Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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(1848 - 1929)



1. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1848-1866)
4. BILLY'S DEATH & THE EVE OF WAR (1900-1913)
5. WORLD WAR ONE (1914-1918)

7. THE IRISH CIVIL WAR (1922-1923)
8. TWILIGHT & EPILOGUE (1924-1960)

These pages will be consistently updated.
Comments, updates and corrections are much appreciated




8. TWILIGHT & EPILOGUE (1924-1960)


January: Death of former Carlow Council chairman Michael Governey.

January 28: Murder of Garda Patrick O'Halloran during attempted bank robbery at National Bank (now Bank of Ireland) in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow. Felix McMullen from Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, is executed for the crime on 1st August.

February 26: Tom and Kate celebrate Golden Wedding anniversary.

March 6: Tom Rathdonnell addresses letter to the Irish Free State government requesting that Leinster House be returned to the Royal Dublin Society. In part of the letter, he writes 'When the late General Michael Collins, after inspecting the House among several others, expressed a desire to hold the first Provisional Government Assembly in the Lecture Theatre his wish was most readily complied with by the Society as a National necessity. General Collins generously acknowledged the offer and expressed the hope to the Society's Director that the great inconvenience caused to the Society would not exceed eight months. Nearly two years have now elapsed, and the present decentralisation is seriously affecting and jeopardising the work of the Society, apart from it incurring additional expenses (at present approximately £500) by the renting of Theatres, etc., and increased temporary staff rendered necessary in continuing the Society's usual operations.' Click here to read the letter.

March 19: A Joint Committee gives its verdict on Lord Rathdonnell's request that Leinster House be returned to the RDS. The committee comprises of Senators Lord Glenavy, Jameson, O'Farrell, Mrs. Wyse-Power, and O'Dea; and Deputies Hughes, Magennis, Cooper, Nagle, and Gorey. After five meetings, they concluded that while the loss of Leinster House may have 'already been responsible for the resignation of some hundreds of [RDS] members ... it regards the needs of the Free State as of prior and paramount importance, especially as it is satisfied that the inconvenience and financial loss to which already the Society has been and will in the future be subject can be materially mitigated by the provision of temporary accommodation elsewhere and by pecuniary compensation.' Click here to read the full report.

Date Unknown: "The favourite with the buyers, however, was Mr. W. J. Walker's Red Baron Broadhooks, [184260 , red], a son of Roan Baron Crocus, whose colour and breeding areindicated by his name. He topped the class at 91 guineas, the buyer being Lord Rathdonnell.: [Shorthorn Breeders' Guide: With a Short History of the Breed and Its Capabilities, Accounts of Shows and Sales and Articles of General Interest to Shorthorn Breeders, 1924, p. 135] Red Baron Broadhooks was bred by Dr. E. H. Taylor of Blessington and calved April 19, 1922. [Coates's Herd Book, Joseph Rogerson, 1923, p. 338] It's progeny included LOUISA'S GARLAND, white, calved March 12, 1927; FORTUNE TELLER, red roan, calved Oct 5, 1927; OCEAN BOY 232334, red roan, calved March 2, 1928.

August 1: Execution of Felix McMullen for Baltinglass murder of January 28.

August 3: Tailteann Games commence at Croke Park, to be followed by Tex Austin's International Rodeo. Click here for more.

August 8: See Reuteur's footage of Lord Rathdonnell at the Dublin Horse Show at 0.36-0.41.

August 14: Joseph Brennan dispatches a letter on behalf of the Minister of Finance announcing the Governments intention to purchase the whole of Leinster House for £63,000. Tom heads a committee to consider the proposal and the concept of a full-time move to Balls Bridge. Nicholas White has written about the transfer of Leinster House from the RDS to the Dail in his book, "Science and Colonialism in Ireland" (Cork University Press, 1999) but confessed to me that he had "raided most of the relevant material from Terence de Vere White's history of the RDS". This describes Lord Rathdonnell's involvement as primarily agricultural and gives most of the credit to the society's chief executive, Edward Bohane, and to Judge Wylie.

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Above: Tom Rathdonnell photographed in later life, perhaps at a horse racing
event or at the Dublin Horse Show. (Thanks to Patricia Bruen)


1925: William Wasdell Trickett (1866-1939), the British equestrian artist, painted ‘Rathdonnell’, the portrait of a hunter in a stable setting, pastel signed titled and dated 1925, 44cm x 58cm. We know not who the horse belonged to or where it was painted.

April 10: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published in New York City.

