Thursday, 31 May 2018

Abbeyleix House

THE VISCOUNTS DE VESCI WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 15,069 ACRES

This and the illustrious family of De Burgh, Marquesses and Earls of Clanricarde, derive from a common progenitor; namely,

JOHN, Earl of Comyn and Baron of Tonsburgh, Normandy, son of BALDWIN II of Boulogne, founder of the house of BLOIS, in France.

From the eldest son of this noble John descended the house of Clanricarde; and from the younger,

EUSTACE DE BURGE, Baron of Tonsburgh, that of which we are now to treat.

This Eustace had two sons, Charles and John, both companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

The elder son,

CHARLES, built the castle of Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, and was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN FITZ RICHARD, who wedded Margaret, aunt of King STEPHEN, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

EUSTACE FITZ JOHN, feudal lord of Knaresborough, who espoused Beatrix, daughter and sole heir of Ivo de Vesci, by Alda, only daughter and heir of William Tyson, Lord of Alnwick, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, who assumed the name and arms of VESCI, and had a grant from HENRY II of Alnwick Castle.
He was sheriff of Northumberland during the greater part of that reign, and was a principal commander in the battle fought near Alnwick, wherein the Scottish army sustained a signal overthrow.
This William's elder son,

EUSTACE DE VESCI (1169-1216), one of the twenty-five feudal barons appointed to enforce the observance of MAGNA CARTA, married Margaret, daughter of WILLIAM, King of Scotland.

This nobleman was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM DE VESCI, who espoused firstly, Isabel, daughter of William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury; and secondly, Agnes, eldest daughter of William Ferrers, Earl of Derby; and in right of the latter had a share of those lands assigned to him in Ireland, belonging to William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke.

He died in 1253, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN DE VESCI, who was summoned to parliament, 1264, as Baron Vesci.

His lordship dsp 1289, and was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM DE VESCI, who was summoned to parliament in 1295, and was one of the competitors for the crown of Scotland during the reign of EDWARD I.

This nobleman was Justice in Eyre for all the royal forests beyond Trent, and one of the Justices-Itinerant touching the pleas of the forest, Governor of Scarborough Castle, and Lord Justice of Ireland, where he was Lord of Kildare.

His lordship died in 1297, leaving an only daughter, Isabel; and the male line of his family was continued by his brother,

THOMAS DE VESCI, who settled in Newlands, Cumberland, where the family continued until his descendant,

WILLIAM VESEY, having the misfortune to kill his antagonist in a duel, fled into Scotland, whence he removed to Ireland, in the reign of ELIZABETH I.

He wedded a daughter of the family of Ker of Cessford, and was succeeded by his only son,

THE VEN THOMAS VESEY, Archdeacon of Armagh, 1655; whose son and heir,

THE MOST REV JOHN VESEY (1638-1716), was consecrated Lord Archbishop of Tuam.

This learned prelate, who was thrice one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, left issue,
THOMAS;
Agmondisham, ancestor of the Earls of Lucan;
John, in holy orders;
William;
Francis;
Mary; Elizabeth; Anne.
His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS VESEY (c1668-1730), who was created a baronet in 1698, denominated of Abbeyleix, Queen's County.

Sir Thomas, subsequently taking holy orders, was consecrated Lord Bishop of Killaloe in 1713, and translated to the see of Ossory in the following year.

He wedded Mary, only surviving daughter and heir of Denny Muschamp, of Horsley, Surrey, Muster-Master-General of Ireland, and his wife, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Most Rev Michael Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, by whom he had issue, two daughters, and a son, 

SIR JOHN DENNY VESEY, 2nd Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, by the title of Baron Knapton.

He espoused, in Elizabeth, daughter of William Brownlow MP, of Lurgan, County Armagh, by the Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, his wife, daughter of the 6th Earl of Abercorn, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Elizabeth; Anne; Jane.
His lordship died in 1761, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron (1735-1804), who was created, in 1776, VISCOUNT DE VESCI, of Abbey Leix.

His lordship married, in 1769, Selina Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of the Rt Hon Sir Arthur Brooke Bt, of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, by whom he had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Arthur, in holy orders;
Charles;
Elizabeth;
Selina, m Andrew Nugent, of Portaferry.
The 1st Viscount was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Viscount (1771-1855), of Abbey Leix, who wedded, in 1800, Frances Letitia, daughter of the Rt Hon William Brownlow, of Lurgan, County Armagh, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
William John;
Catherine.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 3rd Viscount (1803-75),
The heir apparent is the present holder's second son, the Hon Oliver Ivo Vesey.

In a Country Life article of 1991, entitled Abbeyleix, County Laois ...’, the late John Cornforth provided a short but still serviceable account of Vesey family history, largely based on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland list of the de Vesci papers as it then stood:
... The Veseys first appeared in Ireland in the second quarter of the 17th century and, like a surprising number of families, rose through service in the Church of Ireland. The first of them, the Venerable Thomas, ended up as Archdeacon of Armagh in 1655 and died in 1662.

Both his sons followed him into the Church, the elder one, John, becoming Archbishop of Tuam [in 1679], a Privy Councillor and a Lord Justice of Ireland. Three of the Archbishop’s five sons also entered the church, with Thomas, the eldest, being made a baronet [in 1698] and a bishop [in 1713], in his father’s lifetime. He had the foresight to marry, [in 1699, Mary Muschamp], the granddaughter of an even more distinguished Archbishop, Michael Boyle, who was both Primate [1678-1702] and Lord Chancellor [1665-85]. ...

