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

This is thought to be the 2nd Baron Rathdonnell circa 1880s. This is thought to be the 2nd Baron Rathdonnell circa 1880s. All three of his daughters would marry cavalry officers while his firstborn son was killed in the Anglo-Boer War. When he died in 1929, he was succeeded by his second son Thomas Leopold McClintock Bunbury, known as Tim.


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


2. Triumph & Tragedy (1879-1913)




January 11: Lord Chelmsford’s forces cross the border into Zululand.

January 22: Twelve days after outbreak of Anglo-Zulu War, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift on the Natal border with Zululand, in South Africa. The British garrison of 140 men – many of them sick and wounded – fought for 12 hours to repel repeated attacks by up to 3,000 Zulu warriors who were, apparently, high on some form of marijuana-based snuff. The defence was rewarded by Queen Victoria’s government with no fewer than 11 Victoria Crosses.

May 17: Death of 79-year-old John McClintock, 1st Lord Rathdonnell. He died at Drumcar, his residence, on a Saturday night. His nephew Tom (aka Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury) duly succeeds as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell.

The size of his Irish estates also increased to 18,923 acres (gross annual value: £15,400). In terms of counties, this comprises of Carlow (8,058), Louth (3,000), Tyrone (2,886), Fermanagh (2,600), Meath (1,215), Monaghan (1,006), Dublin (600) and Kildare (558). Tom’s brother Jack has a further 3098 acres at Moyle (g. an. Val. £2741).

Tom’s father-in-law Henry Bruen was the largest landowner in Carlow with 16, 477 acres in the county, as well as 6,932 acres in Wexford and 218 acres in Kildare bringing his total to 23,627 acres ( £17, 481)

June: Vere St Leger Goold loses to Rev Hartley in Men’s Final at Wimbledon. In 1907, he is arrested and convicted of murder. See Michael Sheridan’s 2011 book ‘Murder in Monte Carlo’ for more.

June 25: Freeman’s Journal reports in its ‘FASHION AND VARIETIES’ column that ‘Lady Rathdonnell has left Kingstown for England.’ It’s not clear whether this was Kate, the new Lady Rathdonnell, or John’s elderly widow Anne Rathdonnell (née Lefroy).

June 28: The Freemans Journal notes that Lord Rathdonnell “will exhibit his famous Irish bull Anchor, already a prize taker in good company” at the upcoming Great International Exhibition at Kilburn.

June 30: Death in London of Tom’s uncle Robert Le Poer M’Clintock, MA. (1836), B.A. (1832), Rector of Castlebellingham. He was the son of John M’Clintock, of Drumcar, by Lady Elizabeth Le Poer Trench, third daughter of William, Earl of Clancarty. He was ordained in 1834 and became Rector of Kilsaran in 1835. He married, on 29 July 1856, to Maria Susan, only daughter of Alexander Charles Heyland (late Indian Judge). They had no children. Robert was buried in the family mausoleum at Drumcar, where he is commemorated by a memorial window in the Parish Church, as also by one in the Parish Church, Castlebellingham.[1]

Tom’s uncle, John McClintock, whom he succeeded as
2nd Baron Rathdonnell in May 1879.

1879 was the worst harvest since the Great Famine and the coldest and wettest year since records began in 1766. It rained for 125 days in the six months between March and September, or two out of three days. Small farmers were dealt the hardest blow by the dire weather and the severe economic crisis that followed. The potato crop was ravaged by blight and whatever turf they were able to gather from the bogs had no chance to dry. By the close of 1879, the peasantry had been stirred into action, aghast at reports of widespread evictions of small tenant farmers who owed perhaps two or three years of rent. The Irish National Land League was formed in October 1879 “to put an end to Rack-renting, Eviction and Landlord Oppression’.

The first edition of Boy’s Own Paper was published. The editor was S.O. Beeton, the husband of Mrs. Beeton, the cookery book writer. Mrs Beeton died prematurely of syphilis contracted from her husband.

July 1: (Tuesday) Lord Rathdonnell watched Lisnavagh’s prize shorthorn bull Anchor compete at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Show at Kilburn. The show took place on a sun-swept afternoon enabling men and women to walk directly on the hard clay ground rather than on the sleepers and planks laid out in paths. A week earlier the place had been so muddy that “a witness of wide experience testified that the slough of despond at Kilburn exceeded the muddy battlefields of Balaklava“.

The showground was a riot of colour and noise with visitors pouring in to see the latest mechanical inventions – traction engines. Cattle and horses were herded between it all. Jersey dairy cows. Danish Butter. The British Beekeepers Association. The Prince and Princess of Wales were in attendance. So too was the brilliantly named Russian ambassador, his Excellency Count Schouvaloff, who had made such an impact at the Congress of Berlin the previous year.

The first RAS show took place at Battersea in 1862 drawing 1,986 livestock entries from 535 exhibitors. At Kilburn in 1879 there were 2,874 entries from 809 exhibitors, including 46 animals of foreign breed. These included 179 shorthorns, 63 Herefords, 53 Devons, 95 Sussex as well as numerous Longhorns, Kerry, Welsh, Scotch, Suffolk, Norfolk and numerous dairy cattle. But the greatest turn out of all was the 302 cattle sent over from Jersey and Guernsey. Also present were 777 sheep, 716 horses, 18 mules, 9 asses and unknown quantities of pig, goat and poultry. Judging the 313 classes were 125 gentlemen, including a number of foreign judges. Everything was there to be judged – butter, bacon, ham, cheese, cider, hops, honey, railway meat-wagons, mechanical inventions, market gardens, sewage farms.

The Shorthorn class was the highlight of the opening day. The judges were G. Drewry of Holker, Lancashire, A. Mitchell of Alloa, Scotland and Richard Chaloner of King’s Fort, Co. Meath. It was onto this contest that Anchor walked. The problem was, Chaloner himself had bred Anchor from his own famous herd. And he had sold it to Tom Rathdonnell! As such, Chaloner stepped down as judge and left it to his colleagues. The correspondent for The Times breathlessly takes up the tale.

Seventeen bulls above three years old took no little time in adjudication; the contest ended in Mr W. Linton’s lengthy old roan, “Sir Arthur Ingham”, the hero of any number of showyards but now gone to pieces at the age of 7 ½ years, receiving his last Royal notice in the shape of a commendation; Mr. John Outhwaite’s grand “Royal Windsor”, at the venerable age of 10 ½ years taking the 4th prize, the Earl of Ellesmere’s “Attractive Lord” being placed third, though beaten by a still finer beast, Mr David Willis’s “Rear Admiral” which stands second in the class, while clearly ahead of all is Lord Rathdonnell’s “Anchor” from county Carlow, thus scoring an honour for Ireland“.

During the 1870s and 1880s, Tom Bunbury became well known as one of the greatest cattle breeders in the British Isles. Anchor, his prize shorthorn bull, swept the awards across Ireland, Scotland and England in 1879.

July 3: “Lord Rathdonnell has performed another graceful act towards his tenantry in providing the —- of his principal tenants with tickets (free of all charge) to visit, in conjunction with Canon Bagot’s excursion party, the Great International Exhibition at Kilburn. Such acts as these must endear the lord of the soil to his tenantry, and do more than anything else to establish kindly feelings between landlord and tenant.” The Irish Times, Thursday, 3 July 1879.

July 5: Death of Chichester Fortescue’s wife, Lady Waldegrave, without issue at her residence, 7 Carlton Gardens, London.

Sir Leopold McClintock begins four-year run as Commander-in Chief on the North American and West Indian Stations (until 1882).

July: The complete destruction of the Zulus paves the way for the Boers to strike.

Late July: Anchor wins first prize at the Highland Show.

July 24: The Lord Chancellor reported to the House of Lords that the claim of the new (and by now prize-winning) Baron Rathdonnell “to vote at the elections of representative peers for Ireland had been established to his satisfaction”.

August: Anchor takes first prize from the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland at Newry and returned to Lisnavagh as the most prized bullock in an Empire on whose ass the sun never sank.

August: Tom Rathdonnell joins Messrs. Bruen, Pack-Beresford, W. Johnson of Prumplestown, T. Burgess and others in exhibiting and prize winning at 34th annual Tullow Show amid ‘very gloomy surroundings’. Tom also starts as Steward of the Horse Show at a time when shows were held in courtyard of Leinster House.

August: Michael Davitt founds the Land League of Mayo in Castlebar. New agricultural depression setting in and organised land agitation on the rise.

September 25: Shortly after the disestablishment, Tom’s first cousin Francis George Le Poer M’Clintock, B.A., 1875; M.A. (Cant, and Dub.), 1879 is elected Rector of Kilsaran by the Board of Nomination.

September 28: Parnell delivers his third ever public speech in support of the Land League from a platform in Tullow to 35,000 people; it’s the first time he has publicly voiced support in Leinster. The speech leads to an open conflict between Henry Bruen and his Oak Park tenants over rent reductions within six weeks.

October: Foundation of the Irish National Land League. Rural disturbances began to increase dramatically in the Irish countryside.

November: Start of probably the longest ever fog in London’s history, lasts until March 1880.

Nov 28Captain Walter Glyn Lawrell, 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars, killed during the storming of Chief Sekukini’s mountain stronghold while attached to the 1st Dragoon Guards and serving with Worsley’s staff. He was shot dead by some of the Bapedi defenders who had taken refuge in a cave during the attack in what was then the north-eastern Transvaal. This was after the Zulu War itself. Born in 1844 and educated at Charterhouse, the 35-year-old is presumed to have been a friend of Tom Bunbury. He was a son of the Rev. John Lawrell, of Hampshire and husband to Mary Hamilton, daughter of J. Hamilton, Esq., of Fyne Court, near Bridgwater, Somersetshire, who he married on 1 December 1874. He visited Lisnavagh during the 1860s and photographed the farmhouse. He entered the Service in December 1865, purchasing a cornetcy in the 9th Lancers, in which he rose to become a captain by 1870, before exchanging into the 4th in 1872. His ‘Portrait with Obituary’ appears in The Illustrated London News on 14 February 1880.

December 15-23: Second Anglo-Afghan War: British victory at the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment. George White wins Victoria Cross; his son Jack White co-founds the Irish Citizen Army.




Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, P.C., M.P. (1831-1889). See here for more.

January: Tom subscribes to the Duchess of Marlborough’s Relief Fund for the distressed of Ireland. The following year, the Duchess staged a version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s bright operetta Pinafore at Dublin Castle to raise money for the fund. A witness reported that “on the whole the undertaking was very creditable to all engaged in it …the sisters, cousins, and aunts were recruited from the prettiest girls“.

March 25: Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh appointed Lieutenant for Carlow, with Tom as one of his magistrates.

March 31-April 27: General Election, the Liberals, led by the fierce oratory of retired former Liberal leader WE Gladstone, trounce Disraeli’s Tory party at the Poll and Gladstone again becomes Prime Minister.

May 29: A comedy play called ‘Jacks and Jills’ by James Albery premieres at the Vaudeville theatre on the Strand. It centres on the story of the daughters of a rich merchant John Bunbury. Alas, the play was a terrible flop, and the poor author was hissed at and vilified by the audience.

August 2: Colonel de Burgh convenes a meeting of the Naas and County Cricket Club was held in the the Pavillion at Oldtown “to organise a County Club for Cricket, Football, Polo, Pigeon Shooting, Lawn Tennis, and Archery”.

September: The Land War begins as a protest against the high cost of rent during an agricultural depression. Agrarian ‘outrages’ rise to three times the normal average in the years 1880-82; the vast majority of incidents consist of acts of intimidation such as sending threatening letters, rather than acts of violence. On average there were seventeen murders per year of landlords and their associates during the Land War, as well as acts of violence such as cattle maiming. That said, James H Murphy says much of the successes of the agitation came from peaceful actions rather than violence.

Sept 13: Tom is Vice-President for the Clones Union Farming Society’s Show.

“CLONES UNION FARMING SOCIETY’S SHOW (From our Reporter.) Clones, Tuesday. The annual show in connection with the Clones Union Farming Society was held in the Pig Market, close to the railway station, here to-day. The weather was not by any means favourable for an occasion of the kind. Indeed, it was quite the reverse. From an early hour in the morning rain fell copiously, and continued throughout the day without a single moment’s intermission. The consequence naturally was that, in the first instance, a great many remained at home who would otherwise have been present: and secondly, those who did venture out at all and put in an appearance retired early when they saw there was no sign the rain clearing off. The attendance, owing to these causes, was but small, and was confined in great measure to the exhibitors, with their friends and servants. The ladies, whose presence tends peculiarly to grace such gatherings, were conspicuous by their absence. It might be found worth while for the promoters of the annual shows of this society to consider whether it would not be advisable to choose in future a day somewhat earlier in the season. The president of the society is Sir Thomas Lennard, Bart., the largest landowner the district, and the vice-presidents as follows —The Earl of Dartry, KP; Lord Rathdonnell; the Earl of Lanesborough; Sir Victor A Brooke. Bart.; Mr. S. E. Shirley. D.L. J.P.: Mr. J. Madden. D.L., J.P.; Lord Rossmore; Sir John Leslie, Bart.; Sir Wm. Tyrone Power. K.C.R.; Mr. A. A. Murray-Ker, D.L. J.P.; Mr. Frederick Wrench, J.P.; and Mr. John Brady. D.L., JP. ” [2]



See also remarks on the Rathdonnell / McClintock estate in Counties Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone here.


Carlow cricketers, year presently unknown, including ‘T McL Bunbury’ and various Kavanagh, Duckett, Bagenal, Alexander, Wade, Tynte and Braddells.

Sept 19: Parnell introduces the word ‘boycotting’ as the term for non-violent protest in a landmark speech in Ennis. ‘What are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which another has been evicted?’ he asked his audience. ‘Shoot him!’ they replied but Parnell answered: ‘I wish to point out a better way, a more Christian way which will give the lost man an opportunity of repenting. When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted, you must shun him on the roadside, on the streets, in the shop and even in the place of worship by putting him in a “moral Coventry.” You must show him your detestation of the crime he has committed’.

Sept 25: William Browne de Montmorency 5th Viscount Mountmorres shot dead on the road between Clonbur and Ebor Hall, County Galway, after attending a magistrates’ meeting in Clonbur. See Myles Dungan’s account here.

Oct 14: Captain Charles Boycott, who would be responsible for giving the English language the word “boycott” writes to The Times of London about his situation in Ireland.

October 18: Growing confrontation between tenants and agents over unfair rents and evictions leads to celebrated and novel strategy was the ostracism or “boycotting” of Captain Charles Boycott who, as well as his own estate surrounding Lough Mask House in Co Mayo, is agent for Lord Erne’s extensive properties in the province of Connacht. The Times publishes a letter from Captain Boycott in which he explains that, after several seasons of atrocious weather, tenants had been unable to pay the rent and that he had issued eviction orders. However, his “process server’ was intimidated and driven back, and then, he told readers, “a howling mob had coerced all his workers to leave him; the blacksmith and the laundress refused to work for his family; and shopkeepers in nearby Ballinrobe had would not serve him.” In its editorial, The Times concluded: ‘The persecution of the writer, Mr Boycott, for some offence against the Land League’s code, is an insult to the government and to public justice.’ Parnell’s support for boycotting is seen as advocating a constitutional alternative to widespread violence.

Dec 20: Outbreak of First Anglo-Boer War, in a long-term response to British attempt to annex the Transvaal. The war was initially welcomed in Britain who were fearful of German intentions to annex the state. It was a case of naked colonial expansion with one big juicy eye on the diamond fields.

Dec 30: Transvaal Boers under Kruger declare a republic.

Tom Rathdonnell served two years as Chairman of the RDS Committee of Agriculture when the Society first purchased the land at Ballsbridge.




The Rathdonnells and friends in Scotland.

Jan 1: Colonel de Burgh establishes the Kildare County Club at Oldtown, Naas, offering cricket, football, pigeon shooting, lawn tennis and archery to the sporting classes. In 1890, the colonel also provided a field adjoining the club grounds for the newly formed Kildare Polo Club, chaired by Major St Leger Moore of Killashee, Master of the Kildare Hounds.

Jan 8-Feb 27: First Anglo-Boer War. British constantly ambushed and annihilated in three major battles at Laing’s Neck (Jan 8), Ingogo (Feb 7) and Majuba Hill (Feb 27). It does not help that British riflemen wore red jackets, their artillery wore blue, and they were armed with Martini-Henry rifles with bayonet.

January 23: The lowest recorded temperature in Ireland occurred. 

Jan 24: Gladstone introduces the Protection of Persons and Property (Ireland) Act, also called the Coercion Act.

January 27: (Thursday) Tom attends the fourth annual meeting of the Dublin Branch of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the hall of the King and Queen’s College of Physicians. Robert McDonnell, MD, was in the chair while Tom’s elderly cousin Alfred H McClintock, MD, sometime Master of the Rotunda, was one of the main players of the night. Alfred died that same autumn. [3]

Lisnavagh House. Photo: James Fennell.

January 29: (Saturday) The Kildare Observer reported on a meeting of the Baltinglass Union which focused on a motion by Rev. Dr Kane, PP, Baltinglass, to offer relief to those unable to earn any money due to heavy snowfall. William Burgess, guardian of the Williamstown division, resisted the idea that his area, unlike some closer to Baltinglass, be considered in ‘a distressed state’ and thus required government assistance. ‘My division, or Rathvilly, did not want it,‘ said Mr. Burgess. ‘I made particular inquiries at Lisnevagh today and I find that Lord Rathdonnell has 38 men in constant employment, and 27 extra men at 7s 6d. per week, and they have liberty to take as much firewood as they can. Any person from Rathvilly has only to go to Lisnevagh and be employed. Lord Rathdonnell is fully taking care of that district.’
Mr. Power added, ‘I certainly say I don’t know what Rathvilly would do but for Lord Rathdonnell; still there are some families in Knockevagh who could not get to Lisnevagh, it being too far away, and they require relief. We would have had an Extraordinary Sessions long ago, but for the employment at Lisnevagh‘.
Rathvilly division was added to the list, along with Ticknock, Donard, Dunlavin and Eadestown.

In early 1881, Lord Rathdonnell and his family moved into No. 19 Merrion Square South. This was highlighted in a letter by Robert McDonnell published in the Freeman’s Journal on 5 April 1881 and stirring up the controversy over the re-numbering of houses on the square, in which McDonnell remarked that the Rathdonnells were ‘occupying the house of the late James Vokes Mackey, Esq, for a few months’. James Vokes Mackey (1819-1880) was a tobacco merchant and had married Maryanne Sadlier Bruere, a grandniece of Sir John Pelly, Governor of the Bank of England and Governor of the Hudson Bay Company. The Irish Times of Thursday 12 May 1881 remarked: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and the Hons. W. and J. M’Clintock-Bunbury have left Merrion square for Lisner [sic, Lisnavagh], County of Carlow.’ So perhaps that was the end of that? Tom Rathdonnell’s cousin Alfred McClintock, former Master of the Rotunda, lived at Merrion Square where he died on his 60th birthday on 21 October 1881. (Illustrated London News, 29 October 1881)

February 3: Birth of the Hon. Thomas Leopold McClintock Bunbury, later 3rd Baron Rathdonnell, and great-grandfather of Turtle Bunbury.

February 26 (Saturday). The Weekly Freeman’s Journal reports on a Land League meeting in Rathvilly.
“At general meeting of the above branch — Mr. Michael Nolan in the chair – the following resolutions were proposed and unanimously adopted. There were 350 members present, and the resolutions were carried amid the wildest enthusiasm.
Proposed by Mr. Joseph Lawler, seconded by Mr. John Hayden — “Resolved—That, notwithstanding the harsh, unreasonable, and coercive measure of Government to intimidate the people of Ireland because of their lawful agitation for a just solution of the land question, we pledge ourselves to continue the unbroken fidelity and union of our branch to the principles of the Land League.”
Proposed by John J. Kelly, Esq., seconded by Mr. William Norton — “That we tender our worthy representative, E. D. Gray. Esq., our warmest thanks for his noble, dignified, and heroic conduct in his faithful alliance with Ireland’s other heroic representatives, who have within this session of Parliament nobly and chivalrously defended our interests and opposed the coercion which is about being passed on our people by the influence and subterfuge of landlords with the Government, simply because we seek by lawful agitation to obtain our God-given rights.”
Proposed by Mr. Timothy Toole, seconded by Mr. Lawrence Kelly -“Resolved — That we hereby enter our emphatic protest against the action of the so called Liberal Government in depriving the Irish people of their constitutional liberties. The arrest of Mr. Michael Davitt, being a case of unprecedented, arrogant, and arbitrary violation of those sacred and long cherished privileges, deserves the serious and ever- lasting condemnation of every sincere and patriotic Irishman.”

Feb 27: Sir George Colley, great-great-uncle of the present Lady Rathdonnell, dies alongside 405 of his men at Majuba Hill, South Africa.

March 2: Coercion Act receives Royal Assent.

March 6: Gladstone sues for truce with Boers, unwilling to commit more men to a disastrous campaign, especially after he had been so critical of Disraeli’s foreign policy. A strange truce as it is very vague about who now owns Transvaal.

Katherine Anne Bruen who became 2nd Lady Rathdonnell five years after her marriage to Tom Bunbury. My father thought she looked quite timid in this pose, ‘and most unlikely to take on the yacht, or the Pytchley, or the Southern Unionists, and certainly not the powers of the RDS!’ I’ve always liked the concept that she and Tom enjoyed ice-skating together. That said, I think she was a pretty formidable woman. It would be lovely to know what colour her dress was. (With thanks to Patricia Bruen)

March 13: Assassination of Tsar Alexander II. He had been riding in a bullet-proof sledge when an assassin threw a bomb, killing several people. He got out and thanked God that he had not been killed. At which point a second assassin appeared, said his thanks were a little premature and hurled the deadly bomb. His grandson, the future Tsar Nicholas II, saw him die, his legs blown off, his stomach torn out, and carried this horrific visual in his head for the rest of his life.

March 23: Boers & Britain sign peace accord; end of first Boer war.

March: Spring Show at RDS celebrates 50 years with first shows held at Ballsbridge. Tom was still Chairman of RDS Agriculture Committee at this time.

March 26: Tom Rathdonnell rides out with the Kildares at Hazelhatch.

March 28: Tom Rathdonnell rides out with the Kildares at Rathcoole.

April 5: The 1881 census estimates that there are 866,000 Protestants in Ulster, almost all passionately opposed to Home Rule, whether Liberal or Conservative. The population of Dublin within the Municipal Borough is 249,486, inhabiting 24,261 houses.

April 7: Gladstone introduces his Land Bill into the House of Commons.

April 19: Death of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beconsfield and former Prime Minister.

April 26: Loss of HMS Doterel with 143 officers and crew in Magellan Strait.

April 29: Minnie Jones (née Tipping), a granddaughter of Henry McClintock of Dundalk and cousin of Tom Rathdonnell, is drowned alongside her husband William, and 129 others when SS Tararua, a passenger steamer, sank off the New Zealand coast on a voyage between Port Chalmers and Tasmania. It was the worst civilian shipping disaster in New Zealand’s history.

April 30: The Rathdonnells staying as guests of de Robecks of Gowran Grange for horse sales at Goffs. Also in the house were the Burtons, Sir Richard Sutton and 77-year-old Sir John Michel, the former Commander-in-Chief of the army in Ireland who famously burned the Old Summer Palace at Peking in 1860 as a reprisal for the torture and murder of British prisoners.

May 1: General Order (amended July 1) creates new infantry regiments. Under the Childers Reforms the 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers) amalgamates with the 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers) to form the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The 101st (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot and 104th (Bengal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot become the Royal Munster Fusiliers. The 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot and the 108th (Madras Infantry) Regiment of Foot become the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. There are many other changes to Irish and other regiments at the time of the reforms.

Katherine Anne, 2nd Lady Rathdonnell. This is by Bassano, I think.

May 5: Kate Rathdonnell formerly presented to Queen Victorian by Viscountess Gough to receive congratulations on her new status as Lady Rathdonnell. The presentation took place in the drawing room at Buckingham Palace on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

May 13: A tenant of the Rathdonnells by name of Sarah McCaron is evicted for non-payment of rent.

May 23: The Prince of Wales held a Levee at St. James’s Palace on his mothers behalf. Tom attended and was formerly presented to the future monarch by his colleague from the Freemasons, the Earl of Donoughmore. The entire peerage and every foreign ambassador seems to have been present that day – with the exception of the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador who was presumably tied up signing the new Triple Alliance with Italy and Germany, designed as a counterweight to the growing power of France and Russia.

May 25: Some of Dublin’s streets are lit for the first time. The times were changing fast.

June 4Dublin Weekly Nation reports on Land League meeting in Rathvilly.
“Hearing of the arrest of Mr. Thomas Brennan, a special meeting of this branch was called, at which the following resolution was carried unanimously – the president, Mr. Michael Nolan, Fynock, in the chair — Resolved – “That this branch of the Irish National Land League protests in the strongest manner against the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Thomas Brennan, who has so ably defended the cause of suffering humanity against landlord tyranny and injustice. We therefore offer him our heartfelt sympathy and confidence in his prison cell to-day,” Michael P. Maher, hon. sec.”

July 16: Marriage of Tom’s first cousin Constance Catherine Harriet McClintock, daughter of Lt. Col. GAJ and Catherine McClintock of Fellows Hall, Co. Armagh, to H. C. Irwin of Mount Irwin, Co. Armagh. See here.

June 18: I assume Tom remained in London for the two weeks after the Prince’s levee at St. James’s. He was certainly there on the evening of Saturday 18 June 1881 to celebrate the bicentennial of the 2nd Dragoon of the Royal Scots Greys at the Albion on London’s Aldersgate Street. The regiment was raised in 1681. He is listed in The Times as the sixth most senior man present after the Duke of Teck, Major von Vietinghoff (military attaché to Germany), General Darby Griffith, Filed Marshall Lord Strathairn and the Earl of Dunmore. The band and pipers of the regiment were in attendance and performed throughout the evening.

June 25 (Friday): Tom and Kate attend a State Ball given by Queen Victoria at Buckingham, dancing quadrilles and polkas in the company of Britain’s most eminent princes, statesmen, military heroes, ambassadors and nobles.

