Monday, 31 August 2015

Mayoral Occupants

MY FASCINATION with the history of the city of Belfast's Rolls-Royce Phantom VI continues.

The following Lord Mayors enjoyed the privilege of being conveyed in that stately limousine:-

1966-69     William Duncan Geddis,
Studied at Skerries College in Belfast before becoming a clothing manufacturer; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1966-69.
1969-72     Joseph Foster Cairns,
Managing director of a furniture retailer, and chairman of a development company; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1969-71.
1972-75     Sir William Christie MBE JP,
Proprietor of a wallpaper company in Belfast; Lord Mayor, 1972-75. During this time his home and business were attacked several times, and his wife survived a gunshot to the head in 1972. 
His time in office coincided with the suspension of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and he was therefore the first Lord Mayor since John White in 1920 not to serve as an ex-officio member of the NI Senate. He retired in 1977.
1975-77     Sir Myles Humphreys JP DL,
Ulster Unionist Party politician, engineer and businessman; Lord Mayor, 1975-77; chaired the NI Police Authority for a decade. Sir Myles appears to have been the last Belfast Lord Mayor to be knighted.
1977-78     James Stewart.

1978-79     David Somerville Cook,
solicitor, eventually becoming a senior partner at Sheldon and Stewart Solicitors; founder member, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; Belfast City Councillor, 1973-85. 
In 1978, he became the first non-unionist Lord Mayor since partition (the pro-home rule Liberal, William James Pirrie, having held the post in the 1890s); Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party, 1980-84. 
The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Down is presently Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE DL.
First published in August, 2012. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Strand Hotel, Portstewart

I am seeking photographs of the Strand Hotel, Portstewart, if any readers can share them with me.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Portstewart Revisited

It's a mere hop, skip and jump by car from Portballintrae in County Antrim to Portstewart in County Londonderry.

Portstewart is, perhaps, the slightly more sedate neighbour of Portrush, a mile or two along the Causeway Coast.

I parked on the Promenade and proceeded to walk to the main beach, viz. Portstewart Strand, a property of the National Trust.

En route, I passed the site (top) of the Strand Hotel.

Do any readers possess photographs of the Strand Hotel, by the way?

The site is directly opposite the golf links. The hotel was demolished about 1991, I gather.

My parents stayed there in 1958; and We Three stayed there six years later, in 1964, when I was four.

The original steps down to the beach remain, however.

Across the beach is Harry's Shack, a new beach restaurant which has become very well established.

The ecological roof is notable.

Portballintrae: III

I motored the short distance from Portballintrae to Portrush yesterday evening, in order to have some grub at the legendary Ramore wine-bar, at Portrush harbour, County Antrim.

Be advised that parking is difficult here, though, having driven round the block twice, I was fortunate enough to drive into a space somebody was just vacating.

The wine bar was as busy - buzzing - as ever.

I was shown to a high table and stool within five minutes, though.

Their system is proven and works very well: one is shown to a table; given a menu; order up at the bar counter; provide table number and pay.

Thereafter you wait until your name or number is called.

I had the Seafood Thermidor, comprising a kind of luxurious fish-pie of lobster, cod, prawns, turbot etc, with piped potato and tomato slices on a rich lobster Thermidor sauce.

It was sumptuous and filling; no need for any side orders.

In fact, I was so satisfied afterwards that I had no room for the tempting puddings on offer.

Had I not been dining solo, I could have shared a dessert.

What a remarkable establishment Ramore is.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Portballintrae: II

The roof was firmly attached to the Belmont two-seater this morning for my visit to Portrush, the popular seaside resort on the County Antrim coast.

I parked at the East Strand car-park and thereafter walked towards the town centre.

I enjoyed a pot of tea in The White House department store on the main street.

This compact store has a very good culinary department on the ground floor; and their café is renowned for its high standards.

I also paid a brief visit the Holy Trinity parish church, just across the road, which dates from about 1842.

Portrush was, unsurprisingly, quiet today due to particularly heavy rain.

I was brandishing the holiday umbrella.

This afternoon I'm installed comfortably in the Bushmills Inn, having a quiet alcohol-free lager and about to peruse my Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Portballintrae: I

The little seaside resort of Portballintrae is as popular as ever.

It lies on the north coast of County Antrim, about a mile from Bushmills.

After I'd unpacked, I felt like paying my old acquaintance, Con Auld, a visit.

During the summer months he lives at his Portbradden home (top).

His tiny church, St Gobban's, was closed, so unfortunately he wasn't at home.

I'm presently in the Causeway Hotel, where I've had a light meal.