April 13: Death of Lady Rathdonnell, aka Kate Bunbury, in Algiers. Why she was there is unclear. It is remarkable that her father-in-law William McClintock Bunbury had participated in the bombardment of Algiers in 1816 as a 16 year old Midshipman on board the 40-gun frigate, HMS Severn. Although Lady Rathdonnell is unlikely to have had much interest in motor-biking, it may be noted that Lady Warren, author of `Through Algeria & Tunisia on a Motor-bicycle’ (Jonathan Cape, 1922) may have been an Ievers connection. (Thanks to Karen Ievers). Lady Rathdonnell's body was returned to Ireland in a lead coffin. Lead coffins were (and still occasionally are) used for vault / crypt interments, ie not an earth burial - an interment in a built structure, sometimes above ground, sometimes below. Classic examples exist in Mount Jerome and Glasnevin cemeteries. It was a sign of wealth and privilege and took fashion in the 19 century in particular. It was a high Victorian symbol of class. The lead coffin would be encased in 1 or 2 outer coffins - normally oak 'and weighs a bloody tonne' according to Dublin undertaker Gus Nichols who has one! Many churches had subterranean vaults as well - Christ Church Cathedral is a good example. St. Andrews Church on Westland Row has a huge vault under the street.

November 3: Death of Tom's friend Sir Bache Cunard. His obituary in The Times ran as follows: "Sir Bache Cunard, who died yesterday afternoon at his house at Wansford, near Peterborough, was the grandson of one of the founders of the Cunard line of steamships and himself at one time a prominent figure in the hunting world of Leicestershire. He was born in 1851, the eldest son of Sir Edward Cunard, the second baronet, and of Mary, daughter of Bache M'Evers, a merchant of New York. He was educated at Rugby and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and succeeded on the death of his younger brother to Nevill Holt, a beautiful and historic place in the Midlands, which thenceforward became his home. There he founded and was first Master of the famous pack of foxhounds which afterwards became Mr. Fenie's. His assumption of the Mastership was not without some protest on the part of the Quorn Hunt, who claimed the area over which Sir Bache sent out to hunt; but an amicable settlement was ultimately arrived at and the boundaries within which he was M.F.H. are respected to this day. He was a popular Master with all sections of the hunting community, especially among the farmers, very many of whom he claimed as his personal friends. He was a deputy lieutenant and magistrate for Leicestershire. Sir Bache was a fine horseman and an exceptionally fine whip. He was one of the small band of brothers who introduced polo into England and was an enthusiastic follower of the game until the death of his younger brother, a subaltern in the l0th Hussars, who was killed when playing polo at Shorncliffe. He was a member of the Coaching Club and a consummate artist in handling the reins. Thoroughgoing sportsman as he was. he was of a peculiarly artistic temperament. As a worker in silver and bronze, as a maker of salmon flies, and in various other ways he acquired a skill and dexterity which qualified him to take his place in the ranks of professional craftsmen. Sir Bache had also various business interests. He was a trustee for the United Kingdom of the New York Life Insurance Company, and a director of the Chloride Electrical Storage Company. He married in 1895 Maude Alice daughter of the late Mr. E. F. Burke, of New York; she survives him with one daughter, Nancy. The heir to the title is Sir Bache's brother Gordon, formerly of Thorpe Lubenham, Market Harborough, who was born in 1857 and is married to a daughter of the late Colonel John Stanley Howard, of Ballina Park, Co. Wicklow. His surviving sisters are Lady Lawley and Mrs. Athole Hay. As an interesting aside, Maude Cunard was the sometime lover of the writer George Moore.

November 9 (Mon): The Times noted Lord Rathdonnell's return to Lisnavagh from England, presumably having attended Sir Bache's funeral.

Tom's brother-in-law, Admiral Edward Francis Bruen retires from Navy.

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Four Generations: In 1926, Tom attended
the christening of his great-grandson,
Patrick Cox, at Woldringfold. Here he is
pictured holding the baby alongside his
son-in-law Forrester Colvin, right,
and his grandson, Jack Colvin.


January 1: Douglas Hyde opens Dublin 2 RN, later to become Radio Eireann.

January 5: The Most Rev Dr Patrick Foley, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, turns the first sod on the site where the huge Carlow beet processing plant stood until its closure in March 2005. Construction was completed in record time and processing of that first sugar beet campaign commenced in mid-October. It was one of four sugar plants in the country - Mallow, Thurles and Tuam following in Carlow's footsteps. Sugar beet was the lifeblood of the local community and major part of the industrial fabric of Carlow Town for many years. Among the major protestors on the factory's closure in 2005 was Tiger Kearns, a Vietnam War veteran who worked at the factory for close on forty years. He maintained that his hometown of Rathvilly was one of the best places for growing sugar beet in the world. See Pathe footage of the sugar factory here and also particularly good footage of the turning of the first sod here.