Through this marriage, Sir Thomas Vesey acquired the Abbeyleix estate, which was given to the couple as Mary’s marriage portion, by her father, Denny Muschamp. Muschamp was a tax farmer and land speculator as well as adviser to his father-in-law, Archbishop Boyle, and he became involved in Abbeyleix in 1675 through buying the rest of a 99-year Crown lease from the trustees of the will of Sir Edward Massey, an act that immediately led to litigation with the trustees and the beneficiaries of the will. That, together with other complications, led to a series of claims and counter-claims that caused the case to drag on until 1769. ... 
In 1995, the 7th and present Lord de Vesci sold Abbey Leix sold most of the demesne (excluding, however, the part which went with Knapton).

The purchasers were Sir David Davies, an Irish-born and based international banker and businessman, and his wife, Linda, whose ‘spectacular restoration’ of the house carried forward the de Vesci tradition of improvement and was the subject of an article by Jeremy Musson entitled ‘Abbeyleix, County Laois ...’, published in Country Life on the 24th July, 2003. 

Prior to the sale of the house and its residual contents, Lord de Vesci had removed, among many other things, his collection of family portraits and the archive.

However, later in 1995, agreement was reached for the sale of the latter to the National Library of Ireland, where it is now made more easily and widely accessible by the publication of the present catalogue. 

The de Vesci Papers are deposited at the NLI.

Thomas Eustace Vesey, 7th and present Viscount de Vesci (b 1955) is managing director of Horticultural Coir Limited.



ABBEYLEIX HOUSE is a seven-bay, three-storey over basement with dormer attic Classical-style country house, begun 1773, with a pedimented breakfront having a cut stone Doric door-case to the ground floor.

Five-bay elevation to garden front with breakfront having cut sandstone doorcase and Wyatt style window openings to flanking bays.

Two-bay single-storey wing to west, renovated ca 1840, with façade enrichments added.

It was extended to the west, post-1902, comprising a seven-bay single-storey wing with breakfront having three-bay advanced centre bay. Balustraded forecourt of ca 1840, to the north.


Formal gardens, post-1839, to south comprising series of artificial terraces with balustrades, flights of steps and ha-has.
The house is set within a landscaped demesne approached by gravel drive; balustraded formal courtyard to Entrance Front with gravel drive and grass centrepiece; group of formal gardens to Garden Front including series of artificial terraces with balustrades, flights of steps and rubble stone ha-has; pond to sheltered garden to south-west. 
De Vesci arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Castlecomer House

THE WANDESFORDES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 22,232 ACRES

This family was of great antiquity in Yorkshire.

JOHN DE WANDESFORDE, of Westwick, near Ripon, married, in 1368, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Henry de Musters, Knight, of Kirklington, Yorkshire, and widow of Alexander Mowbray.

He died in 1396, and was direct ancestor of

THOMAS WANDESFORDE, of Kirklington, in 1503, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Henry Pudsey.

He died in 1518, having had four sons and two daughters,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
William;
Michael;
John (Rev);
Ellen; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, espoused Anne, daughter of John Norton, and died in 1540, having had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Christopher.
The elder son,

FRANCIS WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, married Anne, elder daughter and co-heir of John Fulthorpe, of Hipswell, and had by her (who wedded secondly, Christopher, younger son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland),
CHRISTOPHER (Sir);
John;
Jane.
Mr Wandesford died in 1559, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, Knight, of Kirklington, who received the honour of knighthood, 1586, and served as Sheriff of Yorkshire, 1578.

He espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Bowes, of Streatlam, and dying in 1590, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR GEORGE WANDESFORD, Knight (1573-1612), of Kirklington, knighted by JAMES I, 1607, who wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Ralph Hansby, of Beverley, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his successor;
John;
Michael (Very Rev);
Anne.
Sir George espoused secondly, Mary, daughter of Robert Pamplin, and had a daughter, Margaret, and a son, WILLIAM WANDESFORDE, Citizen of London, to whom, and his heirs, his eldest brother, in 1637, gave £20 per annum, issuing out of the manor of Castlecomer, and payable upon Strongbow's tomb in Christ Church, Dublin.

Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1592-1640), being upon close habits of intimacy and friendship with Sir Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, accompanied that eminent and ill-fated nobleman into Ireland when he was constituted Chief Governor of that kingdom, was sworn of the Privy Council, and was appointed Master of the Rolls.

Mr Wandesford was one of the Lords Justices in 1636 and 1639; and was appointed, in 1640, Lord Deputy; but the fate of his friend Lord Strafford had so deep an effect upon him, that he died in that year.

He married, in 1614, Alice, daughter of Sir Hewet Osborne, of Kiveton, Yorkshire, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
CHRISTOPHER, successor to his brother;
John;
Catherine; Alice.
Mr Wandesford was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE WANDESFORD (1623-51), of Kirklington, who dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1628-87), of Kirklington, who was created a baronet in 1662, denominated of Kirklington, Yorkshire.

He married, in 1651, Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Lowther Bt, of Lowther Hall, Westmorland, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
George;
Charles;
Mary; Eleanor; Catherine; Elizabeth; Alice; Frances; Christiana.
Sir Christopher, MP for Ripon, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1656-1707), who was sworn of the Privy Council by WILLIAM III, and again, in 1702, by Queen ANNE, who elevated him to the peerage, in 1706, as Baron Wandesforde and VISCOUNT CASTLECOMER.

