Subscribe for Unlimited Access to Turtle’s History Quarter.

Includes content from Vanishing Ireland, Easter Dawn, Dublin Docklands, The Irish Pub, Maxol and many more, as well as Waterways Ireland, the Past Tracks project and hundreds of historical articles on Irish families, houses, companies and events.

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

A portrait of Tom Bunbury (2nd Baron Rathdonnell) as a young man.


1. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1848-1878)
2. TRIUMPH & TRAGEDY (1879-1913)
3. WAR & PEACE (1914-1929)


Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, was born in 1848 and would become probably the most influential member of the family in history. He was known to his family as Tom, so I have referred to him thus in these pages.

This chronology is designed to create a backdrop against which he lived his 81 years. By placing it on the web, it is hoped that these pages might be of mutual benefit to others researching similar characters from this age. Born just over a decade into Queen Victoria’s reign, the first part of Tom Rathdonnell’s life was essentially framed by the unrelenting drive of the Britain Empire.

His father, William McClintock Bunbury (1800-1866) was first and foremost a sailing man. In his youth he had explored the South Seas with Charles Darwin and his cousin – the future Admiral Sir Francis McClintock – and chased slavers around the coast of Brazil after the abolition of slavery. He retired from the Royal Navy with the rank of Captain. The timber of his old ship, HMS Samarang, would go to form some of the furniture which the Captain commissioned for his magnificent new family mansion, Lisnavagh House in County Carlow. The first brick of the new house was laid on 23 January 1847 and by the time of Tom’s birth nearly two years later, the house was nearing completion. But 1847 also marked the worst near of the Great Famine, the effects of which were to dramatically reshape the future of Ireland.

In 1868, Tom’s uncle John McClintock was elevated to the Irish Peerage as Baron Rathdonnell by Disraeli’s Tory government. In 1879, the title – and a vast estate that spread all across Ireland – came to Tom and from him it descends to the present – and 5th – Baron Rathdonnell, who is my father, Benjamin.

By 1879, the calls for Home Rule in Ireland were loud. Tom Bunbury, a product of his age, appears to have sided with those who wanted to retain the parliamentary union with Britain. He was an officer and before that, an old Etonian, as were his two sons, the eldest of whom Billy Bunbury would die fighting for the British in South Africa during the Boer War. In the early 20th century, Tom was one of the more powerful Anglo-Irish magnates in Ireland. On the eve of the Great War he was Chairman of the Leinster Unionists and President of the Royal Dublin Society. He was also sometime Lord Lieutenant of County Carlow. Locals knew him as ‘Auld Rathdonnell’; his son and grandson referred to him as ‘The O.B’, probably meaning ‘The Old Boy’.

He outlived his wife by five years, passing away at the age of 81 in 1929. He was succeeded at Lisnavagh – and as 3rd Baron Rathdonnell – by his second and only surviving son, Thomas Leopold McClintock Bunbury, my father’s grandfather.


1. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1848-1878)




November 3: Marriage of Tom Rathdonnell’s parents, Captain William McClintock (Bunbury) and Pauline, second daughter of Sir James Matthew Stronge of Tynan Abbey, Co. Armagh.




May 28: Death of Thomas Bunbury, of Lisnavagh, Tory MP for Carlow, in his 71st year, at his residence, 14 Crawford Street, Portman Square. His nephew Captain William McClintock assumes name of McClintock Bunbury in compliance with the will. Captain Bunbury also wins a by-election for Thomas’ parliamentary seat and continues to represent Co. Carlow at Westminster for the next 16 years.




January 21: The foundation stone of the New House at Lisnavagh is laid.

Birth of Lord Iveagh and Sir Algernon Coote (1847-1920), the latter being at Eton at the same time as Tom.

May 3: In Captain Bunbury’s diary, he refers to the birth of a son Thomas for whom Sir James Stronge, Kane Bunbury and Lady Erne stood as godparents. It seems this child perished as a baby.


1848 – Year of Tom Rathdonnell’s Birth


Lisnavagh House was under construction at the time of Tom’s birth in 1848. He would inherit the property in 1866 and make it his principal abode up until his death in 1929. This side of the house was reduced by his grandson in the 1950s, including the windows out which someone is gazing out at the camera. The terraces are now where guests park their cars at 21st century weddings.

Tom’s father Captain William Bunbury sailed the Pacific Ocean alongside Darwin and Fitzroy in the 1830s. He built Lisnavagh House in the 1840s and was MP for Carlow at the time of Tom’s birth in 1848.

1848 was a year of revolutions throughout continental Europe. For a short period, absolutist governments were replaced by liberal administrations, near universal suffrage was introduced and elections were held to constituent assemblies to draw up new national constitutions. In England, the Chartists rebelled for equal votes for all but are brutally crushed so they don’t arise again until 1918.It was sometimes described as the “springtime of the people.” Ireland was still reeling from the effects of a devastating potato blight and the death of Daniel O’Connell.

April 5: 2nd Lieutenant Leopold McClintock (the future Admiral), whom Tom’s father taught how to sail, sets off for the Arctic on the HMS Enterprise, commanded by Sir James Ross, in pursuit of the fate of the late Sir John Franklin.

July 23-29: William Smith O’Brien launches short-lived Young Ireland rebellion.

August 26: Tom’s uncle John McClintock (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell) celebrates his 50th birthday.

November 22: Sir Hugh Gough (the future Viscount), a cousin of Tom’s father, defeats a Sikh army at Ramnuggar, thus consolidating Britain’s commercial and political dominance in India. Tom’s birth came just one week later.

November 29: Birth of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, eldest son of Captain William McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh and his wife Pauline (née Stronge, of Tynan Abbey). He was presumably named for the Captain’s uncles, the late Thomas Bunbury, MP for Carlow, and Colonel Kane Bunbury. Captain Bunbury’s 1847 diary refers to another Thomas Bunbury born on 3 May 1847 in, for whom Sir James Stronge, Kane Bunbury and Lady Erne had stood as godparents. It seems this older Thomas perished as a baby.




Captain Bunbury celebrates his 50th birthday.




August 16: Birth of Gerald FitzGerald, later 5th Duke of Leinster.

September 1: Birth of Tom’s only brother, John William (“Jack”) McClintock Bunbury.




Lord Downshire recommends Tom’s uncle, John McClintock, for a peerage.

Captain and Mrs Bunbury celebrate 10 years of marriage.




Oct 8: Birth of Tom’s first cousin Frank McClintock, aka Rev. Francis George Le Poer McClintock, Rector of Drumcar, and Dean of Armagh, third son of Major Henry McClintock and his wife Gertrude. Franks’s two brothers are at least 11 and 9 years older than him.




Tom’s boyhood was a time of warfare, not least the Crimean War, with the Charge of the Light Brigade, and the suppression of the “Indian Mutiny” in the lands where his father’s cousin Hugh Gough had been so prominent. Gough himself was also at war in China.




John ‘Old Turnip’ McClintock, Tom’s paternal grandfather, died when he was seven years old. See here for his story.

July 5: Death of Tom’s paternal grandfather, John McClintock, MP, of Drumcar.

Nov 29: Tom receives his own personally engraved copy of Eyre & Spottiswode’s Book of Common Prayer, inscribed ‘Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury’. A confirmation present perhaps?




July 29: Tom’s 36-year-old uncle Rev. Robert McClintock marries Maria Susan Heyland, only daughter of Charles Alexander Heyland.




April 30: At the General Election, Captain William McClintock Bunbury and Henry Bruen (Tory) returned unopposed for Carlow County. Tom’s uncle John McClintock and Chichester Fortescue win the Louth seats. However, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, finally win a majority in the House of Commons as the Tory vote fell significantly.

What was young Tom reading? I’d bet he tucked into ‘Tom Browne’s Schooldays’ with the incorrigible Flashman. Published in 1857, it had run to five editions and sold 11,000 copies by November. That figure had reached 28,000 by the end of 1862.




August 26: Tom’s uncle John McClintock celebrates 60th birthday.


I’m not sure what school this is but I think that’s Tom standing on the far right.


Presumably Eton, I am unsure whether Tom Bunbury is standing second from right or seated front row, third from left.


1859 –1868: Hawtrey’s and Eton


I think this is Tom at about the time that he set off for Hawtrey’s.

I think this is Tom as a boy.

In September 1859, Tom went to Eton College in Berkshire, England. To the bets of my knowledge, he and his firstborn son Billy were the only Bunburys to attend the school. During the 1860s, there were 7,500 boys at boarding school in England, all being groomed to become colonial governors, parliamentary statesmen, senior ecclesiastics and dastardly lawyers. Christianity was of the essence. There was also an eruption of new schools at this time, reinforcing the Class system as a new ‘Middle Class’ evolved.

Tom began his time at Eton in the Rev. J.W. Hawtrey’s house. This was effectively a separate house for younger boys, with Dr Edmund Warre (1837-1920) as his tutor. He subsequently moved into Dr Warre’s house at a time when Warre’s was at the zenith of its success in both scholarship and sport. Tom’s younger brother Jack would join him in Warre’s in September 1865. According to The Times, the McClintock Bunburys and Dr Warre were cousins but I’m none too sure about this. There are several references to Tom in Charles Robert Leslie Fletcher’s biography ‘Edmond Warre, D.D., C.B., C.V.0.: Sometime Headmaster and Provost of Eton,’ a work that I have still not perused as of April 2022.

Dr Warre was a schoolmaster much in the same vein as Thomas Arnold, the man who single-handedly revived public schools when he took over Rugby in 1828. (Public schools had been on the slide since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. For instance, by 1835, Charterhouse was down to 99 pupils). Central to this new era was the notion of team-sport, the idea that people could and should play together, as kindred souls, for a common goal. When you went out to bat, you were part of a team. Prior to this, sport tended to be about boxing, racing and personal achievement – all conducive to gambling. The team spirit – or Muscular Christianity as some call it – ignited across Victorian Britain and Ireland, and spread from Bennetsbridge and Drumcar to the farthest reaches of the empire. Dr Warre certainly subscribed to this point of view. Elected Headmaster in 1884, he retained the post until 1905, so Billy Bunbury would also have known him. After a period of retirement, he was in 1909 appointed provost of Eton in succession to Dr James Hornby although he was incapacitated by ill health during the greater part of his provostship and unable to take any very active part in the government of the school.

Dr Warre was a sports fanatic and a coach of the highest calibre. The high standard of rowing attained by the Eton eights, including Jack and Tom Bunbury, was largely due to his expertise. Rowing was a particularly exclusive sport; nobody who had ever been employed in manual labour was allowed to row! From 1860 to 1884, when Warre became headmaster and passed the coaching baton to S.A. Donaldson, Warre “was practically alone on the towpath” and turned out a succession of eights for Henley starting in 1861. All trained more or less identically and all were, more or less, successful. [1]

I think this is Tom dressed in sporting whites at Eton.

As his brother Jack and son William would later be, Tom was a self-elected member of Pop, aka the Eton Society. Members were entitled to wear checked spongebag trousers, and a waistcoat designed as they wish. They also had the right to furl their umbrellas and sit upon the wall on the Long Walk, in front of the main building. Pop’s less charming side involved their caning sessions, known as ‘Pop-Tanning’, in which ‘a large number of very hard strokes were inflicted by the President of Pop in the presence of all Pop members. The culprit was summoned to appear in a pair of old trousers, as the caning would cut the cloth to shreds and leave the boy’s buttocks bleeding’.

One of Tom’s classmates was the fun-loving and handsome boatsman Bill Farrer, later the Rev William Farrer (d. 1934). (There were seven Farrer’s at Eton in 1874). Tom was apparently rather poor at Latin and used to solicit Bill’s help with his homework. When Dr Warre was elected Provost of Eton forty years later, he received a letter of congratulations from Tom containing what The Times described as ‘verses written in the doggiest of schoolboy Latin’:

‘T. Bunbury.
Nun redit in proprium regnum Caput Ipse Magister,
Tutoremque Bello et Ludentia Prata salutem,
Murus et exclamat ‘Dulce redire Domum’;
Gaudet Etona omnis; Domini puerique juvantur;
Nunc Ursoe redeunt in sua tecta duo.
Please Sir, I hadn’t time to do any more.

Presumably Eton, I am unsure whether Tom Bunbury is standing second from right or seated front row, third from left.

Dr Warre wrote to thank Tom for his kind words. Tom replied that he hadn’t written them at all. It was only when Charles Fletcher’s Life of Warre was published that it was revealed that Bill Farrer was the culprit. [2]

Tom remained at Eton until July 1868.




Captain Bunbury celebrates his 60th birthday.

Leopold McClintock knighted for his services in discovering the fate of the Franklin Expedition.




April 12: Death of Tom’s maternal grandmother, Isabella, Lady Stronge.

July 18: Parliamentary Royal Commission on Public Schools set up by Gladstone, a former Etonian, with the Earl of Clarendon at its head. The brief was to investigate conditions at nine public schools, including Eton, which, at Christmas 1861, were educating ‘2,696 boys, between the extreme ages of eight and nineteen years, the average age being not far short of fifteen.’ Tom and Jack McClintock Bunbury were among the boys at Eton during this time. The aspects being investigated included the syllabus, sports, fagging and flogging. The Royal Commission culminated in the Public Schools Act of 1868. Before 1868, Eton made a big deal of public floggings and canings, reasoning that there was no better way to maintain order. ‘I am all the better for it’, wrote one Etonian, ‘and am therefore one who has been well swished’.

