Friday, 28 February 2020

Westport House

THE MARQUESSES OF SLIGO WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MAYO, WITH 114,881 ACRES

This is a junior branch of the noble house of BROWNE, Barons Kilmaine, which is supposed to have sprung from a common ancestor with the extinct Brownes, Viscounts Montagu; though some suggest that the family sprang more immediately from the Brownes of Betchworth Castle, Surrey.

WILLIAM BROWNE, of The Neale, County Mayo, whose will is upon record in Dublin, was father of

RICHARD BROWNE, head of an independent company in the service of ELIZABETH I.

On the division of Connaught into counties by Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, 1565, Captain Browne fixed his abode at The Neale, County Mayo, of which county he was appointed first High Sheriff.

He fell in the act of quelling a riot in his official capacity, and was succeeded by his son,

JOSIAS BROWNE (c1579-1634), of The Neale, who was succeeded by his son,

JOHN BROWNE, who was created a baronet in 1636, designated of The Neale, County Mayo.

Sir John married Mary, daughter of Sir Dominick Browne, Knight, of Galway, and had issue,
George, ancestor of the Barons Kilmaine;
JOHN, of whom presently;
Dominick.
Sir John's second son, 

JOHN BROWNE (1638-1711), a colonel in the service of JAMES II, and one of the capitulators of Limerick, where (being originally bred a lawyer) he had a principal hand in drawing up the celebrated articles of capitulation.

By his second wife Maud, daughter of Theobald, 3rd Viscount Bourke, he had two sons and three daughters: Bridget, Lady Athenry; Elizabeth; and Elizabeth.

Colonel Browne was succeeded by his elder son, 

PETER BROWNE, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rt Hon Denis Daly, one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland.

He died in 1722, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN BROWNE (1709-76), MP for Castlebar, 1744-60, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1760, in the dignity of Baron Mount Eagle, of Westport, County Mayo.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1768, as Viscount Westport; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1771, as Earl of Altamont.

He wedded, in 1729,  Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur Gore Bt, and sister of Arthur, 1st Earl of Arran, and had issue,
PETER, his successor;
Arthur, colonel in the army;
James;
Henry;
John;
Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

PETER, 2nd Earl, who married, in 1752, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Chief Justice Kelly, of the island of Jamaica, and had issue,
JOHN DENIS;
Denis, a privy counsellor;
Anne; Elizabeth; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son, 

JOHN DENIS, 3rd Earl (1756-1809), KP, who wedded, in 1787, the Lady Louisa Catharine Howe, youngest daughter and co-heiress of Admiral the Earl Howe, by whom he had an only son, HOWE PETER.

His lordship was created, in 1800, MARQUESS OF SLIGO.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Christopher Ulick Browne, styled Earl of Altamont.
The 6th Marquess was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Mayo, from 1914 until 1922.



WESTPORT HOUSE, near Castebar, County Mayo, ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Sligo, is located west of the Shannon and is one of Ireland's most historic country houses open to the public.

It was designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century.

Westport House enjoys a superb parkland setting with lake, terraces, wonderful gardens and magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, Achill, Clare Island and Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick. 

It was built and is still privately owned by Lord Sligo, a direct descendant of the 16th century Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.

During the 1500s, Grace O’Malley was a famous Pirate and “Queen of Connaught”.

After her death, a report stated that for forty years she was the stay of all rebellions in the West.

She was chief of the O’Malley Clan and ruled the seas around Mayo.

Grace O’Malley had several castles in the West of Ireland and it was on the foundations of one of these that Westport House was actually built.

There is still an area of her original Castle in the basement of the House (now known as the Dungeons) which is on view to the visitors.

A bronze statue of Grace O’Malley by artist Michael Cooper is situated on the Westport House grounds.


The original house was built by Colonel John Browne, a Jacobite, who was at the siege of Limerick, and his wife Maud Bourke.

Maud Bourke was Grace O’Malley’s great-granddaughter.

The House then had no lake or dam, and the tide rose and fell against the walls.

