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The History Festival of Ireland 2012-2014

The History Festival of Ireland 2012-2014

Turtle co-founded the History Festival of Ireland in 2012, and curated the event in 2012 and 2013, arranging for upwards of 70 leading historians, writers, playwrights and thinkers from Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA to contribute to two highly regarded weekends. The event was subsumed into the annual Festival of Writing and Ideas at Borris House, County Carlow, at which Turtle is a regular speaker. 

The Colleys of Castle Carbery, Mount Temple & Corkagh

The Colleys of Castle Carbery, Mount Temple & Corkagh

The story of the Colleys is a rip-roaring account from the first  dastardly Tudor to come to Ireland on Thomas Cromwell’s watch through to the sad finale for Corkagh, the Colley house near Clondalkin, County Dublin. Among those profiled are the Duke of Wellington, the novelist Elizabeth Bowen, the Titanic victim Eddie Colley and the ancestors of the actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.

The Forgotten Cult of St John the Baptist in Medieval Ireland by Michael Brabazon & Turtle Bunbury

The Forgotten Cult of St John the Baptist in Medieval Ireland by Michael Brabazon & Turtle Bunbury

Following his seizure of the High Kingship of Ireland in 1120, Turlough O’Connor, King of Connacht, and the O’Duffys, attempted to establish Tuam, County Galway, as a new political and spiritual capital. As part of the project, a new priory-hospital was dedicated to St John the Baptist. This became the centre of a cult that brought bonfires and holy wells to all parts of Ireland but its story became blurred when it was confused with a largely fictional order known as the Fratres Cruciferi.

The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 2 (1879-1913)

The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 2 (1879-1913)

Taking the story from his succession as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell in 1879 and the complexities of the Land Wars, through the glory days of Anchor, Bluebeard and the other Lisnavagh bulls, plus the marriage of his daughters, the death of Billy in the Anglo-Boer War and up to the eve of the Great War.

Finlay of Corkagh House, Clondalkin

Finlay of Corkagh House, Clondalkin

The saga of a family who flee Scotland with the downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots, and make their fortune in Ireland through private banking and a useful cousin that happens to own a handful of iron mines in Sweden. Covering events such as the 1798 Rising and Robert Emmet’s Rebellion, the story ends in tragedy with the death in war of the last three Finlay sons of Corkagh House, County Dublin.

Cuffe, Earls of Desart – Ghostly Women and Forgotten Heroes 

Cuffe, Earls of Desart – Ghostly Women and Forgotten Heroes 

The story of the Cuffes of Desart Court in the Irish county of Kilkenny is as sprawling an epic as ever there was. Over nine generations, the family were deeply ensconced in the affairs of Ireland and the Anglo-Irish world. Their rise through the ranks of Great Britain’s social hierarchy makes for a fascinating mirror of the rise of Britain itself, from uncertain nation state to brash and broody empire, culminating in the burning of Desart Court on 22 February 1923.

Captain William McClintock Bunbury, Part 3:  Lisnavagh House & Westminster MP (1835-1866)

Captain William McClintock Bunbury, Part 3: Lisnavagh House & Westminster MP (1835-1866)

This part takes up from William’s retirement from the navy, after 20 years at sea, and the complete revolution in his life in 1846 when, in the space of 5 weeks, he succeeded to his wealthy uncle’s fortune and became MP for Carlow, just as Peel’s government collapsed and the potato blight began to scorch the land. It looks at his sojourn in County Fermanagh, his marriage into the Stronge family of Tynan Abbey, his political term at Westminster and the construction of Lisnavagh House.

About Turtle Bunbury

About Turtle Bunbury

An overview of Turtle’s professional career, including bundles of photos from the last two or three decades.

Bunbury of Johnstown House, County Carlow, Ireland

Bunbury of Johnstown House, County Carlow, Ireland

A branch of the Bunbury family lived at Johnstown House outside Carlow town for most of the 18th and early 19th century. This account looks at such characters as the travel writer Selina Bunbury and the pioneering postmaster Sir Henry Noel Bunbury, as well as connections to the Irish Volunteers, William Pitt, Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, Oscar Wilde, the Conellan family and sub-branches in Liverpool, Essex, Miami and Cuba.