July 25: After 14 years in Parliament, Captain Bunbury, Tom’s father, is forced to retire from Westminster due to ill health. In return for his services, he is offered and accepts the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds. His seat is filled by Dennis Pack-Beresford.

August 22: British royal yacht arrives in Dún Laoghaire carrying Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert for an 8-day visit to Ireland.




Captain and Mrs Bunbury celebrate 20 years of marriage.




Lord Randolph Churchill moves into Tom’s class at Eton.

Denis William Pack-Beresford married Annette Clayton-Browne in Carlow.





November 10: In New Zealand, the McClintock Bunbury’s cousin Minnie Tipping married William Bayly Jones, a ship’s purser from Gloucestershire. Her sister Laura was married on the same day to Arthur James Poole.

December 2: Death of Tom’s grandfather, Sir James Matthew Stronge, aged 80. His uncle succeeds as Sir James Matthew Stronge and is elected MP for Armagh (1864-74). Sir James is a Lieutenant-Colonel with the Royal Tyrone Fusiliers.

A fine photo of Carlow’s cricketing – and gentry – elite with Tom Bunbury up front. (Photo courtesy of Shay Kinsella).

Cricket Pavilion built for Carlow Cricket Club (at Knockbeg?). I believe the cricket club was originally beside St Dympna’s Asylum and that the mental patients built the cricket ground and athletics track as occupational therapy, although I am unsure when this took place. The club was founded circa 1831 by Horace Rochfort.




Tom Conolly, uncle to the future Kate Rathdonnell, tries to run the Charleston blockade in the US Civil War, had his boat shot to smithereens, clambered onto some driftwood, hailed a passing yacht bound for England and jumped ship off the Donegal coast making it back to Donegal Town in the nick of time to secure his seat in that week’s General Election.

July 6: Dundalk CC v County Louth Club, at Drumcar, 11am.

July 10: North of Ireland CC v 16 of Co. Louth Club, Drumcar ground, 11am. 

July 14: Lisrenny CC v Co. Louth Club, at Drumcar, 11am. [3]

September: Jack Bunbury joins Tom at Eton.





I believe this is Captain William McClintock Bunbury, who died in 1866.

March 13-14: At Eton Sports Day, Tom comes third in both Throwing the Hammer (66ft) and the Long Jump (16ft, 11in). Four years later, Jack wins the hammer-throwing with a massive throw of 83ft. 7.5in.[4]

April 23: Death of 49-year-old Robert Westley Hall-Dare whose sons and daughters become friendly with McClintock Bunburys.

June 2: Less than 20 years after the first brick was laid at Lisnavagh, Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury passes away at Lisnavagh in his 66th year. With his death, 16-year-old Tom Bunbury effectively succeeds to Lisnavagh. The captain is buried in the family vault at St. Mary’s in Rathvilly where he would all too soon to be joined by his two daughters. In his will, he instructs his brothers, George Augustus Jocelyn McClintock, Robert Le Poer McClintock, Henry Stanley McClintock and John McClintock (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell) that all life tenants and tenants in tail:

“… shall take and from thenceforth use the surname of Bunbury only and no other name in addition to his or her or their Christian names and shall bear the arms of Bunbury quartered with his, her or their own family arms“.

He bequeathed to his widow and sole executor of his will, £3000 and “the use of my mansion house and demesne at Lisnevagh together with the use of all my pictures, plates, china, linen, glass, furniture, horses, carriages, harness, saddles, bridles, farming stock and implements of husbandry” until each of his children was 21 after which they would also be entitled to such usage. He also provided £14,000 for his two younger children, Jack and Isabella, and a further £300 pa up until their 21st birthday “for or towards their advancement in the world“. John Calvert Stronge and Thomas Vessey Nugent were his trustees.

Rather tragically the Captain never got to see quite how good an oarsman his son and heir had become. Tom was second in both Eton’s sculling and pulling (pairs) competition in 1866. The following year, he won both the ‘pulling’ and the Ladies Plate at Henley. As Nicholas Tinne put it, ‘the fact that he was in Warre’s house probably helped, as he was the best coach at that time, and coached JC Tinne in the Oxford four which beat Harvard over the boatrace course on the Tideway in 1869.’ Of the twenty-eight medals awarded for fours and eights at Henley, twenty-seven went to nineteen Etonians, seventeen of whom had been or were then students of Warre.

Tom also played on Dr Warre’s soccer team in their cup match against Evan’s on the last day of the school year. One contemporary stated that ‘Warre’s owed their success in a great measure to the play of Bunbury, who never missed a kick‘. Also on that team was Walter Calvert (‘who, though Flying-man, kept very much on the defensive, and was always in the way‘) and Bill Farrer (‘who played with equal certainty as long-long and short-behind‘. [5]

June 15: County Louth CC – Married v Single – at Drumcar ground, 10:30am. [6]

June 23: (Sat) Co. Louth v 9th Lancers at Drumcar.

July 13-14: Co Louth CC v NICC at Drumcar.

July 28-August 1: Na Shuler v 16 of Co. Louth at Drumcar, 10:30am.

September 26: Daily Telegraph claims John McClintock is likely to become a new peer and would ‘probably assume the title of Baron Drumcar‘. [7]

November 18: Tom’s uncle, John McClintock (later Baron Rathdonnell) is appointed Lieutenant of the town of Drogheda (18th Nov) and a Colonel in the Louth Militia (until his death).

November: A substantial piece on the Incredible Arthur MacMurrough Kanavagh, the new MP for Carlow, appears in the press, applauding him as a remarkable man. [8]




It is my belief that this painting at Lisnavagh depicts Tom Bunbury’s sisters, Bella and Helen. Sadly both girls were to have short lives, passing away within a few years of their father.

February 13: Abortive Fenian raid on Chester Castle.

Feb: Diamond Rush in South Africa after 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs finds a transparent rock on his father’s farm in December 1866. Over the next few years, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India had in over 2,000 years. The find is at Kimberley on the joint borders of the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and the Cape Colony. So Kimberley was central to the whole thing for over thirty years before Tom’s son Billy Bunbury died there in 1900.

Feb 23: Death in Edgeworthstown of nine-year-old Isola Francesca Emily Wilde, younger sister of Oscar Wilde who said she lit up their lives like “a golden ray of sunshine dancing about our home.” She is buried in St John’s Graveyard. Oscar wrote the poem “Requiesvat” in her memory and carried a lock of her hair with him until he died. Given the death of Tom and Jack’s sister Helen a few years earlier, and of Isabella, aged 21, ten weeks after Isola, I feel the poem must have resonated with them.

March 6: Fenian Rising in Ireland. Rescue of Kelly from police van in Manchester.

March 16: ‘THE LISNEVAGH ESTATES. We understand that William Johnson, Esq., Prumplestown House, has been appointed Agent over the extensive estates of the late Captain W. B. McClintock Bunbury.’ (Carlow Post, Saturday 16 March 1867)

March 23: Six members of the Mulhall family killed by an avalanche of snow at Askanagap, visible from Lisnavagh.

May 11: Death at Lisnavagh of Tom’s sister Bella (Isabella McClintock Bunbury) aged 21. She is buried alongside her father in the family vault at St. Mary’s Church in Rathvilly. [9]

June 5: At a Levee held by the Prince of Wales, Lord Naas presents Tom’s uncle John, aka ‘Colonel McClintock of Drumcar’, the newly appointed Lord Lieutenant of County Louth and Colonel of the Louth Militia. Lord Naas would become the Earl of Mayo and was Viceroy of India prior to his assassination. At the same event, the Earl of Derby presented Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, MP, who had just been created a baronet. [10]

June 28: Death of 19-year-old Digby Mackworth Dolben (1848–1867), poet and former Eton classmate of Tom.

Summer: Tom, rowing with the Eton Eight, wins both the Eton pulling (pairs) and, rowing at ‘6’ at 10 stone 1 pound, wins the 1867 Ladies plate at Henley. In an article from November 1934, Tom was described in The Times as ‘almost the only stroke of a winning Ladies Plate crew who weighed less than 10 stone’. Meanwhile, his brother Jack was Captain of Lower Boats in 1867.

August 15: The Reform Act significantly widens the suffrage and disenfranchises more smaller boroughs.

Aug 16: Death aged 40 of Ulick de Burgh, Lord Dunkillen, MP for Galway and former Military Secretary to his uncle, Lord Canning, Viceroy of India. His statue by Foley was erected in Eyre Square, Galway, in 1873, and later toppled.

Nov 15: Death of 19-year-old Lady Geraldine FitzGerald, firstborn daughter of the 5th Duke of Leinster and an exact contemporary of Tom Bunbury. Did he ever dance with her, I wonder?

Nov 18: Tom’s uncle John McClintock, later Lord Rathdonnell, returned as HM Lord Lieutenant for both Louth and Drogheda.

Nov 18: Marriage of Lady Frances Fitzwilliam, eldest daughter of 6th Earl Fitzwilliam and sister to Viscount Milton, and Charles Mervyn Doyne. They move to Wells House, County Wexford, a house designed by Lisnavagh’s architect Daniel Robertson. Lady Frances was born and raised at Wentworth. The Doynes would have 5 children.

Nov 22: Execution of the ‘Manchester Martyrs’ Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien.

Dec 14: A bomb was planted at London’s Clerkenwell gaol in an attempt to free Irish Fenian prisoners, notably Richard Burke. This ‘infernal machine’ killed 12 and injured over 120. It also soured pro-Irish sentiments in London. Karl Marx, a strong supporter of the Irish cause, despaired of this counterproductive turn towards terrorism: ‘The London masses, who have shown great sympathy towards Ireland, would be made wild and driven into the arms of a reactionary government. One cannot expect the London proletarians to allow themselves to be blown up in honour of Fenian emissaries.’

Tom’s housemaster, Dr Edmond Warre, became a deacon and priest in 1867. J.J. Hornby became headmaster in 1867 and Warre loyally supported him for the next seventeen years.




Kitchen Lawn view of Lisnavagh in Victorian Age

The song of choice for young men like Tom and Jack Bunbury in the late 1860s may well have been “Champagne Charlie”, a music hall song composed by Alfred Lee with lyrics by George Leybourne. It premièred in August 1866 at the Princess’ Concert Hall in Leeds. Leybourne caused some controversy when he appeared in a cut down top hat, similar to a style worn by the murderer Franz Muller. According to Wikipedia: “Leybourne’s rival Alfred Vance introduced a number called “Cliquot”, starting a fierce competition between the two men. Enthusiasm for the song was increased with its use in November 1866 in the new “Operatic Burlesque” called “The Latest Edition of Black-Eyed Susan”, or “The Little Bill that was Taken Up”. The song was sung by the crowd at the public execution of Michael Barrett in 1868, the last public execution in Great Britain.”

February: The greyhound Master McGrath, owned by Lord Lurgan of the Brownlow family, becomes the first Irish dog to win the Waterloo Cup in 1868, taking it again in 1869 and 1871.

February 27 – December 1: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Benjamin Disraeli is in office as Prime Minister. During this time, he tries to establish a National University for Catholics in Ireland but when Cardinal Manning withdraws his support, the perpetually bankrupt Dizzy retired and went off to write his first and best novel in quarter of a century.

March 12: Henry James O’Farrell attempts to assassinate the Duke of Edinburgh near Sydney, prompting widespread condemnation of the Irish and Fenianism in Australia.

April 21: John Henry Foley’s statue of Edmund Burke outside Trinity College, is unveiled from its green baize coating by the future king Edward VII (then Prince of Wales). The great orator stands tall, determined and eloquent, clad in gentlemanly clothing and sporting a fashionable Georgian braid. Foley based it on portraits of Burke by Sir Joshua Reynolds and John Opie, and a death mask.

May: ‘THAT CELEBRATED IRISH-BRED HORSE, YOUNG SIR HENRY, The Property of JAMES MAHON, ARDNEHUE, COUNTY CARLOW, Will be let to a limited number of Mares this season, 1868.  … YOUNG SIR HENRY was got Sir Harry; Sir Harry was bred Captoin Bunbury, of Lisnevagh, and was the former property of Mr. Hanbidge, of Barton Hall. Sir Harry was got by Clyde, the property of Mr. W. Griffin. Sir Harry’s dam, a harness mare, the property of Sir Clement Wolseley; her sire was Sir Harry, and the sire of Sir Harry was Mistake.’ Carlow Post – Saturday 09 May 1868, p. 1.

May 19: Death of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, the richest man in Ireland.

Tom Bunbury’s trunk from his time in the Scots Greys, pictured in 2024 in the Lisnavagh cellars and stuffed with things I’ll likely never get a chance to read!

July: Tom captains the Eton boats to a second consecutive victory in the Ladies’ Plate. He also plays in Oppidian Wall and Mixed Wall and in Field XI. He obtains his place on the Eton Eleven in 1868 and leaves the school in July, upon which he receives a commission in the Scots Greys. His brother Jack strokes Eton in the winning Ladies’ crews at 10 stone 11 pounds. The ’68 crew set a record time of 7 minutes 18 seconds.

July 28-30: The first annual Dublin Horse Show was held and organised by the Royal Dublin Society on the lawns of Leinster House. It includes the first known instance of competitive show-jumping, on Leinster Lawn. [11] The event started as a show of led-horses and featured ‘leaping’ demonstrations, as well as classes for mules and asses. The RDS Council granted £100 out of the Society’s funds to be awarded in prizes. The first prize for the Stone Wall competition (6ft) in 1868 was won by Richard Flynn on the hunter, Shane Rhue, which was sold for £1,000 later that day.