January 19 (Tuesday): The Times notes Lord Rathdonnell's return to Lisnavagh from England.

April 20 (Tuesday): The Times again notes Lord Rathdonnell's return to Lisnavagh from England. .

May 23: Death of TK' son-in-law, Major Frederick Dalgety. He had been ill for some time but apparently his wife, a committed Christian Scientist, discouraged any treatment.

June 12: Birth of Pat Colvin, son of Jack and Hester Colvin, grandson to Forrester and Isabella and great-grandson of Tom Rathdonnell.

August 6: First Competition for the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show. Made by Weir’s, the trophy was presented to the RDS by the Aga Khan III, later a founding member and first president of the All India Muslim League, who was one of the world’s biggest owners of thoroughbred racing horses at the time. In the Pathe footage below, Tom Rathdonnell is second in line after the Governor General, Tim Healy, greeting the crowd, pursued by a representative of the Aga Khan (I'm guessing), W.T. Cosgrave (President of the Executive Council) and Kevin O'Higgins (Minister for Justice, who would be assassinated less than a year later). As Cosgrave and O'Higgins overtake him, Tom gives the camera a smashing smile at 0.35. The event was notable for the singing of 'God Save the King', played by the Free State Army No. 1 Band. The Swiss won the Aga Khan that day, amid record crowds; the Swiss all rode Irish horses. The gold-plated trophy, which cost £64,000 to produce, is now presented to the winning team of four riders by the President of Ireland. As of 2019, the current Aga Khan trophy is the sixth incarnation; if a country wins the Nation’s Cup three years in a row, they get to keep the trophy and a new one is commissioned. Ireland has won the cup outright on two occasions – 1935 and 1979 - and, in total, has won on 23 occasions. The Aga Khan Trophy was refurbished by Weir’s in 2016-2017, when all blemishes were painstakingly removed.

Rathdonnell's hunter Sandboy came 2nd from 40 entrants in the hunter class for weight-carrying hunters 15 stone and over, six years old or over.


Feb 6: Death of Sam Maguire aged 48. He was the only Protestant ever to captain a GAA team. He hailed from Dunmanaway, Co. Cork. He was an active member of the IRB, assisting in gun-running plots to kidnap British MPs and, allegedly, in the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson, MP for North Down, in 1922.

May 20: The opening hours of Irish public houses are restricted by the Intoxicating Liquor Act.

May 21: Charles Lindberg makes aviation history as first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from Paris to New York in the Spirit of St Louis.

Aug 4: John Dillon, the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, died in a London nursing home at the age of 76. He was buried four days later in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. There is a street named after him in Dublin’s Liberties, beside the old Iveagh Market.

December 8: Tom Rathdonnell (as President of the RDS) attends funeral in Straffan of Bertram Barton, DL, of Straffan House, heir of the Barton & Guestier wines, who was killed in a hunting accident three days earlier.

December 24: Death of Tom's brother-in-law, Henry Bruen, aged 71.

Sinn Feins' Tomas O Deirg, a veteran of 1916, is elected FF TD for Co/. Carlow, a seat he retains until his death in 19 Nov 1956.

A highly respected man who lived at Knockboy in the 1880s and who represented Rathvilly for many years on the Baltinglass Board of Guardians, stated that often on a summer's night he heard the music of a military band, or military music, begin faintly about Lisnavagh, get clearer and more distinct as it approached Knockboy, and then gradually die away as it approached the place where the battle was supposed to have been fought. This is supposed to have been King Art Mac Murroiugh's Band. (Béaloideas: The Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, 1927, p. 318)

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The 2nd Baron Rathdonnell
and his great-grandson,
Patrick Cox, taken in 1926.


February 17: Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) confirmed on a farm in Wexford town.

March 22: FMD confirmed on two adjoining farms in Wexford. One hundred and seventy nine animals were destroyed. It was suggested at the time that meat imported from South America might be the source of the infection. Trade restrictions were removed on 3 August.

March: Death of TK's friend and agent Leonard Poe, "a loss which touched him (TK) very deeply". TK returns from a visit to South Africa soon afterwards.

August: Tom Rathdonnell was in the arena when the Irish won the Aga Khan trophy for the first time; Captains Dan Corry, Ged O'Dwyer and Cyril Harty, riding Finglin, Cuchulain and Craobh Ruadh, duly stepped up to hoist the trophy. The RDS have a photo of the occasion, in which Tom is clearly visible.

