Monday, 31 July 2017

McCutcheon's Field Acquisition


PROPERTY: McCutcheon's Field, near Groomsport, Co Down

DATE:  2000

EXTENT: 9.17 acres

DONOR:  North Down Borough Council

First published in July, 2015.

Castle Forbes


The surname of Forbes is said to be a corruption of Forebeast, which was originally assumed by the founder of the family in Scotland, to commemorate the achievement of having destroyed a ferocious bear which had infested the country.

SIR ARTHUR FORBES (c1590-1632), Knight, directly descended from the Hon Patrick Forbes, of Corse, third son of James, 2nd Lord Forbes, by Egidia, his wife, daughter of William Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland, settled in Ireland, 1620, and was made, by patent dated at Dublin, 1622, a free denizen of that kingdom. 

In 1628, Sir Arthur was created a baronet; and having, by petition to the King, made discovery that several royal fishings in the province of Ulster belonged to the Crown, an inquiry was thereupon instituted, and Sir Arthur was eventually rewarded by a grant of such proportion of the said fisheries as he thought proper to demand, besides the sum of £300 from the first profits of the remainder. 

He had previously obtained extensive territorial possessions from the Crown, particularly a grant of sundry lands in County Longford, in all 1,266 acres, which were erected into the manor of Castle Forbes, with the usual manorial privileges.

Sir Arthur wedded Jane Lowther, and falling in a duel at Hamburg, 1632, where he had accompanied his regiment (he was lieutenant-colonel in the army) to assist Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR ARTHUR FORBES, 2nd Baronet (1623-95), who zealously espoused the royal cause in Scotland, and was rewarded, after the Restoration, by being sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland, and appointed marshal of the army in that kingdom.

In 1671, Sir Arthur was constituted one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, and again in 1675, when he was elevated to the peerage, in the dignities of Baron Clanehugh and Viscount Granard.

In 1684, his lordship was appointed Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Foot in Ireland, and Lieutenant-General in the army; and in the same year was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF GRANARD.

He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen Bt, by whom he had five sons and a daughter, Catherine, wedded to Arthur, 3rd Earl of Donegall.

His lordship died in 1695, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Earl (c1656-1734), who wedded, in 1678, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir George Rawdon Bt, of Moira, County Down, and had three sons and two daughters.

His lordship was succeeded by his only surviving son,

GEORGE, 3rd Earl (1685-1765), who had been called to the House of Lords in the lifetime of his father, as Lord Forbes.

His lordship was a naval officer of great eminence and rank, and at the time of his decease, was senior admiral of the Royal Navy.

In 1733, he was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the court of Muscovy; and upon his recall, in 1734, was highly complimented by the Empress.

He espoused, in 1709, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir William Stewart, 1st Viscount Mountjoy, of that family (now extinct), and widow of Phineas Preston, of Ardsallagh, County Meath, and had issue,
GEORGE, his successor;
John, Admiral of the Fleet;
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son, 

GEORGE, 4th Earl (1710-69), Lieutenant-General in the Army, Colonel, 29th Regiment of Foot, who wedded, in 1736, Letitia, daughter of Arthur Davys, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1769, by his only son,

GEORGE, 5th Earl (1740-80), who married firstly, in 1759, Dorothea, second daughter of Sir Nicholas Bayley Bt, and sister of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, by whom he had one surviving son, GEORGE, his successor.

His lordship espoused secondly, in 1766, Georgiana Augusta, eldest daughter of Augustus, 4th Earl of Berkeley, and had issue,
Georgiana Anne; Augusta; Louisa Georgiana; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE, 6th Earl (1760-1837), who was created a peer of the United Kingdom, as Baron Granard, of Castle Donington, Leicestershire.