Adare Manor


The descent of the Earls of Dunraven from the ancient Milesian princes is certified by the recognition of the pedigree of their ancestor, Thady Quin, of Adare, in a record entered in Ulster King-of-Arms' office by Sir Richard Carney, Knight, Ulster King-of-Arms in 1688.

Con Cead Caha, or Con of the Hundred Battles, described by genealogists as monarch in Ireland in the 2nd century, is represented as the founder of the family of QUIN; his grandson, Cormac, who is said to have reigned in AD 254, was the first who adopted the surname of QUIN, which signifies a descendant of Con.

The family certainly possessed large territories in Ireland, and governed as hereditary chieftains, before the invasion of the English in the reign of HENRY II.

The Earls of Dunraven descended from a branch which for many centuries possessed great feudal power in County Clare, whence their ancestors were finally expelled by the more powerful family of O'Brien, and settled in County Limerick.

JAMES QUIN, of Kilmallock, County Limerick (whose brother, John Quin, a Dominican friar, was Bishop of Limerick in 1521), had a son,

DONOUGH QUIN, who was father of

DONOUGH QUIN, who married Judith, heiress of the family of O'Riordan, which had been settled for more than five centuries in County Limerick.

He died in 1621, leaving a son,

THADY QUIN (1645-1726), of Adare, who wedded firstly, Bridget, daughter and heir of Andrew Rice, of Dingle, County Kerry; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Major Hull, son of Sir William Hull, Knight; and thirdly, Catherine, daughter of Piers Morony.

By his last wife he had issue,
VALENTINE, his heir;
Catherine; Eleanor; Judith.
Thady Quin was succeeded by his son,

VALENTINE QUIN, of Adare, who espoused Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Widenham, of The Court, County Limerick, and had issue,
WYNDHAM, his heir;
George, of Quinsborough;
Mary; Margaret; Alice; Catharine; Anne.
Mr Quin died in 1744, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WYNDHAM QUIN MP (1717-89), of Adare, who married, in 1748, Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson, of Dawson's Grove, County Monaghan, by whom he had issue,
VALENTINE RICHARD, his successor;
Wyndham, lt-col in the army;
John, in holy orders;
Elizabeth; Mary; Catherine; Frances.
Mr Quin's eldest son,

VALENTINE RICHARD QUIN (1732–1824), was created a baronet in 1781; and raised to the peerage, in 1800, as Baron Adare.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1816, as Viscount Mount Earl; and created Viscount Adare and EARL OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT EARL in 1822.

He wedded firstly, in 1777, Frances, daughter of Stephen, 1st Earl of Ilchester, by whom he had issue,
WYNDHAM HENRY, his successor;
Richard George;
Elizabeth; Harriett.
His lordship espoused secondly, Mrs Blennerhasset, widow of Colonel Blennerhasset, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

Windham Henry Quin, 2nd Earl (1782–1850);
Edwin Richard Wyndham-Quin, 3rd Earl (1812–71);
Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl (1841–1926);
Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl (1857–1952);
Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin, 6th Earl (1887–1965);
Thady Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl (1939–2011).
Unable to bear the expense of maintaining Adare Manor, sold it and its contents in 1984.

The house was purchased by Irish-American businessman Tom Kane and converted into the Adare Manor Hotel.

Adare Manor was originally a two-storey, seven-bay early 18th century house, most likely built about 1725 by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Dunraven.

From 1832, the 2nd Earl, started rebuilding the house in the Tudor-Revival style as a way of occupying himself (his wife was handicapped).

When the house was almost completed in 1846, A W Pugin was commissioned to design some features of the Great Hall.

Between 1850-62, the 3rd Earl finally completed the mansion by building the principal garden front.

The Great Hall is a room of vast size and height, divided down the middle by a screen of giant Gothic arches of stone.

A carved oak Minstrels' Gallery runs along one side; originally there was once an organ loft.

Mark Bence-Jones remarks that Adare Manor, as completed, is a picturesque and grey stone pile, composed of various elements that are rather loosely tied together; some of which are reproduced from Tudor originals in England. viz. the entrance tower, bearing a verisimilitude to the Cloister Court at Eton College.

The Long Gallery above is 132 feet long and 26 feet in height.

The house is set on a 840-acre estate and now operates as a luxury hotel, featuring the Adare Golf Club, Elemis Treatment Rooms, Townhouses and Villas on the rest of the resort.

President Clinton stayed at Adare Manor in September, 1998.

Dunraven arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in August, 2011.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Belan House


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

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

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

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

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

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

JOHN STRATFORD, (c1691-1777), MP for Baltinglass in the reigns of the first three GEORGES, was raised to the peerage, in 1763, by the title of Baron Baltinglass; and in 1776, Viscount Aldborough

In 1777, he was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ALDBOROUGH, and Viscount Amiens.