July 31. Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the Public Schools Act 1868. Natural sciences are no longer to be included on the syllabus as they are apparently of little value; Latin bounces back in the new age of Honour, Truth and the ‘noble game’ of cricket.

August 17: A faculty for alterations in Drumcar church was granted, and the chancel was also added. The parish was largely endowed by the John McClintock (later first Lord Rathdonnell), who was awarded the right of presentation after disestablishment.

Tom’s uncle John McClintock was created Baron Rathdonnell in 1868. For his story, see here.

August 26: Tom’s uncle John McClintock celebrates his 70th birthday.

December 10: W. E. Gladstone becomes British Prime Minister at the head of a Liberal government. Many consider Gladstone a kindly man, deeply conscious of the land problem in Ireland. I’d almost certainly have voted for him if I’d been around in the 1860s. However, I’ve been told that Tom’s grandfather Sir James Stronge thought so little of Gladstone that he had his white-headed skull etched on the bottom of his favourite lavatory at Tynan. Gladstone’s triumph brought the Peelite-Liberal coalition to power.

Dec 18: John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, commences his first term as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, until 1874.

December 19: On the evening of Saturday, December 19, 1868, the Nenagh Guardian informed its readers: ‘The Queen’s letter has been received at Dublin Castle, authorising the issue of a letter [patent?] creating Colonel McClintock of Drumcar, Peer of the Realm as Lord Rathdonnell of Rathdonnell, in the county Donegal. Her Majesty has been pleased to direct a special limitation of the Peerage to the male children of Colonel McClintock’s late brother, Captain W. B. McClintock Bunbury, formerly MP for county of Carlow, Colonel McClintock having no son.’

December 21: Tom’s uncle John McClintock was finally given the peerage he desired and created Baron Rathdonnell in the Peerage of Ireland ‘in recognition of his services to the Protestant and Conservative causes’. (Webster) Having the elderly and much respected Field Marshall Lord Gough as his cousin, not to mention the Earl of Clancarty, can only have boosted his chances. Also, Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was appointed naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria during 1868 while John McClintock and his wife Anne met the Prince and Princess of Wales when they came across for the Punchestown Races that same year. John’s official title was Baron Rathdonnell of Rathdonnell, Co. Donegal, recalling the old ringfort of Rathdonnell in Trentagh, Co. Donegal, which was one of the first McClintock properties in Ireland. Given that the new Lord Rathdonnell had no son, ‘the title conferred on this wide-spread and well-connected family will not become extinct, as there is a special remainder to the sons of his late brother‘, Captain William B McClintock Bunbury, RN, MP, the eldest of whom was Tom.


1869 (aged 21)


January 21: Carlow and Island Hunt meet at Lisnevagh [sic]. [12]

February 2: Bagenalstown Races takes place on Michael Lyons estate at Fenniscourt, County Carlow.

February 4: Sir Charles Slingsby, Bart, heir to the Knaresborough and Scriven estates in Yorkshire, and Edward Lloyd of Lingcroft Lodge near York, were among six men drowned at Newby Ferry, near Boroughbridge, in a catastrophe that the York Herald deemed ‘probably without parallel in the annals of the hunting-field.’ The York and Ainsty Hunt had reached the banks of the River Ure which was swollen after heavy rain, and boarded the ferry but a horse panicked and tipped the boat over. The other drowned men were James Warriner, the gardener of Newby Hall, and his son Christopher Warriner, Edmund Robinson of Thorpe Green and William Orvys, the kennel huntsman.

March 13 (Friday the Thirteenth): In the College Athletic Sports, Tom comes 2nd in the High Jump with a leap of 5ft 3. (The winner was WH Leak, 5 ft 1). According to Routledge’s ‘Every Boy’s Annual’ (1869), “The other events upon the card were equally well contested and the afternoon’s proceedings were brought to a most successful and satisfactory conclusion thanks to the admirable arrangements made by McClintock Bunbury, the captain of the boats, who had the management.”

March 18: Tom’s uncle – erroneously referred to as “Viscount Rathdonnell” – was one of a hundred nobles and “upwards of a thousand Deputy Lieutenants, magistrates and country gentlemen” with Irish connections who signed a letter to The Times protesting against the proposed disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. Having attended a meeting of the Diocesan Council of Armagh, presided over by the Lord Primate, he was subsequently among those elected to represent the laity.

April 6: Death of Sir Edward Cunard, the New York shipping magnate, whose son  Bache Cunard was one of Tom’s friends (certainly in later life). [13]

June 10: Lord Rathdonnell attends another debate on the future of the Church, presided over by the Duke of Rutland. The issue was discussed over a lunch in Willis’s Rooms, London, given by the supporters of the United Church of England and Ireland.

Summer: Foot and mouth disease reappears in Ireland for first time since 1839. Conveyed into Counties Antrim and Down via Southampton and the Channel Islands, it had spread to Co Cork and Waterford by November.

July: Jack Bunbury again strokes Eton in the winning Ladies’ Crews at 10 stone 11 pounds. He also strokes Eton’s Grand Crew, which lost in a heat to the final winners by ¾ of a length.

July 26: Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland, a major coup for Gladstone.

I’m pretty sure these photos depict Tom. Is that the Scots Greys uniform, or the 12th Royal Lancers perhaps!?

July 28: Tom secures a commission with the Inniskillings (aka the 6th Regiment of the 6th Dragoons). It would seem the regiment was then alternating between the garrison towns of Cahir, Longford, Dundalk, Newbridge and Dublin – with short stints at York, Brighton and Manchester. The regiments’ colonel at the time Tom joined was Lt-Gen. Lewis Duncan Williams. Williams retained the post until 1 August 1874 when succeeded by Gen. Sir Henry Dalrymple White, KCB.

Summer: Sir Joseph Neale McKenna and his co-directors sacked from National Bank of Ireland, leaving debts of nearly £400,000.

September: Lord Rathdonnell again amongst the more prominent attendees at crisis talks hosted in Dublin’s Molesworth Hall.

October 9: Tom transferred from 6th Dragoon Guards to become a Cornet in 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys). [14] Perhaps this transfer was connected to his maternal cousin, General Sir John Bloomfield Gough, who had been Colonel of the Scots Greys since 1864. Sir John was a grandson of George and Letitia (nee Bunbury) Gough, second son of the Very. Rev. Thomas Gough, Dean of Derry, and nephew of Hugh, 1st Viscount Gough. [15] Sir John died on 22 September 1891, leaving three sons, all serving in the army. Another son fell at the battle of Abu Klea in 1885.

November 14: Death at Bangalore of Captain Walter Philip Bagenal of Benekerry, 16th Lancers, aged 28. His younger brother James Philip Bagenal had died at Allahabad just five months earlier. Their younger brother, 22-year-old Beauchamp Frederick Bagenal – who had served in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868 and as a volunteer under Garibaldi – thus succeeded to Benekerry.




This photo almost certainly shows Tom on parade with the Scots Greys during his time with the regiment between 1868 and 1874. It is believed to have been taken at the Curragh.
In October 2012, Major Robin W.B. Maclean of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum in Edinburgh advised me this photograph (and one similar) is rare and interesting because they have so few of that period. His interpretation of the photograph is as follows.
‘It looks like a routine daily parade, probably for Guard Mounting (front rank) and general duties (back rank.) The front rank is in Full Dress because it is about to go on guard and would be based in the guard room at the entrance to the barracks (usually) . The back rank will be those who are doing general duties that night. I can only guess what general duties were in 1870 but looking after the horses in the stables would be one of them.
The Guard probably consists of a sergeant (in front holding sword). It looks like a duty trumpeter on the far right. There should be a Corporal and a Lance Corporal. The others will be troopers.
The back rank would need detailed knowledge to interpret. I do not have this knowledge but a regiment’s worth of horses must require quite a senior NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) to take charge of the stables at night with a number of grooms to help. I see they are holding what looks like riding crops in their hands. Perhaps the cookhouse also had duties in those days.’
With thanks to Susi Burton Allen and Shane Bizgood for pointing me in the right direction.


Feb 17: “Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Buswell’s family hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin, from Drumcar, County of Louth.’ [16]

Feb 28: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

March 17: Jack Bunbury wins throwing the hammer at Eton sports day with a distance of 83ft 7.5inches. [17]

April 6: The Nenagh Guardian states that Tom and Jack’s uncle Lord Rathdonnell, as Lord Lieutenant of Co. Louth, will succeed the late lamented Earl of Roden in the office of Custos Rotulourm of that county.

April 7: Death in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) of Tom and Jack’s’s 16-year-old sister, Helen McClintock Bunbury. [18] She is buried alongside their father and sister in the family vault at St. Mary’s in Rathvilly.

April 20: Tom, then serving with 12th Royal Lancers, is initiated into Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Ireland.

May 5: Tom’s uncle, the Baron Rathdonnell, formally appointed Custos Rotorum for Co. Louth.

May 19: Home Rule Association launched by Isaac Butt; six Fenians are among the 61 people who attend the opening meeting at Bilton’s Hotel, Dublin. It became the Home Rule League in 1873.

May 30: Tom’s step-grandmother Lady Elizabeth McClintock celebrates her 90th birthday.

June 9: Death of Charles Dickens aged 58; buried in Westminster.

July: Jack Bunbury leaves Eton.

July 5: Beauchamp Frederick Bagenal marries Ethel Constance Mary Hall-Dare, whose brother Robert was High Sheriff for Co. Carlow in 1868.

July 16Franco-Prussian War.

The French parliament declares war on the German kingdom of Prussia. The origin of the conflict run back to 1868 when the Spanish deposed Queen Isabella II and began hunting for a new monarch. Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian chancellor, then engineered for Leopold Hohenzollern of Prussia to take the Spanish throne, allegedly on the basis that this would incite France to declare war. Sure enough, the concept of German monarchs to France’s east and south infuriated Napoleon III and the French people so much that Leopold was persuaded to give up his claim, in part by his own father who predicted revolution and bloodshed if Leopold became king. Bismarck avoided utter humiliation by shrewdly tampering with a letter from the Prussian king Wilhelm to Napoleon III in response to demands from the French ambassador that Prussia withdraw its interests in Spain. The Ems Dispatch had the desired effect as Napoleon III, desperate for popularity, and the French people, equally desperate to boost their national sense of identity, began baying for war. It was Prussia’s war from the outset – their battle-hardened troops, superior artillery and innovative commanders enabled a blitzkrieg like annihilation of the French forces. Napoleon III was also contending with pure Prussian efficiency, exemplified by the use of the railroads to bring more troops to the front lines.

The Prussians effectively smashed the French in six weeks, even if the rest of the war dragged out for nine months. That inspired the Germans belief in a quick war, even if it needed to be brutal, as exemplified by their invasion of Belgium in 1914. The junior officers of 1870 were to become the German generals of the Great War. In a nutshell, the Germans managed to lock up a huge chunk of the French Army of the Rhine, 80,000 men, in a fortress at Metz. Emperor Napoleon III went to the rescue with his 130,000-string second army, the Army of Châlons, only to be completely surrounded by the Prussians under von Moltke at Sedan, who force him and his army to surrender, and thus the first army also has to surrender. It’s a knockout.

As of 2022, they still run metal detectors over the trees in the Voges of Alsace before they chainsaw them because the woods are still full of shrapnel from two world wars as well as the Franco-Prussian one. Chainsaw insurance is consequently much higher in the region. [19]

August 1: Queen Victoria gives Royal assent to Gladstone’s Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act – the first attempt by the British government to address the Irish land question. ‘Ulster Custom’ (tenants receiving interest or compensation for improvements they made to their holdings) was made law. The Act also intends to protect tenants from being evicted. This proved ineffective but it did indicate that the Liberals were genuinely interested in land reform.

August 2: In light of the Franco-Prussian War, the British Parliament approves monies for the recruitment of 20,000 additional troops. Edward Cardwell, the Secretary of State, commences a massive overhaul of the British army, centralizing the power of the War Office and abolishing the system of purchasing officers’ commissions. Cardwell also divides Great Britain and Ireland into 66 regimental districts, thus “territorializing” the infantry as each regiment became associated with a particular county. There were to be two battalions per regiment, with one battalion serving overseas and the other garrisoned at home for training.

August 6: Battle of Worth reshapes the European war as a Franco-German war when the 140,000 Germans included not just Prussians but also Bavarians, Saxons and men from states such as Baden and Wurttemburg.

August 15-16: Battle of Mars-La-Tour results in a major victory for the 2nd Prussian Army as the French army of the Rhine is forced to retreat into the fortress at Metz. The turning point came when Von Bredow led the Prussain 7th Cuirassiers cavalry on its infamous ‘Death Ride’, hailed as perhaps the last successful cavalry charge in European warfare. Of the 800 horsemen who started out, only 420 returned – Herbert von Bismarck, eldest son of Otto, being amongst the wounded – but it had the desired effect of causing the French to flee. The worst implication was that cavalry remained a major part of the commanding and planning mindset right through into the Great War.

August 16-19: The RDS host the newly named ‘National Horse Show’, which is merged with the Society’s Annual Sheep Show.

August 19-30: The Siege of Metz commences when the French Army are besieged by 150,000 Prussian troops. Napoleon III marches to relieve it with a ragtag army of 120,000 men. Napoleon then camped his men in Sedan in the hope he could start over, but the Prussians already knew Sedan and the surrounding landscape so well that they had the French Emperor trapped in the last days of August 1870 while the Prussians lined up their six-pounder canons.