July 29 (Saturday): The Flag of Ireland reports on a meeting of the Land League in Rathvilly. “A meeting of labourers of this district was held at Rathvilly on Sunday for the purpose of enrolling members of the Labour League. Owing to the inclemency of the weather the meeting was not so largely attended as anticipated. On the motion of Mr. Denis Deering, seconded by Mr. Wm. Boulger, the chair was taken by Mr. Laurence Kelly, farmer. The chairman said that the labourers’ agitation was just and sacred; it was one deserving not only of sympathy, but earnest support. If the labourer was moderate in his demand now, if he was not disposed to be too extortionate and kept within the limits of the constitution, this labour movement would soon be brought to a speedy and satisfactory issue. The farmers should throw in their lot with the labourers, and not only swell their ranks, but contribute generously towards the movement. He concluded by saying that he would work zealously with the labourers to make the branch of the Labour League a success. After several members were enrolled, Mr. Patrick Dempsey, secretary prp. tem., read the rules of the Central Labour League for the meeting. Mr. Denis Deering moved, and Mr. M. P. Maher seconded the adoption of the rules. The rules were, accordingly, agreed to. Resolutions were passed calling on the farmers, labourers, tradesmen, and shopkeepers to join the Labour League. A cordial vote of thanks to the chairman brought the meeting to close. The next meeting will be held on Sunday, the 30th inst., at which the Rev. Michael Brennan, C.C., will attend. ”

August: Dublin Horse Show moves to ‘Ball’s Bridge’, a greenfield site. The first continuous ‘leaping’ course was introduced at the Show, while the first viewing stand was erected on the site of the present Grand Stand. It held 800 people

August 1: Nathaniel Hone’s promising career as one of the greatest cricketers Ireland or Britain has ever known is cruelly cut short when he is accidentally poisoned in Limerick.

August 2: Tom’s first cousin Charles Edward McClintock, second son of Major Henry and Gertrude McClintock, marries Blanche Louisa Dunlop, daughter of Robert Foster Dunlop of Monasterboice, Co. Louth. Charles served as Lt. Col. of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.

Aug 13: First issue of United Ireland, a Parnellite weekly.

August 22: Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the Land Act, which Gladstone had championed since his return to power in 1880. The act guarantees ‘the 3 Fs’ and advances 75% of the purchase price of tenants, enabling better off tenants to buy land. The first phase of the Land War duly ends with the introduction of what turned out to be the unstable notion of dual ownership of land by landlords and tenants. Although an improvement on the 1870 Act, it was still a disappointment to the tenants and the Land League. Fixity of tenure was dependant on the payment of rent but tenants who were behind on their rent were not covered under the terms of the Act. The League was not satisfied with the limited delivery on ‘the 3 Fs’ in the 1881 Land Act and insisted on full peasant ownership. As Herbert Remmell wryly observed in his memoir ‘From Cologne to Ballinlough‘, there were no peasants in Ireland by the end of the 19th century. ‘[The British] would only tolerate the existence of poor tenants, not peasants with land and property rights“. In County Carlow, about ¾ of the land, comprising 220,000 acres, had been planted. The Land Commission was set up to implement the Land Act of 1881 and the subsequent legislation which gradually dismantled landlordism and transferred estates to the tenantry all over rural Ireland.

Sept 14: Land League Convention in in Dublin adopts a resolution that the Land Act should be tested by selected cases.

Sept 19: Assassination of US President James A Garfield in New Jersey.

Oct 4: E.L. Jameson, the notorious sub-sheriff of Carlow, organises sale of four farms and eight bullocks in Rathvilly area for non-payment of rent. The lands at Knockevagh, Knocklishanmore  seem to have belonged to John Philip Martineau, a Gray’s Inn solicitor of Huguenot origin, who died on 21 Jan 1891, leaving £70,000.

October 6: The Master (Lord Waterford), hunt servants and the field were ‘set upon by a mob’ who threw stones and other missiles’ at them in Newtown Field. They also stabbed several hounds with pitchforks. Lord Waterford gave up the Curraghmore hounds there and then; his hounds were sold, and his house boarded up

October 13: Parnell imprisoned in Kilmainham for inciting people to intimidate tenants taking advantage of the Land Act. The Land Wars have been dominating Irish affairs for several months. The Land League is suppressed and outlawed. An auxiliary organisation, the Ladies’ Land League, steps into its place.

October 14 (Friday): A severe night storm wreaks havoc across Ireland.

October 16: Fierce rioting breaks out in Dublin after the arrest of John Dillon, M.P., and other Land Leaguers.

October 17: ‘Six suspects were lodged in Naas Jail on Monday. The following are the names Messrs. Lennon and O’Toole, Tullow; Messrs. Egan, and Lynam, Tullamore; Mr. Delany, Abbeyleix; and Mr. Patk. White, of Clara, King’s County. Mr. W. H. Cobbe, was arrested on Wednesday morning, under the Coercion Act, at his residence Ballycullane, Portarlington, and lodged in Naas Jail. A troop of the 5th Lancers formed the escort from Newbridge, which the authorities still adopt their station instead of Sallins. Mr. Cobbe is an extensive auctioneer and manufacturer of agricultural implements.’ [4]

October 21: Five days after the Dublin riots, Viscount Massereene convenes a meeting of kindred spirits in Dundalk to ponder the matter. Unable to attend in person, the Rathdonnells dispatch their agent to hear what is said. That same night, Tom’s cousin Alfred McClintock dies at his home on Merrion Square.

Pegasus Paddock at Lisnavagh, looking towards the Pigeon Park.

November 1: Tom Rathdonnell singled out as one of the Ulster landlords who was ‘prepared to accept that tenants, many still burdened by debts and arrears, could not yet resume their full rental obligations’. As such he offers ‘an unsolicited abatement of 50% on the gale of rent due on 1 November’. [5]

Nov 7: ‘Death of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, and Irish nationalist, John MacHale. Born in Tubbernavine, Co Mayo, he laboured and wrote to secure Catholic Emancipation, legislative independence, justice for tenants and the poor, and vigorously assailed the proselytisers and the anti-Catholic anti-national system of public education. He preached regularly in Irish.’ [6]

December 14: Freeman’s Journal reports in ‘FASHION AND VARIETIES’ that ‘Lady Rathdonnell has left Kingstown for England.’

December 28 (Wednesday): Death of Captain D.W.P. Pack-Beresford (1818-1881) of Fenagh House, County Carlow. He had succeeded as MP of Carlow when Tom’s father, Captain McClintock Bunbury, stepped down in 1862. [7]

December 31: (Saturday) 1881 concludes with a court case when a tenant by mane of Sarah McCaron takes Tom to the Land Commissioners Court. Mrs McCaron had been evicted for non-payment of rent on May 13th, which is approximately when Tom was being introduced to Queen Victoria. She subsequently took “forcible possession” of a cabin on the land. She still owed four years of rent, about £76. Tom offered her £20 if she gave up. Judge O’Hagan said this was “a hopeless case” and advised Mrs McCaron to accept Tom’s offer and move out. The outcome remains unknown.


Extracted from a map that was originally made in 1839 by Captain Tucker and Lieutenant Rimington, Royal Engineers, and then engraved in 1840 under the direction of Captain Larcom, R.E, at the Ordnance Survey Office. It was subsequently revised in 1873 by Lieutenant Elsdale, R.E., the revisions being engraved in 1875 under the direction of Lt Colonel Wilkinson, R.E., on an Electrotype of the Original Copperplate. The map is so detailed that it shows the terraces, the greenhouse and the Pump Field pump, as well as the Kennel and Reservoir by “Loughnavagh” and the ever-mysterious square in Bowe’s Grove.


Rathvilly prior to the construction of St Patrick’s Church, with the chapel visible to the right of what is now Centra.

Rathvilly as per the 1839-1873 map showing the chapel, constabulary barracks, railway station and 29th mile post, but no Phelan Row.



January 4: Four days after the McCaron Case, Tom Rathdonnell attends what is to be one of the greatest gatherings of the Irish aristocracy and landed gentry ever known – “the rank and educated intelligence of the country as well as the property” as The Times pompously put it. The meeting took place in the Exhibition Palace on Dublin’s Earlsfort Terrace and was presided over by the Duke of Abercorn. More than 3000 showed up to yell out “hear hear” and roar out three cheers and generally protest against the way the sub-commissioners were implementing Gladstone’s Land Act in Ireland. Some landlords stated that they had supported the Land Act on the premise that it would not be unjust or arbitrary. But there had been too many cases that went against the interest of the landlords to justify their continuing support. The meeting concluded with Sir George Colthurst urging the attendees to organize and combine in defence of their rights, dramatically stating that by unity they had a chance of winning for otherwise they would lose forever. concluded with everyone singing “God Save the Queen” to the accompaniment of an organ. There is a detailed report of this meeting in The Times and what the likes of Arthur Kavanagh, the Earl of Dartey and the Marquis of Waterford said; maybe one can find a potted version elsewhere.

March 2: Roderick Maclean attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Charles Stewart Parnell, in colour.

April 26-May 1Kilmainham Treaty offers end to agrarian violence and Parnell is released from prison in return for the promise of an arrears bill from Gladstone to protect over 100,000 who are behind rent. Parnell promises to discourage violence among Land Leaguers and the government agreed to extend the terms of the 1881 Act.

May 2: Gladstone informs Parliament of Parnell’s release and the resignation of the hard-line Chief Secretary, William Forster.

May 4: John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, returns as Lord Lieutenant, until 9 June 1885 when succeeded by the Earl of Carnarvon.

May 6: Lord Frederick Cavendish, the newly arrived Chief Secretary for Ireland, and his secretary Thomas Henry Burke are stabbed to death by the “Invincibles” in Phoenix Park. This puts Gladstone into a desperate pickle as Cavendish is a younger brother of Lord Hartington (future Duke of Devonshire), the power behind the Liberal party. The murders appear to make a mockery of Gladstone’s policy of negotiating with the Irish. Brackenbury is sent over to rectify the situation but ends up hating the job so much that when he resigns, he is shunned by his peers. Hartington will later break away from Gladstone and form the Liberal Unionists. A 2021 publication “The Irish Assassins” by Julie Kavanagh, opens a lot of doors on Gladstone’s heartbreak and frustration with Queen Victoria,  as well as the whole Home Rule Question.

May 7: The seriousness of the Phoenix Park murders is reflected by the fact, for the first time since Lord George Bentinck introduced the custom of a Derby-day adjournment of parliament in 1847, the British Parliament meets to rush through an emergency Prevention of Crime Bill for Ireland.

May 20: The Triple Alliance is formed between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.

June 12: The Central News states: “In all probability the annual Convention of the National Land League of Great Britain will be held in Dublin in August. It is understood that the reasons for this step are that during that month the Irish Industrial Exhibition will be opened, and the National Monument of O’Connell unveiled. It is also the centenary of the Dungannon Convention.” [8]

June 21: On the night of the summer solstice, the Rathdonnells attends their second State Ball at Buckingham Palace given by the Queen. Mr. Liddell’s Orchestra performed for the guests.

July 11: British troops occupy Alexandria and the Suez Canal.

August: The passage of the Arrears of Rent Act removes a major source of grievance and effectively brings the Land War to an end.

August 16: Charles Stewart Parnell becomes a Freeman of the City of Dublin.

August 18: Passage of the Married Women’s Property Act. Prior to this, a married woman could not make a will and everything she owned became the property of her husband on marriage. Although she could write a will, it had no validity in law unless the husband wished to honour it! It was only in 1893 that a further Act allowed married women to gain complete control of their property. Unmarried women and widows were always free to make wills, and the wills of unmarried women are often of great interest as they usually tend to mention a far greater variety of relatives than the wills of people who have children to leave their goods to.

August 20: Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow.

Sept 4: Thomas Edison switches on the world’s first large-scale electrical supply network, zapping 110 volts directly to fifty-nine customers in Lower Manhattan. Electricity was no longer a scientific curiosity. It was the must-have tool for modern life. One of the vital ingredients for the creation of electricity was copper. Even as the electricity flickered across New York, Cavan-born Marcus Daly was about to score his great breakthrough at the Anaconda Mine in Montana where his team drilled deep enough to hit a 50-foot-wide vein of red copper ore flowing through his mine like a river.

Sept 13: The British army takes Cairo and establishes a rather discreetly acknowledged Egyptian protectorate which lasts 70 years. This gives them considerably more control over Suez Canal, a vital lifeline to and from British India.

Sept 18: Great Comet of 1882: Her Majesty’s Astronomer at the Cape, David Gill, was watching the comet rise a few minutes before the Sun and described it as “The nucleus was then undoubtedly single, and certainly rather under than over 4″ in diameter; in fact, as I have described it, it resembled very much a star of the 1st magnitude seen by daylight.”

October 2: Tom’s sister-in-law Myra McClintock Bunbury gives birth to a son for Jack, christened Geoffrey Bunbury. He was to be their only child.

October 8: Parnell summons a conference at Avondale and launched the Irish National League to take the place of the now outlawed Land League. The passage of the 1881 Land Act and his release from Kilmainham had led to the disbanding of the original outlawed Land League. However, it soon emerged that the Land Act was unsatisfactory as it had only addressed the issue of Fair Rents. The new League shifted its emphasis from land reform to Home Rule. Although the idea of national independence meant little to the tenant farmers, both Parnell and Davitt believed that the Land War and the end of landlordism was a step on the way to their ultimate aim – national independence. This is an indication of the relationship between the land question and the national question.

November 21: Jack Bunbury whips Patrick Fenelon and all hell breaks loose.

November 25 (Saturday): Stopping the Carlow Hounds. ‘On Saturday the meet was at Lisnevagh, the residence of Lord Rathdonnell. After drawing Lisnevagh blank, a move was made to Rathdonnell, where a large crowd had assembled with dogs and it was found impossible to continue the hunting. This is the first attempts that has been made to interfere with the Carlow hounds.’ [9]

December: Jack Bunbury enwrapped in the Fenelon affairFr. J. E. Delaney, PP, Clonegal, addresses a meeting of between 4000 and 5000 supporters of the Irish National League and calls on “every land leaguer in County Carlow and I suppose there are a couple of thousand of them at least, to give a penny a piece to buy a gold mounted riding whip and present it to the Honourable Bunbury to flagellate all the farmers that are opposed to hunting’.

My father has pinned a date of 1882 onto a Settling Tank near the Southern Cross windmill in the Pigeon Park at Lisnavagh. Visible as an L-shaped corner of capping stones (granite or concrete?), he describes this as “the first stage of the C19 water supply. From the Reservoir the water flowed through this tank and continued eastwards across the drain where there was a stop valve in a big square brick box, lid stolen for somewhere else; continuing east the drive pipe of 6” porcelain, if I recall, had to be embanked where it passes through the top of the wood to another small surface tank still there in Kinsellagh’s Paddock. It then turned right, downhill to get up momentum, through the big concrete box that contained another stop valve and down into the wood. In there is the Ram House which I could not find with Jemima and Bay three years ago (2017) but when I rediscovered it in February 2020 found a huge spruce tree lying over it! The hydraulic ram pumped water through a 3” cast iron pipe to the Brick Tank, aka Bride’s Delight. It was the estate supply.”




Tom’s eldest daughter Isabella went on to marry Forrester Colvin and was mother to Dame Mary Colvin, Director of the Women’s Royal Army Corps.

January: Tom Rathdonnell becomes embroiled in the land controversy when his agent, Mr. Gillespie, is accused of robbing “struggling tenants in Omagh of every last farthing” in a time of great hardship. “It is conduct such as this which has brought landlords in this country into such disrepute and detestation. There is no mill on the property to grind corn nor game or fish to take, not a pounds worth of timber. Still, this arbitrary and grasping spirit cannot bear to even allow the smallest benefit to the tenants who have emptied their pockets of every six pence demanded“. I don’t know who wrote this or how serious the accusations were but the original may be in one of the Archive boxes at Lisnavagh.

In 1883, Tom is said to have gifted a site to the Roman Catholic parish of Rathvilly, comprising of an elevated plateau on the western side of the village. As of January 2024, I can find no record of this arrangement but I do know that my father held the property on which Kevin Barry’s statue stands so it sounds feasible. Work began immediately on a new church and four years later, the present-day St Patrick’s Church was completed.

In 1883, alienated shareholders of the Munster Bank began a whispering campaign against certain directors who were said to be helping themselves to huge unsecured loans. Chairman William Shaw brazenly declared: ‘I never in my life bought £500 worth of speculative security; anything I have ever bought, I bought to keep’. However, it soon emerged that Shaw had received a personal loan of £80,000, more than double that of all the other directors combined. He and the other directors had also received excessively generous dividends. Shaw’s resignation in 1884 coincided with the public acknowledgment that the bank did indeed have substantial long-standing bad debts. The Munster Bank was rescued by Cork brewing magnate JJ Murphy, who reincarnated it as the Munster & Leinster Bank which, in 1966, was subsumed into Allied Irish Bank.

Foot and mouth disease reappears for first time since 1877, with 1,397 outbreaks in the east of Ireland and a small number in Ulster and Munster. This was eradicated in 1884 following movement controls and stamping out, which was used in Ireland for the first time.

The lower reservoir in the Pigeon Park at Lisnavagh is thought to have been constructed in the 1880s. It was dredged in the summer of 2022. The windmill, known as the Southern Cross, was installed by my father in the 1980s.

Feb 1: Tom’s aunt Maria Susan McClintock (née Heyland), the widow of the Rev. Robert Le Poer M’Clintock, is married secondly to Francis Cole, eldest son of Denbigh-based Owen Blayney Cole (1808-1886), Esq., D.L., and Lady Fanny Cole, a daughter of the Earl of Rathdown who grew up at Charleville, County Wicklow. Educated at Oxford, Owen Blayney Cole was a well-known poet in his day but suffered from mental illness. He was the son of the London brewer and 1798 veteran Henry Cole (1770-1815). As well as Francis, he and Lady Fanny had two daughters. In 1836 Owen’s older sister Eliza Ibbetson Cole married John Metge of Athlumney, near Navan, County Meath, while his younger sister Henrietta Isabella Cole was married on 1st June 1837 to the Rev. John William Finlay. The Finlay’s son Henry Thomas Finlay (born in 1847) was my great-great-grandfather.

Feb 13: A special jury is convened at the Four Courts under Lord Chief Justice Pallis of the Queen’s Bench to consider the case of Jack Bunbury whipping Patrick Fenelon. After deliberating for 20 minutes, the jury awarded Patrick Fenlon £10 damages and Jack was ordered to pay £150 costs.

March: London Metropolitan Police form the Special Branch to combat rise in Irish nationalist terrorism.

March 27: Death of John Brown, Queen Victoria’s beloved personal servant.

March 31: Blackburn Olympic defeat Old Etonians 2–1 after extra time to become the first working-class team to win the 1883 FA Cup final, as depicted in ‘The English Game’ series on Netflix.  Arthur Kinnaird (1847-1923) and his fellow team members must have been well known to Tom and Jack Bunbury.

May 14-9 June: Joe Brady, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey, Dan Curley and Tim Kelly – the Invincibles convicted of the Phoenix Park murders – are hanged by William Marwood in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Of Brady, The Times remarked. “He was brought up as a stonemason of herculean strength, his occupation developing the muscular power of his arms, which told with such terrible effect when he drove the knives into the bodies of Lord Cavendish and his secretary T. H. Burke.”

May 21: Queen Victoria hosts another Drawing Room at Buckingham. This time Kate Rathdonnell presents her cousin Mrs. John Conolly to the Queen.

May 26Dublin Weekly Nation publishes details of Jack Bunbury’s whipping scandal under the heading ‘Mr. Patrick Fenlon and the Distress in Donegal.’

June: Adare Manor receives a visit from Earl Spencer who, as Viceroy, was Queen Victoria’s most senior representative in Ireland. Known as the Red Earl on account of his abundant red beard, Earl Spencer was an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales. A large detachment of constables, troops and artillery were deployed to ensure the safety of the Viceroy and his wife who, having attended the Limerick Show, arrived into Adare by railway. That evening, the Spencers and the Dunravens were entertained in the Great Hall where Clifford Lloyd, the magistrate in charge of the Viceroy’s bodyguard, belted out a rebel song called “The Wearing of the Green”.

Sept 11: The imperialist Sir Evelyn Baring becomes Consul General of Egypt, ruling the protectorate for the next 24 years with an army of 6000 troops.

Sept 23: The Irish National League hold a second meeting in Tullow, presided over by Patrick Hanlon with Patrick Kelly of Tullow proposing. Hanlon opened the meeting by referring to the decline of landlordism in Ireland and pleaded for the public to support the Irish Parliamentary Party in the upcoming elections. Speakers included O’Dwyer Grey (MP for Carlow), Charles Dawson (Lord Mayor of Dublin and MP for Carlow) and Joseph Biggar (an excellent filibuster). The Catholic clergy (including the Rev. M. Brennan of Rathvilly) took a very active part in the formation and direction of the Carlow branches of the INL. In relation to these meetings it should be recalled that the editorials of contemporary issues of The Nationalist and Leinster Times gave their unconditional support to the ideals of the INL. [10]

November: Thomas Weir opens the Goldsmiths Hall at 3 Wicklow Street, Dublin.

The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England took note of Tom’s cattle breeding:

‘At Lisnevagh, in Co. Carlow, the late Colonel Bunbury long kept a good herd of Shorthorns, from which the district derived much benefit. His son [should read ‘great-nephew’], Lord Rathdonnell, the owner of the celebrated “Anchor” (32947), has gone heartily into the breeding of high-class shorthorns and his promising herd at Lisnevagh is presided over by a bull on hire from Warlaby.” [11]

Colonel Bunbury was, of course, Tom Rathdonnell’s great-uncle, not his father.


Anchor, Lisnavagh’s prize shorthorn bull, swept the awards across Ireland, Scotland and England in 1879.




January 5: Tullow Petty Sessions – Alleged Trespass in Pursuit Of Game.

Lord Rathdonnell charged Patrick Byrne with having, on the 3rd day of December, unlawfully entered on complainant’s property at present held by Michael Nolan, of Ladystown, County Carlow, in pursuit of or looking for game, to wit, hares, being at the same time and place provided with dogs for the purpose.
Mr. E. T. Mulhall appeared for the defendant. Mr. Mulhall said that Lord Rathdonnell should appear personally or by solicitor. The Chairman [Sir Thomas Butler, who had Major Hutchinson, E. L. Alcock and Colonel Keogh as his fellow magistrates] said they heard several cases without the attendance of the complainant or his solicitor.
Major Hutchinson said he was quite prepared to hear the case. Mr. Mulhall could appeal if he wished.
Mr. Alcock asked what advantage could be derived from the attendance of Lord Rathdonnell.
Mr. Mulhall — Does this man know how Nolan holds?
Brian (gamekeeper) —I do.
The case was then proceeded with.
Martin Brian was sworn, and said that on the 3rd December he found the defendant trespassing on Nolan’s holding at Ladystown, the property of Lord Rathdonnell. He asked him to take up the hounds and go away, and he did not.
The witness, in reply to Major Hutchinson, said he had deputation to act as gamekeeper (produced)
Mr. Mulhall — Can you prove that Michael Nolan, who holds the lands, has not a right to shoot on them?
Major Hutchinson — The other man must give evidence of that.
Mr. Mulhall — No, sir; Lord Rathdonnell must prove his case. (To witness) How do you know whether Nolan gave him permission?
Chairman — That can be easily proved. Mr. Mulhall said his client got permission from the tenant, and Lord Rathdonnell should prove that in Nolan’s lease the game was reserved.
Colonel Keogh — Prove Nolan’s authority.
Mr. Mulhall — We are not bound to prove his authority.
Chairman — He proves that your client was on the land.
Mr. Mulhall — Yes, on Nolan’s land.
Chairman— On Lord Rathdonnell’s land.
Mr. Mulhall (to witness)— Can you swear now that Michael Nolan is not authorised to course there?
Mr. Alcock — The defendant was found on the lands of another man. Show his right to go there.
Mr Mulhall — I will show he went there by permission of Nolan.
Chairman—Show that.
Mr. Mulhall — Nolan gave us permission, but the summons was not served until Christmas Eve, and we had not time to summon him as a witness since.
Witness – Nolan complained to me of the trespass, and said he would complain of me if I did not stop it.
Mr. Mulhall said his intention was to have Nolan summoned.
Mr. Alcock — But you have no authority to make him produce his lease.
Mr. Mulhall — Give justice where justice is due. I ask for an adjournment on reasonable grounds, and surely you won’t refuse me.
Chairman — Nolan himself complained of the trespass.
Mr Mulhall — The summons was served on Christmas Eve.
Chairman — That is five days ago.
Mr. Mulhall pointed out that Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day intervened.
Mr. Alcock — How can you do anything in face of the statement that Nolan complained of the trespass?
Mr. Mulhall — If I show by the lease that Nolan has a right of shooting, and that he gave that right to the defendant, you must dismiss the case.
Brian produced the leaf of a pass book upon which a memorandum was written by Nolan authorising him (Brian) to prevent trespass on the lands.
Mr. Mulhall — That proves my case. Here is a notice which shows that Nolan has a right to the game, and then he gives this man leave. I only ask for an adjournment to prove that, and I think it is a very reasonable proposition.
Mr. Alcock— Nolan lives within four miles of the town.
Mr Mulhall – If you give me a summons I will have him in. I do not see what great hardship it can be upon Lord Rathdonnell to adjourn it.
Chairman — It would be a great hardship upon the magistrates to hear these things two or three times over.
Mr Mulhall— In a fishery case I knew you to adjourn five times for the complainant.
Chairman — If there were reasonable grounds we would, and six times too.
Mr. Mulhall — Well, this is a reasonable application.
Chairman – The magistrates all round see no reason in it.
Mr. Hutchinson — If you wish to appeal you can do it.
Mr. Mulhall — I only ask for an adjournment, and how can I appeal from your ruling.
Major Hutchinson — The magistrates have decided upon hearing the case.
Mr Alcock — If you have got a good case, why not appeal.
Major Hutchinson — Put £1 1s. on, and then he can appeal.
Chairman — Then we fine £1 1s.
Defendant — Mr. Nolan is sick, or I would not want to summon him at all.
Mr. Mulhall said in such cases the summonses were handed to him at sessions, and it was therefore impossible for him to direct proofs in time.
The defendant was then fined £1 1s. and 1s costs.
There was no other business of importance.
Leinster Leader – Saturday 5 January 1884

January 17: Gerald FitzGerald, later 5th Duke of Leinster, marries the beautiful Lady Hermione Duncombe.

January: The Carlow and Island hounds had a brilliant run of thirty-seven minutes from Rathdaniel, killing in the open. [12]

The Dowager Lady Rathdonnell was born Anne Lefroy and married Tom’s uncle John McClintock.

Feb 18: A fund-seeking advertisement in The Times states that Tom’s aunt, the Dowager Lady Rathdonnell, was on the committee for St Agatha’s Convalescent Home in Shoreditch, Hastings. Countess Cowper was patron of the place. Two years later, these Evangelical women managed to secure the devoutly religious Charles Latimer Marson as their curate the following year.

Feb 27: South African Republic (ie: Transvaal) becomes fully independent when the London Convention is signed.

Feb 29 (Leap Year): ‘STEALING COW.

