Sunday, 30 July 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India

First published in August, 2013.

Thursday, 27 July 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India

First published in August, 2013.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Watermill Restaurant

Watermill Lodge

It is always a true pleasure to revisit County Fermanagh.

I was there for four days this week.

The main road from Belfast to Enniskillen is so good now that one can drive for a good part of the way at 70mph; though the Augher-Clogher-Fivemiletown section is at 30mph through the villages.

I stayed in Lisnaskea, the county's second town, I gather.

Belle Isle, the Duke of Abercorn's beautiful County Fermanagh estate and island,  isn't far from Lisnaskea, so I motored over to have a look around and chatted with the staff in the visitor office.

I usually visit the Fermanagh National Trust properties so, having been invited to a private dinner at Crom estate on Wednesday evening, I revisited Crom the next day for a good walk to the old castle, the walled garden on Inisherk Island, and through sections of woodland.

I also visited Florence Court on Wednesday; and Castle Coole, a National Trust property and seat of the Earl of Belmore, many of whose paintings are on display in the mansion house.

Lord and Lady Belmore today live at the Garden House on the estate and their elder son John, Viscount Corry, keeps one of the wings at Castle Coole.

As a matter of interest I counted 28 chimneys on the main block and 14 on Lord Corry's wing.

A highlight of my trip to County Fermanagh was dinner at the Watermill Restaurant at Kilmore Lough, about two miles south-west of Lisnaskea.

Kilmore Lough is navigable from Upper Lough Erne and, indeed, there were lots of cruisers and boats at the quay.

Watermill Lodge is one of the most charming places, with a thatched roof, little ponds, herb gardens, streams, rockeries and more.

Pascal Brissaud's attention to detail is remarkable.

Even the lavatories have curving mosaic tiles and stone spouts, skin to little streams, from which water flows into the hand basins.

Large bellows table

The Lodge is filled with character; the staff, smartly turned out, courteous, charming, diligent.

I sat at a table near the bar.

I perused the menu at length and chose prawn cocktail as a starter; not a common prawn cocktail, though, this one was served in a shell with juicy prawns.

As you'd expect, fresh breads were presented in a basked with hand-carved pats of butter.

The wine menu, by the way, has one of the finest selections in Northern Ireland, including several costing over £2,200 a bottle.

There is, should one require it, a helipad in the grounds (!).

For my main course I had the duck, served with creamed potato, sauce and a garnish (putting it simply).

I ordered a dish of mixed vegetables as well.

My pudding was a Pascal Special: dainty, little profiteroles.

I do not pretend to any kind of restaurant critic, though I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and of course the extraordinary location and ambiance of this restaurant and guest-house.

I hope to base myself here the next time.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Duke of Kent in County Down

The Duke of Kent has paid a two-day visit to County Down.

His Royal Highness visited Downpatrick Police Station, Downpatrick, County Down, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down (Mr. David Lindsay).

HRH later visited Down Cathedral, Downpatrick .

His Royal Highness subsequently visited Finnebrogue House, near Downpatrick.

The following day The Duke of Kent officially named the MV Strangford II ferry.

His Royal Highness later visited Castle Ward Estate, County Down; and the Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry, County Down.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Palmerstown House


This is a branch of the noble and illustrious house of CLANRICARDE, said to derive from the old Bourkes, Viscounts Mayo, whose representation vested in AYLMER BOURKE LAMBERT, of Boyton, Wiltshire, vice-president of the Linnean society.