He wedded, in 1779, Selina Frances, fourth daughter of John, 1st Earl of Moira, and had issue,
Francis Reginald;
Hastings Brudenell;
Elizabeth Maria Theresa; Adelaide Dorothea; Caroline Selina.
His lordship was a general in the army, and Clerk of the Crown and Hanaper in Ireland.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Jonathan Peter Hastings Forbes, styled Viscount Forbes (b 1981).
The ancestral family seat of the Earls of Granard is Castle Forbes, near Newtown Forbes, County Longford.

It remains in the ownership of the family (as of 2008).

The 8th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford, from 1916 until 1922.

CASTLE FORBES, near Newtownforbes, County Longford, is a 19th century castle of random ashlar, built about 1830.

It replaced an earlier house destroyed by fire.

It has two storeys over a high basement, with two adjoining fronts dominated by a lofty, round corner tower.

The house is prolonged by a low service wing and a gateway to the yard in the French style, with a high roof and conical-roofed turret and bartizan added about 1870.

Castle Forbes has heavy battlements and machiolations; lancet windows separated by stone mullions; and a few Early English tracery windows.

There are also corbelled stone balconies with pierced balustrades.

The Castle remains the private home of the Forbes family, Earls of Granard.

The village of Newtownforbes takes its name from the Forbes family, having resided in the region since 1691.

The village church, built in the late 17th century, is one of the few Regency buildings of its type in the county.

Castle Forbes has its entrance in the centre of the village.

The Forbes family changed the name of the village from Lisbrack to Newtownforbes ca 1750.

There is no public access to the Castle or grounds, which are strictly private.

Although Newtownforbes geographically has always been in the shadow of Castle Forbes, it cannot be regarded as an estate village.

There are only a few houses in the centre of the village, near the main entrance to the estate, which were built by the estate owners for the workers on the estate.

They were some of the first houses in the county to have flush toilets.

The present occupant is the Lady Georgina Forbes, although she lives in France (as of 1990) and uses the castle occasionally during the year.

Lady Georgina is an accomplished horse breeder and owner.

First published in May, 2011.  Granard arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Salt Island Acquisition


PROPERTY: Salt Island & Green Island, Strangford Lough, County Down


EXTENT: 65.98 acres

DONOR:  William Thompson

First published in February, 2015.

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.

Darragh Island Acquisition


PROPERTY: Darragh Island, Strangford Lough, County Down

DATE: 1978

EXTENT: 18.74 acres

DONOR: John Metcalfe

First published in February, 2015.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Shaen House


Of the early period of the Kemeys family the accounts are somewhat confused, but it is generally agreed that their origin was Norman.

They rose to prominence at the period of the conquest of Gwent and Glamorgan.

The original form of the name is uncertain, though it is said to be Camois or Camys, identical with Camois in the Roll of Battle Abbey.

They were known as "Kemeys of Began" as early as the 13th century.

The Irish branch claims descent from the ancient family of Kemeys of Newport, Monmouthshire, which family bore as their arms vert on a chevron argent, three pheons sable.

THOMAS KEMMIS (1710-74), of Shaen Castle, Killeen, Straboe, Rossnaclough, and Clonin, Queen's County, wedded Susan, daughter of John Long, of Derrynaseera, and had issue,
JOHN, of Shaen;
James, major-general;
THOMAS, of whom we treat;
William Edward;
The third son,

THOMAS KEMMIS JP (1753-1823), of Shaen Castle, crown and treasury solicitor for Ireland, patron of Rosenallis, married, in 1773, Anne, daughter of Henry White, of Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Anne; Mary; Elizabeth.
The eldest son, 

THE REV THOMAS KEMMIS (1774-1827), of Shaen Castle, and Brockley Park, Queen's County, Patron of Rosenallis, married Mary, daughter and heir of Arthur Riley, of Airfield, County Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
The eldest son, 

