 1970;
Mark Harold Napier, b 1978;
Antonia Kathleen, b 1974.
Photo credit:

FELLOWS HALL, Killylea, County Armagh, is a Victorian-Italianate reconstruction of a house of 1762 (which itself was rebuilt in 1752).

It comprises two storeys over a basement, with a five-bay front.

Round-headed windows conatin keystones in the upper storey.

The doorway is tripartite, with a triple window above.

The Hall passed through marriage from the Maxwells to the Armstrong and Stronge families; thence to the McClintocks.

The Armstrong Papers are held at PRONI.

First published in April, 2015.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Athavallie House


The family of LYNCH was of great antiquity in the province of Connaught, being amongst the very early settlers, denominated the Tribes of Galway.

In an old manuscript in Ulster King-of-Arms' office, William le Petit is stated to be the common progenitor of all the Lynches of Ireland.

The founder of the honours of the family, however, was

HENRY LYNCH, Mayor of, and MP for Galway (eldest of twelve sons of Nicholas Lynch, also Mayor of Galway).

Mr Lynch was created a baronet in 1622.
This gentleman was the son of Nicholas Lynch fitz Stephen (Mayor 1584–1585) and great-grandson of Mayor Arthur Lynch (died 1539); land agent for Richard, 4th Earl of Clanricarde; mentor to Patrick D'Arcy and Richard Martyn, later senior political figures of Confederate Ireland.
He was stepfather to D'Arcy and married to an aunt of Martyn. He was among the first of his family to become a lawyer, and several of his younger sons followed him into this profession, as did, under his influence, D'Arcy, Martyn, Geoffrey Browne and subsequent generations of The Tribes of Galway.
Sir Henry married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Martin, and widow of James D'Arcy, by whom he had three sons and three daughters.

He died in 1635, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBUCK LYNCH, 2nd Baronet, who represented Galway in parliament in 1639 and 1641, and was resident counsel for Connaught during the rebellion.

He wedded Ellis, daughter of Sir Peter French, Knight, by whom he had two sons, and was succeeded on his decease, 1667, by the elder, 

SIR HENRY LYNCH, 3rd Baronet, a lawyer of eminence, and one of the barons of the exchequer, in 1689.

Sir Henry wedded firstly, Margaret, daughter of Sir Theobald Bourke, 3rd Viscount Mayo, but by that lady had no issue; and secondly, and had (with a younger son) his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH (-c1720), 4th Baronet, who espoused Catherine, daughter of Henry Blake, of County Mayo, by whom he had, with two daughters, a son and heir,

SIR HENRY LYNCH (-1762), 5th Baronet, of Carracastle, who married Mary, daughter of John Moore, of Brees [sic], County Galway, and had one daughter and an only son, his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE, 6th Baronet, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Francis Barker, heir of Tobias Blosse, of Little Belstead, Suffolk.

He assumed the surname of BLOSSE, in addition to, and after, that of LYNCH.

It was a condition of the marriage that Robert would assume the additional surname of BLOSSE and conform to Protestantism.

The issue of this marriage were, HENRY, who succeeded to the title; and Francis, who wedded Hatton, daughter of John Smith, and had issue, Robert, who, succeeding his uncle, became the 8th Baronet.

Sir Robert died in 1775, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HENRY LYNCH-BLOSSE, 7th Baronet (1749-88), upon whose demise, without issue, the title reverted to his nephew, 

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE (1774-1818), 8th Baronet, who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of William Gorman, of Carlow, by whom he had FRANCIS, the next baronet, with several other children.

He married secondly, Charlotte, daughter of John Richards, of Cardiff.

Sir Robert  was succeeded by his son,

THE REV SIR FRANCIS LYNCH-BLOSSE (1801-40), 9th Baronet, who wedded, in 1824, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lord Plunket, and had issue,
ROBERT, 10th Baronet;
William Conyngham, b 1826.

Sir Richard Hely Lynch-Blosse (b 1953), 17th and present Baronet, lives in Oxfordshire.

ATHAVALLIE HOUSE, near Castlebar, County Mayo, is a long, low, plain, two-storey residence, its main block of five bays, with an entrance door set in a broad stone arch.

The front is extended by a four-bay range of the same height, though set back.

In 1894, Athavallie House was recorded as the seat of Sir Henry Lynch-Blosse, 11th Baronet (1857-1918), and most likely the last of the family to reside there.

In 1920, the Sisters of St Louis founded a school which catered for girls only.

It was a boarding school-cum-day school until the St Louis Sisters left in 1978 and the school became co-educational under the control of the local community.

Balla Secondary School is based here now.

Athavallie House still stands but is no longer used for educational purposes.

