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The Halpin Family: Lighthouse Builders, Port Engineers, Pioneers

Poolbeg Lighthouse was designed by George Halpin senior.

The story of a dynasty whose bloodlines interlink across multiple generations from their likely origins in the Huguenot stronghold of Portarlington, County Laois, to Wicklow, the Dublin Docklands, Meath and the distant lands of New York, Ohio and Australia. The descendants include at least 13 doctors, numerous sea captains, artists, actors, engravers, journalists, army officers and lawyers.

The main focus is on George Halpin (1776–1854), née Halfpenny, the ‘Founding Father’ of Irish lighthouses, who did much to shape Dublin Bay and the Liffey. He was one of the most competent civil engineers operating in Ireland during the 19th century, including such crucial feats as the Bull Wall in Dublin.   An administrator of exceptional ability, he was praised in equal measure for the number of works he carried out and the intense perfectionism applied in each case.  .

George was also largely responsible for the ‘Golden Age’ of Irish lighthouse building. During his time at the Dublin Ballast Board (the forerunner of Irish Lights), 53 lighthouses were built around the Irish coast: many of which are still fully functioning navigational aids, helping keep mariners safe. 

His nephew Captain Robert Halpin, who laid the Atlantic cable, is examined separately.

The following data represents ongoing research inspired by the story of George Halpin, the engineering father and son who built so much of the Dublin Docklands. For much of this information I am indebted to the work of family historians Bill Webster and Ray Halpin.



William Halfpenny, Architect of the Georgian Age


Given that George Halpin Snr was one of the last Wicklow Halfpenny’s to anglicize his surname, and his strong ties to the construction industry, it is not inconceivable that he was a nephew, or grand-nephew of the architect William Halfpenny. That is pure speculation, alas, but I feel I had better cover William Halfpenny here in any case.

William Halfpenny, who also used the alias Michael Hoare, is thought to have been born in Ireland but spent most of his working life in England. Also described as a carpenter, his earliest commissioned work was for a 1723 design for Holy Trinity Church in Leeds, which was never executed.

Frontispiece of William Halfpenny’s Chinese design book of 1755.

He appears to have worked as an apprentice to Edward Lovett Pearce, whose works include the Irish Houses of Parliament in Dublin, Castletown House in County Kildare and at least two of the houses on Henrietta Street in Dublin. In 1734 he was commissioned to design a new house at Garryhundon, County Carlow, by Sir Richard Butler, 5th Bart. [1] Other Irish works directly attributed to Halfpenny include Gaulstown in County Westmeath, the horse barracks at Hillsborough in County Down and various aspects of King House in County Roscommon, the Cornmarket in Cork City, and the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin.

The Coopers’ Hall in Bristol was built from his designs in 1743–4, while other English works linked to him include Frampton Court in Gloucestershire, the Black Castle Public House, Brislington, near Bristol, and the Church of St Margaret at Babington, Somerset. [2]

Halfpenny was well known for his architectural pattern books, from which clients could choose styles and types of buildings or improvements. The first of at least ten published ‘how to’ books was ‘Practical Architecture’ (c1724). This included a dedication to Sir Thomas Frankland of Thirsk, suggesting Halfpenny was in the Yorkshire area at that time. His other works include ‘Rural Architecture In The Chinese Taste: Being Designs Entirely New For The Decoration Of Gardens, Parks, Forrests, Insides Of Houses, & C’ (1755), a beautifully illustrated book to assist those erecting Chinese structures in regional areas. This was co-written with his son John. Could John have been the John Halpin who ended up a herald painter (among other things) with an address Capel Street, Dublin? Or, a generation later, what of the bookseller and printer of Sackville Street, see below? There were also several engravers in the Halpin family during the Georgian period, male and female.

Record of an Arthur Halfpenny connected to a forgery incident and the Custom House, from the Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty, 12 June 1775. Arthur is described as a Preventive Officer, ie: someone employed to ensure that vessels arriving to and departing from Dublin Port paid, and received, duties and refunds. He was presumably in the habit of depositing and collecting sums of money with and from the Collector’s cashier. It seems this forged order for £20 was presented to the Collector for payment to Arthur. George Halpin senior, who was a Halfpenny before he became a Halpin, closely linked to the Beresford family in the late 1790s and early 1800s. One of his sons by his second marriage was an Arthur Halpin, born in 1820.


Halpin / Halpenny Roots


There was a sept by name of Ó hAlilpine, anglicised to Halfpenny or Halpenny, who inhabited an area in present day County Monaghan. I am agreement with Ray Halpin’s proposition that the Halpins of the 18th century who had links to land in Wicklow, Queen’s County, Louth and Meath – who worked the land – tended to retain their ancient Halfpenny surname, but that those who moved to the city and took up placements in the Customs services and other public functions tended to spell their names as Halpin, particularly after the 1798 rebellion.

Nicholas Halpin was born in Dublin in 1650. His son Christopher Halpin, who was born in Dublin in 1673, emigrated to France in 1691, became a cavalryman and was married in January 1698 to a French woman by the name of Charlotte Christophe. [3] He thus appears to have been a member of the Wild Geese, one of the 14,000 Jacobites who chose to join an army in Europe which, in his case, was as a ”cavalier” in  De Marineau’s Régiment.

The French connection brings us to Portarlington, County Laois, where another Nicholas Halpin, born about 1735, was a school headmaster (and possible proprietor) in about 1760. His school was for the sons of wealthy civil administrators. His wife Anne du Bois almost certainly hailed from Portarlington’s Huguenot community.

In 1789, Nicholas and Anne Halpin’s daughter married Thomas Hill, whose father Thomas Hill senior was described variously as a master builder and as an architect.  Did Hill work for James Gandon, architect of Emo Court, the stately home of the Earls of Portarlington in 1790? Gandon had by then built most of the Custom House and was closely connected to J. C. Beresford’s father. All work at Emo Court ceased abruptly in 1798 on the death of John Dawson, 2nd Viscount Carlow and 1st Earl of Portarlington.

The Halpin family were certainly in Wicklow by the 1770s. Bill Webster believes he found the baptism records for George’s siblings, James and Margaret, in the Church of Ireland in Wicklow. Perhaps most pertinently, he notes they were actually baptised as children of John and Elizabeth Halfpenny, in 1780 and 1782. [4] Elizabeth Halpin (Halfpenny), née Mathews, died on 8 February 1814, aged 75, and was buried in Wicklow.

Commissioner Beresford by Charles Howard Hodges 1790, after Gilbert Stuart

One wonders what John Halpenny / Halpin did? Was he a sea captain?  A member of the Royal Navy?  A smuggler, perhaps?  Or an innkeeper?  If he was a similar age to his wife Elizabeth, he was born about 1735.  Who was the John Halfpenny listed as a member of Hardy Eustace’s Independent Volunteers of the Carlow Association in 1780? [5] Details of his burial have not been found. Perhaps he was buried at sea?

John may have been a brother to William Halfpenny who lived at Coolkenno, County Wicklow, with his brother Joseph. Associated with a local anti-Catholic clique, William and Joseph were both piked to death on 2 July 1798 in the aftermath of the Battle of Ballyraheen. [6] This may have been some form of vengeance, tit-for-tat killing as other members of the extended Halpin family were implicated in the brutal murder of a Catholic priest in Wicklow town during the 1798 Rebellion, after Earl Fitzwilliam made a gift of a plot of land to him as a reward for a previous act of kindness.

And what of the Arthur Halfpenny, the Preventive Officer at the Customs House in Dublin, recorded in 1775, as per the Hibernian Journal newspaper clipping above?


Another Branch; Brewing, Distilling and Robert Emmet


Robert Emmet in the Dock. The distilling Halpins were supporters of Emmet’s rebellion.

There is also a possibility that John was closely connected to a family of wealthy brewers and distillers in Dublin headed up by three Halpin brothers, James, Christopher and William, sons of Richard Halpin, in the 1790s. Ray Halpin believes this line may descend from the Christopher Halpin who fled to France back in 1691. Their brewery and distillery was on the corner of Little Britain Street and Petticoat Lane, directly opposite Newgate Prison.

Although Protestant, Christopher and James were quietly dedicated to the aims of the United Irishmen and the Catholic Association, linked to Bartholomew Teeling who was executed in Sligo in 1798. Meanwhile, William Halpin was also involved in a failed attempt to bust Robert Emmet out of Kilmainham gaol in 1803. The distillery offices were used as a base by the plotters during this time.

And what of Thomas Halpin, the pike-finder, who became one of Major Sirr’s most effective and notorious informers after he was captured?  He had also been closely linked to Emmet and the rebel groups operating in the Wicklow hills before and after Emmet’s death.  [7]

When he died in 1914, James Halpin’s last will and testament noted his only child Mary, who was married in 1800 to Andrew Rorke of Tyrrellstown, County Dublin. [8] James also left a small sum of money to Bartholomew Halpin, believed to be his brother, who was a saddler, harness maker and upholsterer in Hutton’s Coach-building plant, in Langrishe Lane, Summerhill, County Meath. By a strange coincidence, Bartholomew’s descendant Thomas Halpin was shot dead by an unidentified gunman, alongside his friend Joseph Brady, as they sat together on the strand wall in Clontarf a few hours after Willie Halpin launched the fatal Newcomen Bridge attack in 1921.  Willy visited Thomas’s grave in Sutton on a number of occasions to pay his respects. [9]



John Halpin (d. c. 1810), Printer & Bookseller, Sackville Street


Portrait of a Gentleman by John Edmund Halpin (b.1765), the Dublin-born son and student of Patrick Halpin and his wife Eleanor / Elinore (née Lambert). Having studied under Francis Robert West and J J Barralet in the Dublin Society Schools, he pursued a career as an actor in London. When this failed, he returned to Dublin and worked as a successful miniaturist. He is thought to have died circa 1805.

John Halpin, printer, of Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street), who was hauled before the then Irish parliament to answer charges of libel in around 1796 or so.  Prior to his death in around 1810, John and his family lived above his bookshop in Sackville Street with the Allens.  His wife (Jane?) sold his business that year and moved to a Georgian home in Fairview.

John’s children had ties to the Hepenstalls of Wicklow, the most infamous of whom was Lt Edward Hepenstall (1765-1800), nicknamed the Walking Gallows, who committed numerous atrocities in and around the Dublin area in the  1797- 98 period.  Lt Hepenstall was a first cousin of the actor, painter and engraver John Edmund Halpin.

I am unsure is this is the same John Halpin, miniature painter, of whom Ray Halpin writes:

“John was born in around 1765 to Patrick Halpin / Halfpenny, Dublin’s only native engraver at the time, and Elinore Lambert,  daughter of a Catholic landowner in Co. Wicklow. It was Patrick’s second marriage. John’s half-brother, Patrick Metcalf Halfpenny, became the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s personal secretary in around 1767, and remained in that position until the Chancellor (Lord Lifford) died in office in 1789. PMH then remained in office to assist Fitzgibbon and Beresford through the 1790s … PMH had a house situated on land that fell within the enclosure of James Halpin’s distillery on Dublin’s Green Street, opposite Newgate Prison.

John, meanwhile, was trained by his father in the art of engraving, and probably acquired the skill to paint miniature portraits from his father’s contacts in England. It was while in England that John’s love of acting superseded his training, and he eventually followed Macklin’s advice and took to the stage, against his father’s wishes.”

Since his cousins were the Lamberts, Catholic landowners in Wicklow, John can be linked to Patrick Halpin and John Edmund Halpin, both of whom were engravers living in Dublin throughout the latter half of the 18th century.  Patrick Halpin was married at least twice, and his son, Patrick Jnr, married Dame Maria Steele in the 1780s.  Patrick was a prominent lawyer, Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it was probably him who introduced John Sheares to Dame Maria Steele’s daughter, Maria.

An engraved portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1864, by Frederick Halpin.

John is also thought to have been the father to Robert Wellington Halpin (postmaster, town-clerk and secretary to the harbour board in Wicklow).

Was he also connected to the line and stipple engraver Frederick William Halpin (1805-1880), who born in Worcester, emigrated to the US in 1842 and the portrait of Abraham engraved Lincoln? [12]

After Lord Edward Fitzgerald was killed in 1798, the leadership of the Leinster branch of the United Irishmen fell to the Sheares brothers, John and Henry.  John and Henry were hung for their part in the rebellion. John was virtually betrothed to young Maria Steele when he died.  Maria’s father-in-law at the time was Patrick Metcalf Halpin. After Patrick Halpin Jnr’s mother died, his father Patrick Snr remarried a Lambert, and inherited her father’s lands in Wicklow.  John Edmund Halpin, engraver and actor, was therefore the product of a Protestant/Catholic union.  John was undoubtedly R W Halpin’s grandfather or granduncle. [13]

Who was the John Halfpenny of High Street, Dublin, who owed money for his hackney sedan licence in 1774? [10] Or who was John Halpin of Greek Street who was married in 1779 to Mart McConnell of Church Street? [11]


John and Elizabeth Halfpenny / Halpin’s descendants, with thanks to Bill Webster.


