Monday, 31 May 2021

Hollymount Visit

The Lakeside Inn, with the old mill in the distance (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

I spent yesterday (Sunday, the 30th May, 2021), at BALLYDUGAN, a delightful place several miles from Downpatrick, County Down.

Ballydugan is one of those unspoiled spots deep in the countryside, where old barns and disused railway lines abound with ivy; wildlife thrives; and the main feature, beautiful Ballydugan Lake, is the centre of attraction.

It is mentioned briefly in the Topographical Dictionary: "About two miles from the town is the beautiful lake of Ballydugan ; and near it is Ballydugan House, memorable as the residence of Col. White, who was murdered, and the mansion burnt in the war of 1641."

I have visited this place many times, and usually park at a little carpark beside the lake and adjacent to the inn.

Across the road there is the old mill, a large building now transformed into a hotel or guesthouse.

Carpark beside Ballydugan Lake (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

I'd brought a packed lunch with me, intending to park at the lakeside car-park, though it was closed, so instead I managed to tuck my car into a space outside the park.

The LAKESIDE INN was closed as usual.

It was a glorious sunny day, and one of my plans was to seek the historic Hollymount Demesne.

It's not easy to find. In fact, it doesn't even feature in my old OS one-inch map of South Down, though I knew that it was at Hollymount National Nature Reserve.

While I was walking along the country road in the vicinity, a farmer approached in his tractor, so I flagged him down and inquired about it.

Fortunately he was friendly and helpful, and explained how to get to Hollymount.

Hollymount is an old, overgrown, unspoiled 17th or 18th century demesne; bluebells and wild garlic thrive here, with some very old parkland trees.

Ballydugan Medieval Settlement (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

En route I encountered a lady with her two children, picking wild garlic for the open day at Ballydugan Medieval Settlement, a "living history" Viking village beside Ballydugan Lake.

Eventually I emerged at what I assumed were the remains of the old mansion house, though I now know that I'd encountered the farmyard, which stands a bit north of the house.

Hollymount Farmyard (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

These buildings are dilapidated, ruinous, overgrown and barely discernible from a distance; interesting, nevertheless.

I'll return to Hollymount another day to find and explore what's left of the house.

A view of Hollymount in the road to Downpatrick: A sketch by Mrs Delany, 1745

I do wonder why the demesne was abandoned by the Prices in favour of Saintfield Demesne.

Incidentally, Hollymount House features in J A K Dean's Plight of the Big House in Northern Ireland.

Hollymount Demesne ca 1830 (Click to Enlarge)

After lunch I wandered off in the other direction, towards Ballydugan Cottages at the opposite side of the lake.

The Edgington Windbreaker (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

What a lovely day it was. during the drive home I stopped off at Quoile Countryside Centre for a short walk to Steamboat Quay.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

The School Report

Several years ago I stumbled upon a large brown envelope, full of miscellaneous documents relating to Brackenber House School; and containing my personal Report Book.

This booklet is red in colour.

The first page states: To be returned to the Headmaster at the beginning of each term.

My final Brackenber report was in the Summer Term of 1973, when I was thirteen years old.

I was in Form Five, and the average number of pupils in the form was 15:-

LATIN: "Good progress" (Mr Maguire)

FRENCH: "Good" (Mr McQuoid)

ENGLISH: "His English has improved considerably" (Mr McQuoid)

SCRIPTURE: "Good progress" (TP)

HISTORY: "Not very good" (Mr Craig)

GEOGRAPHY: "Steady improvement" (Mr Maguire)

MATHEMATICS: "He has worked very well this term" (Mr Magowan?)

ALGEBRA/GEOMETRY "Has improved but still gaps in his knowledge of elementary ***

DRAWING: "Some good work" (Mr Cross?)

SCIENCE: "Satisfactory" (Mrs Dunlop)

GENERAL REPORT: "He has made satisfactory progress generally... he did well to pass the Common Entrance considering the great handicap [late starter] he had. He has had a good career here & we wish him well at Campbell" (Mr Craig)

CONDUCT: "Excellent" (Mr Craig)

GAMES: "He made good progress in his game of cricket & proved a fine runner"

Doubtless some of them were being charitable to me.

I was awful at Maths, geography and history.

As Mr Craig, said, though, I was a very good sprinter and promising athlete.

First published in November, 2009.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Watermill Restaurant

Watermill Lodge

It is always a true pleasure to visit County Fermanagh.

I was there for four days several years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pascal Brissaud's attention to detail is remarkable.