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

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1736-1801), who espoused firstly, Barbara, daughter of the Hon Nicholas Herbert, of Great Glemham, in Suffolk; and secondly, in 1788, Elizabeth, only daughter 1st Baron Henniker; but had no issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1740-1823), who wedded, in 1777, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon and Rev Frederick Hamilton, and great-granddaughter of William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton; by whom he had three daughters,
His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 4th Earl (1746-1833), who married, in 1774, Martha, only child and heiress of John Burton, and niece and heiress of Mason Gerard.

By this lady his lordship had one son and two daughters, viz.
MASON GERARD, his successor;
Eliza; Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

MASON GERARD, 5th Earl (1784-1849), who wedded, in 1804 (divorced 1826) Cornelia Jane, a daughter of Charles Henry Tandy, of Waterford.

He was succeeded by his only son,

BENJAMIN O'NEALE, 6th and last Earl (1808-75), a captain in the 15th Light Dragoons.

Following the decease of the 6th Earl at Alicante, Spain, unmarried, the titles expired.

photo credit: The National Trust 

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

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

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

A central Venetian window was above the tripartite doorway.

The roof parapet had recessed panelling and urns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STRATFORD HOUSE, Stratford Place, London, is now the premises of the Oriental Club.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mayoral Rolls-Royce

This stately Rolls-Royce Phantom VI was used by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Belfast between 1968-78.

It was purchased by Belfast Corporation for the official use of the Lord Mayor.

The traditional navy blue colour is still on the bonnet, roof and boot, though elsewhere it has been re-painted.

The bonnet's considerable length is reminiscent of a concert grand piano.

Its original registration number was 1 WZ.

Of course the Council should have kept the car and continued to use it.

It could even have been converted to run on bio-fuel.

This car was the first Phanton VI off the production line: 1969 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine. Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward. Registration number WVO 338G. Chassis number PRH4108. Engine number 4108. Sold for £36,700, including premium.


The Rolls-Royce’ in-house coach-builder Park Ward Limited (later H J Mulliner, Park Ward) produced what was, in effect, the ‘standard’ seven-passenger limousine coachwork for the Phantom V.

This timeless design would survive until 1990, being built in near-identical Phantom VI form from 1968, when separate air conditioning for front and rear compartments was standardised alongside the Silver Shadow-specification 6,230cc V8 engine.

The usual upholstery for the front compartment was leather, which was also included in the list of alternatives for the rear along with West of England cloth.

As one would expect in a car of this class, a cocktail cabinet incorporated into the rear compartment’s cabinet-work was one of a host of options that also included electric windows.

Phantom development tended to lag behind that of the contemporary ’Shadow range, and it was not until 1978 that the model received the three-speed automatic transmission and 6.75-litre engine that had featured on the latter for many years.

By this time the opulent Phantom VI was being built to special order only, with prices ‘on application’.

The very first Phantom VI produced, chassis number ‘PRH 4108,’ was sold new to Belfast City Corporation for use by the Lord Mayor (as referenced in Martin Bennett’s book, ‘Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years’) and was mostly maintained by the Crewe factory until sold by the Corporation in 1978.

The car enjoyed three subsequent owners before passing into the vendor's’ hands in 1991, and comes with numerous invoices for this period issued by recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Since acquisition it has been maintained by the engineer owners and used regularly on R-REC events, most notably Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations at Windsor Castle in 2002.

Restored in the early 1990s, the vehicle is reported as being to factory specification apart from the addition of an electric radiator cooling fan.


This, four previous owner car, was acquired by the current vendors in 1991 when it was then comprehensively restored underneath and new rear springs fitted.

It has since been enjoyed at many club events.

In addition to regular servicing, the car has benefited from a new radiator, brake overhaul, three new tyres, rear fog lamps and an electric radiator fan together with new front and rear bumpers.

The car comes with all MOT certificates dating back to 1977 and numerous invoices from recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Handbook, jack and wheel brace are all included and the cocktail cabinet is complete with decanters and glasses.

First published in August, 2012.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ardfert Abbey


This family came into Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I when one of the house of CROSBIE, of Great Crosby, in Lancashire, left two sons, Patrick and John.

PATRICK CROSBIE, the elder son, obtained a considerable landed property, and was succeeded by his son,

PIERS CROSBIE (1590-1646), who incurred the resentment of the great Earl of Strafford, for opposing in parliament his violent measures, which obliged him to quit the kingdom, when a second prosecution was carried on against him by the Star Chamber, in England, which ended in his confinement in the Fleet, from whence he escaped beyond seas, and continued abroad until Lord Strafford's trial, when he became, in his turn, evidence against him.