The east front of the House as it is today was built in 1730 by Colonel John Browne’s grandson, 1st Earl of Altamont, who hired the famous German architect Richard Cassels.

It is built with the finest limestone taken from the quarry south of the estate farmyard and was executed by local craftsmen. 

Richard Cassels also designed Carton, Hazelwood, Russborough and Leinster House.

Westport House was completed by James Wyatt, who also laid out the town of Westport. 

On the south face of the House is the date 1778 and inside many of the ceilings, cornices and fireplaces are examples of his finest work.

The Large Dining room is perhaps the finest remaining example of his work.

The doors are mahogany, brought back from the family estates in Jamaica. 

There are still a number of original James Wyatt drawings on show, together with some of his son’s, Benjamin Wyatt, who also did some work in the House.

There are several architecturally stunning rooms on show, complete with original contents, most of which have a long association with Ireland and are of particular interest.
Among the pictures are portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds of the 1st Earl of Altamont; the Rt Hon Denis Browne, brother of the 1st Marquess and a member of Grattan’s Parliament, by Beechy; Howe Peter, 2nd Marquess, who spent four months in jail for bribing seamen in time of war, to bring his ship, full of antiquities from Greece to Westport.
The 2nd Marquess was a friend of GEORGE IV and the poet Byron.

There is also a portrait of Admiral of the Fleet the Earl Howe, father of the 1st Marchioness of Sligo, by John Singleton Copley.

Other Artworks include a magnificent collection of landscapes painted in the locality by James Arthur O’Connor.

Other artists such as Chalon, Barret, Gibson, Opie, Brooks and Lavery are part of the collection.

There is also a collection of waxwork figures by Gems Display Figures, which are a tribute to the literary, arts and music achievements of the West of Ireland.

Other original items on show in Westport House, of particular interest, include a fine collection of old English and Irish silver, including 18th century Irish ‘potato’ or dish rings, Waterford glass, a library with many old Irish books.

A Mayo Legion Flag was brought to Ireland by General Humbert when he invaded the country in 1798 and has ever since been at Westport House, which was occupied by his troops.

Westport House was opened to the public for the first time in 1960 and since then has welcomed over four million visitors.

Westport House and grounds were sold in 2017 to a local business family, committed to investing and maintaining the current facilities which are a major tourist attraction.

Mayo County Council has acquired forty acres of the estate which are expected to be retained in their current form as part of the setting for the house.

First published in June, 2011.  Sligo arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

County of Antrim

A maritime county in the extreme north-east of Ulster, bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east by the North Channel; on the south-east and south by County Down; and, on the west by counties Tyrone and Londonderry.

Its boundary over all the south-east and south, excepting five miles adjacent to Lough Neagh (the largest lake in the British Isles), is formed by Belfast Lough and the River Lagan; and, over all the west, excepting seven miles adjacent to the ocean, is formed by Lough Neagh and Lough Beg, and the River Bann.

The county is thus clearly insulated between a sweep of the sea and an alternate chain and line of fresh water.

Its greatest length, from Bengore Head (near the Giant's Causeway) on the north to Spencer's Bridge on the south, is about 42 miles.

Its greatest breadth, from The Gobbins on the east to Toome on the west is about 24 miles.

Trostan, at 1,808 feet, is the highest mountain.

The county's area is approximately 745,000 acres.

First published in January, 2018.  Select bibliography ~ Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland. 1841. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Isle O'Valla House

Garden Front in 2013

ISLE O'VALLA HOUSE is located to the south of the village of Strangford, County Down.

It lies within the townland of Cloghy, on the coastal Ardglass Road.

This is a tall, austere Georgian house with three bays, three storeys, quoins and a large fanlight above the front door.

Southern elevation in 2013

This property was originally built as a Charter School ca 1817.
Irish Charter Schools were operated by The Incorporated Society in Dublin for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland. The Charter Schools admitted only Roman Catholics, under the condition that they be educated as Protestants. 
The first Charter School in Strangford was established some time after 1746, with a grant of £500 (about £86,000 in value today) from the Earl of Kildare (either the 1st Duke of Leinster or his father).
The Dowager Countess of Kildare later donated 22 acres of land for the School.