Finn of Drummond, St Mullins, County Carlow

Finn of Drummond, St Mullins, County Carlow

The story of the Finn family who have lived in the townland o f Drummin, near St. Mullins, Co. Carlow, since at least the 18th century. William Finn served with the United Irishmen in 1798, while his son John, a farmer, assisted the Poor Law Commissioners in the 1830s. John’s son Pat was a forester who worked with Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House, as well as a master of the divining rod. This history also encompasses local families such as Murphy, Keefe, Ryan Doyle, Rorke, Walsh, O’Neill, Phelan, Gladney and Corcoran.

The Irish & the White House – Why Irish Eyes are Smiling

The Irish & the White House – Why Irish Eyes are Smiling

The White House was built by a fellow from Kilkenny and burned down by a man from Down. At least 22 of its presidential occupants had Irish roots, as did numerous other founding fathers and leading political figures in US history. This epic looks at the many, many connections between Ireland and the US presidents, including the White House staff over the years.

John McClintock, 1st Baron Rathdonnell (1798-1879)

John McClintock, 1st Baron Rathdonnell (1798-1879)

John McClintock, who inherited Drumcar House, County Louth, in 1855, launched a series of mostly unsuccessful campaigns to represent County Louth at Westminster. He served just one term from 1857-9, but he caught the eye of Benjamin Disraeli and was created Baron Rathdonnell in 1868. This story follows his life and times, his links to the Bunbury family, and his marriage to Anne Lefroy.

William Robert Bunbury, 4th Baron Rathdonnell, M.C. (1914-1959)

William Robert Bunbury, 4th Baron Rathdonnell, M.C. (1914-1959)

My grandfather packed a lot into his 44 years. Born during the Great War, he lost his mother at the age of eight and, an only child, became very close to his father, the 3rd Baron Rathdonnell. Educated at Charterhouse and Cambridge in England, he lived it up in the US in the late 1930s but life turned serious again at the age of 21 when his father died and he succeeded as 4th Baron. He married Pamela Drew, a free-spirited artist, a few weeks later. And then came Hitler’s War, in which he found himself in command of a squadron of tanks …

Kilkea Castle (5) – The Geraldine Age, Part II (1537-1773) – Resurrection

Kilkea Castle (5) – The Geraldine Age, Part II (1537-1773) – Resurrection

The FitzGeralds rose from the ashes with the remarkable return of the Wizard Earl of Kildare in the 1550s. Despite a litany of premature deaths, his successors managed to ride out the turmoil of the 17th century intact, extending Kilkea Castle in County Kildare along the way. The castle also served as a Jesuit novitiate for 12 years before being extended in the 1660s. In the 18th century, the great-great-grandson of the Fairy Earl would become the first Duke of Leinster.

A History of Bishopscourt, Clones, Co. Monaghan

A History of Bishopscourt, Clones, Co. Monaghan

Built as a rectory for the Church of Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars, Bishopscourt was considered such a fine abode that two Bishops of Clogher opted to use it as their main place of residence during the first decades of the 20th century. This tale takes in the Lennard family, scions of a natural daughter of Charles II, as well as Cassandra Hand, champion of Clones Lace; the dairying enterprise of the Mealiff family; the fabulously named Baldwin Murphy; and the enigmatic Archie Moore, Consultant Surgeon at Monaghan General Hospital.

Bunbury of Kilfeacle & Shronell, County Tipperary

Bunbury of Kilfeacle & Shronell, County Tipperary

Following the descendants of Mathew Bunbury (1675-1733), fourth son of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig, Co Carlow, from Tipperary and Kilkenny to Borneo and Australia, including the family of Field Marshal Lord Roberts and Henry Sadleir Prittie, 1st Baron Dunalley.