The grand jury having returned a true bill, Thomas Abbey was indicted for having on 29th February, at Lisnavagh, stolen, and driven away a cow, the property of Joseph Doyle. There was a second count for receiving the cow, knowing it to be stolen. The prisoner pleaded guilty. Mr. Thorp said he understood the accused offered to hand back the money he had received on the sale of the cow. Head-constable Dillon said a sum of nine shillings was found on the prisoner. He sold the cow for £3 2s. 8d.
Mr. Thorp— A cow worth £13 or £14! I cannot understand how it is the man who bought her was not prosecuted.
His Honor— Is there anything known about the prisoner.
The accused handed in a letter from the Rev. O. F. Nolan, P.P., Rathoe, stating that he knew the defendant to a quiet unoffensive young man.
His Honor read over the information of James Farrell who bought the cow, and who was unable to attend through illness. The information set forth that he bought the cow in the fair at Newtownbarry, for 2s. 6d. from the prisoner. He paid for the cow and brought it home. She was afterwards claimed by Mr. Doyle, and he gave it up to the police.
His Honor—Who is the man who bought the cow.
Head-constable Dillon—He was a publican in Tullow, but had lost his licence, and now had only an eating-house.
His Honor—Has he any land?
Head-constable Dillon —No; he sold it.
Mr. Thorp—l not know why he was not brought before the court.
Major Hutchinson—He is the sick man.
Mr. Thorp—l not know why informations were not sworn against him.
His Honor—ls anything known of the prisoner?
Head-constable Dillon – There is no conviction against him. He was for a short time the Dublin police, and left it for some irregularity.
His Honor (to prisoner)—Have you anything to say?
Prisoner —No, sir; only I am very sorry for what I done. I did not know what I was doing.
His Honour sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment, to date from his committal.’
(Leinster Leader – Saturday 12 April 1884).

March 14: Letter from Robert Malcolmson, solicitor, Carlow, to Lord Rathdonnell, England, regarding what appears to be the assignment of the lease of Mount Lucas from James Malone to his mother. (Thaks to Bill Webster).

Undated: Vanity Fair reports: “Lisnevagh, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell’s Irish residence, was the rendezvous for the available dancing men and women of Eastern Ireland last Thursday. If the temperature suggested punkahs rather than prancing, the rooms were large and airy, and there was no packing as in town. Liddell was the motive-power, and Liddell’s right hand has not lost its cunning or charm. The military races at the Curragh were a capital distraction for the following day, and the stand and the paddocks never were filled by a more brilliant company, while, as at Punchestown, the garrison proved greatly given to hospitality. The Rifle Brigade had the pick of the ponies and won the chief events, while the 18th Hussars, the 5th Lancers, and the Royals didn’t go empty away [p. 120] … Like Lord Waterford, Lord Rathdonnell has given up hunting in Ireland and now migrates every season to the shires.’ [13]

May: Package of dynamite sticks found at base of Nelson’s Column in London, attributed to Irish Fenians.

July 2: Opening of libel trial known as the Dublin Castle homosexual scandal, about which there is an excellent Come Here to Me blog.

July: Tom wins first prize for ‘the best Heifer, calved in 1883’ and second prize for ‘the best Bull, calved in the year 1883’ at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Agricultural Show in Kilkenny.


During the week Kilkenny has been a scene of unwonted activity and bustle, the immediate occasion for all the lively business and mild excitement being the show of the Royal Agricultural Society. Weather of almost tropical warmth has throughout favoured the efforts of the promoters, and as with sunshine any and every gathering of the kind may be converted by the general public into a sort of bucolic fete, the state of the barometer is no inaccurate measure of the fullness or vacuity of the coffers that hold the gate money. The enclosed space immediately adjoins the town, and covers some six acres, a fine field close by serving as an arena for the jumping events. Frankly speaking, the show can hardly be called a success. In some departments there is a very noticeable advance in the number and the quality of the exhibits, but in others — prominently the classes reserved for tenant-farmers – the falling off is very remarkable. In some cases not a solitary entry was received. This is hardly the place to venture an explanation of this result, but it is fair to assume either that these shows and the Anti-Irish gush expended by Lord Lieutenants and their tail of snobs and shoneens on fat oxen and bloated swine have fallen into disrepute, or that the farmers have their time so folly occupied in the hard struggle to make ends meet that they cannot afford to waste their money and their care on ornamental, and mere prize-winning stock. A notable feature is the display of agricultural implements, prominent — it might be said preeminent – amongst the exhibitors being Messrs. Walter Carson and Sons, of Dublin, whose extensive collection of mowing, reaping, and threshing machines, ploughs, harrows, grubbers, and more especially dairy apparatus well repaid examination. Messrs. McKenzie also show a variety of implements of the same class, and a number of English makers are also represented. Some articles of local make complete the catalogue.’ [14]

Gilbert and Sullivan, Princess Aida.

It transpires to be an exceptionally hot summer.

August 26: Tom apparently sent what the Nationalist of 3 October 1885 described as “a force of servants, workmen, etc. sufficient to besiege the village” to a farm in the Rathvilly area from which Edward Bolger had previously been evicted, there to harvest an acre and a half of com and to carry it home to Lisnavagh in satisfaction of rent owed. Great indignation was felt in the area, as people thought it unfair that the man who sowed and grew the com should get no share whatever of the crop.’ [15]

Sept 22: The gunboat HMS Wasp is wrecked off Tory Island, Co Donegal, with the loss of 52 lives; eight survive.

October 1: Tom and Kate attend the Clayton Browne’s golden wedding at Browne’s Hill, along with the Kildares, Boscawens, Butlers, Bruens, Kavanaghs and such like. [16]

Nov 1: GAA founded in Hayes Hotel, Thurles.

Nov 15: Berlin Conference convened at Bismarck’s official residence on Wilhelmstrasse (site of the Congress of Berlin six years earlier) to organise the peaceful conquest of the content and, amongst other things, ho ho, to abolish slavery. Bismarck, the chairman, wasn’t crazy about the whole empire idea and actually tried to give German Southwest Africa away to friendly Britain because it was such a headache! The British representative at the conference was Sir Edward Malet (Ambassador to the German Empire). Henry Morton Stanley attended as a U.S. delegate

Alleged Elopement Near Borris. Carlow Sentinel, 1884 (courtesy of Michael Purcell & the Pat Purcell Papers): “Our Borris correspondent informs us that excitement has been revived in the vicinity of Borris by the intelligence of the elopement of the daughter of a well-to-do farmer of that locality with her father’s servant man. The young lady is well connected, and is said to have refused the hand of a respectable young farmer, although the match was considered very desirable on both sides. The runaways, it is asserted, started last week for New York, but the police do not appear to have been apprised of the occurrence.”




Eugene McCabe’s ‘Death and Nightingales’, adapted as a BBC TV series in 2018, was set in County Fermanagh in 1885.

January 16-18: Death in action at battle of Abu Klea of one of the sons of General Sir John Bloomfield Gough, Colonel of the Royal Scots. The Desert Column was engaged in “The Gordon Relief Expedition”, a march across the desert to the aid of General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan, when attacked by Mahdist forces.

In February 1885, Major Bunbury’s Mohican aged 11 competed in the Grand National. This painting of the hose is by George Paice and was painted in 1887. Mohican was a successful racehorse during the 1880s. Major Bunbury was Tom’s distant cousin Major Ralph Hall Bunbury who married the widow of Hugh Baker of Lismacue House, Bansha, County Tipperary. There was a dispersal of his bloodstock from Lismacue after his death. (Photo: Peter Bunbury via Maximilian Baron von Koskull)

January 27: Parnell turns the first sod on the West Clare Railway. [17]

April 11: Anne Watters evicted from her farm at Kilcloney, near Borris, by Mr Jameson, Sub-Sheriff for Carlow, on behalf of Mr Beresford. [18]

March 20: Tom wins the Pytchley Point-to-Point cup on a glorious spring afternoon, riding in the 14-stone division over ‘a well-selected course near West Haddon in the presence of a good company of farmers and gentlemen.’ Gordon Cunard was second and Captain Middleton was third. [19] Further details were spelled by the Northampton Mercury the following week (Saturday 28 March 1885):

“As to the race itself, any description herein attempted must necessarily be rather incomplete. The lot were despatched to a fairly level start considering the number, Captain Middleton on a grey assuming the command, and the field quickly tailing off as each rider struck an independent line. At the first fence Mr. Kennard’s mount compounded, and was not remounted. Up to the end of the first mile the running was alternately made by Mr. Cunard, Lord Rathdonnell, and Captain Middleton, and hereabouts the last-named came down in negotiating a stiff fence. When fairly in the line for home a rattling race ensued between Lord Rathdonnell and Mr. Cunard, the first-named eventually winning by about a couple of lengths. Captain Middleton, who had pluckily re-mounted, coming in third, about the same distance away from Mr. Cunard. The others finished in the order previously given. The company then moved off to the meet at West Haddon, and after several covers had been drawn blank, the hounds were turned homewards without having tasted blood.”

April 1-7: The Prince and Princess of Wales make their first visit to Ireland in 17 years. They bring their young son Prince Edward with them. There’s an outstanding account of the occasion in The Times. After lunch the 16th Lancers escorted the Royal Couple down Nassau Street, Merrion Square and Mount Street to the RDS showgrounds at Ballsbridge where Tom was part of a fine aristocratic gathering headed up by the Duke and Duchess of Leinster, the crowds waving handkerchiefs and cheering all the way.

c. April 20: ‘When Dundalk was reached, a large crowd, kept in abeyance by a squadron of Lancers, heartily cheered the Prince and Princess [of Wales], and Lady Massereene, who, with her husband, Viscount Massereene, awaited the arrival of the Royal party, presented her Royal Highness with a beautiful bouquet. Lord Massereene, accompanied by Lord Rathdonnell and a deputation of the Lieutenant, Deputy-Lieutenants, and magistrates of the county Louth, presented an address of welcome.’ (Western Daily Press – Friday 24 April 1885).

April: Robert Worthington, contractor, begins extension of Baltinglass railway line to Rathvilly and Tullow.

June 8: Parnell and all 39 Irish Parliamentary Party MPs vote against Gladstone on a bill proposing additional taxes on wine and spirits. Gladstone’s administration duly collapsed and Lord Salisbury, with Parnell’s help, now formed a Conservative government.

June 9: Earl Spencer succeeded as Lord Lieutenant by the Earl of Carnarvon.

June 26: The Rathdonnells once again attended the State Ball at Buckingham.

July: Lord Salisbury, the Conservative leader, forms his first government; Lord Randolph Churchill (1849–1894), a former school companion of Tom’s from Eton days, becomes Secretary of State for India until government falls in November election. Edward Gibson, the former Attorney General, becomes Lord Chancellor of Ireland, with a cabinet seat, and is elevated to the peerage as Baron Ashbourne. The 4th Earl of Dunraven is appointed Under-Secretary for the Colonies.

Sept 1: Opening of Baltinglass railway station, connecting to Kingsbridge, now Heuston Station, in Dublin.

Sept 22: Lord Randolph Churchill makes a speech in Ulster in opposition to Home Rule.

October [check]: Lord Chancellor Ashbourne single-handedly drafts and pushes through the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, aka the Ashbourne Act, whereby the Government offer up to £4 million to enable tenants to borrow the whole purchase price for their holdings, with an annual interest rate of 4% over 49 years. The terms are so generous, some wonder has Ashbourne come under Parnell’s spell.

October 10: (Saturday) The Kildare Observer remarks that ‘Major Bunbury, Lord Rathdonnell’s brother, who got such a shaking fall with the Duke of Grafton’s hounds the other day, found, when he had picked himself up and been duly ‘vetted’, that his collar-bone was not broken, as supposed, but dislocated – a curiosity in actions, I believe.’ Was Jack Bunbury also known as ‘Major Bunbury’?

November: An insight into the state of play between Henry Bruen and his tenantry can be found in this exchange which appeared in the Carlow Sentinel (and is reproduced here courtesy of Michael Purcell & the Pat Purcell Papers).


We have received the following for publication and commend to the careful attention of all engaged in rent agitation Mr Bruen’s reply to the demand for a general reduction. While it shows conclusively that the demand is to a large extent forced and fictitious, it also proves Mr Bruen’s desire to maintain the position he has always held in his dealings with his tenantry as a fair and considerate landlord:-

Shamrock Hotel, Carlow, November, 1885.
To the Right Honourable Henry Bruen, Oak Park, Carlow.
We, the undersigned tenants on your property, have come to a conclusion at a meeting held this day, that we cannot pay our present rents; we expect an abatement of 30% on this half year, and a reasonable time to pay our rents, as we cannot turn our cattle or sheep into money at present.
Patrick Norton, Ballyloo; Walter Cummins, Cloughna; Michael McDonald, Primrose Hill; Timothy Dowling, Linkardstown; Michael Wrafter, Knockthomas; Patrick Kehoe, Orchard; Edward Hayden, Knocknagee; Thomas Byrne, Carlow; James Byrne, Ballyhacket; Bernard Byrne, Ballyhacket; Pat Kealy, Gurteen; John Mahoney, Ballycarney; John Timmons, Quinagh; James McDarby, Cloughna; James Lennon, Cloughna; Pat Cummins, Nurney; Pat Doyle, Ballybannon; Pat Donohoe, Orchard; P. Haydon, Cloughna; William L. Bourne, Ballinacarrig; Michael O’Brien, Ballinacarrig; Nicholas Cosgrave, Orchard; James McDonald, Coolroe; William Kennedy, Orchard; Representatives, Martin and Thomas Byrne; Michael Keegan, Knocknagee; Michael Prendergast, Coolroe; Thomas Lyons, Coolroe; Robert Little, Ballyloo; Mathew Cummins, Ballybannon; William Byrne, Ballyhacket; Edward McDarby, Cloghna; Sam Snoddy, Quinagh; Pat Murphy, Ballyryan; Pierce Gall, Ballycarney; John Gorman, Newtown; Michael Nolan, Newtown; Peter Walsh, Newtown.
P.S — Please reply to the above address.

Carlow Sentinel. 19th November 1885. Mr Bruen’s reply to his tenantry.

Addressed to Mr Patrick Norton, Ballyloo, Carlow.
Oak Park, Carlow.
Dear Sir –
I have received a communication from several of my tenants to which I am asked to send an answer, and your name being first on the list I address myself to you.
At first sight of the manifesto I feel some wonder why I should be asked to send any response, for the signatories commence by informing me that they have “come to a conclusion” on the subject described by them, viz., that 30% is to be deducted from my property, the balance to be payable when convenient to them.
But when I remember the fact, that I have had conversations with many of my tenants who have held quite a different tone, and that several, including some whose names are below your name on the document, have already paid their rent within the past month, I incline to the belief that it is the work of a few busy agitators, and that the great majority of my tenants will meet me on the terms and in the spirit which you and they know perfectly well, have guided our intercourse in the past.
I am quite ready to consider each case and give abatement’s such as the circumstances seem to require, or reasonable extension of time, but a general uniform abatement I decline to give ; and I consider that those rents which have already been reduced under the provisions of the Land Law Act, should be maintained.
I remain, yours faithfully,
(signed) Henry Bruen.

The General Election Game

November 24: Following the fall of General Gordon at Khartoum and plagued by such a slim majority, Salisbury calls for a General Election.

December: After the election, but before Parliament met, Herbert Gladstone, son of the Prime Minister, flew the famous Hawarden kite, by declaring that his father was moving towards Home Rule.

December 18: Election result. Despite widespread opposition to his conversion to Home Rule, Gladstone’s alliance with Parnell leads to a narrow Liberal victory. Tom’s friend, the 4th Baron de Robeck, stood as a Conservative Loyalist for the Northern Division of Kildare in opposition to Mr. J. L. Carew, the Nationalist candidate. In his address, he pledged support to the idea of a well-considered scheme of self-government for Ireland, but opposed separation as totally destructive to the interests of the country. Baron de Robeck was amongst the surprise losers – his tally of 3,168 votes fell well short of Mr. Carew’s 5,108.

Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado.

Great Bowden Hall, Leicestershire, where the Rathdonnells lived during several hunting seasons of the 1880s. I visited the property in 2018. A 14-acre field out the back of Great Bowden Hall is protected by dint of its ownership being shared by the 14 or so people who own the property. This used to be great hunting territory but apparently the Boxing Day meet of the Fernie Hunt by the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Great Bowden village no longer happens. A Mulberry Homes development just outside the village has 350 people on the waiting list. As we left the village, I admired the rectory and St Peter and Paul’s Church, both made of ironstone; I imagine Rathdonnell was familiar with both of those buildings 130 odd years ago.



From 1882 to 1886, Tom Rathdonnell rented Great Bowden Hall in Leicestershire from where, as Bailly’s Magazine of Sports & Pastimes observed in 1897, he ‘hunted with the Pytchley South Quorn (then Sir Bache Cunard’s) and Cottesmore hounds for several seasons, and no man went better or was more popular in that famous country.’ As my father remarks: ‘He seemed to fancy himself hunting with one of the best (when not in his yacht) presumably from that house in Leicestershire. Small wonder Lisnavagh was up for sale!? He did later build kennels for the Carlow at Kellistown.’

At Lisnavagh, we used to have the Pytchley Point-to-Point cup, won by Tom in March 1885, riding in the 14-stone division over ‘a well-selected course near West Haddon … in the presence of a good company of farmers and gentlemen.’ Gordon Cunard [later Sir Gordon] was second and Captain Middleton was third. One wonders if Rathdonnell’s hunter of choice was Robin Grey, a hunter he exhibited at the 1884 Royal Agricultural Show and which, wrote Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes, Vol. 41 (1884), ‘took our fancy very much as the stamp of an old-fashioned hunter, clever enough to jump anything, but better adapted, perhaps, for the days when hounds were not bred for speed, as they are now.’

I was a petrified 12-year-old when I heard a noise in our dining room at Lisnavagh; I arrived into the room just in time to see the shadow of a thief leaping out the window, clutching the Pytchley Point-to-Point trophy in one of his hands! Alas, we never got it back.

It looks like they gave up Great Bowden soon after the tragic death of 37-year-old Amelia Lefroy in February 1886. Euphemia Amelia Lefroy (1849-1886) was the daughter of the Rev Patrick Murray Smythe, Curate of Tamworth and Rector of Solihull, Warwickshire, and the wife of Clement George Lefroy (1850-1917). Clement was a nephew of the Dowager Lady Rathdonnell, while his father Charles Edward Lefroy of Ewshott House (Itchel), Hampshire, was a barrister and taxing officer who served as Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Clement and Amelia lived at Wellesbourne, Warwickshire where they had a son Hugh and a daughter Janet Muriel. Amelia was apparently visiting the Rathdonnells with her brother, possibly Pat Smythe, a well-known clergyman and fisherman. Her husband survived her until 14 February 1917 when he died aged 66. They are both buried at St Peter’s Wellesbourne Churchyard.

Amelia Lefroy, wife of Clement George Lefroy (1850-1917), who died suddenly while staying with the 2nd Baron Rathdonnell at Great Bowden, Leicestershire, in 1886.

In April 1887, Tom joined the Cunards and the Duke of Hamilton when they took ‘a special train from Market Harborough to convey themselves, their horses, and servants to hunt with the Bicester.’ Three years later he rode out with the Fernlie and took a tumble from his steed.

On 14 August 2018, my brother-in-law Andy Cairns drove me over to Great Bowden Hall, which was less than 15 minutes’ drive from their then abode in Nevill Holt. The house stands just outside the village of Great Bowden, midway between Leicester and Northampton on the Leicestershire side of the county boundary, surrounded by the rich pastureland of the Welland Valley. We had no appointment, but the gates opened automatically as we approached so we span up the avenue and parked as discreetly as possible. There were perhaps 12 or more other cars parked around about the house and it quickly became apparent that this was a well-populated building. It transpired that the house had been renovated and converted into apartments, with at least seven in the house itself, and the rest scattered in the old outbuildings and stables. We befriended two lovely ladies chatting outside one of the houses and they gamely invited us in. They were sisters, one of whom had just begun renovating two of three former stables to become her new home. It was curious to think that Tom Rathdonnell may have stabled his hunters in the very space that they were now so proudly showing us. The Grand Union Canal flows right past, running all the way to London, with the next stop at Foxton Lock; built in 1809, it provided a fuel supply and transport system for the local brickyard. A husband of one sister told me the house used to belong to the Page family. It’s a curious sort of house, a cream white villa with an odd and not wildly attractive central block.




January: ‘A letter has been received from Lord Rathdonnell, who is at present staying at Bowden Hall, Market Hallors [Harborough], England, intimating that he has written instructions to his agent, Mr William Johnson, Prumplestown, Carlow, to allow the tenants on that portion of his estate situate in Rathvilly, county Carlow, a reduction of 15 per cent on their present rents, what they have already demanded through memorial submitted to his lordship.’ [20]

Jan 13 (circa): “Lord Rathdonnell’s Agent on the Land League & the Public House” (Leinster Leader – Saturday 16 January 1886).

“A few days ago four of the tenants on Lord Rathdonnell’s estate, three of whom were served with civil bill processes, waited on the agent, Mr Johnson, and offered their rents, minus the reduction and law costs already incurred.
Mr Johnson said he could not give any reduction on the present rent, and wondered why the tenants could not pay their rents now in former times.
Mr John Nolan, one of the tenants, said the times were infinitely worse now than they were some years ago. Three years ago they could get prices for cattle, the half of which could not be realised now, and unless he was misinformed, Mr Johnson bad experienced some loss in that respect himself.
Mr Johnson — The times are not so bad at all. There is little depression, to be sure, but if you would drop subscribing to your Land League and other funds, and keep out of the public house, you would be able to pay your rents and be better off. It’s the Land League may be blamed for this work.
Mr Nolan — Why, Earl Fitzwilliam and several other landlords have given generous reductions to their tenants.
Mr Johnson — Earl Fitzwilliam has other incomes to live by, and can afford it. Lord Rathdonnell is not similarly situated.
Mr Nolan — It’s no wonder for Lord Rathdonnell to boast that he has the best paying property in Ireland, though never gives the tenants a reduction, or drains the land for them, like other landlords. Didn’t the tenants always pay you their rents while they were able?
Mr Johnson — Yes, I never had any trouble with them until the past few years; but you, Nolan, ought to pay me your rent, when I did not process you. I did not like to put coats you.
Mr Nolan — I am ready to pay you the rent now at the reduction, but can’t pay full.
Mr Johnson — Well, I can’t allow you any reduction. My instructions from Lord Rathdonnell are to give 15 per cent reduction to all the tenants on his property who have not received the benefit of the Land Act. The other tenants must abide by and pay the judicial rents.
The remainder the discourse was of no public importance, and the tenants left without paying, though being strongly induced to do so by Mr Johnson. I may remark, en passant, that this generous proposal of Lord Rathdonnell’s would not reach more than about five or six tenants on the property. The remainder of the tenants, in their eagerness to give him a Roland for his Oliver, either lugged him into court or signed for the judicial term of 15 years. I may observe also that Mr Johnson told the tenants that, according to the late Land Act, if they were evicted or allowed themselves to be dispossessed out of their holdings, they had no power or liberty, even though they might have the means to redeem, inside of six months.’

‘In mid-January 1886 the Freeman’s Journal reported that four tenants of Lord Rathdonnell, three of whom had been served with civil bills for six months rent, met land agent Mr. Johnson and offered him the rents less a reduction of 15 per cent and law costs involved in achieving the reductions. Johnson refused to take the rents stating that he could not agree to the reductions. Tenant John Nolan told him cattle were making half what they were getting three years earlier. Johnson had a rather different view of the reasons for their refusal to pay their rents at the normal rates ———

“The times are not so bad at all. There is a little depression to be sure, but if you would drop your leaguing, subscribing to the Land League and other funds, and keep out of the public house, you would be able to pay your rents and be better off. It’s the Land League may be blamed for this work.”

Fr. John Phelan, parish priest of Rathvilly, took up the tenants’ cause in a letter to the Freeman’s Journal where he stated that the application by both classes of tenants for the 15% reduction had met with an obstinate determined non possumus. Lord Rathdonnell’s conduct in this respect contrasted very unfavourably with the action of Earl Fitzwilliam and Lord Bessborough towards their tenants on almost adjoining estates, those benevolent noblemen having given reductions to their respective tenants of all creeds and classes without any exceptions or reservations whatever of from 20 to 50 per cent. Fr. Phelan was caustic in his criticism of Lord Rathdonnell stating that the paltry abatement of 15 per cent scarcely entitled his lordship to take rank in public estimation among the kind and indulgent landlords of the country.

“But, sir, it is consoling to know that the days of heartless, unsympathetic landlordism are numbered and it soon will become as extinct as the dodo. Under the fostering care of a paternal Legislature the tenants’ interests will be protected and the landlord’s power for working evil be effectually destroyed.”[21]

Jan 25: ‘At a meeting of the Irish Privy Council at Dublin Castle today, Mr Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh was sworn in a member of the Council.’ [22]

Jan 26: Lord Salisbury’s government resigns.

Jan 30: Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the third time and begins plan to introduce Home Rule. Many of the gentry regarded his Home Rule Bill as the work of the demon anti-Christ. Cartoons lampooning Gladstone adorned their W.C’s while his portrait stared up from the bottom of chamber-pots at Tynan Abbey and Castlecoole (where the National Trust has it on display). When Queen Victorian offered to find a gift for Beauparc’s Bertha Lambert, a maid of honour, after she danced an Irish jig, Miss Lambert apparently replied: “The head of Mr Gladstone on a dish, ma’am.”

February 22: Lord Randolph Churchill is principal speaker at a ‘Monster Meeting of Conservatives and Orangemen’ in Belfast’s Ulster Hall. ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right,’ he proclaims in a speech that instils fear of rule by Roman Catholics in Dublin and incites militant loyalists.

February 23 (Tues): ‘GREAT BOWDEN, Sudden Death.—An awfully sudden death took place at Great Bowden Hall on Tuesday evening. The deceased, Amelia Lefroy, of Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, was on a visit to Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, and about 6.40 p.m. deceased rang her bedroom bell, which was answered by her maid, who found her mistress very ill. A doctor was sent for, but the deceased expired before he arrived.’ [23]

March 2: Bury and Norwich Post also reports on the sudden death of a Mrs. Lefroy, aged 37, at Great Bowden Hall, Leicestershire. The house may have been let to the Rathdonnells at the time and Mrs. Lefroy apparently went out hunting that day. ‘On her return she went to dress for dinner. As she did not come down her room was visited, and she was found lying dead on the floor.’