The Charter School was rebuilt in 1817 at a reputed cost of £4,000, the equivalent of £267,000 in 2010.

Eastern elevation in 2013

When the Charter was rescinded in 1832, the property was most likely given back to the Kildare estate.

It was leased to the Rev Samuel Livingstone, who began his own school for local children.

When the School closed, Isle O'Valla House became the residence of Captain the Hon Somerset Ward JP, fifth son of the 3rd Viscount Bangor.

In 1910, Isle O'Valla was acquired by the family of McCausland, of Downpatrick, hoteliers.

Frank McCausland lived and farmed at Isle O'Valla House.

Following Mr McCausland's death, the property was bought by a family called Lowe.

Isle O'Valla House has been derelict and virtually ruinous for many years and, to my knowledge, has remained uninhabited for several decades.

Its future remains uncertain.

First published in July, 2011.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Ravensdale Park

THE BARONS CLERMONT WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LOUTH, WITH 20,369 ACRES

This family deduces its pedigree from common ancestors with the EARLS FORTESCUE, viz. remotely, Sir Richard le Forte, a Norman knight, in the train of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR; and, more remotely, Lord Chief Justice Fortescue.

The first of its members that settled in Ireland,

SIR FAITHFUL FORTESCUE (c1581-1666), Knight, removed to that kingdom early in the reign of JAMES I, and commanded an infantry regiment there.

Sir Faithful obtained large possessions in Ireland, amongst which was Dromiskin Castle, County Louth.

He wedded Anne, daughter of Garret, 1st Viscount Moore, of Drogheda, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR THOMAS FORTESCUE (c1620-1710), Knight, Governor of Carrickfergus Castle, who espoused firstly, Sydney, daughter of Colonel William Kinsmill; and secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Ferdinand Carey, and had issue,
WILLIAM;
Chichester.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his grandson,

THOMAS FORTESCUE (1683-1769), MP for Dundalk, 1727-60, who married Elizabeth, daughter of James Hamilton, and sister of James, 1st Earl of Clanbrassil, and had issue,
James, father of WILLIAM, 2nd VISCOUNT CLERMONT;
WILLIAM HENRY, of whom hereafter;
Margaret; Charlotte.
Mr Fortescue's younger son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM HENRY FORTESCUE (1722-1806), MP for County Louth, 1745-60, Monaghan, 1761-70, was sworn of the Privy Council, 1764, and appointed Postmaster-General.

Mr Fortescue was elevated to the peerage, in 1770, in the dignity of Baron Clermont, of Clermont, County louth.

His lordship was created, in 1776, BARON and VISCOUNT CLERMONT, with remainder to his brother, the Rt Hon James Fortescue, of Ravensdale Park, County Louth, MP for that county.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1777, as EARL OF CLERMONT, but without the reversionary grant.

He was installed as a Knight Founder of the Order of St Patrick (KP) in 1795.

His lordship espoused Frances, eldest daughter of Colonel John Murray, County Monaghan; but dying without issue, in 1806, the earldom expired, while the other honours devolved, according to the limitation, upon his nephew,

WILLIAM CHARLES FORTESCUE, 2nd Viscount (1764-1829), only surviving son of his deceased brother, mentioned above, by Mary Henrietta, eldest daughter of Thomas Orby Hunter, of Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire.

His lordship died at Ravensdale Park, County Louth, unmarried, when the viscountcy expired.

The title was revived, however, in 1852, when his kinsman,  

THOMAS FORTESCUE, was created BARON CLERMONT (2nd & 3rd creation).


RAVENSDALE PARK, near Dundalk, County Louth, was a large, rather austere, early Victorian house built of granite with a plain, irregular aspect.

A lofty Italianate campanile with an open belvedere atop dominated the mansion.

Ravensdale was built for Thomas Fortescue, 1st Baron Clermont, the architect being Thomas Duff of Newry.


It was partly two and partly three storeys, though mainly the same height, with an eaved roof.

The garden front was remarkably long, being ten bays.