A History of the O’Leary and Cavanaugh Families – From Kerry to Houston via Oil City

A History of the O’Leary and Cavanaugh Families – From Kerry to Houston via Oil City

This epic story homes in on the descendants of Pat O’Leary, who emigrated to North America from Ireland at the height of the Great Famine. Following his marriage to fellow Kerry emigrant Catherine Maloney, he worked on the railroads of New York and Toronto. The O’Leary’s and their seven children then journeyed south to Pennsylvania where the oil industry was underway. Pat’s grandson George O’Leary became one of the most influential figures in Houston, Texas. Also told are the back stories of the Maloneys of Knockalougha, County Kerry, and the Cavanaughs of County Leitrim. 

Brabazon of Killruddery, County Wicklow – Earls of Meath, Barons Ardee

Brabazon of Killruddery, County Wicklow – Earls of Meath, Barons Ardee

The Brabazons came to prominence during the Tudor conquest of Ireland when Henry VIII dispatched the shrewd Sir William Brabazon to Ireland as Vice-Treasurer. He established the family at Killruddery and his grandson was created 1st Earl of Meath in 1627. Over the next 300 years, the family would consolidate their influence in Wicklow, Ireland and the wider world of the British Empire.

Redmond Kane and the O’Cahan Family

Redmond Kane and the O’Cahan Family

The story of the O’Cahans of Limavady, who became the Kane family, prominent bankers, homing in on the attorney Redmond Kane of Mantua, Swords, County Dublin, one of the wealthiest commoners in Ireland during the late 18th century. He was also for many years the Solicitor to the Irish Company entrusted with management of what is now County Derry Londonderry. In time, the substantial Kane estates would pass to his grandson Colonel Kane Bunbury.

Wolfe of Forenaughts, County Kildare

Wolfe of Forenaughts, County Kildare

This remarkable family produced no less than eleven Freemen of Dublin over the years. The most celebrated member was Chief Justice Lord Kilwarden, a patron of Wolfe Tone, murdered during the Emmet Rebellion of 1803. A high profile marriage to the fashionable Lady Charlotte Hutchinson produced no heirs, while another heir was slain in action against the Mahdi in Sudan. This article also looks at General Wolfe who captured Quebec, and Charles Wolfe, the poet who wrote the famous elegy on the death of Sir John Moore

The Yelvertons, Viscounts Avonmore

The Yelvertons, Viscounts Avonmore

Originating in Norfolk, the Yelvertons rose through the ranks in England to become, at various times, Baron Grey de Ruthyn, Earl of Kent and Earl of Sussex. Another branch moved to Ireland where Viscount Avonmore was a leading legal eagle in the Georgian Age. This takes in such events as the celebrated Yelverton v. Longworth case and explores connections to Blackwater (Cork), Portland and Belle Isle (Tipperary), and Whitland Abbey (Wales). Also covered are an early American connection and influential Australian emigres Charles Yelverton O’Connor and Henry John Yelverton.

The Magistrate: Benjamin Bunbury (1751-1823) of Moyle & Killerig

The Magistrate: Benjamin Bunbury (1751-1823) of Moyle & Killerig

Benjamin Bunbury was one of the younger sons of Thomas Bunbury of Kill but the death in a horse fall of his older brother William propelled him into the deep end as he took over the running of Lisnavagh, as well as Moyle and Killerrig, on behalf of his young nephew. He earned himself a reputation as something of a diplomat during the 1798 Rebellion but narrowly avoided being murdered by the Finnegan gang shortly before his death at the age of 72 .

Blake of Menlo Castle, County Galway & Meelick House,  County Clare

Blake of Menlo Castle, County Galway & Meelick House, County Clare

Looking at one of the most celebrated of the 14 Tribes of Galway, whose properties included Menlo Castle and Meelick in Ireland, as well as Whitland Abbey in Carmarthenshire, Wales. The account considers all nineteen of the Blake baronets, Wild Geese and Wine Geese, as well as curious links to Cary Grant, Red Hugh O’Donnell’s assassin and Tony Blake, who was executed during the Korean War.  