November 11: On Armistice Day 1928, the statue of William of Orange outside Trinity was blown up; the shell was so precarious it had to be taken down; its lead was used to plug holes in the Liffey. Simultaneous attack on statue of George II while a bomb at Herbert Park, near the RDS, significantly damaged a fountain honouring Edward VII who launched International Exhibition there in 1907.

November 29: Tom enters "select ranks of octogenarians" and celebrates 50th year since he succeeded his uncle as Baron Rathdonnell.

December 11: Men enter Dublin Corporation Yard on Hanover Street where William of Orange statue lay, sawed the head off and disappeared.

December 20: The members of the Royal Dublin Society re-elect Tom for a further term of office as President. His term had now lasted fifteen years. His portrait by Sir Oswald Birley, signed and dated 1928, was located in the RDS Council Room as of August 2012. Sir Oswald's wife was Rhoda Lecky Pike of Kilnock House, Tullow, County Carlow: their granddaughter Loulou de la Falaise was the late Knight of Glin's first wife.

A year after his death, Sam Maguire is honoured by a Cup, made by Hopkins & Hopkins and modeled on the Ardagh Chalice, was presented to Kildare GAA.


In 1929, they installed new boiler system at Lisnavagh, comprising a 3-section boiler from Crane of Whitehall. It was the height of inegnuity at the time, requiring no engines. I spent most of 2007 filling the No. 2 section and keeping its flues clean.

February: Tom Rathdonnell presented with Oswald Birley's portrait of him in oils by the RDS. He duly presented it to the Society and it hangs in the Council Chamber today.

Spring Show: As re-elected President, Tom attends but has a seizure at the end of the show "from which he never rallied".

February 5: Eamon de Valera is arrested in Armagh for violating the Northern Ireland Government’s exclusion order and spends a month in prison.

February 22: Dail Eireann ratifies the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact over opposition of Fianna Fail Party.

April 16: Northern Ireland abandons proportional representation in parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Craig declares that people do not understand the danger of making mistakes under the system. Critics charge that the change is designed to allow the regime to secure its hold on power through gerrymandering of electoral districts.

May 16: The 1st Academy Awards are presented in Hollywood, with Wings winning Best Picture.

May 22: Death of Tom Rathdonnell at Lisnavagh aged 80 years old. His death was registered with The Times. There was to be a private funeral at St Mary's Church in Rathvilly. "No mourning or flowers, by request". A Celtic Cross was later erected over his grave, coincinding with a time when the Church of Ireland was keen to underline its roots in the Celtic Church. The Bishop of Clogher, for instance, ordered a new crozier from Weir's the jeweller, with Celtic motifs on it. Prior to then pectoral crosses, episcopal rings and even croziers were eschewed, being considered “Roman”. The inscribed stone to Tom and Kate was in poor repair by 2018. On 4 January 2019, my father advised: ' I, eventually, had a look at Thomas Kane's gravestone this morning. The panel is indeed broken and "came away in my hand"! I have removed it and will consult as to what to do next; I am sure it can be repaired. I will inform churchwardens.'

May 22: General Election in Northern Ireland - Members are elected single member districts except for 4 representatives of Queen’s University who continue to be chosen by proportional representation.The results are UNIONISTS (37), NATIONALISTS (11), INDEPENDENT UNIONISTS (1) andLABOUR (1).

May 24: An obituary to TKMB is published in page 7 of The Irish Times.

May 25 (May 29?): An obituary to TKMB is published on page 16 of The Times and reads:
'Lord Rathdonnell, in the peerage of Ireland, died on Wednesday at Lisavanagh, Co. Carlow, in his 81st year. Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury was born in November 1848 and in 1879 succeeded to the title by special remainder on the death of his uncle, the first peer, who was M.P. for Co. Louth. He went to Eton in 1859, to the Rev. J.W. Hawtrey’s house, the Rev. Edmond Warre being his tutor. He was in the Eton Eight in 1867 and was captain of boats in 1868: Eton won the Ladies’ Plate in both years. He also played in Oppidian Wall and Mixed Wall and in Field XI. He left in 1868 and received a commission in the Scots Greys.
As the famous coach, JW Warre, was his tutor, he probably had little choice but to row. In the Ladies’ of 1867 he rowed at ‘6’ at 10 stone 1 pound. He was Captain of Boats, but did not row, in 1868.
Rathdonnell’s son, the Hon William, stroked the Eton crew to victory in the Ladies’ in 1896 at the weight of 9 stone 11 pounds. He was commissioned into the family regiment but was killed in the South African War in 1900.
John William McClintock Bunbury was Captain of Lower Boats in 1867 and stroked Eton in the winning Ladies’ crews of 1868 and 1869 at 10 stone 11 pounds. The ’68 crew set a record time of 7 minutes 18 seconds. In the 1869 Henley he also stroked Eton’s Grand crew which lost in a heat to the final winners by ¾ of a length. In 1871 he was ‘7’ in the losing Boat Race crew, won the Oxford University Sculls, lost in the first round of the Diamonds but won the Grand, rowing at ‘4’ for Oxford Etonians. He died young in 1893.'