March: Landlordism in Borris: 

On Monday last Mr Jamieson, Sub-Sheriff of Carlow, accompanied by a force of twelve police under the command of Sub-Inspector Joy, proceeded to Borris to sell a horse the property of Mrs Anne Watters of Kilcloney, which had been previously seized. The seizure was made to realise a sum of 10 pounds which at the request of the landlord R.W. Pack-Beresford granted at the Courthouse, Carlow.
The history of Mrs Watters’ persecution by the landlord ever since she dared to go into the land court to have a fair rent fixed is extraordinary, and shows an insane desire by the landlord to ruin a respectable, industrious tenant. In the year 1884 Mrs Watters had a fair rent fixed on her farm. In 1885 Mrs Watters offered the half year’s rent due but it was refused by the agent Mr Fitzherbert of Abbeyleix and payment was demanded of the old hanging gale which had been running on the farm for upwards of 200 years.
Mrs Watters and her son Michael refused to yield to this unjust demand, and in the month of April their cattle were seized and sold by the sheriff. In 1886 a year’s rent was again demanded and the tenant refused to pay that amount on account of the hanging-gale, which had been extorted. Legal proceedings were again taken and the interest in the farm was put up for sale in March of this present year. The farm was bought in for the tenant by another person and a years rent paid to the sheriff. The sheriff’s costs amounted to 10 pounds to recover this cost a horse was seized on the understanding that it would be sold at a sale in Borris. The horse, which is a fine animal, was ridden by a boy into Borris. Both horse and boy were profusely decorated with green ribbons. Immediately behind the horse was led a donkey bearing on his back a grotesque figure dressed in full hunting costume. The figure was designed to typify landlordism but many said the makers of the figure were too flattering to that group. The rider of the horse and his queer-looking companion were met outside the town by the Borris Brass Band and escorted up and down the street. Meanwhile news was received that the sheriff and auctioneer, Mr George Wilson, had decided to sell the horse at a sale to be held on the farm at Kilcloney . On hearing this Rev. W. P. Bourke and Michael Watters and a large crowd proceeded to Kilcloney to demand that the sale be held in Borris. The sale was then cancelled.
The gathering was then addressed by Rev. W. P. Bourke who was received with cheers. He said that he had been out all morning although he was suffering from a severe cold. He said that Beresford was only hurting himself by making such an unjust demand for a hanging gale that was not called for for 40 or 50 years before. All opposition must be directed against “Hanging-gale Beresford” he declared. Mr P. Murphy proposed thanks to Mrs Anne Watters and her son Michael for having so courageously, now for the third time, faced the greedy landlord “Hanging-gale Pack-Beresford”.
Mr J.C. Breen said the name Pack-Beresford sounded bad and if ever a name stunk in the nostrils of any right thinking Irishman it was the name of Pack-Beresford for he had attempted to sell out Mrs Watters farm and make her family quit the country.
Michael Watters then addressed the meeting , he thanked all present for
their support and the countrymen in America and Australia who were sending over large sums of money to the National League to support the downtrodden for victory.
If there was one spot more than another in all Ireland where the people should be united for the overthrow of landlordism it should be in Carlow. There is not a place in Ireland that has suffered so much from landlords. It was here that the saddest scenes ever witnessed were made manifest. They could all recall the days of Charley Doyne who spread desolation over the entire country, he drove thousands of souls out without a home or shelter. From the hillsides of the White Mountains, to St. Mullins and Marley and through Slyguff and Kilcloney.
Today we have another Charley –Mr Charley Thorpe to do the landlords dirty work.
The meeting then broke up but before doing so they dragged the landlord effigy” from the donkey and after being deluged with paraffin oil was set fire to and reduced to ashes.

March 21: A large gathering in Rathvilly for the unveiling and blessing of a statue of St Patrick, designed by William Hague of Dublin and built in the studio of Pearse & Sharpe in Dublin, given to Rathvilly by the workmen on the Tullow & Baltinglass line of the railway. Like the church and grotto in Inchicore, the church and grotto in Rathvilly were built by the railwaymen. It is perhaps more than coincidence that four octogenarian ladies from Inchicore whom I interviewed for the ‘Vanishing Ireland’ project in 2010, and all connected by family to the railway, were familiar with Rathvilly and even knew Lawlor’s pub, but I was unable to establish any detailed link. An article about the new statue appeared in the Carlow Sentinel on 27 March, as well as this article from the Dublin Weekly Nation:

‘The New Church of Rathvilly
Rathvilly, Monday.
On Sunday last (Sunday after Festival of St Patrick) the old chapel of Rathvilly was the scene of an interesting religious ceremonial which was carried out with great solemnity in presence of large and highly respectable congregation of devout worshippers, not only from Rathvilly parish, but also from the adjoining parishes—Baltinglass, Tullow, Hacketstown, Clonmore, Castledermot, and surrounding districts.
The occasion of the function was the unveiling and solemn blessing of the statue of St Patrick—the gift of the workmen on the Tullow and Baltinglass extension line of railway which runs by the village of Rathvilly to the magnificent new church now in course of erection there, and which will be placed in the niche prepared for it in front gable over the grand entrance door, when the sacred edifice is finally completed.
This beautiful work of art has been designed by the architect of new church, Wm Hague, Esq, and Is from the studio of the eminent sculptors, Messrs Pearse and Sharpe, Dublin. It will long an remain abiding monument of the love for St Patrick of these hardy sons of toil, to whose generous charity the preacher of the day in his remarkably powerful discourse paid a graceful and well merited tribute.
The High Mass, at which the Right Rev Dr Lynch, Coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, presided, was celebrated by Rev Patk Byrne, C, Rathvilly; deacon, Very Rev M J Murphy, St Patrick’s College, Carlow; sub-deacon, Rev Arnold Wall, PP, Baltinglass; master ceremonies, Rev P Boland, PP, Hacketstown.
At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice the statue was unveiled by the Rev John Phelan, PP, when the bishop, assisted by the clergy present, and accompanied by acolytes and thurifer, proceeded to bless it according to the prescribed ritual. His lordship having briefly addressed the congregation, explaining the doctrines of the Catholic Church regarding devotion to the saints, the Very Rev M J Murphy, vice-president, St Patrick’s College, Carew, knelt to receive the episcopal blessing, ascended the altar, and delivered a most eloquent panegyric on the life and labours of Ireland’s apostle.
The ceremonies concluded with Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament, at which the bishop officiated.
The music of the High Mass was effectively rendered by the Rathvilly choir, assisted by the Ticknock and Talbotstown choir, under the control of Mr Joseph Lawler, who ably presided at the organ.
The music sang by the choir was Kyrie, Webb’s Sardinian Credo, Bordese ; Sanctus, Webb’s Said ; Agnus Dei, Bordese; Landate, M’Donnell.’

March: Carlow Town Commissioners officially open the newly constructed Carlow Town Hall, designed by architect William Hague.

March 30: Death of Laura, Viscountess Milton, mother of Billy Fitzwilliam.

April: The statue of St Patrick, which was given to Rathvilly by the railway workers, is blessed by Father Murphy, VP, in the little chapel that stood next to Centra (Brennan’s) off St Patrick’s Lane before the present village church was built. (Leinster Leader – Saturday 3 April 1886, p. 4).

April 8: Gladstone introduces Home Rule Bill with a two-and-a-half-hour-long speech. It is a very limited offer – merely control over police, judiciary and civil service. Parnell and Nationalists in full support but it was rejected by Parliament.

April: Record of an incident in which Rathdonnell’s boat crashed during a race. See p. 5 of County Tipperary Independent and Tipperary Free Press, 24 April 1886.

April 22: ‘SALE OF SHORTHORN CATTLE AT LISNAVAGH. On Thursday Mr Thornton, the well-known shorthorn auctioneer, disposed of a draft of bulls at Lisnavagh. The animals were the property of Lord Rathdonnell and W. Johnson, Prumplestown House, and the condition in which they were brought under the hammer reflected the greatest credit on their caretakers. After a capital luncheon had been done ample justice to, Mr Thornton proceeded with the sale. Competition was limited, but considering the depression in the cattle trade, the prices obtained were up to a good average, some of the yearling bulls fetching twenty-three guineas. At the conclusion of the auction three hearty cheers were given for Lord and Lady Rathdonnell.’ [24]

Scene from Rathvilly railway station, undated. It has been proposed that the man in the white cap is Rathdonnell.

June 1: Rathvilly and Tullow Railway Stations open along with Baltinglass railway line extension to both places.

June 8: 93 Liberal MPs vote with the Conservatives against Gladstone’s Home Rule bill and Gladstone’s government effectively collapsed. Riots in Belfast begin.

June 26-July 1: The shipping magnate Bache Cunard of Nevill Holt stays at Lisnavagh, until ‘kicked out’. See below.

July: Gold discovered at Witwatersrand in the Transvaal leads to a gold rush and the establishment of Johannesburg. Britain did not welcome the increased international interest, especially from Germans who were financially backing the Transvaal and winning the most lucrative contracts. With Krueger on friendly terms with the Germans, it seemed the Transvaal was eclipsing the Crown Colony as the most influential part of South Africa.

July 12: Dr Brodie shot and killed his wife Molly Bunbury at their home in Spiddal.

August 3: Lord Randolph Churchill (1849–1894), former school friend of Tom’s from Eton, appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the new Salisbury government. He served until 22 December. Lord Dunraven serves a second term as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1886–1887); Lord Randolph Churchill is his mentor and horse-racing pal. The main foreign policy success of this administration was the Mediterranean Agreements of 1887, a series of treaties signed with Italy on 12 February (through the mediation of Germany), with Austria-Hungary on March 24 and with Spain on May 4.


Lady Rathdonnell (née Katherine Anne Bruen) in The Country Gentleman, 14 August 1886.


September 14: An advertisement in The Times states that “LADY RATHDONNELL highly RECCOMMENDS her experienced NORTH GERMAN GOVERNESS who will shortly be disengaged. French, music and usual English subjects. Address: Fraulein Moller, Lisnavagh, Tullow, Co. Carlow”. I guess the young Bunbury girls were learning German, as well as French? One wonders whether Fraulein Moller’s replacement was scheduled to be Effie Skinner, the Governess at the centre of the famous Coachford Poisoning Case of May 1887. In January 1887, Effie was dismissed by her employer Mrs. Philip Cross of Shandy Hall (the victim of the murder) and all set to take up new employment as a Governess in Carlow. The trial did not reveal which family in Carlow she was destined for. That said, the time difference may be too much, not least considering Effie only started with the Cross family in October 1886.

September 23: Tom’s cousin Francis George Le Poer McClintock, M.A., B.D., installed as Rector of Drumcar.

October 2: The last eviction from Belcarra, County Mayo, takes place when a family of nine were evicted from their cottage at Elmhall by their landlord’s agents, Gardiner, Pringle and Cuffe.

October 13: Anne Florence Tighe, wife of the Rev Hugh Usher Tighe and an aunt of Tom [a half-sister to his father and the 1st Baron Rathdonnell] becomes involved in the Land Wars, as per this report from the Waterford Standard:

Evictions also took place on Wednesday last at Knockmoylan, the property of Mrs. Anne Florence Tighe. The farms in this case are situated at the southern end of the county, about six miles from the village of Ballyhale. The tenants are Richard Aylward, Edward Aylward, and Patrick Aylward, and an under-tenant of one of them. So carefully ‘ had the arrangements been made for carrying out the evictions that no apprehension whatever seemed to prevail in the minds of the people of the district of visit by the sheriff. Mr. John Fanning, solr., sub-sheriff for the county, accompanied by Mr. McClintock [probably Arthur McClintock of Rathvinden], agent of the property, and attended by Cox and several bailiffs, left Kilkenny by the 7.25 a.m. train, protected by a party of 100 police, commanded by Mr. J. B. Sheehan, C. I.. Mr. George Holmes, D. I., and Mr. H, B. Morrell. D.L., being also with the protecting force. Mr. J. Fitzgerald- Lynch, R.M., had chief command of the party.
On arriving at Ballyhale the people of the village evinced no little surprise at the appearance of so imposing a force in their quiet little hamlet. Soon, however, surprise gave place to excitement, and scouts were sent out rapidly to gather “the boys,” whilst the chapel bells tolled in Ballyhale and the neighbouring parishes. The force marched to Knockmoylan without any molestation, but the gathering and gradually increasing crowd each moment assumed a more and more threatening aspect.
Coming to the scene of the intended eviction proceedings, an effort was made to arrive at a settlement between the parties. The agent offered to accept a year’s rent and costs from each of the tenants above named, and to allow time for the payment of the balance. The tenants, however, did not seem to be in a mood for making a settlement, and the bailiffs were accordingly called upon to do their duty, which they did in a short space of time, all the household effects, etc., being quickly removed. It was noticed that there was a very large quantity of new milk and cream preparing for churning, while not a cow, or any description of stock, was visible anywhere on either of the three farms.
The peasantry were now seen flocking from over the surrounding hills, and asthe houses were being cleared a crowd of about 300 persons groaned at and hooted the bailiffs and police, whilst threatening cries were raised on every side. The tenants and their friends had evidently made up their minds to war a outrance, and would listen to no compromise.
The evictions having been completed, a caretaker was placed in charge of the principal house, the others being locked up. The sheriff, the agent of the property, the Resident Magistrate, and the County Inspector then drove off amidst groans and hooting, similar “favours” being conferred upon them as they drove to Ballyhale. Everything having been completed the party of police under command of District Inspectors Holmes and Morrell marched towards Ballyhale, and for a considerable distance the peasantry “lined the ditches” along the road, flinging stones, mud, and other missiles at the police.
At last, however, a party of 20 constables were detailed with batons to disperse the crowd, and it was a sight to witness how the peasantry “skeddadled” over ditches, across fields, and up the hills. Indeed it was currently rumoured next day that many sore heads tossed that night upon uneasy pillows in Mullinavat, Ballyhale, and the country round, and that imprecations load and deep were uttered against, “the peelers and their batons.” —Kilkenny Moderator. [25]

October 14: Second meeting of the revived Baltinglass  races.

October 21: Ned Guinness (later the 1st Earl of Iveagh) becomes the wealthiest man in Ireland when he floats two-thirds of the Guinness company on the London Stock Exchange.

November 8: Death of Fred Archer, the champion jockey from 1873 (aged 16) every single year until his premature death 13 years later. He won 21 classic races and rode 2,748 winners. His training diet of toast, castor oil and gin-laced tea, coupled with private tragedy, let him to shoot himself on the second anniversary of his wife’s death. He left £66,000.

November 17: Marriage of Henry Bruen of Oak Park, Co. Carlow, and Castleboro, Co. Wexford (brother to Katherine Anne, Lady Rathdonnell) to Agnes Mary McMurrough, youngest daughter of the Incredible Art MacMurrough Kavanagh, MP, of Borris House. That same year, Henry Bruen is elected High Sheriff of Co. Carlow.

December 22: Randolph Churchill suddenly steps down as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Musical recitals instituted at Royal Dublin Society.

Historian Sir Henry Maxwell Lyte (1848–1940), a former school mate of Tom’s from Eton, becomes Deputy Keeper of the Public Records (until 1926).




Nevill Holt in Leicestershire was home to Tom’s friend, Bache Cunard.

Sir Bache Cunard, a friend of Tom Bunbury, was one of three sons of Sir Edward Cunard, Bart., of the city of New York, who died in New York on 6 April 6 1869 at the age of fifty-three. Sir Edward 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.’ In his will, he ‘made a liberal provision for his daughters’ and left the ‘residue of his property’ between his three sons, Bache, Gordon and Edward. (Illustrated London News, Vol. LIV, June 5, 1869, p.579).

Sir Bache Cunard, a polo and fox-hunting enthusiast, lived at Nevill Holt Hall from 1876 to 1912. In 1896, he married the San Francisco socialite Maude Burke (aka Emerald), who found the hunting world rather dreary; their only child Nancy Cunard was born at Nevill Holt in 1896. The family has a fascinating link to the Irish writer George Moore.

We visited Nevill Holt in August 2018 when we stayed with Ally’s sister Liz Cairns and her husband Andy; their charming house, which lay to the back of the walled garden and main house, was built in 1880, not long after Sir Bache arrived. We also strolled through the graveyard where families like Thorpe and Bates lie. The Cunards are not here: Sir Bache is in Stibbington, Cambridgeshire; Emerald was scattered in Grosvenor Square, London; and Nancy lies in Paris.

In 1886, Bache Cunard paid a return trip to see Tom at Lisnavagh, my family home in County Carlow, where the Visitor’s Book states that “B. Cunard” arrived on 26 June but was “kicked out July 1st 1886.” The line below that has been cut out from the book, which always intrigued us as children. And below that it states:

Reserved some self esteem. Clever head for calculation – very fond of argument & contradiction. Obstinate & weak willed. Sympathetic – kind heart – affectionate & constant. Compromising – rather narrow-minded & selfish. Quick temper. Plucky & sometimes rash. Love of management. Tidy.’

Was that written by Sir Bache himself!? Quite possibly but there’s nothing quite like it in the Visitor’s Book which is otherwise a sober list of names and dates! He can’t have been that badly behaved though because he came to stay at Lisnavagh again the following year, 12 July to 1 August, and this time his name is followed by the remark:

“Hear, hear” to above statement. House left sitting.

The sprawling house of Nevill Holt Hall itself became a prep school in 1919. Since 2000, it has been restored by its present owner David Ross, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse. The village of Nevill Holt comprises a warren of cottages and walls, low and high, all made of iron stone, approached by an oak lined avenue. Its set high upon a hill overlooking the saucer like landscape, with landmarks such as the towers of Corby steel station in Nottinghamshire; the Fitzwilliam’s sometime abode of Rockingham Castle; and the lovely town of Uppingham in nearby Rutland where we drank a curious Beetroot Latte in Scandimania, strolled through the school and admired Thomas Brock’s statue of a former headmaster.

Belton House near Uppingham and East Langton Grange are both mentioned in the Rathdonnell correspondence. It’s notable that Tom had a commission as a captain in Prince Albert’s Own Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry, which he resigned in 1892, and that he favoured Leicester Border sheep. This is Saxon territory, Nether This, Ham That, and includes the Eyebrook reservoir by Stoke Dry where the Dambusters practiced dropping their bouncing bomb in another age. Nevill Holt is 17 miles from the Civil War battlefield of Naseby and, as of 2022, about an hour from London.




Francis Brooke becomes agent to Earl Fitzwilliam’s estate at Coolattin, in succession to Robert Chaloner and his son Robert Chaloner junior.

January 29: The Dublin newspaper known as The Union is founded. Its aim, as stated in its first edition was to be “a Journal devoted to the maintenance of the Union in the three kingdoms.”

February 10: ‘The Right Honourable Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh, P.C., Lieutenant of the County of Carlow, has, with the approval of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, appointed Denis R. Pack-Beresford, Esq. of Fenagh Lodge to be a Deputy Lieutenant for that county.[27]

February 10: Death of Charles FitzGerald, 4th Duke of Leinster.

Feb 17: The New Ross Workhouse Riot of 1887 kicks off when up to 400 workhouse inmates – led by women, many of them “unmarried mothers” – attack the master and vice-guardians of the union.

March 1: Queen Victoria holds another Levee at St. James’s Palace. Sholto Douglas, who had lately succeeded as 19th Earl of Morton, was presented to the Queen by his friend, Lord Rathdonnell. The Earl had married Helen Ponsonby two years earlier which may be the origin of their connection. Rathdonnell would go stalking with Morton in 1896. Morton was a major shareholder in the little-known Spitzbergen Coal and Mineral Ltd of London, exploiting coal in what is now Svalbard, Norway.

March 5: Foxhunt at Lisnavagh: ‘Tuesday March 5th [1887] saw the Carlow and Island Hounds at Lisnevagh, the seat of Lord Rathdonnell, and though his lordship has this winter abandoned the hunting saddle for the deck of his yacht he will, I am sure, be pleased to read how we found a smart fox in the laurels of the pleasure grounds; how he took us past the farm, and, running inside the demesne wall, with the field pounding alongside on the road, at last elected to leave at the Tallow [SIC] extremity of the demesne; how we hunted him merrily to the railway, ran parallel to it for a time, and then, inclining to the left, marked him to ground near Tankardstown cross roads, after a cheery twenty five minutes, over a good country.’ [28]

March 7: On the very day that Tom’s old school comrade Arthur Balfour takes office as Chief Secretary of Ireland, The Times begins publishing a series of articles on “Parnellism and Crime” (running from 7 March 1887 to 17 April 1888) accusing Parnell of involvement in illegal activities, in particular, involvement of the 1882 Phoenix Park Murders. A special commission, known as the “Times Commission”, is proposed by Lord Frederick Cavendish to investigate the allegations, as well as to investigate links between the Home Rule party and the Fenians. In 1890, it proved the letters were forgeries written by journalist Richard Pigott in 1890. Parnell was personally vindicated by the Parnell Commission in 1888–89.

March 15: Arranged by William Stuart Trench, Lord Lansdowne’s agent, the first evictions from the Luggacurran estates took place when Denis Kilbride, a sub tenant of Lansdowne with a holding of 868 acres, was evicted. Denis Kilbride who would be later elected Member of Parliament for Kerry and subsequently for Kildare, becoming a local leader of the Plan of Campaign. See here for more. As agent to the Lansdowne estate, Trench had previously devised a scheme of assisted emigration which between 1850 and 1855 shipped 4,000 of the population from Kenmare to America.

Spring: The months of March, April and May were consistently cold and dry, with little rainfall.

March 22: Death in horse riding accident of Constance Duguid, elder daughter of J. Duguid of Dover, for whom the replica of Salisbury Cathedral in Myshall was built.

March 29: The Irish Crimes Act of 1887 is introduced by Rathdonnell’s former Eton colleague Arthur Balfour in response to the boycott of certain landlords by their tenants (led by the National Land League), suspending the right to trial of people suspected of involvement in the boycott. The Crimes Act was passed in September, despite protests from Liberal and Home Rule Members of Parliament, and would continue until 1890. Balfour later enacts the policy of “killing Home Rule with kindness”.

April 1: The First All-Ireland hurling finals takes place in Birr, County Offaly.

April 1 (Friday): ‘A bye-day was arranged at Ashlands, Billesdon (Mr R. A. Falkner’s) [Leicester] The weather was about as bad as it could possibly be. After a very stormy night, the morning broke even worse than the night, and as the day wore on wind and rain and hail in- creased. At times the force of the storm was nearly enough to part rider from steed, but it takes very rough weather to stop the man bent on hunting, that is if the ground is fit. I may add that several ladies braved the elements, amongst them being the Duchess of Hamilton and Lady Rathdonnell.’ [29]

April 2: ‘Several gentlemen had a special train from Market Harborough [Leicester] to convey themselves, their horses, and servants to hunt with the Bicester. Amongst them were Sir Bache Cunard, Mr. Gordon Cunard, the Duchess of Hamilton, Lord Rathdonnell, Sir Saville Crossley, M.P., Mr. R. A. Falkner, and others.’ [30]

April 9: E. L. Jameson, the sub-sheriff of Carlow, and a force of 30 local policemen arrive at Knocklishenmore, 2 miles from Rathvilly, and evict two tenants of John Philip Martineau for non-payment of rent, namely Mrs M’Keon, a widow with no family, who rented 3 acres, and Mrs Catherine Goss, who held 12 acres of ‘very inferior land.’ Neither woman had paid rent for several years rent. Mrs M’Keon was permitted to remain so long as she stayed on as caretaker and agreed to leave whenever called upon to do so. However, they removed Mrs Goss’s furniture from her house and then bolted the door shut, leaving Catherine with her 80-year old aunt Eliza Goss and niece, Miss Govaine, sitting in their yard, homeless. The eviction was blamed on the agent, Hal Pollard.

April 19: Gladstone delivers his speech on ‘The Irish Question’.  Balfour is by now on course to orchestrate a radical overhaul of the 1881 Land Act; he also secured another £5 million to purchase land in Ireland under the Ashbourne Act of 1885. As Chief Secretary, he also supported calls for a Catholic university, despite widespread opposition to the idea of state-sponsored denominational education.

May 1: Death of Admiral E. G. Fishbourne, C.B., a former naval colleague of Tom Bunbury’s father in the 1850s who was also from Carlow.

May 5: The first meeting of the new Hacketstown Dispensary Committee was held, with Lord Rathdonnell as chairman and William Murphy of Ballykillane as vice-chairman. There were twenty-one members on this committee and of these only six, all elected members of the Board of Guardians, were Nationalists. As James P. Shannon out it in ‘Hacketstown in the 1880s’ (Carloviana, 2009, p. 26), ‘The anti-Nationalist majority could then obviously rule the roost any time they cared to tum up.’ At the first meeting there was a failed coup to oust Nicholas O’Toole from the position of Hon. Sec. and replace him with Mr. W.E. Jones.

May 13: Death of Caroline, Duchess of Leinster, widow of the 4th Duke of Leinster, who died three months earlier.

May 18: (Tuesday) As the Jubilee celebrations continue, the Rathdonnells attend another State Ball at Buckingham at which Henry Tinney’s orchestra unleashed the quadrilles, valses and polkas.

May 22: Death of John Aloysius Blake, the sitting MP for Carlow. A bye-election in August beckons.

June 20: The Special Irish Bureau “foil” the Jubilee Plot, a supposed assassination attempt against Queen Victoria. In reality, this was a state-sponsored covert operation, sanctioned by the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, and aimed at discrediting Irish nationalism. It is not certain whether William Melville, the bureau’s Kerry-born head, was aware of the deception. (Melville is said to be the inspiration for ‘M’ as seen in 007 movies). The event was closely aligned with the Pigott forgeries.

June 21: Queen Victoria celebrated her Jubilee.

June 22: At the height of the controversial Bodyke evictions, in Co. Clare, the Nenagh Guardian reported on ‘an interesting incident’ when the Rathdonnells, headed for Dublin, drove from Lisnavagh to Rathvilly where they met ‘… a large deputation of labouring men who solicited employment. The poor fellows stated that they were in a state of starvation from there mere want of work, as the farmers were not giving employment. His lordship listened attentively to their statement and in a most courteous manner expressed his sympathy with their condition. As to giving them employment, he said he would see about providing them, as far as lay in his power, with work. He furthermore showed his sympathy in a practical manner by giving them some money to supply their immediate wants. The deputation left the station after the departure of his lordship for Dublin and her ladyship for Lisnavagh, thankful for the way they were treated, and expressing their earnest wishes that Lisnavagh may not be left longer empty.’ [31]

June: At the start of June, the temperature rocketed into a heatwave that lasted until 10th July.

June 26: The highest temperature ever recorded in Ireland, 33.3C (91.9F) occurred at Kilkenny Castle. A disastrous harvest loomed but August rains mercifully saved the pasture and root crops.

July 2-7: Wimbledon: Fifteen-year-old Lottie Dod wins the Ladies’ Singles Championship for the first of five times.

July 10: Six-week long heatwave ends.

July 12 – 1 Aug: The shipping magnate Bache Cunard returns to stay at Lisnavagh.

Aug 13: Special committee appointed to investigate Parnell’s ties to Phoenix Park murders.

August 17: A meeting held in the Town Hall, Athy, to promote the drainage of the River Barrow, became a little heated when Mr Denis Bunbury of Grangemelon took to the floor. See here under Denis Bunbury of Abbeylands. This may explain the name of Bunbury Bridge on the Barrow Navigation between Athy and Carlow. Was this an accommodation bridge?