He wedded, in 1683, Elizabeth, daughter of George Montagu, of Horton, Northamptonshire, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount;
GEORGE, 4th Viscount;
John;
Richard;
Henrietta.
His lordship died in London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount (1684-1719), MP for Morpeth, 1710, and for Rippon, 1714.

In the latter year he was sworn of the Privy Council to GEORGE I, and the next year appointed Governor of County Kilkenny.

In 1717, he was constituted Secretary-at-War.

His lordship wedded, in 1715, Frances, daughter of Thomas, 1st Lord Pelham, and sister to Thomas, Duke of Newcastle, and had an only child,

CHRISTOPHER, 3rd Viscount (1717-36), who died in London of the smallpox, unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle,

GEORGE, 4th Viscount (1687-51),
The 1st EARL OF WANDESFORD died in 1784, and his son having predeceased him, all his honours, including the baronetcy, became extinct, and his estates upon his only daughter,

THE LADY ANNE WANDESFORDE, who espoused, in 1769, John Butler, to whom the EARLDOM OF ORMONDE was restored by the House of Lords, 1791, as 17th Earl of Ormonde and 10th Earl of Ossory.

Her fourth, but second surviving son,

THE HON CHARLES HARWARD BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE (1780-1860), of Castlecomer and Kirklington, inherited his mother's estates, and assumed, in 1820, the additional surname of CLARKE after Butler; and, in 1830, the additional surnames of SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE after Butler-Clarke.

He espoused, in 1812, the Lady Sarah Butler, daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick, and had issue,
John, dspvp;
HENRY BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE, died unmarried;
Walter, father of
CHARLES;
SARAH, of Castlecomer and Kirklington.
The Hon Charles Harward Butler C S Wandesforde was succeeded by his grandson,

CHARLES BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE, of Castlecomer and Kirklington, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1879, who died unmarried, 1881, and was succeeded by his aunt,

SARAH PRIOR-WANDESFORDE (1814-92), of Castlecomer, Kirklington, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, who married, in 1836, the Rev John Prior, of Mount Dillon, County Dublin, Rector of Kirklington, Yorkshire, son of the Rev Dr Thomas Prior, Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and had issue,
Charles Butler, father of RICHARD HENRY PRIOR-WANDESFORDE;
Henry Wallis;
Sarah Butler; Sophia Elizabeth.
Mrs Prior-Wandesforde succeeded to the Castlecomer and Kirklington estates on the death of her nephew, 1881, and in accordance with the provisions contained in her father's will, assumed, in 1882, for herself and her issue the additional surname and arms of WANDESFORDE.

She was succeeded by her grandson,

RICHARD HENRY PRIOR-WANDESFORDE JP DL (1870-), of Castlecomer and Kirklington Hall, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1894, who wedded, in 1896, Florence Jackson von Schwartz, daughter of the Rev Ferdinand Pryor, Rector of Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER BUTLER, b 1896;
Ferdinand Charles Richard, b 1897;
Richard Cambridge, b 1902;
Vera; Florence Doreen.
*****

During Lady Ormonde’s time on the estate, the coal mines were mainly run by master miners who leased the land and employed teams of about fifty men to operate them.

Her son, Charles Harward Butler-Clarke-Southwell-Wandesforde, took a great interest in the running of the estate and in the welfare of his tenants and attempted to reduce the role of "middle men" by reducing rents and providing assistance.

He even helped some of his tenants to emigrate.

He was succeeded by his daughter Sarah, who married John Prior.

She outlived all her children and was succeeded by her grandson Richard Henry who inherited the estates and assumed the Wandesforde name in 1892.

When Captain Richard Henry Prior-Wandesforde inherited the estate in the late 19th Century, the family owned thousands of acres of woodland in the area.

In previous years, the mines had been operated by master miners who leased the mines from the Wandesforde family, but ‘the Captain’ took personal control of the mines.

He introduced many improvements in the mine workings including overhead ropeways to transport the coal to the Deerpark railway depot.

He also established the Castlecomer Basket Factory, the Castlecomer Agricultural Bank and the Colliery Co-operative Society and built a number of housing schemes for the mine workers.

Captain Prior-Wandesforde took personal control of the coal mines and invested his own money in upgrading and modernising the mine workings.


CASTLECOMER HOUSE in County Kilkenny, the family seat, was originally built in 1638.

It was burned down during the battle of Castlecomer in 1798.

A larger house was built in its place, in 1802,  during the time of Lady Ormonde.

It was a very large 18th and 19th century mansion consisting of a square, two-storey main block with fronts of five bays; a slightly lower three-storey wing of great length.

There was a battlemented parapet on the main wing and block; rectangular sash windows, mostly astragals; and an enclosed Gothic porch.

Most of the building was demolished in 1975 as it was no longer in use and had fallen into disrepair.

Nothing now remains of the house.


Castlecomer Discovery Park is situated on grounds that once formed part of the Wandesforde family estate.

The Visitor Centre is located in what was originally the farm yard and kitchen gardens of the estate.

The stables and many of the farm buildings have been restored and now house the craft units and the education facilities.

The original walled garden is now home to a small herd of Fallow and Sika Deer and a flock of Jacob Sheep.

First published in December, 2011.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Belan House

THE EARLS OF ALDBOROUGH OWNED 964 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY KILDARE

It is said that the family of STRATFORD can be traced from the time of ALFRED THE GREAT; but our account shall commence in 1660 with

ROBERT STRATFORD, a younger branch of the house of MEREVALE, and the first who settled in Ireland, one of the original burgesses in the charter constituting Baltinglass a borough.