August 27: Launch of the Oceanic, a liner built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff for the White Star Line.

September 1: The Battle of Sedan was effectively a case of the French repeatedly and courageously trying to escape from the fortress at Sedan and being hammered back in by the Prussians. With over 17,000 men dead or wounded, Napoleon was obliged to surrender on 2 September.

Sept 1: Isaac Butt founds the Home Government Association, with Home Rule as its principal objective.

October 12: Marriage of Sir Leopold McClintock and Annette Elizabeth, second daughter of R. Foster Dunlop, of Monasterboice House, County Louth, by Anna, his wife, sister of Viscount Massereene and Ferrard.

October 24: 19-year-old Jack McClintock Bunbury successfully matriculates from Brasenose College, Oxford.

October 26-27: Carlow Races and Steeplechase at Ballybar. ‘Thomas McClintock Bunbury, Esq., Scots Greys’ is among 16 men named as Steward, along with the usual array of Kavanagh, Butler, Wolseley, Rochfort, Duckett, Eustace, Watson and Pack Beresford. It is notable that ‘William Johnson’ was the Treasurer; was he the same William Johnson who was involved with the Bunbury family?

October 27: The French army under siege at Metz are compelled to surrender to the Prussians as the Franco-Prussian War draws to a close; Friedrich Nietzsche is amongst the medical attendants serving on the Prussian side.

Lord Rathdonnell makes an important antiquarian discovery at Drumcar in the shape of Prince Tomar’s Sword.

Tom purchases “Germaines” as a house for the estate agent, I believe.

In 1870, there were three schools in the Rathvilly parish – one at Lisnavagh superintended by Rev S Quintin which seems to have been mixed, and the other two at Bough (one girls, one boys) superintended by the Rev T.D. Hume (and S. Quintin). [20]

Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.




The Oxford rowing crew in 1871, including Jack.

A further outbreak of Foot and mouth disease, with calves imported from Bristol via Dublin to Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath. It continued to persist until 1877.

January: Chichester Fortescue, a political rival of Lord Rathdonnell, becomes President of the Board of Trade, while Lord Harrington succeeds as Chief Secretary of Ireland.

January 18: King Wilhelm of Prussia is proclaimed Emperor of the new German Empire at the Hall of Mirrors in Paris. The “Superpower” of Germany was effectively created when a bundle of states agreed to back the Prussian king and the Prussian military model, immediately uniting the most populous state in Europe with the most industry and the most land. It may not have had any colonies, but this was very much a new kid on the block that Britain, France and Russia needed to pay very close attention to; Portugal and the Netherlands was suddenly starting to look very small indeed.

January 28: Paris finally surrenders as the Germans march into the French capital; anarchy erupts across France as the Paris Commune seize power and hold it until bloodily suppressed by the regular French army at the end of May 1871.

Feb 26: Treaty of Versailles ends Franco-Prussian War and unites Germany at last under the King of Prussia.

March 3: The Rathdonnells, Tom’s aunt and uncle, were, along with the Lord Chancellor, the foremost guests at a dinner party at the Vice-Regal Court with Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, and his wife. [21]

March 11: The death of the Marquis of Westmeath creates a vacancy in the Irish Representative Peerage which, according to the Mail, was likely to be filled with the election of Lord Rathdonnell. But he did not get the seat.

March 18: Following the surrender of Paris, power was seized by the Paris Commune, a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled the city until 28 May 1871, passing various welfare laws, as well as a law separating the church and state. This prompted a second siege of Paris in a year except this time it was organised by the National Government in Versailles, while the Germans happily released thousands of French soldiers from gaol to send them in to brutally crush the commune. (Lenin’s corpse was wrapped in a Communards flag for burial.)

April 2: A census on this date showed the population of Ireland to be 5,412,377; only 285 Jews are recorded in the census.

April 12: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

May 10: The Treaty of Frankfurt cedes most of Alsace and some of Lorraine to the new German Empire.

May 28: Collapse of the Paris Commune, with thousands killed.

This could be Tom and / or Jack being theatrical in a play called ‘Ticklish Times.’

May 31: Tom Bunbury commissioned as a Lieutenant by purchase in the Royal Scots Greys, with whom he remains for just short of three more years. He is stationed at Plymouth & Dartmoor. He appears to have been living at Lisnavagh at this time. One Tuesday night, when Tom was a Lieutenant, the Scots Grey’s Glee Club convened at the No. 29 Troop Room for an evening of music and readings. Tom’s reading of a work called ‘The Happy Man‘ is said to have ‘created roars of laughter‘.

An unacknowledged newspaper account explains, ‘Pat Murphy, the hero of the piece, deserts from his regiment in India and is introduced to the audience in the act of washing his shirt, or rather a shirt-front, which Pat simply wears for the ‘honour of the service’. Whilst engaged at this he discovers a number of blacks carrying a palaquin, with a princess inside, and a large tiger in pursuit. The men drop the palaquin and seek to save themselves, when Pat shoots the tiger and makes love to the princess, and asks her to become Mrs Murphy. Lieutenant Bunbury described Pat’s love scene in a most humorous manner, but when he proceeded to refresh the imaginary Princess with endless rolls of sausages and a large bottle of whiskey produced from the inside of a drum, the laughter was uncontrollable‘.

The piece came between a comic song by Private Fraser called ‘Cliquot – Lutzow’s Wild Chase‘ and another song by Troop -Sergeant Major Masterton called ‘The Horn of Chase‘. One of the highlights was ‘Teatotal Society‘ sung by Private Boyle. ‘God Save the Queen‘ brought the very pleasant evening to a close.

As well as Lieutenant Bunbury, the attendees included Colonel Nugent, Surgeon-Major Stoney, Captain Hozier (the Brigade Major), Captain Farquhar, Captain Donnithorne, Lieutenant Scott, Lieutenant Wilson (adjt) and Quarter Master Liddle. A footnote explained that the regiment was being exercised daily that week, from 9 – 11am, in out-post duty and scouting under the command of Colonel A Nugent. On Tuesday the regiment was exercised in reconnoitring duty under the command of Captain Hozier. [22]

Another of the ditties they might have sung was this rousing song by a Mr Maclagan:

Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
For the days o’ auld langsyne!
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
How bright the hero’s brand,
When it flames on high in Freedom’s cause,
Or falls for Fatherland!

Lo! The gallant Greys are charging.
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
Have ye seen the thunder cloud
Burst its bands of winter terror
When will tempests round it crowd!

So they rent the ring around them,
So they flash’d upon the day!
So the mighty hosts were scattered,
So the monster crowds gave way!

Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
Scotland waves her bonnet blue!
Dreams of glory start before her,
Alma heights and Waterloo!

Crown each warrior’s brow with bays!
Scotland still can trust her honour
To her sons, the gallant Greys”
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging.

Summer: At Oxford, Jack was stroke for the Oxford Crew during the Three Universities Boat-Race of 1871. He was ‘7’ in the losing Boat Race crew, won the Oxford University Sculls, lost in the first round of the Diamonds but won the Grand, rowing at ‘4’ for Oxford Etonians. A picture of the Oxford Crew, including Jack, appears in The Illustrated London News Vol 58 (1871). His fellow crew members were E. Giles, S.H. Woodhouse (bow), T.S. Baker, E.C. Malan, F.H. Hall (cox), J.E. Edwards-Moss, F.E.H. Payne and R. Lesley. While at Eton, Jack won the coveted Ladies Plate at Henley.

November: The Rev Ralph Wilde, Church of Ireland Rector at Drumsnat, County Monaghan, permits his nieces Emily and Mary Wylie [aka Wilde] – sisters of Oscar Wilde – to attend a party hosted by Andrew Reid of Drumaconnor House near Smithboro with disastrous consequences when they were both tragically killed by fire. The girls were the illegitimate daughters of Sir William Wilde. It is not known how the Bunburys reacted to the tragedy but it is to be noted that Colonel Kane Bunbury owned the land at Drumsnat while his granddaughter was friendly with the Wilde girls’ brother Willie. Redmond Kane, Tom Rathdonnell’s ancestor, secured the lands and lake of Drumsnat [Drumsnaught] from the Bishop of Clogher in 1760.

December: Bertie, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, nearly dies of enteric fever.

December 30: Having graduated from Oxford, Tom’s brother Jack enlists as a Sub-Lieutenant with 2nd Dragoons.

A project to bring railway to Baltinglass winds up unsuccessfully in 1871. The railway will not arrive until 1885.




A portrait of Tom Bunbury (2nd Baron Rathdonnell) as a young man.

The Lisnavagh Archives (L/3/6) contain an original bundle of bills from 1872-74, submitted to Colonel Kane Bunbury, by Messrs McCurdy & Mitchell, the architects of the wings added to Oak Park, Co. Carlow. These were to pay for Mr Corrigan’s house on the estate of Colonel Kane Bunbury‘, as well as for work on the Rathvilly cottages, Rathvilly glebe-house, Rathvilly police barracks, etc, and repairs to the roof of Lisnavagh. So did Colonel Bunbury pay for the construction of all those houses? And were those cottages the ones on Phelan Row, which we thought were built by a housing trust?

Sir Leopold McClintock begins five-year run as Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard. This was a time of relative peace, as the British Empire continued to expand and the age of New Imperialism begins.

February 3: ‘Died Saturday, in her 68th year, Mrs Alice Hanlon, of Fairy Lawn. She was a member an old and respectable Catholic family, who took a prominent part in the political struggles of the County Carlow, and by their heroic devotion to the cause of civil and religious liberty, lost many a broad acre in that memorable contest. The stately mansion of Lisnavah [sic] stands on the site of the home of the Germaines. During a long and useful life Mrs Hanlon possessed the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends, and in the sad season of famine her efforts to relieve the sufferings of the poor were generous beyond her means, and secured her their abiding gratitude. She bore with saintlike patience the sufferings of her last illness, and perfectly resigned to God’s holy will, calmly awaited, in the fullness of Christian hope, the summons, we trust, to a happy eternity.’ [23]

Feb 8: Captain John Philip Nolan, a supporter of home rule and tenant rights, defeats Conservative William Le Poer Trench in a Co Galway by-election.

February 14: On Valentine’s Day 1872, a woman, possibly Kate Bruen, sent Tom a note that read:

Can I ever forget the delight of that day
When the bright shawl was won by the gallant Scots Grey?
I blushed like a “Rose” and my heart gave a sigh,
As I caught the bright flash of his deep “Vi’let” eye,
My “Heartsease” it fled, when I saw the Hussar,
Who stole my poor heart at the Carlow Bazaar!!!

6th Earl of Mayo

But then there is a rather confusing Valentine message, date and author unknown.

Tommy Bun!
Tommy Bun!
Oh! That you and I were one!
Say but “yes”
And I will bless
The happy visit at C-_rt_n!

Tommy Bun
Tommy Bun
You can play Leap Frog and run,
But can you shine,
My Valentine,
And let me be your own G_rd_n!

What is confusing about this is the double heart with the arrow through it at the base of the ditty. One heart is initialled ‘T.B.’ but the other is ‘J.G’ so who was that?! I would imagine that ‘C_rt_n’ was Carton House in Co. Kildare, ancestral seat of the Dukes of Leinster, but ‘J.G.’ is harder to figure out.

February 8: Assassination in the Andaman Islands of the 49-year-old Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India, formerly Master of the Kildare Hunt. He had presented Tom’s uncle John McClintock to the Prince of Wales five years earlier.

April 2: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

August 28: The first horse drawn tram cars enter service in Belfast.

Winter: An attempted assassination of five-foot high Queen Victoria by a Republican is thwarted by John Brown.

December 3:  The Limerick Chronicle reports that the new Representative Peer, in the room of the late Lord Clarina, will be either Lord Rathdonnell or Lord Crofton. [24]

Gowran Grange at Punchestown is completed by the 4th Baron de Robeck. He names his new gabled Tudor Revival house in deference to the Barony of Gowran which his Fitzpatrick ancestors once held. The house was designed by John McCurdy and based on those of Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon.




The Select Committee on Contagious Diseases XI concludes that attempts to control Foot & Mouth Disease in Ireland and Great Britain have been unsuccessful. They recommend a prohibition on the sale of diseased animals in public places and the carriage of infected animals by rail. They also urge the Privy Council to cease issuing orders for the control of the disease.

January 9: Death of Napoleon III, the fallen French emperor, who was still haunted by what happened to him at the Sedan in 1870.

Feb 18: Tom rides out for a meeting of the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds at Castlemilk, near Glasgow. A man who wrote under the pen-name of Stringhalt penned an account that appeared in the Glasgow Herald four days later. The scarlet sportsmen met at Castlemilk ‘where Captain Stuart dispensed his usual hospitality; after which a move was made to Netherton braes, where they found at once‘. The fox escaped but was eventually ‘run to ground in a drain quite close to Old Frams house at Calderwood’.  ‘Stringhalt’ went on to ‘condemn that dreadful system of man-traps, namely running wire through a hedge which is hardly visible, until you are made aware of the fact by a frightful “cropper”. He goes on to say: ‘Captain Bunbury, Scots Greys, who went well, did a thing I have read about but never heard authenticated. At one of the wire fences he got off, laid his red coat over the wire and then led his horse over’. Tom had been among the first up when the fox went to ground, along with Messrs. Durham Kippen, Peter Whyte, John Reid yr of Gallowflat, A. Chalmers, Geo. Kidston and Mr Stuart yr. (Stringhalt, ‘Runs With the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Fox-Hounds’ (1873), p. 57).