He is said to have been created a baronet by JAMES I, and was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber to CHARLES I, and a Lord of the Privy Council.

Sir Piers died without issue, and bequeathed his estates to his cousins, Walter and David Crosbie.

THE RT REV JOHN CROSBIE, his uncle, Lord Bishop of Ardfert, appointed to that see in 1601, married Winifred, daughter of O'Lalor, of the Queen's County, and had, with four daughters, six sons,
WALTER (Sir), 1st Baronet;
DAVID, ancestor of the
John (Sir), of Tullyglass, Co Down;
The Queen's letter to Lord Deputy Mountjoy, dated from the manor of Oatland, 1601, directing his appointment to the see of Ardfert, describes the Bishop as
"a graduate in schools, of the English race, skilled in the English tongue, and well disposed in religion."
He was prebendary of Dysart in the diocese of Limerick.

His lordship's second son,

DAVID CROSBIE, Colonel in the army, Governor of Kerry, 1641, stood a siege in Ballingarry Castle for more than twelve months.

He was afterwards governor of Kinsale for CHARLES I.

In 1646, Colonel Crosbie inherited a portion of the estate of his cousin, Sir Piers Crosbie, son of Patrick Crosbie, who had been granted a large portion of The O'More's estate in Leix.

He married a daughter of the Rt Rev John Steere, Lord Bishop of Ardfert, and had, with four daughters, two sons,
THOMAS (Sir), his heir;
Patrick, of Tubrid, Co Kerry.
Colonel Crosbie died in 1658, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR THOMAS CROSBIE, Knight, of Ardfert, High Sheriff of Kerry, 1668, knighted by James, Duke of Ormonde, in consideration of the loyalty of his family during the Usurper's rebellion.

Sir Thomas, MP for County Kerry in the parliament held at Dublin by JAMES II, 1688, refused to take the oath of allegiance to WILLIAM III.

He married firstly, Bridget, daughter of Thomas Tynte, of County Cork, and had issue,
DAVID, father of 1st and 2nd Barons Brandon;
Sarah; Bridget.
Sir Thomas wedded secondly, Ellen, daughter of Garrett FitzGerald, of Ballynard, County Limerick, by whom he had no issue; and thirdly, in 1680, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of William Hamilton, of Liscloony, King's County, by whom he had a daughter, Ann, living in 1694, and (with a daughter) four sons,
Sir Thomas's eldest son,

DAVID CROSBIE, of Ardfert, wedded Jane, younger daughter and co-heir to William Hamilton.

He died in 1717, and was succeeded by his heir,

SIR MAURICE CROSBIE (1690-1762), Knight, of Ardfert, who married the Lady Elizabeth Anne FitzMaurice, eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry.

Sir Maurice, MP for County Kerry, 1713-58, was elevated to the peerage, on his retirement, by the title Baron Brandon, of Brandon, County Kerry.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Baron (1716-81), MP for Ardfert, 1735-62, who was created a viscount, in 1771, as Viscount Crosbie, of Ardfert, County Kerry.

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1776, as EARL OF GLANDORE.

His lordship married firstly, in 1745, Lady Theodosia Bligh, daughter of John, Earl of Darnley; and secondly, in 1777, Jane, daughter of Edward Vesey.

He was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1753-1815), PC, MP for Athboy, 1775.
He chose to sit for the latter, and held the seat until 1781, when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the Irish House of Lords. He was sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1785.
In 1789, he was appointed Joint Master of the Rolls in Ireland alongside the Earl of Carysfort; was married in London, in 1771, by Frederick Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Hon Diana, daughter of George, 1st Viscount Sackville. The marriage was childless.
The earldom and viscountcy expired on his death; the barony, however, reverted to his lordship's cousin,

THE REV DR WILLIAM CROSBIE (1771-1832), 4th Baron, son of the Very Rev the Hon Maurice Crosbie, Dean of Limerick, younger son of the 1st Baron.

His lordship wedded, in 1815, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of David La Touche, of Upton, by whom he had a daughter,

THE HON ELIZABETH CECILIA CROSBIE, who married, in 1837, Henry Galgacus Redhead Yorke MP.

The 4th Baron served as rector of Castle Island in County Kerry.

On his death, in 1832, the title expired.

ARDFERT ABBEY, Ardfert, County Kerry, was a mansion originally built at the end of the 17th century by Sir Thomas Crosbie.