He represented County Wicklow in parliament and, in 1662, married a daughter of Oliver Walsh, of Ballykilcavan, Queen's County, by whom he had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
Francis, Consul at Bordeaux, dsp;
Grace; Mary; Elizabeth; Abigail; Jane; Anne; Catherine.
Mr Stratford was succeeded by his elder son,

EDWARD STRATFORD (1664-1740), who purchased Great Belan, and other lands in County Kildare, from the Viscount Fitzhardinge.

This gentleman was a staunch supporter of the Revolution, and entertained WILLIAM III at Belan.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Euseby Baisley, of Ricketstown, County Carlow, and had, with a daughter,
Robert;
Eusebius;
JOHN, of whom presently.
The youngest son,

JOHN STRATFORD (c1691-1777), MP for Baltinglass, 1721-59, during the reigns of the first three GEORGES, was raised to the peerage, in 1763, by the title of Baron Baltinglass; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1776, as Viscount Aldborough.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1777, to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ALDBOROUGH, and Viscount Amiens.

He married Martha, daughter and co-heir of the Ven. Benjamin O'Neale, Archdeacon of Leighlin, by whom he had six sons and nine daughters.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1736-1801), who espoused firstly, Barbara, daughter of the Hon Nicholas Herbert, of Great Glemham, in Suffolk; and secondly, in 1788, Elizabeth, only daughter 1st Baron Henniker, though the marriage was without issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1740-1823), MP for Baltinglass, 1763-75, who wedded, in 1777, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon and Rev Frederick Hamilton, and great-granddaughter of William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton; by whom he had three daughters,
Louisa;
Elizabeth;
Emily.
His lordship died without male issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 4th Earl (1746-1833), MP for Baltinglass, 1777, who married, in 1774, Martha, only child and heiress of John Burton, and niece and heiress of Mason Gerard, by whom he had issue,
MASON GERARD, his successor;
Eliza; Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

MASON GERARD, 5th Earl (1784-1849), who wedded, in 1804 (divorced 1826) Cornelia Jane, a daughter of Charles Henry Tandy, of Waterford, by whom his lordship had an only child,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 6th and last Earl (1808-75), Captain, 15th Light Dragoons, who died unmarried, at Alicante, Spain, when the titles expired.

photo credit: The National Trust 

BELAN HOUSE, near Ballitore, County Kildare, was said to have been one of the biggest 18th century gable-ended houses in Ireland

It was built in 1743 for the 1st Earl of Aldborough by Richard Castle, in collaboration with Francis Bindon.

Belan comprised three storeys; an eleven-bay front; three centre bays and the two outer bays breaking forward.

A central Venetian window was above the tripartite doorway.

The roof parapet had recessed panelling and urns.

There was also an elegant stable block; and a domed Doric rotunda in the park.


Belan House remained intact, though inhabitable, until 1837, when the family left owing to impecunious circumstances.

During the lifetime of the 4th Earl, owing to his reckless gambling and extravagant mode of living, the property became heavily mortgaged.

After 1823, the estate became neglected.
During Lord Aldborough's absence abroad, it is said that the family lawyer, a man named Lewis, illegally obtained a long lease of Belan and, together with a friend of his named Mercer, brought about the dismantlement of the house and demesne by gradually auctioning off every stick and stone they could move.
The cut-stone work of the parapet and other parts of the house were sold, and used in the erection of public buildings in Athy; the furniture and chimney pieces were parted with, and the statuary in the grounds suffered a similar fate; the doors and shutters are said to have been used for flooring the stable lofts at Newtown House, near Bolton Castle.

For miles around there is hardly a place which does not possess some fragments of Belan's former grandeur.

At Bolton Castle, in the garden, is a block of composite, bearing the Aldborough crest.

The great iron gates within view of the hall door at Carton House originally hung at the Belan gate lodge.

The only trace now showing the extent of Belan demesne in former times are three stone obelisks.


ALDBOROUGH HOUSE is amongst the most important surviving historic houses in Dublin.

Located on Portland Row, it was the last great mansion to be built in Dublin city during the second half of the 18th century.

Aldborough House was built in 1796 by Edward, 2nd Earl of Aldborough, from whom Aldborough Place, Amiens Street and Stratford Row receive their names.

Stratford House was the family's town residence in London.


STRATFORD HOUSE, Stratford Place, the family's London residence, is now the premises of the Oriental Club.

The building was constructed in the 1770s for the 2nd Earl, who paid £4,000 for the site (formerly occupied by the Lord Mayor of London's Banqueting House) along with the Robert Adam-inspired building.

The House was variously remoulded over the years with new plumbing and a second storey on the east and west wings in the 1890s.

However it was in 1908 when Lord Derby bought the lease that the most extensive alterations were set in motion.

He purchased additional property in Marylebone Lane, removed the stables and built a Banqueting Hall with a grand ballroom above (the last privately owned ballroom to be built in this country).

It was a spectacular room of Italian design which was converted when the house was acquired by the Oriental Club.

When Stratford House was purchased by the Oriental Club in 1960, it was necessary to make certain alterations, as the needs of a Club were different to those of a town house of the nobility.

The ballroom was converted into two floors of bedrooms, additional lifts were installed and alterations to the Banqueting Hall were made, which is now the Dining Room.

The recent addition of eight new bedrooms continues the Oriental Club's tradition of providing a welcoming and comfortable home-from-home for its Members in the centre of London.