JOHN BOURKE (third son of David Bourke, of Moneycrower, County Mayo) was a captain of horse under the Marquess of Ormonde during the troubles in Ireland, in 1641; at the termination of which he took up his abode at Kill, County Kildare, and marrying Catherine, daughter of Meyler Fay, and niece of Sir Paul Davys, had (with three daughters),
Miles, dsp;
Walter, dsp;
Theobald, dsp;
RICKARD, of whom presently
The youngest son,

RICKARD BOURKE, married Catherine, daughter of Charles Minchin, of Ballinakill, County Tipperary, and was father of

THE RT HON JOHN BOURKE (c1705-90), MP for Naas, who wedded, in 1725, Mary, third daughter and co-heir of the Rt Hon Joseph Deane, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
JOSEPH DEANE (Most Rev), Lord Archbishop of Tuam, 3rd Earl;
Catherine; Elizabeth; Margaret; Eleanor.
Mr Bourke having been sworn previously of the Irish privy council, was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, as Baron Naas; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1781, as Viscount Mayo.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1785, as EARL OF MAYO.

The 1st Earl was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1729-92), who espoused, in 1764, the Lady Mary Leeson, daughter of Joseph, Earl of Milltown, but died without issue, when the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOSEPH DEANE (Most Rev), Lord Archbishop of Tuam, as 3rd Earl (c1740-94), who married, in 1760, Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir Richard Meade Bt, and sister of John, 1st Earl of Clanwilliam, by whom he had issue,
JOHN, 4th Earl;
Richard (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Waterford;
Joseph (Very Rev), Dean of Ossory;
George Theobald (Rev);
and eight daughters.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,
John, 4th Earl (1766–1849);
Robert, 5th Earl (1797–1867);
Richard Southwell, 6th Earl (1822-72);
Dermot Robert Wyndham, 7th Earl (1851–1927);
Walter Longley, 8th Earl (1859–1939);
Ulick Henry, 9th Earl (1890–1962);
Terence Patrick, 10th Earl (1929–2006);
Charles Diarmuidh John, 11th Earl (b 1953).
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son, Richard Thomas Bourke, styled Lord Naas (b 1985).

PALMERSTOWN HOUSE, near Johnstown, County Kildare, is a mansion-house rebuilt in late-Victorian "Queen Anne" style.

6th Earl of Mayo KP GCSI PC
The mansion was built by public subscription as a tribute to the memory of the 6th Earl of Mayo, Chief Secretary for Ireland and later Viceroy of India.
The 6th Earl was assassinated by an escaped convict in the Andaman Islands in 1872.
One front has a recessed centre and three-bay projections, joined by a colonnade of coupled columns. Another front has a pediment elevated on a three-bay attic, between two three-sided bows.

The house has a Mansard roof with pedimented dormers.

The mansion was burnt in 1923, though afterwards rebuilt with a flat roof and balustraded parapet.

Palmerstown has had a succession of owners, including Mrs B Lawlor, who began her career as cook to the 7th Earl and Countess.

Palmerstown House now functions as a de luxe golf golf resort and functions including christenings, communions, confirmations, family celebrations, retirement parties, anniversaries, corporate events, team-building exercises etc.

Mayo arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Unfortunate Lady Jane Grey

This exquisite painting of 1833 is entitled The Execution Of Lady Jane Grey.

This poignant oil painting by Paul Delaroche is on display at the National Gallery in London.

The detail; the grief on the face of the lady-in-waiting; the stance of the executioner with his axe; and their expressions all bring tears to my eyes as as study this, one of my favourite paintings.

I shall view it the next time I am in the Metropolis - and bring a clean handkerchief.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

New Armagh DLs


The Rt Hon the Earl of Caledon, KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, has been pleased to appoint,
Mr John BRIGGS, Richhill, County Armagh;
Dr Eileen S McALINDEN, Portadown, County Armagh;
Mr David REANEY, Armagh, County Armagh;
Dr Gareth CONWAY, Portadown, County Armagh;
To be Deputy Lieutenants of the said County, dated the 7th July, 2017.



Sunday, 9 July 2017

Finnebrogue Beating Retreat

Finnebrogue House

On Friday evening, the 23rd June, 2017, two hundred friends and supporters of Hope For Youth Northern Ireland came to Finnebrogue, near Downpatrick, County Down, for a fundraising Beating Retreat.

I was abroad at the time so, alas, I was unable to be there.

Noel Lamb, of Finnebrogue House, is Chairman of the Trustees of Hope For Youth Northern Ireland.