August 23: The Plan of Campaign (which started when tenant farmers began withholding rent from landlords) concludes with the passage of the 1887 Land Act. An extension of Ashbourne Act of 1885, the act allows for excluded leaseholders into the system set up two years previous.

August 24: Election, unopposed, at County Carlow by-election of 87-year-old James Patrick Mahon, one of history’s most energetic humans. Born in Ennis on St Patrick’s Day 1800, he was the son of well-to-do Catholics whose mother and wife were both heiresses. Educated at Clongowes and Trinity College Dublin, he started life as a barrister and politician. He was a major backer of Daniel O’Connell’s successful Catholic Emancipation campaign, which permitted Roman Catholics to sit in the British Parliament. He subsequently fell out with O’Connell. He was Whig MP for Ennis from 1847-1852 and Nationalist MP for Clare (1879-1885), being a founding member of the Home Rule League. He was a supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell but, an old friend of William O’Shea, opposed him during the split. The O’Gorman Mahon, as he called himself, had an astonishing life outside Ireland. He travelled extensively across Russia, China, India and South America. He served in the Russian Tsar’s Imperial Bodyguard and journeyed overland from Finland (where he hunted bear with the tsarevich) to Siberia, and south through India to the Middle East. He was a mercenary in the Ottoman and Austrian armies, a general in the government forces in the Uruguayan Civil War and a Union Army officer during the US Civil War. He also reputedly held office in the Brazilian and Chilean forces. He had a passion for duelling, and claimed to have fought 13 duels, in which he was injured in six but drew blood in seven. His friends included the French king Louis-Philippe (he was a court favourite in the 1830s), Ferdinand de Lesseps (engineer of the Suez Canal) and the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (whom he met when he moved to Berlin in 1877). When he was elected Nationalist MP for Carlow, he became the oldest member of the House of Commons, which status he retained until his death in 1891.

The period of rent set by the Land Court is reduced to 3 years.

According to census records 69,084 emigrate from Ireland to the United States.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the first Sherlock Holmes book.

September: Birth of Henry Arthur Bruen, son and heir to Henry and Agnes Bruen of Oak Park, and nephew to the Rathdonnells. He is to be their only surviving child.

Sept 16: PRONI refers to largely duplicated letter of 16 September 1887 written by Tom Rathdonnell at Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow, to Lord Belmore asking for his support in the next vacancy but one in the Representative Peers lists. ‘In consequence of the sad death of Lord Doneraile, there is a vacancy among the representative peers of Ireland. Lord Kingston and Lord Wicklow were selected as the next two candidates for election, and one of them will now be elected in the room of Lord Doneraile, leaving only one name on the selected list. I venture therefore to ask for your vote and support after Lords Kingston and Wicklow have been elected representative peers. I am a Conservative in politics, in what I consider the true sense of the word, namely, a constitutionalist and a Unionist, in favour of such judicious reforms as may from time to time be necessary to adjust and harmonise the principles of firm government with individual liberty. I am sensible of the important responsibilities at the present time resting on a member of the Upper House of Parliament, and if by your kind aid I succeed in obtaining a seat, I shall endeavour to justify the trust you repose in me. I may say that I am habitually a resident in Ireland.’

Sept 29: Grand Bazaar hosted in Rathvilly ‘to procure funds to complete the new church of St Patrick.

October 9 (Sunday): 38 hunting horses belonging to Captain William Hollwey Steeds were poisoned in their stables at Clonsilla House. Thirteen of the hunters died, including Minnie, a beloved pony belonging to Agnes Steeds that been used to get urgent veterinary assistance from Dublin. Captain Steeds, an ‘extensive commission agent’, had previously supplied the horses for the Bray and Greystones Coach. It transpired they had been fed a bran mash that had been sweetened with a toxic lead acetate. Nobody was ever charged but it is assumed the poisoning was connected to the ongoing Land Wars in which hunts were targeted. Tom Rathdonnell, who had exhibited hunters alongside Captain Steeds at the Horse Show two months earlier, must have bene inclined to step up security. Captain Steeds reputedly ceased dealing with the village blacksmith and built his own forge instead, as well as a private dwelling for his head groom. In 1901, Captain Steeds’ polo team Nomads won the All-Ireland Open Cup. That same year, the Steeds household included a valet, housemaid, cook, two general domestics, two handmaids and five grooms who also doubled as domestic servants. Captain Steeds died following a hunting accident in 1914. [32]

November: Opening of new St Patrick Church in Rathvilly. The original chapel in Rathvilly, a large old slated building built by Father Wall in 1785, was still in use as a national school in 1883. It ceased to be used with the opening of the new church, ‘after which it was demolished, and the building materials utilized for parochial purposes’. Jack Langton of Carlow Rootsweb told an entertaining anecdote about how his great-grandfather was asked to help solicit funds for a new Catholic church in Moneenroe. As he knew everyone, he decided he would ask both Catholic and Protestant alike. Should a non-Catholic demur, he would then ask if they would like to contribute to a fund to tear down the old Catholic church.




Feb 19: At first meeting of Rathvilly GAA Football Club, Edward O’Toole is selected as captain of their first team, but resigns three months later.

July 22: Death of Robert Clayton Browne of Browne’s Hill, leaving three sons and a daughter.

August 2: A letter from William Harknett, Lord Rathdonnell’s gamekeeper, is published in the Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet (p. 3):

“SIR.—I am glad to send you a few lines respecting my rearing this season. I never had better luck with my young pheasants, I say from good experience, have g used Mr Chamberlain’s meat Food for upwards of 20 years, that the Spanish Meni Caycar Excelsior and Aromatic Compound also the Double per Greaves is the best Food I ever used and recommend it to all Gamekeepers.
—I remain. Sir, yours faithfully,
Wm HARKNETT, (Head Keeper to Lord Rathdonnell)”

August 4: Sale of just over 110 acres at Willistown beside Drumcar, complete with dwelling house, offices, orchard and garden. [33]

August:  Over a thousand, mostly Irish-bred horses compete at the Dublin Horse Show. It is the largest and possibly best show that the RDS has yet hosted, with hundreds of huntsmen from England coming across to purchase good Irish hunters. Tom entered a mare by Revenge into the 4-year-old hunting fillies class and came second to Mr. Donovan.

Oct 28: Ganly’s oversees either the first or second annual sale of ‘a large number of fat cattle, horses and sheep, the property of Lord Rathdonnell’, a sale they repeated  every year for the next nine years.


MESSRS GANLY have been favoured with instructions to SELL BY AUCTION, For the Right Hon Lord Rathdonnell,

On MONDAY 29th Oct, 1888. BALLYOLIVER HOUSE, LISNAVAGH. Half mile from station. GSWR, At One o’clock sharp. 150 Cattle in forward condition, 50 Fat Mountain Wethers, a large number of Hunters and Harness Horses, Brood Mares, Fillies, and Colts; also the celebrated sire Revenge. Vide future advertisements.

GANLY, SONS, AND CO, Auctioneers, 18, 19 and 20 USHER’S QUAY. DUBLIN; And Cattle Markets. Liverpool & Manchester.’ [34]

November: ‘LORD RATHDONNELL wishes to find a PLACE for his SECOND HORSEMAN, an Englishman, whom he can thoroughly recommend as sober, honest, steady, and understanding his business; he can also drive ; half his fare from Ireland will be paid— Address John Milburn, Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, co. Carlow, Ireland.’ (Morning Post, 14 November 1888).

Tom elected to the Committee of the Royal Dublin Society.

Lisnavagh House @ James Fennell.

Jack the Ripper on the loose in London.

Disastrous GAA tour to the USA coincides with Harrison’s victory over Cleveland in US elections.

After signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans, the British established a protectorate in the Horn of Africa referred to as British Somaliland.

Lady Rathdonnell hosts the writer Francis Wynne, a close friend of Katherine Tynan and author of ‘Whisper!’ (1890). Francis was a regular correspondent with Matthew Russell (1834-1912), a Jesuit priest who became founding editor of the Irish Monthly magazine. Yeats described Fr Russell as ‘a Catholic priest of the most courteous, kindly and liberal mind’. In one letter Francis told Father Russell how it gave her ‘a warm glow in the region of my heart when I think of you’, and went on to ‘wonder what my host Lady Rathdonnell would say if she saw me writing like that to a dangerous Jesuit.’ Francis was also corresponding with Dora Sigerson at this time. [35]




George Alexander of Milford, County Carlow, starts a four-year trip to explore the business potential of Calgary (c. 1889-1893). He was joined intermittently by his first cousin, Henry Bruen Alexander, brother of Nannie Alexander, and in the summers by his older brother, the Zulu-chasing Major John Alexander (1850-1944). John’s main interest seems to have been the hunting opportunities and sight-seeing; he visited Niagara Falls in 1894, and was mildly impressed. Henry and George remained on out there, buying a ranch called “Two Dot” near Nanton and immersing themselves in the burgeoning business world of Calgary, which would go one to become the oil capital of Canada.

George ended up living in Kaslo on Kootenay Lake and, by 1900, he was the leading businessman in the town, owning a substantial business called “The Alexander Block” which has since been demolished. [36] He owned a number of mines and sort of “ran” the town. He and his wife went back to England in 1908. A Calgary newspaper reference online mentions how George welcomed some compatriots on a visit to Calgary around 1894, including a de Robeck. One of the Eustace family from Castlemore may also have been involved. They appear to have sold up just before the oil was discovered. If anyone has further particulars of this adventure, please let me know.

Henry Bruen Alexander also spent some time in Canada and owned but never ran any of the mines he often co-shared with his cousin George. Henry ended up in Africa, dying in Kenya in 1932.

January 8: Leonard Morogh, a solicitor and land agent who had effectively mastered the Ward Union since 1866, went out with the Wexford Hounds. At Ballymockesy near Castleboro, Lord Carew’s seat, he was riding quietly over a small gap in a wattled fence when thrown on his back through his horse “pecking”. His spine was dislocated, and he died a few days later and was buried in Glasnevin. [Years later, the IRA would creep past the spot where Leonard lay clutching his back, on their way to burn down the Big House].

February 22: Death of Lord Dunsany, brother to Horace Plunkett and father to the writer.

March 17: Opening of St Patrick’s Church, Rathvilly, built by architect William Hague. Archbishop Walsh had hoped to attend but couldn’t make it; the Most Rev Dr Lynch, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and Rev Dr Comerford officiated. (Freeman’s Journal, 18 March 1889, p. 6.)

March 30: Opening of the first Carnegie Library at Braddock, Pennsylvania, and home to one of the Carnegie Steel Company’s mills. A total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built around the world between 1883 and 1929, including 66 in Ireland, of which 62 survive, most of which were built after 1900.

March 30: ‘During the week ten families on the Clongorey estate were evicted for non-payment of rent. This brings the total number of evictions on this estate up to eighteen. It will remembered that this estate was one of the first to adopt the Plan of Campaign, and that in connection with proceedings on it some of the leading citizens of Newbridge and Naas were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.’ (Leinster Express, Saturday, March 30, 1889.)

April 10 (Wed): Tom Rathdonnell elected a Representative Peer of Ireland in place of Lord Dunsany, some 18 years after his uncle, the 1st Lord Rathdonnell, was erroneously told that he too would become a Representative Peer. As such, Tom was henceforth one of the Irish nobility chosen to sit in the united House of Lords at Westminster.

April 19: Lord Lucan is likewise elected a Representative Peer, filling the seat of the lately departed 3rd Earl of Portarlington.

June 7: L’Abbesse de Jouarre, co-owned by Lord Randolph Churchill and the Earl of Dunraven, won the Epsom Oaks; the beautiful black mare was nicknamed “Abscess on the Jaw” by those who found her French moniker too difficult to pronounce.

June 12: The worst rail disaster in Irish railway history, 80 people mostly children were killed and almost 200 injured, when an excursion train crashed outside Armagh.

August 25 (circa): “THE LATEST DODGE OF THE LANDLORDS. OUR LOCAL SYMPATHISERS. The Irish Catholic published last week a long list of the shareholders in the Land Corporation of Ireland Guarantee Company, Limited—one of the latest landlord dodges to crush the tenants and smash the Plan of Campaign. It forms a companion list to that published by the same newspaper a few weeks ago. We extract the names of our local sympathisers with this new movement for the extermination of poor tenants.” So wrote the Leinster Leader on Saturday 31 August 1889; the first named on their list was “Rathdonnell, Lord, Lisnavagh, Tullow, peer, 5 shares” followed by Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House, with 15 shares, and Henry Bruen, of Oak Park, Carlow with 5.

August 30: The Light Railways (Ireland) Act provides State assistance for the construction of narrow-gauge lines (known as Balfour Lines) to disadvantaged areas such as West Mayo.

The Rathdonnells sail the Mediterranean on board the yacht Nukteris – there is an album of that name in the Lisnavagh Archives (M/6 and H/3) containing mainly commercial photographs of North Africa, Sicily, Portugal, etc.

Oct 5: ‘The Right Hon. Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh, who is lying dangerously ill at Chelsea, passed a favourable night. He is suffering from pneumonia, with complications.’ [37]

Oct 13: The Marquis of Londonderry, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, visits Belfast to give it official recognition as a City.

OctoberMr Denis R. Pack-Beresford -” hanging -gale Beresford”- a young man who seems bent on perpetuating the evil traditions of his family- has made himself most unpopular amongst the people of Carlow by his harsh treatment of the poor widow woman, Mrs Anne Watters of Kilcloney, Borris and now another notice from “hanging-gale Beresford” makes clear his intention to take further law proceedings against his tenant, Mrs Watters, for rent and has duly been served upon her in the last few days legal notice by Mr Thorp of Bagenalstown. Two months ago this tenant had to lay down, in one payment, the full amount of three half years rent and costs. We know for sure what is to follow now for Mrs Watters, who we should say had better look out again! .

Mrs Watters effects have been seized by the sheriff year after year. Those who are in favour of fox hunting would do well to take note of this, they will see that this rackrenter’s greedy desire has done more than all the others to work out its total extinction. First and last “hanging-gale Beresford” has proved himself destitute of common decency or he would never have entered into a conflict with his tenant for a paltry “hanging-gale” that accrued in the days of some unknown landlord long before his great grandfather was born.

One of the collectors for the Bagenalstown Races Fund having taken a subscription from “hanging-gale Beresford” has returned the subscription. Now ” hanging-gale Beresford” has informed his lofty friends and sympathisers of his chagrin, and they are now asking that their subscriptions be also returned. Major Alexander, who had intended running a horse in a race, wrote to say, “under no circumstances, would I give the Race Meeting my support”. We congratulate the Bagenalstown Race Committee on having disassociated themselves from the rackrenters and evictors of the County Carlow.’ [38]

DecemberIrish National League meetings discussing the Beresford vs Watters events.

Ballon and Rathoe Branch Monthly meeting. The secretary noted 54 men from Ballon and 3 from Rathoe in attendance. He recorded that “the inclemency of the weather accounted for the numerical inferiority of the deputation from Rathoe“. A letter was read from the Borris Branch relative to the monstrous behaviour of Mr Pack-Beresford of hanging-gale notoriety, towards a tenant of his named Mrs Watters. The principal feature of the letter was a resolution which the Ballon / Rathoe branch was asked to adopt, to stop Mr Beresford from hunting with the Carlow hounds. One member pointed out that they could not stop him hunting as he is in the habit of riding on the roads. Mr Hanlon, said that he did not approve of this method of stopping hunting. After further conversation the meeting unanimously adopted the resolution and directed the secretary to communicate their intentions to Mr Robert Watson, the Master of the hounds. [39]

Carlow town, Tinryland and Bennekerry Branch. Meeting held in Town Hall. A resolution was read from Borris condemning the treatment which Mrs Waters had been subjected to by the landlord, Mr Beresford, and expressed the opinion that the farmers ought, in self-respect and to show their sympathy by preventing Beresford from hunting over their lands. The Chairman, Mr John Kelly, said that it was for the farmers to decide if they would permit this objectionable person to hunt over their lands. [40]

Bagenalstown Branch. Following a lengthened debate the following resolution was passed. We call upon Mr Beresford to reconsider his harsh treatment of Mr Michael Waters and his mother and ask him “to put Mr Waters on an equality with the other tenants on the estate, failing to do this we ask the tenant farmers to mark their disapproval of his treatment by preventing him from hunting over their lands“. [41]

Tullow Branch. The meeting was requested by the Borris branch to oppose the tyrannous treatment of Mr Michael Waters, who was one of their members. James Murphy said that the Beresfords are the sorest and bitterest landlords in the county Carlow. The Chairman, Mr Thomas Bolger, asked if anyone could enlighten them as to the merits of this case. He said that he was inclined to question anything that comes from Borris as the people of that place have been very unreliable in the past and he was reluctant to stop Mr Beresford from hunting over his lands. Mr Michael Murphy from Roscat told the meeting that the hounds of the hunt had chased a pony of his across a wire fence, causing such injuries to the animal as caused its death in a short time. He sought compensation from Mr Watson who directed him to Mr Hardy Eustace who told him that the huntsman was irresponsible for every and all damages whilst engaged in the chase. The Chairman stated that in his opinion the hunt was eminently calculated to develop both muscle and daring; “and we know that some of the most daring officers the patriot armies of Ireland ever produced got their training in the hunting field, albeit the majority of modern foxhunters would sooner be considered West Britons“. The secretary was directed to write to Borris to suggest a county convention on the subject. [42]

Newtown Branch. The meeting after lengthened consideration of a Resolution from Borris to stop Mr Beresford from hunting over the land in the area, and of which he is the main landlord, decided to allow the matter to stand over until the next meeting, the secretary, John D. McGrath, having reason to believe that the dispute is about to be settled. [43]

The Drumcar mausoleum where the first Lord and Lady Rathdonnell were buried.

Dec 22: “The Right Hon. Anne, Dowager Lady Rathdonnell, died at Drumcar House, in the county of Louth, on Dec. 22, in her eighty-second year. She was eldest daughter of the Rev. John Henry George Lefroy, M.A., of Ewsholt House, Hants” [44]

Dec 24: Parnell served with papers naming him as co-respondent in a divorce suit filed by Captain O’Shea.

Dec 25: Death of the Incredible Arthur MacMurrough Kanavagh, former MP for Carlow, of Borris House. Tom Rathdonnell later succeeded him as Queen Victoria’s Lord Lieutenant for County Carlow.

Dec 27: The late Dowager Baroness Rathdonnell is buried in the mausoleum at Drumcar.




Jan 4: Obituary to the Right Hon. Anne, Dowager Lady Rathdonnell of Drumcar, Co. Louth, appears in London Illustrated News. The same newspaper later lists ‘Lady Rathdonnell of Drumcar, County Louth, and 80, Chester-square’ among the wills proved, and values her personalty at £45,000. Other obituaries in that edition include: – The Right Hon. Raymond. Viscount Franfort de Montmorency – Sir William Dunbar Baronet of Moehrum – Sir Paul William Molesworth at The Tower, Newquay – The Right Hon. Arthur Macmorrough Kavanagh of Borris, Carlow – Sir Francis Charless Fortescue Turville of Bosworth Hall, Leicestershire – The right Hon. Anne, Dowager lady Rathdonnell at Drumear House county Louth’.

Feb 1Irish World publishes details of Rathvilly Land League meeting. [45]

Feb 1: More controversy for Denis Robert Pack-Beresford over the eviction of Anne Watters.

“At Bagenalstown court Mr Denis Robert Pack-Beresford recently obtained a decree for the possession of Mrs Anne Watters farm at Kilcloney, Borris. For the past 6 years Mrs Watters, a poor widow and her family have been resisting the attempts of the landlord to extort a hanging-gale that has been due from time immemorial. The costs heaped on the tenant during this struggle have been enormous. Mrs Watters has offered to pay the rent due minus these costs, but the landlord shows no disposition to come to a reasonable settlement.
From the time that Mr Beresford became the landlord, six years ago, he has sought to continue the policy of Lord Beresford of evicting Catholics from the land. The rents being paid on time and up to date he had no weapon to make his power be felt and to chastise a tenant but to fall back upon the “hanging-gale” which course of action would mean utter ruin in 19 out of every 20 cases on his estate. William Ward J.P. of Bagnalstown , one of our great peacemakers, frequently sought justice for the tenant but Mr Beresford defied his reasoning. Should the landlord proceed to extremes , the tenant and her family will have the sympathy and support of every honest man in County Carlow.
Following “hanging gale” Beresford’s manoeuvres a Convention of the Irish National League was called and addressed by Father B. O’ Neill. He stated that he knew the landlords of Carlow perhaps better than any other clergyman present, and he would say,: “For deeds that are dark, and for tricks that are mean, the landlords of Carlow are peculiar“. He heard the name Beresford mentioned, (hisses) well he knew Beresford and through persecution by the Beresfords the parish over which he ruled was reduced in population from 10,000 Catholics to a little over 5,000.
Where are all these men gone? Who put them out?
Charley Doyne – ( pitchcap ) that’s who a most unmitigated scoundrel (groans). He was the man who done the dirty work for Kavanagh and Beresford (groans). The people of Carlow are the most obedient, self-sacrificing people in Ireland but they are been bruised and trampled upon, and if a worm were trodden upon it would turn, and turn the people will (loud cheering and applause). Old Whitty, the parson, of Ballyoliver had told a Catholic asking for a Lease that he would not get it because he would vote against him. He (Father O’Neill) knew what happened to Tom Cloven when he went in with a half-years rent, he could give no more because his cattle were dying … Beresford put him out (hisses). Bruen and Kavanagh misrepresented Carlow for 25 years, no doubt it was said that Carlow had a number of gentry of the bluest of blue blood …Well we all know the origin of some of these blue-blood aristocrats (laughter).
Father Ryan , Dwyer Gray, A.M. Sullivan and himself (Father O’Neill) were to speak from a platform on a Saturday night in Borris but the whole platform was blown up , and there was no dynamite anywhere in the neighbourhood except what was in Mr Kavanagh’s demesne. Self preservation was the first law of nature and he now proposed that they form a defensive combination of the Irish tenants and approve the objects and aims of the Irish Tenants’ Defence Association. (cheers).
The meeting then concluded. (From the Pat Purcell Papers).

February 12 (Wed): Lord George Harris, a contemporary of Tom Rathdonnell from Eton days, was appointed Governor of Bombay. Indeed, in the 1890s all three of the Indian governors and two governors-general were Warre graduates. Harris was three years Tom’s junior and the same age as Jack, being born in Trinidad in 1851. He was also an acclaimed cricketer. Both men were taught the sport at Eton by R. A. H. Mitchell and the Rev. G. R. Dupuis, obtaining their place in the Eton Eleven in 1868 and the two following years. Tom was present when 100 of Harris’s friends from Eton, Oxford and the political ring gathered to celebrate his appointment with a dinner party at Café Monico in Piccadilly. Their old headmaster, Dr Warre, presided over the occasion. There is a photo of a ‘Lord Harris’ in the McClintock ‘Pearl Album’ at Lisnavagh, who may be the same man.

February 13: Tom appointed Her Majesty’s Lieutenant for Co. Carlow. The Times reports that the Lord Lt had had ‘appointed Lord Rathdonnell to be Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Co Carlow in place of the Rt Hon Arthur Kavanagh’.

Feb 17: ‘There was a bumper meet at Mowsley [Leicestershire] on Monday, conspicuous in the crowd being Lord Rathdonnell, who a few years ago had his hunting quarters at Great Bowden. John Ball received the honour of a first call, the bitch pack soon testifying by a thrilling chorus that the place was occupied. There was a rare scent in covert, and pug was shortly under the necessity of changing his quarters. He went scudding across to Jane Ball, right through, and skirting Shearsby ran up to Little Pestling, hugging the road for a considerable distance, and eventually turning off for Willoughby. At this point in the run Lord Rathdonnel got a very nasty fall, but the hardy horseman was happily not long out of the saddle. The chase went on for Whetstone Gorse, when scent suddenly disappeared, and nothing more could be made out as to the whereabouts of the fugitive.’ [46]

March 1Irish World publishes details of a Rathvilly, Ticknock, and Talbotstown Land League meeting.- ‘At last meeting in Rathvilly, Rev. J. Phelan, President, in the Chair. The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:- That this branch begs to place on record its profound regret at the removal from Rathvilly of an influential and practical official of our Executive Committee, Rev. Patrick Byrne, who is transferred to Rathangan, County Kildare. That John Kepple, Tobinstown, a Protestant Nationalist, be selected to represent the Williamstown electoral division of the Baltinglass Union, in the room of John Kehoe (Catholic), who contemplates resigning his seat. [47]

March 15The Irish World reports: ‘Walter Kavanagh has been appointed Poor Law Guardian to the Carlow Union in room of his father, the late Arthur Kavanagh. Capt. J.P. Lecky has also been appointed on the Board, in room of Mr. Beresford, High Sheriff.’ [48]

March 19: The dismissal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II spells the beginning of the end for a stable Europe. The German Chancellor had excelled in bringing nations such as Russia and Italy into an alliance with Germany to keep France in check. ‘Dropping the Pilot’ duly appeared in Punch on 29 March; Lord Roseberry sent Bismarck a copy of the cartoon.

March 23: First mention of a hoodlum gang in Birmingham by name of Peaky Blinders here.

April 16Nenagh Guardian (p. 3) states that Lord Rathdonnell’s herd at Drumcar to be sold in second week of October. This was later described as ‘an important auction of pedigree cows, heifers and bulls from lord Rathdonnell’s shorthorn herd’.

April: Edward Cecil Guinness – known to his family as Ned and to posterity as the 1st Earl of Iveagh – founds the Iveagh Trust, or the Guinness Trust as it was originally. Its founding aim: “The amelioration of the conditions of the working population of Dublin and their modes and manner of living, by the provision of improved dwellings”. The semi-philanthropic Dublin Artisan Dwelling Company, which Lord Iveagh supported, had previously built a lot of high standard redbrick terraces early on for the skilled working class. Born in 1847, Ned was a great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, the founder of the brewery.  He worked in the brewery from the age of 15 and overtook his older brother in terms of his fortune and status. In 1868, following his dad’s death, Ned orchestrated a major expansion of the brewery. Eight years later, he bought out his brother Arthur, Lord Ardliaun’s share of the brewery. With the floatation of the brewery on the London Stock Exchange in 1886, he became the richest man in Ireland.