First published in August, 2013.   Aldborough arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Tarte Tatin

I have posted this picture of my sumptuous pudding at The French Rooms for a loyal reader, who inquired about whether I'd had dessert at The French Rooms.

Here it is in all its splendour.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The French Rooms

I've been spending a few days at Portballintrae, County Antrim, on Ulster's north coast.

The weather has really been very good, mostly sunny in fact.

I explored Ramore Head and the headland at Portstewart, places I was unfamiliar with.

On Friday evening I dined at The French Rooms, a restaurant, café and artisan shop in Bushmills.

Bushmills, probably my favourite village in County Antrim, is a mere hop, skip and jump from Portballintrae.

It usually suits me to dine early, so I had reserved a table for six-thirty.


On arrival I was shown to a lovely little table, directly opposite the bar counter, which happened to have particularly comfortable leather chairs.


In fact I quipped to the waiter at the time that they were reminiscent of some ancient Bentley or Daimler.

The staff here are engaging and courteous.

Having perused the excellent menus, I opted for Spicy Prawn Pot on Spicy Leaves as a starter.


The trusty nose-bag was donned and I tucked in to a dainty little pot of prawns, dressed in a kind of seafood sauce.

I had motored in to the village, so simply had iced water with the meal.

After a short interval my main course arrived, viz. Cajun French Sea Bass, oven-baked and drizzled with a dill-infused rapeseed oil dressing.

I also had creamed purée potatoes and roast beetroot and cherry tomatoes with it.

The sea bass was delicate, moist, mild, boneless, and complemented my vegetables famously.


I seldom indulge in three courses; the fine list of puddings, however, seduced me, as it were.

Tarte Tatin, the traditional Gallic apple dessert, with toffee sauce and fresh whipped cream, proved to be irresistible.

The thinly-sliced apples almost literally melted in the Belmont mouth.


The layer of pastry underneath was barely discernible, though complemented it perfectly.

During the course of my dinner I chatted with the waiter, recounting tales of The Ugly Ducking in Corralejo, Canary Islands, which was so outstanding and popular that it had to turn away most passers-by.

Another restaurant across the street gained the extra business.

This was the case with The French Rooms last night, so it is advisable to book ahead for dinner.

I had the iPad and headphones with me, the plan being to settle self in the Bushmills Inn a few doors up, so I approached the counter to settle my bill.

To my utter astonishment the staff apprised me that my bill had been paid for by an American couple.

They had been seated at a table twenty or thirty feet away, though I never caught their eyes or even encountered them.

I still have no idea who they were or where they were staying.

This was an opportunity for another good turn, so I gave the staff a good tip instead.

I don't think I've enjoyed myself so much at a restaurant for years.

Muckross House

THE HERBERTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KERRY, WITH 47,238 ACRES

Since the merging of the elder branch of the family of CLIVE, by the marriage of the heiress of the last Herbert, Earl of Powis, with the son of the celebrated General Lord Clive, the chieftainship of the name seems indubitably to rest with HERBERT of Muckross, in County Kerry.
Descended from Thomas Herbert, of Kilcow, he went to Ireland under the care and patronage of his relative Lord Herbert of Chirbury and Castleisland, in 1656; which Thomas was the son of Matthew, the son of Sir John, the son of Sir William, the son of Sir Matthew, of Colebrook, only brother of the Earl of Pembroke of the 1st Creation.
These brothers suffered as Yorkists in the wars of the Roses.

The heir-general of the Earl of Pembroke married into the family of Somerset, Earl of Marquess of Worcester, and Duke of Beaufort.
From Richard Herbert descended in the younger branches the Lords Herbert of Cherbury, afterwards Earls of Powis, and Herbert, Earl of Torrington, both extinct in the male line; while from a senior, but never ennobled branch, the family of Muckross and Kilcow now remains the existing and legitimate representative of the famous name of HERBERT.
The Herberts were granted land in County Kerry during the reign of ELIZABETH I.

THOMAS HERBERT, of Kilcow, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1659, married Mary, daughter of Edward Kenny, of Cullen, County Cork, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John, dsp;
ARTHUR.
The eldest son,

EDWARD HERBERT MP (1660-1737), of Muckross, High Sheriff of Kerry, married, in 1684, Agnes, daughter of Patrick Crosbie, of Tubrid, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John, dsp;
Arthur, dsp;
Elizabeth; Margaret.
The eldest son,

EDWARD HERBERT (1693-1770), of Muckross, MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, 1756, married Frances, daughter of Nicholas, 2nd Viscount Kenmare, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Nicholas (Rev);
Edward, MP.
The eldest son,

THOMAS HERBERT, of Muckross, MP for Ludlow, married firstly, Anne, daughter of John Martin, of Overbury, Worcestershire, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Edward (Rev);
Frances; Catherine; Mary; Emily.
He wedded secondly, Agnes, daughter of the Rev Francis Bland, Vicar of Killarney, and had issue,
Thomas, dsp 1798, buried at Worcester Cathedral;
Francis, killed in a duel at Gibraltar, 1797;
Cherry; Elizabeth.
Mr Herbert died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT (1756-1821), who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Lord George Sackville, and sister to the last Duke of Dorset, and had issue (with a daughter), a son and successor,