There was another front of five bays with a domed octagon at one corner.


Ravensdale became the home of Lord Clermont's younger brother and successor, the politician Chichester Fortescue, 1st and last Lord Carlingford (who married the famous Frances, Countess Waldegrave).

It was sold to Sir Daniel Dixon Bt, father of 1st Lord Glentoran; then sold again to Lord Arran.

Ravendale was sold, yet again, in 1920, and was burnt shortly afterwards.

Much of the former estate is now a forest park; while the Ravensdale Equestrian and Trekking Centre operates from the demesne.

Ravensdale Forest is part of the former demesne.

First Published in May, 2011.   Clermont arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Dromore Castle

THE EARLS OF LIMERICK OWNED 4,035 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY LIMERICK

The ancestors of this noble family were originally of Lower Brittany, in France; and the first of the family upon record in Ireland is

EDMUND PERY, a son of William Pery, Bailiff of Exeter, 1578, who settled in Limerick.

This Edmund died in 1655, leaving by Susannah his wife, only daughter and heir of Stephen Sexton, Mayor of Limerick, a son and successor,

EDMUND PERY, of Stackpole Court, County Clare, a colonel in the army, who died in 1721, leaving issue,
SEXTON, his heir;
STACKPOLE, succeeded his brother;
four daughters.
Colonel Pery was succeeded by his elder son,

SEXTON PERY, of Stackpole Court, who died in 1780, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV STACKPOLE PERY, who wedded, in 1716, Jane, daughter and heir of the Ven William Twigg, Archdeacon of Limerick (by Diana, daughter and heir of Sir Drury Wray Bt, by Albinia, daughter and co-heir of Edward, Viscount Wimbledon, third son of 1st Earl of Exeter), and had, with other issue,
EDMUND SEXTON, 1st Viscount Pery;
WILLIAM CECIL, succeeded his brother;
Diana; Dymphna; Lucy; Jane.
The elder son,

EDMUND SEXTON PERY (1719-1806), MP for Limerick City, 1761-76, who having filled the office of Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland from 1771 until 1785, received upon his retirement the unanimous thanks of the House, and at the express solicitation of that branch of the legislature, was elevated to the peerage, in 1785, in the dignity of VISCOUNT PERY, of Newtown Pery, Limerick.

His lordship married firstly, in 1756, Patricia, youngest daughter of John Martin; and secondly, in 1762, Elizabeth, daughter of John, 1st Baron Knapton, and had issue,
Diana, m to Thomas, Earl of Ranfurly;
Frances, m to Nicholson Calvert MP.
His lordship died in 1806, when, leaving no male issue, his honours expired and the family estates devolved upon his brother,

THE RT REV WILLIAM CECIL PERY (1721-94), consecrated Lord Bishop of Killaloe, 1781, and translated to the bishopric of Limerick, 1784.

The Bishop was elevated to the peerage, in 1790, in the dignity of Baron Glentworth, of Mallow, County Cork.

He wedded firstly, in 1755, Jane, eldest daughter of John Walcott, of Croagh, and had issue,
EDMUND HENRY, his successor;
Eleanor, m to Sir Vere Hunt Bt.
He espoused secondly, in 1792, Dorothea, daughter of Richard Maunsell, of Limerick, and widow of General Crump, but had no further issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

EDMUND HENRY, 2nd Baron (1758-1844), who was created, in 1800, Viscount Limerick. 

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1803, as EARL OF LIMERICK (2nd creation), and enrolled amongst the peers of the United Kingdom at large, as Baron Foxford.


DROMORE CASTLE, near Pallaskenry, County Limerick, was designed ca 1867-70 by E W Godwin for the 3rd Earl of Limerick.

Built as a keep in a Gothic-Revival style, the building is archaeologically convincing both in its design and its display of distinctively Irish Gothic features, such as the round tower and stepped battlements.

Godwin studied and measured several Irish Gothic castles before producing his plans for Dromore.