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

Large bellows table

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

I sat at a table near the bar.

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

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

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

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

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

I ordered a dish of mixed vegetables as well.

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

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

I hope to base myself here the next time.

Historic Ballydugan

In May, 2017, I paid a visit to Inch Abbey, Downpatrick and Ballydugan.

It is such a long time since I have visited Inch Abbey, that extensive, ruined monastic site on the banks of the river Quoile, just outside Downpatrick, county town of County Down.

These visits always fill me with a sense of nostalgia, a taste of former times, picnicking, glorious meadows in the summer.

Inch Abbey, by the way, is an idyllic picnic spot, if the weather is clement enough.

It was a monastery from about 1180 till 1541, when it was dissolved by HENRY VIII.

The graveyard adjacent to the little car-park at Inch Abbey is dominated by the tomb or vault of the Perceval-Maxwells of  FINNEBROGUE.

They were the landowners and presented Inch Abbey to the state in 1910.

Thence I jumped into the two-seater and made my jolly way in a south-easterly direction, over the river, to the historic town of Downpatrick.

Down Cathedral stands proudly to the extreme west of the town, overlooking Inch Abbey across the river Quoile.

I made a bee-line for Down County Museum, which is located in the historic buildings of the former County Gaol of Down.

The Gaol was opened in 1796 until its closure in 1830, when it became a military barracks.

I ambled up the hill to the cathedral.

The cathedral's graveyard lies directly opposite the west front.

The most commanding vault, almost like a little chapel itself, boasts stone pinnacles (larger versions of which adorn the cathedral) and stands at a corner of the graveyard directly overlooking the cathedral's west front.

It has an inscription in capital letters, viz. HASTINGS.

A black cat was sleeping on a grave further along.

Any reader who knows me shall be aware that I never pass a cat without greeting it cordially, and this occasion happened to be no exception.

In fact I persevered and at length my feline devotee was roused and befriended me; to the extent that it followed me into a field and up to the threshold of the cathedral.

Incidentally, the Perceval-Maxwells, like many other landed families of County Down, were patrons of Down Cathedral.

Their armorial bearings are resplendent on large, carved, colourful plaques along the walls of the nave.

Thereafter I motored in a south-westerly direction towards the townland of Ballydugan, a truly heavenly spot in the county.

Ballydugan is a hop, skip and jump away from Downpatrick; yet you are struck by its tranquillity and "olde worlde" charm.

A cursory glance at the map shall indicate that we are within riding-distance of Downpatrick Racecourse.

I have already written about BALLYDUGAN HOUSE.

The old flour mill of Ballydugan is now a guesthouse and undertakes weddings and other functions.

It was built in 1792 by one John Auchinleck of Strangford, County Down.

Rubble masonry was used in its construction.

It is six bays in width and six storeys in height, plus two attic storeys; an impressive, stone-walled forecourt and a gatehouse.

A lofty, tapered brick chimney stands behind the mill.

A mere thirty or forty yards along the road from the mill stands the Lakeside Inn, a former coaching inn, post-office and spirit grocer's.

Margaret Ferguson, whose family owns the inn, has traced the building back to 1840.

Margaret has run the inn for seven years, since the death of her mother Meta.

Her grandfather, Thomas Hutton, ran it in 1899; and his brother, Bernard, took over till 1890.

It came into the family in 1925 when Margaret's grandfather, Thomas Hutton, bought it after 26 years working there.

He died in 1959, and his daughter Meta ran it thereafter.

Meta Hutton died in 2012 and Margaret with her husband Geoffrey have taken the helm.

The two-seater was parked beside the charming little lake at Ballydugan.

I strolled along the road on its eastern side and several hundred yards further along The Old Town emerged.

It was almost akin to stepping back in time.

This is what the Irish call a clachan, a small cluster of buildings huddled together, usually inhabited formerly by extended families and neighbours.

A Christian community known as The Old Town Community is based here.

Ballydugan Cottages have been turned into holiday accommodation.

The Old Town overlooks Ballydugan Lake.

A wooden sign nailed to a tree declares that Belfast Anglers Club has the fishing rights.

Back at the lakeside car-park, I munched my sandwiches and gave a few crumbs to the sparrows outside.

The Lake House in 2014

At the north side of the lake stands an old cottage known variously as Lake Cottage, Ballydugan Cottage, and Lake House.

Its address is Drumcullan Road.

This building and its location interest me, and I intend to write an article about it and its inhabitants soon.