William Halpin (1777-1862), Paymaster


George’s eldest brother William Halpin was born in Co. Wicklow in 1777 and was a soldier who put four sons through Trinity College Dublin (Richard, William, John and Robert Crawford). In 1807, 30-year-old William secured the post of Paymaster with the 1st Light Dragoons, King’s German Legion, then in Ireland, of which the Duke of Cambridge was Colonel-in-chief. He served with the 1st Dragoons during the Duke of Wellington’s subsequent campaigns. William had at least five sons, all of whom attended Trinity College and joined the army – three joined the East India Company. In 1821, the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the KGL, provided a recommendation for William’s son William to get an East India Company cadetship. Others who may have secured such a cadetship include William’s son John and, most relevantly, George Halpin’s second son Oswald.

Having abandoned a military career, William’s youngest son Robert Crawford Halpin went on to become military chaplain at Arbour Hill Barracks in Dublin for many years. He ended up as Chaplain to the Forces and personal chaplain to the (next) Duke of Cambridge, living in Belsize Square London. He also travelled from Dublin on at least two occasions to officiate at Wicklow parish church in ceremonies for members of the George and James families, his uncles. Most tellingly, he co-officiated with local clergyman Rev Henry Rooke in the burial in Wicklow of James and George’s sister Margaret Halpin on 17 April 1862 aged 80 years. The Rev R.C. Halpin was the only one of William’s sons known to have married but it seems this branch of the Halpins died eventually without issue. His son did marry and, like George, became an engineer. He and his wife are last heard of going to Buenos Aires but subsequently disappeared without trace.

This may have been the William Halpin who had an address at Castle Forbes, North Wall, Dublin from at least 1835 until 1840.[14] This address was also given when Captain Richard Halpin, 49th Regiment, died in a boating accident at Dinapore in Bengal, India, in 1839. [15] The captain was born in 1801, and probate was granted to his father, ie: William Halpin of Castle Forbes. Located in the Dublin Docklands, Castle Forbes was one street away from where George senior lived and close to where George was a significant property developer around Seville, Oriel and Sheriff Streets. The 1848 Dublin Directory also refers to “William Halpin, Ballast Office North Wall” which may presumably have been this man in his 71st year. All of them, including father William, eventually ended up in London. In the English censuses all except Robert Crawford distinctly proclaim not only that they were born in Ireland but specifically that they were born in Co Wicklow, Ireland.


Richard Halpin (d. 1855), Warden of Howth


George Halpin was almost certainly a brother (if not a first cousin) of Richard Halpin, a man of questionable repute, who signed George out of Kilmainham hospital in 1799 after the latter’s accident with the gun. Shortly afterwards, Richard was made a freeman of the city by virtue of his membership of the Guild of Bricklayers, of which guild he also served as Secretary. [16] In 1802, Richard Halpin appears as a Warden of the Corporation of Bricklayers and “Plaisterers”.

Underlining the Beresford connection, Richard was involved in building the sewers on Beresford Place. He lived on Mecklenburgh Street, right next door to George Halpin, and close to James Gandon. He also built a substantial riverside ‘mansion’ round about where the Hilton Garden Inn stands today, just opposite the Sean O’Casey bridge.

However, he lost his riverside residence when he was declared bankrupt in May 1803 and became embroiled in some rather public name-calling. He also ended up selling his property along the east side of Commons Street. [17] (Coincidentally, his kinsman William Halpin, distiller, found himself in a similar situation a couple of months later.)

Richard evidently bounced back as the Freeman’s Journal of 28 July 1809 reports that Richard Halpin of the North Strand had been unanimously elected Master of the Corporation of Bricklayers and Plaisterers, or Guild of St Bartholomew. He seems to have ensured all his brothers, including George, became members of this Guild and they thus became Freemen of the City.

Richard Halpin was insolvent again in 1827 [18] but had become Tide Surveyor of Customs in Howth by 1832. He was Warden of Howth in 1840 and Harbour Master from about 1843. [19]

Richard, who had at least five daughters, appears to have been a rather dissolute and cantankerous soul, with little love for Roman Catholics. His wife Sarah died at Howth, aged 64, on 16 September 1841. [20] Richard died on 30 April 1855. [21]


James Halpin (1780-1847) of The Bridge Inn, Wicklow


George Halpin Senior’s younger brother James Halpin was baptised on 22 October 1780. His wife was Anne Halbert, daughter of James Halbert and Mary Revell. They had thirteen children, of whom seven sons survived childhood, including two doctors and three sea captains. Among these were  Eaton Halpin (an Eaton family provided the copper belfry roof to Wicklow church), Dr Stopford William Halpin (who trained under, and for a time shared a practice in Cavan with,Dr Charles Halpin, grandson of Nicholas Halpin of Portarlington [22]), Captain Thomas James Halpin (1822-1878, ship’s master, of Monastery House, Enniskerry), Richard Mathews Halpin (1825-1889, ship’s master), John Augustus Halpin (1832-1864, died in Somerset Bermuda [23]) and, most famously, Captain Robert Charles Halpin who laid the Atlantic Cable. [24] Captain Halpin was the youngest of all those descendants, being almost 30 years younger than his first cousin George Halpin junior.

James and Anne were married in Wicklow Town in 1815 and ran the Bridge Hotel or Inn which supplied accommodation in Wicklow Town. James died on 4 October 1847, the height of the Great Famine, aged about 67. His widow died just under two years later, aged 52, on 7 August 1849.

Their nephew Captain Frederick Halpin (George Halpin senior’s son, see below) would later acquire the inn. In James’ family burial plot at Wicklow COI are commemorated:

“Louisa Halpin daughter of George Halpin of Dublin | who died March 18th 1831 aged 21 years” and “Captain Frederick Halpin nephew | of the above named James Halpin who departed | this life on the 26th of February 1859 aged 36 years”. [25]

James was buried in Wicklow on 1 March 1859, with the ceremony performed by Henry Rooke, assisted by his cousin, the Rev. Robert Crawford Halpin.[26]


George Halpin Senior (1776– 1854) – The Perfectionist


George Halpin may well have started his career as an apprentice to the architect James Gandon, depicted circa 1796 on the roof of the Parliament House (now the Bank of Ireland) in College Green, Dublin, holding architectural plans, including those for the Four Courts. In the background, a number of Gandon’s designs are visible in the Dublin skyline, including the lantern of the Rotunda Hospital, the Custom House and the Four Courts themselves. Gandon also played a part in the design of the Parliament House, while his country abode in Old Kinsealy was close to that of Commissioner Beresford. From a painting by Tilly Kettle.

Following the death of Francis Tunstall in 1800, Dublin Corporation sought a new Inspector of Works to the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin (commonly called the Ballast Board). On 26 September 1800, 23-year-old George Halpin emerged to take up the challenge. So who was he?

George Halpin is thought to have been born in Wicklow Town in about 1776. His parents are thought to have been John Halfpenny and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1814. Family historian Bill Webster believes George was a brother of William Halpin (born in 1777, mentioned above), Richard Halpin (the Warden of Howth, mentioned above), James Halpin (of the Bridge Inn, Wicklow, and father to Captain Robert Halpin of Atlantic Cable fame) and Margaret Halpin of Wicklow.

During his teens in the 1790s, George embarked on a career as a stonecutter, a role that involved reducing large stones received from quarries to sizes required by masons and cavers. Given his close family links to Portarlington, it is possible that he learned this skill while working as an apprentice to James Gandon during the construction of Emo Court. Following Lord Portarlington’s death, he may well have moved to Dublin to continue working as a stonemason / builder for Gandon on the Custom House Docks, the Custom House, Parliament House and the continuation of the Four Courts. As such, he would have been working under the all-powerful Commissioner Beresford, the Collector of Customs who had commissioned the new Custom House.

During the 1798 Rebellion, George Halpin served as a sergeant in the Loyal Dublin Regiment of Yeomen Infantry. This infamous militia was raised that same year by its Captain Commandant, John Claudius Beresford, son of Commissioner Beresford. Armed with sabres and pistols, Beresford’s ‘troop of cavalry [was] formed chiefly of the principal persons connected with the Customhouse, of which his father, a man of different class and character, had been Chief Commissioner.’ [27] The regiment had a reputation as one who ‘acted with more vigour than justice or humanity; suspect rebels were flogged in the family riding school to encourage them to give information’. [28] George may have joined this militia simply because he worked for Commissioner Beresford at this time and wished to demonstrate his loyalty to the family. He would later be rewarded with various opportunities to develop the Beresford lands in and around the Custom House.

On 28 September 1799, after serving for one year and seven months in Beresford’s militia, George Halpin banjaxed his hand and was discharged. According to the certificate of Surgeon William Swan, George:

“… received a wound in the right hand when drawing the charge from his Carbine it accidentally went off and the ball passed thro two of his fingers, which has deprived of the use of them, he is thereby rendered incapable of earning his Bread at his trade and whereby he is rendered incapable of further Service, and a fit Object of his Majesty’s Royal Bounty of Kilmainham Hospital.[29]

At the time of this accident, George was 22 years old and 5′ 10 ½ high. He stated that his trade was ‘Stone Cutter’ and gave his place of birth as Wicklow, County Wicklow. [30] He was signed out of Kilmainham by Richard Halpin (d. 1855), builder/bricklayer, who was probably his brother.

7 Mecklenburgh Street, where James Gandon lived from at least 1792-1805, identified by Dublin Civic Trust from a 1913 housing inquiry photo in 2020. Gandon also had a home next to Commissioner Beresford in Old Kinsealy. It’s possible that George Halpin snr completed his stone mason apprenticeship while working on the Gandon and Beresford estates or, perhaps, on the Custom House.

Not long after his discharge from the army, the 23-year-old somehow secured the post of Inspector of Works for the Ballast Board, a position he retained until his death fifty years later. Presumably he had some knowledge of engineering at this time and was trained how to build bridges to ford rivers and such like. This young and lowly stonemason had some very influential Dublin backers, including Leland Crosthwaite, father and son, who were governors of the Bank of Ireland. Samuel Crosthwaite, one of the brothers, operated a large mills on the River Barrow at Bagenalstown in County Carlow. [31] The Crosthwaite family, who were members of the Ballast Board, were significant Dublin Presbyterian merchant traders (who later ‘graduated’ to the Church of Ireland). As such, they needed efficient port and dock facilities.

On 1 October 1800, George Halfpenny [sic], builder, of Dublin, leased a plot of land on the south side of Mecklenburgh Street from Alderman Frederick Darley ‘to hold … for and during the first three years’ of a 999-year lease. [32] The street was demolished in the 1930s and 1940s. James Gandon‘s house lived at 7 Mecklenburgh Street from at least 1792 until 1805, in. a property that may have been built by the Darleys. George’s lease was witnessed by William Archer and Thomas Kirk, both of the city of Dublin. [33] Like George Halpin, Frederick Darley (1764–1841) was a stonecutter although his family background was affluent. Henry Darley (1721–1798), his father, was a wealthy public works contractor, while his mother, Henry’s first wife, was born Mary Steele.[34] (George’s cousin Patrick Metcalf Halfpenny was married to Dame Maria Steele, whose daughter from a previous marriage (also named Maria) fell in love with the young lawyer and United Irish leader John Sheares.) Frederick was at school with Wolfe Tone and worked with Gandon on Carlisle Bridge (1791–4). He went on to become chief police magistrate in Ireland and, as an Orangeman, was part of the first Dublin Lodge created in 1796. [35]

In 1802, the Ballast Board granted George £10 to buy a horse. He was admitted a freeman of the City of Dublin by Grace Especial at Midsummer 1804 as a member of the Guild of Masons.


Men such as Beresford, Crosthwaite, Maquay, Disney, Darley, Hone and Faulkiner were all prominent in Dublin as members of the Royal Dublin Society, patrons of the arts and so forth.[36]  They evidently recognised George Halpin as a highly competent young man who would ‘get things done.’ A formidable organiser and man-manager, he had multiple balls in the air at the same time. He was, as Ray Halpin wrote, ‘a cool, meticulous, abundantly reasonable man who knew his job, and his responsibilities, better than anyone else.’

A letter George Halpin wrote to Robert Peel, the Chief Secretary, in 1813. As Bill Webster observes, the letter was written ‘either in George’s hand or in the hand of another who had the capacity to sign for George – because the signature matches the text. If the former, his gunshot accident appears not to have handicapped him.’