Regarding Tom’s laying the red coat over the wire before he led his horse over, my mother remarks: ‘How gentlemanly….hope he left it there for some others to cross!’ My father adds: ‘Sounds more like what you do to an electric fence – and also shows how tough those hunting coats were!’

March 12: Prime Minister Gladstone’s Irish University Bill was defeated. He wanted to expand Trinity College in Dublin to incorporate several universities around Ireland.

March 29: Julian Sturgis (1848–1904), the librettist and a former school pal of Tom’s from Eton becomes the first American to win an FA Cup Final when he helps Wanderers F.C. triumph.

April 15: Tom presumably had a keen eye on a horse by name of Scots Grey who came second behind Torrent in the Irish Grand National having earlier bolted into the betting ring scattering the bookies. Scots Grey won the race in 1872 and 1875. Under Garrett Moore, he also finished 11th in the 1872 Aintree Grand National.

April 30: Tom begins a diary about his time with the Scots Greys, which we have at Lisnavagh. He starts off at Hamilton on a march to Aldershot and concludes at High Wycombe on 5 June. Later that same year, the Greys served in the Anglo-Ashanti War in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) under General Garnet Wolseley (of the Tullow, Co. Carlow family). He arrived in January 1874 at the head of 2,500 British troops and several thousand West Indian and African troops. After a series of British victories, resulting in the destruction of its capital at Kumasi, the Asantahene, the ruler of the Ashanti, signed a harsh British treaty in July 1874 to end the war. Tom Bunbury is not thought to have served in this campaign, given his political and marital exploits in 1874. In the unlikely event that he did, we might have his Ashantee War Medal, complete with a yellow ribbon with black edges and two black stripes. [25]

May 26: Trinity College Dublin abolishes all remaining religious restrictions for entry, with the exception of the Faculty of Divinity.

July 5: The Rev. Robert James Shaw (afterwards Shaw-Hamilton) was installed as Rector of Drumcar following George Finlay’s departure for Clones and Bishopscourt. Shaw later became Rector of Tynan and finished as a Dean. At some point a flagon was presented to the church by the late Dean Shaw-Hamilton.

October: Carlow Rugby Football Club founded by Horace Rochfort, co-founder of Polo Club. Did Donald Daly ever track down his descendant? The first rugby matches were played in the “Football Meadow” at Tinnepark, a Bruen property, where soccer matches are also played. The landed gentry were central to the evolution of such sport in Ireland. Today the club stands beside the Bruen’s Triumphal Arch in Oak Park.

November 23: Birth of Arthur Thomas Bruen, younger brother of Kate Bruen, fiancée of Tom Bunbury (and later Lady Rathdonnell).

December 24: Death of Tom’s 51-year-old uncle, Lieut. Col. George Augustus Jocelyn McClintock, Sligo Rifles, of Fellows Hall, Co. Armagh. His son Arthur McClintock settled at Rathvinden, Co. Carlow, while he also left his widow Catherine Caroline (née Brownlow) and four daughters, Constance (married H.C. Irwin), Amy, Isabella and Mary Alice (married Thomas Lonsdale).

Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days.




January 1: Tom is one of three gentlemen commissioned as Justice of the Peace for Carlow, alongside Sir Clement James Wolsely, Bart, and Samuel Fenton. The commission ran until 1st June 1876. [26]

Jan 20:  The War Office announced that Sub-Lieutenant Jack McClintock Bunbury was to be promoted to lieutenant in the Scots Greys.

Jan 31 – 17 Feb: General Election. Tom had evidently inherited some of the political ambitions of his paternal and maternal forbears and considered standing for County Louth.

Feb 2: A letter from his uncle John, Baron Rathdonnell, written from Bath, urges Tom to ensure he had financial backing of his great-uncle Kane Bunbury ‘for you cannot stand unless at a good expense’. Lord Rathdonnell also counselled ‘I am afraid you are rather late in the field – I should not be guided solely by Dunlop [presumably of Monasterboice], I say this between ourselves’.

Feb 4: Tom resigns his commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys and drafts a letter at the Kildare Street Club with his address to the Electors of Count Louth, seeking the honour of their ‘vote and assistance’. He was standing on behalf ‘of the great constitutional party of which Mr. Disraeli is the acknowledged leader’. He does not appear to have followed through or was, in any event, unsuccessful. According to the Dundalk Herald, ‘At the election of 1874 there was a hope that the standard of Conservatism would be raised again in Louth by a McClintock. Captain McClintock Bunbury (ie: Tom) did arrive here on the eve of the election, but the “Home Rule” furore being then at its height, it was deemed that the hopes of a success for a Conservative candidate would be very small and Captain McClintock Bunbury was not put in nomination. Since then however he has attended on several Grand Juries.’ [27]

Lady Elizabeth McClintock (née Le Poer Trench) as a rather formidable looking family matriarch. At the time of her death, aged 97 in May 1877, she was living at Corrig House, Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) in County Dublin. She celebrated her 95th birthday in 1874.

Feb 17: Disraeli won the General Election  and came to power at the head of a Conservative government. However, the Home Rulers cleaned up in County Louth as they became the third biggest party in Westminster.Amongst the shock defeats to the government were Chichester Fortescue, Gladstone’s President of the Board of Trade, while the Conservatives lost Tom’s cousin Sir James Stronge. Gladstone took Fortescue’s elimination as a direct indication of the low esteem in which the Irish held him. Fortescue, reported The Times, was “the embodiment of the Irish policy of the government, its guiding spirit and most active instrument in framing and carrying the “healing measures” which were expected to cure all the ills of the country”.

County Carlow also got a new Home Rule MP in the form of Henry Owen Lewis (1842 -1913), who retained his seat until1880. His daughter Frances (1873–1959) married colonial governor Cornelius Alfred Moloney and in widowhood co-founded the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban. Moloney had begun his working life as an ensign in Sierra Leona in 1867, aged 19 but transferred to civilian duties in the early 1870s and began working as colonial official based in Accra. His first appointment was as assistant secretary to the Gold Coast Colony, then as secretary to the Gold Coast Colony and his final appointment in West Africa was as the first Governor of the newly created colony of Lagos in 1886. His work as both a colonial official and botanists are covered in Dermot Deering’s book, The life and career of Sir Cornelius Moloney, Rise and Demise, which includes his establishing of a Botanic Garden in Lagos.

Feb 17: End of Earl Spencer’s first term as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Feb 20: Frederic Burton appointed Director of the National Gallery, London, for which he bought over 500 works, many of them masterpieces by Botticelli, Canaletto, van Dyck and Leonardo da Vinci. His painting, ‘Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ was voted by the Irish public as Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012 from among ten works shortlisted by critics.

February 26: Nine days after the General Election, a historic alliance of two of Carlow’s ‘Big House’ families occurred with the marriage of 26-year-old Tom McClintock Bunbury and Katherine Anne Bruen, the eldest daughter of Henry Bruen of Oak Park, MP. Among the wedding presents they received were the elaborate clock in the Blue Room at Lisnavagh and a walnut cabinet presented “To TB” by “Scottie”; the latter later housed my father’s secret cigar stash and sat atop a desk made from the timber of the Samarang!

February 26: “REJOICINGS AT LISNEVAGH. On Thursday evening the servants and other employees at Lisnevagh [sic], together with their families, making in all a party of upwards of one hundred, were liberally entertained, in honour of the marriage of the young “lord of the soil,” T. K. M’Clintock Bunbury, Esq. At five o’clock a substantial dinner was served up in one of the spacious farmyard buildings, which was nicely decorated for the occasion. The health of the “happy couple” and other appropriate toasts having been drunk with enthusiasm, and hearty cheers having been given for the united families of Bunbury and Bruen, the banquet hall was speedily transformed into a ballroom, and dancing was kept up with unflagging interest “till daylight did appear.” The arrangements were most satisfactorily carried out under the superintendence of Mr and Roberts, who left nothing undone to add to the enjoyment of the guests. (Full details of the wedding can be found in the Carlow Sentinel – Saturday 28 February 1874, here).

February 28:  The Carlow Sentinel reported lavishly on the wedding beneath the heading ‘Fashionable Intelligence – Marriage in High Life’.

‘On Thursday our usually quiet town was all astir, in honour of an auspicious event, looked forward to for several weeks past with considerable interest by the inhabitants of Carlow. We allude to the marriage of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, Esq, Lisnevagh (late of the Scots Greys), nephew and heir presumptive to Lord Rathdonnell, and eldest son of the late Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury, RN, and for many years Member for the County of Carlow, with Catherine Anne, eldest daughter of Henry Bruen Esq, MP, Oak Park. The widespread and well-deserved popularity of both families excited universal interest in the happy alliance, and elicited from the numerous tenantry on each estate the warmest expressions of good will with substantial tokens of their respect and esteem. The handsome and picturesquely situated Church of St Anne’s – erected as a Testimonial to the late Colonel Bruen, MP, grandfather of the bride – in which the interesting ceremony was celebrated, was decorated with exceeding good taste, and long before the hour named for the marriage, was besieged by people of every rank and creed anxious to witness the wedding. Against the bridal party arrived the church was almost inconveniently crowded and as the youthful and lovely bride arrived, leaning upon her respected father, followed by her mother and the bridal party, the Choir, under the leadership of M. Crowly Esq, sang with excellent effect, the following appropriate hymn, to music written expressly by Mr Crowly:-

Since Jesus did appear
To grace a marriage feast,
O Lord! We ask Thy presence here,
Be thou our glorious guest.

How welcome was the call,
And sweet the festal lay,
When Jesus designed in Cana’s hall,
To bless the marriage day.

And happy was the Bride,
And glad the Bride-groom’s heart,
For he who tarried at their side
Bade grief and ill depart.

O Lord of life and love,
Come Thou again today,
And bring a blessing from above,
That ne’er shall pass away.

That love which Christ displays,
Towards the Church, His bride,
Be this, O Lord, through all their days,
Their pattern and their guide.

Before Thine altar-throne
This mercy we implore,
As Thou dost knit them, Lord, in one,
So bless them evermore.

The service was then proceeded with the Rev. Robert McClintock, uncle of the bridegroom, officiating, assisted by the Rev. J.W.M. Marshall, Incumbent. In the course of the ceremony, the choir chanted the xvii Psalm, ‘God be Merciful’, &c., and at the close of the service the following bridal hymn, selected by the Bride, to the music of the 14th Hymnal was sung:-

Now let our notes of praise arise
To God’s high heaven with voices clear,
The mighty Lord, who rules the skies,
Lends to our song a Father’s ear,
Eternal Lord of Heaven above,
Look down and bless their plighted love.

O’er your whole life may God preside,
His richest gifts on both bestow,
With heavenly light your footsteps guide,
As through the world’s dark wild you go.
Eternal Lord of Heaven above,
Look down and bless their plighted love.

By God’s own Word each action try;
Let Christ your great exemplar be,
Still fix your heart on heavenly joy,
We hasten towards eternity.
Eternal Lord of Heaven above,
Look down and bless their plighted love.

May peace and love your lives adorn,
Attend you all your course along;
Your Christian walk, each night and morn,
O strengthen still with prayer and song.
Eternal Lord of Heaven above,
Look down and bless their plighted love.

The bride’s dress was of the richest white silk, trimmed with beuilliones of tulle and wreath of orange flowers, and tulle veil; her ornaments were a magnificent diamond locket, presented to her by Col. Kane Bunbury; an emerald and diamond bracelet, the gift of Mrs McClintock Bunbury. Mr W Calvert, 5th Dragoon Guards, acted as Best Man. The following young ladies acted bridesmaids:- Miss Mary Bruen, Miss Lily Bruen, Miss Eleanor Bruen, the Hon K.F. Rowley, Miss A Stronge, Miss Burton.

The following were the guests:- Mrs McClintock Bunbury, Mr Calvert Stronge and the Misses Calvert Stronge, the Hon. Miss Rowley, Lieut-Col Conolly, VC, Major Brown, Scots’ Greys, the Rev. Robert McClintock, the Rev. J.W.M. Marshall and Mrs Marshall, Mr Calvert, 5th dragoon Guards; Mr J McClintock Bunbury, Scots’ Greys, Mr Scott, Scots’ Greys, Mr B Burton and Miss Burton.

Some few minutes having been occupied with the usual formalities, the happy pair and their bridal train returned down the aisle, Mr Crowly performing with fine effect Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. On leaving the church, they were heartily cheered by the large crowd assembled outside, who were profuse in their encomiums upon the newly-married couple, and their respective families. The Bridal party drove direct to Oak Park, where a sumptuous dejeuner was prepared. The happy pair when leaving had to encounter a smart shower of slippers. They drove in the afternoon to the Maganey Station, and left by the midday train for Dublin, en route for Rome. We should not omit to mention that arrangements have been made by the townspeople to have triumphal arches erected at points along the route from Oak Park to the Church, and the intention was only abandoned in obedience to the expressed wish of Mr Bruen and family. For the same reason illuminations, &c., contemplated in the evening were not carried out.