He also designed much of the interior including the wall paintings, fireplaces, ceiling decoration, sculpture, tiles, stained and painted glass, brass work and ironwork, as well as furniture, to whom the commission for furniture went to William Watts of Grafton Street.

Henry Stacey Marks commenced the wall paintings; however, work was abandoned due to severe damp.

To combat this, Godwin designed a brick lining with a cavity of about two inches from the stonework, in addition the internal walls and vaults, with the exception of the main entrance vault, were also of brick.

Following the death of the 3rd Earl, the 4th Earl used the castle very little and had it boarded up in the early 1900s.

Dromore Castle was sold by the 4th Earl in 1939 to the McMahon family, who occupied it until 1960.

An attempt was then made to find a buyer for it; and when this proved unsuccessful, the castle was dismantled.

However, the ruin remains a striking feature in the landscape and is visible for miles due to its prominent elevated position.

Dromore Castle remains an important part of the social and architectural heritage of County Limerick being one of the most archaeologically correct Gothic-Revival castles that was built at that time.

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

Sunday, 16 February 2020

The Motor Home

Those of you who have been following my narrative for the last twelve years shall be aware of my fondness for the fantastic world of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves.

This morning I find myself in Wooster Mode.

How would s small de luxe motor home, fitted out with the Hypnos mattress, electricity generator for all mod cons, the plain Wilton carpeting, shower unit, wardrobe for the essential Belmont attire, and so on fit the bill?

By Jove the world would be my oyster.

Perhaps I exaggerate somewhat, though you get the gist of it.

We have had the intrepid Portillo in his trains, and could we potentially have Timothy Belmont in his motor home?

I speculate that the running costs would be in the region of £1,500 to £2,000, allowing for annual insurance, MOT test, servicing, road tax, fuel costs, site fees and so on.

The journey from Belfast or Larne to Cairryan would be another factor for continental trips.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The Moka Pot

If, like me, you are a confirmed aficionado of that great Sicilian detective, Inspector Montalbano, you shall be aware of his fondness for coffee, particularly the espresso type made in a Moka Pot.

Salvo Montalbano has a small, three-cup version in his house, and he’s often seen bringing the pot out with a bowl of sugar on a large tray to his balcony.

This is all quintessentially part of the Italian culture, I am in no doubt.

Moka pots are inexpensive and readily available on auction sites and so on.

Anybody who knows TImothy Belmont  will know that I’m no connoisseur of coffee. I enjoy it, though I’ll happily drink the instant, freeze-dried  stuff out of jars.

Nevertheless I do appreciate freshly ground coffee beans.

Recently I’ve tried the espresso variety, served in tiny cups equivalent to a large measure of gin.

I had one, in fact, at the Queen’s Film Theatre prior to watching The Lighthouse.

Having a sweet tooth I shovel a good spoonful of sugar into the cup, though, frankly, the espresso does not enthuse me at all.

What’s the point of it? If you drink it regularly does it become addictive in some way? I don’t know.

Readers, enlighten me!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Drumlease House

 THE WYNNES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LEITRIM, WITH 15,436 ACRES


This family claims descent from a distinguished chieftain of the 12th century, Rhirid Flaidd, Lord of Penrhyn, Merionethshire, within the ancient kingdom of Powys, who took the surname of Blaidd, or the wolf, from his maternal ancestor, Blaidd Rhudd, or the Bloody Wolf, Lord of Gest, near Penmorfa, Gwynedd, whose standard bore a wolf passant on an azure ground.

LEWIS GWYNNE AP CADWALLADER AP RYDDERCA AP DAVID, of Bala, wedded Sidney, daughter of Robert Wynne, of Maesmochnant, Denbighshire (of the Gwydir family), and had issue,
OWEN;
Cadwallader;
Catherine; Margaret.
The elder son,