First published in May, 2017.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Kilcolman Abbey


MAJOR JOHN GODFREY, of Colonel Edmund Ludlow's Regiment of Horse (a member of the ancient family of GODFREY, of Romney, Kent), obtained for his services in Ireland during the rebellion of 1641, a grant of 4,980 acres of land in County Kerry, and settled there.

He married Miss Davies, and was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM GODFREY, of Bushfield, County Kerry, and Knockgraffon, County Tipperary, who wedded Deborah, only child of Alderman Luke Lowther, of the city of Dublin, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

JOHN GODFREY, of Bushfield, who espoused Philippa, daughter of Anthony Chearnley, of Burncourt, County Tipperary, and had issue,
William, dsp;
JOHN, his successor.
Mr Godfrey died in 1712, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JOHN GODFREY, of Bushfield, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1754, who married Barbara, daughter of the Rev Mr Hathway, and granddaughter (maternally) of the 1st Earl Coningsby, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Luke (Rev Dr), Rector of Middleton, Co Cork;
Letitia; Phillippa.
Mr Godfrey died in 1782, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM GODFREY (1739-1817), of Bushfield, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1780, who was created a baronet in 1785, designated of Bushfield, County Kerry.

Sir William, MP for Tralee, 1783-90, Belfast, 1792-7, wedded, in 1761, Agnes, only daughter of William Blennerhassett, of Elm Grove, County Kerry, and had surviving issue,
JOHN, his heir;
William (Rev), Rector of Kenmare;
Luke, a major in the army;
Letitia; Agnes; Phillippa; Arabella; Margaret; Elizabeth.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN GODFREY, 2nd Baronet (1763-1841), who espoused, in 1796, Eleanor, eldest daughter of John Cromie, of CROMORE, County Londonderry, and had issue,
John (Rev);
Henry Alexander;
James George;
Richard Frankland;
Anne; Agnes; Eleanor.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM DUNCAN GODFREY, 3rd Baronet (1797-1873), JP DL, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1829, who married, in 1824, Mary Teresa, second daughter of John Coltsman, of County Kerry, and had issue,
JOHN FERMOR, his heir;
Henry Arthur;
Christiana; Eleanor Isabella.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN FERMOR GODFREY, 4th Baronet (1828-1900), High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1861.
  • Sir John Fermor Godfrey, 4th Baronet (1828–1900);
  • Sir William Cecil Godfrey, 5th Baronet (1857–1926);
  • Sir John Ernest Godfrey, 6th Baronet (1864–1935);
  • Sir William Maurice Godfrey, 7th Baronet (1909–1971).
The baronetcy expired following the decease of the 7th Baronet, without male issue.

KILCOLMAN ABBEY, formerly Bushfield, Milltown, County Kerry, was granted in 1641 by CHARLES II to Major John Godfrey "for his services against the rebels".

Sir William Petty, in his Reflections on Matters and Things in Ireland, called this donation "by no means an equivalent for the Major's services".

Kilcolman: ruinous in 1976

It was built ca 1800 by Sir William Godfrey, 1st Baronet, comprising a fairly plain, Georgian, three-storey block.

The house was altered in 1819 by Sir John, 2nd Baronet to designs of W V Morrison, who gave it a Tudor-Revival makeover, with four slender turrets on each corner, topped by cupolas (not dissimilar to Glenarm Castle and Borris).

A two-storey service wing was added later.

Morrison created a two-storey galleried hall, which opened with arches on to the hall.

The Godfrey family continued to live at Kilcolman until about 1960, when it was abandoned.

It was demolished in 1977.

First published in March, 2016.

Belfast Courthouse

THE COURTHOUSE, situated at 88-92, Crumlin Road, Belfast, was built by James Carlisle in 1848-50, to designs of SIR CHARLES LANYON.

The clerk of works was W H Lynn.

The building cost £16,500 (almost £2 million in today's money).

The figure of Justice at the apex of the portico was sculpted by William Boyton Kirk, of Dublin.

The building was enlarged in 1905-06 to the designs of Young & Mackenzie, architects, with McLaughlin & Harvey, builders.

The primary designs for the court-house were produced in 1847, though subsequently revised as they were too costly to proceed.

It was built due to the transfer of the assizes from Carrickfergus to Belfast.

The building was formally opened as the County Antrim Court-house at the Summer Assizes in 1850.