CHARLES JOHN HERBERT, of Muckross, who married, in 1814, Louisa, daughter of Hugh Middleton, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Charles, dsp;
Louisa; Jane; Maria.
Mr Herbert died in 1836, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT (1815-66), of Muckross, Lord-Lieutenant and MP for County Kerry, Colonel, the Kerry Militia, Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1857-8, who married, in 1837, Mary, daughter of James Balfour, by Lady Eleanor his wife, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR, his heir;
Charles;
Eleanor; Blanche.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT DL MP (1840-1901), of Muckross, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1881, MP for Kerry, 1866-80, Major, London Irish Rifles, Captain, Coldstream Guards, who espoused, in 1866, Emily Julia Charlotte, only child of Edward, 2nd Lord Keane, and had issue,
HENRY ARTHUR EDWARD KEANE, his heir;
Kathleen Mary Eleanor.
The only son,

HENRY ARTHUR EDWARD KEANE HERBERT JP (1867-1931), married, in 1893, Charlotte Alice Dorothy Montagu, daughter of Arthur Charles Montagu Gifford, though the marriage was without issue.
Smith indicates that two members of the family received lands in Kerry after the Desmond rebellion, Sir William Herbert receiving over 13,000 acres; while Charles Herbert received over 3,000 acres. 

Over the next three centuries they were to remain amongst the foremost families in County Kerry.

Henry Arthur Herbert was one of the principal lessors of property in the baronies of Dunkerron North and Magunihy, as well as holding some property in the barony of Trughanacmy, at the time of Griffith’s Valuation.

The family fortunes declined systematically in the late 19th century and most of the estate was sold in the 1890s.

MUCKROSS HOUSE, County Kerry, is an irregular-plan, six-bay, two-storey over basement, quadruple-gable-fronted, Elizabethan-Revival style country house with dormer attic, built between 1839-43, designed by William Burn.

It is situated close to the shores of Muckross Lake, amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park.

The house is a focal point within the park.


It was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolour painter Mary Balfour Herbert.

This was the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two centuries. 

Originally it was intended to build a more ornate house than that which exists today.

The plans for a larger servants' wing, stable block, orangery and summer-house are believed to have been altered at Mary Herbert's request. 


Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century gentry; while, in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores.

During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. 

Later, the Bourn Vincent family continued this gardening tradition.

They purchased the estate from Lord and Lady Ardilaun early in the 20th century.

It was at this time that the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden were developed.

First published in December, 2011.  BIBLIOGRAPHY: MUCKROSS HOUSE WEBSITE

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Heritage Apple Trees

THE APPLE TREES WE PLANTED AT BALLYQUINTIN ARE NOW ALMOST FIVE YEARS OLD. WE REVISITED THE SITE ON WEDNESDAY, 23RD MAY, 2018.

HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POST FROM 2013.

I spent today at Bar Hall, a property of the National Trust close to Ballyquintin Point, on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

We all met at the old Mount Stewart estate schoolhouse, from where the trucks were loaded with spades, stakes, mulch sheeting and, of course apple saplings.


We have established a new orchard at the side of a sheltered field near the entrance to Ballyquintin Farm.

The little apple-tree saplings are not ordinary ones. They are heritage varieties, including Bloody Butcher, Lady's Finger of Offaly, Ballyvaughan, Ballyfatten, Ross Nonpareil, Widow's Friend, and Kemp.

Eighteen saplings were planted and they cost about £200.


Therefore, unsurprisingly, we devoted the day to planning the layout, planting at appropriate distances, ensuring that no same varieties were planted together; and stakes were hammered in at a 45-degree angle.

There was fresh manure in the field, which we put to good use.

The mulch sheets will protect the little trees from long grass and weeds, thereby fostering growth and providing them with the best chance of flourishing.

Published in November, 2013.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dunsandle House

THE BARONS DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 33,543 ACRES
The family of DALY, or O'DALY, is of very ancient origin, deducing its descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland in the 4th century, who was also common ancestor of the O'NEILLS of Tyrone and O'DONNELLS of Tyrconnell, from whom the pedigree of this family is lineally traced in the Heralds' office.
THE RT HON DENIS DALY (c1638-1721), son of James Daly, of Carrownakelly, by his wife, Anastase D'Arcy (niece of Patrick D'Arcy), had a son,

DENIS DALY, of Carrownakelly, whose son,

JAMES DALY (1716-69), MP for Athenry, 1741-68, MP for the borough of Galway, 1768-9, married firstly, Bridget, daughter of Francis, 14th Baron Athenry; and secondly, Catherine, daughter of Sir Ralph Gore Bt, by whom he had issue,
St George;
DENIS, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

THE RT HON DENIS DALY (1748-91), of Dunsandle, County Galway, married, in 1780, the Lady Henrietta Maxwell, daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Farnham, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Robert (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Cashel and Waterford;
Henrietta; Katharine; Charlotte; Elizabeth; Emily; Mary.
Mr Daly was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES DALY (1782-1847), MP for County Galway, 1812-27, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1845, as BARON DUNSANDLE AND CLANCONAL, of Dunsandle, County Galway.

His lordship  married, in 1808, Maria Elizabeth, second daughter and co-heiress of Rt Hon Sir Skeffington Smyth Bt, MP, of Tinny Park, County Wicklow, and had issue,
DENIS ST GEORGE, his successor;
Charles Anthony;
SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron;
Bowes Richard;
Robert;
Margaret Eleanor; Rosa Gertrude Harriet.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

DENIS ST GEORGE, 2nd Baron, a captain in the 7th Dragoons, wedded, in 1864, Mary, daughter of William Broderick, though dying without issue, the family honours devolved upon his next brother,

SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron (1810-93), who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

JAMES FREDERICK, 4th Baron (son of the Hon Robert Daly, youngest son of the 1st Baron), Assistant Private Secretary to Lord Beaconsfield, 1874-80, Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury, 1885-87, Assistant in the National Debt Office, 1888.