Kilkea Castle, Chapter 6: Hellfire (1668-1837) – The Dixon, Reynolds and Caulfield Years

Kilkea Castle, Chapter 6: Hellfire (1668-1837) – The Dixon, Reynolds and Caulfield Years

During the late 17th century, Kilkea Castle in County Kildare was occupied by a series of well-to-do families while the FitzGeralds prepared to move to Carton. In the century thereafter, the dissolute Henry Dixon and the duplicitous Tom Reynolds did not bode well, and Kilkea would be the scene of high drama during the 1798 Rebellion, with Lord Edward FitzGerald centre-stage. Ultimately, it would find calm under the Caulfields before the FitzGeralds resumed control of Kilkea once more.

Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar – The Irish Experience

Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar – The Irish Experience

The Knights Templar have captivated people’s imagination ever since the Order was founded in 1119. One of the most powerful forces in Europe for almost 200 years, their initial purpose was to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. In Ireland, they had manors and banking preceptories across Leinster, as well as anchorage for ships from Waterford Harbour to Galway City to the north-west coast. Their fall was astoundingly dramatic.

Kilkea Castle 8 – Nightfall (1887-1961)

Kilkea Castle 8 – Nightfall (1887-1961)

The FitzGeralds would face no end of challenges during the opening decades of the 20th century with two tragic deaths and the loss of a huge portion of their ancestral wealth. However, with the birth of the Irish Free State, Kilkea Castle in County Kildare remained home for many FitzGerald sons and daughters through both wars until 1961 when sold by the 8th Duke of Leinster.

Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock & His Family

Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock & His Family

An especially accomplished branch of the family, descended from Harry McClintock, Collector of Customs at Dundalk port and uncle of the first Lord Rathdonnell. Harry’s son Leopold would find lasting fame as the man who discovered the fate of Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition, while another son Alfred became Master of the Rotunda. Leopold’s children included a naval veteran of Gallipoli, a Royal irish Constable and a New Zealand emigrant, while his grandson was one of the great keepers of Irish language literature.  

The Irish Pub – Media Coverage & General Applause

The Irish Pub – Media Coverage & General Applause

‘Delightful’ says The Irish Times. ‘Fascinating’ concurred the Independent-on-Sunday. ‘A brilliant history of the Irish pub’ declared Country Life. ‘A masterpiece of pub porn’ said the Sunday Independent. Turtle’s 2008 book ‘The Irish Pub’ – his third with photographer James Fennell – gathered plenty of the plaudits following its publication. It was selected as Bookseller’s Choice for Christmas by Hughes and Hughes and short-listed in The Irish Times Christmas Gift Special. The sumptuous hardback sold over 5,000 copies in its first 3 months.

The Halpin Family: Lighthouse Builders, Port Engineers, Pioneers

The Halpin Family: Lighthouse Builders, Port Engineers, Pioneers

A dynasty whose bloodlines interlink across multiple generations from their origins in the Huguenot stronghold of Portarlington, County Laois, to Wicklow, the Dublin Docklands, Meath and the distant lands of the USA and Australia. George Halpin, the ‘Founding Father’ of Irish lighthouses, constructed 53 lighthouses around the Irish coast, and did much to shape Dublin Bay and the Liffey. His nephew Captain Robert Halpin laid the Atlantic cable, while the article brings us to the present-day with the inventor, engineer and MacArthur fellow, Saul Griffith.

Captain William McClintock Bunbury, R.N., Part 2: The Sea Years (1813-1835)

Captain William McClintock Bunbury, R.N., Part 2: The Sea Years (1813-1835)

In 1813, 13-year-old William McClintock Bunbury joined HMS Ajax as a first-class volunteer, participating in his first sea battle the following year. Over the next two decades he would rise through the naval ranks and travel astonishing distances across the southern hemisphere. Most of this was on board HMS Samarang, a sister ship of HMS Beagle, and Charles Darwin was never far away. Meanwhile, as William IV succeeded George IV, and slavery is abolished, there is pile up of family tragedy in store … 

Tighe of Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, and Rossanagh, Co. Wicklow

Tighe of Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, and Rossanagh, Co. Wicklow

An epic saga that follows the descendants of an opportunist farmer who became the principal baker to Oliver Cromwell’s troops in Ireland through to a murder in 1917. We meet one of Dean Swift’s greatest foes, families such as Bligh, Fownes and Bunbury, and a host of literary greats including Percy and Mary Shelley, Thomas Moore, John Wesley and Patrick Bronte.

