Edward Lear, Champion of Nonsense

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN CALLED EDWARD By Turtle Bunbury As he plunged his quill into the inkpot, Edward Lear exhaled contentedly. It might have taken him the best part of fifty years to complete the trip, but the best-selling English nonsense poet had finally made it to...
Charles Bianconi (1786-1875) – The Man who put Ireland on Wheels

Charles Bianconi (1786-1875) – The Man who put Ireland on Wheels

‘Earn a shilling a day and live upon sixpence’. That was the motto of a remarkable entrepreneur from Italy whose energy, perseverance, punctuality and good humour made him the transport king of Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s. A friend of Daniel O’Connell, he became...

A Scandalous Affair – Princess Penelope of Capua (1815–1882)

A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR – PRINCESS PENELOPE (1815 – 1882) NB: For more on Miss Penelope Smith’s family, see sections on Smyth of Ballynatray, Ponsonby of Kilcooley Abbey and the Earls Mouncashell. The author of the 1853 Tourists Illustrated Handbook for Ireland advised...
Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) – The Liberator

Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) – The Liberator

Bishopscourt, County Kildare, 1815. Daniel O’Connell was only a split-second slower than John D’Esterre. Ordinarily that should have cost the 40-year-old Kerry barrister his life. But D’Esterre pulled his trigger too soon and, to the astonishment of the witnesses, the...