On the death of the 4th Baron, in 1911, the titles became extinct.


DUNSANDLE HOUSE, near Athenry, County Galway, was a five-bay, three-storey country house, built ca 1780, now in ruins and roofless.

It was said to have been the finest house in the county, famed for its neo-classical plasterwork.  Various visitors commented that it had a good cellar and a fine library.

The basement housed some of the servants, the money room, and the boiler. On the ground floor were the drawing room, the bathrooms, the function room and one of the sitting rooms.

There was also a spacious hallway which led into a highly decorative interior with neo-classical plasterwork.

Photo credit: Eamonn McNally

The second floor had more sitting rooms, several bedrooms and a very large bath, and the attic was used for storage and for water tanks.

According to The Buildings of Ireland,
Although ruinous, the high quality of construction employed in this country house is clearly evident. String courses, cornice and window surrounds are the work of skilled stonecutters and masons. The associated outbuildings and the fine entrance archway enhance the house. The detailing hints at the formerly splendid architectural quality that has been lost in the ruination of Dunsandle House.
The centre block had three storeys over a basement with five-bay entrance and garden fronts, each with a three-bay pedimented breakfront; joined by long, straight screen walls with pedimented doorways and niches to low and wide-spreading two-storey wings.

The saloon had elaborate plasterwork; a coved rococo ceiling in the morning-room; Adamesque ceiling in the drawing-room.


Dunsandle was sold by Major Bowes Daly MC, grandson of the 2nd Lord Dunsandle, about 1954. Major Daly was aide-de-camp to the Viceroy of India, and Master of the Galway Blazers.

 A reader has provided me with more information:
Major Bowes Daly divorced his first wife Diane Lascelles to marry a divorcee Mrs Hanbury (whose first husband Guy Trundle had an affair with Wallis Simpson). This created a scandal in Country Galway on a par with the abdication crisis of 1936!

Major Daly was the last of his family to reside at Dunsandle House and the furore over his re-marriage led to the Catholic clergy boycotting the Galway Blazers of which he was Master. He sold up in 1954 and the house was later demolished.

After going to East Africa he returned to Ireland and lived his last years on Lord Harrington`s estate in Co. Limerick. He is buried in Loughrea near his former home. 
The Irish land commission demolished parts of Dunsandle House and sold all the valuable parts of the house in 1958.

They divided the land of the estate between the local farmers.

Dunsandle arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Johnstown Kennedy House

THE KENNEDY BARONETS OWNED 1,447 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DUBLIN

DARBY O'KENNEDY (c1648-1745), of Ballykerogue Castle, County Waterford, wedded a daughter of Stephen Baron, of Knockdrumla, and had a son,

JOHN KENNEDY, of Johnstown, County Dublin, who espoused Eleanor, daughter of Eaton Fagan, of Feltrim, and left issue at his decease, 1758, a son and successor,

EDWARD KENNEDY (1746-1811), of Johnstown, who married, in 1781, Sarah, daughter of John Bayly, of Gowran, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Charles Edward, of Peamount.
The elder son,

JOHN KENNEDY (1785-1848), of Johnstown, wedded, in 1819, Maria, daughter of William Bowman, of Rutland Square, Dublin, and had issue,
CHARLES EDWARD BAYLY, his heir;
William;
John;
Francis;
Robert, father of Admiral Francis W Kennedy CB;
Maria.
Mr Kennedy was created a baronet in 1836, denominated of Johnstown Kennedy, County Dublin.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR CHARLES EDWARD BAYLY KENNEDY, 2nd Baronet (1820-80), who espoused, in 1854, Augusta Maria, daughter of Henry Hartstonge Pery, Viscount Glentworth, and had issue,
JOHN CHARLES, his successor;
George Edward de Vere.
Sir Charles was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN CHARLES KENNEDY, 3rd Baronet, JP DL (1856-1923), of Johnstown, who married, in 1879, Sydney H Maude, daughter of Sir James Macaulay Higginson, and had issue,
JOHN RALPH BAYLY, 4th Baronet;
JAMES EDWARD, 5th Baronet;
Augusta Mabel; Gladys Maude.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN RALPH BAYLY KENNEDY, 4th Baronet (1896-1968), of Johnstown, who died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR JAMES EDWARD KENNEDY, 5th Baronet (1898-1974), of Johnstown, who died unmarried, when the title reverted to his cousin,

SIR DERRICK EDWARD DE VERE KENNEDY, 6th Baronet (1904-76), of Johnstown, who wedded firstly, in 1926, Phyllis Victoria Levine, daughter of Gordon Fowler; and secondly, in 1945, Barbara Mary Worthing, daughter of William Shepherd, and had issue,
GEORGE RONALD DERRICK, his successor;
Mark Gordon;
Julia Maureen Patricia.
Sir Derrick, former Major, Royal Ulster Rifles, a hotelier from 1947 until 1966, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR (GEORGE) RONALD DERRICK KENNEDY, 7th Baronet, OBE (1927-88), who married, in 1949, Noelle Mona, daughter of Charles Henry Green.

The 7th Baronet, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Artillery, and was appointed OBE (military) in 1975.