The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 1 (1848-1878)

The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 1 (1848-1878)

The Formative Years – Tom McClintock Bunbury (1848-1929) would become probably the most influential member of the Irish branch of the family in history. This section looks at his childhood, his Eton education, his time in the Scots Greys, the death of his parents and sisters, his marriage to Kate Bruen and his position as heir apparent to his uncle, the 1st Baron Rathdonnell.

Wingfield, Viscounts Powerscourt of Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Wingfield, Viscounts Powerscourt of Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Powerscourt House is one of the most famous Georgian houses in Ireland. Built in the 1740s, it was devastated by fire in 1974 but subsequently rebuilt. The estate takes its name from the de la Poer family who built a castle here in Norman times. In 1608, the property came to the possession of Sir Richard Wingfield, a prominent general in the English army. This story of their descendants included one of Lord Byron’s closest friend, a man who hosted George IV to dinner and Sarah, Duchess of York. The Slazengers of Powerscourt are closely related to the present Viscount.

Applause for Vanishing Ireland

Applause for Vanishing Ireland

Christy Moore, Rob Kearney, John Spain and hundreds of others voice their approval of the Vanishing Ireland project on a page that Turtle secretly visits from time to time on the rare occasions he’s feeling a little blue.

Germaine of Lisnavagh & Tobinstown

Germaine of Lisnavagh & Tobinstown

During the 18th and 19th century, some of the lands at Lisnavagh and Tobinstown in County Carlow were rented by the Germaines, a family of Huguenot extraction who are said to have built several houses on the land. A rather unsettling story claims that, following the Tithe Wars, Philip Germaine was evicted and his property razed to make way for the new house at Lisnavagh … could this be so?

Dennis of Fortgranite, County Wicklow

Dennis of Fortgranite, County Wicklow

Kinsfolk of both Jonathan Swift and John Dryden, the Dennis family fortunes rose with a prudent marriage to a sole heiress, netting them extensive estates in Kerry, Cork and Dublin. Family members include the artist Kathleen Marescaux, the Indian tea magnate Maurice FitzGerald Sandes, radio pioneer Colonel Meade Dennis and General Meade Dennis, who served as principal artillery commander under Montgomery at El Alamein. Fortgranite, their family home, was sold in 2019.

Colonel Kane Bunbury (1777-1874) & the Kane-Smith Family of Moyle and Rathmore, County Carlow

Colonel Kane Bunbury (1777-1874) & the Kane-Smith Family of Moyle and Rathmore, County Carlow

Dismissed from the British Army after a court martial in 1823, Kane moved to Moyle, Kellistown, County Carlow, where he became one of Ireland’s principal cattle breeders. From 1865 until his death aged 97 in 1874, he lived at Rathmore Park, also in Carlow. Although he died unmarried, it seems that Colonel Bunbury did not die without issue: hence, the Kane Smith. Also into this colourful mix can be added Willie Wilde, brother of Oscar, and Vera, Countess of Rosslyn, as well as the late architect, Jeremy Williams.

Foster of County Louth – Ambassadors, Speakers, Lovers Extraordinaire

Foster of County Louth – Ambassadors, Speakers, Lovers Extraordinaire

A family who rose through the hierarchy through their astute understanding of finance, property and agriculture, culminating with John Foster’s election as Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and his elevation to the peerage as Baron Oriel. With 6,500 acres at Collon, Dunleer and Glyde Court, County Louth, the head of the family also became Viscount Ferrard and Viscount Massereene, inheriting Antrim Castle. Includes the philanthropist Vere Foster and Lady Bess Foster, part of the Duke of Devonshire’s ménage à trois with Georgiana.