It was renovated in 1720 by Sir Maurice Crosbie (afterwards 1st Lord Brandon), and further altered about 1830.

The house comprised a two-storey block with seven-bay front, the two outer bays on either side breaking forwards and framed by quoins.

There was a pedimented centre; plain recangular doorcase; and a high, eaved roof on a modillion cornice.

The front was elongated by lower two-storey wings which protruded forwards at right angles to it, thus forming an open forecourt.

Inside the house, the panelled hall was decorated with figures painted in monochrome on panels.

There was an early 18th century staircase and gallery; Corintian newels, and more panelling on the landing.

A large drawing-room boasted compartmented plasterwork on the ceiling.

Here there was a full-length Reynolds portrait of Lady Glandore.

The gardens had an early formal layout: sunken parterre; yew alleys; trees cut into an arcade; avenues of beech, lime and elm.

A ruined Franciscan friary was in the grounds.

The mansion was burnt to the ground by the IRA ca 1922, and all that remains are some relics of the formal garden.

Ardfert Abbey (or House) eventually passed to the 2nd Earl of Glandore's sister, Lady Anne, who married William John Talbot in 1775. Her eldest son,

The Rev John Talbot-Crosbie MA, of Ardfert House, married Jane, daughter of Colonel Thomas Lloyd, in 1811; was MP for Ardfert, prior to taking Holy Orders. In 1816, his name was legally changed to John Talbot-Crosbie. He died in 1818. His eldest son,

William Talbot Talbot-Crosbie JP DL (1817-99), of Ardfert House, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1848.
He married firstly, Susan Anne, daughter of Hon Lindsey Merrick Peter Burrell, in 1839. He married secondly, Emma, daughter of Hon Lindsey Merrick Peter Burrell, in 1853. He married thirdly, Mary Jane, daughter of Maj.-Gen. Sir Henry Torrens, in 1868 at Edinburgh. In 1880, his name was legally changed to William Talbot Talbot-Crosbie.
His youngest son,

Lindsey Bertie Talbot-Crosbie JP DL (1844-1913), married Anne Crosbie, daughter of Colonel Edward Thomas Coke and Diana Talbot-Crosbie, in 1871; Lieutenant, RN; High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1903. His 2nd son,

John Burrell Talbot-Crosbie (1873-1969), of Ardfert House, married Mary, daughter of Gilbert Leitch, in 1910. The marriage was childless.

Mr Talbot-Crosbie sold Ardfert House (the garden gates being re-erected outside the parish church in Tralee as a memorial to the Crosbie family).

It stood close to Ardfert Village, next to Ardfert Friary with extensive surrounding grounds.

The house was evacuated by the Crosbies and most of its furniture and belongings removed prior to it being burned by the IRA in August, 1922.

Article from a publication written thereafter: The Lord Danesfort:
"May I give two illustrations of damage to property since the truce, and of the manner in which it has been treated? I take the case of Mr. Talbot-Crosby, and I mention his name because his case was fully reported in the Cork newspapers of May last.

What happened was this. His house, Ardfert Abbey, was burnt to the ground at the end of 1922, or the beginning of 1923. In May, 1924, his case came before the County Court Judge. It was, I venture to think, a most astounding case.

It was admitted that if, at or shortly before the time when the house was burnt, Mr. Talbot Crosby had been in residence, he would have been entitled, I think, to a sum of something like £21,000 compensation.

But the counsel or solicitor who appeared for the Free State at that hearing raised this extraordinary defence. He pointed to a section in the Act of 1923 to the effect that if the house was not at the time of the damage maintained as a residence by the applicant, the applicant should only get what they called market value.

Then he went on to argue that Mr. Talbot Crosby had been driven out of his house by threats of violence some few months before; therefore, his compensation, which would otherwise be £21,000, should be reduced to £2,250.

Did ever such a travesty of justice come before the Court of any civilised country in the world?

It comes to this, that if there is a ruffianly body in Ireland desirous of getting rid of a man, turning him out of his house and country and destroying his property, all it has to do is to terrorise him, shoot at him, turn him out of Ireland, and having allowed a few weeks, or whatever time this Court thinks necessary, to elapse after he has left Ireland, then to burn his house down and otherwise destroy his property.

Then, when he comes to ask for compensation, he only gets one-tenth of what he would otherwise receive. I hope the noble Lord will see the gravity of a ease of that sort. I have already given him particulars of it, and I trust he has applied to the Free State and is able to give me the explanation that they offer." 
Former Dublin residence ~ Fitzwilliam Square.

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

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Rowallane Walk

I went for a walk in Rowallane Gardens this morning.

The National Trust in Northern Ireland has its regional offices here.