OWEN WYNNE
 (c1620-70), the first who settled in Ireland, High Sheriff of counties Leitrim and Roscommon, 1659, married Catherine, widow of James Hamilton, son of Sir Frederick Hamilton, and daughter of Claud, 2nd Baron Hamilton of Strabane, by the Lady Jane Gordon his wife, fourth daughter of George, Marquess of Huntly, and the Lady Henrietta Stewart, daughter of Esmé, Duke of Lennox (which lady married thirdly, John Bingham, of Castlebar), and had issue,
James, killed at Malplaquet;
LEWIS, of whom hereafter;
Owen (1665-1737), MP, Lieutenant-General in the army;
John;
Catherine; Lucy; Dorothy.
The second son,

LEWIS WYNNE, married Rebecca, daughter of John Bingham, and was father of

OWEN WYNNE MP (1686-1755), of Hazelwood, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1723, Leitrim, 1724, who wedded Catherine, daughter of John ffoliot, and had issue,
James, m Susanna, daughter of Sir A Shaen Bt;
OWEN, of whom we treat;
John, died unmarried 1778.
The second son,

THE RT HON OWEN WYNNE MP (1723-89), of Hazelwood, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1745 and 1758, espoused, in 1754, Anne, sister of Robert, Earl of Farnham, and had issue,
OWEN, his heir;
John;
Henry;
Robert, of Rathmines Castle;
Richard (Rev);
William, barrister, MP;
Catherine.
Mr Wynne was succeeded by his eldest son,

OWEN WYNNE MP (1755-1841), High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1819 and 1833, who married, in 1790, the Lady Sarah Elizabeth Cole, eldest daughter of William, 1st Earl of Enniskillen, and had issue,
JOHN ARTHUR;
William Willoughby (Rev);
Anne; Sarah Frances; Elizabeth; Florence.
The eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN ARTHUR WYNNE JP (1801-65), MP for Sligo, Privy Counsellor, Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, High Sheriff for counties of Sligo and Leitrim, married, in 1838, the Lady Anne Wandesforde Butler, daughter of James, 1st Marquess of Ormonde KP, and had issue,
OWEN;
James;
Sarah; Grace Florence.
The elder son,

OWEN WYNNE JP DL (1843-1910), of Hazelwood, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1875, Leitrim, 1880, married, in 1870, Stella Fanny, youngest daughter of Sir Robert Gore-Booth Bt, and had issue,
MURIEL CAROLINE LOUISA;
Evelyn Mary; Madeline Mary; Dorothy Adelaide.
Mr Wynne, the last of his family in the direct male line at Hazelwood, succeeded his father in 1865.

His eldest daughter,

MURIEL CAROLINE LOUISA, MRS PERCEVAL, of Hazelwood, wedded, in 1892, Philip Dudley Perceval, second son of Alexander Perceval, of Temple House, County Sligo, and had issue,

DOROTHY SOPHIE PERCEVAL, born in 1903.

I have written about the family's other seat in County Sligo here.


DRUMLEASE HOUSE (also known as Lurganboy), Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, is a three-bay, two-storey over basement former glebe house, built in 1834, with a two-bay extension to the north and entrance porch.

The house was built by the original Owen Wynne who acquired land in the area, probably in the later 17th century.

It was noted as a lodge belonging to Owen Wynne in 1786.

The Rev Wilby Wynne was occupying Drumlease Glebe, barony of Dromahaire, at the time of the Griffith's Valuation.

The house, sometimes known as Lurganboy Lodge, was damaged by fire in 2002.
Former M-profile roof destroyed with ashlar chimneystacks; Snecked sandstone walls with limestone quoins and limestone string course to basement; tooled limestone block-and-start window surrounds and tooled sills set into segmental-headed blind arches to rear and side elevations; courtyard to north with renovated coach house and outbuilding.
The modest design and regular form of the former glebe is enhanced by the detailing in the stonework and the retention of many original features.


The house is located down a long private driveway and is nestled in a wooded area by the banks of the River Bonet.

Unfortunately the house was extensively damaged in a fire in 2002, although some interior joinery and fireplaces still survive.

First published in August, 2013.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Brackenber House Dinner 2020


Last night (7th February, 2020) many Old Brackenbrians gathered once again at the Ulster Reform Club, Royal Avenue, Belfast, for our annual bash.

I managed to get a parking space at North Street, near the beginning of Rosemary Street.