His first work for the Ballast Board was to repair and maintain the Liffey walls and the docks, for which the principal material was stonework. He carried out this work with a skill that belied his lack of formal education and, a decade after his appointment as Inspector of Works, the powers-that-be extended his responsibilities to Inspector of Lights in 1810. The lighthouses of Ireland had lately come under the supervision of the Office of Revenue, which had been Beresford’s domain. [37]

As Peter King observed: ‘He must have walked a pretty tight path to avoid allegations of corrupt practices, given the multiplicity of his responsibilities and his control over stores. It certainly seemed to be in the back of the minds of the two Select Committees on Lighthouses, though nothing said directly; and also the storekeeper’s complaint upon his being made redundant. George Halpin must have been regarded as super-honourable through his actions, by his Board. which he undoubtedly was, but difficult to comprehend in the environment of the time.’ To which Ray Halpin added: ‘George availed of opportunities that were denied to others – to men who were equally talented but who backed the wrong side in ’98, or hailed from the wrong Christian sect.’

In 1835, a Commission of Inquiry into the municipal corporations of Ireland defined George ‘not an Engineer in the professional sense but was brought up as a builder‘. In other words, he was a trained mason, a builder by trade. He never attained any academic engineering qualifications. And yet he was responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of all civil and mechanical works within Dublin Port, from Sutton on the north side of Dublin Bay to Bullock Harbour on the south. This included he management and containment of the River Liffey from Islandbridge and the lower reaches of the rivers Tolka and Dodder. In 1816, permission was granted by Trinity House and the Lord Lieutenant for George’s new designs for Wicklow’s two new lighthouses. As such, he would have spent a lot of time in Wicklow from about 1814 (surveying and designing), supervising the building from 1816 and the commissioning of the new lighthouses in 1818. He may well have stayed with his brother James at the Bridge Hotel during construction.

In total, he oversaw the building of at least 53 lighthouses, as well as the modernisation and re-equipping of the previously existing lighthouses. (See for instance his work on the Skellig Michael lighthouse (1821) here and here). This was in addition to supervising the construction of new docks, bridges and other projects for the expanding Dublin port.[38] Scroll down for more on lighthouses.

In the summer of 2021, I was interviewed at Bishopscourt by David Hare of InProduction TV for the second series of their RTE TV production ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland.’ Works ascribed in full or in part to George by the Dictionary of Irish Architecture can be found here.

This portrait is sometimes said to be George Halpin senior. It is, in fact, the Irish engineer Christopher Colles (1739-1816) who, in many respects could be seen as GH’s spiritual father. The confusion is that the picture was engraved by an F. Halpin.

Halpin was a perfectionist who exacted the highest standards, often going beyond the call of duty. In 1849, Sir William Cubitt praised his work to the Ballast Board, saying ‘it makes me feel as it were more a work of supererogation rather than necessity that I should report’ on his proposals and work. The scale of his activity in Dublin may be gauged from a typical annual report made in 1823 that enumerated the 13 items to be dealt with that year at a total cost of £13,600.

During Halpin’s period the Corporation’s statutory functions were financially controlled and managed as three separate departments: the Port Department, the Anne Liffey Department, and the Lighthouse Department. Halpin’s input into the management of all three departments was such that he received a salary from each. When the government accused them of paying Halpin lavishly, they pointed out that the house where he lived – which formed part of his income – was ‘in the store-yard at the point of the North Wall, where his residence makes a store-keeper unnecessary’.

George Halpin was the public face of the Lighthouse Department, and its chief liaison officer with Trinity House and other bodies. Although employed by the Ballast Board, whose HQ were in the city, he set up his own independent operations (and home) at the old North Wall Light, which is about where P&O Ferries carpark is today, not far opposite the Poolbeg Yacht Club.


George Halpin’s Two Wives, Isabella & Elizabeth


George Halpin’s signature.

George Halpin’s first wife was Isabella, surname and date of marriage unknown. As he travelled extensively for his work, the length and breadth of Ireland and also to England and Scotland, probably Wales too, the implication is that their wives need not have come from their Dublin circle. They had four known children:

  1. George junior (baptised 20 Jan 1808, who went on to become his assistant in about 1830)
  2. Oswald (baptised 20 Jan 1810, died young while serving with the East India Company)
  3. Isabella (baptised 25 Jan 1812)
  4. Louisa, who died 18 March 1831 (1834?) aged 21 and is buried at Church of Ireland in Wicklow Town.[39]

George also senior had a daughter (5.) Elizabeth but is not clear if she was a daughter of his first or second wife. We do not know when George lost his first wife Isabella.  However, he was remarried in August 1817 to Elizabeth Bourne, whose name gives a possible clue. In 1829, the younger Elizabeth married the Rev Henniker Johnston. If she was born in circa 1818, she’d have been a 21 year old bride in 1839. If she and Johnston were of a similar age, she’d have been a child of George’s first marriage. Johnston, who was born in County Carlow in 1798, lived at Mullaboden, County Kildare, and held livings at Tipperkevin, Ballymore Eustace and Hollywood, County Wicklow. He was remarried in 1839. We don’t know what happened to Elizabeth, or if there were any children.  She may have been buried in the private burial ground at Mullaboden. Johnston’s second wife Julia Elliott was a sister of Thomas Elliott of Johnstown House, County Carlow. This information was revelaed by a document in the Registry of Deeds concerning a settlement George made in 1839 upon the Rev Johnston marrying his daughter Elizabeth.

Isabella Halpin died in about 1813, possibly while giving birth to Louisa. Four years later, on 17 August 1817, George Halpin of Circular Road, North Strand, was married secondly to Elizabeth Bourne (or Bowyn / Bowen), late of Merrion Square. [40] They had at least five children:

6. Captain Frederick Halpin (baptised 25 Oct 1818, see below)
7. Arthur (baptised 5 Jul 1820)
8. Charlotte (baptised 13 Jan 1822)
9. John (baptised 15 or 22 June 1823)
10. Sidney (baptised 12 Sept 1824).


This sorry tale does is not a fit for either of the Arthur’s mentioned in this story (ie: Arthur Halfpenny, the officer of 1775, or George’s son Arthur Halpin) but George may have been even more pleased that he had changed his name.

George Halpin & the River Liffey


George Halpin completely rebuilt the walls of the Liffey on both sides of the river from O’Connell Bridge to Rory O’More Bridge in Stonyebatter, as well as the quay walls downstream at Eden Quay and Burgh Quay. He repaired Mellowes Bridge and remodelled the centre span of Grattan Bridge and the approaches to the Wellington Bridge. (The Wellington Bridge’s name is the Halfpenny Bridge, which must have resonated with him.)

He oversaw the design and construction of Father Matthew Bridge and O’Donovan Rossa Bridge, becoming involved in architectural controversy with the designer James Savage about details of their elevations.

From 1838, he pressed for the construction of a new bridge to replace Carlisle Bridge, and in 1839 proposed that a competition be held for the new design. He was critical of Gandon’s bridge saying, in 1852, that:

‘… many think it heavy, and it is certainly not in accordance with the new idea held in bridge architecture at the present day. This may be said with every respect for the eminent architect who planned it, but whose practice lay in a different walk’.

On Halpin’s proposal, the parapet of Inns Quay was formed with a balustrade rather than a solid wall, but he failed to have this repeated, as he wished, along Merchant Quay. His duties for the Ballast Board also included design, supervision of construction, and maintenance of all the existing buildings and engineering works controlled by the Board.

In 1852-3 he sought funds to clean the riverbed through the city to remove its ‘unpleasant smell’ and he noted with regret that ‘the Liffey is still the great main drain into which the sewerage of Dublin opens’. He was required also to deal with minor social irritations. Hence, in 1818, he reported angrily ‘there is a number of people fishing from the Balustrades on Richmond Bridge to the great annoyance of the public and injury of the bridge’; and in 1826 he had to urge the Board to curb the activities of disorderly fruit-sellers on several of the bridges.


Dublin Port, the Estuary the North Bull


His work on both port and estuary was remarkably extensive. To ensure he had absolute mastery of the latest techniques in port organization and marine building, he made several visits to England and Wales. In 1810, for instance, he spent more than a month in London and the south of England studying dock design, lighthouse equipment and the latest techniques in stream dredging and tunnelling. It was after this visit that he remarked how he ‘would rather have 2 Irish than 3 English labourers’ and how he had dismissed a lantern maker in London as ‘the most trifling and unsatisfactory kind of man I ever had any dealings with’. In 1814, he introduced stream dredging techniques to the Dublin estuary.

Halpin was asked to carry out a new survey of the outer harbour at Dublin and of a proposed northern breakwater, the North Bull Wall, in order to make Dublin a deepwater port. As research, he went to study the breakwater at Plymouth but found little to assist him. He duly recommended Francis Giles be commissioned to survey the harbour and bar. According to ‘The Island Imagined by the Sea: A History of Bull Island‘, by Kieran McNally (The Liffey Press, 2014), p. 17-18:

“The North Bull Wall was a vast engineering project, as impressive as any in Europe at that time…and numerous engineers were actually involved. Their various roles are tangled and complex. At one level, the construction of the North Wall took place under Inspector of Works George Halpin alongside the contributions of Francis Giles and build engineer Captain Daniel Corneill. At another level, engineering communications from multiple authors had been flying across the city in various forms from 1801 to 1805. So there were various consultations with other contemporaries such as Captain Whidbey and Thomas Telford … In 1814, the Ballast Board surveyed the site, and drew up plans and estimates that found their way via government to the Board of Inland Navigation. Halpin notes visits to the construction site by the ‘directors general of inland navigation’, such as John RennieThomas Hyde Page and Captain Bligh, or ‘the most eminent scientific and practical men of that day’. Halpin refers to Bligh as a talented officer who acquired a thorough knowledge of the bay.’

Giles commenced this survey in June 1818, aided by Halpin, and their joint report was submitted to the Board in May 1819. The design for the breakwater was based on earlier proposals from 1786 by William Chapman and by two members of the Ballast Board, Maquay and Crosthwaite, in 1801.[41] The completed north and south breakwaters enclosed a large volume of water, which was employed on the ebb tide to scour the sand deposits from the bar, thus allowing Dublin to develop as a deepwater port. By creating North Bull Wall, Halpin not only got rid of a notorious sandbar that had long caused chaos to shipping in Dublin Bay but he also made Dublin Port as we know it, including the Liffey. Indeed, he converted a second sandbar into Bull Island and Dollymount Strand, now an invaluable wildlife sanctuary


Poolbeg Lighthouse

Halpin & the Lighthouses


In 1810 the Ballast Board was made responsible for all lighthouses, beacons, and seamarks around the coast of Ireland. The Board extended Halpin’s responsibilities by appointing the 31-year-old Superintendent of Lighthouses as well as Inspector of Works. At the time there were only 14 lighthouses around the Irish Coast, many of them in what Halpin described as deplorable condition, badly maintained and badly managed. By 1867, when responsibility was transferred to the Commissioners of Irish Lights, there were 72 lighthouses. Over the next four and a half decades, Halpin oversaw the construction and establishment of 53 new lighthouses and the modernisation or rebuilding of 15 others, in addition to the establishment of numerous minor aids to navigation – buoys, beacons, and perches.[42]

Some other lighthouses were subsequently discontinued because their location proved ineffective. In other words, he designed and built a new lighthouse every fifteen months. Most of the construction was by direct labour. These included the Bailey (1813) at the entrance to Dublin Bay, the Tuskar Rock (1815) guarding the approach to Rosslare Harbour, as well as Inishtrahull (1813), Wiclow (1816), Skelling Michael (1826), Tory Island (1832) and Fastnet (1854). There was scarcely an Irish lighthouse built in the Golden Age of Lighthouses that did not have some feature by the Halpins. His signature was the conical lantern cap, which is to be seen on so many Irish lighthouses. By 1867, when responsibility was transferred to the Commissioners of Irish Lights, there were 72 lighthouses (up from 14 in 1810).

Arguably his greatest achievement was the Haulbowline Lighthouse, built on a dangerous semi-submerged rock at the entrance to Carlingford Lough. Strong tidal conditions of up to five knots added to the danger and technical difficulties but the lighthouse was successfully completed in 1824. Halpin also oversaw the repair and re-equipping of the previously existing lighthouses, effectively rebuilding the Poolbeg lighthouse (1819-20).

Under Halpin’s direction the Ballast Board established an effective management structure for the design, construction, and maintenance of the Lighthouse Service, initiated a vital program of inspection and regularized the employment of construction and quarry personnel, lighthouse keepers, tenders, tender crews, and stores personnel. Gradually during the early nineteenth century a proper marine aid to navigation infrastructure was put in place, including buoys, beacons, perches and fog bells. He was also responsible for beacons and seamarks around coast of Ireland, like the strange ‘metal man’ beacons at Tramore, Sligo, and Dingle.


Howth Harbour Lighthouse was undertaken by George Halpin while he was Inspector of Lighthouses; his brother Richard Halpin was Collector of Customs and Warden of Howth.


Halpin’s ‘Supply’


The Kiribati stamp image by the late Mr Nesbit is the only depiction of the schooner Supply by name which has come to light to date. ‘Supply’ changed its name to ‘Queen of the Islands‘ at Honolulu on 30 December 1854 when she came under the Hawaiian flag. [45] A journal belonging to its master, Hugh Fairclough, and held at the State Library of New South Wales, shows the ship was subsequently engaged on the Coconut oil trade from the Gilbert Islands.