It was closed as a court-house in June, 1998.
Lanyon's original building of 1850 comprised a portico and steps; the Main Hall, with the Record Court to the east, and the Crown Court to west; and the remainder of the building to the south of those three main spaces, except the single storey wings to the side of the Record Court and Crown Court, and the minor insertion of toilet facilities in the open areas or light wells.
It also included a tunnel from the dock in the Crown Court, passing below the Crumlin Road, to link with the gaol opposite; and a tunnel from the rear basement area to the street at the south.

The boundary railings and piers were also part of the original building, erected in 1850, when similar railings and piers were erected in front of the gaol.

In 1905-06, the front face of the court-house to each side of the portico was brought forward to create front offices, two-thirds of the depth of Lanyon's original portico.

It was extended at each extremity, beyond the line of the Record and Crown courts, to form wings, with single-storey blocks returning to the rear of the wings to flank the courts on the east and west sides.

A pair of staircases was added, one in each wing to each side of the Main Hall at the front of the building, with new arched windows on a raking line to each staircase.

Lanyon's twin staircases were replaced to the rear of the portico by the Postal Office and Switch room to each side of the triple-arched open entrance vestibule.

Sir Charles's raking first floor gallery to the front of the Main Hall was removed and replaced by a transverse first-floor corridor, with four rooms overlooking the covered area within the portico.

Five new first-floor windows were inserted for the new rooms in the rear wall of the portico immediately above the triple-arched entrance.

TODAY the front façade of the building is by Young & Mackenzie, 1905-06, excepting the original portico of 1850.

The windows in the rear wall of the portico were all inserted by Young & Mackenzie.
The entire mid-portion, or main block, from the east wall of the Record Court to the west wall of the Crown Court, together with the broad central rear return, are all by Lanyon and are mostly intact, containing a number of important original interior spaces, including the Main Hall, the Record Court, the Crown Court, the central arcaded corridor, and the western back stair-hall; the former Sheriff's Room and Grand Jury Room in the ground floor of the rear return; the arcaded landings and the former Grand Jury dining-room on the first floor of the rear return.
The two-storey elevations to the south of the long front block (or wings) are thus essentially all by Lanyon, except for the first bay at the north end on each side.

The projecting single-storey blocks are by Young & Mackenzie.

THE COURTHOUSE closed in June, 1998, after almost 150 years of continuous usage.

The two acre site was sold to Ewart properties for the nominal sum of £1, though tied to the construction of the new Laganside court building at Oxford Street, Belfast.

A planning application was submitted in June, 2003, to convert the building into offices, including the demolition of a rear section and construction of a new extension.

This was approved in November, 2004; however, Ewart's sold the building for £35,000 to Barry Gilligan when he left his position within Ewart's in 2003.

In September, 2006, a new planning application was submitted seeking to convert the building into a 161-bed hotel with ten suites, a health suite, conference facilities (within the original Crown court-room) and 92 parking spaces.

Planning permission for the £25m proposal was granted in November, 2007; but in March, 2009, a malicious fire caused extensive internal damage.

A further two fires on the 15th and 16th August, 2009, caused grave damage to the roof.

Consequently, Mr Gilligan claimed that a re-appraisal of the development plans was required, as the lack of grant aid and resulting levels of damage made the hotel project unviable.

In January, 2013, it became apparent that the Northern Ireland Department of Social Development (DSD) was to complete an options appraisal on the future of the court-house, including the vesting or purchase of the building.

In June, 2013, Belfast City Council considered acquiring the old court-house for European Peace IV Capital Funding, to include its renovation as a "Shared History Belfast Story" museum, built heritage centre, and destination point for the North Belfast cultural corridor.

The project could also include the development of Crumlin Road Gaol as a cultural industries space in one of two vacant wings, in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

This would be in the context of a DSD master-plan for the cultural corridor, as well as Belfast City Councils own master-plan.

To progress this funding option, Belfast City Council was required meet full information requirements by September, 2013, and address the ownership of the building.

DSD thereafter completed their options appraisal.

In August, 2013, the Minister for Social Development announced that Turley Associates had commenced work on a development study.

The Belfast Telegraph reported in 2017 that the Signature Living hotel group had acquired the building and intended to convert it to hotel use.

The old courthouse, which has planning permission for conversion to a hotel, was for sale again in 2019.

(Image: Northern Ireland Fire Service, June, 2020)

It suffered another serious fire in June, 2020.

This historic building remains derelict and neglected today (May, 2021).