It was used as a military hospital during the 1st World War.

Other former seat ~ Castle Carra, County Mayo.

First published in April, 2013.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Crom: Walled Garden

Although it's one of the most remote parts of the Province and almost as far from Belfast as you can get, I've been to Crom Estate in County Fermanagh many times.

I first visited it in about 1977, when the estate manager took us on a guided tour of the Castle - I'd written to Lord Erne in advance, requesting a visit.

The Walled Garden lies deep within the grounds of Crom.

You cross the White Bridge and walk several hundred yards until it appears, the former head gardener's lodge being opposite it.

Its old, red-brick walls are in good condition, the National Trust having re-built at least one side some years ago.

It extends to roughly three acres in size; and it has been utterly overgrown since its demise after the second world war.

I've no doubt that the Trust intends to revive this magical place as and when funds become available.

Many fruits and vegetables were grown here for the big house.

Exotic fruits, which are nowadays taken for granted, were a rarity then and only the wealthiest families could afford to cultivate them.

In fact many people may never have seen a pineapple or a peach or known they existed.

On one side of the Walled Garden there were raspberries; and strawberries on another.

Heated glasshouses contained peaches, nectarines, pineapples, grapes and tomatoes; not to omit lettuce, marrows, cucumbers and orchards with apples, plums, pears and greengages.

There were also beehives, sweet-pea, daffodils, dahlias and magnolias.

In the middle of the garden there was a large palm-house, now sadly gone, about thirty feet high, where the weather-reading was taken every morning.

The whole garden swarmed with butterflies, bees and other wild insects; birds flitted in and out to help themselves to Nature's goodness.

It must have been heavenly.

Of course the main purpose of the walled garden was to maintain an abundant supply of produce, including flowers, for the Castle: a barrow was wheeled manually up to the Castle with fruit, vegetables and flowers twice daily.

When the family were staying at their London home, the freshly-picked produce was loaded on to the train at Newtownbutler station and taken to Belfast or Dublin; then put on a ferry for its long journey to the metropolis, where it would have been delivered to the Ernes' house the next day; and that was in Victorian times!

I have been in the Walled Garden and my imagination always escapes to those halcyon days, dreaming of what it must have been like.

My fervent hope is that the enchanting walled garden of Crom is resurrected back to life again some day.

This piece was first published in August, 2008. It is thought that the intention is to utilize part of the Walled Garden as community allotments.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Avenida Salmon

I revisited another old haunt last night, the Avenida Restaurant.

It's situated on a back street in Corralejo by the name of Calle General Prim.

Heard of this cove, Prim? I thought not.

Avenida is one of the most popular restaurants in town, particularly with inhabitants.

I was greeted cordially and sat at my usual table, a sturdy, simple, heavy, square, wooden affair.

The chairs are equally robust.

This is an unpretentious place.

Patrons return for good, authentic grub; and it's terrific value, too.

The waiter brought me a little basket of fresh bread and some of their delicious, strong alioli.

Real alioli is almost pungently strong, in my book.

I ordered a soft drink and the grilled salmon.

A word of advice: unless you're the build of Bertie Wooster's acquaintance, the Right Honourable A B Filmer, order a half-portion.

Heaven knows what size the full portion would be.

My salmon duly arrived, with those small Canarian potatoes and salad.

The fish seemed to be cut like a steak, and was served with a considerable number of bones and skin.

However, I have to say that it was a good flavour and succulent.

At the conclusion of my dinner they offered me a local liqueur called Ron Miel, served in a tiny "shot" glass, topped with whipped cream.

The entire bill came to €8.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Wodehouse Gems: III


Aunt Agatha to Bertie: "I want to have a word with you before you meet Mr Filmer."


"Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister. He is staying in the house. Surely even you must have heard of Mr Filmer?"

"Oh, rather," I said, though as a matter of fact the bird was completely unknown to me.

This man Filmer, you must understand, was not one of those men who are lightly kept from the tea-table. 

A hearty trencherman, and particularly fond of his five o'clock couple of cups and bite of muffin, he had until this afternoon always been well up among the leaders in the race for the food-trough. 

If one thing was certain, it was that only the machinations of some enemy could be keeping him from being in the drawing-room now, complete with nose-bag.

First published in March, 2012.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Citrus Revisited

Nasi goreng 

The climate in this part of the Canary Islands is usually agreeable.

Whereas many of the cafés, bars and restaurants have outdoor seating, heavy blankets are provided if necessary for cooler evenings.

I often bring a V-neck sweater with me.

It hasn't rained in Corralejo for weeks.

I revisited Citrus Café last night.

In fact I've been revisiting Citrus a number of times.