As Inspector of Works, George Halpin took a very hands-on interest in all aspects of the lighthouse service including the construction of workers’ houses, their employment, pensions, etc. so it is no surprise that the Irish lighthouse inspection schooner Supply was built at Shoreham, near Brighton, in 1832, under his supervision. The shipbuilder was James Britton Balley, described as ‘Shoreham’s most successful and prolific of shipbuilders’. [43]

Supply was owned by the Ballast Office in Dublin from 1832/33 until 1850, being working as a Dublin coaster. Halpin seems to have used this zippy schooner for lighthouse inspections and lighthouse supply. Perhaps he took his yacht down to see his brother in Wicklow on occasions. As Pamela Griffith writes: ‘You know what it is like with brothers. There must surely have been some showing off!’

We don’t yet know where the ship berthed in Dublin, but perhaps at East Wall or North Wall. It may have berthed on the quay near the Ballast Board’s oil store and yard alongside the patent slip. [44]Given the costs involved in maintaining a crew, Halpin clearly put up a compelling case to the Ballast Office for its purchase and employment. As Bill Webster writes (27 April 2017):

“George Halpin defied any opportunity to display his growing affluence, and success, by settling in a fine home. He continued to live in dwellings in the grounds of the old North Wall Light. But he could have had the Supply almost as a personal yacht, something we had never considered before. I think he was a parsimonious man and a perk supplied to him out of public funds would have satisfied him, not least as it allowed him swift and ready access to his many projects and responsibilities. The old North Wall Light was demolished very shortly after his death in 1854 in order to extend docks within the basin created by the new Bull Wall he had seen constructed earlier in his time (Captain Bligh was also involved in the concept.) The Light was at the beginning of East Wall Road, which still exists, overlooking a basin where ships could moor. Even if the Supply were moored just over the river in the docklands, Halpin could have had access to it by a very short journey.”

Bill also observes that the failure to find so much as a portrait of George Halpin highlights three important elements of his character.

  1. He had no formal qualifications and had come from no position of affluence or connections.  So did he not want to draw attention to himself?
  2. He was busy.  Throughout his 54 year career he was never without projects and had staff under his supervision.  Having his image may never have occurred to him.
  3. He was uber successful in a field where some big egos may have liked an opportunity to bring him down.  But he kept his sponsors and clients happy.  So, why put his head up for scrutiny in what some of his critics might have seen as self-aggrandisement?


Other Projects


The Corn Exchange at 12 Burgh Street, Dublin, was built in 1816-1817 to designs by George Halpin of the Ballast Board and approved by the Wide Street Commission. Thomas Baker and Robert McCartney were responsible for the stonework.

In 1816, while preparing to construct the Bull Wall, Halpin also oversaw the creation of a new channel for the River Tolka from Clontarf Island across Brown’s Patch to the Liffey. Among the other major and manifold projects he was involved with were: raising part of the South Wall east of the Half Moon Battery to its present height; strengthening the base of the Poolbeg lighthouse; conferring with Charles Blacker Vignoles on the extension of the Kingstown railway on a causeway across the old Dun Laoghaire harbour; consultations with Thomas Telford and Sir William Cubitt about the deep-water berths at North Wall Quay; constructing the large new berthing-pool in the earth-banked basin of East Wall (known as Halpin’s Pond and later incorporated into the Alexandra Basin) and steering the first graving dock projects through to the appointment of William Dargan as contractor.

In 1846, he helped ward off a proposal by the Tidal Harbours Commissioners to divert the Dodder through Irishtown and form a new basin by the South Bull. He designed the structure for the first patent slip to be built in the port. In 1839, he proposed a bascule or swivel bridge where the Talbot Memorial Bridge would be built 140 years later.

Somehow Halpin also found time to engage in some private architectural work. It seems likely he was involved with the new Corn Exchange on Burgh Quay.[46] He also somehow found time to survey and design banks for the Bank of Ireland; the bank buildings in Dundalk and Portlaoise were designed by him.


Sudden Death


George’s second wife Elizabeth died after a protracted and painful illness in July 1850 and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin. She may have been nursed by Julia Halpin, thought to have been a kinswoman or possible in-law of George, who went on to become Head Nurse of the Richmond Surgical Hospital.[47]

Four years later, George Halpin collapsed and died suddenly while carrying out a lighthouse inspection in July 1854. He was buried in Mount Jerome, where his headstone gives his age at as 75 years. Remarkably he outlived both his wives and all but two of his children.


Rev. Nicholas John Halpin (1790–1850) & Miles O’Reilly (1829-1868)


The connection to the Portarlington family was reinvigorated a few years before George’s death with the arrival in Dublin of Nicholas John Halpin, an absolutely committed Loyalist and sometime editor of the Dublin Evening Mail.

I though he was a son of the Rev Nicholas John Halpin (who was himself grandson of Nicholas the Portarlington schoolteacher) and Ann or Marianne Crosthwaite (of the same family as George Halpin’s patrons) but his DIB entry has him as a ‘son of William Halpin, gentleman.’ When he left Oldcastle in 1837 to assume the editorial responsibilities at the Dublin Evening Mail, he moved into 14 Seville Place, Dublin, a house which was built and owned by George Halpin senior. He also became the trustee for the Crosthwaite property on the Liffey Quays until the Crosthwaite children came of age. He died on 22 November 1850.

Charles Graham Halpine (aka Miles O’Reilly) was the principal editor and part proprietor of the New York Leader on the eve of the US Civil War.

By his wife Anne Grehan, who he married in 1817, he had three sons and four daughters, including Charles Graham Halpine (1829-1868) of Oldcastle, Co. Meath, who became influential journalist in the USA during the Civil War, best known for his burlesque poems written under the pen name of ‘Miles O’Reilly’. [48]  Charles emigrated to America in 1851 and worked as private secretary to the showman P. T. Barnum in his early years. Having worked with newspapers such as the Boston Pilot, the New York Herald (as French translator) and the New York Times, he became editor and part-owner of the New York-based Leader in 1857. During the American Cicil War, he served on the staff of abolitionist General David Hunter. In 1862, he drafted plans for the US Army’s first black regiment. Although disbanded due to a lack of political support, the plans may have provided the impetus for Robert Smalls, a freed slave, to persuade President Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.

In 1863, Charles took a break from fighting for the North in the American Civil War and returned with his family to Ireland where, as Ray Halpin discovered, he stayed at the International Hotel in Bray.  At that time, he was petitioning President Abraham Lincoln, with whom he was on personal terms, for a promotion to Brigadier General.  That promotion had failed to materialise by the time he returned to Ireland in the summer of 1863. Back in Ireland,he reunited with some of his Halpin relatives from Wicklow in Bray, again underlining the connection between the Portarlington, Wicklow and Dublin branches of the family.

A famous writer in America by this time, Charles returned to New York a few months later. He was brevetted as a lieutenant-colonel of volunteers for the courage he showed at the battle of Piedmont, Virginia, on 5 June 1864 but was compelled to retire with poor eyesight five weeks later. He subsequently published a novel about the Sheares brothers, who were connected to Robert through their relationship with his grand uncle, Patrick Metcalf Halpin. Charles appears to have overdosed on chloroform in Broadway, New York in 1868 aged 39.


Captain Frederick Halpin (1818-1859)


Frederick Halpin, George’s son by his second marriage, was baptised at St Thomas on 25 October 1818.  He achieved his master’s certificate in 1850 and became a Master Mariner, a ship’s captain. By 1855 he was living in Kingstown where a lot of the clan had settled.  An 1855 memorandum of transactions upon George Halpin senior’s death in 1854 quotes a sort of will in which George devolves affairs upon “… his said son George and his son Frederick being his only children then living.”

Frederick later purchased the Bridge Tavern in Wicklow, which formerly belonged to his uncle and aunt, James and Anna Halpin, as well as the rest of James and Anne’s properties. He purchased these under the terms of the Encumbered Estates Acts which facilitated the sale of Irish estates whose owners were unable to meet their obligations on account of the Great Famine. An Encumbered Estates Court had the authority to sell estates on the application of the owner, or a person who had a claim on the estate. After the sale, the court distributed the money among the creditors and granted clear title to the new owners. The existing tenants were unprotected by the legislation. Thus, it appears Anne Halpin’s estate was unable to meet its obligations. John Wesley appears to be one of the persons with a claim against the estate and Frederick Halpin bought the estate from the Court for £1,500. The sale took place at the Registry of Deeds, Henrietta Street, Dublin.’

Frederick was unmarried and died in Wicklow on 26 February 1859 aged only 41. In his will, he left effects valued at under £7,000 to Fanny and Louisa Halpin, two of James and Anne’s unmarried daughters. [49]


George Halpin, Junior (1804-1869), Chief Engineer to the Port Board


George Halpin Junior (1804–1869)


George Halpin, Junior, was a qualified civil engineer employed by the Board as assistant Inspector of Works and assistant Inspector of Lighthouses from June 1830. As such, he shared a good deal of his fathers’ workload.

Between 1834 and 1840, the younger George was greatly involved in deepening the channels and building new quay walls east of the Custom House. During this time, he met Julia Villiers (1815–1889), who bore him nine children, two of whom died young. The couple did not marry straightway, and, for unclear reasons, all the children were baptised Villiers. They only took the name Halpin at an ailing George junior’s request in the 1860s, when he and Julia are reported in a legal document to have formally married in 1865. Julia died in Foxrock in 1889.

George and Julia’s 9 children were:

  1. Isabella Julia Halpin, named ‘Isabella’ after George’s mother, and ‘Julia’ after his wife. She married Thomas Thorpe and had 7 children.
  2. Mary Halpin, who married Patrick Byrne / Burns. Their only daughter Annie Isabella Burnswas born in Melbourne in 1868, two years before her father Patrick Burns died of consumption. Patrick was buried by a Catholic priest in Melbourne. Mary was married secondly in 1872 to Samuel Dawson but died in Melbourne on 3rd Sept 1876 aged 40, also from consumption. The late Dick Corrigan recalled how Annie came back from Australia as an orphan and later married James Cassells, the postmaster in Tullow. She married him as a Church of Ireland, from the bosom of the Halpin family at Foxrock, and was given away by her uncle W O Halpin. She had 5 children, 2 girls and 2 boys surviving to have families.
  3. Margaret Halpin(who died in Ireland aged 10 months).
  4. William Oswald Halpin(see below).
  5. George Halpin (see below).
  6. Annie Caroline Halpin(who married Arthur Henry Thompson and had three girls).
  7. Robert Halpin(who married Mettie in England and had two children, Maud and George Alfred).
  8. Alfred Halpin, who died aged four in Ireland.
  9. Louisa Halpin was born in 1856 and died unmarried in 1934.

Like his father, George also went to England to converse with the likes of Telford, Giles and Cubitt. He was involved with the improving designs of lanterns and fuels for lighthouses, and designed several lighthouses, including that at Aranmore in Donegal, completed in 1865, and the Eeragh and Inisheer Lighthouses on Inishmore, which started in 1853. In later life, he carried out the design of the single-span metal arched Rory O’More Bridge. In 1847, he was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (to which body his father never belonged) and served as a member of its council from 1848 to 1851. [50]

Two months after his father’s death in 1854, George Halpin junior was promoted to the posts of Inspector of Works and Superintendent of Lighthouses. However, by 1859, George was dogged by ill-health, probably due to ‘the burden imposed on him by reason of his necessary attendance on new lighthouses or those being renovated in various parts of the country‘. The Ballast Board decided to reduce his duties in respect of the Port and leave him to focus on lighthouses. His duties at the Port were carried out by Bindon Blood Stoney who had been his assistant since 1856.


By 1861, 33-year-old Stoney was acting as executive engineer. A rift soon emerged between Halpin and Stoney. Halpin was frequently out of Dublin on lighthouse duties. The travel and long absences did his health no good. He also appears to have been involved in a dispute with William Dargan and Cubitt over works at the Dublin graving dock around the mid 1850s.

Halpin was furious when, during his absence, his ambitious assistant submitted a proposal to the Port and Dock Board advocating the extension of the North Wall Quay by using 350-ton super-blocks, to be put in position by means of a special floating crane and diving bell. Stoney was in the doghouse for having gone to the Board without first consulting Halpin, who argued that the size of the proposed blocks was unfeasible. Stoney begged to differ, pointing out that blocks of that size had been successfully used in the port of London for many years and were also being used at Southampton. The Board were eager to act on Stoney’s cost-effective proposals but did not wish to offend Halpin.

George Halpin saved their embarrassment when he retired in March 1862. Stoney was appointed the new Inspector of Works and, in 1868, became the first chief engineer of the newly constituted Dublin Port and Docks Board. George Halpin Junior died in Dublin in 1869.