First published in February, 2015.  I am grateful to Gary Potter of Future Belfast for information.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Lake House, Ballydugan

The Lake House in 2014

THE TOWNLAND of Ballydugan lies a few miles south-west of Downpatrick, County Down.

In olden times the county was occasionally referred to as Downshire, and the Hills, Marquesses of Downshire, take their title from this county.

The nearest railway station was at Downpatrick, though the line closed down in 1950.

Downpatrick Racecourse had a halt which operated on race days only.

Ballydugan flour mill, now restored as a guesthouse, was built in 1792.

The beautiful Ballydugan Lake, which stands nearby, was used as a water source for the mill.

BALLYDUGAN HOUSE stands between the Lake and the race-course to the east.

Directly beside the lake is the LAKESIDE INN.

Ballydugan Cottage was associated with the adjacent mill and seems to have been built ca 1830.

This is a 1½ storey house with dormers comprising three bays, overlooking Ballydugan Lake, on Drumcullan Road.

The cottage has a modest garden at the front, bounded to the road by a rendered boundary wall.

A sloped garden rises via stone steps to wooded ground at the north.

There is a larger garden at the opposite, lake side of the road, a well-maintained, sweeping lawn, bounded by Ballydugan Lake to the west.

It truly is a most picturesque landscape, with a fine prospect of the lake and the Mourne Mountains to the west.

Isaac Hardy rented the single-storey cottage and the associated mill from William Wallace, Robert Denvir and Sarah Rentoul, though we do not know whether Mr Hardy resided at the cottage.

By the mid-19th century, Ballydugan Cottage lay vacant whilst the flour mill, less than 70 years after its construction, had been abandoned.

In 1871, the cottage was leased by William Wallace & Partners.

Major Charles C Johnston resided at the cottage, then known as ‘Lake Cottage’ during the 1870s.

Major Johnston continued to reside at Lake Cottage until 1889, when the REV CANON LEWIS ARTHUR POOLER acquired it.

The cottage was subsequently considerably remodelled ca 1890 with the addition of Victorian features, including its dormer windows.

Dr Pooler was a canon of Down Cathedral and also Deputy Master of the County Down Grand Orange Lodge.

He continued to reside at Lake Cottage until the end of the 19th century.

In 1901 Lake Cottage was occupied by a solicitor called George T Harley, who changed its name to Ballydugan Cottage.

Mr Harley was a native of the city of Cork and resided at Ballydugan with his wife, Clara, and their daughter, May.

The 1901 census records that there were a number of staff employed to administer the household including a nurse and two domestic servants.

Ballydugan Cottage comprised 14 rooms at this time.

The Harleys continued to reside at the cottage until 1909, when the property briefly came into the possession of Mr C M Russell, also a solicitor.

Mr Russell resided at Ballydugan Cottage with his wife Ann until 1912, when it was bought outright from Colonel the Rt Hon Robert Hugh Wallace CB CBE (1860-1929), of MYRA CASTLE, by one James Kelly.

Mr Kelly occupied the cottage during the 1930s; however, he had vacated it by the 1950s, when, about 1956, his relative, Kathleen Kelly, came into possession.

I visited the Lake House recently and it appears to be undergoing a complete restoration.

The garden in front of the house (beside the lake) has been landscaped and lawn sweeps down to the water.

I intend to revisit Ballydugan during the summer, have a small shandy in the Lakeside Inn, and photograph the Lake House and its garden beside the lake.

First published in May, 2017.

Dunsandle House

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, Galway Borough, 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.
Rt Hon Denis Daly (Image: Wikipedia)

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, in the dignity of 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;
Bowes Richard;
Margaret Eleanor; Rosa Gertrude Harriet.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

DENIS ST GEORGE, 2nd Baron (1810-93), DL, Captain, 7th Dragoons, who wedded, in 1864, Mary, daughter of William Broderick, though dying without legitimate male issue, the family honours devolved upon his next brother,

SKEFFINGTON JAMES, 3rd Baron (1811-94), who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

JAMES FREDERICK, 4th Baron (1849-1911) (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.

The 4th Baron died unmarried, when the titles became extinct.

Dunsandle House (Image: Irish Times)

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.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The Bangor Bell

McCance of Knocknagoney

THE BELL of Bangor Abbey, County Down, dating from 825AD, was reputedly found at the Abbey ca 1780, and it is speculated that it had been hidden at the time of the Viking attacks on Irish monasteries.

It was in private hands for some 150 years, and then housed in the Ulster Museum before coming to Bangor Borough Council in the 1950s.