May 31: The British general election returns a hung parliament yet again; the Liberals will determine who has power.

June 8: Ramsay MacDonald founds a new Labour government.

July 25: Pope Pius XI emerges from the Vatican and enters St. Peter's square in a huge procession witnessed by about 250,000 persons, thus ending nearly 60 years of papal self-imprisonment within the Vatican.

August 16: The 1929 Palestine riots breaks out between Palestinians and Jews and continues until the end of the month. In total, 133 Jews and 116 Palestinians are killed.

August 31: The Young Plan, which set the total World War I reparations owed by Germany at US$26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years, is finalized.

September 19: The Irish Times published some details of TK's will, stating that he had left £19,739 1s 2d in England. From this he left £100 to his butler, Lewis Kaye, and £50 each to his steward, Henry Giff, and his gamekeeper, Charles Nicholl. Any man who had been his servant for more than three years was given 6 months wages. This latter bequest sounds rather generous. "He gave £200 to his son-in-law Colonel Colvin and the residue of the property to his son, TLMB, who succeeds to the Barony. His daughters are provided for under settlements. Probate is granted to his son-in-law Colonel Forrester Farnell Colvin of Shermanbury grange, Hosrham, Sussex".

Lord Rathdonnell's interests as President of the Royal Dublin Society were primarily agricultural. After his death in 1929, the RDS elected John Joly. The election came shortly after a decree that the term of office for a President be reduced from a life appointment to three years. According to Terence de Vere White, the purpose of this decree was twofold. It enabled the Society to honour more of its distinguished members whilst simultaneously "avoided the embarrassments which longevity sometimes produces". This would imply that Rathdonnell had perhaps lived considerably longer than he was meant to!

Irish Hospitals Sweepstake begins.

John Joseph White of Beech Hill, grandfather of Gordon Merry, was apparently in charge of buying cattle for Lisnavagh during Tom Rathdonnell's reign - as well as being agent for Rathsallagh and Ballinure.


November 4: Death of Tom Rathdonnell's sister-in-law, Agnes Mary McMurrough Bruen (nee Kavanagh), widow of Henry Bruen.


Mr. Gerald Boland (for Mr. Smith) asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries if he could 'state the area and valuation of the demesne lands of the following: Viscount Lascelles, Viscount Powerscourt, and Lord Rathdonnell.' Mr. Roddy duly replied that 'Lord Rathdonnell appears to be the owner of Demesne lands in Co. Carlow comprising some 1,291 acres—Poor Law Valuation £1,052.' (See Oireachtas report).

19 June: FMD confirmed in Downpatrick, Co. Down, on the farm of a Mr Hutton from whence it spread to Westmoreland, Lancaster and Yorkshire North Riding. The origin of the infection was not determined, but the introduction of animal feed from the continent was believed to have been the source. Trade restrictions were removed on 23 August.


Eucharistic Congress overshadows second Tailteann Games.

Blue Shirts in ascendance.


October 30th: IRA Land Application Claims from War of Independence ongoing as evidenced by this document from the Pat Purcell Papers. In 1934 Sean Oglaigh na h-Eireann (Old Irish Republican Party) had an address at 3 Davis Street, Tipperary and the secretary was Con Moloney. He had been appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the IRA in February 1923. According to a letter dated 1935 from Con Moloney the total membership was 1,335 forming 66 Companies. Of the 49 members registered in Carlow at this time, 36 were from Rathvilly / Hacketstown. As Michael Purcell pointed out, this was presumably because Con's brother Jim Moloney, who worked in the Carlow Sugar Beet Factory, was married to Kathleen Barry from Tombeagh, Hacketstown, Rathvilly, sister of Kevin Barry. (Thanks to Ron Medulsion)

[Note added 2010: We are unsure of the provenance of the following document, it appears to be based on the promise of a division of land to men who served in the Irish Republican Army during the troubles. Some are countersigned by Pat Purcell. There are 108 forms in total, historians who have viewed them are puzzled by the content. They may be unique to Carlow.]