Oswald Halpin (1810- 1834)


George Jr’s younger brother Oswald Halpin was baptised at St Thomas’s Dublin on 10 January 1810; the register lists his parents as George and Isabella, and gives his father’s profession as “Civil Engineer, Irish Government, lives at Dublin”. He studied briefly at the “University of Dublin” but joined the Bombay army of the East India Company in 1826, aged sixteen. He died aged 25 in 1834. [51]



William Oswald Halpin Senior (1840 – 1908)


William Oswald Halpin Snr, as photographed by Alfred Werner of 39 Grafton Street, Dublin, courtesy of Heather Tennant and Graeme Donald.

Anna Maria Halpin (née Burgess)

George Halpin Junior’s eldest son William Oswald Halpin was born on 14 March 1840. In 1869, he purchased a grave plot at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin, where his sister Louisa (1856-1934) was buried on 29 October 1934. William appears in Thom’s Dublin directories from about 1880 to at least 1900 and lived at The Laurels, Torquay Road, Foxrock, now a very wooded, upmarket area between the golf course and Leopardstown racecourse.

On 2 August 1881, he married Anna Maria Burgess of 25 Holles Street, Dublin, daughter of William Burgess, farmer, of Tobinstown, Co. Carlow, by his wife (believed to be Maria Piggott). Anna Maria was born at Ballacormac, Bagenalstown, County Carlow, on 10 June 1848 but moved with her parents to Tobinstown, Co. Carlow, in 1852, when they rented a farm from Captain William McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh). The marriage between William Oswald and Anna Maria took place at the Church of St Stephen (Parish of St Peter’s) and the witness was William Malone.

It is assumed that Mr. Malone was a nephew of Joseph Malone, miller, of Rathmore, Co. Carlow. Joseph’s daughter Mary Watters was the mother of Annie Watters who married William Oswald Halpin’s younger son George and was father of Eve Halpin who married Alfred Ruddall. To further complicate things, Anna Maria’s sister Susanna Burgess later married Annie Halpin’s older brother, John Watters (ie: uncle to Eva Ruddall), at St Mary’s Church in Rathvilly in December 1867. [52]  It was formerly thought that these Malones were kinsmen of John Malone, agent of Lisnavagh (1847-1861) but this connection is unclear as of November 2021.

William Oswald Halpin died on 22 December 1908 and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, where Anna Maria joined him after her death on 4 February 1933. In the 1911 Census of Ireland, Anna Maria was living at The Laurels with a servant and her son, William Oswald Halpin Jr. She was registered as 62 years of age, Church of Ireland, married for 30 years and mother of two sons, William and George.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM OSWALD HALPIN, junior (C. 1887 – 1918)


Captain William Oswald Halpin jun., as photographed by Werner & Son of Dublin, with thanks to Heather Tennant and Graeme Donald.

Captain William Oswald Halpin, MD, RAMC, was most likely at school at the High School, then in Harcourt Street, but later removed to Rathgar, Dublin. He seems to have left there in 1900 aged 13 or 14 and then gone on to Trinity College Dublin aged 17 in 1904. In 1911, he was described as a 24-year-old medical student. [53] He obtained a BA from Trinity College Dublin.

He volunteered for service at the beginning of the war and received his commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 10 August 1914. In the same year the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars were in Dublin as part of 3rd Cavalry Brigade in the Cavalry Division, and it moved to France on 6 September 1914, where he was attached to the No. 6 General Hospital. On completion of a year’s service, he was gazetted captain, and appointed medical officer with the 4th Hussars. The brigade transferred to Gough’s Command on 13 September 1914 and renamed the 2nd Cavalry Division.

He received the Mons Medal or 1914 Star. He died aged 32 at the French military hospital of Drury of wounds received near Caix, France, on 10 August 1918. The previous day, an enemy aeroplane dropped a bomb on the 4th Hussars regimental headquarters where he was tending to a wounded man. The 4th Hussar’s War Diary for 9 August 1918 at Caix and Caylux states:

‘At 1pm the Canadians were ordered to continue the attack closely supported by 3rd Canadian Battalion, objective, Chaulnes – Royne line. 4th Hussars and 5th Lancers in advance. 4th Hussars left, 9th Lancers in advance on our left. At 1.30pm, ‘B’ Squadon advanced. The advance began about 1.30pm and was delayed for a while until the infantry took Vrely. Enemy shelling rather heavy.’

It was at this time that Capt. Halpin was seriously wounded, together with 8 other officers wounded before 2.30pm, 5 other ranks were killed and 27 wounded. Ten days before he was killed, there was an epidemic of fever, and the Divisional Commander congratulated the regiment on being in better health that any other regiment in the Division.

Headstone to Captain William Oswald Halpin, RAMC, at Villers-Bretonneux.

He is buried at the at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery near Ameins in France. He is the only member of the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars buried in this cemetery. His name is etched on the war memorial in the Tullow Church of Ireland on Brighton Road, Carrickmines, Co. Dublin.

Capt. Halpin’s last Will and Testament was made in January 1918 while on duty in France and witnessed by two soldiers, one of whom was Pte. Kane of the 4th Hussars. He bequeathed £550 to his fiancée, Sybil Chamberlain of London, and the residue of his estate went to his brother, George. [54] Had he survived the few more weeks to the end of the war he may have married Miss Chamberlain … and that whole senior branch of the George Halpin family may not have died out.


William’s brother George, a doctor based in Reading, England, married Antoinette Berthe Ermerins, of Dutch origin. Their son George Ermerins Halpin graduated from Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1938 but died in the service of the Royal Army Service Corps in 1942. He is buried in Egypt.

George and Antoinette also had a daughter, Elizabeth, or Libby Alexander, who was born in Swallowfield, near Reading, where her father was a GP. The last member of the William Oswald Halpin branch, Libby passed away aged 98 on 26 October 2011 at 5 rue de Varise, near le Tour Eiffel, in Paris. She married George Alexander, but they had no children.


George Halpin III (1842–1910) and his wife Annie Watters (1849–1927) of Tinryland, County Carlow. They were the parents of Eva Halpin who married Alfred Rudall. Annie’s mother Mary Malone grew up at Rathmore on the Slaney, between Rathvilly and Tullow. George and Annie Halpin (née Watters). The picture was taken at the Flodin Studio, Wollongong, New South Wales, 1896. With thanks to Bill Webster.


George Halpin III (1842–1910) 


Julia Halpin, sister of Eve Ruddal and daughter of George Halpin III and his wife Annie.

George Halpin Junior’s second son, George Halpin III (1842–1910), an architect, is of personal interest on two accounts. [55] Firstly, his wife Annie Watters (1849–1927) was a daughter of a farmer, Bartholomew Watters and Mary Malone of Rathmore, a former Bunbury property in Co. Carlow. They were married in Staplestown Church, Co. Carlow, on 4 June 1868, in the presence of Thomas Thorpe (George’s brother-in-law) and John Moran. [56] At the time of the marriage, George’s address was given as ‘Elmview Rathgar‘ and his profession as ‘architect’. Their marriage was witnessed by a John Moran. Annie is remembered as a ‘wonderful woman’ but family lore holds that George’s mother Julia Halpin (née Villiers) was appalled that George should marry such a commoner. Julia appears to have been a rather domineering woman – ‘autocratic and headstrong’ according to one descendent.

‘That Annie, a farmer’s daughter from Co. Carlow, was from a passably comfortable, small family, literate and by all accounts the loveliest of people was not sufficient. Julia was hyper-critical of conduct and dress and apparently a strong horsewoman. It is possible that she considered she had made an alliance beneath her station but had made her bed and had to lie in it.’

Secondly, their daughter Eva Halpin went to South Africa and married the ill-fated Alfred Rudall, nephew of my wife’s great-grandfather. The extraordinary Tale of Alfred and Eva may be found here.

George Halpin III was born in Dublin on 10 December 1842 when the family lived at 15 Williams Place, Dublin. He was baptised on 4 January 1843 at the now gone St Peter’s Church in Aungier Street as George Villiers. All the children were baptised Villiers and only took the name Halpin at an ailing George junior’s request in the 1860s, when George and Julia Villiers are reported in a legal document to have recently married.

It seems as though George and Annie were born to travel. Or perhaps they were driven to it by George’s headstrong mother. During the 1870s and 1880s, they lived variously in the USA, Canada, South Africa and, finally, Australia where they settled at Wollongong, New South Wales in about 1884. Wollongong was a boom town at this point with a new harbour under construction; the lighthouses at this harbour are said to be particularly beautiful.

George and Annie had eleven children, of whom a daughter Francis (born in New Jersey in 1871) and a son were deceased by the time the young architect died in 1910. [57] Their other children were Mary, Annie, Eva, Louisa, Alfred (Alf), Julia, George Halpin IV, Alice and Ivy. Their youngest son George was born two months after their arrival in Australia.

George Halpin III was badly wounded during a fall from a building site and died after a slow and painful illness on 7 May 1910.


George Sydney Halpin IV (1884-19??)

Selena Griffith curated the 2021 Little Obelia exhibition at Nutcote, New South Wales, Australia.

George Sydney Halpin was the youngest son of George Halpin III and Annie Watters. He was born in 1884, two months after his parents’ arrival in Australia, and given the name ‘Sydney’ for the city. His granddaughter Pamela tells me:

‘He never worked for anyone and was an auctioneer in the Northern Rivers Region when it could only be reached by boat as there were no roads. [He] was very clever and he loved horses. His tragedy was that he stayed firmly in the horse and buggy days and drove a yellow sulky well into the sixties through the streets of Sydney to the amazement of bystanders. I often went with him’.

George married an English girl, Lavinia Figtree. Her family were one of the leading families in colonial Wollongong. They were originally engineers and industrialists from Sheffield but came to Australia and started the coking industry in Wollongong. As Pamela Griffith advised me, ‘it is possible that the Figtrees and the Halpins collaborated on various projects as the Figtrees built a railway from the coking works to the new inner harbour’. Pamela adds that George ‘sold horses to the Wirth sisters of Wirth circus … The girls danced on the back of large white horses and my grandfather sourced them and broke the horses in.’ George and Lavinia’s marriage was ‘appropriate’ and ‘good’. Moreover, ‘they loved each other and had five girls’. Their third daughter, Joyce Halpin, is a ceramicist and sculptor, born in 1915.

Joyce’s daughter Pamela Griffith,  a celebrated Australian etcher and artist based in Sydney is the author of two books, ‘The Roadmakers 1788-1976’ and ‘Australia – An Artists Journey Through the Landscape.’ Pamela’s brother is the film producer, director and writer George Gittoes, who has the Order of Australia, an honorary doctorate and won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2015. Pamela’s daughter Selena Griffith is the Australian head of ENACTUS and curator of the 2021 Little Obelia exhibition at Nutcote, New South Wales, Australia.

Saul Griffith | World Economic Forum

Saul Griffith, a descendant of George Halpin, is a leading engineer, inventor and expert on electrification and climate change, whose books include ‘Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for our Clean Energy Future’ (MIT Press, 2021).

Indicative that the Halpin genius for building is entirely genetic, Pamela’s son Saul Griffith is an engineer and inventor of considerable renown, co-founder and Chief Scientist of Rewiring America (a non-profit think tank) and co-founder of multiple companies, including Otherlab (an R&D incubator), Makani Power, and Instructables. He got his doctorate at MIT in America on a scholarship that he received following his master’s degree in Sydney University. As of 2021, he is advising Ireland on electrification and climate change. His book ‘Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for our Clean Energy Future’ (MIT Press), was published on 12 October 2021. His article on tackling the climate crisis was published by Time magazine in November 2021. Saul’s wife Arwen is a daughter of Cork-born Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and populariser of the terms ‘open source’ and ‘Web 2.0.’ Saul’s work in America is the sort of thing that the Halpin lighthouse builders did when they modernised Ireland and the docks in the long 19th century.






‘Australia, an artists journey through the landscape’, Pamela Griffith (International Artist Publishing, 2003)

The Liffey in Dublin’, JW de Courcy (Gill and Macmillan, 1996)

‘A History of The Port of Dublin’ by H.A. Gilligan (published by Gill & Macmillen Ltd, Goldenbridge, Dublin 8; 1988; ISBN 0-7171-1578-X) gives a fine  overview of the achievements of the two George Halpins.

Founding Father of the Irish Lighthouse Service’ , Frank Pelly, BEAM (2004-2005 edition)

‘A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland’, A W Skempton (Thomas Telford, 2002). This biographical reference work looks specifically at the lives, works and careers of those individuals involved in civil engineering whose careers began before 1830. The background, training and achievements of engineers over 250 years are described by specialist authors.




With thanks to Bill Webster, Julia Moran, Linda Ralston, Eldrith Ward, Yvonne Russell, Pamela Griffith, Niamh Blake, Joan Gordon, Dick Corrigan, Edwin Burgess, Myles Dungan, Heather Tennant, Graeme Donald, Mike Shingleton, Kathryn Rountree, Peter H King and Bronwyn of Western Australia.