The cast-iron bronze bell would have been used to call the monks to prayer.

This bell was in the possession of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCance (1843-1922), of Knocknagoney House, near Holywood, County Down, whose great-grandfather found it in the ruins of the Abbey.

Knocknagoney House

In the historic Ulster Journal of Archæology it was recorded that
"this bell was found in the ruins of the abbey about sixty years ago" (last decade of the 18th century) and was in 1853 in possession of Dr Stephenson, of Belfast." 
The Bell has been at North Down Museum, Bangor, since 1984.

It shows the flowering of Irish Christian civilisation which was set back by the pagan Viking attacks.

First published in June, 2015. 

1st Baron Killanin


The family of MORRIS is one of the "Tribes of Galway", an expression first used by Cromwell's soldiers in 1652.

So far back as 1486 Richard Morris was Bailiff of Galway under a charter granted in 1485 by RICHARD III to the inhabitants of Galway, empowering them to elect a mayor and two bailiffs.
From him were lineally descended John Morris, Bailiff of Galway, 1501; William Morris, Mayor of Galway, 1527; Andrew Morris, Mayor of Galway, 1588; George Morris, Bailiff of Galway, 1588; John Morris, of Galway; Andrew Morris, of Galway; and James Morris, of Galway.
GEORGE MORRIS, of Spiddal, County Galway (son of JAMES MORRIS), served in JAMES II's army.

He married, in 1684, Catherine, daughter of John Fitzpatrick, of Loughmore, in the south island of Arran, whose nephew Richard Fitzpatrick represented Galway in the Irish parliament, 1749-61.

By this marriage the property of Spiddal was acquired.

His only son,

ANDREW MORRIS, of Spiddal and Galway, wedded Monica Browne, of the family of Gloves, near Athenry, and had two sons,
JAMES, of whom we treat.
The second son,

JAMES MORRIS (1732-1813), of Spiddal and Galway, espoused, in 1762, Deborah, daughter of Nicholas Lynch, of Galway, and had issue,
MARTIN, of whom hereafter;
Monica; Mary.
His third son,

MARTIN MORRIS JP (1784-1862), of Spiddal and Galway, High Sheriff of Galway, 1841, married, in 1822, Julia, daughter of Dr Charles Blake, of Galway, and had two sons and two daughters,
MICHAEL, of whom presently;
George (Sir), KCB DL MP etc;
Jane Caroline; Lizzie.
Mr Morris's elder son,

THE RT HON SIR MICHAEL MORRIS QC (1826-1901), of Spiddal and Galway, wedded, in 1860, Anna, daughter of Henry George Hughes, Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland. and had issue,
George Henry, father of the 3rd Baron;
Michael Redmond;
Charles Ambrose;
Lily; Rose Julia; Maud Anna; Mary Kathleen;
Frances Anne; Eileen Elizabeth.
Sir Michael rose to become one of the most distinguished judges of his time, as LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE KING'S BENCH FOR IRELAND, 1887-89.

He was created a baronet, in 1885, designated of Spiddal, County Galway.

Following his appointment as a law lord, in 1889, Sir Michael was elevated to the peerage, in the dignity of BARON KILLANIN, of Galway, County Galway.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

MARTIN HENRY FITZPATRICK, 2nd Baron (1867-1927), PC JP, of Spiddal, High Sheriff of County Galway, 1897.

His lordship was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Galway, from 1918 until 1922.

He died unmarried, when the titles reverted to his nephew (son of Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon George Henry Morris, Irish Guards),

MICHAEL, 3rd Baron (1914-99), MBE TD, of Spiddal, who espoused, in 1945, (Mary) Sheila Cathcart Dunlop MBE, daughter of the Rev Canon Douglas Lyall Cathcart Dunlop, and had issue,
Michael Francis Leo "Mouse";
John Martin;
Monica Deborah.
His lordship, a journalist, author, and sport official, was renowned for his presidency of the International Olympic Committee.

He was appointed MBE (Military Division), 1945.

The 3rd Baron was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE REDMOND FITZPATRICK, 4th and present Baron, born in 1947, a film producer, who wedded firstly, in 1972, Pauline, daughter of Geoffrey Horton, and had issue,
Olivia Rose Elizabeth, born in 1974.
He married secondly, in 2000, Sheila Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Lynch.

The present Baron lives in Dublin.

SPIDDAL HOUSE, Spiddal, County Galway, replaced a considerable smaller Georgian house.

The present mansion consists of two and three storeys, in different places.