THOMAS KEMMIS JP, (1798-1844), of Shaen Castle and Straboe, Patron of Rosenallis, High Sheriff, 1832, married, in 1834, Mary Henrietta, eldest daughter of the Rev Robert Blackwood Jelly, of Portarlington, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Mr Kemmis was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS KEMMIS JP DL (1837-1906), of Shaen, High Sheriff, 1860, who married, in 1858, Victoria Alexandrina, eldest daughter of Hans H Hamilton QC, of 26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS HENRY, his heir;
Augusta Mary; Helen.
His only son,

THOMAS HENRY KEMMIS JP DL, of Shaen, captain, Royal Fusiliers, born in 1860, wedded, in 1904, Mary Caroline, eldest daughter of Charles Stewart Trench, of Clay Hill, Virginia, USA, and had issue,
Victoria Mary, b 1908;
Elizabeth Gertrude, b 1911.

SHAEN HOUSE, near Port Laoise, formerly Maryborough, County Laois, is a house of late Georgian appearance.

It comprises two storeys over a basement.

The entrance front has two three-sided bows; pedimented one-bay projection in the centre; Greek Ionic porch with acroterion.

There is a notable castellated gateway at the demesne's main entrance.

Shaen House is now a hospital.

First published in April, 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.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Gowran Castle


CHARLES AGAR, of Yorkshire, married Ellis, daughter of Peter Blancheville, of County Kilkenny, and settling at Gowran, in that county, died there in 1696, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES AGAR, of Gowran Castle, who wedded firstly, in 1692, Susannah, daughter of John Alexander, but by that lady had no issue to survive youth.

He espoused secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss, of Danesfort, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
The elder son, 

HENRY AGAR, sat in the parliament which assembled at the accession of GEORGE II, in 1727, for the borough of Gowran.

He married, in 1733, Anne, only daughter of the Rt Rev Welbore Ellis, Lord Bishop of Meath, and sister of Welbore Ellis, 1st Lord Mendip, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Welbore Ellis;
CHARLES, Lord Archbishop of Dublin; cr Earl of Normanton;
Henry, in holy orders;
Mr Agar died in 1746, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON JAMES AGAR MP (1735-88), of Gowran Castle, who having many years represented County Kilkenny in parliament, and filled some high official situations in Ireland, was created Baron Clifden, in 1776.

He was advanced to the dignity of a viscountcy, in 1781, as VISCOUNT CLIFDEN, of Gowran, County Kilkenny.

His lordship wedded Lucia, eldest daughter of John Martin, and widow of the Hon Henry Boyle Walsingham, second son of Henry, Earl of Shannon, and had issue,
HENRY WELBORE, his successor;
John Ellis, in holy orders;
Charles Bagenal.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY WELBORE, 2nd Viscount (1761-1836), who inherited, in 1802, the barony of Mendip, upon the demise of his great-uncle, Welbore, Lord Mendip, and assumed the additional name of ELLIS.

His lordship married, in 1792, the Lady Caroline Spencer, eldest daughter of George, 3rd Duke of Marlborough KG, and had an only son,

GEORGE JAMES WELBORE (1797-1833), who was created, 1831, BARON DOVER.

HENRY,  3rd Viscount Clifden and 3rd Baron Mendip.

GOWRAN CASTLE, County Kilkenny, is an elegantly-appointed, substantial house built for Henry, 2nd Viscount Clifden, to designs attributable to William Robertson (1770-1850), forming an attractive landmark in the centre of Gowran.

Probably incorporating the fabric of an early 18th century house built by James, 1st Viscount Clifden, the present edifice represents the continuation of a long-standing presence on site having origins dating back to at least the late 14th century.

Attributes identifying the architectural design significance of the composition include the balanced configuration of pleasantly-proportioned openings centred on each front on a Classical frontispiece exhibiting expert masonry in locally-sourced Kilkenny limestone.

Although a later range has been lost the essential attributes of the original portion prevail, together with substantial quantities of the historic fabric both to the exterior and to the interior.

Forming a prominent focal point enhancing the townscape of Gowran, the house remains of additional importance in the locality for the connections with the Agar-Ellis and the Moran families.