[1] Halfpenny spelled it ‘Garrahundon’ on a drawing of the Garden Front, which measured 152 foot and 3 inches, but other contemporaries consistently spelled it ‘Garryhaddon’. It is to be noted that Halfpenny’s drawing belonged to a private collection in the USA, suggesting a descendant of Senator Pierce Butler, who was reputedly born at Garryhundon.

[2] More about William Halfpenny from Dictionary of Irish Architecture here, and his works listed here. See also Eileen Harris’ entry ‘Halfpenny, William [pseud. Michael Hoare] in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

[3] The exact reference to his marriage in French in 1798 is ”Cavalier dans la compagnie de Mr DROUIN du régiment de Marineau.”The names Nicholas and Christopher Halpin feature heavily in relation to George Halpin, particularly in the 1790s and again in the 1840s.  The odds are better than even that the Christopher Halpin, married to Charlotte in France in 1698, was a forebear of the Halpins we know quite a bit about – namely those who appear in Portarlington, County Laois, by about the 1750s, and those who were active in Dublin before, during and after the 1798 rebellion.

[4] Not sure if its relevant but William, Francis, Thomas and John Halfpenny senior all showed up at ‘a meeting of the protestants of the barony of Mohill, in the county of Leitrim’ on 1 Feb 1792. There was also a William Halfpenny operating as a land surveyor and architect in the 1730s- 1750s, who worked with the Butlers of Ballintemple, County Carlow.

In Wicklow Church records we have a James, son of John and Elizabeth HALFPENNY, baptised 22 October 1780, as well as MARGARET, daughter of John and Elizabeth HALFPENNY, baptised 28 April 1782.

In the minutes of the Church of Ireland the Vestry Books, it is noted that signatures written as Halfpenny before 1800 became Halpin in the early 1800s. Elizabeth Halfpenny was in her late 30s and 40 when these children were born which, as Bill says, allows for the possibility of ‘an unknown number of earlier siblings’. There are also suggestions that their father, now known to be John, may have been a mariner (or even a RN officer), which would have taken the family to a larger sea-going town (even England).’

[5] Dublin Evening Post – Tuesday 09 May 1780.

[6] “Joseph Halpenny was killed in the 1798 rebellion. According to some sources he was killed at Vinegar Hill but according to the Musgrave Papers, Joseph and William Halpenny were taken by rebels from the house of Widow Halpenny at Coolkenno, County Wicklow, and piked to death on July 2, 1798.  This was probably in the aftermath of the Battle of Ballyraheen where many members of the Coolkenno Protestant forces died. Numerous Protestants were taken from their homes and piked to death that day. Joseph Halpenny’s son, John, married John Jackson’s daughter, Abigail. Her cousin, Marshall Jackson, married Keziah Shipman, a cousin of my ancestor, Daniel Shipman. Two generations later my great grandfather, Montague Alexander Buckingham Shipman, married Elicia Halpenny, the granddaughter of David Halpenny. Their sons grew up in Toronto and Hamilton but moved out to Pasadena, California about 1915. We lost touch with the family in Canada and knew almost nothing about the family history in Canada and Ireland until I began researching it a couple of years ago. SOURCE: Email Nov 1, 2004 Sharlene Shipman Baker” via

[7] Ruan O’Donnell, Aftermath: Post-Rebellion Insurgency in Wicklow.

[8] Halpin, Julia/Rorke  1822 771 100 522635: Memo of indented deed of mortgage dated 23rd April 1822 and made between Julia Halpin of the City of Dublin, Spinster, of the one part, and Andrew Rorke of Tyrrellstown, in the County of Dublin, Esquire, of the other part, whereby the said Julia Halpin for and in consideration of the sum of £120 to her, paid by the said AR, she the said JH, for herself, her Execors Admins and Assigns, granted bargained sold assigned transferred and made over to the said AR his heirs and Execors…all that part of the lands of Pelletstown alias Riversdale, situate on the South side of the Royal Canal containing by a survey lately made thereof, thirty-eight acres one rood and thirty-five perches or thereabouts be the same more or less bounded on the East by part of said lands of Pelletstown, lately held by Maurice Flanagan since deceased, on the West by the road called Ashtown Lane, on the North by the Royal Canal, and on the South by the lands of Cabragh now or lately in the possession of Messrs Moore and Harris, situate lying and being in the Barony of Castleknock, County Dublin, with all houses offices and buildings now standing and being thereon, To Hold unto the said AR his heirs Execors Admins and Assigns for and during and unto the full end and term of sixty years subject to redemption as therein mentioned, which said deed and this memo as to the execution thereof by the said Julia Halpin, is witnessed by William Beauman and Thomas Geohegan of the city of Dublin, Gents.’

‘Who was Julia?’ asks Bill Webster? ‘Was she the nurse/matron who later looked after George’s dying wife?  George’s sister?  An unfound daughter?’

[9] ‘The funeral of Mr. William R. Halpin, 80 West Road, East Wall, Dublin, took place from St. Joseph’s Church, Church Road, after Solemn Requiem Mass, to Glasnevin Cemetery.  The coffin was draped in the Tricolour and a firing party of former IRA comrades discharged three volleys over the grave.  The Last Post was sounded.
Chief mourners: Mrs. W. R. Halpin (widow); Eamonn, Liam and Sean (sons); Mrs. M. Kinsella and Mrs. M. O’Toole (daughters); Mr. James Halpin (brother); Mrs. B. Donaghy (sister); Mr. M. Kinsella (son-in-law); Mrs. E. Halpin (daughter-in-law); Mrs. J. Halpin (sister-in-law) and Mr. B. O’Toole (relative).
The attendance included: Mr. McBride, Minister for External Affairs; Ald. A. Byrne, T.D.; Capt. P. Cowan, T.D.; Mr. R. Connolly, T.D; Councillors J.J. Phelan and Denis Larkin; Mr. Seamus Connolly-O’Brien, Mrs. Nora Connolly-O’Brien, Dr. E. Fleury, and many former members of the I.C.A., I.R.A., employees of the Liffey Dockyard and members of St. Joseph’s (East Wall) Past Pupil’s Union.

[10] Saunders’s News-Letter – Friday 12 May 1775

[11] Saunders Newsletter, 5 February 1779.

[12] Robert Wellington Halpin (1814-1883), Wicklow’s Town Clerk, Post Master, Bookseller, and radical, was married circa 1840 to Frances Mabella Smith, daughter of Samuel Smith, a paper-stainer who had a business in Nassau Street in the late 18th, early 19th centuries. RWH and FMS were living in Dublin before they moved to Wicklow Town. Robert Wellington Halpin’s son was the telegraphist and actor/producer Edwin Halpin (1855-1924), father of Edwin Halpin junior (born 1889, grandfather of Ray) and William Robert Halpin, aka Willy Halpin (1885-1951), Easter rebel. Edwin senior rejected his background in 1889 when his family pretty much disowned him for marrying a Catholic girl, Marianne Murphy. As Ray writes: ‘When Willy Halpin ended up in City Hall in 1916, a few men were sent from the GPO to reinforce the garrison.  One of those men was a printer by the name of James Lambert.  Wouldn’t it be something else if, after all the striking features of the Halpin story so far, Lambert was Willy’s relative?’ Willy served in the Dublin Brigade of the IRA under Oscar Traynor. On 4 June 1921, Willy led an attack on a military vehicle on the North Strand road, by Newcomen Bridge, resulting in about a dozen civilian casualties and the death of ten-year-old Andrew Hanratty. During the Civil War, he fought alongside Oscar Traynor in the battle for Dublin, and went into hiding after he was shot in the leg.

[13] As Ray Halpin writes: ‘”These Dublin Halpins were closely linked to the publisher/printer George Faulkner, who provided Patrick Halpin Snr with much engraving work.  They, the antiquarian O’Conor, the Sheridans (with whom the Halpins lived) and other members of the colonial patriot movement, often met in George Faulkner’s home on Parliament Street, to discuss the latest ideas from France, the latest developments in Ireland, and to push for the kind of reforms that would end the appalling mistreatment of native Irishmen by Dublin Castle.  George Faulkner’s nephew worked and lived with his uncle in Parliament Street, and was a publisher and printer in his own right.  His name was Samuel Smith, Frances Mabella Smith’s grandfather.  And so the link between Robert W Halpin and his wife was very definitely more than just a marital one.  It was political, in the radical sense.

The Wicklow Halpins (I call them the Main Street Halpins, since that is where their post office and home were located) were part of a radical political group that included Francis Wakefield, whose grandfather was the radical preacher Gilbert Wakefield, who was Charles James Fox’s best pal.  Charles James Fox was related to Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and so these links to the Irish desire for self-determination were something Wakefield and his ‘agent’, Robert Wellington Halpin, had in common.  Wakefield ran for Parliament in the late 1860s as a radical for Wicklow, but pulled out when Henry Wentworth Fitzwilliam announced his candidacy, choosing instead to become chairman of the Wicklow Board of Guardians and the Harbour Board, with Robert Wellington Halpin as his Secretary in both cases.  Wakefield and Halpin had a third ally, a man by the name of James Lambert, Halpin’s cousin, and it was Lambert who in the late 1860s produced the first blueprint for what would soon become the Home Rule movement.

Encouraged by Gladstone’s reforms, Wakefield, Halpin, Lambert and others sought to break the Protestant monopoly on commercial activity in Wicklow, by introducing plans to rebuild the harbour and the town’s infrastructure.  There was a powerful backlash by landed interests, especially from Lord of the Soil Gun Cunninghame, so when a large number of his leases in Wicklow came up for renewal, Halpin – although he was only the Board’s secretary – appears to have been behind what on the face of it seems to be a crazy attempt to have him disinherited, reissuing his leases to the Board itself (taking private land and property into public ownership), and then slashing rents to tenants.  Of course a legal case ensued, which Cunninghame won, but my belief is that the maneuver was an overt attempt to whip up public support for an early form of the three f’s, which was to become the central platform of the Land League during the Land Wars.  It was hoped that popular agitation, or moral force, would – with the support of a sympathetic Prime Minister in Westminster – lead to a form of Home Rule, from which it was hoped greater liberties would eventually spring.  It was, in my view, very nearly a coup, and it was viewed as such by my grandfather and his brother, Willy Halpin.”

[14] 1837 5 111: Memorial of Indenture of Declaration of Trust dated 20th July 1831 made between Robert Miller of Henrietta Street, North Strand, Dublin, Esquire, and William Halpin of Castle Forbes, North Strand, Dublin, Esquire, whereby after reciting among other things that the said William Halpin had through the agency of the said Robert Miller borrowed the sum of Seven hundred pounds from Mary Kinsley Babington [died 1879, Armagh] and Eliza Babington to enable the said William Halpin to complete the purchase therein mentioned, that the said William Halpin had agreed that the said sum of £700 should be a charge and [lieu?] upon part of the said several Lotts of Ground and premises therein mentioned at the rate of £5 per cent (sic) per annum and that the said WH had also executed his Bond to the said Mary and Eliza for the penal sum of £1,400 as security for same, said Deed Witnessed that the said RM in order to declare the trust therein mentioned and for the consideration therein the said RM did thereby testify and declare that the purchases therein mentioned were made with the proper Money of the said WH, and that the two Deeds of Release therein mentioned were executed by James Williams therein mentioned to the said RM as a Trustee only of the said WH and for his sole use and benefit and which the said RM for the purposes therein mentioned did grant assign release and confirm unto the said WH (in his actual possession then being by virtue of a bargain and sale for a year therein cited) and to his heirs and assigns All that the therein before recited pieces or parcels of ground in the therein first recited Indenture of Release from the said JW to the said RM bearing date 14th June 1831 being the several acre Lotts Nos. 115 and 111 and foot Lot No. 47 situate in the North Strand, Parish of St. Thomas, Dublin, To Hold with their appurtences unto the said WH his heirs and assigns unto the said WH all the therein mentioned Foot Lot No. 48 situate in the said North Strand… To Hold with its appurtences unto the said WH his exors, admins and assigns for and during the residue of the term of 999 years granted and assigned by the same Indenture of the 14th June 1831 then to come and unexpired and said Indenture further witnessed that the said RM for the purposes aforesaid did grant release and confirm unto said WH (in his actual possession then being by virtue of a lease for a year…) and to his heirs and assigns all that and those therein mentioned two several acre Lotts Nos. 132 and 133 situate on the said North Strand… To Hold unto the said WH… for and during the several leases and renewals thereof respectively named and the survivors and survivor of them and for and during all such other life and lives as should thereafter be granted thereof forever pursuant to the several Covenants for perpetual renewal… under and subject to the payment of the rents and performance of the Covenants in the said recited Indenture Contained, and said Deed further witnessed that the said WH did thereby for himself his heirs and assigns agree to [observe the terms of the loan of the original £700…]  All witnesses then sign off with their seals.