It was built in 1910 for Martin, 2nd Lord Killanin.

The windows are rectangular, plain, Romanesque-style.

One end of the house features a tower (a belvedere prior to the 1923 fire) with Romanesque columns.

Beside this tower there is a two-storey veranda with further Romanesque columns and arches.

The opposite end has a loggia, joined to the house by a colonnade with an iron balcony.

Spiddal House suffered a fire in 1923 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1931.

The 3rd Baron sold Spittal about 1960.

Former Dublin residence ~ 22 Lower Ftzwilliam Street.

First published in July, 2015.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Ashfield Park


JOSEPH TRIMBLE, of Ashfield Park, County Tyrone (whose mother, Margaret, was daughter of George Brackenridge, of Ballymacan (Ballagh), County Tyrone), died in 1841, leaving issue, by Catherine his wife, daughter of Thomas Smith, of Lisnaskea,
Jane, m;
Margaret, m.
He was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE CHARLES BRACKENRIDGE JP DL (1814-79), of Ashfield Park, a barrister, who assumed, in 1846, the metronymic of BRACKENRIDGE in lieu of Trimble, and the arms of Brackenridge quarterly with those of Trimble.

Mr Brackenridge married, in 1870, Matilda Anne (d 1919), daughter of the Rev Sir John Richardson-Bunbury Bt, and had an only child,


Photo Credit:

ASHFIELD PARK, near Clogher, County Tyrone, stands close to the Fardross estate.

It was built in 1840 in the Italianate style.

It comprises two storeys and four bays, with a hipped slate roof.

A concealed glass dome is in the centre of the roof.

The doorway has a flight of steps; and above the door there is a rounded arch with fanlight.

There are paired, recessed windows with Corinthian columns forming mullions.

Canted, two-storey bays are on the eastern side.

Photo Credit:

George Charles Brackenridge built a monumental tower for himself on a hilltop in his estate, where he was interred.

This triple-tiered mausoleum of 1847 comprises a three-storey tower topped with an iron railing, above a vault.

The base is square and at ground-floor level there are arched door and window openings.

The entrance is accessible by means of a narrow stairway a mere 18" in width.

The top floor is reached by a ladder through a trapdoor.

Mr Brackenridge's memorial tower was plundered during the 2nd World War by troops garrisoned in the vicinity.

First published in April, 2015.

Monday, 24 May 2021



KILMOOD, or Kilmuid, a parish in the barony of Lower Castlereagh, County Down, contiguous to the post-town of KILLINCHY, and on the road from Belfast to Downpatrick.

The parish, together with an extensive manor having various important privileges, formed part of the possessions of the ancient monastery of COMBER.

It comprises 4,634½ statute acres, of which about 34 are water; 38 consist of plantations in the demesne of FLORIDA; and from 40 to 50 are bog.

The soil is generally fertile, and the land in a high state of cultivation.

In almost every part of the bog are found numbers of oak, birch, and fir trees of full growth, the last of which are especially in a high state of preservation; they are sawn with difficulty, and the timber, said to be more durable than oak, is much used in building.

The oaks are large, some measuring 30 feet in girth, and are found beneath the fir at a depth of 26 feet, but in general much decayed.

The parish is remarkably healthy, and free from poverty.

Florida manor-house, an elegant mansion, is the principal seat.

A court leet and baron is held every third week by the seneschal of the manor, at which debts under 40s are recoverable, and of which the jurisdiction extends over the whole of this parish, and the townland of Drumreagh in the parish of Killinchy.

Petty sessions are also held in the MANOR COURTHOUSE, a handsome building erected in 1822.

During the disturbances of 1798, the manor of Florida raised a battalion of yeomanry; the men still retain their arms and accoutrements, but of late have been seldom called out by the government to exercise.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Down, and in the alternate patronage of the MARQUESS OF DOWNSHIRE and the family of Gordon, in the latter of whom the rectory is impropriate.

A handsome glebe house was built in 1825, partly by £415 [about £40,000 in 2020] and a loan of £129 from the Board of First Fruits; and the family of Gordon, in consideration of getting the alternate presentation, gave 10 acres of land as a glebe, and endowed the vicarage with a rent charge of £40 payable out of their estate of Florida.