THE WEDDING PRESENTS were very numerous, and exceedingly chaste and costly. They included the following:-

Dowager Countess of Longford – Travelling Clock.
Mr & Mrs Rutledge – Oxydised Silver Ink Stand, richly embossed.
Lieut-Col Nugent (Scots Greys) – Pair of Oxydised Silver Ormolu Branch Candlesticks.
Hon Mrs Haines – Richly Carved Indian Card Case of Sandalwood.
The Misses Barton – Purple Velvet Box, for holding Gloves, Handkerchiefs, and Perfumery.
The Lady Elizabeth McClintock – Ormolu Ink Bottle.
Rev S. Quinton – Emerald and Pearl Locket.
Lord and Lady Rathdonnell – Necklace and Pendant of Pearls and Diamonds.
Miss Conolly – Necklace, Brooch and Earrings of Turquoise.
Captain G.D. Pakenham – Burnished Gold Bracelet.
Sir Leopold McClintock – The Claw of a Bear, shot by himself, mounted in Gold, as a Brooch.
Mr and Mrs Vesey Nugent – Bracelet Set with Pearls and Turquoises.
Mr Calvert – Card Tray Edgeware China Medallion set in Ormolu.
Mr Conolly, MP, and Mrs Conolly – Diamond and Ruby Bracelet.
Mr Kavanagh, MP, and Mrs Kavanagh – Small Travelling Clock.
Colonel Bunbury – Tiara of Diamonds and large Locket of Diamonds. Both these ornaments were enriched with stones of rare size and quality, and formed a princely gift.
Sir James and Lady Stronge – Chain and Pendant of Gold, with Coral and Pearls.
Lord Langford – Gold Locket, set with Lapaz Lazuli Pearls and Diamonds.
Mr Bruen, MP, and Mrs Bruen – Dressing Case of Coromandel Wood, Silver Mounted.
Mrs McClintock Bunbury – Gold Bracelet, Set with Emeralds, Pearls and Diamonds; Necklace and Cross set with various precious stones.
Mrs Pakenham – Two Mirrors (Oval) with brackets supporting Flower Vases.
Hon Mrs Rochfort – Ormolu Photograph Frame.
The Lady Frances Doyne – Two Jadrinieres Purple Mintor China.
Mr E Nugent and Mr J Stronge – Pair of Antique Candlesticks and Bell.
Mrs Coltman – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.
Lady Burton – Russian Leather Travelling Bag.
Mrs Maxwell Stronge – Vase, Oxydised Silver and Ormolu.
Mrs Tighe – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.
Mr and Mrs T. Pakenham Law – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.
Lady Clermont – Ink Stand and Pen Tray, Oxydised Silver and Ormolu.
Mr Henry Bruen – Five branch Candlestick and Flower Bowl, supported by the Bird of Wisdom, all in Irish Bog Oak.
Hon Miss Rowley – Large Russian Leather Photograph Book.
Mr and the Hon Mrs C Ponsonby – Large Silver Lockets with Monogram.
Mrs Clayton Browne – Ormolu Casket.
Captain Saunders (Scots Greys) – A Luncheon Basket fitted up.
Miss M Burton – Large Spa and Ormolu Photograph Book.

And many other beautiful and costly gifts, which want of space prevents us from mentioning. Amongst others, a beautifully bound Bible, presented by the children attending Painstown School on the Oak Park estate, three Riding Whips, all mounted in gold and precious stones, presented by Mr Calvert, Mr Eden and Mr Nolan, &c, &c.

Feb – April: Tom and Kate Bunbury on honeymoon. An account of their honeymoon journal is currently being transcribed.

May 30: Lady Elizabeth McClintock celebrates her 95th birthday.

August 1: General Williams steps down as Colonel of the Inniskillings and is succeeded by Gen. Sir Henry Dalrymple White, KCB.

July: Lord Carnarvon proposes a Confederation of British and Boer states along the lines of Canada but this is rejected by the Boers who rightly suspect British intrigue. The Boers also have one eye on the Zulus to the east of the two Dutch states in a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

August 5: A deed appoints Tom Bunbury, the Rev. T. C. Seymour, the Rev A.C. Lefroy and W. Hardman trustees of the indenture of Anne Lefroy’ £5000 marriage settlement to John McClintock (later Lord Rathdonnell) dated 6 August 1829. This becomes troublesome after Anne Rathdonnell’s death, see June 1893.

Aug-Sept: Tom (by now Captain Bunbury) purchases of the fee simple of c.1,000 acres of the estate of Henry Tudor Parnell from the Landed Estates Court. Henry Tudor Parnell is the brother of Charles Stewart Parnell. The lands comprise 632 acres in Ballykillane and Constable Hill, where the tenant was named as a “Representative of Captain Bunbury”, 306 acres in Ballysallagh where the tenant was “William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury”, and 92 acres in Monastill where the tenants were “Representative of Richard Hannon, Joseph Hannon, Richard Noblett, Matthew Hannon and Frances Hanon”. With thanks to Oliver Whelan.

Aug 27: Death of the sculptor John Henry Foley.

September 22: Tom Bunbury was appointed magistrate for Co. Carlow.

Oct 1: Re-opening of Essex Bridge, having been rebuilt by the Dublin Port and Docks Board, from the plans of their engineer, Bindon Blood Stoney.

Colonel Kane Bunbury, grandson of Redmond Kane, who was born at Mantua, Swords, Co. Dublin, in 1777.

November 4: Sad but anticipated death at Moyle (not at Lisnavagh, as sometimes stated) of Colonel Kane Bunbury aged 97. Jack succeeds to Moyle and a number of other estates although Kane’s obituary in the Illustrated London News of Saturday 14 November 1874 stated otherwise:

“COLONEL BUNBURY. Kane Bunbury, Esq., of Moyle, in the county of Carlow, retired Colonel in the Army, a great landed proprietor, and one of the most popular landlords in Ireland, died at his seat, near Carlow, on the 4th inst., in his ninety-eighth year. He was second son of William Bunbury, Esq , of Lisnevagh, M. P. for the county of Carlow, by Katherine, his wife, daughter of, Redmond Kane, Esq., and succeeded to his estates the death of his brother, Thomas Bunbury, Esq., of Lisnevagh and Moyle, M.P., who died unmarried in 1846. It is curious to remark that the marriage of Colonel Kane Bunbury’s parents dates back more than one hundred years. The Bunburys of Moyle and Lisnevagh are a branch of the ancient Cheshire house of Bunbury of Stanny. By the death of Colonel Bunbury, a considerable portion of his property devolves on his nephew, Lord Rathdonnell, and another part passes to Viscount Gough, who descends, in the female line, from the Bunburys.”

An account with James Morris of 140 Tullow Street, Carlow, tells us that the Colonel’s last bill was for six candles, one box of tea and four sugars amounting to 7 d 7s.

The Colonel was buried in the family vault at St. Mary’s Church in Rathvilly where his nephew Captain McClintock Bunbury lay with his two daughters. In his will, Kane asked his Executors to invest £1000 in the Government’s new three percent stock, from which they were to divide the moiety of the annual interest between the Poor Protestant and Roman Catholic inhabitants of the Parish of Rathvilly, except those receiving workhouse relief.

The Carlow Sentinel gave him an overtly flowery obituary, mostly about his cousin Hugh Gough, and described the funeral as follows:

The remains of this universally esteemed gentleman, whose lamented demise we recorded in our last issue, were interred on Thursday last, in the family vault at Rathvilly Church. Notwithstanding the early hour announced for the funeral to leave Moyle (nine o’clock), it was one of the largest that has taken place in this country for many years past, all sections of the community being numerously represented in the morning cortege. Between three and four hundred scarfs and hatbands were distributed amongst the tenantry and employees on the Bunbury estate, most of whom walked in procession before the hearse from Moyle House to the high road, where they filed off and joined the large concourse who followed the remains (which were enclosed in a suit of three coffins) to the Churchyard, a distance of some ten miles by the Tullow Road. The outer coffin was covered with black cloth and bore on plated shield the simple inscription, “COLONEL KANE BUNBURY, died November 4, 1874, aged 97 years”. The Chief mourners were Lord Rathdonnell, Lord Viscount Gough, Mr Thomas M’Clintock Bunbury, Mr John Bunbury, Captain Bunbury (Lisbryan), Mr William Johnson and Mr James Smith. On reaching Rathvilly, the coffin was carried into the church by the tenantry, when the opening portion of this solemn burial service was read by the Rev. Samuel Quinton. It was then borne to the entrance of the family vault, and the remainder of the burial service having been read by the Rev. James P. Garrett, it was lowered to its last resting place. The funeral arrangements were most satisfactorily carried out by Mr. Boake of this town.

November 14: Fashionable Intelligence, Carlow Sentinel. [28]

“Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Moyle, Carlow, from Drumcar, County Louth. [NB – He had been at funeral so must have gone back to Drumcar in the meantime].
Mr. Kavanagh, M.P., left Kingstown on Monday for England.
Dowager Lady Wolsely and suite arrived in Dublin on Thursday from England.
Calls to the Bar —-
Amongst the gentlemen called to the Bar, at the sitting of the Court of Chancery on Monday, we observe the name of an esteemed young Carlow gentleman, Philip Henry Bagenal, Esquire, A.B., Oxford, second surviving son of the late Philip Henry Bagenal, Esquire, of Bennekerry, in this county. We sincerely wish Mr. Bagenal every success in the honourable profession he has chosen, and which judging from his high literary attainments he is well qualified to adorn.
A Royal Marriage —-In Bonapartist circles mention is made of a projected marriage between the Prince Imperial and the daughter of the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.”

November 16: Carlow & Island Hunt meet at Lisnavagh. The Lisnavagh Perpetual Trophy, now presented annually to the Champion Hunter at the Tullow Show, started life as a cup dedicated to the Carlow & Island Point-to-Point. My father thinks that Tom Bunbury is one of the winners named on it. It must have been returned when the Carlow Hunt folded. Looking for a way to help Tullow Show, Dad re-awarded it for the hunter classes when ran them in 1970’s. He thinks the cup may also have had a short period with the Carlow Regional Game Council Clay Pigeon Shoot but that may have been another trophy. In August 2018, Lady Rathdonnell presented the Lisnavagh Perpetual Trophy to Miss Rothwell.

November 30: Death of six-year-old John Richard Bruen, brother of Kate Bunbury (later Rathdonnell).

November 30: Birth of Winston Churchill.

November 31: (Monday) Tom’s uncle Lord Rathdonnell attends a special sessions meeting at which a new baronial constable and cess collector for the barony of Ardee was elected in place of the late Mr. Harmon. [29]

December 28: Tom and Kate Bunbury have first child, a daughter, the Hon. Isabella (Katharine) McClintock Bunbury. She goes on to marry Forrester Farnell Colvin. My guess is that she was named Isabella after her Stronge grandmother and Katharine after Katherine Bunbury (née Kane), mother to the late Kane Bunbury and grandmother to Captain William McClintock Bunbury.




“Young ladies seldom drink more than three glasses of wine at dinner but married ladies, professional ladies, and those accustomed to society, will habitually take five or even six.” George Routledge’s Manual of Etiquette, 1875.


Jan 1: The new Essex Bridge in Dublin is re-named “Grattan Bridge” by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Peter Paul McSwiney.

Feb 11: Colonel Kane Bunbury’s will is proven.

March 3: Death of Francis Tipping, aged 70, in New Zealand. His wife Louisa was a daughter of Henry McClintock.

March 7: Birth of Charles Bruen, youngest brother to Katherine Anne Rathdonnell. He passes away unmarried aged 30 in 1905.

March 13: Tom’s first cousin James Stronge (later Sir James) lines out as a forward for Old Etonians in the fourth ever FA Cup Final, played in a “howling gale” at the Oval in London, but the first match concludes with a 1-1 draw.

March 16: In the FA Cup Final replay, Old Etonians are beaten by the Royal Engineers 2-0.

April 6: IMPORTANT EJECTMENT CASE – Carlow, Tuesday.

The general quarter sessions for this county were opened yesterday, before J A. Wall, Esq., Q.C., Chairman, and the following magistrates:- Messrs. Arthur Fitzmaurice, Horace Rochefort, J.F. Lecky, James C. Moore, R.M.; George Alexander; William Duckett; and Thomas O’Mara, M.B.

The business consisted of 68 civil bill entries, two spirit licence applications, five Crown cases and one ejectment.
Considerable interest appeared to be manifested in a case of ejectment for overholding, the plaintiff being Thomas Kane M’Clintock Bunbury, Esq., of Lisnavagh [sic] and the defendants Wm. Stafford, Esq., JP, of Stafford Lodge, Kilmacthomas; Rev. A. Wall, C.C.; and Richard Hackett.

Mr. Malcomson appeared for the plaintiff and Mr. Thorp for the defendant.

Mr. Malcomson said the ejectment was brought on a notice to quit to recover possession of the lands of Mortarstown, a short distance from the town of Carlow, and they formed portion of the old estate of the Bunbury’s.

In the year 1804 a lease was made by the late Thomas Bunbury, of Lisnevagh, to Thomas Coffey, of Carlow, at £68 6s. a year for three lives, the last of which expired some eight or nine years ago, and the tenant’s interest then became vested in Miss Ellen Coffey. The rent was reduced to £39 per annum, payable in March and September, and Thomas Bunbury, the lessor, died in 1846, devising his estate to Colonel Kane Bunbury for his lifetime, and after that to his nephew, the late Captain Bunbury, the father of the present plaintiff.

The notice to quit was served in 1874, between which time and the preceding September Miss Coffey died, and the Rev Arnold Wall, C.C. took out administration, after which he was served with notice to quit, and possession demanded, but not given up.

Colonel Kane Bunbury, uncle to the plaintiff, died in November, 1874, and now Thomas Kane M’Clintock Bunbury claimed, and became entitled, both as heir-at-law and under the original deed, to the possession of those lands.