St John's Wort

Rowallane Gardens are beside Saintfield, County Down.

The herb & salad garden

The gardens were truly beautiful this morning. They really are a gardener's paradise.

A heavy dew remained on the lawns and the woods were captivating.

There is a pottery here; and the café is on the ground floor in Rowallane House, former residence of the Armytage-Moore family.

The bell-tower in the stable-yard has the crest of the Moores, a Moor's head.

I have written a bit about the Moores of Rowallane here.

I encountered Mike, one of the administration staff, on my way back to the car, and he brought me up to date with developments on the demesne.

Mural plaque on the House

There is a little second-hand bookshop at one corner of the stable-yard.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Divis Ramble

Last night I had a pal round for dinner.

The main dish was Tortiglioni pasta casserole, with thickly-sliced sourdough garlic bread and a rich salad comprising radishes, red onion, gherkin, baby plum tomatoes and lettuce.

I made a fresh basil and garlic vinaigrette dressing with a pestle and mortar.

Despite the abundant red wine, I still managed to rise after eight this morning.

Having cleared up the dishes in the kitchen, I fancied an invigorating walk in the Belfast Hills, viz. the Ridge Walk at the National Trust's Divis and Black Mountain property.

When I arrived it was a little surprising to see so many cars at the site; dozens, in fact.

The car-park was full so the narrow road was lined with parked cars.

I had a lovely walk along the Ridge Path, passing the mighty broadcasting transmitters.

The prospect here is spectacular, with panoramic views of greater Belfast and its lough.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Orlock Visit

I motored down the County Down coast today towards Groomsport.

Parking on a lay-by near Orlock Point, I strolled along the coast for about half an hour.

It's quite picturesque here: the Copeland Islands were clearly visible today.

Looking inland, there is an ugly structure of some sort on top of the hill beside Portavo Reservoir.

This building ought not to have been granted planning permission in its current form: at least it could have been camouflaged in some way, or made less conspicuous.

It is a blot on the landscape.

I drove further along the coast to the little village of Groomsport, where there was a folk group playing at Cockle Row cottages.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Granston Manor


This most ancient and noble family was descended from Heremon, the first monarch of the Milesian race in Ireland; and after they had assumed the surname of FITZPATRICK, they were for many ages princes of Ossory, in the province of Leinster; from whom, in a direct male line, descended

BARNABY FITZPATRICK (c1485-1575), the last Prince of Ossory, on his submission to HENRY VIII, who was created Baron Upper Ossory in 1541.

His son and successor,

BARNABY, 2nd Baron (c1535-81), was companion and favourite to EDWARD VI, whose letters to him are still preserved.

He served as a volunteer in France, under HENRY II, against the emperor; and after his return he behaved with great bravery against Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, and was knighted in 1558.

FLORENCE, 3rd Baron, brother of Sir Barnaby, had four sons, of whom

THADY, 4th Baron, was father of

BARNABY, 5th Baron, father of

BARNABY, 6th Baron, whose son,

BARNABY, 7th Baron, was outlawed in 1691; and in 1731 the title expired.

JOHN, of Castletown, Queen's County, second son of Florence, was the father of Florence, who was the father of John, who wedded Elizabeth, fourth daughter of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, and sister of James, 1st Duke of Ormonde, and had a daughter and two sons, viz.
Edward, died unmarried;
RICHARD, his successor;
His second son,

RICHARD FITZPATRICKwas created Baron Gowran in 1715.

He married, in 1718, Anne, second daughter and co-heir of Sir John Robinson, 2nd Baronet, of Farmingwood, Northamptonshire, leaving issue by her,
JOHN, his heir;
Richard, m to Anne Usher;
three daughters.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 2nd Baron (1719-58), who wedded, in 1744, Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower, daughter of John, 1st Earl Gower, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Mary, m to 2nd Baron Holland;
Louisa, m to 2nd Earl of Shelburne.
His lordship was created, in 1751, EARL OF UPPER OSSORY.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1745-1818), who espoused, in 1769, Anne, only child and heir of Henry, 1st Baron Ravensworth, and had issue,
Anne, b 1770;
His lordship died without male issue in 1818, when the titles expired.

His natural son, however,

JOHN WILSON, (1811-83), succeeded to the family estates and, in 1842, assumed the surname of FITZPATRICK.