I've found a seat tucked into a corner, tucked away, which is usually available; so I settle myself there.

At about nine o'clock a crowd of a few dozen young surfers arrived en bloc.

They ordered food and drink, and all moved into the garden behind the café.

There is, I gather, live music on Tuesday evenings.

I'd already had a restorative in my apartment, so I ordered one of their lovely milkshakes and the Nasi goreng.

To the best of my knowledge I've never had Nasi goreng before.

Its ingredients sounded tasty on the menu, and I was not disappointed.

After dinner I ambled in to the back garden, though there was no sign of a musician.

The tables all seemed to be taken.

Presumably the music did start a bit later.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Louth Hall


This noble family, the eldest branch of the numerous house of PLUNKETT, claims a common ancestor with the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; namely, John Plunkett, who was seated, about the close of the 11th century, at Beaulieu, County Louth. 

From this gentleman descended two brothers, John and Richard Plunkett; the younger of whom was the progenitor of the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; and the elder, the ancestor of

SIR PATRICK PLUNKETT, Knight, of Kilfarnan, Beaulieu, and Tallanstown, who was appointed, in 1497, Sheriff of Louth during pleasure.

Sir Patrick married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Nangle, 15th Baron of Navan, and dying in 1508, was succeeded by his eldest son, 

OLIVER PLUNKETT, of Kilfarnon, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1541, as BARON LOUTH (second creation).

His lordship wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and heir of John Rochfort, of Carrick, County Kildare, by whom he had six sons and four daughters; and secondly, Maud, daughter and co-heir of Walter Bath, of Rathfeigh, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

His lordship was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

THOMAS (c1547-71), 2nd Baron, who married Margaret, daughter and heir of Nicholas Barnewall, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

PATRICK, 3rd Baron, who wedded Maud, daughter of Lord Killeen; but dying in 1575 without issue (having been slain by McMahon, in the recovery of a prey of cattle, at Essexford, County Monaghan), the title devolved upon his brother,

OLIVER, 4th Baron.

This nobleman having, with the Plunketts of Ardee, brought six archers on horseback to the general hosting, at the hill of Tara, 1593, was appointed to have the leading of County Louth.

He married firstly, Frances, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bagenall, Knight Marshal of Ireland, by whom he had five sons and three daughters; and secondly, Genet Dowdall, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship died in 1607, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHEW, 5th Baron, who wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Fitzwilliam, of Meryon, and had four sons.

His lordship died in 1629, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 6th Baron (1608-79); who, joining the Royalists in 1639, was at the siege of Drogheda, and at a general meeting of the principal Roman Catholic gentry of County Louth, held at the hill of Tallaghosker.

He was appointed Colonel-General of all the forces to be raised in that county; and in the event of his lordship's declining the same, then Sir Christopher Bellew; and upon his refusal, then Sir Christopher Barnewall, of Rathasker.

This latter gentleman accepted the said post of Colonel-General, for which he was imprisoned, in 1642, at Dublin Castle, and persecuted by the usurper Cromwell's parliament.

His lordship married Mary, Dowager Viscountess Dillon, second daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim, and was succeeded at his demise by his only son,

MATTHEW, 7th Baron; who, like his father, suffered by his adhesion to royalty, having attached himself to the fortunes of JAMES II.

His lordship died in 1639, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 8th Baron (de jure) (1668-1707); who, upon taking his seat in parliament, was informed by the Chancellor that his grandfather, Oliver, 6th Baron, had been outlawed in 1641; and not being able to establish the reversal of the same, the dignity remained, for the two subsequent generations, unacknowledged in law.

His lordship was succeeded by his only son, by Mabella, daughter of Lord Kingsland,

MATTHEW, 9th Baron (de jure) (1698-1754), who was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 10th Baron (de jure) (1727-63), who wedded Margaret, daughter of Luke Netterville, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Susannah; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

THOMAS OLIVER, 11th Baron (1757-1823), who had the outlawry of his great-grandfather annulled, and was restored to his rank in the peerage in 1798.

He married, in 1808, Margaret, eldest daughter of Randal, 13th Lord Dunsany, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Randall Matthew;
Charles Dawson;
Henry Luke;
Edward Sidney.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS OLIVER, 12th Baron (1809-49), who espoused, in 1830, Anna Maria, daughter of Philip Roche, of Donore, County Kildare, by Anna Maria, his wife, youngest daughter of Randall, Lord Dunsany, and had issue,
RANDAL PERCY OTWAY, his successor;
Thomas Oliver Westenra;
Algernon Richard Hartland;
Augusta Anna Margaret; another daughter.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RANDAL PERCY OTWAY, 13th Baron (1832-83) an officer in the 79th Highlanders.

RANDAL PILGRIM RALPH, 14th Baron (above), JP, DL, (1868-1941), was an officer in the Westminster Dragoons and the Wiltshire Regiment, and served in the First and Second World Wars.

 The 14th Baron, though not prominent in politics, did take part in public life: He was a member of the Irish Reform Association, and took part in the campaign for a Catholic University. In politics he was a Unionist. His papers show that he was an active sportsman and also travelled widely.
He sold most of the estate soon after the 1903 Wyndham Land Act. He died in 1941, and was succeeded by his only surviving son Otway, briefly 15th Baron, before his death in 1950.

Louth Hall and demesne at Tallanstown were sold and the family settled at Jersey, Channel Islands.

The 16th Baron died at Jersey, Channel Islands, on the 6th January, 2013, aged 83.

The title now devolves upon his lordship's eldest son, the Hon Jonathan Oliver Plunkett, born in 1952. 

LOUTH HALL, near Ardee, County Louth, is a three-storey Georgian house, built ca 1760, now in ruins.

There is a shallow, projecting, curved bow to the east of south elevation of ca 1805; and a tower-house to west of ca 1350.

The roof is not visible, hidden behind a crenellated parapet.

The Plunkett family crest is above the pediment.

Louth Hall is situated within what is now a field, with ranges of random rubble stone outbuildings of ca 1805, arranged around three yards; remains of walled garden to west; artificial lake to south, dovecote to south-west.

Entrance gates to north-east on roadside comprising tooled limestone squared piers, cast-iron gates, flanked by pedestrian gates and curving quadrant plinth surmounted by cast-iron railings.

This house was the home of the Plunkett family from the later medieval until the early-20th century. 

The continuity of occupation is reflected in the architectural changes, the migration from tower house to Georgian mansion.

A fire in 2000 destroyed delicate early 19th century interior plasterwork.

The archaeological, architectural and historical associations of this building are as immense as the structure itself. 

First published in March, 2013.  Louth arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Betancuria Trip

I spent Saturday in the picturesque and historic village of Betancuria, which nestles in a valley high up in the mountains of Fuerteventura.

Two buses pass through this village daily.

The main attraction is the Casa de Santa Maria, a cluster of religious buildings with a cathedral.

Today the buildings have been transformed into a centre for tourism, with restaurants, souvenir shops and museums.

Santa Maria is a place of remarkable beauty and charm.

However, I lunched just outside Santa Maria, at the Bodegón Don Carmelo.

These premises, at Calle Alcalde Carmelo Silvera, have belonged to the Silvera family for four centuries.

I sat at a table outside and had some tapas and a Bacardi and Coke.

After lunch I strolled up the hill to the cemetery, about half a mile outside the village.

The Silvera family plot is here.

I departed on the last bus, which arrived about four thirty-five.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Citrus Café

You might recall that I mentioned the topic of kerbs in Corralejo not very long ago.

Corralejo is a small town and tourist resort in the north of Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.

Whereas I apprised you that the mere kerbs were being replaced, this was not the full story.

The true subject ought to have been Footpaths, because it appears to me that the entire central footpath infrastructure in the town is being widened and improved; thus narrowing certain sections of the roads.

It's really all quite impressive.

I have found another little juice-bar and restaurant in Corralejo.

Citrus Surf Cafè is located at Calle Anzuelo 1, near a mini-roundabout off the main street in the resort.

It's predominant colour appears to be lime green.

There's a mixture of plastic chairs, tables and trendy sofas where you can take advantage of their free wifi over a milkshake, fruit juice or smoothie.

Citrus is very good indeed for vegetarian consumers, with a strong emphasis on salad ingredients, fruit, vegetables.

However, they also have beef burgers, chicken and even duck on the menu.

Last night I went up to the counter, ordered a Bacardi and Coke, and settled myself on a sofa.

There was a good, strong signal from their wifi.

Having already enjoyed their "Fuerteburger" the previous day, I decided to have the Chicken Fajitas with a side portion of onion rings.

I could hear my chicken frying in the kitchen and it arrived freshly: a bowl of chicken pieces stir-fried with peppers and onion, three small tortillas, shredded lettuce and cabbage, little ramekins of sauces.

This little place might well be underrated.

It features on Tripadvisor, though perhaps ought to be a bit further up the list.

Readers, have any of you knowledge of Indonesian curry?

Citrus serves these, too.

By the way, they have a lovely, quiet, discreet garden terrace at the back.

You can place your order at the counter and walk through, though the wifi signal was too weak for me there, so I moved back to the front of the café.