Application Form for Allotment of Land.

(Qu. ) Old Brigade Area?                                             (Ans.) 3rd Batt.

Old Battalion Area?                                                     D. Company, Carlow Brigade?

County?                                                                     Carlow.

Name of Estate?                                                        Lord Rathdonnell's Estate.

Townsland?                                                               Monawothe and Ballyoliver (Brewster's Estate, Coole).

Applicant's Name?                                                     John Fenlon.

Address?                                                                  Williamstown, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.

Age and family circumstances?                                   50 years -- Single.

Experience of working land?                                      I have experience in working 14 acres which I hold.

Can applicant stock and equip land?                          Yes.

Extent of acreage sought?                                         22 acres.

Other qualifications, beside I.R.A. service?                 Small Farmer.

(state above if discharged employee, evicted tenant, landless man residing in the locality, cottier living on or near the estate, migrant, etc. )

Particulars of above?                                               Quarter of a mile from Monavothe. Valuation £14 pound.                                                                             Annually £6- 9 shillings and 11 pence. I am able to pay                                                                             rates and annuities etc. Holding worked by tillage and                                                                              grazing. Number of cattle in my possession 5.

I certify, from my own knowledge and from enquiries made, that applicant, who is a member of Sean-Oglaigh na h-Eireann, has had I.R.A. service as ....Volunteer in D. Coy 3rd Battalion, Carlow Brigade and that his period of service dated from July 1920 to Truce.

(Signed ) J.J. Byrne, Battn. Secretary. Date 30th October 1934.



July 25: Death of TK's youngest daughter, Pauline Dalgety, probably in agony as, being a Christian Scientist, she refused all medication.


February 16: Death of TK's son-in-law, Lt Col Forrester Colvin.


September 28: Death of TLMB, 3rd Baron Rathdonnell. TK's grandson WRMB succeeds as 4th Baron.

November: Explosion destroys plaster cast of Royal Coat of Arms (aka ‘the lion and the unicorn’) at Exchange Court in Dublin, shattering hundreds of panes of glass in surrounding shops, houses and offices, and hurling bricks and mortar around.

November 25: WRMB marries Pamela Drew.

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Less than 25 years after Tom's death, the big house at
Lisnavagh was reduced by two thirds so that his grandson,
the 4th Baron, could realistically hold onto the place.


September 17: Birth of Thomas Benjamin McCB, 5th Baron Rathdonnell.

September 26: Death of Kate Rathdonnell's unmarried younger sister Eleanor Margaret Bruen in Boston. She may have lived at 122A at the time of the Easter Rebellion. She was living in Boston from at least 1932 as that is where she met a kinsman Bruen Worthington who was trying to work out where he came from. (See: http://genforum.com/worthington/messages/1696.html)


January 7: Death of Kate Rathdonnell's youngest sister Lady Grace Johnson-Walsh.

January 16: FMD diagnosed at Merklands Wharf Glasgow in cattle exported from Co. Derry. On the same date it was confirmed in Eglinton, NI and within a few days in Claudy, Campsie, Thermoyle, Every and Derry City and on 20 January in Bridestown, Kilmanagh Irish Free State (now the ROI). Subsequently the disease affected 556 farms in the Republic of Ireland, of which 5,912 cattle, 143 sheep and 198 pigs were diagnosed as infected and a total of 42,047 animals were destroyed including 27,942 cattle, 10,187 sheep, 3,310 pigs and 608 goats. [Foot and Mouth Disease in Ireland; History, Diagnosis, Eradication and Serosurveillance, by Patrick J O’Reilly; Michael.O’Connor; Anne Harrington; Sally Gaynor & Dianne Clery.]

July 30: Death of Kate Rathdonnell's sister Elizabeth Roberts.


Execution of George Plant.


March 6: Death of KA's sister, Helen Maria Bishop.

Christmas Day: Gough statue beheaded.


The I.R.A. resumed operations, causing Irish President Eamon de Valera to declare war on the organization.
Operation Shamrock begins.


The Big Snow in January and February.

Ireland benefitting from the Marshall Plan (1947-52), experiencing inflation, as salaries increased considerably. This countered the effects of a temporary British ban on coal exports which brought the Irish railroad system to a standstill (Feb. 1947).


A hotly contested election campaign, won by Fianna Fail.

July: Queen Victoria’s statue removed from Leinster Lawn.


Several steps undertaken to deregulate the Irish economy, such as permitting the sale of white bread of prewar quality.