Beating Retreat, or Beating to Quarters, has its origins in the early years of organised warfare, when the beating of drums and the parading of post guards heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day.

The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment played a selection of music, both military and classical pieces.

There was a wide range of guests at the event, including the Lord-Lieutenants for County Down and Belfast; the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Richard Clarke, and his predecessor, the Right Rev Alan Harper OBE; the Earl of Erne; the Chairman of the CBI, the Principal-elect of the Belfast Royal Academy, members of the police and the local community.

The programme for the evening included the band playing Scipio by Handel, the Soldiers Chorus from Faust, the Army of the Nile and various cavalry marches.

The Pipes and Drums played the Rowan Tree, the Green Hills of Tyrol, the Gael and Highland Cathedral.

The weather was ominous and threatened rain, but the sun came out just before the band played “Sunset” and the National Anthem.

It cast wonderful long evening shadows on the front lawn and glinted off the helmets.

Mr Noel Lamb pictured with the Earl of Erne (a Trustee of Hope For Youth NI), the Commanding Officer and the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

Mr David Lindsay, Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, Mrs Lindsay, and Captain Andrew Moncrieff, Adjutant of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

Mr Noel Lamb with the Bandmaster, Band Sergeant-Major and Drum Major of the Royal Irish Regiment.

The sun shone as Sunset and the National Anthem were played.

Even a "selfie" was taken with two of the guests, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Richard Clarke, and His Grace's predecessor, the Right Rev Alan Harper OBE.

Troopers of the Royal Dragoon Guards stood to attention as guests arrived.

The band of the Royal Irish Regiment paraded on the front lawn.

As did the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Ballynahinch Castle


 (1754-1834) owned much of Connemara, so much so that he boasted to GEORGE IV that he had "an approach from my gatehouse to my hall of thirty miles' length".

He was nicknamed "Humanity Dick" due to his beneficence towards the RSPCA.

Colonel Martin was born in 1754, the son of Robert Martin FitzAnthony, a member of an old tribal family of Connemara.

His mother died when Richard was only nine years old and his father soon remarried to Mary Lynch, who later gave Richard two brothers.

The families' combined wealth allowed Richard to receive an excellent Anglican education.

He attended Harrow and Cambridge while studying law, and afterwards started a most extensive 'Gentleman's Tour' to round out his knowledge.

With his cousin, James Jordan, Richard travelled all over Europe.

They eventually left Bordeaux bound for Jamaica, and later ended up in New England for the start of the American War of Independence.

The two young men promptly returned home, and by the end of the 1770s, Richard's education and his family's influence combined to make him an MP; a Colonel in the Galway Volunteers; and gained him a wife, Elizabeth Vesey.

His duties kept him away from home quite a bit, but the couple had several children, one of whom is rumoured to be the child of a liaison between Elizabeth and the tutor hired to educate Richard's sons, Theobald Wolfe Tone.

It was during this period that he began to acquire a reputation and nickname relating to his many duels, as "Trigger Dick", a nickname which was also held by his uncle.

In 1783, he duelled with "Fighting" Fitzgerald, a Mayo Landlord, over the man's shooting of a friend's dog.

He also apparently made friends with the Prince of Wales, later GEORGE IV, as the two men shared many ideals and both were seen in Parliament quite often.

Richard's wife Elizabeth continued to show her knack for indiscretion, and the two divorced in 1794 after a scandal over her affair with a Mr Petrie of Paris. Dick Martin remarried in 1797, and had several more children.

By the early 1800s, Martin's estate was vast and the biggest in Ireland, encompassing over 200,000 acres.

His wealth and friendship with the Prince of Wales continued to increase his influence in Parliament and elsewhere.

Dick was persuaded to vote for the Act of Union in 1800, something he soon bitterly regretted, and was responsible for excising the death penalty for forgery.

In 1809, Lord Erskine presented a bill in Parliament to prevent cruelty to such animals as horses, pigs, oxen, and sheep.