You haven't heard the last of this place.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Newcastle House


NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.

He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.

By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Anne; Mary; Jane; Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

MAJOR SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy, knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, 1664, MP for Carlow, 1659, and for the borough of Kildare, 1661.

Sir Thomas obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.

He married Anne Jones, who also obtained a grant of lands in County Carlow, 1668.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, Captain of the Battle-Axe Guards, 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, b 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTH, of whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, and had further issue,
ROBERT, successor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNE, m Sir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone, and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of the same place, and had issue,
WESLEY, his heir;
Mr Harman died in 1757, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Dr Nicholas Milley, Prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for Co Kildare, 1755, and for County Longford, 1761, who married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, King's County, and dsp 1765, when he was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford, who espoused, in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore, of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons.

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates, who wedded, in 1772, the Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, and had an only daughter,
FRANCES, of whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was created, in 1792, Lord Oxmantown; and, in 1806, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed, according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

THE LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, and had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, succeeded as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, succeeded to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
Her ladyship died in 1841, and was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

Mr King-Harman wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia (d 1904), seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and had, with other issue, a second son,

WENTWORTH HENRY KING-HARMAN JP DL (1840-1919), of Newcastle, High Sheriff, 1896, Colonel, Royal Artillery, who wedded, in 1863, Annie Kate, daughter of D J Smith, of Kingston, Canada, and had issue,
Beatrice Caroline; Lilian Mary; Annette Maude.
Colonel King-Harman was succeeded by his only son,

WENTWORTH ALEXANDER KING-HARMAN DSO (1869-1949), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Mitchelstown, County Cork, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Rifles, who died unmarried.

NEWCASTLE HOUSE, near Ballymahon, County Longford, is a large, three-storey, seven-bay, early 18th century, gable-ended house, with lower asymmetrical wings.

There is a small, central curvilinear gable on the entrance front, possibly original, which is repeated on the 19th century projecting porch.

The House has a high-pitched roof.

The drawing-room ceiling boasts painted plasterwork in low relief, with musical emblems at the corners.

Newcastle House was originally the residence of the Sheppard family, whose heiress married Wentworth Harman in 1691.

It was inherited, in 1784, by Lawrence Parsons-Harman, later 1st Earl of Rosse; and subsequently by his grandson, the Hon Lawrence King-Harman.

Newcastle House was sold ca 1950 by Captain Robert Douglas King-Harman DSO DSC RN, grandson of the Hon Lawrence King-Harman.

For several years it was a convent.

First published in April, 3013.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Henry Baronets



THE RT HON SIR DENIS STANISLAUS HENRY (1864-1925), 1st Baronet, KBE, was born at Draperstown, County Londonderry, the son of James Henry, a prosperous businessman.
  • Londonderry MP 1916-21
  • Solicitor-General for Ireland 1918-19
  • Attorney-General for Ireland 1919-21
  • Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland 1921-25
  • Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE)
He married, in 1910, Violet, daughter of the Rt Hon Hugh Holmes, Lord Justice of Appeal in Ireland, and had issue,
JAMES HOLMES, of whom hereafter;
DENIS VALENTINE, father of the 3rd Baronet;
Denise Olive; Alice Ellen; Lorna Mary.
Sir Denis was created a baronet in 1923, denominated of Cahore, County Londonderry.

His eldest son,

SIR JAMES HOLMES HENRY (1911-97), 2nd Baronet, CMG MC TD, wedded firstly, in 1941, Susan Mary, daughter of Arthur Blackwell; and secondly, in 1949, Christina Hilary, daughter of Sir Hugh Oliver Holmes KBE CMG MC QC.
Sir James also followed a distinguished legal career as a barrister, legal draftsman, Solicitor-General and Attorney-General of Cyprus; and military service during the 2nd World War. He lived at Hampton-on-Thames, Middlesex.
Dying in 1997, he left issue, four daughters, viz.
Teresa Violet;
Christina Mary;
Sarah Rose;
Rosemary Jane.
Sir Denis died without male issue and the title revolved upon his cousin,

SIR PATRICK DENIS HENRY (b 1957), 3rd Baronet, who lives near Leeds.

The Rath

THE RATH, 2 High Street, Draperstown, County Londonderry, dates back to Plantation times. 

It was built by the Worshipful Company of Drapers, which was granted lands at the parish of Ballinascreen.

The Rath was formerly the residence of Sir Denis.

It also served as sometime parochial house for Draperstown.

As well as the main residence, The Rath also includes the coachman’s cottage to the rear, which served as the servants' quarters for the house.

Former town residence ~ 49 Wellington Park, Belfast.

First published in July, 2010.