When I arrived a dozen or more old boys were already there, in the Old Billiards Room on the top floor of the club.


It's always a pleasure to see old faces again, even if it's once a year, and last night was no exception.

There were fifty-five of us this year, almost identical to 2019.

Gordon Harvey and Donald Bannister always organize the dinner superbly.


The after-dinner speech was carried out with considerable aplomb and humour by CT Hogg.

It was a pleasure to meet Jeremy Burchill, who now lives in Yorkshire.

Please do send me your comments and recollections, old boys.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Garryhinch House

THE WARBURTONS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 6,285 ACRES

This branch of the family is stated to be of Norman descent, springing from Warburton of Arley, Cheshire.

RICHARD WARBURTON, of Dublin, living there in 1622, left three sons and a daughter, viz.
RICHARD, his heir;
George, of Aughrim, MP;
John;
Susanna.
The eldest son, 

RICHARD WARBURTON (1636-1717), was a junior Clerk of the Council, Ireland, 1654, and afterwards Clerk-Assistant to the Irish House of Commons.

He was styled of Garryhinch in 1662, MP for Ballyshannon, 1695-1711 and 1703-13, and High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1701.

Mr Warburton wedded, in 1656, Judith, daughter of William Sandes, of Dublin, and had issue (with five daughters) an only son, 

RICHARD WARBURTON (1664-1715), of Garryhinch, MP for Portarlington, 1692-1715, who married, in 1695, Elizabeth, daughter of John Pigott, and had issue,
RICHARD, of Garryhinch (1696-1711);
JOHN, died unmarried;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
PETER, devisee of his brother Richard;
William;
Gertrude; Judith; Jane.
Mr Warburton was succeeded by his third son,

GEORGE WARBURTON, of Dublin, who espoused Jane, daughter of Richard Le Hunte, of Artramont, County Wexford, and was father of

JOHN WARBURTON (1733-1806), of Garryhinch, MP for Queen's county, 1779-94, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1786.

This gentleman was heir to his uncle Peter.

He served in early life as a military officer, and was at the taking of Quebec, under General Wolfe.

Mr Warburton married Martha, daughter of Bowes Benson, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Peter;
Martha.
Colonel Warbuton was succeeded by his elder son,

RICHARD WARBURTON JP DL (1778-1853), of Garryhinch, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1801, who wedded, in 1800, Anne, daughter of Thomas Kemmis, of Dublin, and had issue,
John, of Garryhinch, dsp 1839;
RICHARD, his successor;
George;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Elphin;
Peter;
Henry;
James;
Robert;
Arthur;
Thomas;
Anne; Martha; Susan; Mary.
Mr Warburton was succeeded by his second son,

RICHARD WARBURTON JP DL (1804-62), of Garryhinch, High Sheriff of King's County, 1845, Queen's County, 1849, who married, in 1844, Mary Ellinor, daughter and heir of Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, of Millbrook, King's County, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Hugh Dutton;
Catherine Janette; Ellinor Mary Anne; Jessie Isabelle;
Frances Sophia; Ada Blanche; Maude Alyne.
Mr Warburton was succeeded by his eldest son, 

RICHARD WARBURTON JP DL (1846-1921), of Garryhinch, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1869 and 1872, who wedded, in 1867, Georgina Wilhelmina Henrietta, daughter of William Henry Hutchinson, of Rockforest, County Tipperary, and had issue,
RICHARD HUTCHINSON DUTTON JOHN (1877-94);
Jessie Georgina Hutchinson; Mary Anne.

GARRYHINCH HOUSE, near Portarlington, was a house of early to mid-18th century appearance.

It comprised three storeys with a three-bay centre recessed between two projecting one-bay wings.


The doorway was pointed; a two-storey, three-bay range was at one side, set back.


The former demesne is now a beautiful picturesque woodland for walking and was formerly part of the Warburton estate until it was sold in 1936.

There are a number of specimen trees (remnants of ornamental plantings which adorned the big house) in the forest including monkey puzzle and lime.


The house was accidentally burnt in 1913 and later demolished for safety reasons.


Ruinous outbuildings can still be seen in the forest.

There is an old, three-arched bridge crossing the Barrow.

The forest is surrounded mainly by farmland.

Portarlington Golf Club, which has written a good history of Garryhinch and its association with the Warburtons, lies to the north-east of Garryhinch.

First published in March, 2013.  Photo credits: Liam O'Malley. 

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Holohan's & QFT

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The drive to University Square was, thank goodness, uneventful last night, unlike Christmas Eve, when somebody slammed into the back of my car as I was en route to the annual carol service at Belfast Cathedral.

I managed to find a space about half-way along the Square, the finest mid-Victorian terrace in the city of Belfast.

A number of surgeons and physicians had their consulting-rooms here about fifty years ago.

University Square now belongs to Queen's University, and the Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) is located at number 20.

As it transpires, it was quite prudent to purchase a ticket for The Lighthouse online, because a notice-board stated that they were sold out.

Holohan's Pantry, February, 2020

Having parked, I walked towards University Road, crossed to the other side, and made a bee-line for Holohan's Pantry restaurant at number 43.

I'm wondering if Holohan's is developing this entire terrace, which dates from ca 1870.

It was known as Prospect Terrace.

This was my first visit to Holohan's, so I was looking forward to it.

I wasn't disappointed.

This is a small restaurant, quite narrow in width, though it stretches back a fair distance.

I was early, so it was still quiet when I arrived.

Calvin Holohan greeted me himself and showed me to a little table tucked away nicely at the back.

It formed part of the banquette seating which surrounds two of the walls.


My first impression of it all is good: comfortable seating, abundant cushions, some wooden panelling, distinctive paintings and so on.

The menu is clear, straightforward and concise, too.

It's not too large, to its credit, and has a balanced menu comprising the best of local produce.

I imagine that, if there is a signature dish, it has to be the Boxty, a traditional potato pancake.

Before I ordered Calvin told me a bit about his career and times in Dublin and County Mayo; and his schooldays at Kylemore Abbey.

The first course arrived, I suppose, within five to ten minutes.


This was the Portavogie prawns with coleslaw and and alioli.

The little prawns were lightly battered in, perhaps a sort of tempura manner, sitting on top of the salad.

Everything was light and delicious.

The alioli was lightly flavoured with garlic.

Not long afterwards the main course arrived: the Holohan's Pan Boxty, which was filled with large chunks of succulent smoked haddock and salmon in a rich sauce.

It came with seasonal vegetables, one of which looked like curly parsley.

Was it kale?

Seafood Boxty

Nevertheless, it was all delicious and I cleaned my plate, as it were.

The Boxty, by the way, is reminiscent of a crêpe, except that it's made of potato.

If you like potato bread or farls, you'll enjoy it.

Unfortunately I hadn't enough room for a full pudding, so decided to settle up and leave.

I'll certainly be back to Holohan's, as I told Calvin, a great and worthy host, and the charming staff.

*****

THE QFT is a mere hop, skip and jump from Holohan's, though I had a bit of time to kill so I ventured into the main bar of Duke's Hotel, called The Practitioner.

The Lighthouse began at ten past eight, so, having had a coffee, I found a seat and made myself comfortable.

The Lighthouse is not a conventional film.

For a start, it's made in black-and-white, and in the old 'box' style as opposed to wide-screen.

The first impression was that it could have been made in another era, though of course the sound and picture quality, and special effects were state-of-the-art.

This movie has been described as a psychological horror film.

It's brutal, and the characters (a cast of two) are coarse and vulgar, particularly the head keeper, the self-righteous Thomas Wake, who farts, bombasts, and bullies his subordinate (Ephraim Winslow).

These were powerful performances by Robert Pattinson (Ephraim) and Willem Dafoe (Thomas).

The theme is essentially about the relationship between the two, and the circumstances which led to their madness and destruction.

Much has already been written about the film, so I shan't elaborate any further.

I enjoyed it, though wouldn't advise Auntie Nellie to go, as it were.

It's definitely not for those of a sensitive or nervous disposition.