The bill failed, however and, later in 1822, Richard was responsible for the passing of the Martin Act, which applied to large domestic animals.

It is at this time that Dick acquired the nickname of "Humanity".

His friend, the Prince of Wales, later GEORGE IV,  gave him the nickname.

Two years later, Richard created the first animal welfare society - the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with other like-minded people.

Richard Martin remained a Member of Parliament until his election to Westminster in 1826 was invalidated.

The scandal and his ensuing debt forced Richard to flee to Boulogne in France.

He died peacefully on the January 6th, 1834.

The great family estate, which he helped to create, was lost during the Great Potato famine within 20 years.

Richard Martin's life is largely marked by his efforts to attain human and animal rights. He supported Catholic Emancipation, and is generally considered the founder of the RSPCA.

It is rather ironic, that his families' great wealth, some of which came out of human injustice, was later lost during the Irish Famine.

His estates were heavily mortgaged and, as a consequence of this, his granddaughter and heiress, Mary Martin, was ruined after the Irish famine.

Ballynahinch was disposed of by the Encumbered Estates Court. Mary Martin and her husband emigrated to the USA, where she died shortly afterwards during childbirth.

Ballynahinch Estate was bought by Richard Berridge, whose son sold it in 1925; thereafter it was acquired by a celebrated cricketer, "Ranji".


The seat of Richard Berridge was Ballynahinch Castle, County Galway, Ireland, which became the residence of his son, Richard, who was a justice of the peace for the county and, in 1894, High Sheriff.

Richard Berridge the elder lived for over twenty years in Bloomsbury, first at 36 Bloomsbury Square, then, from about 1856 to 1877, at 18 Great Russell Street. Prior to this he had resided in Rochester, Kent, and he acquired property in that county as well as in Middlesex.

A return of landowners in 1873 describes his holdings in Middlesex as over 300 acres with a gross estimated rental of £577, and a smaller amount in Kent, 79 acres worth £184.15s. He also had mining interests and property in other counties.

Berridge entered into partnership with Sir Henry Meux of the Horse Shoe Brewery, Tottenham Court Road. He retired in July 1878 on the establishment of the new firm of Meux and Company.

In the late 1870s Berridge left Bloomsbury for an address in Putney, Surrey, and, after a few years, went to live in Bridgewater, Somerset. He died on 20 September 1887 leaving five daughters and one son, Richard, born in 1870.

The estate was administered by trustees until Richard Berridge the younger came of age. In his will, Berridge bequeathed a charity legacy of £200,000 to be applied for the advancement and propagation of education in economic and sanitary sciences in Great Britain.
The legacy was administered by his trustees, who donated large sums to the Worshipful Company of Plumbers and the British Institute of Preventive Medicine, and smaller amounts to other institutions and societies, such as the Sanitary Inspectors' Association and Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute for Nurses.

Berridge's name was legally changed to Richard Berridge when he adopted his mother's surname in lieu of his father's surname. He was born with the name of Richard MacCarthy.

Richard Berridge, a London brewer, from the Law Life Assurance Society, also acquired Clifden estate (as well as Ballynahinch Castle).

In the mid 1870s, Berridge is recorded as owning over 160,152 acres, making him by far the largest landowner in County Galway.

The Berridge family retained a house in the locality and some fishing at Screebe until the late 20th century.

A grandson of Richard Berridge married an Orme of Owenmore, Crossmolina, County Mayo; and a great-grandson currently produces well known Irish cheeses on his farm in county Wexford.

BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE, Connemara, County Galway, is a long mansion with an abundance of windows, built in the late 18th century by Richard Martin MP.

Both the entrance front and the garden front (eight bays) have battlements and other distinguishing features.

Inside, the main rooms have particularly thick mahogany doors; the drawing-room, a chimney-piece of Connemara marble.

First published in April, 2011.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

New Belfast DL

Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, has been pleased to appoint:
SHERIDAN, Dr Mark Christopher,
County Antrim,
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough, her Commission bearing date, the 28th day of June, 2017.

Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE
Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough