Saturday, 29 September 2018

Downhill Revived


As part of the students' National Diploma at Northern Regional College, Ballymoney, County Antrim, they have researched and created a "3D" graphical reconstruction of Downhill House, County Londonderry, as it is looked around the early 1800s.


Staff and Students have produced this reconstruction as a concept of what to expect from future interpretation plans for Downhill.

Downhill Demesne is a property of the National Trust.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

New DL

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANT
Mrs Alison Millar, Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, has been pleased to appoint:-
Mrs Lorraine Martha YOUNG JP
Portrush
County Antrim,
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, her Commission bearing date the 7th day of September, 2018.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Prince Andrew in Northern Ireland

Thursday, 20th September, 2018

THE DUKE OF YORK, Baron Killyleagh, this afternoon visited Belleek Pottery, Belleek, County Fermanagh, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough KG).

His Royal Highness later visited Lough Erne Yacht Club, Gublusk Bay, County Fermanagh.

Friday, 21st September, 2018.

THE DUKE OF YORK, Baron Killyleagh, this morning visited a Search and Rescue Exercise at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, County Fermanagh, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough KG).

His Royal Highness, Founder, Pitch@Palace, later held Pitch@Palace on Tour Belfast at Ormeau Baths, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs. Fionnuala-Jay O’Boyle CBE).

HRH this afternoon opened the Fintech Hub at Danske Bank, Donegall Square West, Belfast.

His Royal Highness this evening held a Business Dinner at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

Saturday, 22nd September, 2018.

THE DUKE OF YORK, Colonel-in-Chief, The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling), 83rd, 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment), this morning presented new Colours to 1st and 2nd Battalions at Titanic Slipway, Queen's Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala-Jay O'Boyle CBE).

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Killeen Castle

THE EARLS OF FINGALL WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MEATH, WITH 9,589 ACRES

This noble family was of Danish origin, but its settlement in Ireland is so remote that nothing certain can be ascertained as to the precise period.

So early as the 11th century, we find

JOHN PLUNKETT, of Beaulieu, County Meath, the constant residence of the elder branch of his descendants.

The successor at Beaulieu at the beginning of the 13th century,

JOHN PLUNKETT, living at the time of HENRY III, had two sons,
John, ancestor of the BARONS LOUTH;
RICHARD, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

RICHARD PLUNKETT, of Rathregan, County Meath, who, with his son and heir, RICHARD PLUNKETT, by royal writs of parliamentary summons, was summoned to, and sat in, the parliaments and council of 1374; one as a baron, and the other "de consilio regis".

To the same parliament and council was also summoned as a baron "Waltero de Cusake Militi", Lord of Killeen, whose heir general afterwards, as wife of Christopher Plunkett, was previously thought to have first brought the dignity of a parliamentary barony into this branch of the Plunkett family, but how erroneously may best be seen by reference to the writs of summons during the reign of EDWARD III, before alluded to.

The younger Richard Plunkett was father of

SIR CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, Knight; who, as a recompense for the services he had rendered in the wars of Ireland, and as an indemnity for the expenses he had incurred, had a grant of a sum of money from HENRY VI, in 1426; before which time he was High Sheriff of Meath; and, in 1432, was deputy to Sir Thomas Stanley, Knight, Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Sir Christopher was created, ca 1426, BARON KILLEEN.

He married, in 1403, Joan, only daughter and heir of Sir Lucas Cusack, Knight, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown, County Meath, and became, in her right, proprietor of the Barony of Killeen, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Baron (who, in an act of parliament during the reign of HENRY VI was called "Christofre Plunkett le puisne Seigneur de Killeen").

This feudal Lord wedded twice: firstly, to Genet, daughter of Bellew, of Bellewstown; by whom he had two sons.

He espoused secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wells, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had a daughter and two sons.

Sir Christopher died in 1462, and was succeeded by his elder son,

CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, 3rd Baron (1440-c1469); who had summons to parliament in 1463.

His lordship died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDMOND, 4th Baron (c1450-1510), who had a son and heir,

JOHN, 5th Baron, who was sworn of the privy council of HENRY VIII, and was found by inquisition to have had four sons,
Patrick, dsp;
CHRISTOPHER, heir to his brother;
Henry;
James.
The eldest son,

PATRICK, 6th Baron (1521-c1526), was succeeded by his brother,

CHRISTOPHER, 7th Baron, who succeeded to the titles and estates.

His lordship was an active and gallant nobleman, who discharged many high functions and commissions under the royal authority.

He sat in the parliament of 1509, and having married the granddaughter of the 8th Baron Slane, left issue, three daughters, his co-heirs,
Maude, m 3rd Baron Louth;
Catherine, m David Sutton;
Margaret, m Nicholas Aylmer.
He died about 1567, and was succeeded by his brother,

JAMES, 8th Baron (c1542-95), whose inheritance of the ancient family dignity was not opposed or questioned by the daughters, co-heirs of his deceased brother, and he took his place in the House of Lords in 1585.

In 1589, he enfeoffed trustees in his family estates, and was succeeded at his decease by his son and heir,

CHRISTOPHER, 9th Baron (1564-1613), who, when aged 31, sat in the parliament of 1613; and dying soon afterwards, was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 10th Baron (1589-1637), styled Lucas More.

This nobleman had a large grant of territory in 1613, and was created, in 1628, EARL OF FINGALL, JAMES I precluding the honour by a most flattering letter beginning thus:-
"That having received good testimonies of the virtuous and many good parts of his right trusty and well-beloved subject, the lord Baron Killeen, being one of the ancient nobility of Ireland, His Majesty was pleased" ... etc etc.
His lordship married four times, and by his second marriage with Susannah, fifth daughter of Edward, 1st Baron Ardee, had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his successor;
George, ancestor of the 6th Earl.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Earl; who, having been made prisoner at the battle of Rathmines, died two weeks later, in 1649, at Dublin Castle, and was succeeded by his son (by Mabel, daughter of Nicholas, 1st Viscount Kingland),

LUKE, 3rd Earl (1639-84); who was restored to his estates and honours by the Court of Claims, and was succeeded at his decease by his only son,

PETER, 4th Earl (1678-1718); who was outlawed by the name of Luke, in 1691, for his loyalty to his legitimate sovereign, JAMES II, but the outlawry was reversed six years later, 1697.

His lordship wedded Frances, third daughter of Sir Edward Hales Bt, and had issue,
JUSTIN, his successor;
Margaret; Emilia; Mary.
He was succeeded by his only son,

JUSTIN, 5th Earl, who died in 1734, without issue, and intestate, and was succeeded in his titles and estates by his cousin,

ROBERT, 6th Earl, who enjoyed the honours without opposition of question on the part of the three daughters and heirs lineal of Peter, 4th Earl.

About a century later, however, the grandson of the youngest daughter, Maurice O'Connor, made claim to the Barony of Killeen, as a barony created by writ, and, as such, inheritable through females.

Like all other claims of the same nature, it has been unsuccessful, though brought forward at a time when the feelings of the Irish government were violently excited against the Earl of Fingall.

Robert, 6th Earl, was a captain in Berwick's regiment, in the service of France.

He espoused Mary, daughter of Roger Magenis, of Iveagh, County Down; and dying in 1738, left (with a daughter, Anne) a son and successor,

ARTHUR JAMES, 7th Earl (1731-93), then in his seventh year.

His lordship married, in 1755, Henrietta Maria, only daughter and heir of William Wollascot, of Woolhampton, Berkshire, and had issue,
ARTHUR JAMES, his successor;
Luke;
Robert;
William;
Theresa.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR JAMES, 8th Earl (1759-1836), KP, who was created a Peer of the United Kingdom, in 1831, by the title of Baron Fingall, of Woolhampton Lodge, Berkshire.
The titles became extinct on the death of the 12th Earl.


KILLEEN CASTLE, near Dunsany, County Meath, is said originally to have been a Norman fortification, built for the de Lacy magnates, and held from 1172 by the Cusack family, beginning with Geoffrey de Cusack.

The castle was then held from 1399 by successors by marriage (to Lady Joan de Cusack), the Plunketts.

Killeen Castle was originally built by Geoffrey de Cusack around 1181. The date is carved above the doorway.

The castle fell into disrepair in the late 17th century, was leased out, and was not restored until around 1779, when parts of the demesne were landscaped and some of the estate features were added.


Significant reworking was carried out from 1803-13 under the supervision of Francis Johnston, and in 1841, much of the castle was demolished and rebuilt (using much existing material) by the 9th Earl of Fingall, in the style of a small Windsor Castle.

The two towers added have the dates 1181 and 1841 inscribed, and at the time of completion, it was claimed that Killeen had 365 windows.

The 12th and last Earl sold Killeen Castle and Estate, in 1951, to Sir Victor Sassoon.

Lord Fingall remained as manager of the stud farm established near the castle.

In 1953, Lord and Lady Fingall moved to a contemporary house built in the grounds, and most of the house contents were sold.

Sassoon died in 1961 and his heirs sold the estate on in 1963, to the French art dealer and racehorse owner, Daniel Wildenstein.

Lord Fingall moved from the estate to Corballis on the Dunsany estate, then The Commons.

He died in 1984 and is buried at Dunsany Church.

In 1978, the castle and estate were sold to the advertiser Basil Brindley, who continued the stud farm operation.

In 1981, the castle was burnt out in an arson attack, being left abandoned for many years.

The lands and buildings were sold again in 1989, to Christopher Slattery.

In 1997, Snowbury Ltd purchased the castle and its grounds, with a vision to create the estate that exists today.

Fingall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.    First published in April, 2012.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Belmont Cataract

For the benefit of those of you who are unfamiliar with my ophthalmic history, it almost goes back to time immemorial, as those venerable peerages might say.

When I was a youth of about fifteen, suffering from a bout of ennui brought on by pop Thompson's maths class at Campbell, I suppose that was the time when the squinting commenced.

Thereafter I wore spectacles.

When I was about twenty years of age I purchased contact lenses, and wore those instead.

Fast forward to 1988, the year I made an appointment with that eminent Ulster eye surgeon, Mr Eric Cowan, whose consulting-rooms were in Eglantine Avenue, Belfast.

In a sense, Timothy was quite avant-garde in those days.

Mr Cowan pioneered the ophthalmic practice known as radial keratotomy, whereby minute incisions are made around the optic pupil in order to correct or improve myopia. 

I spent forty-eight hours in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, for this surgery.

It did improve the old eye-sight to the extent that I did not need to wear glasses.

My vision, however, deteriorated over time, and I decided to have laser surgery.

Let us Fast Forward again to 2017.

I was on holiday abroad in the bright sunshine one morning, at the swimming-pool of my hotel, when I became aware of a blemish of some sort in my right eye.

This blemish or spot is tricky to describe, so when I arrived home in Old Blighty I arranged for an appointment with the optician.

I was apprised that I had a cataract.

The optician wrote to my doctor, who arranged for me to see the relevant cataract clinic and, after many months, I was finally seen by the eye doctor.

I was informed that I had a cataract on my left eye as well, though I was unaware of this.

By this stage the cataract on my right eye was very blurry indeed.

I was reliant on my left eye for vision.

In April, 2018, I received a letter from the hospital letting me know that I was on a waiting-list for an appointment with them, though there was no mention of cataract surgery.

A few months later I was chatting my my aunt on the blower and she recounted her treatment with an eye surgeon based mainly in Belfast and Hillsborough, County Down.

Furthermore, when she heard of my predicament and the indefinite length of the waiting-list for cataract surgery, she urged me to get it done instanter, and highly recommended her consultant.

I called the clinic in Hillsborough, which happens to be directly beside the war memorial and parish church.

I was told that an appointment with Mr Rankin could be arranged within a fortnight, and that surgery could be about three weeks thereafter.

Well, dear readers, I considered it and called them back for an appointment.

Mr Rankin examined my eyes again and explained everything to me.

I decided to go ahead with surgery as soon as possible, so it took place on Wednesday this week at 3pm.

Service, care, treatment, staff were all second-to-none, as they say.

I didn't feel a thing apart from some stinging in the eye when the anaesthetic eye drops were introduced.

I'm writing this piece at almost 6pm, fifty-one hours later.

The sight in my right eye has been transformed and, as far as I'm concerned, it's virtually miraculous.

It's almost like having a new eye.

In fact, my right eye - the one which had a cataract - now has better, clearer, brighter vision than the "good" one.

I have an appointment with Mr Rankin in a few weeks time for a follow-up review, when I'll mention the other eye to him.

The Rock House

THE CLIVES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MAYO, WITH 35,000 ACRES 

The family of CLIVE is descended from Robert Clive, of Styche, Shropshire.

GEORGE CLIVE JP DL (1805-80), of Ballycroy, County Mayo, and of Perrystone Court, Herefordshire, MP for Hereford, third son of Edward Clive, of Whitfield, wedded, in 1835, Ann Sybella Martha, second daughter of Sir Thomas Harvie Farquhar Bt, and had issue,
EDWARD HENRY, his heir;
Archer Anthony (1842-77), Barrister;
Charles Farquhar;
Sybella Harriet; Kathleen.
The eldest son,

GENERAL EDWARD HENRY CLIVE JP DL (1837-1916), of Perrystone Court and Ballycroy, wedded, in 1867, Isabel, daughter of Daniel Hale Webb, and had issue,
GEORGE SYDNEY, his heir;
Edward Archer Bolton;
Richard Alfred;
Henry Ambrose;
Sybil Mary; Isabel Kathleen; Laura Cicely; Judith Evelyn.
General Clive's eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR GEORGE SIDNEY CLIVE GCVO KCB CMG DSO (1874-1959), died following a catastrophic fire at the family residence, Perrystone Court, in 1959.

The Clives of Ballycroy, as they subsequently became known, distinguished themselves as parliamentarians and soldiers.

They were the cousins of the celebrated Robert Clive of India.


In the vicinity of The Rock House, George Clive, who acquired the estate, planted approximately 72 acres of forest, including walkways leading from The Rock House to the sea and rivers on the property.

The forest, now beautifully matured, consists of some unique species, e.g., Austrian Pine, Spanish Chest Nut, etc., some of whom were reportedly supplied by Clive of India and delivered by train to the nearby Mulranny Station.

In 1982 Jacques Maillet and his son Jean Claude established Tucson Investments, having an 80% and 20% ownership respectively.

In 1986 they purchased The Rock House in Ballycroy and some 300 acres consisting of woodlands, blanket bog, non-agricultural land, stretches of the Owenduff and Ballyveeney rivers and shooting rights to approximately 32,000 acres in West Mayo.

The Maillets have already made an investment of €600,000 in the refurbishment of The Rock House and nearby lodge, converting both to high quality accommodation for paying guests.


The Rock House has now become an established tourist destination.

First published in July, 2012.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Princess Royal at Hillsborough


THE PRINCESS ROYAL this afternoon attended a Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

Her Royal Highness afterwards held a Reception in the garden of Hillsborough Castle for young people who have achieved the Gold Standard in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.


Wednesday, 5th September: The Princess Royal, President, UK Fashion and Textile Association, this morning visited Mourne Textiles, Rostrevor, County Down, and was received by Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE, (Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Down).

Her Royal Highness, President, Royal Yachting Association, afterwards visited Portaferry Sailing Club, Portaferry, County Down, to mark its Fiftieth Anniversary, and opened Portaferry Recreation Hub, and was received by Mrs Amanda Brownlow DL.

The Princess Royal later opened Lakeland Dairies' new Packing Hall, 46 Belfast Road, Newtownards, County Down, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down (Mr David Lindsay).

Her Royal Highness later opened the Northern Ireland Prison Service Memorial Garden, Hydebank Wood Secure College, County Down.