Mr Wilson was elevated to the peerage, 1869, by the title of BARON CASTLETOWN, of Upper Ossory, Queen's County;
succeeded his father in 1818 in his Irish estates of Grantson Manor and Lisduff in Queen's County, and also Grafton Underwood in Northamptonshire; Sheriff of Queen's County, 1836; MP for Queen's County 1837-41, 1847-52 and 1865-69; took the name and arms of FitzPatrick by Royal Warrant 1842; Privy Councillor [I] 1848; Lord Lieutenant of Queen's County 1855-83.
He wedded, in 1830, Augusta Mary, daughter of the Rev Archibald Edward Douglas, by whom he had issue,
Gertrude; Augusta; Florence; Cecilia; Edith; Olivia.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

BERNARD EDWARD BARNABY, 2nd Baron (1849-1937), KP, CMG, PC, of Granston Manor, who married, in 1874, Emily Ursula Clare, only surviving daughter and heir of Hayes, 4th Viscount Doneraile;
1st Life Guards, 1871-74; Sheriff of Queen's County 1876; MP for Portarlington, 1880-83; CMG, 1902; Chancellor of the Royal University of Ireland 1906-10; Knight of St Patrick, 1908; Privy Councillor [I] 1908.
His lordship died without issue in 1937, when the barony expired.

The Castletown Papers are deposited at the National Library of Ireland.

GRANSTON MANOR, Abbeyleix, Queen's County, was a large rambling house, partly late-Georgian and partly later.

It had two storeys with an attic roof.

The entrance front comprised five bays with a Wyatt window above a balustraded portico.

The entrance front is is at the end of the house, which is considerably deeper that its width, with lower wings.

There is a long garden front with single-storey projections and balustrades.

The interior was renovated during the Edwardian era, mostly by the 2nd Lord Castletown.

The hall became part of an adjoining room, thus becoming a hall-cum-sitting room.

A new oak staircase was built, too.

The drawing-room was greatly enlarged.

Following the death of the 2nd Baron in 1937, Granston passed to his nephew, Lieutenant-Colonel G H J S Smyth, who assumed the surname of FitzPatrick.

Granston was sold to the Harper family in 1947, who re-sold about 1961.

It was acquired by Mr and Mrs H Duncan-Collie, but was almost totally gutted by fire in 1977.

First published in August, 2011.  Upper Ossory arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mount Stewart Visit

I paid a brief visit to Mount Stewart estate this afternoon.

I donned the wellington boots and went for a walk to the Rose Garden.

This part of the demesne is awaiting restoration, including the Dairy, the Vinery, the Rose Garden and the walled garden itself.

I could hear a brood of juvenile swallows in one of the outbuildings.

This splendid demesne is a property of the National Trust.

The gardens are superb.

Moore Abbey


This noble family came from France very early after the Conquest, and having acquired a good estate in Kent, resided at the manor of Moore Place, as early as the reign of HENRY II.

THOMAS MOORE, living in the reign of EDWARD II, was ancestor, after ten generations, of

JOHN MOORE, of Benenden Place, Kent, living, in 1519, who had issue,
EDWARD (Sir), father of 1st Viscount Moore;
THOMAS (Sir), ancestor of the Earls of Charleville.
Sir Edward and Sir Thomas went over to Ireland, as soldiers of fortune, in the reign of ELIZABETH I

SIR EDWARD, the elder brother, obtained for his services, from Her Majesty, a lease of the dissolved abbey of Mellifont, with its appurtenances, in County Louth, which he made the principal place of his abode; and it so continued that of his descendants until their removal to Moore Abbey, County Kildare, the seat of the Viscounts Loftus, of Ely, which devolved upon the Earl of Drogheda.

He married Mildred, daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Clifford, of Great Chart, in Kent, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

SIR GARRET MOORE (1564-1627), Knight, of Mellifont, MP for the borough of Dungarvan, who rendered distinguished assistance to the government of ELIZABETH I, in quelling the Irish rebellion, and received at Mellifont the submission of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone.

Sir Garret was elevated to the peerage in 1616, as Baron Moore; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1621,  as Viscount Moore, of Drogheda.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Colley, Knight, of Castle Carbery, County Kildare.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

CHARLES, 2nd Viscount (1603-43), who was killed at Portlester, County Meath, in the service of CHARLES I; in which he had previously distinguished himself as a gallant and enterprising officer.

His lordship espoused Alice, younger daughter of Adam, 1st Viscount Loftus, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY, 3rd Viscount, who was created, in 1661, EARL OF DROGHEDA.

His lordship married Alice, fifth daughter of William, 2nd Baron Spencer, of Wormleighton, by Lady Penelope Wriothesley, daughter of Henry, Earl of Sunderland.