It was inherited by the daughter of the 3rd Viscount, who married the 3rd Baron Annaly.

Gowran was sold by the 4th Lord Annaly ca 1955.

First published in May, 2011.  Clifden arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Bar Hall Acquisition


PROPERTY: Bar Hall Lands, near Portaferry, County Down

DATE: 1986-2003

EXTENT: 104.90 acres

DONOR: Mrs McClelland

First published in February, 2015.

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.



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Burnham House


This noble family derives from a common ancestor with that of Molyneux, Earls of Sefton, namely,

SIR RICHARD MOLYNEUX, Knight, of Sefton, Lancashire, from whom descended

WILLIAM MOLYNS, of Burnham, Norfolk, descended from the ancient family of MOLYNS of Sandhill, Hampshire, itself a scion of the old baronial house of DE MOLEYNS OF HENLEY, whose heiress of line, ELEANOR MOLEYNS, married Sir Robert Hungerford, Knight.

Mr Molyns married firstly, the daughter and heir of William Montague; and secondly, Emily, daughter William Walrond, of Bovey, Devon, by whom he had a younger son,

RICHARD MOLEYNS or MOLINS, of Mitford, Norfolk, who wedded Jane, eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Culpeper, Knight, of Bedgebury, and was father of

FREDERICK WILLIAM MULLINS, a colonel in the army, who settled in Ireland, and obtained considerable grants in the province of Ulster, which he sold, and purchased estates in County Kerry.

Mr Mullins sat in two successive parliaments in the reign of WILLIAM III.

He wedded Jane, daughter and co-heiress of the Very Rev John Eveleigh, Dean of Cork, and by had issue,
The eldest son,

FREDERICK MULLINS (1663-95), wedded, in 1685, Martha, eldest daughter of Thomas Blennerhassett, and granddaughter maternally of Dermot, 5th Baron Inchiquin, and by her had issue, an only son,

WILLIAM MULLINS, of Burnham, County Kerry, who espoused, in 1716, Mary, daughter of George Rowan.

Mr Mullins died in 1761, and left, with a daughter, Anne, an only son,

THOMAS MULLINS (1736-1824) who was created a baronet, 1797; and elevated to the peerage, in 1800, as BARON VENTRY, of Ventry, County Kerry.

He wedded, in 1775, Elizabeth, daughter of Townsend Gunn, of Rattoo, in the same county, and had issue,
WILLIAM TOWNSEND, his successor;
Townsend, father of THOMAS TOWNSEND AREMBERG, 3rd Baron;
Edward, a major in the army;
Frederick, in holy orders;
Theodora; Elizabeth; Arabella; Charlotte; Catherine; Helena Jane.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM TOWNSEND, 2nd Baron (1761-1827), who espoused firstly, in 1784, Sarah Anne, daughter of Sir Riggs Falkiner Bt, and had issue,
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1790, Frances Elizabeth, only daughter of Isaac Sage, which marriage was dissolved, 1796; and thirdly, in 1797, Clara, daughter of Benjamin Jones, and had issue,
THOMAS (1798-1817).
The 2nd Baron died without male issue, when the honours devolved upon his nephew,

THOMAS TOWNSEND, 3rd Baron (1786-1868).
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son Hon. Francis Wesley Daubeney de Moleyns (born 1965).

BURNHAM HOUSE (or Manor), near Dingle, County Kerry, comprises a three-storey, seven bay Georgian block enlarged by the addition of two-storey wings, which were re-faced during the late 19th century.

The entrance front boasts engaged Doric columns which support sections of entablature and a steep pediment above a porte-cochère.

The roof is eaved on the centre and wings; while the centre has a modillion cornice.

The garden front has two-storey, rectangular projections in the centre; with three-sided bows at the ends of the wings.

Burnham House was sold to the Irish Land Commission in the 1920s and is now a girls' boarding school

First published in April, 2011.  Ventry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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.