In a Report from the Select Committee on Fictitious Votes, Ireland 1837, an Appendix of an alphabetical list of the Registered Voters…. For Dublin Registered prior to February 1833 lists “Halpin, Wm. Gentleman, Castle Forbes, North-wall” (along with George’s at North-wall and at Ballast Board, and others). Also listed as registered in 1836 is Halpin, Robert, Castle Forbes, North Lots, gent.

[15] Probate granted to father William Halpin of Castle Forbes, North Wall, Dublin. Record is from 1840 East India Register, states he was a bachelor and refers to £300, Pts.

[16] Corporation of Bricklayers and Plaisterers.

At a meeting, 12th day January 1802, being Quarter Day, the following resolutions were entered into:

Resolved – That John Claudius Beresford, Esq., having, by his past conduct, as one of our Representatives in Parliament, given us the strongest assurance of what we may expect in his future parliamentary demeanour, we are determined to support him with our votes and interest on the ensuing General Election, and that we will support the Rht. Hon. George Ogle.

Resolved – That a committee be appointed to wait on Mr. Beresford and Mr. Ogle, with the above Resolutions.

John Semple, Master.
Richard Halpin and Thomas Fisher, Wardens.
Thomas Dowling, Clk. Gld.

The Committee, having waited on Mr. Beresford and Mr. Ogle, received the following answers:

To the Master, Wardens, and Brethren of the Corporation of Bricklayers and Plaisterers.


Accept my most grateful acknowledgements for the favour you have done me, the recollection of which shall never be erased from my memory – This flattering testimony of your kindness and intentions in my favour, affords me the most indescribable gratification, and renders me, if possible, more than ever,

Your faithful and devoted servant, J C. Beresford.

[17] Bankrupts: Richard Halpin, of Mecklenburgh Street, Dublin, Builder, to surrender on the 28th and 30th Inst., and 28th June. The Belfast Newsletter, Friday, May 20th 1803.

[18] Insolvent Debtors: Petitions to be heard at No. 3 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin, on Saturday, the 17th February next, at 10 o’clock in the Forenoon: Richard Halpin, late of Mecklenburgh Street, Dublin, Gent. Freeman’s Journal, Monday, January 29th 1827.

[19] Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent, Tuesday 21st February 1832 – ‘’Marriages’’: Friday, 17th by special licence in Howth Church, George Greene, Esquire, of Howth, County Dublin, to Charlotte, fifth daughter of Richard Halpin, Esq., Surveyor of Customs at that station.’ Charlotte was baptised at Clontarf Church of Ireland on 8 June 1813, at which time her father may have been on the run. In June 1844 a case was heard at the Assizes in Howth in which a Mr Richard Greene was found guilty of assaulting Richard Halpin.

[20] Dublin Morning Register, Wednesday 22nd September 1841.

[21] Cork Examiner, Wednesday, 9 May 1855: Death April 30 Richard Halpin, of Howth, County Dublin, Esquire, late Surveyor Her Majesty’s Customs.

The Pilot, Friday 16 July 1847 – ‘’Deaths’: At Newtown Avenue, Blackrock, Sarah, wife of Mr. Luke Bond, and daughter of Richard Halpin, Esquire, of the Customs Department, Howth.

[22]  Dr Charles Halpin was a brother of the well known Rev Nicholas John Halpin, editor of the Dublin Evening Mail and Shakespearean critic, as well as an opponent of Daniel O’Connell. Dr Stopford William Halpin managed the Arklow Lifeboat Service with the Reverend William Gilbert Ormsby (1810-1905), who served as rector of Arklow for 21 years. Prior to moving to Arklow, Ormsby had been Rector at Clontarf. Between 1846 and 1851 he was superintendent of  the Swords Borough School, and seems to have promoted a culture of Protestant bigotry and anti-Catholic violence that required a commission of enquiry headed up by the Marquess of Kildare, as per this report in the Evening Freeman of 2 November 1855. This underlines my view that the persuasion of a tyrant, sexual, spiritual or otherwise, is as irrelevant as the colour of their eyeballs: a tyrant is a tyrant. 

[23] How did John Augustus die? Captain Robert was known to freelance off the American coast and reputedly ran guns and ammunition for the US civil war.  Was John Augustus in it with him???

[24] Captain Robert Charles Halpin was the youngest son, born 1836. His second eldest brother, also a Captain, Thomas J born 1821, died at Monastery House Enniskerry, Bray, on 2 June 1878 aged about 57.

[25] From:  Memorials of the Dead – S.E Wicklow.  Compiled by Brian J Cantwell.] Wicklow Church of Ireland (i.e., Wicklow Town) Erected by James Halpin to the memory of | his beloved Mother Mrs Elizabeth Halpin | who died Febr 8th 1814 aged 75 years | also ….. Ann Halpin and John Halpin | children to James and Anne Halpin | also to | Louisa Halpin daughter of George Halpin of Dublin | who died March 18th 1831 aged 21 years | Robert Halpin died Dec 5th 1835 | the above named | James Halpin | died October 4th 1847 aged 69 years also his| beloved wife Jane Halpin died August 7th 1849 | Eaton C Halpin Solicitor | died July 19 1857 aged 39 years | prayer | and also Captain Frederick Halpin nephew | of the above named James Halpin who departed | this life on the 26th of February 1859 aged 36 years | Margaret Halpin daughter of the above named | Elizabeth Halpin died April 15th 1862 |also the memory of John A. Halpin | son of the above James Halpin | who died at Bermuda West Indies Oct 8th 1864 | aged 32 years | Capt Tho J Halpin died June 2nd 1878 | aged 56 years.

[26]  Oisin Nolan’s great-grandmother Anna Halpin was one of his five daughters (along with a son) born to Terence Halpin (born in Wicklow, 1859) and his wife Rosanna Halpin who were living in Dublin at the time of the 1911 census. Any further details of this branch warmly welcomed.  A Terence Halpin had a lease on 94 Emorville Road, off South Circular Road, in 1916. (Irish Times, Saturday, November 11, 1916, p. 12). It looks like a year-to-year lease which I think began on 10 May 1909 and cost him £40 a year … but I’m guessing that the whole Terrace was up for sale that year and that the tenants merely had to deal with a change of ownership. His neighbour in No. 93 was Mrs Ella Hughes, who had it for £48 a month

[27] 35 years after the 1798 rebellion, a lengthy article appeared in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 35, pp221ff. In passing it mentions John Claudius Beresford, the Commandant of the Loyal Dublin Regiment of Yeoman Infantry, and it makes an interesting reference to the Customs House. ‘During the Rebellion, he had commanded a troop of cavalry, formed chiefly of the principal persons connected with the Customhouse, of which his father, a man of different class and character, had been Chief Commissioner. The natural unpopularity attached to Customhouse officers had not been in the slightest degree palliated by seeing them decorated with sabres and pistols, and acting under the orders of a Beresford. The troop, who were violent in their politics, and, of course, fully aware of the popular opinion, returned it with sufficient reciprocity; and by their zeal in the seizure and punishment of supposed rebels, so rendered themselves conspicuous, and conspicuously hated by the people……During the rebellion, the riding-house of the troop had been, unluckily for their reputation, a chosen spot for flogging the suspected….(End excerpts.)’

[28] The House of Commons, 1790-1820, Volume 1, by R. G. Thorne.

[29] He was signed out of Kilmainham by Richard Halpin.

[30] The Catalogue of The National Archives Royal Hospital Chelsea: Soldiers Service Documents WO 97/1184/103.

[31] The Crosthwaites lived in Kingstown and were among the most prosperous Protestant figures in Dublin at the time. Leland Crosthwaite, father and son, were Halpin’s premium backers and deeply influential.

  • 1783       founding member of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce
  • 1786       founding member of Corporation for Improving & Preserving the Port of Dublin
  • 1787       Sugar and flour merchant, Director of Bank of Ireland Bagenalstown and Chapelizod
  • 1808       Governor Bank of Ireland

Halpin had small scale land dealings with Crosthwaite in eastern Dublin, as well as as a blood tie through the mother of the Rev Nicholas Halpin. It appears they were suitably influential to ensure that Halpin received unfettered authority to do what he did and to be satisfactorily remunerated. Their properties and leases on the North Strand were held by George Halpin Snr, who acted as their father’s Trustee

Registry of Deeds 1855 – 11 -Number 245 and 246. A memorial of a deed of Conveyance of the twenty eight day of April 1855 made between Thomas Crostwait of Fitzwilliam Square East in the city of Dublin and George Halpin of Rathgar in the County of Dublin esquires, executors of the last will and testament of George Halpin late of the North Wall in the county of Dublin esquire of the first part , Frederick Halpin of Kingston in the county of Dublin Esquire son of the said George Halpin deceased of the second part and Robert Halpin of Belmont Raheny in the County of Dublin Clerk of the third part. Reciting that by indenture of lease of the fifteenth of February 1808 made between James Williams and Richard Williams the younger both of the city of Dublin Merchants of the one part and said George Halpin the father of said George Halpin and Frederick Halpin of the other part………… over the same in equal moieties or shares between his said son George and his son Frederick being his only children then living……..that said George Halpin departed this life on or about the 8th day of July 1854 without altering said Will……’

In Clontarf, the Crosthwaites became close to both George Halpin Snr and the Rev William Gilbert Ormsby (1810-1905), Rector at Clontarf (and later rector of Arklow). The Crosthwaites left their children’s material interests in the care of George Snr, who passed that stewardship on to Ormsby.

[32] As Ray Halpin remarks, the spelling of George’s surname ‘Halfpenny’ on the lease places him firmly in the broad Halfpenny clan at Wicklow. If only by surname at this point, it also links George to Patrick Metcalf Halfpenny, son of Patrick Halpin, Engraver, and half-brother of John and Oliver Halpin / Halfpenny, Actor/Engraver and Naval Surgeon respectively. Patrick Metcalf Halfpenny was married to Dame Maria Steele; Darley was married to Mary Steele.’ Patrick Metcalf Halfpenny was a half-brother of Oliver Halpin, MD.

[33] As Ray Halpin remarks, the acquisition of Mecklenburgh Street ‘is probably a record of George Snr’s first big break as a stand-alone operator. The transaction is so structured as to indemnify Darley, but not by much. It’s clear the aim is to help and encourage George, not to create difficulties for him.’

Memo of Indenture of Lease (no. 534 423 350804) dated 1st October 1800 and made “between Frederick Darley of the city of Dublin, Alderman, of the one part, and George Halfpenny of the said city, Builder, of the other part, whereby after reciting as therein is recited the said Frederick Darley did demise unto George Halfpenny all that plot of ground on the south side of Mecklenburgh Street, containing in front to said street 36 feet 6 inches, and in depth from front to rere 209 feet, and in breadth in rere 37 feet, bounded on the south by Mecklenburgh Street, on the east by a plot of ground in the possession of Dr. Gray, and on the north by an intended stable lane leading from Mabbott Street to Beaver Street, and on the west by a plot of ground in the possession of Edward Carolan, which said premises are in the Lordship of St. Mary’s Abbey & county of the city of Dublin, To Hold to said George Halfpenny his Exors Admins and Assigns for and during the first three years of the said term of 999 years at the yearly rent of one peppercorn on the feast of Easter, if requested, and also paying the rent unto said Frederick Darley his Exors Admins and Assigns for the last 995 years the yearly rent of £10. 05. 00 Stg., payable half yearly on every 25th March and 29th September in which said lease therein is contained a covenant that the said George Halfpenny shall within the term of three years from the 29th September then last lay out and expend in building [two words illegible] pavements on said premises a sum of money not less than £100 Stg., or in default thereof to pay Frederick Darley his Exors Admins and Assigns an additional yearly rent of £20 for each year George Halfpenny shall so neglect to lay out said sum on said premises, which said deed of which this is a memo and this memorial itself were respectively executed by the parties thereto in the presence of William Archer and Thomas Kirk, both of the city of Dublin …”.

[34] Mary Darley, née Steele, died in 1770.

[35] Darley, Frederick (1764 – 1841), builder, alderman, and police magistrate, born in Dublin and baptised on 6 July 1764, was one of the many children of. The Darleys were well known in Dublin as stonemasons and builders and Frederick Darley attended the school conducted by Sisson Darling in Mabbott Street, Dublin, where a fellow pupil was Theobald Wolfe Tone. He is listed in the Dublin directories for the 1790s as a ‘stone cutter’ of 88 Lower Abbey Street, a description that understates his economic and social position. Among his undertakings was the contract for stonework for the Carlisle Bridge (1791–4). As a member of the Merchants’ Guild he entered Dublin municipal politics: he was joint Sheriff (1798– 9), Alderman (from 1800), and Lord Mayor (1808–9). In 1808 also he became a police magistrate and in 1812 chief police magistrate. From 1824 until 1836 (when the Irish police forces were reorganised) his authority extended to Co. Dublin. An Orangeman from the formation of the first Dublin Lodge (June 1796), he caused offence at a civic dinner in honour of George IV by proposing a toast ‘to the glorious memory,’2 despite the objection of the presiding Alderman (August 1821). Darley died on 29 June 1841 ‘upwards of 78.’ – Dictionary of Biography.