He died in 1676, was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Earl, who wedded, in 1669, the Lady Letitia Isabella Robartes, daughter of John, Earl of Radnor, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; but dying in 1679 without surviving issue, the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 3rd Earl, who had assumed the surname of HAMILTON upon inheriting the estates of his brother-in-law, Henry, Earl of Clanbrassil.

His lordship espoused, in 1675, Mary, daughter of Sir John Cole Bt, of Newland, near Dublin, and sister of Arthur, Baron Ranelagh, by whom he had issue,
CHARLES, father of 3rd & 4th Earls;
Arthur, dsp;
Henry, in holy orders;
John, in holy orders;
The 3rd Earl died in 1714, and was succeeded by his grandson,

HENRY, 4th Earl (1700-27); who inherited the Loftus estates upon the decease of his maternal grandfather in 1725; but dying without an heir in 1727 (he had married Charlotte, daughter of Hugh, 1st Viscount Falmouth), those and the family honours and estates devolved upon his brother,

EDWARD, 5th Earl (1701-58).

This nobleman wedded firstly, in 1727, Lady Sarah Ponsonby, daughter of Brabazon, 1st Earl of Bessborough, by whom he had
CHARLES, his successor;
Edward, in holy orders.
His lordship married secondly, in 1747, Bridget, daughter of William Southwell, niece of Thomas, Lord Southwell, by whom he had two other sons,
The 5th Earl and his son, the Hon and Rev Edward Moore, were lost in their passage to Dublin in 1758.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 6th Earl (1730-1822), KP, PC, who was created, in 1791, MARQUESS OF DROGHEDA.

His lordship wedded, in 1766, Lady Anne Seymour, daughter of Francis, 1st Marquess of Hertford, by whom he had issue,
Henry Seymour;
Elizabeth Emily; Mary;
Gertrude; Frances.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Marquess.
Earls of Drogheda (1661; Reverted)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Benjamin Garrett Henderson Moore, styled Viscount Moore.
The 1st and 3rd Marquesses were Knights of St Patrick (KP).

The 11th Earl was a Knight of the Garter (KG).

The 1oth Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Kildare, from 1918 until 1922.

MOORE ABBEY, near Monasterevin, County Kildare, was the large and luscious demesne of the Marquesses of Drogheda.

It was erected on the site of a medieval abbey.

The mansion was greatly repaired and improved about 1767; and is an extensive and commodious edifice, somewhat in the conventual style, yet quite destitute of all strongly marked architectural character.

The great hall is lined with Irish oak and is remarkable as the apartment in which the Court of Chancery was held by Adam, 1st Viscount Loftus, at the beginning of the 1641 rebellion.

The the site of the mansion is low, watery and without prospect, yet the surrounding demesne is very large and possesses some fine varieties of scenery; and the adjoining countryside ascends from the flat and boggy region on the north-east into a gentle and undulating mixture of low, pleasant and well-wooded hills.

The main front consists of a seven-bay central block of three storeys over a basement, with four-bay projecting wings of two storeys.

The windows all have pointed heads and Gothic astragals.

The roof parapets are battlemented.

There is an elaborate castellated entrance gateway to the demesne.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Moore Abbey passed to George, Lord Audley, who assigned it to Adam, Viscount Loftus.

The site was eventually acquired by the Moore family, Earls of Drogheda.

They were responsible for building the town of Monasterevin and much of Dublin.

In 1767, the 6th Earl pulled down the old abbey and used the stones to build a parish church, which has now been replaced by St John's parish church.

He replaced the abbey with a Neo-Gothic style mansion, now Moore Abbey.

Preparations for a sunken garden, in 1846, exposed a mass of skeletons on what was presumably the site of the abbey cemetery.

In 1924, John McCormack, the world famous operatic tenor, leased the house from Lord Drogheda.

In 1938 the Sisters of Charity of Jesus bought Moore Abbey where they now have a training school for nurses of the mentally disabled. 

Former town residence ~  Sackville Street, Dublin (otherwise O'Connell Street). 

First published in August, 2011. Drogheda arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

S D Bell's

I met for tea at that venerable institution in the city of Belfast, S D Bell & Company, purveyors of the finest tea and coffee.

They have extended their premises quite recently to include the other units beside them.

One enters by a wide, electric door, and the heavenly aroma of freshly-roasted coffee beans beckons visitors and patrons.

My aunt had been away for awhile, so this was an opportunity for a good old chin-wag.

S D Bell's serve freshly-cooked breakfast, artisan tea and coffee, scones and cakes in the morning.

I had the fruit scone with butter and raspberry jam, and a pot of their blended Director's Brew, which was a very good flavour indeed.

Before we left, I bought a packet of Lady Londonderry's blend and couldn't resist the Lion's fruit pastilles, either.