Bunbury of Cloghna, Cranavonane & Marlston

Bunbury of Cloghna, Cranavonane & Marlston

Descended from a younger son of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerrig, this branch settled in the region of the River Barrow in County Carlow. One ran The Bear Inn in Carlow. Another was a wine merchant on Bow Street, Dublin, who intermarried with the Mill family, wine merchants of Exeter. This marriage brought them to Marlston House, Berkshire. Family members include a leading diplomat in New Zealand, a Governor of St Lucia and a Privy Chamberlain to Pope Pius XI, as well as the ancestors of the Versturme Bunburys and the Guyana branch.

Hugh Mill Bunbury & the Guyana Connection

Hugh Mill Bunbury & the Guyana Connection

Plantation owner Hugh Mill Bunbury of Guyana (Demerara) was born in Devon and moved to the West Indies as a young man. His daughter Lydia was disinherited for marrying the French Romantic poet Count Alfred de Vigny. His son Charles commanded the Rifle Brigade and married Lady Harriot Dundas. One grandson was Privy Chamberlains to the Pope, as well as heir to Cranavonane, County Carlow. Another was the much-decorated businessman, Evelyn James Bunbury.

Bunbury of Lisbryan, Spiddal, Woodville … and Borneo

Bunbury of Lisbryan, Spiddal, Woodville … and Borneo

This branch of the main Lisnavagh family initially settled between County Tipperary and Connemara. Descendants include a man who held the world record for shorthand writing, the Borneo settler for whom the Bunbury Shoals are named and the unfortunate Molly Bunbury who was murdered by her doctor husband in 1886.

John ‘Old Turnip’ McClintock (1769-1855) of Drumcar, County Louth

John ‘Old Turnip’ McClintock (1769-1855) of Drumcar, County Louth

A prominent player in Irish politics during the last years of the Parliament in Dublin, aided by his kinship with John Foster, the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and his opposition to the Act of Union, the Brexit of its day. Following the tragic death of his first wife Jane (née Bunbury) in 1801, he married a sister of the 2nd Earl of Clancarty, one of the power houses of European politics after Napoleon’s defeat.

Ireland’s Forgotten Past  A History of the Overlooked and Disremembered

Ireland’s Forgotten Past A History of the Overlooked and Disremembered

An alternative history that covers 13,000 years in 36 stories that are often left out of history books. Among the characters profiled are a pair of ill- fated prehistoric chieftains, a psychopathic Viking, a gallant Norman knight, a dazzling English traitor, an ingenious tailor, an outstanding war-horse and a brothel queen.

William Bunbury III of Lisnavagh (1744-1778)

William Bunbury III of Lisnavagh (1744-1778)

William was the great-grandson of the first Bunbury to settle in Ireland. He married the heiress  Katherine Kane, shortly before he was elected MP for Carlow in Grattan’s Parliament. He was planning to build a new house at Lisnavagh when he was tragically killed in a horse accident in 1778. After his death, his widow took the family to live in Bath until their eldest son, Thomas, was old enough to return. William’s posthumous daughter Jane would produce the future heir of Lisnavagh …

Crosbie of Abbeydorney (Limerick), Viewmount (Carlow) & Crosbie Park (Wicklow)

Crosbie of Abbeydorney (Limerick), Viewmount (Carlow) & Crosbie Park (Wicklow)

The Crosbie family descended from a once powerful Catholic dynasty whose influence waned during the religious troubles of the 17th century. Its best known members include Sir Edward Crosbie, executed for treason after the 1798 Rebellion, and his younger brother, Richard Crosbie, who became a household name across Britain and Ireland after his pioneering journey in a hot air balloon from Ranelagh to Clontarf in the summer of 1785.