The main wing of Lisnavagh House is knocked down. Churchill after the bombing of the house of commons in 1941 opted to rebuild it in its original configuration despite the fact that it would not accommodate all the members of the house. His rationale was ‘We shape our buildings thereafter they shape us’.

Between 1950 and 1960, over 500,000 people emigrate from Ireland.


September 3: Death of KA's brother-in-law, Sir Hunt Henry Johnson-Walsh, 5th Bart.


Friday November 12: Death of KA's nephew Henry Arthur Bruen of Oak Park.

'The death occurred on Friday 12th November of Captain Henry Arthur Bruen, Oak Park, Carlow. The late Captain Bruen was educated at Eton and was a graduate of Sandhurst, the Military College. In 1907 he was gazetted to the 15th Huzzars and served with the Cavalry Regiment during the 1914-18 World War. He afterwards returned home to farm the extensive Oak Park estate which, as a model of good husbandry bears the imprint of his orderly mind and progressive methods. He was considered an authority in all branches of agriculture. He gave good employment to a large staff , many of whom are housed on the estate. He served as a member of the Committee of the Royal Dublin Society for many years and was associated with the old Carlow Show Society. Captain Bruen was a member of the Kildare Street Club, Dublin and the Cavalry Club of London.
He was President of Carlow Golf Club. He is survived by his wife and Daughter, Mrs Patricia Boyse, Slaney Lodge,
The remains were removed from St. Brigids Hospital to St. Mary's Church on Saturday. Following a Service the funeral took place to the family burial place on the Oak Park estate, an unfinished temple some distance from the house. The plain oak coffin was carried from the church to the motor hearse by employees. The funeral proceeded at walking pace where the coffin was transferred to the house and a further Service was taken. The coffin was then transferred to a farm drea and drawn by a farm horse to the burial ground.
The attendance included Commander Martin Bruen R.N. Lord and Lady Kildare, Lord Rathdonnell, Sir Standish and Lady Roche, Viscount de Vesci, Sir Walter Couchman, Lt. Browne-Clayton, General Sir Charles and Lady Broad, Baron de Roebeck, Sir Thomas Butler, Countess Fitzwilliam, General Dennis, Captain John Rochfort, Captain Oliver Hardy Eustace-Duckett, Robert Harvey-Eustace, Brigadier and Mrs Booth, Colonel William Duckett, Colonel. and Mrs E. Pike,Commander Denis Pack-Beresford, Colonel Philpotts,Colonel Mitchell, Commander C. Skrine, Lt. Colonel Rupert Beauchamp Lecky, Major Bishop,Captain H.C.P. Hamilton, Major Stanley Barret, Lt. Colonel Archibald Macalpine-Downie, Mr Hope Bagenal, Captain J.B. Blackett, Dermott McMurrough-Kavanagh, Mrs Olive Hall. Isobel Lecky-Watson, Colonel J. Farrell, Colonel K. Alexander,Major H. Bramwell, Major John Alexander, Major Bishop, Mr Patrick Governey, Chairman of Carlow Urban Council. Dr Joseph Kelly, Carlow, Mr M Ruddle, Provincial Bank, Mr P. Atcheson, Bank of Ireland, etc etc etc....
Transcribed by Mary Corcoran from Nationalist reporter's notebook November 2009.


Carlow's Year of Champions 1955 – Denny Hyland set new Irish pole vault record, Ernie Jones won the Irish PGA Championship and Tess Delaney captured the Leinster Senior Girls Singles. Eire Og is also founded this year.

October 29: Champion cyclist and active IRA member Joe Christle heads a group of radical students from University College Dublin who forced their way into the Pillar, locked themselves inside and unfurled a huge canvas banner of Kevin Barry.


Population of Carlow county drops to its lowest level since census-taking began, at 33,888.

Nationalist 1956. 'Thanks. Will you kindly allow me space to offer my sincere thanks to all my friends in the district who in consideration of my blindness so kindly subscribed to the purchase of a radio set for me. Especially Mrs Lillis, Lunclone and Mrs Bradley, Janeville, who so kindly collected for the purpose. I am more than grateful, John Aughney, Newtown, Bagenalstown.' (Transcribed by M. Purcell.)


Gough statue toppled by explosion.