April 26The Irish World reports: ‘Coercion Act in Tullow.- James Aughney, Michael Brien, Michael Morrissey, Patrick McDonald, Joseph Aughney, John Farrell, Catherine Brien, Catherine Aughney, and John Mulhall were recently charged at Tullow Sessions with unlawfully assembling at Roscat and Wilfully obstructing John Stratford Berry, High Constable of the barony of Rathvilly, and his assistant while in the discharge of their duty- i.e. collecting the railway guarantee tax, which the people are resisting. The accused gave bail to appear when called upon.’ [49]

May 3The Irish World reports: ‘Carlow Union Officers’ Election.- The newly-elected Board assembled recently when the election of chairman took place. Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, the outgoing chairman, having been proposed for re-election. Patrick Houlon was nominated by the Nationalists, and a poll being taken Sir Thomas Butler was re-elected by twenty-nine votes to eleven. Right Hon. Henry Bruen and J.F. Lecky were re-elected respectively Vice-Chairman and Deputy Vice-Chairman. The Tory and landlord elements are still pretty strong on the Board.’ [50]

May 10The Irish World reports: ‘Carlow and Ireland Races. – The sports were held recently at Ballynunnery Bridge. The day was one well suited for such a purpose, being fine and the air bracing. The attendance was very large and sport good. Three events filled the card, and each was well contested.’ [51]

May 17The Irish World reports: ‘Railwaymen Strike in Carlow.- The men at Carlow Station recently went on strike for an increase of wages. As soon as the order to strike was telegraphed there was no hesitation in obeying, and the men left the stores and premises in orderly style. Trains arrived punctually, but without regular guards, and in charge of railway policemen. It is said the engine-drivers will not continue to work in the absence of the signal men and guards.’ [52]

May 24: The Irish World reports: ‘Carlow Union.- Sir Thomas Butler in the chair. Other Guardians present:- Messrs. Burgess, Nolan, Governey, Thomas, Lecky, Hammond, Hamilton, Maher, Hanlon, and Walker. The Local Government Board wrote stating that £156 6s. 11. was the sum to be assessed upon the Carlow Union for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Contagious Diseases Animals Act. If the police reports are to be believed an epidemic of madness in dogs prevails in County Carlow.’ [53]

May 31The Irish World reports: ‘Temperance Cause in Carlow. On a recent Sunday in the Cathedral, Carlow, a sight was witnessed which filled the hearts of local temperance men with joy. Four hundred men took the pledge from Rev. J. Byrne.’

June 7The Irish World reports: ‘Crops in Carlow.- There is a very appreciable diminution in the area under barley this year, compared with last, but what is down looks very promising. A decided increase is visible in the oat crop, and corresponding falling off in the quantity of wheat sown. The area under potatoes is large and they are doing well.’

June 17 (Tues): The Duke of Portland presents Tom Rathdonnell to the the Prince of Wales at the annual Levee in St James’s Palace.

June: Foundation stone to Memorial to the fallen of 1798 laid at Carlow-Graigue with the Arles Brass Band in action and a fiery anti-landlord “tobacco spits and cheers speech” by John Joseph Clancy, MP. For example: ‘My friends was this a rising without a cause ? (crowd– no , no). They rose – those men of ’98 – against the most diabolical oppression ever practised in any age in any country. Let me tell you what they rose against. They rose against the transportation of men without trial, they rose against the inclusion of torture in the manufacture of informers ; they rose against the burning of peasants’ homes ; they rose against the brutal violation of the honour of the women of Ireland. What else did they rise against? Against the practice of singeing which consisted in pouring gunpowder on the hair of the head and lighting it with a match.’ For all that, the Nationalist editorial of the day concluded as follows: “The most striking feature of the demonstration in Carlow on Sunday last was the order, sobriety, and good conduct of the people throughout the day. Although thousands of people took part in celebration there was not a single one arrested for drunkenness either by the Carlow or Graigue police”. [54]

June: The golden age of Irish tennis gets underway with Joshua Pim, Willoby Hamilton, Frank Stoker and Lena Rice reigning victorious at Wimbledon and Mabel Cahill of Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny, defeating Teddy Roosevelt’s cousin to win the US Open.

July 5 (Friday): Tom and Kate attend another State Ball at Buckingham.

August: At the Dublin Horse Show, Tom Rathdonnell is among those who greet the vice-regal party of the Lord Lieutenant and his wife, the Countess of Zetland.

September 16: Louis Le Prince, who shot the world’s first motion picture in Leeds, England, boards a train in France and vanished. His fate remains a mystery.

October: Chief Secretary Balfour visits the West of Ireland to see effects of possible potato blight and so becomes first British minister to see first-hand what a disgrace it had become. On the back of this he set up the Congested Districts Board.

Nov 16: Birth in Friarstown of Bridget ‘Brede’ Connolly, believed to be the only Carlow person in the GPO during the Easter Rising. Having delivered messages for James Connolly before and during the Rising, she remained a trusted activist through the Civil War. Although the family moved to Artane when she was a child, her parents were Peter Connolly and Elizabeth Gaynor, the daughter of a nearby farmer in Grange. Local tradition suggests they were evicted from Friarstown – but not by Rathdonnell’s I hasten to add! Bridget died unmarried in 1981 and was interred in the family plot in Grange cemetery.

November 17: As the cattle sales come to a close, so 41 cows (making an average of £23 9s 8d) and 9 bulls (averaging at £19 16s 8d) from the Drumcar shorthorn herd were brought under the hammer. Mr. R. Thompson paid 51 guineas for Lady Florrie, Lord Headfort paid 38g for Elfreda and Mr. A Bellingham paid 35g for the bull Pilgrim of Love.

December 6: 45 Nationalist MPs abandon Parnell, leaving him with just 28.

December: Frank DuBédat’s company, one of the oldest and most respected stock-broking firms in Dublin, was declared bankrupt. DuBédat swiftly withdrew £1,000 from his firm’s London agency and fled to South Africa. Investigations revealed he had debts of over £100,000.

December 15: Sitting Bull killed when 40 Native American policemen arrive at his house.

December 29: Battle of Wounded Knee – nearly three hundred Lakota people massacred by soldiers of the United States Army.




In early 1891, Tom Rathdonnell acquired a large yacht called ‘Thauma’, taking its name from the Greek for ‘magic’. Lloyd’s Shipping Register of 1891 refers to this vessel as a 160.85-ton wooden schooner, measuring 98.7 long, 22.3 breadth and 12.3 deep. She was built by R & H Green of Blackwall, London, in 1850-1851 and belonged to Cowes. Originally called ‘Surprise’, it was owned by the Schenley family until 1873, after which it was owned variously by the Earl of Aylesford (1874),  C.A.R. Hoare (1879) and Major J.W.G. Spicer (1880).

Major Spicer, who coincidentally was a forbear of Emily Bunbury, the present chatelaine of Lisnavagh, sold the ship to Lord Rathdonnell in 1891. It is assumed that he was the man who changed the ship’s name from ‘Surprise’ to ‘Thauma’ but why he did so is unknown.

The vessel was last registered with Lloyd’s Register of Yachts under the name ‘Thauma’, and under Tom’s ownership, in 1897-98.

The first thing Tom did with ‘Thauma’ was to take her on a Mediterranean cruise in the spring of 1891. A large navy-blue album at Lisnavagh entitled ‘Thauma 1891’ gives an insight into the voyage. It would seem Tom and Kate were joined by one son – it looks like Billy – and all three daughters. One daughter poses with a guitar. Thauma herself is photographed on the water, perhaps outside the RMYC. The crew appear to number three bushy bearded officers and ten men (clad in close knit jumpers and peaky sailors’ caps imprinted with THAUMA – R.M.Y.C), plus three cooks. Once the cast has been photographed, the album begins amid the dusty cathedrals and royal Alcázar of Seville. They then voyage to Cordoba, arriving April 1st, where they watch matadors in action in a bull fight and, quite possibly, purchase the beautiful green-hued vegetable-tanned Cordoba leather which now adorns the fireplace in the Lisnavagh library.

From there to Gibraltar, arriving April 8th, where they appear to have visited and possibly stayed at The Mount which, built in 1797, was the official residence of the senior officer of the Royal Navy in Gibraltar. Photographed here is a young woman called Elsie Buckle who may have been kith or kin of one of the Gibraltar elite. Onwards to Morocco, via the casbahs and camel tracks of Tangiers and Rabat, before heading back north through the Gibraltar Straits via Malaga to the Alhambra in Granada and south again to the Moorish city of Oran on the north-western Mediterranean coast of Algeria. From here they journeyed south-west to the more temperate climates of Tlemcen, explored the mosques of Mansourah and eyeballed the Atlas Mountains. As Thauma made her way east again along the African coast, Tom Rathdonnell must have thought of his father. As they approached the Bay of Algiers, he would have had cause to reflect upon the fact that, nearly 75 years earlier, his father saw his first action here as a sixteen-year-old when the Royal Navy bombarded the city of Algiers in a bid to bring an end to the Algerian slave trade. The city would have a further connection to the family with the death of his wife Kate, Lady Rathdonnell, in Algiers in 1922.

The Thauma party also seem to have made their way inland to the province of Kabylia and the mountain city of Tizi Ouzou which lies some 30km south of the coast and 100km east of Algiers. Three of the finest photographs in the Thauma album depict a man, a woman and a girl from Kabyle. The girl is making couscous outside a rudimentary shack somewhere between Tizi Ouzo and Fort National. Thauma made its way north across the Med to San Pedro del Pinatar and south again via Almeria, back through the Gibraltar Straits and home from here but appears to have also called in at Peel Castle on the Isle of Man before she finally docked.

As Robert Harbord, a descendant of the Schenley family discovered: “Thauma was reported in Lloyd’s Register of Yachting for 1899 to be “Now a trading vessel”. She was under the new ownership of a Danish company based in Copenhagen. Her entry for 1903 had the fatal stamp “Wrecked 02 03” on her. In Lloyd’s Register of Vessels Lost for that year she is reported to have been sailing from Bergen to Copenhagen with a cargo of fish on board and was lost at ‘Vigso’ on the 28th February 1903. According to a friend of mine, Norway was desperately poor at that time, under the yoke of Swedish domination, and in dire straits, so even ‘exporting’ just a small cargo of fish would have made a difference. This seems to be on the south side of the entrance to the Skagerrak. Very sad end to what must have been, in her salad days, a beautiful looking vessel.”




Lisnavach [sic], a chestnut hunter, in a loose box, painted by George Paice in June 1891; the painting was on sale from Aldridge’s of Bath in 2019. I’m not sure who owned the horse? This should not be confused with Lisnavagh the War Horse.

Population of County Carlow: 40,936. One hundred years later, the population was up to 40,988.

February 11: Miss Grace Bruen, presented in the First Drawing Room at Dublin Castle by Lady Rathdonnell. Mrs Henry Bruen, presented by the Marchioness of Ormonde. [55]

March 31: Death of Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, British statesman.

May: Denis Pack Beresford of Fenagh House engaged to marry Alice, only daughter of Mr James A, Lyle of Portstewart House, County Derry, and Glandore, County Antrim.

May 16: Death of Horace Rochfort (born 1809), founder of Carlow Rugby and Cricket Clubs.

June 15: Death of James Patrick Mahon, known as O’ Gorman Mahon, nationalist and anti-Parnellite MP for Carlow since 1887. According to the Pat Purcell Papers of 1937, he was known as a “vulgar bully”. ‘It was reported that on his death bed, 89-year-old Mahon told a friend that he was sorry to see it reported in the newspapers that he had fought over 30 duels. ‘The number was thirteen”, he said. ‘And only five of them died.’ [56]

June 25: Parnell married Kitty O’Shea.

July 4Carlow election following the death in June of the Carlow MP, O’Gorman Mahon. This was one of the first elections held after the Parnell Split and had wide media coverage in Britain and Ireland. Parnell visited Carlow and travelled the county in support of his candidate, Andy Kettle, father of the eminent nationalist, poet and World War One hero, Tom Kettle. It is thought that Parnell paid a visit to Rathvilly, where stones were fired in his direction. He arrived at Carlow Railway Station, “a weary and dejected-looking man, stooped and shrunken and was welcomed by a motley crowd of about a hundred. There was absolutely no enthusiasm, no sign of a welcome as a pitiful procession marched to Cullen’s Hotel”. [57] Observers were disappointed when Parnell did not bring his new bride, Catherine O’Shea with him.

Andy Kettle’s opponent John Hammond  was proposed by Michael Comerford, the coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. At a special meeting in Maynooth, the Roman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland passed a resolution in which they stated: “Mr Parnell by his public misconduct, has utterly disqualified himself to be a leader – he is wholly unworthy of the confidence of Catholics and we call on our people to repudiate his leadership”.

The election was held during the second week in July, John Hammond received 3,755 votes, Andy Kettle, 1,539. Nearly 600 illiterate men voted with priests who were acting as “voting agents” and marked their voting papers for them.

July 13: Carlow becomes the first inland town in Ireland or Great Britain to be lighted throughout by hydro-electricity generated from Milford

August 5: Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act creates a Congested Districts Board empowered to purchase land and create viable holdings in the poorest areas in the western counties from Donegal to Cork, as well as a loan fund for tenants who wished to purchase their lands. Balfour raises another £33 million for land purchase, although the process was so complicated that many tenants were scared away from buying. The 1891 Act also introduced a new and ‘unpopular’ principal, stipulating that landlords be paid in land stock rather than cash; land stock was liable to fluctuate with the state of the market. As such, the amount advanced under this scheme over the 1890s only reached about £13½ million (of the £33M available) and approximately 47,000 people bought their land. The CDB initially focused on an area of 3 ½ million acres and a population of about half a million spread over parts of Counties Donegal, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork. The area was gradually extended; by 1910 it included swathes of County Tyrone and Fermanagh in Ulster.

August: Denis Pack-Beresford marries Alice Lyle in Bangor. The Rathdonnells do not seem to have attended but gave the couple two silver mounted liqueur decanters. Jack and Myra McClintock Bunbury presented them with a turquoise and diamond pin.

August: Francis Low’s 21st birthday party at Kilshane, Co. Tipperary. Among the guests at the garden party was Mrs Henry Bruen looked charming in a corduroy class costume of royal blue, with coque boa and hat to match. [58]

Sept 19: Tom Rathdonnell and party attend a polo match in Tiny Park, Carlow in which the 10th Hussars thrashed Carlow County by eleven goals to three. Also present on the field is Edward VII’s young son, the Duke of Clarence; he died the following January 14 of influenza before marriage to Mary of Teck.

September 21: Death of General Sir John Bloomfield Gough, Colonel of the Royal Scots Greys.

Sept 27: Parnell makes his final public appearance speaking at Creggs, Co Galway in torrential rain. Already in poor health, the drenching rain effectively proved fatal; he died just over a week later.

October 6: Death of Parnell aged 45.

October 8: Freeman’s Journal reports in its ‘FASHION AND VARIETIES’ column that ‘ Lady Rathdonnell arrived at Kingstown yesterday from England.’

October 28: Fourth Annual Cattle Auction at Lisnavagh.

Commencing at Twelve o’clock noon, at BALLYOLIVER HOUSE, Half a mile from Rathvilly Station (G. S. and W.R.), near Lisnavagh, County Carlow. Particulars as follows:-
189 Head of One-and-a-half and Two-and-a-half-year-old Bullocks, good quality and forward condition, in suitable lots.
40 Fat Ewes.
94 Cross-bred Lambs (mixed genders).
35 Black-faced Wethers (Scotch), Two years old.
A Train leaves Dublin at 8.20 a.m., arriving at Rathvilly at 10.33 a.m.; Return Train leaves Rathvilly 4.20 p.m.
N.R.—Wednesday, 28th October, being Fair Eve of Tullow, County Carlow, buyers can attend the Sale, and also the Fair the next day.
Term — Cash. Purchasers to 2 1/2 per cent, Auction Fee.

November: ‘Hunt report: Palmam qui meruit ferat! All were pleased to see the brush given to the Hon. Mary McClintock Bunbury, Lord Rathdonnell’s daughter, who displayed such skilful horsemanship, quickness, and general aptitude for the chase as is seldom witnessed in one so young.’ [60]

December: The 24-year-old Mary of Teck (known as ‘May’) is betrothed to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, prompting Kate Rathdonnell to launch a subscription campaign in Carlow to purchase her a present. Michael Purcell forwarded this extract from The Nationalist and Leinster Times.

2nd January 1892.
To the Editor of the Nationalist and Leinster Times.
Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow.
December 30th, 1891.
Her Excellency the Countess of Zetland having asked me to undertake the task of collecting subscriptions in the County of Carlow, for the purpose of presenting a wedding gift from Ireland to His Royal Highness, the Duke of
Clarence on his marriage with Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, I would ask you to allow me to appeal through your columns to all classes in this county (men and women), who may be desirous of joining in
this movement to do honour to our future king and queen.
In order that it may be within the power of everyone to contribute, it has been decided that the amount of the subscriptions is to range from 1 penny to £2.
It is proposed that the present should consist mainly, if not entirely, of articles of Irish manufacture, and the shape that it will take will depend on the amount collected.
Subscriptions, which it is requested may be forwarded with as little delay as possible, can be sent to me, or will be received at the branches of the Bank of Ireland and National Bank in this county.
Trusting that I may be enabled to forward, as the contribution of Carlow, a sum worthy of our county,
I am, yours, etc., K.A. Rathdonnell.

Prince Albert Victor was also being lined up as a possible Viceroy of Ireland. However, six weeks after the announcement of his engagement, the Duke died unexpectedly during an influenza pandemic. He died at Sandringham House in Norfolk on 14 January 1892, less than a week after his 28th birthday. The following year she became engaged to Albert Victor’s next surviving brother, George, who subsequently became King George V.


Carlow after Dark 1891.


“The “small and early” given by Mrs Bagenal and Mrs J.O. Adair at Bennekerry on Friday developed into a large and late. Over a hundred guests responded and I hear of six o’clock as an hour at which not a few reached their virtuous couches. Bennekerry, which is particularly well suited to festivities of the kind, was prettily illuminated, house and gardens, with Japanese lanterns. Mrs Bagenal wore a white silk dress, and Mrs Adair appeared a pale blue silk. Amongst the many were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Kavanagh (she looking particularly well in blue and gold brocade); Mrs Browne-Clayton, who brought not only a bevy of girls, but a bundle of young men; Lady Butler, with her sons and daughters; Mrs Bruen, with three daughters and two sons; Colonel and Mrs. Fortescue Tynte and Miss Rochfort, Colonel and Mrs. Howard-Brooke, Captain Hall and Mr Hooper. The last three (sic) gentlemen came over from Wicklow, where they are under canvas. Mrs. J. Westropp Dawson wore a beautiful white satin, deified with pale green. Much disappointment was felt at the non-appearance of the bride, Mrs. Pack-Beresford, who is suffering from a chill. Mrs Hall-Dare, looking less like a grandmother than ever, danced the Kitchen-Lancers with her son-in-law, being well supported by her daughter, in white.” [61]


Lisnavagh Up for Sale, 1891


The Lisnavagh Archives contain a letter from 1891 written to Lord Rathdonnell from F. Lowry Lightfoot, Old Palace Yard, Westminster, about the wording of an advertisement for the sale of Lisnavagh by private treaty (6,600 acres, of which 1,200 are demesne, a stone-built mansion which with all the offices and out-buildings are of modern construction and in perfect order, proximity to Dublin, etc, etc). Why were they trying to sell it? Could it be that they were seeking a valuation for some other reason, such as a property tax and putting it on the market was a way of getting a valuation? Or maybe they could see what was coming and were considering Drumcar as the main base rather than Lisnavagh?

In 1891, Louth was probably quite an attractive place to live for a Unionist like Tom Rathdonnell, not too far from his mother’s home turf in Armagh and all his other northern friends. But perhaps the fact his wife hailed from Carlow swung him back south … I presume that in 1900 the plan was for young Billy to inherit one house (Lisnavagh?) and young Tim to inherit the other, but who on earth knows! That is the joy of history – unravelling the jigsaw and shouting ‘Eurkea!’ when a piece fits.




10,000 Irish women signed a petition demanding entry to Trinity College Dublin. Trinity became the first of the historic universities of Britain and Ireland to admit women to degrees in 1904. By 2018, 60 per cent of the student body was female, and many senior positions were held by women, including the Chancellor.

It is believed the grand piano at Lisnavagh House was constructed in 1892.

January 14: Death of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, while Kate Rathdonnell was raising funds for a wedding present for his upcoming marriage to Mary of Teck. The young duke had played polo in Carlow the previous autumn.

February 4 (Thurs): The Landowner’s Convention held their annual meeting in the Leinster Lecture Hall on Molesworth Street, the Duke of Abercorn presiding. Tom was in attendance along with Lords Castltown, Cloncurry, Langford and Dunalley, Sir Thomas Butler, the O’Connor Don and the Earl of Rosse. The Duke of Clarence had just died and there was an epidemic of influenza across the land. Abercorn called the Land Purchase Act of the previous session “undoubtedly one of the most far-reaching and liberal measures of land reform that have ever been carried out by any Government in this or any other country“. When he mentioned certain names, the crowd booed that of Parnell and hissed at Redmond.

Feb 10: “Lord Rathdonnell has much pleasure in stating that Mr Burrows of Douglas, Isle of Man, has cleaned and renovated several old oil paintings for him at Lisnavagh, entirely to his satisfaction. Mr Burrows has also repaired and re-guilded several of the frames in a most satisfactory manner, and he will be glad to recommend him as an efficient pain-taking picture cleaner.— Rathdonnell.” [62]

Feb 20: Oscar Wilde stages first performance of Lady Windermere’s Fan at St James’s Theatre, London. The young McClintock Bunbury girls must have related to the story, not least when Agatha is courted by a rich Australian in one of the last balls of the season. As her aunt, the Duchess of Berwick, remarks: ‘Love—well, not love at first sight, but love at the end of the season, which is so much more satisfactory.’

February 26 (Friday): On his 18th wedding anniversary, Tom resigns his commission as a Captain in Prince Albert’s Own Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry.

March 23: ‘Lord Rathdonnell has much pleasure in stating that Mr Burrows of Douglas, Isle of Man, has cleaned and renovated several old oil paintings for him at Lisnavagh, entirely to his satisfaction. Mr Burrows has also repaired and re-guilded several of the …’ [63]

April: Young Billy follows his father’s footsteps into Eton, and is placed in Mr. Donaldson’s House.

April 30:  John Byrne from Tinryland, Carlow, writes to the Carlow Vindicator to complain of the taking of his farm by “Hanging-Gale Beresford”. [64]

May:  Colonel Butler and the officers of the 8th Battalion King’s Royal Rifles gave a most enjoyable ball in the Military Barracks, Carlow, on Tuesday night. The attendance was large and thoroughly representative of the local gentry. The music was supplied by Mr. Mervyn Browne; while the catering was entrusted to Mr. Blunt, who has for the last three years given unbounded satisfaction to the regiment. Appended is a list of the officers and guests : Col. Sir Thomas Butler, Bart.; Mr. R. Butler, Mr. C.R. Butler and the Misses Butler; Col. E.H. Butler, Mr and Mrs Browne-Clayton and the Misses Browne-Clayton ; Capt. Lord W. Fitzgerald, Mrs Grogan, Major Alexander, Mr. Godwyn B. Swifte, Mr and Mrs O’ Callaghan, Miss Bolton, Mr and Mrs Joy, Miss Watson, Miss Eustace and Miss G. Eustace, Mr T. Alexander, Mr and Mrs Black, Mrs Bagenal, the Misses Newton, Mr H. Crane, Mr and Miss McMahon, Captain P.C. Newton, Mr. H. Keogh, Mrs and the Misses Keogh, Mrs Annesley, Mr. Perry, Major Doyne, the Misses Milner, Mrs C. Duckett; Major J.J. H. Eustace, Capt. G.W. L’Estrange, Capt. J.K. Milner, Capt. C. Duckett, Lieut. W.T. Richardson, Second-Lieut J.H. Grogan, Capt. and Adjutant H.E. Maxwell, Surgeon Lieut.-Col. E.A. Rawson, Lieut. G.R. Shine, Lieut. N.A. Delacherois-Crommelin, Lieut. J.W. Stopford, Second Lieut. D. St. P. Bunbury. [65]

I’m unsure who D. St. P[ierre] Bunbury is yet, but it is notable that the Rathdonnells and their ilk are not present.

June 11: Canon Richard Bagot sells his 6HP threshing machine, known as the Farmer’s Friend, in an auction at Athy Station. Lord Rathdonnell, a colleague of Canon Bagot from the RDS, may have been the buyer and here’s why. The cattle market was in tatters by 1892. Prices for pedigree shorthorns had fallen to their lowest levels in twenty years with the average falling to £24 (as compared with £45 in Anchor’s hey-day). Only the Queen’s herd managed to fetch decent prices. Tom Rathdonnell was specifically mentioned in The Times end of year report for 1892, alongside the Earl of Derby, as being “among those whose sales were affected by the badness of the times“.

This might explain why Tom turned his focus to steam engines. Or, at least, he may have acquired one of a handful of very early Victorian steam engines which would have put the Lisnavagh estate at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in Ireland. This was a 6-horse power traction engine manufactured by Henry Marshall & Sons at the Britannia Iron Works, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, which was founded in 1848 and became one of the world’s biggest agricultural machinery manufacturers. Such machines were very rare in Ireland at this time and this one was originally purchased for Canon Richard Bagot of (now gone) Fontstown Glebe, near Athy, Co. Kildare, by Gerald Fitzgerald, 5th Duke of Leinster, who died in 1893. Both Canon Bagot and the Duke had a deep interest in promoting agricultural development.

Canon Bagot certainly pinned much of the blame for the Great Famine on the lack of diversity and agricultural education in Ireland while he established a model farm of his own at Fonstown and became heavily involved in both the creamery and cooperative movements, alongside Horace Plunkett. The duke seems to have bought the engine on 6 August 1889 for a couple of hundred pounds which was the equivalent of two farms at that time.

There is then a gap in knowledge as to who owned it following Canon Bagot’s death. The next record is from 1936 when it was registered to the Duff brothers, Andy and Jay, who lived at Ballydrummond, near Donard, County Wicklow. In June 2017 I spoke with Willie Rochford, its present owner, who told me that Colm Jackson of Baltinglass had spoken with his grandfather Tom Jackson, who once worked for the Duffs, and that Tom insisted the Duff brothers acquired the steam engine from the Lisnavagh estate.

Tom Rathdonnell was certainly a likely candidate to have bought such a cutting-edge threshing machine, being the sort of progressive man who would have been interested in the move from horsepower to steam-power. He may also have been sufficiently on the ball to off-load the steam engine in the 1920s when the combustion engines manufactured by Fordson were becoming de rigeur. I have not been able to find any further details in a superficial hunt through the Lisnavagh archives and would also suggest looking through the Irish News Archive. Willie Rochford had lately purchased an Edwardian engine from Curraghmore which he had presented to the Johnstown Agricultural Museum.