The McClintock Family in Scotland

The McClintock Family in Scotland

The McClintocks were a Scottish family who settled in north west Donegal (Trintaugh, Rathdonnell, Dunmore) during the early 17th century and spread east into Counties Derry, Tyrone (Seskinore), Armagh (Fellow’s Hall) and Louth (Drumcar, Red Hall, Newtown). In 1798, John McClintock married Jane Bunbury and so gave life to the McClintock Bunburys of Lisnavagh. The McClintock genes claim to a number of historical celebrities including Generals Montgomery and Alexander, Speaker John Foster, the Barons Rathdonnell, Brigadier Dame Mary Colvin and the explorer Sir F. Leopold McClintock.

La Touche of Marlay, Bellevue & Harristown

La Touche of Marlay, Bellevue & Harristown

Arguably Ireland’s most prominent Huguenot family in the Georgian Age, the La Touche family descend from David La Touche, a refugee from the Loire Valley who served at the Battle of the Boyne and went on to found the bank of La Touche & Sons. His descendants were to be instrumental in the evolution of Ireland’s banking institutions over the 18th century, and spearheaded educational reform in the 19th. The Harristown branch included John “The Master” La Touche, a fanatical evangelist, and his daughter, Rose, whose tragic romance with artist John Ruskin resulted in her untimely death at the age of 25.

The Bunbury Isaac Family

The Bunbury Isaac Family

In 1758, Thomas Bunbury of Kill, County Carlow, married Susanna Priscilla Isaac, daughter of the County Down barrister John Isaac. Their descendants would hold properties such as Holywood (Hollywood), near Hillsborough, County Down, Seafield House, near Donabate, County Dublin, and Lisbryan (Lisbrien), County Tipperary. Among them were Thomas Bunbury, Bishop of Limerick, and other lines that sprang up in Jersey and Mozambique.

Stronge of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh

Stronge of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh

The dramatic tale of the Stronge family from their arrival in Ireland on the eve of the siege of Derry through to the brutal murder of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1981.

Haroldstown, County Carlow – Of Dolmens, Evictions and Eccentric Historians

Haroldstown, County Carlow – Of Dolmens, Evictions and Eccentric Historians

Located on the River Dereen, this 350 acre townland includes the beautiful Haroldstown Dolmen, while neighbouring Ballykilduff appears to have been home to a Bronze Age settlement that was first charted by a drone in 2018. Closely linked to the nearby monastery at Acaun, its past owners include two former Lord Chancellors of Ireland and an eccentric newspaper man. It was also the scene of an appalling eviction of 173 tenants in the 1830s, including numerous widows.  

Lefroy of Carrigglas (Longford), Ewshot (Hampshire) and Canterbury (Kent)

Lefroy of Carrigglas (Longford), Ewshot (Hampshire) and Canterbury (Kent)

Hailing from Cambrai in French Picardy, the Lefroy family arrived in England as refugees during the French Wars of Religion. Having prospered as silk merchants in Canterbury, two branches emerged. The Irish branch included Tom Lefroy, famed as the love interest of Jane Austen, before he became Chief Justice of Ireland. The English branch were based at Ashe in Hampshire where they were again closely affiliated with Jane Austen’s family. Among the family were the first Lady Rathdonnell and the surveyor Sir John Lefroy.      

De Burgh of Oldtown, Co. Kildare

De Burgh of Oldtown, Co. Kildare

Reputedly descended from Charlemagne, the de Burgh’s role in Irish affairs has been immense since the first knights who cantered across the seas in the 12th century. The Oldtown branch was established in Kildare 325 years ago by Thomas Burgh, a brilliant military engineer. His descendants include the Georgian politicians Walter Hussey Burgh and John Foster, General Sir Eric de Burgh, the singer Chris de Burgh and the 2003 Miss World, Rosanna Davison.

Wall (Du Valle) of County Carlow

Wall (Du Valle) of County Carlow

From the time of the Anglo-Normans through until the end of the seventeenth century, a large swathe of land running east of Carlow town in Ireland was held by the Wall family. Much of this property was subsequently subsumed into the estates of the Bunbury and Burton family. The area has been home to humanity since ancient times – Johnstown, one of the Bunbury’s principal houses, is only a mile or so from the Browne’s Hill dolmen and boasted its own bullaun stone.