The services having been proved, Mr. Thorp applied for an adjournment of the case until the next quarter sessions, in order to afford him an opportunity of serving a claim under the Land Act, but his worship refused, without the consent of the opposite party, who objected.

Mr. William Johnson, agent to the property, proved the receipt of rent half-yearly from Miss Ellen Coffey, and positively denied that Mr. Stafford was even recognised as tenant, although he had been in communication with him for the purpose of getting up possession, and offering to forego one year’s rent due at the time of Miss Coffey’s death if possession were given. The case has not concluded.
(Freeman’s Journal – Wednesday 7 April 1875)

April 7: A hearing before James A. Wall, Esq., QC, at the Carlow Quarter Sessions of the ejectment case in which Tom Bunbury was plaintiff (with Mr. Malcomson as his lawyer) and William Stafford, JP, of Stafford Lodge, Co. Waterford, and the Rev. Arnold Wall,. CC, were defendants (with Mr. Thorp as their lawyer). [30]

April 21: Charles Stewart Parnell elected Home Rule League MP for County Meath.

August 6: The Centenary of the birth of Daniel O’Connell is held in Dublin, when a grand Procession of the Trades and other bodies paraded through Dublin. with banners and numerous devices. A grand musical performance took place in the Exhibition Palace, in connexion with the O’Connell Centenary, on which occasion Professor Glover’s National Oratorio, “St. Patrick at Tara,” was performed with a band and chorus of 500 performers.

August: The largest recorded locust swarm in history hits North America, destroying many prairie farms. Measuring 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide, the swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts was big enough to cover most of California. Within 30 years, the species had mysteriously vanished. No Rocky Mountain locust has been seen since 1902.

Tom Bunbury becomes a member of the Royal Dublin Society and retains membership for next 54 years, rising to become its President.

Autumn: ‘On the 9th inst this [Carlow & Island] pack met at Lisnevagh and, finding at Moorstown, took their fox by Rathdaniel to Lisnevagh, where he was coursed by dogs and lost.’ [31]




January 1: (Saturday) Death at Lisnavagh of Tom Bunbury’s mother, Mrs. Pauline McClintock Bunbury. According to The Irish Times, she had been ‘in delicate health for some time’. [32] She had previously been living at Earlscliff in Howth, County Dublin.

Jan 6: John Henry Foley’s statue of Henry Grattan was unveiled by his daughter-in-law, Lady Laura Grattan. Charles Stewart Parnell attended but was not invited to speak, despite his family’s historical links to Grattan. Mitchell Henry of the Home Rule Party was prominent, as was A.M. Sullivan, MP. In Foley’s depiction of Henry Grattan, the eminent Trinity-educated patriot has his right hand triumphantly out-stretched, frozen in time as he declares Ireland’s legislative independence. Commissioned by Dublin City Corporation, it stands on College Green, directly opposite the former Parliament House, where Grattan was such an immense presence, and on the very spot where the Volunteers paraded in their thousands to support him.

January: The Prince of Wales is taken ill. Upon his recovery, Tom’s uncle, Lord Rathdonnell, convenes a meeting of the magistrates of County Louth to congratulate the Queen and Princess.

February 17: Lord and Lady Rathdonnell as guests at Morrisson’s Hotel. [33]

March 10: Following the first coherent transmission of the sound of a human voice over wires by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant Thomas A. Watson in Boston, it would take almost 40 years before the first transcontinental telephone call was made between New York and San Francisco in 1915.

March 11: Tom’s first cousin, James Stronge (later Sir James) lines out as a forward for the Old Etonians in the fifth ever FA Cup Final at Kennington Oval in London. They’re seeking to make up for their loss in the 1875 FA Cup Final but the match is a 1-1 draw with the Wanderers.

March 11: The Dublin Daily Express announces sale of Earlscliff, former home of Tom’s late mother, Pauline McClintock Bunbury. The notice reads:

THIS charming Residence will be Sold, subject to the nominal ground rent of £2 4s 6d per annum. It stands detached with handsome pleasure grounds and garden, commanding particularly grand and extensive views of sea and mountain scenery. The salubrity of the locality is too well known to need comment.
For terms and tickets of admission apply to Messrs. BATTERSBY and Co. Agents, 6, WESTMORELAND STREET.’

However, they were unable to sell the property at that time and took it off the market to conduct extensive renovations, as well as adding a servants/ gardeners annex and a coachhouse. Tom put it back on the market on 10 May 1877 for around £2,000 with the following description:

The Interest in the Lease of this charming Residence, with ornamental grounds and garden, the whole comprising 4a.3r.29p., held for a long terms of years at the nominal rent of £19 4s 6d. per annum. The present proprietor has expended a considerable sum in valuable and judicious improvements, and the place is now in perfect condition. As a seaside villa, the situation is unrivalled, commanding a prospect of sea and mountain scenery of cast extent and peculiar beauty, with the advantage of a climate the salubrity of which is well known. The house contains three reception rooms and five bedrooms, with servants’ apartments, coachhouse and stable attached.”

It eventually sold in 1878, but Tom  had to drop the price to £1,500 (a bargain) and sold it to Dawson Thomas Knox who moved in with his step mother and four of his brothers . Richard Whelan was apparently the caretaker / gardener at Earlscliffe at the time the Captain’s wife, Pauline lived there. He left in 1877, which fits in with Pauline’s death and the sale of Earlscliffe.

March 18: Premature death of Robert Westley Hall-Dare of Newtownbarry House, Bunclody, aged 36. He was married to a daughter of Henry Newton of Mount Leinster Lodge, Co. Carlow. In 1972, his grandson Derrick Arthur Hall-Dare, OBE, married my great-aunt Veronica Lefroy (née Colley).

April 21: Birth of Mary Emily (“Mamie”) McClintock Bunbury, second daughter of Tom and Kate Bunbury. She went on to marry Lt. Col. Henry Duncombe Bramwell.

May 22: Lord Rathdonnell attends the Queen’s Levee at St James’s Palace.

June 22: Tom Bunbury comes second in the Amateur Class for Best Shorthorn Bull calved in 1874 at the North-East Agricultural Show. He was beaten by Robert Perceval Maxwell of Finnebrogue, County Down, while third place went to George D Beresford, MP, of The Palace, Armagh. [34]

June 26: Myles Keogh of Leighlinbridge, Colonel Custer’s second-in-command, killed at the battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Popular legend holds that Myles’ horse Comanche was the sole survivor of the 7th Cavalry Regiment when Sitting Bill’s forces left the field of battle. News of the shock defeat of Custer’s army reached Philadelphia and Washington just as centenary celebrations for independence are getting underway, instantly extinguishing all the good vibes.

August: Relentless rain destroyed the oat crops and left potatoes rotting in the ground all across Ireland.

Dec 7: The first payment of £15 18 s for ‘Poor Catholics’ in accordance with the late Kane Bunbury’s will was handed over to Patrick C Nolan, PP, by the Commissioners of Charitable Requests.

By 1870 the ‘typical’ Irish landlord owned about 2,000 acres, but by 1876 less than 800 landlords owned half the country, 303 of which owned 33.7 per cent of Irish land. Almost half of the 800 landlords were absentee, in that some were resident outside Ireland with many more resident on other Irish estates (Foster). Tom was at the top of this elite, not least when he became an aristocrat in 1879. He was one of the 303 landowners who owned more than 10,000 acres in the 1870s.

According to R. Timothy Campbell and Stephen A. Royle in ‘The Country House and its Demesne in County Carlow’ (‘Carlow & Society, ed. Thomas McGrath, p. 740), the 1876 List of Landowners shows Lord Rathdonnell’s unusual predicament as an absentee from Carlow, in that he ‘preferred to live at Drumcar’. Tom didn’t actually become Baron Rathdonnell until 1879 and I didn’t think his uncle John McClintock, Lord Rathdonnell, owned land in Carlow. However, the Campbell and Royle article goes on to state:

“Rathdonnell owned 3,262 hectares in the county which was comparable in qualitative rental terms to larger properties such as that of the Bruen family in the north Carlow. Whereas most estates in Carlow with country based estate cores (around 75% of the total) held practically all of their property within Carlow and its adjacent counties, the structure of the Rathdonnell estate differed in that only 40% of the family’s landed property (41% of landed income) came from its Carlow rental, while the rest, which had been either inherited or bought, was scattered over a number of counties including Kildare and Fermanagh.”

Tom Bunbury succeeds Peter George Fitzgerald, 1st Baronet, to become High Sheriff for County Carlow, retaining the office until 1878 when James Walter Milles Stopford, 6th Earl of Courtown, took on the office.

Tom’s cousin General Sir John Bloomfield Gough, Colonel of the Scots Greys, made GCB.



Foot and mouth epidemic over for first time since 1873.

Jan 17: Death in Rouen of William, Viscount Milton, nobleman, explorer, and Liberal Party politician. He was eldest son of the 6th Earl Fitzwilliam and the father of Billy, the Canada-born 7th Earl.

Feb 1: Tom’s first cousin Frederick Robert McClintock, eldest son of Major Henry and Mrs. Gertrude McClintock of Kilwarlin House, Co. Down, marries Lucy Antonia Cleasby, younger daughter of Sir Anthony Cleasby, Baron of the Exchequer 1868-79.

April: Beginning of a dark period for Queen Victoria in which she threatens to abdicate five times over the ensuing 10 months, while pressuring Disraeli to act against Russia during the Russo-Turkish War. Her threats have no impact on the events or their conclusion with the Congress of Berlin.

Close up of Lady Rathdonnell (née Anne Lefroy), attributed to Mayer and dated to 1829, the year of her marriage to John McClintock.

Anne Rathdonnell, “a constant student of Prophecy“, was convinced that Russia was the “Great Beast” of the Book of Revelations. Her great-nephew, CEC Lefroy, recalled Drumcar scene thus.

In the year 1877, Uncle John was a gentle, very sensitive, lovable old man of nearly 80. His heart’s desire has always been for peace and quiet. Of very talkative people he would say, “they would bother a rookery”. He was a Conservative to the backbone; a lover of old days and old ways. The social, political and moral changes, which he perceived to be taking place in the World (even then), disturbed him greatly. “Shocking”. “Shocking. “Shocking” were the words which frequently fell from his lips. To me he seemed to take very kindly from the first.
For two summers before he died (in May 1879) I spent my holidays at Drumcar. I can well imagine his evident pleasure in tipping me with a half-a-sovereign when he said good bye to me, for what he plainly felt would be the last time of seeing me – and such it proved.
[Aunt Anne] had been very handsome in her youth and bore herself with much grace and dignity (also authority) in her old age. She was widely known in County Louth as “Queen Anne”. She certainly ruled her domain in a queenly manner. As the eldest member of her family she had always played a great part in its life, for she possessed remarkable will-power and strength of mind. In earlier years she and Uncle John had traveled much on the Continent and had spent several winters in Italy and had moved among intellectual and cultured people. It was her energy and deep political convictions which got Uncle John into Parliament for Count Louth and in the end secured the peerage for him.
After Uncle John’s death she gave a home for ten years to our sisters Annie and Freda. It was a home with great ideals of life and its responsibilities. The conversation, whether of past, present or future, was always pitched high; always worth listening to. Deeply religious, ready for merriment and hearty laughter; a buoyant, courageous, hopeful nature. All through life she was in touch with interesting people. I remember meeting several times in Chester Square the Hon. Frederica Plunket, famous then as the first woman to climb the Matterhorn, and her sister the Hon. Kate Plunket, now equally famous for having lived 112 years.
It must be gratefully recorded that during her ten years of widowhood Aunt Rathdonnell saved no less than £80,000, which she distributed very widely among various nephews and nieces, a wonderful boon and blessing to them all“.

May 10: Earlscliff goes back on market at a reduced price, see earlier record in 1876.

May 11: Birth at Lisnavagh of the Hon. Pauline Caroline McClintock Bunbury, third and youngest daughter of Tom and Kate Bunbury, who is named for Tom’s late mother. Pauline went on to marry Major Frederick John Dalgety. [35]

May 30: Death of 97-year-old Lady Elizabeth McClintock, daughter of the 1st Earl of Clancarty and widow of John McClintock of Drumcar.

June: Spencer Gore, grandson of the Earl of Arran, wins first Men’s Singles title at Wimbledon.

June 5: Funeral of Lady Elizabeth McClintock, widow of Old Turnip. Details can be found in the Belfast News-Letter of 7 June 1877.

July 12: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell have arrived at Kingstown from England.’ [36]

August: Mabel Hall-Dare, a friend of the Bunbury family, married the noted archaeologist and explorer Theodore Bent.

Aug 28: Charles Stewart Parnell becomes president of Home Rule Confederation.

Sept 13: ‘MARRIAGES. On the 13th inst., by special license, at the Castle, Ballyraggett, the residence of Lady Harriet Kavanagh, by the Bishop of Ossory, assisted by the Rev Robert le Poer McClintock, Rector of Castle Bellingham, cousin of the bride, James Peddie Steele, Esq., B.A . M.D., Edin., to Sarah Louisa, youngest daughter of the late Rev. William and Lady Louisa le Poer Trench.’ [37]

September 29: (Saturday) The Irish Times reported that the artist Admiral William Smyth, an old naval colleague of Tom’s father, had died at Castleton House, Tunbridge Wells four days earlier in his 78th year.