In April 2020, I was emailed by John Glynn who thought that one of the Lords Rathdonnell had owned his 1920 Marshall Traction Engine (IC 1603), which was made in Gainsborough. The steam engine, painted Berkeley maroon, was sold to Thomas Codd of Rathvaren on 10 April 1920 but when he was apparently unable to meet the repayments, Rathdonnell intervened and purchased it, possibly on behalf of a man by the name of George Giltrap who is thought to have drove and worked it in Lisnavagh. George is also said to have hauled timber with it from Thomas Butler’s Ballintemple estate in Ardattin. Census records show that George was a forester, married to Henrietta Tomkins. George came from a farming background, but his sister ended up with the farm and he married and lived near Ardattin, before moving to near Lisnavagh.

June 29: On the eve of Derby Day, hunting circles were shocked by the sudden death of Henry Moore, 3rd Marquis of Drogheda, of Moore Abbey, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. He was Senior Steward of both the Turf Club and the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee, as well as Ranger of the Curragh. . His death, on June 29, was deeply lamented and deemed a great loss for the Irish Turf. Drogheda Memorial Hospital founded to his memory.

June: Ulster Unionists hold a huge convention in Belfast at which they solemnly swear that “We will not have Home Rule”.

July 29: A brass alms dish in Drumcar Church bore the inscription, ‘Presented by Isabella, Mary and Pauline McClintock-Bunbury for the Service of God and in memory of their Confirmation, July 29th, 1892.” [66]

Taken by photographers James Russell and Sons (est. 1852) who were based on Baker Street since 1889. This was once thought to be the 3rd Baron Rathdonnell but it is was taken between 1893 and 1898 and is, in fact, the 2nd Baron.

Summer: A year before Gladstone’s second Home Rule Bill is rejected by the House of Lords, Tom attends another huge Unionist convention in Dublin. The delegates fill two halls and include the chairman Lord Fingall, the Duke of Leinster and Lords Mayo, Dunsany, Emly, Ventry, Massy and Cloncurry, as well as Colonel Cosby of Stradbally, Colonel Dease, Walter MacMurrough Kavanagh (son of the Incredible Arthur) and Major Barton of Straffan. Their wives sat in the balcony lending “a pleasing grace to the proceedings [and] took a lively interest in all that went on“. Before the speeches, an orchestra played a number of pieces, capped by “God Bless the Prince of Wales” and “Rule Britannia“. “The enthusiasm was simply unbounded when the strains of the National Anthem fell on the ear”.

August 2: 81-year-old Anne Watters and her family are evicted by Denis Pack-Beresford. [67]

August 16: Death at Lisnavagh of George Augustus Chichester May (1815-1892), the former Chief Justice of Ireland who stepped down at the height of the Parnell controversy in 1880. Known as “The Chief” amongst his own family, his departure from the post was a matter of considerable drama at the time. I do not yet know why he was at Lisnavagh. It is possible that he was renting the property.

August 16: National Literary Society founded.

Aug 27: George’s Street Arcade (aka South City Markets) suffers a massive fire. Thomas Purcell’s firemen save what they can, including the bonded stores of Powers whiskey, but “the woodwork of the markets offered an easy prey to the fire.”

Aug 27: ‘Lord Rathdonnell will hunt with the Louth Hounds next season from Drumcar, his seat in that county.’ [68]

September 30: Death of James Smith at Little Moyle, aged 84. He may have been Colonel Kane Bunbury‘s illegitimate son. He was buried at Kellistown but neither Jack Bunbury nor Tom Rathdonnell attended his funeral. Is it curious that Jack Bunbury’s son Geoffrey – also of Moyle – died less than four days later?

October 2: Death of Tom Rathdonnell’s nephew and Jack Bunbury’s only son Geoffrey McClintock Bunbury aged 9. He was buried at Tarporley in Cheshire.

October: The Carlow Sentinel reports that “the quantity of intoxication liquor bought in [the Carlow Union Workhouse] seems average.” The daily average number of paupers in the house is 414 and the amount of spirits, wine and malt liquors consumed in the workhouse during the year 1891, :—-
SPIRTS, 1079 pints 5 ozs.
WINE, 4 pints 5 ozs.
MALT LIQUORS, 538 gallons;
[Michael Purcell suggests it was around this time that several workhouse employees were fired for drunkenness]. [69]

D’ISRAELI SCHOOL. Rathvilly, County Carlow.
Principal —–James C. Long. Certificated Science and Art , London: Ex. Sch. Incor. Society: Late Assistant Master Bandon Grammar School.
School Re-opened.
Preparation for Intermediate, Banks, Civil Service, and Commercial Examinations.
Special attention given to young and backward pupils. The School stands on five acres in a healthy locality.
For terms apply to the Principal.
[James Long presumably succeeded James Earl who died in 1890]




The catastrophic fall and death of Parnell in 1891, the unsurprising defeat of Gladstone’s second Home Rule bill in 1893, and Gladstone’s retirement, left the Home Rule campaign dead in the water. The Liberal party, completely divided, tumbled out of office in 1895. For the next 10 years, Britain and Ireland were ruled by an alliance of Conservatives and Liberal Unionists with free rein to do as they wanted. Irish opposition was hopelessly and bitterly divided between three groups, namely those loyal to John Redmond (Parnell’s heir), Justin McCarthy (replaced from 1896 by John Dillon) and Tim Healy.

Tom Rathdonnell appears to have hosted the last bona fide point-to-point in Ireland in 1893, with a man who may have been his son-in-law winning it.

“As the name implies, a point to point is a steeplechase to a distant point and back again, so only the start and finish could be seen by the assembled spectators. Apart from the present impracticability of having such a bona fide “point”, the local visitors out for a holiday want to see something of the races. The last bona fide point-to-point was held by the 15th Hussars in Co. Louth in 1893. The course began on a hill near Drumcar village, round Wheelabout covert, and back again. Mr. Dalgety‘s Jehu, ridden by the owner, beat Capt. Meyrick’s mount, May Dream, by a length, with Capt. Mundy’s Game Boy third, and Capt De Crespigny’s Sapolio fourth of fifteen starters. The course had no flags to indicate direction to the riders, certainly a great test of the abilities of horse and rider.” [70]

Jan 7-12: An ailing Lord Randolph spent a week at Adare Manor in January 1893 when his fellow guests included the Dukes of Ormonde and St Alban’s, Lord and Lady Ranfurly and General Lord Wolseley. The band of the Black Watch played at a ball that week while guests dined in the Gallery and later danced in the Drawing Room and adjacent rooms. Also in attendance at the 1893 ball were Constance and Eva Gore-Booth, cousins of the family, whose father also enjoyed exploring the Americas. Later known as Countess Markievicz, Constance was one of the most active players in the Irish Revolution from 1908 until her death in 1927.

January 27 (Friday): Irish Unionists hold a banquet for 400 in the Round Room at the Rotunda, principally to celebrate all those who had won seats back from the Home Rulers in the election. A string bad is stationed in the gallery which was reserved for the ladies. Once again lengthy speeches were given stating the case of Unionism.

Feb 1: Lady Rathdonnell and her daughter Isabel s attend the Kildare Hunt Ball in Naas.

Feb 21: Death of Tom’s aunt Anne Tighe (née McClintock), wife of the Dean of Derry.

March 15: Carlow Sentinel reports on ‘IMPORTANT MEETING OF CARLOW UNIONISTS. LOYAL AND PATRIOTIC SPEECHES AND RESOLUTIONS. On Wednesday a meeting of the Unionists of Carlow- county and town – was held in the large Club Room, having been convened by the Right Hon Lord Rathdonnell, HML, for the purpose of protesting against the Home Rule Bill now before Parliament. The meeting was numerously and influentially attended, the large corridor, and gallery being all crowded to inconvenience. The assemblage was thoroughly representative of all classes of Loyalists in the county, front the labourer to its Lord Lieutenant, but especially the tenant farmers, who attended in large numbers. It was also graced by the presence of a number of Ladies, representing the county families, who manifested a warm interest in the proceedings. It is scarcely necessary to add that the utmost harmony and unity prevailed during the three hours occupied by the meeting.’ George Giltrap was among the attendees. Lady Rathdonnell was not. [71]

March: ‘Among the Irish presentations at the late Drawing-room held by the Queen was Mrs Walker, wife of our Lord Chancellor (who was present himself), Mrs Clifford Cory (Miss Lethbridge), presented by her sister, Lady Carew, the Hon. Theresa Wentworth-Fitzwilham, by her grandmother, Countess Fitzwilliam, and the Hon. Isabella M’Clintock Bunbury, by her mother, Lady Rathdonnell.’ [72]

May 22Lord Salisbury makes his first visit to Ulster. Tom takes a train from Belfast to Larne to be part of the crowd welcoming him and the Marchioness off the “Princess Victoria“. On the train with him were the Earl of Kingston and four directors of the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Company (Edmund McNeill, H. McNeile, RH Reade and James Wilson). Tom was also right up there on the platform of Union Hall when the former Prime Minister addressed a huge crowd of Union Jack waving Ulster Unionists two days later.

June 14-16 and 19: The considerable £5,000 marriage settlement made on Anne, Lady Rathdonnell (née Lefroy) at the time of her 1829 marriage to Tom’s uncle John McClintock (later 1st Baron Rathdonnell) comes before the Queen’s Bench when Her Majesty’s Attorney General, informant, took on Lord Rathdonnell and the Rev. T. C. Seymour, defendants. This is a long and convoluted trial, and I am open to being corrected here but it seems Tom claimed a sum of £4000 following the death of his aunt, the late Baroness Rathdonnell, on 22 December 1889. The Revenue sought estate duty and stamp duty from the settlement and alleged that Tom was basically tax dodging contrary to the terms of the 1881 Customs Act. However, Judge Palles CB held in Tom’s favour and reckoned he should not have to pay any duty on the settlement. Tom was represented by S.S. & E. Reeves & Sons, solicitors. [73]

July 10 (Monday): The Rathdonnells attended the Prince of Wales’s State Ball at Buckingham. Herr Gottleib’s Vienna Orchestra provided the tunes.

July 24: ‘Lady Rathdonnell gave a very successful “At Home” at 9 Queen street, Mayfair, on Monday afternoon last. Count Vinci contributed some violin solos, and Miss Wardell sang delightfully. Lady Rathdonnell, who as usual made an ideal hostess, was looking extremely well in a gown of striped pink silk. She purposes returning to Ireland shortly.’ [74]

Sept 2: Second Home Rule Bill passed by House of Commons.

September 8 (Friday): Tom Rathdonnell is part of the well-heeled deputation of Irish peers who presented Lord Salisbury with a handsomely bound album by way of a thanks for his party at Hatfield House earlier in the week. The presentation took place in Salisbury’s private room in the House of Lords.

Sept 9: House of Lords rejects Second Home Rule Bill. This was the second attempt made by Gladstone, defeated a dozen years after his Land Act of 1881.

Sept 22: Enactment of Act to consolidate Enactments relating to Trustees, aka the Trustee Act, which my solicitor referred to as still being utterly relevant in September 2023.

October 7-13: The 4th Earl of Dunraven comes close to winning the America’s Cup with Valkyrie II, a gaff-rigged cutter built on the River Clyde in Scotland, but was beaten by the defending champion, Vigilant, by forty seconds.

October 14: Death of Tom Rathdonnell’s only brother, Jack McClintock Bunbury, aged 41. In June 2017, I found this report from the Grantham Journal of Saturday 21 October 1893.

“Sudden Death.—Great consternation prevailed in the village [of Somerby] on Saturday last, when it became known that J. W. McClintock Bunbury, Esq., had died somewhat suddenly. The gentleman and Mrs. Bunbury came to reside at Rose Cottage last summer, and it was their intention to remain here through the hunting season.

Mr. Bunbury had recently suffered from an affection of the heart, for which he had been medically treated. Recently, however, he enjoyed fairly good health. On Saturday, there was no reason to apprehend anything serious, until the afternoon, when he suddenly became ill. Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson, the resident medical practitioner, was away from home on County Council business, but telegrams were despatched to Oakham and Melton for medical aid. Dr. Keal, of Oakham, was the first to arrive, but too late to be of any service, for death had already taken place. Drs. Powell and Willan also responded to the Melton telegrams.

As already stated, the deceased gentleman had suffered from heart disease, and the examination made by Dr. Keal pointed in that direction. Much sympathy is felt for the young widow. The funeral of the deceased gentleman took place on Tuesday last, in Tarporley churchyard, Cheshire, the remains having been conveyed by train, and although Tarporley was not reached until six o’clock, the interment took place the same evening. The grave was beautifully lined with moss and white flowers.

The mourners were Mrs. Bunbury (widow), Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, and Miss Watson.

The coffin, which was of polished oak, with massive brass furniture, bore on the breastplate the inscription, “John William McClintock Bunbury, died October14th, 1893, aged 41.”

Among the wreaths was a magnificent one sent by Lady Cholmondeley. The arrangements for the funeral were carried out Messrs Furley and Hassan, of Oakham.”

1893 Cattle Sale of Lisnavagh Stock at Ballyoliver House.

October 30: Sixth annual auction of Lord Rathdonnell’s cattle, sheep and horses at Ballyoliver House.

December 1: Death at Carton of Gerald FitzGerald, 5th Duke of Leinster, aged 43, of typhoid fever. Born in 1851, he was an exact contemporary of Jack Bunbury who died six weeks earlier.

December 5: ‘The death is announced of Professor John Tyndall LL.D., aged 73. Born in Carlow, Ireland, and educated in a State school, Tyndall was first employed as an assistant engineer. In 1847 he became a teacher in a Hampshire Technical College, and having studied chemistry he went to Germany, where he prosecuted his re searches under Magnus. He was made an F.R.S. in 1852, and in 1853 was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution, a position he held till a year or two ago. In 1866 he relieved Faraday at Trinity House. He visited America in 1872 on a lecturing tour, and devoted the proceeds, 23,000 dollars, to the endowment of scientific scholarships in Harvard and Columbia colleges. He wrote voluminously on heat, light, electricity, and kindred subjects, and in 1874 delivered the famous Belfast address ay president of the British Association.’ [75]

December 7: Lord Rathdonnell ‘noticed’ among those out when the Louth Hounds met at Duleek. [76]

Tom Rathdonnell becomes a member of the Council of the Royal Dublin Society.




Feb 5: ‘A most successful subscription ball was held in the Whitworth Hall, Drogheda, on February 5th, under the patronage of Lady Henrietta Gradwell, Lady Rathdonnell, Hon. Mrs. Bellew, Mrs. Blacker Douglas, Mrs. Osborne, Mrs. Pentland, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Boylan, Mrs. Tunstall Moore, and Mrs. W. Cairnes; while Mr. Cary, R.I.R., made a most efficient hon. sec. The ballroom was beautifully decorated, and the music was supplied by the string band of the Royal Irish Rifles. The numerous pink coats worn by the gentlemen gave an additional touch of colour, and added much to the brilliancy of the scene. Among those present were:—Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, the Hon. Isabel M’Clintock Bunbury and the Hon. Mary M’Clintock Bunbury, Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Bellew, Mr. and Lady Henrietta Gradwell, Lady Mary Murphy, Sir A. Vere Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Blacker Douglas and party, Mr. and Mrs. Woods, Major Woods, R.H.A. ; Miss Carden, Miss E. Carden, Capt. Mater, Mr. Everard, Mr. and Mrs. Tunstall Moore’ &c.’ [77]

February 14: One week after Jack Bunbury’s will was proved by the Probate Division of the High Court, Tom and his co-executor Edmond Venables issue a statement to The Times in which, acknowledging Jack’s death and invite anyone to whom Jack still owed money to write the particulars of their claim and send them to the executors before 2nd April 1894. Thereafter, Jack’s possessions and assets would be distributed in accordance with his will.

April 2: Deadline for anyone seeking to make claims on Jack’s will.

April 4: Balfour in Belfast, watches march of 100,000 loyalists.

May 13: Death of Kate’s mother, Mary Margaret Bruen (née Conolly).

The Sphere – Saturday 9 June 1900

May 15: Two days after the death of her grandmother, Isabella’s engagement to Forrester Colvin is announced. ‘A marriage has been arranged between Captain Forrester Colvin, 9th Lancers, third son of the late Beale Blackwell Colvin, of Pishobury, Herts, and Monkhams Hall, Essex, and the Hon. Isabella M’Clintock-Bunbury, eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Rathdonnell.’ (Morning Post – Tuesday 15 May 1894)

May 26: Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, becomes a field marshal.

June 31 (Fri): Tom shelled out a substantial 105 guineas for a shorthorn cow called Bliss, formerly belonging to the late Hugh Aylmer’s herd at the Manor House in West Derenham, Norfolk.

July 3: Tom is back in London for the annual State Ball.

Summer: Following the death of 86-year-old Alexander Mitchell (the judge at Kilburn when Anchor won) in 1893, Tom was among those who went up to look at the famous Alloa shorthorn herd – the Booth stronghold – in Clackmannanshire, Scotland and purchased some more cows and possibly a bull. The average price was £35 indicating a relative return to normality for the cattle market, although the Alloa herd was particularly well prized.

The dresses worn by Kate Rathdonnell and her eldest daughter Isabella at the latter’s wedding to Forrester Colvin in 1894.

July 5Valkyrie II sunk by accident during the Mud Hook Regatta in Scotland; Lord Dunraven was rescued, along with his crew and guests, but one severely injured crewman later died. His diary and many other papers were also lost when the yacht sank.

July 26: Tom and Kate Rathdonnells’ eldest daughter Isabella is married at Drumcar to Lt Col Forrester Farnell Colvin, CBE, 9th Lancers, of Shermanbury Grange, Horsham, Sussex. At the time of the wedding, he was a Captain in the 9th Lancers. [78]

Aug (early): ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and party (8)’, named alongside the newly-wed ‘Honourable Mrs. Forrester Colvin, Captain Forrester Colvin’, among visitors who stayed at the Mourne Hotel, Rostrevor, the previous week.’ [79]

Aug 25: Coercion Act repealed.

August 27: Death of Canon Richard Bagot of Fontstown, a pioneer of butter-making and cooperative farming, and a long-standing RDS member.

Sept 2: Gladstone’s second Home Rule bill passes House of Commons.

Sept 5: Foundation stone laid at the Killeshin Waterworks in County Carlow.

Sept 8: House of Lords reject Home Rule, leading to Gladstone’s retirement from politics.

October 16: Marriage of Kate Rathdonnell’s second sister Elizabeth Bruen to Edward Ussher Roberts of Gaultier, Woodstown, Co. Waterford, only son of Arthur Ussher Roberts.

The Killeshin Waterworks in County Carlow commenced operations in 1894.

October 24 (Wed): John Thornton & Co. hosts cattle sale at Drumcar, cataloguing five bulls and 32 cows and heifers. The herd was originally established at Lisnavagh and bred from the excellent stock which Lord Fitzwilliam held at Coolattin and tracing directly to the Mason blood “which so greatly improved the stock of Ireland about half a century ago“. The herd had been so prolific at Drumcar that “it has quite outgrown the winter accommodation and hence the sale“. Curiously the best price he got at the sale was from Lord Fitzwilliam himself – £35 for a cow called Golden Secret. He sold another cow, Flower Blossom, to E. Jones for 35g and another, Ocean Gun, to Mr. Doyne for 34g. I presume he sold the rest for lower prices?

Oct 29: On a Monday afternoon, Ganly, Sons & Co. auctioneers and cattle salesmen of Usher’s Quay, Dublin, host the Seventh Annual Auction of cattle, sheep, and horses from Lisnavagh at Ballyoliver House, Rathvilly, ‘comprising 150 herd of 1½ to 2½ years old polled bullocks in forward condition, 57 fat ewes, 57 lambs, and one four-year-old chestnut colt by Revenge.’ (Freeman’s Journal, 27 October 1894).


The Bloomer – Pigott Link


In 2011, the late Richard Corrigan presented me with a marriage certificate from 20 November 1894 when Thomas Bloomer, a gardener at Lisnavagh, was married in the parish church in Rathvilly to Ellen Pigott. The witnesses were Robert Pigott and Richard Bloomer. [80] Ellen was born on 20 January 1871, a daughter (and probably the 6th child) of William Pigott (1816-1877), farmer, of Maplestown, County Carlow, and his wife Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Brown (1828-1915).

To go back a generation, William was a son of John Pigott of Maplestown while Bessie was a daughter of John Brown of Maplestown. William and Bessie were married in Rathvilly on 18 September 1847.

In 1895, Richard Bloomer, land steward at Lisnavagh, was married in the same church to Alice Pigott, another of William Pigott’s daughters, and this time the witnesses were Thomas Bloomer (presumably his brother) and Sarah J Robinson.

John Bloomer, a 26-year-old bachelor from County Tyrone, was listed as Land Steward at Lisnavagh at the time of the 1901 census. He was born in 1875, so was he the oldest of the Bloomer brothers?

According to the 1901 census, the Bloomer brothers came from Co. Tyrone. [81] They may have been connected to the Tynan Abbey estate in neighbouring County Armagh where Tom Rathdonnell’s mother grew up. Richard was born in 1877 and Thomas in 1881. By 1901, both brothers, then in their early 30s, were living at Dromore, Co. Kerry, where Thomas was again working as a ‘gardener’ and Richard as a ‘land steward’. They were almost certainly employed by the Mahony family of Dromore Castle, a fine Gothic Revival building near Templenoe, overlooking the Kenmare River. If so, tennis would have been a huge part of daily conversation as Harold Mahony, head of the family, was the last Irishman to win Wimbledon. His tennis court lay amid the garden itself.

Thomas Bloomer was evidently a humorous soul as a short story he penned called ‘Well-Packed’ won first prize in a competition run by The Irish Times in 1904. [82] His story ran as follows: ‘A gentleman passing through Grosvenor Place, London, overheard a small child ask her mother what all the straw in the street meant. The mother’s answer was that heaven had sent Mrs. So-and-so a new baby. “Mother,” said the little child, “she must have been very well packed.”

Thomas was based at Dromore Castle when he submitted his story. However, everything changed dramatically in 1905 when 38-years-old Harold Mahoney was killed in a bicycle accident. In the absence of any heirs, the tennis star left Dromore Castle to his sister Norah Hood. (Norah in turn left it to their cousin Hardress Waller whose descendants retained it until 1993.) Harold’s death may be the reason why Thomas and Ellen Bloomer left Dromore. In any event, by 1911, they were living at Fairview or Mucklagh in Tynan, Co. Armagh, where Thomas was now land steward, perhaps to the Stronge family who were so closely related to the Bunburys of Lisnavagh. [83] Meanwhile, in 1911, Richard and Alice Bloomer were living at Ballymascanlon in Co. Louth with their only surviving child Richard William Bloomer, now aged eleven. A second child had not survived. Richard was also working as a land steward, perhaps for the Fortescues of Ravensdale Park, the Wolfe MacNeales of Ballmascanlon House, or maybe even at Annaverna.

Ellen Bloomer, noted as the widow of Thomas Bloomer, died on 10 December 1952, at her daughter’s residence, “The Pines”, Tandragee, Co. Armagh. [84]




January 24: Death from an inoperable brain tumour of Lord Randolph Churchill. The syphilis story is apparently baloney.

Feb 8: Carlow & Island Hunt meet at Tullow and follow the fox all the way to Lisnavagh:

‘The meet last Saturday was at Tullow, where a goodly gathering of the followers and admires of the Ballydarton pack met the veteran Master with the heartiest of greetings. It was in every sense of the word “a fine hunting day.” The word was given for Ballymurphy, which proved worthy of first call, as it provided a rattling good fox. Which, after a “preliminary canter” in the shape of a ring run round the covert, got away at the off end, and after crossing the road, and at a short distance, a big wire fence intervened. Recently a gate to facilitate difficulties like the present had been put up, but it was too narrow, and particularly so when a crowd of excited men on horseback were anxious to get through together. The natural result was that there was a lot of unnecessary danger, but nothing serious occurred. The hounds were now making head at a great pace through Coppenagh and Kill as if the fox had taken a line for Lisnevagh [sic]. As he got headed he wheeled across the road and raced forward as if his point were Butlersgrange. The pace continued at the same grand rate, and after a twist to right some big doubles were encountered which, as there were some empty saddles visible along the line, seemed to disorganise the hunt, as they considerably reduced the number of those able to keep up with the hounds. As the fox was keeping his own the pursuit received its first check just at the back of a farmyard – a good twenty-five minutes from the find. After getting on the line again reynard was hunted back to his original quarters at Ballymurphy, where he got to ground after showing some capital sport. Trotted on to Lisnevagh, which was drawn blank. At Butlersgrange the Master was more successful. There were a couple of foxes in the covert, and their presence was immediately discovered. The hounds having made choice he took the line to the top of the road where, as he was headed, he wheeled to right and raced down to the river, thence over the high road and into Lisnevagh, where he got to ground in an old rabbit-hole.’

March 15: Bridget Cleary burned to death by her husband Michael who believed her spirit had been taken by bad faeries and replaced with a changeling. Hubert Butler would write of this story in the coming century.

March 16The Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal runs a series of letters protesting against the proposed eviction of the widow Mrs M’Glue from the Rathdonnell estate at Drumcar. All letters are direct appeals to Tom Rathdonnell himself.

March 19: Death in Mentone of the beautiful widow, Hermione, Duchess of Leinster, aged 30. See here.

April 5: The trial of Oscar Wilde began on charges of homosexuality. He was arrested in the Cadogan Hotel, London, after losing a libel case against John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, who called him a homosexual. Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour for gross indecency.

May 22 (Wed): Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, hosts a Drawing Room for the ladies of the realm on behalf of the Queen. Kate Rathdonnell attends and presents her daughters Pauline and Mary.

June 16: Countess Frances Harriet Fitzwilliam passed to her reward within the walls of Coollattin House. Prior to her death the aged countess and her husband the 6th Earl Fitzwilliam had for ten months been resident in Coollattin.

July: Eight months after Arthur Chamberlain’s first visit to Arklow, the Kynoch explosives factory begins producing cordite.

Sept 5: Marriage in Hodnet, Market Drayton, of Hardy Eustace of Hardymount and Castlemore, County Carlow, and Gertrude Heber Percy, youngest daughter of Algernon Charles Heber-Percy, DL. The Rathdonnell’s send presents.

September 7–12: The 4th Earl of Dunraven competed in the America’s Cup again, helming a new keel cutter, Valykrie III. However, the race became mired in controversy when Lord Dunraven was disqualified for an early foul. A bitter dispute ensued, and the Dunraven’s honorary membership of the New York Yacht Club was sensationally revoked.

Oct 1 (Tuesday): A meeting of the Tynan Harriers agreed to amalgamate with Armagh to form the Armagh and Tynan Hunt under mastership of W.P. Cross.

Oct 23: Death of John Henry de la Poer Beresford, 5th Marquess of Waterford (1844–1895) KP, PC, who shot himself through the head with a revolver. He had injured his spine while hunting, and was rendered a cripple for life.