Bunburys in the Medieval Age

Bunburys in the Medieval Age

Looking at the Bunbury family during the 100 Years War and the Wars of the Roses, including a timely sickie on the eve of Agincourt.

The Hon. Jack Bunbury (1851-1893)

The Hon. Jack Bunbury (1851-1893)

Thought to be the inspiration behind Oscar Wilde’s famous ‘Bunbury’, Jack Bunbury was a remarkable oarsman who won many trophies for Eton and Oxford. He also enjoyed acting, not least during his service with the Royal Scots Greys in the 1870s. His life spiralled when he was caught up in the Land Wars, after which he moved to England. The death of his only son, aged 11, in 1892 was followed by his own premature demise a year later. This account also looks at his wife Myra, of the famous Watson hunting dynasty, and her second husband, Baron Max de Tuyll.

Guinness of Lodge Park, County Kildare

Guinness of Lodge Park, County Kildare

Overlooking a stretch of the River Liffey, Lodge Park was bought by the Guinness family in 1948 and it is presently home to Robert and Sarah Guinness. Robert descends from Samuel, a younger brother of Arthur Guinness the Brewer, who became a goldbeater in the 18th century. Samuel’s descendants founded the bank of Guinness Mahon and included Adelaide, 1st Countess of Iveagh, the financiers Loel and Dick, and Robert’s father, Richard, a prominent Engineer.

Kilkea Castle 7 – Twilight (1822-1895)

Kilkea Castle 7 – Twilight (1822-1895)

In the 1830s, the 3rd Duke of Leinster began a lengthy restoration of his family’s ancient castle at Kilkea in County Kildare, giving it the shape that it has today. For the rest of the century, Kilkea would be home to the Marquess of Kildare. This era, which coincided with the Great Hunger, the Land Wars and the ever-louder call for Home Rule in Ireland, would end with the calamitous – and premature – deaths of the 5th Duke of Leinster and his beautiful wife, Hermione.

Grafton Street, Dublin City

Grafton Street, Dublin City

Grafton Street, Ireland’s main shopping boulevard, started life as a small, medieval cattle track that wound alongside the east bank of the Stein, the river that now flows underground between St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. This account tells the tale of five Georgian houses running from 96-100 Grafton Street, as well as the Turkish Baths and 5 Grafton Street, and who their occupants were, including Weir’s and the company that inspired Bono’s name. It also provides a detailed listing of occupants of all houses on Grafton Street, compiled by Belinda Evangelista in 2023.

De Robeck of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare & the Focks of Estonia

De Robeck of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare & the Focks of Estonia

Originating in Estonia and Sweden, the de Robecks came of age during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars, while Admiral de Robeck was one of the principal figures in the Dardanelles campaign of the First World War. Other family members have been pivotal to the success of events such as the Punchestown races, the Kildare Hunt and the Dublin Horse Show.

Maunsell of Oakley Park, Celbridge, County Kildare

Maunsell of Oakley Park, Celbridge, County Kildare

A heroic defence of a Waterford against Cromwell’s army earned the Maunsell family respect from the Irish when they first settled in the mid 17th century. During the Georgian Age, they rose to prominence in Limerick, as bankers, politicians and Mayors. In the arly 18th century, they moved to Oakley Park, from where they married into the Orpen family. Today the house is run by the St John of Gods.

The Story of Corkagh, Clondalkin (Dublin) – Introduction & Chapter 1

The Story of Corkagh, Clondalkin (Dublin) – Introduction & Chapter 1

The Corkagh demesne has been in existence since at least 1326 when listed as part of the Archbishop of Dublin’s manor of Clondalkin. A modest castle existed here in the medieval age followed by a farmhouse constructed in about 1650. This section looks at the turbulent 17th century when both house and lands passed through a series of families such as Mills, Trundell and Browne before being were settled upon the Nottinghams, kinsmen of the Jacobite dynasty of Sarsfield.

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