October 17-12 Nov: The prime minister Gladstone visited Ireland and stayed with Brabazon (who had been a Liberal MP) at Kilruddery, and the Fitzwilliams at Coolattin (which he visited on other occasions), as well as other Anglo-Irish families in County Wicklow. As Kevin Lee relates on his excellent Facebook history of Carnew, the prime minister:

“… was accompanied by his wife, his daughter and his private secretary, Spencer Lyttleton. The Gladstones, the Fitzwilliams, Lord Meath, Professor Mahaffey from Trinity College, Dublin, and fellow dignitaries, combined with the entourage of hangers on that accompany such a group must have cut a fine dash as they traversed the roads of south Wicklow. The convoy of carriages was headed by the four wheeled barouche of Lady Alice Fitzwilliam. The Earl’s teenage daughter displayed skill beyond her years in her control of the four ponies which were pulling the carriage. Gladstone’s itinerary included a visit to the farm of Michael Lawrenson in Killinure, a townland located on the road from Shillelagh to Tullow. Lawrenson farmed 435 acres and had 100 acres under tillage. With regard to dairy farming Lawrenson had on view samples of the butter which he was exporting to England. Gladstone seemed very interested in the wages being paid to the Irish farm labourers. It was a subject in which the Killinure man was well versed, having served as under steward at Coollattin. He did venture the opinion that the labouring class would be much better off if the public houses remained closed on Sundays. The party next visited the farm of Ralph Lawrenson in Munny. From here they proceeded to the hill of Aghold where they had an uninterrupted view extending for over 40 miles and taking in eleven Irish counties. On his return to England Gladstone stopped in Bray where he was the guest of Lord Meath. On the journey from Shillelagh to Bray the train stopped in Aughrim where Gladstone was met by Father Kavanagh from Carlow College and the parish priest of Rathdrum, Father Galvin.”

Many of the Irish gentry loathed Gladstone and regarded the Home Rule Bill as the work of the anti-Christ. Cartoons lampooning Gladstone adorned their W.C’s while his portrait stared up from the bottom of chamberpots at Tynan Abbey and Castlecoole (where the National Trust now has it on display). When Queen Victoria offered a gift to Beauparc’s Bertha Lambert, a maid of honour, after she danced an Irish jig, Miss Lambert replied: “The head of Mr Gladstone on a dish, ma’am.”

Meanwhile, Irish faith in British rule was consistently undermined by the long-drawn-out process to grant Catholic Emancipation, the mistreatment of men like O’Connell, the complete mishandling of the Great Famine and the endless dithering over Home Rule … all of which fed into revolutionary agendas.

Winter 1877: Britain nearly goes to war with Russia in 1877 over the Russo-Turkish war. The Russians eventually agreed to retreat from Bulgaria, restoring it and Macedonia to Ottoman Turkish rule. The withdrawal was considered a diplomatic triumph for Britain’s Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, although it was not such a good deal for Balkan Slavs, hobbled by Ottoman misrule for another generation. ‘Macdermott’s War Song’, written and composed by G. W. Hunt, became a hit at height of the crisis with words:

‘We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do…
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too!
We’ve fought the Bear before… and while we’re Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople…’

Disraeli was the main opponent of jingoism while Gladstone was the chief advocate of the moralists so where did Lady Rathdonnell stand?! Well, Lord Rathdonnell was listed as a subscriber to the Turkish Compassionate Fund, established by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts as a relief fund for the Mohammedan victims of the Turko-Russian war, who, driven out of their homes, sought refuge in Constantinople, the capital of their monarch, the sultan.




April 2: Assassination of Lord Leitrim in County Donegal where he owned 55,000 acres.

April 27: The Hammond Lane Foundry explodes in Dublin, killing fourteen.

May 11, circa: ‘The Carlow Polo club inaugurated the season’s sport by a match at Pollacton last week in presence of a brilliant company. The following formed the. sides—Messrs Steuart Duckett; T. M’Clintock Bunbury, and William Edge—against Messrs J. M’Clintock Bunbury, John Watson (7th Hussars), and Charles Duckett.’ [38]

July 24: Birth of Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, the fantasy writer who was educated at Eton and thus an exact contemporary of Billy Bunbury.

August: The annual show hosted by the RDS at Ballsbridge boasts a lower turn-out of cattle than usual, owing to quarantines put in place in London following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth at the Paris Cattle Show. That said, the Irish Times applauded the ‘exceedingly good quality, especially in the shorthorn class’ where ‘the first prize was taken by Major McClintock Bunbury [ie: Tom] with a shorthorn bred by Mr. Challoner, which won the challenge cup as a two-year-old, for that gentleman, and as a four-year-old for the present owner at the last spring show of the Royal Dublin Society’. Tom was also ‘deservedly awarded first prize in the shorthorn cow section, for a very lengthy animal of great merit.’ [39]

Aug 16: The Intermediate Education Act grants female students the right to participate in public examinations and to enter into careers and professions.

August: Lousy harvest.

Sept 11Jack Bunbury marries Elizabeth Myra Watson. Her father Robert Watson of Ballydarton, Co. Carlow was one of the great huntsmen of the Victorian Age.

Sept 15: Birth of a son for Tom and Kate – William McClintock Bunbury, aka Billy Bunbury. He was baptized in the church in Rathvilly on 23 October 1878. Although I am by no means a regular churchgoer, I found myself in the same church with my wife and daughters for a Thanksgiving service which took place on 23 October 2011, exactly 133 years to the day later. For more on Billy and his tragically short life, see here.

September 29: Parnell attends first meeting of the Land League in Tullow. The League was formed to obtain the three Fs: Fair Rent, Free Sale and Fixity of Tenure. See here.

Oct 25: Mayo Tenants Defence Association, the precursor to the Irish Land League holds its first meeting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, demanding “The Land of Ireland for the People of Ireland.”




[1] S.D. Muttlebury recalled practicing in a stationary gig without footstraps, with Warre laying his hand on Muttle’s foot during the recovery and saying: “Your feet look right, but you are still trying to pull up with your great toe.” “I thought it a fad then,” wrote Muttlebury, “but I am convinced that it is one of the most important points in rowing.” See: E. Warre, The Rowers of Vanity Fair.

[2] Bill Farrer’s obituary, The Times, Thursday, Nov 29, 1934; pg. 19; Issue 46924; col B

[3] Freemans Journal, Wednesday, July 05, 1865, p. 3.

[4] The Athlete for 1866, edited by W Pilkington, p. 115.

[5] Annals of an Eton House, with Some Notes On The Evans Family, by Major Gambier-Parry (John Murray, 1907), p. 137). It’s definitely worth tracking the book ‘Edmond Warre, D.D., C.B., C.V.0‘ by Charles Robert Leslie Fletcher.

[6] Freemans Journal, Wednesday, June 13, 1866, p. 3

[7] Nenagh Guardian, 26 September 1866p. 4.

[8] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (22 November 1866), Friends Intelligencer of 1867, page 142.

[9] Her death is noted in The Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 222, p. 831 (F. Jefferies, 1867): ‘May 11 – At Lisnevagh co Carlow aged 21 Isabella, dau of the late Capt Bunbury RN’. Further detail was provided by the Carlow Post on Saturday 18 May 1867:

‘DEATH OF MISS M’CLINTOCK BUNBURY. We regret to have to announce the death of Miss Isabella McClintock Bunbury at the early age of 21 years, which sad event took place at Lisnevagh, on Saturday last, the 11th inst. The deceased young lady was daughter of the late Capt. Bunbury of Lisnevagh, and for some time had been in a declining state of health. On yesterday morning the remains were removed for interment to the family vault, Rathvilly, enclosed in an oak coffin covered with white velvet, mounted in silver with shields, by special request of Mrs. Bunbury.
Inside is a leaden shell coffin, and the exquisite workmanship displayed, on the whole reflects the highest credit on the skill of Mr. Douglass, cabinetmaker, of this town, who was appointed undertaker for supplying the funeral. The coffin was on view at his establishment for some days, and was inspected by numbers of people who were attracted by the novelty of the design adopted in the covering, which is, we believe, customary in France under similar circumstances.’

[10] Freeman’s Journal, 7 June 1867.

[11] For more, see an essay by Stuart Lane called “Economic Role of the Workhorse in Nineteenth-century Ireland” in ‘The Irish Draught Horse: A History’ by Mary McGrath and Joan C. Griffith (eds) (Collins Press, Cork, 2005), pp. 105-25, esp. p.119. Thanks to Dr Pat Wallace.

[12] Carlow Post, 16 January 1869.

[13] The Illustrated London News (Vol. LIV, June 5, 1869, p.579) published his fathers will as follows:

“The will of Sir Edward Cunard, Bart., of the city of New York, where he died, April 6 last, at the age of fifty-three, was proved in London, on the 25th alt., under £300,000 personalty, by his brother, William Cunard, Esq., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and of St. James’s-street, Westminster, the acting executor, power being reserved to his nephew, Charles Gilbert Franklyn, Esq., of New York, also an executor appointed. The will is dated July 18, 1866, and is declared as being made in conformity with and is valid by the laws and Constitution of the United States. The testator was possessed of considerable property in the British provinces, also largely interested in the shares of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company, and in the British and Foreign Steam-Packet Company. He has made a liberal provision for his daughters, and leaves the residue of his property between his three sons—leaving to his eldest son, now Sir Bache Cunard, Bart., a moiety thereof, and to his other sons, Edward and Gordon, the remainder equally between them”.

[14] Information courtesy of Major Robin Maclean, Curator, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, Edinburgh, & obtained from ‘The History Of The Second Dragoons. Royal Scots Greys’ by Edward Almack FSA. Published in 1908 by Alexander Moring Ltd. The De La More Press, 32 George St, Hanover Square, Page 221).

[15] Sir John Gough had been appointed colonel of the Royal Scots Greys in 1864. Born in 1804, he entered the Army through the Royal Military College in 1820, served in the 22nd Foot and the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and exchanged as captain into the 3rd Light Dragoons. He proceeded to India with his uncle, Sir Hugh Gough, serving on his staff throughout every battle in his campaigns in China, Gwalior, Sutlej, and the Punjab. He commanded a cavalry brigade at the battle of Moodkee and Ferozeshah, and was very severely wounded whilst accompanying Sir Robert Dick’s Division which led the assault on the Sikh entrenchments at Sobraon. For these services he was promoted through the various grades to the rank of colonel, and was appointed an ADC to the Queen and Companion of the Bath. In 1867 he was made a KCB and in 1876 GCB.

[16] Belfast News-Letter, 17 Feb 1870 – COURT AND FASHION.

[17] The Harrovian, Volume 1.

[18] Hampshire Telegraph, Saturday 16 April 1870.

[19] My friend John Power writes: “Not sure about the chainsaw insurance but I do remember hearing about the metal detectors needed in the sawmills (not sure I’d want one of those industrial circular saws come spinning at me out of control!). 800 tonnes of unexploded ammunitions are retrieved every year. See here.

[20] List of Schools in Connection with Church Education Society (1870), Volume 28, from Royal Commissioner on Nature and Extent of Instruction by Institutions in Ireland for Elementary or Primary Education, and Working of System of National Education: volume VIII, miscellaneous papers.

[21] Freemans Journal, 3 March 1871, p. 4.

[22] From newspaper cutting in the Isabella – Tom Bunbury diary of 1866.

[23] Carlow Post, Saturday 10 February 1872. ‘At her obsequies, in the chapel of Ratoath, the Rev. James Colgan was celebrant, assisted by the Rev P. Wall and Rev. A. Dwyer as deacon and sub-deacon, and the Rev. W O’Sea as master of ceremonies. There were also present. Rev. J. Kehoe. P.P., Ballon : Rev. P. J. Mulhall, P.P., Goresbridge; Very Rev. Dr. Kavanagh, Rev. Dean Burke, Carlow College ; Rev. P. Fitzsimons, Rev. M. J. Murphy. Rev. P. Clowry. Rev. J. Neville. Rev. Richard Coffey, Rev. P. Maher, Rev. P. Ryan, Rev. J. Delaney. -R.I.P.’

[24] Quoted by the Freemans Journal,  December 3 1872, p. 2.

[25] The Ashantee War Medal was awarded to those who participated in the campaign against the Ashanti in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) between 9 June 1873 and 4 February 1874. It was specifically for ‘those who crossed the River Prah or participated in actions at Amoaful or Ardahsa’.

[26] 339 | Return of Number of Gentlemen appointed to Commission of Peace in Ireland, 1874-76.

[27] Dundalk Herald, 24 May 1879.

[28] Pat Purcell Papers.

[29] Freemans Journal, Tuesday, December 1, 1874 Page: 6).

[30] Further details can be found at Freemans Journal, Thursday, April 08, 187, p. 6.

[31]  ‘TRIVIATA ; or, Cross Road Chronicles of Passages in Irish Hunting History during the season of 1875-76., p. 51

[32] The Freemans Journal (Tuesday, January 4, p. 5) and the Nenagh Guardian (Saturday, January 8) concur that she died ‘at Lisnevagh [sic] on Saturday last’.

[33] Freemans Journal, Thursday 17 February 1876, p.7.

[34] Belfast Telegraph, Thursday 22 June 1876.

[35] The Freemans Journal of Thursday, May 17, 1877, p. 1, announced that Kate has given birth to a daughter at Lisnevagh [sic] on May 11.

[36] Freemans Journal, Thursday 12 July 1877, p. 6.

[37] Illustrated London News – Saturday 29 September 1877.

[38] Leinster Express, Saturday, May 18, 1878.

[39] Weekly Irish Times, Saturday, August 10, 1878, p. 5.