Carlow Nationalist, July 1963.
Million $ Handshake.
This week I shook hands with a millionaire in Rathvilly , Co. Carlow. He is Kansas industrialist Mr. George McGrew who is spending a few weeks at Lisnavagh House, the home of the late Lord Rathdonnell.
Mr McGrew has rented the 130 years old house for £1,000 a month, and with him are his family and a number of friends and business associates - about 12 in all. A staff of eight has been hired to look after them.
Head of a radio component company, Mr McGrew says he would like to start a similar concern here, but he has no definite plans in mind at the moment. If such a factory materialised it would employ around 250 people. Mr McGrew likes the idea of siting a branch of his company here because of our labour situation, low operating costs and lower tax rates.
He is enjoying his visit to Rathvilly and has given indications that he might return.
"We are more like guests here than tenants" he said.

(Transcribed by M. Purcell. My aunt believes the McGrews may have introduced mint juleps to Lisavagh).


Carlow Nationalist - Death of Mrs Olive Hall.
Mrs Olive Hall (87) of Kellistown House, Carlow who died at her home last week was one of Ireland's most remarkable women. She had the unique distinction of having been Master of the Carlow Foxhounds for the record
span of 45 years. She became Master in 1920, the fourth Master which that famous pack had had
in 157 years. (John Watson 1807-1869, his son Robert Watson 1869 -1904, W.E. Grogan 1904-1920, and Mrs Hall 1920-1965, her daughter Barbara Eustace-Duckett 1965-1965, her other daughter Olive Alexander 1965- ?).
Olive Hall was the widow of Major William Charles Hall and daughter of Sir Standish O'Grady Roche Bt. of Ahade, Tullow, Co. Carlow. She bred many fine hounds, among them a Peterborough champion, and with Isaac Bell, another famous sporting personality who died recently, she developed blood-lines which are the accepted breeding in many packs today. She was born in 1877, and was a descendant of Sir David Roche Bt., famous
Master of the Limerick Hounds from 1861 to 1879.Her love of hunting began at an early age and she was regarded as an outstanding side-saddle rider of her day. In addition to hunting she also excelled at salmon fishing and gardening. She last rode to the hounds in September, at the age of 87. She was much loved by her staff whom she always treated with kindness and consideration. The oldest member of Mrs Hall's staff present at the funeral was Mr. Frank Bingham who has served the family for more then 43 years. Mrs Hall is survived by her daughters, Mrs O.H.Eustace-Duckett of Castlemore, Tullow and Mrs J. Alexander, Milford House, Carlow, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The eighty-eight wreaths included one each from Queen Elizabeth II of
England and another from The Queen Mother.
Note from Michael Purcell 2010. Olive would come into our shop and we always addressed her as Lady Hall, ( she never objected or corrected ) I remember I was a bit disappointed to find out following her death that she was just a"plain" Mrs !. Mrs Hall was a tall, heavy-set woman and there is a story told of one of the
stable-hands ( a small man ) passing a remark to her when she returned from a hard days hunting, he said to her " I think the horse is sweating excessively Mam" and she replied "don't be ridiculous man, so would you be sweating excessively if you just spent the last five hours lodged between my thighs".
When Mrs Hall died in March 1965 her daughter Mrs Eustace Duckett of Castlemore, took on the Mastership in September. She died shortly afterwards, then Mrs Alexander, Mrs Hall's other daughter, Mastered the Hunt
for that season. In 1966 through lack of followers it was decided to close the Hunt. The Hounds are on loan to the Galway Hunt.

December. 1965. The Nationalist and Leinster Times.
Death of Mrs Barbara Eustace-Duckett.
The death of Mrs Barabra Eustace-Duckett took place at her home in Castlemore, after a long illness. Daughter of the late Major and Mrs Hall, Kellistown, deceased was a member of the Carlow Hunt for many years. On the
death of her mother last spring, she was unanimously appointed Master of the Carlow Hunt. Her interests were not confined to hunting, She was one of the foremost breeders in the country of Labrador Retrievers and the prefix"Castletown" was well known not only in Ireland but also in Great Britain, Canada and the U.S.A. She was also secretary of the Retriever Field Trials Association and acted as a judge on many occasions. She is survived by her husband Mr. Oliver Hardy Eustace-Duckett, her daughters, Mrs O' Lambert, New Ross; Mrs K. Carvill, Castlemore and her sister Mrs J. Alexander, Milford, Carlow.


50th Anniversary of Easter Rising. It has been said that there was such a large turnout of the "survivors" of the General Post Office Garrison from 50 years before, that one wag remarked" the G.P.O. survivors is it, ! bejapers to hold that crowd it's Croke Park you'd want " (M. Purcell).


With thanks to William Bunbury, Michael Purcell, Chris Bilham, Penny Hatfield, Roisin Higgins, Peter McGoldrick, Paul Gorry, Robert Harbord and others.