By his wife he had issue,
MICHAEL EDWARD, his successor;
Carolyn Phyllis.
He was succeeded by his son,

SIR MICHAEL EDWARD KENNEDY, 8th Baronet (1956-2012), of Otford, Kent, who wedded, in 1984, Helen Christine Jennifer, daughter of Patrick Lancelot Rae, and had issue,
GEORGE MATTHEW RAE, his successor;
Constance Andrea; Josephine Jennifer; Katherine Colleen.
Sir Michael was succeeded by his son,

SIR GEORGE MATTHEW RAE KENNEDY, 9th Baronet, born in 1993.

The present baronet has not (2013) successfully proven his succession to the baronetcy and is not therefore on the Official Roll of the Baronetage.

However, the case is under review by the Registrar of the Baronetage.


JOHNSTOWN KENNEDY HOUSE, Rathcoole, County Dublin, was a plain, three-storey Georgian house.

It had a three-bay side; with a porch which was enclosed at some later stage.

The drawing-room was notable for its acanthus plasterwork.

It was renowned as having been the residence of Major Sinclair Yeates in the television series, The Irish RM.

The Irish RM  on the tennis court

The estate included a most impressive and extensive range of farm buildings.

The buildings had courtyards with high walls and dramatic gateways some with pinnacles, curved equestrian buildings, Gothicised doorways, a small dairy, and several well-constructed utilitarian buildings serving various agricultural purposes.

There was also a water mill with mill race and a cast-iron mill wheel in-situ.

A roadside forge with horseshoe shaped entrance displays the initials "E K" and the date over the door.

The remains of a later walled garden with ruined greenhouses, a gardener's house and other structures, added a further dimension to this outstanding collection of estate buildings.

Johnstown Kennedy was sold by Sir Derrick Kennedy, 6th Baronet.

The house was subsequently demolished and the estate now forms part of Beech Park Golf Club.

First published in March, 2016.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Princess Royal at Balmoral Show

The Princess Royal, President, this morning attended the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth's Annual General Meeting, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society Show-ground, Balmoral Park, Maze, Lisburn, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

Her Royal Highness this afternoon visited Royal Ulster Agricultural Society's Balmoral Show.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Glenveagh Castle

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR OWNED 16,308 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DONEGAL

The family of ADAIR was settled in Scotland, and later in Ulster, for many generations, and, according to tradition, derived its descent from a junior branch of the noble house of FitzGerald, Earls of Desmond.

GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1784-1823), of Bellegrove, and Rath, Queen's County (son of John Adair, of Rath), wedded, in 1822, Elizabeth, second daughter of the Very Rev Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare, and had an only son,

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR (1823-85), of Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, who married Mrs Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, widow of Montgomery Harrison Ritchie.

 
GLENVEAGH CASTLE, near Churchill, is described by Mark Bence-Jones thus:-
a Victorian-Baronial house of rough-hewn granite at the end of a wooded promontory jutting out into Lough Veagh, surrounded by the bare and desolate hills of a deer-forest, so large as to seem a world apart.
The Castle comprises a keep with battlements, flanked by a lower round tower and other buildings. The entrance is through a walled courtyard.

The formal garden boasts terraces with busts and statuary; with a bathing pool by the side of the lough; an Italian garden; a walled garden with a Gothic orangery; and a splendid variety of rare and exotic trees and shrubs.


Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of County Donegal.

It is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes.

The park, 40,000 acres in extent, consists of three areas.

The largest of these is the former Glenveagh Estate, including most of the Derryveagh Mountains.


The Glenveagh estate was created in 1857-9 by the purchase of several smaller holdings by John George Adair, a wealthy land speculator originally from County Laois.

Mr Adair was later to incur infamy throughout the county by evicting some 244 tenants in the Derryveagh evictions of 1861.


After marrying his American-born wife Cornelia, Adair began the construction of Glenveagh Castle in 1867, which was completed by 1873.

Adair, however, was never to fulfil his dream of creating a hunting estate in the highlands of Donegal and died suddenly in 1885 on return from a business trip to America.

After her husband’s death, Cornelia Adair took over the running of the estate and introduced deer stalking in the 1890s.

She continually sought to improve the Castle’s comforts and the beauty of its grounds, carrying out major improvements to the estate and laying out the gardens.

Over the next thirty years she was to become a much noted society hostess and continued to spend summers at the castle until 1916.

Following the death of Mrs Adair in London in 1921, Glenveagh fell much into decline and was occupied by both the anti-treaty and Eire army forces during the Irish civil war.

Glenveagh’s next owner was not to be until 1929 when purchased by Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter of Harvard University who came to Ireland to study Irish archaeology and culture.

The Porters mainly entertained Irish literary and artistic figures, including his close friend AE Russell whose paintings still hang in the library of the castle.

Their stay was to be short, however, as Arthur Kingsley Porter mysteriously disappeared from Inishbofin Island in 1933 while visiting the island.

The last private owner was Henry McIlhenny (1910-86), of Philadelphia, USA, who bought the estate in 1937.

Mr McIlhenny was an Irish-American whose grandfather, John, grew up in Milford, a few miles north of Glenveagh.

After buying the estate, McIlhenny devoted much time to restoring the castle and developing its gardens.

Eventually he began to find travelling to and from Ireland too demanding and the upkeep of the estate was also becoming a strain.

In 1975, he agreed the sale of the estate to the Irish government, allowing for the creation of a national park.

In 1983 he donated the castle to the Irish nation, along with its gardens and much of the contents.

Glenveagh National Park opened to visitors in 1984, while the Castle itself opened in 1986.

First Published in February, 2012.  Source: GLENVEIGH NATIONAL PARK.