[36]  The two earliest references to Hone and Crosthwaite at the Royal Irish Academy, plus a solitary reference to Ann Crosthwaite, transcribed by Ray Whelan:

RIA/DUC/2/SIN/19. 28 January 1820. Document concerned with the appointment of new Trustees of the Singleton Trust.  Sescription: This ‘Order to confirm Master of the Rolls’ Report’ refers to the appointment of Leland Crosthwaite, Nathaniel Hone and Thomas Crosthwaite, three members of the congregation of Eustace Street as new Trustees.  Previous Trustees named as John Leland Maquay/Maguay and Isaac Weld.

RIA/DUC/2/SIN/21. 5 September 1833. Copy of renewal of lands of Kilmichael and Poulduff from Nathaniel Hone, Joseph Hone and Thomas Crosthwaite to John Whitecroft. Description: Parties – Nathaniel Hone of Harcourt Street, Joseph Hone of Harcourt Street and Thomas Crosthwaite of Fleet Street, Trustees for establishing a female Charity School in Eustace Street Meeting House, of the first part; John Whitcroft of Highfield, Co. Dublin, of the second part.  Property: Lands at Upper and Lower Kilmichael and Poulduffe.  Terms: £2 7s 6d paid for the insertion of two new lives on the lease.  Includes: Witnessed by Leland Crosthwaite, John William Lane and Joseph Hone.  Extent: 11 pages.

RIA/DUC/2/ADM/2. 9 April 1866. Legal case document dealing with the amalgamation of the Eustace Street and Stephen’s Green Congregations.  Prepared for William Andrews, LLD. Description: It is stated that the object of the case is to obtain the opinion of counsel whether a union can be effected between the two congregations having regard to the trust property.  Includes a synopsis of the history of each congregation, abstracts and extracts from deeds and minutes of meetings and explanation and financial statements of trusts.  With regard to the Eustace Street congregation, the document mentions the following: Meeting House Trust, Damers Trust, Lowton Trust, Boys Trust and House at Weavers Row, Lesson’s Will and the Male School, Cork Street property, Cloneygowan property, Grafton Street property, Female School Trust, Mrs Singleton’s will, Nathaniel Johnston’s Fund, Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Fund, Kilmichael property, Miss Ann Crosthwaite’s Bequest, Mary Maurice’s Trust for the widows of ministers, Maquay’s Fund.  Also includes report concerning George Matthews alias Duncan Chisolm. Extent: 137 pages.

[37] As Peter King remarked: “It still beggars belief how one so young should have should have held down the responsibilities he did and so successfully; truly a remarkable man!” Further details could be perhaps found by an inspection of the records held at the Office of Public Works, or a letter to the keepers of John de Courcy’s personal papers (provided they’ve been catalogued).

The firm Hone & Faulkner, which still exists in Dublin, remained the Halpin family’s solicitors until the 1930s.

[38] The following references, all available via Google and submitted by Captain Peter H. King, provide a useful insight into G.H.:
First Report from the to Select Committee on Lighthouse, + Appendix:1834 Paras LXX to LXXVII, 154-163; 183 – 193 and 211-216
Report from the Select C’tee on Lighthouses 1845
Appendix to the First Report of the Commissioners on the Municipal Corporation (Ireland) on the City of Dublin Part II 1836. (This gives some interesting insights into G.H.’s domestic arrangements.)

Peter adds: “Going through the two Select Committee Reports leaves me with a less positive impression of the involvement of Trinity House (T.H.) in Irish L/H affairs. Certainly the sanction of the Elder Brethren on proposed new lights was required, but I suspect that they may not have had a hand in ship specification, which I earlier felt would have been the case; indeed, I can only find one reference to the E.B.’s embarking upon an inspection of all the L/H’s in Ireland. Against a background of the much acclaimed (in-part self-acclaimed) Northern L/H Board’s Stevensons, the wholly un-qualified G.H. comes over as something of an anathema within the L/H services – a one man band covering the roles which in the other two services (especially T.H.) would have been executed by fully-staffed departments. Something which the Select Committee had some difficulty in understanding..! ” (Thanks to Peter King, the Trinity House archives are now in the care of the Guildhall Library (aka Metropolitan Archives) where they are very well looked after and properly catalogued).

[39] Bill Webster writes: “I have seen images of the memorial inscription and it would be impossible to say with certainty that Louisa’s death was 1831 or 1834, or that her age was 21 or 24.  However the Parish Register reads 1834 Louisa Halpin Wicklow March 19th aged 20 years.  In any event George married his second wife Elizabeth Bourne in 1817, making Louisa/Isabella definitely a child of his first wife and which narrows the time period for wife Isabella’s unfound death.”

[40] Saunders Newsletter, 19 August 1817

[41] De Courcy, 1996; Corry, G., 1970, ‘The Dublin Bar: The Obstacle to the Improvement of the Port of Dublin’, Dublin Historical Record, 23 (4) pp. 137 – 152.)

[42] See report by Frank Pelly, one of the principal authorities. See John Eagle report here. Also here.

[43] The ship appears on a list of ‘Ships Built or Registered in Shoreham from the 13th century to the early 1900’s (excluding yachts which are listed in the separate article ‘Stow & Sons Yachts 1866 – 1936 and Courtney & Birkett.’ See also (Sources: Register of British Ships, Dublin, 29/1832 / Lloyds Register of Shipping 1833 / ‘The Ships and Mariners of Shoreham’, H.Cheal)

Peter King says of this stamp image of Halpin’s Supply: ‘Apparently Nesbit usually copied his stamp design artwork from published sources. The two most likely such sources were David MacGregor’s ‘Fast Sailing Ships’ (which incorporated the painting by Lynn of three Waterford schooners, built by Balley immediately after “Supply“, to much the same dimensions) and Basil Lubbock’s ‘The Opium Clippers’, (which incorporated a painting of the fruit / opium clipper ‘Time‘, built by Balley’s father at around the same time.) I personally would favour the painting of ‘Time‘, hence my having superimposed the Kiribti stamp on the ‘Time‘ painting in my paper.

[44] Every year, the Ballast Board called for tenders for between 100 and 130 tuns of oils – rape and / or sperm – usually in 50-gallon casks and usually divided over two deliveries, spring and late spring / early summer. One tun = 210 gals., so at any one delivery there might have been between 210 and 270 casks delivered, so the storage must have been quite significant.

[45] Source: ‘Hawaiian Inter-island and Hawaiian Registered Vessels’, Mifflin Thomas. Thanks to Captain Peter H King, Alex Blackwell, Cormac Lowth & Bill Webster.

[46] See article on the Corn Exchange, attributed to GH.

[47] Julia Halpin, “Head Nurse of the Richmond Surgical Hospital” mentioned in ‘Accounts and Papers: Twenty-Eight Volumes (Estimates), Session 18 November 1847 – 5 September 1848 – Volume XL’. In those times, such a senior nurse was almost certainly unmarried, although she may have returned to nursing after marriage and children, or lack of children, or widowhood.  In which latter case, who was her Halpin husband?

[48]  It is not clear why Charles later spelled his name as Charles Greham Halpine.

The Rev. Nicholas Halpin’s younger brother Frederick James Halpin (c. 1805-1890), a Cavan landowner, ran a preparatory school in Dublin with his wife Maria (née Howse), whom he married in 1844 at Cullompton, Devon. Their school was firstly at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), and later at 23-4 Sandycove Road, Glasthule, near Dalkey. Maria died at Sandycove in 1890. (The Argus (Melbourne, Vic), Tuesday 23 December 1890, p. 1).

In 1866, while George Bernard Shaw‘s family were living at Torca Cottage, Dalkey Hill, the future scribe attended the Halpin’s school on Sandycove Road. He returned there again for a stint in the winter of 1868/1869. [A Bernard Shaw Chronology, by Anthony Matthews Gibbs, p. 26/27). (Other sources suggest a school was run by run by William Halpin in Lawson’s Terrace, Sandycove, but presumably this is an error).

An advertisement in the Irish Times in 1865 (about GB Shaw’s time) read, “This establishment is situated in a most healthy locality; has extensive accommodation in the schoolroom and dormitories, a bathroom and an excellent playground. The course of instruction includes – French (by a native), Classics and Mathematics. The Holy Scriptures are taught daily. The domestic arrangements, which are liberal, are under the superintendence of Mrs. Halpin, who is an English Lady; and the pupils are in every respect treated as members of the family.”

Sandycove School:- Mr F Halpin, Principal, assisted by a graduate TCD. Mr Halpin receives a limited number of young gentlemen, who receive every care and attention, as well as a sound English education in all the usual branches. A separate class for Gentlemen preparing for any of the Public Examinations. Mr Halpin attends bathing and boating. Business will be resumed (D.V.) on the 6th August. – 3 Sandycove Avenue, East. – Irish Times, Sat. July 23, 1887.

All of Frederick and Maria Halpin’s sons left Ireland. Walter and Arthur went to live in England, Henry and Herbert emigrated to Canada and Frederick Webster Halpin emigrated to Australia.

DEATH. Halpin – Aug 2 at Falkland Lodge, Torquay, Walter Charles Halpin IRCP and 8th (?) son of the late Frederick J Halpin of Sandycove. – Irish Times, Sat Aug 12th, 1916.

See also the biography of the Ohio-based Fenian and civil engineer William G Halpin (1824-92), son of John Halpin and his wife Sally Nobber, County Meath, from Owen McGee’s Dictionary of Irish Biography entry.

[49] His probate – Frederick Halpin 3rd May 1859 effects under £7,000.  Letter of Administration (with the Will annexed) of the personal estate of Frederick Halpin late of Wicklow, Esquire deceased who died 27th February 1859 at same place were granted at the Principal Registry to Frances Halpin and Louisa Halpin both of The Bridge Hotel Wicklow Spinsters the Universal Legatees. By Decree.

So he did not leave his estate to his half brother George junior but to the two spinster daughters of James who were the last owners of Bridge Hotel.  They both subsequently married.

[50] George Halpin was elected Corresponding Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, London, on 10 March 1835, and transferred as a Member on 26 Dec 1837. His application was supported by – John Mackenzie, Joshua Field and James Simpson. But was this George senior or junior?

[51] Oswald Halpin received (brief) education at the “University of Dublin” and was registered as ‘Pen (Mr Baillie), July 4, 1825’ in the Alumni Dublinenses, 1846. (He is described as the son ‘of George, Generosus‘). In July 1826, a Colonel McDonald recommended the 16-year-old to the East India Company Bombay army and he was nominated by EIC director George Smith. He sailed to Bombay on a French ship “Anna Maria” which left from Bordeaux. However, the Calcutta Christian Observer 1834 (p. 536) notes the death on August 14th of Lieutenant Oswald Halpin, 7th Regiment Bombay NI, aged 25 years.

[52] Witnesses to this wedding included Joseph Kidd and Susanna’s aunt Elizabeth Burgess who married George Kidd.

[53] 1911 Census, Stillorgan DED, Galloping Green South Townland.

[54] There is also a Dublin will administration record, granted 19 Nov 1918, admor George Halpin, M.D.

[55] [Missing text] in Tinryland, County Carlow, in 1843 or 1844. Why was he born in Carlow? Perhaps George senior or junior had acquired a small estate or interest in the county? Or did either of their wives perhaps have Carlow connections?

[56] Registrar’s District of Carlow. 1868 Marriage solemnized at Staplestown in the Parish of Staplestown in the Co. of Carlow. Bartholomew Watters is thought to have been the son of John Watters and Mary Shirley, both farming families from Clogrennan in Cloydah Parish, County Carlow. The Shirley family had farms in 3 counties, Kilkenny, Carlow and Laois. His elder brother was John Shirley Watters, who was one of the witnesses at Rathvilly when Bartholomew married Mary Malone. His uncle Thomas Shirley – brother of Mary Shirley – married another Mary Shirley, probably a cousin, born at Kells in Co Kilkenny, and their daughter Mary Ann Shirley also married Bartholomew’s younger brother, Samuel Watters, at Cloydah, in 1845. Samuel, Mary Ann and 3 infant Watters children emigrated to Tasmania under the sponsorship of Jocelyn Thomas, whose father had been rector of Cloydah. John Watters, the eldest of those sons, moved on to New Zealand and had a large family in the Canterbury district, near Christchurch. There was no issue from the other two sons who died near Ballarat in Victoria, to where Samuel and Mary Watters had moved from Tasmania. (Thanks again to Bill Webster.)

Recognizance to Prosecute 1828. Joseph Malone maketh oath that he usually resides at Rathmore in the Parish of Rathvilly in the County of Carlow. (signed ) Joseph Malone. Sworn before me at Tullow Petty Sessions this 3rd Day of May 1828. (signed ) James Eustace. John Leonard. (PPP)

[57] George’s death certificate of 1910 shows that one female and one male deceased when he died.