The Church, after the dissolution of the monastery of Comber, fell into decay, and the tithes were annexed to those of the parish of Hillsborough, 14 miles distant; but in 1821, the PRESENT CHURCH, an elegant structure in the later English style, with a handsome tower and spire rising to the height of 120 feet, was erected near the site of the ancient ruins, at the joint expense of the lord of the manor and the Marquess of Londonderry, aided by a gift of £900 [about £100,000 in 2020] from the Board of First Fruits.

The interior is fitted up with Riga oak; the east window, of stained-glass, and of large dimensions and very beautiful, appears to have been copied from that of Salisbury Cathedral.

In the church-yard is a mausoleum belonging to the Gordon family.

A handsome school-house was erected by Mr Gordon and the Marquess of Londonderry; the school is supported by the trustees of Erasmus Smith's charity, who pay the master £25 per annum.

A school at Drumhirk was built, and is supported by Lord Dufferin, and there are also two private schools, in which are about 150 children; and a flourishing Sunday school union, consisting of more than 600 members.

An extensive religious lending library is kept for the use of the poor.

House of Rawdon

The illustrious family of RAWDON deduced its pedigree from Paulinus de Rawdon, to whom William the Conqueror granted considerable estates.

This Paulyn, or Paulinus, commanded a band of archers in the Norman invading army, and derived his surname of Rawdon, from the lands of that denomination, near Leeds, which constituted a portion of the royal grant.

From this successful soldier lineally sprang, 19th in descent, through a line of eminent ancestors,

GEORGE RAWDON (1604-84), who settled in Ireland, and took an active part as a military commander during the rebellion of 1641, in that kingdom; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of Ireland.

Mr Rawdon married, in 1654, Dorothy, daughter of Edward, 2nd Viscount Conway.

They lived at MOIRA CASTLE, County Down.

Moira Castle. Photo Credit: Royal Irish Academy © RIA

He was the only son and heir of Francis Rawdon, of Rawdon Hill, near Leeds in Yorkshire.

Rawdon went to Court about the end of the reign of JAMES I and became private secretary to Lord Conway, Secretary of State.

After Lord Conway's death, Rawdon was attached to his son, the 2nd Viscount Conway, who had large estates in County Down. 

George Rawdon became his secretary (or agent) and frequently visited the Lisburn area.

He commanded a company of soldiers, and sat in the Irish Parliament of 1639 as MP for Belfast.

When the Irish Rebellion broke out on 23rd October, 1641, Rawdon was in London; but he lost no time in coming to the post of duty.

He travelled at once to Scotland, and crossed to Bangor, reaching Lisburn on the 27th November. 

The account of his visit to Lisburn at this critical time is fully recorded in a most interesting and vivid contemporary note in the old Vestry Book of Lisburn Cathedral.

The towns of Moira and Ballynahinch were founded by Rawdon.

He married, in 1639, Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, and widow of Francis Hill, of Hillhall, by whom he had no surviving issue.

After her death he espoused, in 1654, Dorothy, eldest daughter of Edward, Viscount Conway.

She died in 1676.

There was an only son of this marriage, Sir Arthur Rawdon, who was buried beside his father in the vault.

Mr Rawdon was created a baronet in 1655, designated of Moira, County Down.

He died in 1684 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,  

SIR ARTHUR RAWDON, 2nd Baronet (1662-95), MP for County Down, 1692-5, a distinguished soldier, like his father, and a leader of the "Loyalists of Ulster", who fought against the army of JAMES II.

Sir Arthur was in Londonderry during the siege, but as he was dangerously ill he had to leave the town by the advice of his doctor.

His only son, 

SIR JOHN RAWDON, 3rd Baronet (1690-1724), MP for County Down, 1717-24, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge Bt, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons (she, after his death, married the Most Rev Charles Cobbe, Lord Archbishop of Dublin), and had issue, an only child,

SIR JOHN RAWDON, 4th Baronet (1720-93), High Sheriff of County Down, 1749, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, in the dignity of Baron Rawdon, of Moira, County Down.

His lordship was advanced to an earldom, in 1762, as EARL OF MOIRA.

He married thrice: firstly, to the Lady Helena, daughter of the Earl of Egmont; secondly, to Anna Hill, daughter of the Viscount Hillsborough; and thirdly, to the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon.

His eldest son,  

FRANCIS EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1754-1826), KG PC, was advanced to a marquessate, in the dignity of MARQUESS OF HASTINGS.

His lordship was a distinguished soldier and scholar, Governor-General of India, Fellow of the Royal Society, and fought in the American war.

He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

All of these subsidiary titles, including the baronetcy, became extinct in 1868,  following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet.
     First published in January, 2012.