Nov 1: Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, succeeds the Duke of Cambridge as Commander-in-Chief of all Britain’s forces (1895–1901). His subsequent mental and physical decline was a sad end to his military career. Nobody knows exactly what was wrong but it may have been Alzheimer’s. This may explain the disastrous failure to pass on the intelligence reports on the outbreak of the South African War. These extremely accurate reports were prepared by Sir John Ardagh, another Irishman, who was, observes Chris Brice, ‘that rare thing in the Victorian Army – a University educated man)’. Stephen Miller of the University of Maine was working on a modern biography of Garnet Wolseley circa 2012.

December 10: Forty-year-old James Gilbert Kennedy, was recorded in both the Irish Records Index and Burkes Peerage as having died at Lisnavagh on 10 December 1895 from ‘cirrhosis of the liver. 12 months syncope‘. The informant of the death was James Chaed who was present at Lisnavagh. JGK’s father, Dr Evory Kennedy, was an eminent physician who lived at Belgard Castle and Merrion Square in Dublin. I was contacted by his great-granddaughter Linda Mason who said he “apparently had something to do with temperance yet dyed of gout – I find it hard to believe that tippling was not a family practice!!” Linda speculated that James – described on her grandmother’s birth certificate as ‘gentleman’ – might have been a guest at Lisnavagh. However, according to his wife’s death certificate, JGK’s profession was ‘Investigator. Land Commission’ so perhaps he was there in a professional capacity. Alas there is no mention of JGK in the Lisnavagh Visitor’s Book which begs the question, are you still called a visitor if you arrive in body but depart in spirit?

David Costello, author of a ‘Biographical note of James Gilbert Kennedy, founding member of Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club’, adds that he was one of ten children, born to Dr Evory Kennedy, a distinguished doctor and obstetrician who had been elected master of the Rotunda Maternity hospital in 1833, having previously trained in London and Paris. Dr Kennedy’s wife Alicia (née Hamilton) died in 1867 at the relatively young age of 49. The widowed Dr Kennedy lived in Belgard Castle, County Dublin and had a townhouse in Merrion Square, where he most likely had private consulting rooms. When Dr Kennedy retired from practice he moved to 20 Queensbury Place, London, and died there in 1886.

James Kennedy was one of the ten founders of the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club on Appian Way in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, in November 1877. He was evidently not that remarkable a committee member as he received only one vote when he stood for re-election in 1880. He married Linda Seton at St Senan’s Church of Ireland at Inniscarra, County Cork on 16 February 1887. In a rather curious occurrence, James’s sister Constance had the previous day (15 February) married Jemmett Stopford – also one of the founding members of Fitzwilliam LTC – at the Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London.  Linda Kennedy died on 7 December 1890 at the family home at 102 Lower Mount Street. She was only 28 years of age when she died of cirrhosis.

Kennedy moved to 6 Chichester Avenue, Belfast and subsequently remarried on 4 June 1892. His second wife was a widow, Susan Emily White. He was buried in the small graveyard at St John’s Church of Ireland, Clondalkin, despite the fact his parents and bothers were buried in the Kennedy family vault in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

December 10: Freeman’s Journal publishes news in its ‘FASHION AND VARIETIES’ column that ‘Lord Rathdonnell has left Kingstown for England.’

December 29: Leander Starr Jameson, aka Dr Jim, sets out with 600 men in a bid to entice the 60,000 uitlanders (foreigners who had arrived since the 1886 Gold Rush) to rise up against the 30,000 or so Boers. There was room to believe this might happen as the uitlanders were treated much less favourably than the Boers in the Transvaal. He also wanted to put an end to German ambitions in the region. However, the uitlanders do not rise up against their Boer masters. Jameson completely underestimated Boer tenaciousness and very nearly kick-started the Second Boer War. However, the Boers knew precisely what was coming and swiftly ambushed Jameson.

Lord Rathdonnell becomes trustee of new found Rathvilly School in Birmingham, founded by former Bough schoolmistress Mary Earl.

First Boyle Medal for Science awarded by Royal Dublin Society. (Was it presented by Lord Rathdonnell?)

Edward Brophy and William Weir build the Masonic Lodge on Athy Road in Carlow.

The composer Sir Hubert Parry (1848–1918), a former school mate of Tom’s from Eton, becomes Director of the Royal College of Music, until 1918.

Tom’s uncle Major Henry Stanley McClintock publishes ‘Random Tales, Chiefly Irish’ which includes some memories of Tom’s great-grandfather, Bumper Jack McClintock.




Jan 2: Jameson Raid ends as Boers ambush Jameson at Doornkop and he surrenders. Joseph Chamberlain quickly washed his hands of the affair while Sir Hercules Robinson, Governor of the Cape Colony, denied any official involvement. The Boers gamely handed Jameson and the other prisoners over to the British to be tried. After the Jameson Raid, the Boers became increasingly adamant that the British abandon their spurious claims on the Transvaal. Nor were they averse to war, bitterly wishing they had pressed home their advantage in the First Boer War and knocked the British right out of the region. The British were equally determined to regain their prestige in Africa, and they were particularly keen to do so by convincingly hammering the Boers into submission. There were other factors at play – the British colonies in South Africa were also going through a recession as gold resources slowly dried up while the mining capitalists who had pumped huge fortunes into the venture were also keen to secure the mines, buoyed by the prospect of a United South Africa under British rule.

Jan 3: The young Kaiser sends the infamous Krueger telegram to congratulate President Krueger on clobbering Jameson and the “disturbers of the peace”. Free of Bismarck’s restraint, the Kaiser’s telegram marks a low-point in Anglo German communications. Across the UK, German nationals are attacked, and German shop windows are broken. The British public clearly resented German interference on their sphere of influence in Africa which ratcheted up the tension. While the Kaiser tried to calm the situation, the British government must have taken note of this public appetite to take on the Germans.

Jan 4: Tom appointed Honorary Colonel of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.[85] On that very day, his wife rode out with the Carlow and Island Hounds, as reported the following week by the Sporting Gazette of 11 January 1896:

‘On Saturday, the 4th inst., the Carlow and Island Hounds met at Burton Hall, a picturesque spot not far distant from the capital off the ” garden county.’ As this fixture is on the verge of Kildare, it naturally attracts a good many who follow the fortunes of that pack, while the Hunt Ball at the Carlow Club House the previous evening caused a bevy of beauty and much new purple to be seen at the tryst. The day was gloriously fine, and all the unities of a smart meet at a popular rendezvous were to be seen at eleven o’clock in front of Mr. Engledow‘s hospitable portals.
Ladies evidently like to-day’s trystingplace, for a goodly number are riding, whilst not more than a dozen are to be seen on wheels. I shall not attempt to catalogue those out, so a few names must suffice as they occur to my recollection. Miss Bruen, who with her sister, Lady Rathdonnell, seldom misses Ascot on the Cup day, was well mounted, as indeed was Miss Brown-Clayton on a grey cob off the most perfect education and accomplishments. Nor must one of this lady’s sisters be omitted, as, although not riding, very little of the day’s proceedings escaped her notice, so keen was she to see everything from start to finish.
Miss Stewart-Duckett and her mother were riding useful animals ; but Mrs. Anderson, of Levetstown, did not seem so happy with her mount to-day as with her champion black cob that has so often carried her to the front in many a fast and intricate run. Mrs. Hoare rode a very trim-made bay mare, and this lady with Mrs. Forbes rank among the best of Carlow’s first fighters over any line ; indeed, those on the look-out for an efficient pilot could not possibly do better than to follow Mrs. Forbes if their mount is only good enough to keep her line.
I was sorry to see Miss Edith Bell was not riding the grey mare that carried her in the first half-dozen all through n very fast run with the Kildares a fortnight previously, but was driving a very fresh young horse that required a lot of holding. Mrs. Grogan I noticed riding a charming hunter, and Mrs. Bolton was on a handsome weight-carrier.
A good many were delighted to see Mrs. Davey Edge riding her celebrated Tommy. This horse is an immense favourite with the habitues of the hunt, and has carried off the Ladies’ Point-to-point Steeplechase on more than one occasion. Little Dorothy Rawson was much admired, but of the tiny children mounted nothing looked sweeter than Miss Newland, a little mite of six or seven summers arrayed in her scarlet coat, riding a seasoned hunter with the greatest coolness and decision.
Finance was represented by Miss Stuart, who seemed wall at home on a useful-looking roan. Prumplestown sent the Misses Johnstone to the scene, both having admirable mounts, whilst Miss Florrie Furney—a very neat rider—drove Miss Louie Macdonald and Miss Farmer over from Castletown, and as the hounds were en route to cover Miss Furney mounted her well-seasoned hunter Prince. This lady’s sister, Mrs. Rourke, ” hacked ” over from Park View, and then mounted a really fine stamp of hunter.
Amongst the best mounted men were Mr. Duckett, Mr. Anderson, Dr. Edward Rawson, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Lecky-Pike, Captain Hoare, Dr. Bloomfield, Mr. Newland—on a nice grey mare—Colonel Eustace, Mr. Harry Boake, Dr. Bolton, Mr. Houghton, Dr. Kidd, Mr. Dickey Bailey, and Mr. Fishbourne.
The latter (looking none the worse for his immersion in the Barrow the previous Saturday) was very much en evidence on a liver-coloured chestnut, seemingly one of the best jumpers in the county.
Mr. Birdie Slocock (an embryo Master of Harriers, I may add) was riding a fine blood-like chestnut, and Mr. Jemmy Furney had under him a strong brown horse that as far as looks went would be best at home where the country was biggest. All these hard-riding pursuers I can recall, and to those whose names I have left out I apologise for the omission.
Quite a buzz of excitement is heard as Mr. Watson, accompanied by his estimable daughter, drive upon the scene. More than a score of years have pissed away since at this fixture I saw this venerable Master, for Mr. Watson is by many years the oldest M.F.H. living. It is therefore all the more pleasing to me to note that but for the whiteness of his hair he would be taken by those not cognisant with his actual age to be a younger man by thirty years than what he really is. Hunting with Mr. Watson must be a passion, and though now past the threshold of fourscore years his ardour is in no way quenched certainly weather affects it not, nor distance, nor the horse he rides, nor the character of the line of country to be negotiated. Well may the County of Carlow rejoice in the possession of this grand sportsman. I can only but repeat the hope echoed all over the county that long may he live to carry the horn, for certainly we shall never look upon his equal again. No more pleasant treat could fall to the lot of anyone having the best interests of the noble science well at heart than the privilege to visit the kennels at Ballydarton on an off day, and in company with Mr. Watson view the hounds, comprising 22 couple of dogs and 21k couples of ladies, all home bred. A kennel off fox-hounds such as these show the master hand as clearly as do a stud off chasers or racers. The stamp is on them, muscle and leanness, while they run level and work level. It has fallen to my lot to have seen nearly all the best hounds in England, and I can truthfully say for make, markings, and business-like style, with the oily rotundity element totally absent, I have come across nothing to surpass Mr. Watson’s fox-hounds. Well may he be proud of them.’

Jan 14: The Rathdonnell attend dance at Knock Abbey, Louth, hosted by Mr and Miss O’Reilly; their children Billy, Tim and Mary also attend along with most of the Louth gentry.

Feb 19 (Wed): Lady Rathdonnell, the Countess of Annesley and the Hon. Violet Gibson are among those who attend Lady Sankey’s Ball. [86]

Feb 20: The Rathdonnells and one of their daughters attend Lady Ashbourne’s Ball at 12 Merrion Square, along with the Lord Lieutenant and Lady Cadogan, the Ormondes, Inchiquins, Ernes, Iveaghs, Dunravens, Longfords, Rosses and huge numbers of the aristocracy and gentry. [87]

Feb 26: On their parents 22nd wedding anniversary, Pauline and Mamie McClintock Bunbury are alongside Violet Gibson (who later tried to kill Mussolini), Maud de Moleyns and the de Montmorency sisters (Kathleen and Rachel) when the Earl and Countess of Cadogan hold their second Drawing Room of the Season at Dublin Castle. [88]

March: “ENLIST IN ARMY. Healthy Young Men wishing to join the Army can be Enlisted at the MILITARY BARRACKS CARLOW. Recruiting Sergeant will visit Carlow Military Barracks on the first Tuesday in March 1896 to enlist Recruits.” [89]

March: The first automobile to be brought into Ireland is a Serpollet steam car imported by John S. Brown of Dunmurray, County Antrim. The cycling boom is also now at its peak.

March 30: John Pius Boland becomes the first Irishman to win an Olympic medal when he reigns supreme in tennis.

March 31: Women finally qualify for election as poor-law guardians (welfare administrators) under the Poor Law Guardians Act.

April 14: Spring Show opens when Lord Rathdonnell presides over a ‘good breakfast’ in the dining-saloon with all the judges and stewards. Shortly after two o’clock that afternoon, the Viceregal party, which consisted of the Lord Lieutenant, Countess Cadogan, and Lady Sophia Cadogan, arrived at the jumping enclosure. ‘They drove round the track as usual, and on arriving at the Grand Stand were received on behalf of the committee by Judge Boyd, Lord Rathdonnell and Lord Powerscourt. They remained on the Grand Stand to witness the jumping.’ [90]

April 22 (Wed): The Rathdonnells attend a reception for 200 guests hosted by Lady Ashbourne at 12 Merrion Square. [91]

June 1: Jack Bunbury’s widow Myra McClintock Bunbury marries secondly Baron Maximillian de Tuyll. According to an article by Denis Bergin on the Van Tuyll family: ‘The van Tuyll family originated in The Netherlands where the seven castles around the village of Tuyll, an early royal seat (Teisterbant) which became the base for the development of the kingdom and province of Holland. The van Tuyll connections throughout Europe resulted in unusual alliances and titles, and the family had a strong English connection. Hendrik van Tuyll (1574–1627) was ambassador to the court of England and member of the highest Dutch council, the Raad van State. In 1623, King James I of England gave Philibert van Tuyll (died 1661) the right to carry a rose extracted from the royal coat of arms and bearing the crown of England on the family coat of arms. In the early 18th century Jan van Tuyll (1710–1762), baron of Heeze and Leende, married Ursulina, daughter of Frederik, Earl of Athlone and Henriette, countess of Nassau, daughter of the Earl of Rochford, and descendant of William I of Orange.’ A document on my MacBook files entitled ‘Van Tuyll’ has more on this.

June 6: The Carlow Sentinel reports:
“The Ladies Susan and Clodagh Beresford have left Curraghmore for London to join the Marchioness of Waterford.
General Sir Charles Gough, V.C., and Lady Gough have left Inislonagh near Clonmel for London.
Mrs M’Clintock-Bunbury, widow of the late Hon. J. W. M’Clintock-Bunbury, DL, of Moyle, County of Carlow, brother of Lord Rathdonnell, was married on Monday last at St. Mark’s North Audley street, to the Baron Maximillian de Tuyll.
THE QUEEN. Intimation has been given to the Court officials that, should her Majesty the Queen (who is now in better health than at any time during the past three or four years) be spared to complete the sixtieth year of her reign, on which she will enter next month, it is intended to mark the occasion by celebrations similar to those of the Jubilee year. Her Majesty left Windsor for Balmoral last evening.” [92]

June 24: 24-year-old Billy Fitzwilliam married Maud Dundas, eldest daughter of the Marquis of Zetland.

July 13 (Wed): The Rathdonnells attend a Garden Party given by the Prince and Princess of Wales at Buckingham.

The victorious boat crew of the Eton Eight. Assuming they are recreating the positions of the crew when they were in the boat, the names from top to bottom would be as follows:
Bow Hon. M. C. A. Drummond
2.  C. M. Black
3.  F. W. Warre
4. E. L. Warre
5. J. L. Philips
6. J. A. Tinne [3]
7. W. Dudley Ward
Str. Hon. W. McClintock Bunbury
Cox R. A. Blyth

July 10: Billy Bunbury strokes the Eton team to victory in the Ladies Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta. He weighs 9 stone 11 pounds. His father and uncle Jack both rowed for Eton in the 1860s and early 1870s. The Windsor and Eton Express carries this report:

‘The Eton crew gained a very popular victory in the Ladies’ Plate, and it was a singular circum- stance that Dr. Warre, the Head Master of Eton, who witnessed the race from the launch Hibernia, had not only two sons in the Eton boat, but one in the Balliol crew which opposed them.’
‘The Ladies Plate has always been the trophy for which “present” boys have striven for, and during the past three or four years Eton has always been first and the rest nowhere. There have been really splendid eights sent to Henley of late years; but on this occasion it was generally thought that the crew was scarcely up to the high standard of last or the previous year. Mr R. S. de Haviland, however, worked wonders with the boys during the three weeks prior to the regatta, and some critics aver that the Etonians at Henley this week have seldom been surpassed for speed or graceful rowing. The inclusion of the Hon. W. M’Clintock-Bunbury as stroke almost at the last minute, however, made a vast difference to the eight, and supplied the “missing link” in the boat. He is a very capable young oarsman. and will undoubtedly be heard of a great deal more in the big aquatic contests for years to come.’ [93]

August 11: Kate Rathdonnell’s younger sister Helen Maria marries Major Charles Willoughby Bishop, JP, 9th Lancers, of Barton Abbotts, Tetbury, Gloucester, third son of James Bishop of 42 Belgrave Square, London SW1. They are the forbears of the wonderful Bella Bishop.

‘At Painstown Church, Oak Park, County Carlow, on the 11th inst., a marriage took place between Miss Helen Bruen, daughter of Right Hon. Henry Bruen, of Oak Park, Carlow, and Major Charles Bishop, 9th Lancers, son of Mr. Bishop, of Hamstead Park, Newbury.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore white duchesse satin, the bodice embroidered in silver and diamond shamrocks and trimmed Brussels applique lace; tulle veil, worn off the face; pearl necklace, gift of bridegroom.

The bridesmaids were —Miss Eleanor Bruen, Miss Grace Bruen (sisters of the bride), the Hon. Mary and Hon. Pauline M’Clintock Bunbury (nieces of the bride), and Miss Maud Butler; page, ” Master Simon,” attired in raven’s wing satin, with full vest and wile collar of white satin and silver. They were prettily attired in white mousseline de soie over silk fichus, tied in long ends in front, trimmed Valenciennes lace and pink roses tucked in the white satin belts; white straw hate, trimmed with pink and white roses, white tulle, and black velvet ribbon.

The officiating clergymen were the Very Rev. the Dean of Leighlin, the Rev. Canon Blacker, and the Rev. R H. D. Massy. Incumbent of the parish.

After the ceremony a reception was held by Mr. Bruen at Oak Park. Later in the afternoon the bride and bridegroom departed on their honeymoon, which will be spent in Wales. The bride’s travelling dress was of dark blue cloth coat and skirt, with revers of white moire, and vest of white chiffon, Brussels lace and silver embroidery; hat of shot blue and green straw, trimmed with shot green glace silk, black quills and white paradise plumes.

The following house guests were present at the ceremony—Mr. and Miss Bishop, Mrs. George Bishop, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bruen, Mrs. E. Ussher Roberts, Mrs. L. Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. MacMurrough Kavanagh, Mrs. Kavanagh, Miss Conolly, Miss Ponsonby, Sir Charles and Lady Burton, Lady Denys, Sir Thomas and Lady Butler, Hon. William M’Clintock Bunbury, Hon. Mrs. E. Lawless, Miss de Robeck, Colonel and Mrs. de Robeck, Miss Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Browne-Clayton, the Misses Browne-Clayton, Mr. and Mrs. J. Alexander. The best man was Mr. Wm. Bishop, brother of the bridegroom.’ [94]

August 27: The Anglo-Zanzibar War fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate; the conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history.

Sept 22: A young oak tree from Kilkea Castle was planted on the traditional site of St Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare at a joint ceremony attended by the Archbishops of Canterbury (Dr  Benson),  Armagh (Dr Alexander) and Dublin (Lord  Plunket), on the day of the re-opening of the Cathedral.

Mid-October: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and the Hon. Mary McClintock-Bunbury have returned to Ireland from paying visits in Scotland. Lord Rathdonnell killed two fine stags while staying with the Earl of Morton in Argyllshire.’ Pall Mall Gazette, 21 October 1896. [95]

Oct 17: Lord Rathdonnell was among the ‘Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Horse Breeding Industry, which is operating through 1896-1898. On 17 October, a meeting of this Royal Commission was held in the Under-Secretary’s Office, Upper Castle Yard at Dublin Castle. ‘The meeting was private and among the members present were the Earl of Dunraven, president (in the chair), Lord Rathdonnell, Lord Ashtown, Mr. J. L. Carew, M.P., Sir Thos. Esmonde M..P.; Mr. Percy La Touche, Mr. F. S. Wrench, Col. St. Quintin, the Hon. Mr. Fitzwilliam, and the secretary, Mr. Neville.’ [96]

Wrench was a Land Commissioner, while the Marquess of Londonderry also worked with them on a report that, ultimately, found the horse breeding industry ‘capable of large and profitable extension.’ [97]

Oct 22: ‘The Commission on Horse Breeding in Ireland resumed its sittings at Dublin Castle, the Earl of Dunraven, Chairman of the mission, presiding. The other Commissioners present were:- Sir Walter Gilbey, Hon. Mr. Fitzwilliam, Mr. F. S. Wrench, Lord Ashtown, Lord Rathdonnell, Colonel St. Quinton, Sir Thos Esmonde, J. L. Carew, M.P. Mr. S. Ussher Roberts C.B. was examined at the sitting.’ [98]


Lord Rathdonnells ninth annual unreserved auction of cattle and sheep took place at Ballyoliver House, Rathvilly, county Carlow, on Tuesday. The weather was favourable, and there was a good attendance of buyers. The stock from the home farm at Lisnavagh showed fair condition and good quality, with great breeding and substance, every lot reflecting the highest credit on the steward. Bidding was maintained throughout with great spirit, this being apparent by the fact that the thirty- two lots catalogued were disposed of in the remarkably short time of 45 minutes.

The officiating auctioneer was Mr James Ganly, of Messrs Ganly, Sons, and Co, Dublin, who, with his usual courtesy and expedition, rapidly “knocked down” every lot brought under his hammer, The arrangements for the sale were excellent, all being carried out under the direction of his lordship’s popular steward, Mr Wm Kelly. The fat ewes were quickly taken up at figures ranging from 19s 6d to 31s each, while the lambs were sold at from 18s 6d to 24s each.

There was brisk inquiry for dishorned cattle, the two and a half year old bullocks bringing from £9 5s to £12 5s, while the two year olds brought from £7 10s to £8 17s 6d. The two year old horned bullocks brought from £7 10s to £9 10s, but only a few lots of these were forward.” [99]

Dec 2: The Horse Breeding Commission continued to receive a mass of conflicting evidence from all parts of the country. Lord Dunraven presided, with Lord Rathdonnell, Lord Ashtown, Mr. Wrench, Sir Thomas Esmonde, MP, and Mr. Carew, M.P, all present. [100]

John Byrne of Lisnavagh, son of the late Michael Byrne, married Mary Moore in Rathvilly in 1896. He is said to have worked on the estate and their address was later given as No. 21 or 22 Ballyoliver. These may have been the same Byrnes who were stonemasons at Lisnavagh in the 1850s. This information was provided in August 2018 by their grandson Michael ‘Mick’ Byrne, who was born at No. 14 Ballyoliver in 1947. These Byrnes were known as the “Duckey Byrnes”; Mick’s father Michael and uncle Jack were at school in Rathvilly.

Michael Purcell has references in the Pat Purcell Papers to Lord Rathdonnell of Dunleer as being owner of two pubs in Rathvilly – Fanning’s (1896) and Fennell’s (1899).

The Balrothery Board of Guardians purchase a site on Main Street, Swords, County Dublin, from Lord Rathdonnell, and begin work on the construction of a new Victorian redbrick building. Known as the Dispensary, it opened after much delay in March 1899 but soon became the Guardians ‘pride and joy’. [101]






In January 1897, Tom was treated to the following biography on page 1 of Bailly’s Magazine of Sports & Pastimes, Vol. LXVII, No. 443:


When the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland was in its declining years, the late Richard Chaloner used to remark “that there were two men in whom he had confidence and hope, one of them being Tom Bunbury”. Of Tom Bunbury, now better known as Lord Rathdonnell, what pleasing reminiscences would not the late “Druid” have given us? For he was a man after his own heart – stroke in the Eton boat; the best man across country; winner of the point-to-point heavy-weight race of the Pytchley; breeder of Shorthorns; one of the organisers of the Dublin shows; owner of a yacht – what themes his graphic pen would have written had his valuable life been spared!

About the year 1597, Alexander McClintock found his way from Scotland into the north of Ireland; he bought large estates, and settled in County Donegal. His granddaughter married Nathaniel Alexander and became mother of the first Earl of Caledon. His grandson John had a numerous family, which afterwards became allied with several of the noble houses of Ireland; he resided at Drumcar, Co. Louth, and was succeeded by his nephew, whose grandson, John McClintock became the first Baron Rathdonnell, of Rathdonnell, Co. Donegal. This first Lord Rathdonnell was succeeded by his brother’s son, Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, born November 29th 1848, whose father, Captain William Bunbury McClintock, RN, MP for Carlow, was described by the late Mr. Chaloner “as a very fine old fellow who loved a stout horse and kept a good Shorthorn”, and who built the magnificent farm buildings at Lisnavagh in stone, on four sides of a square, with water in a huge circular basin in the middle, and which are probably the finest in Leinster. They stand on what the late Mr. William Johnson of Prumplestown, the agent, used to remember as a bog, for he had shot snipe on it when a young man. He died in 1866, and his son succeeded to the title as second Baron Rathdonnell in 1879.

When a boy of ten years he was sent to Eton and educated under John Hawtry and Dr. Warre. He distinguished himself greatly by his love of sport and became an expert oarsman, winning the sculling in 1868, and the pairs twice in 1867, with his cousin Mr. Calvert, and in 1868 with Mr. F. A. Currey, He rowed in the Eton eight at Henley in 1867 and 1868, winning the Ladies’ Plate on each occasion, he being captain of the boats and rowing stroke. He also played in the Wall and Field eleven at Football for two and three years; twice ran second in the School Hurdle Race, and one year was fifth in the school mile.

His brother, Jack Bunbury, who afterwards rowed for Oxford. Rowed with him in 1868, and stroked the Eton eight for the next two years, so that three years in succession there was a Bunbury at the stroke oar: his young son, bent on following his father’s footsteps, pulled stroke in the Eton eight at Henley in 1896, when they won the Ladies Plate; and he is also already a capital rider to hounds. This successful early training at Eton doubtless gave Lord Rathdonnell a desire in later years for yachting, for he has sailed down the Mediterranean and back on more than one occasion in his schooner Thauma.

In 1869, a year after leaving Eton, Lord Rathdonnell joined the Scots Greys, but retired four years later on his marriage with Miss Bruen, eldest daughter of the Right Hon. Henry Bruen, of Oak Park, Carlow, and settled down to the management of his estates in Counties Carlow and Louth, where he had a thousand acres in each, breeding Shorthorns and horses, and diverting his leisure with hunting, shooting and deer stalking, of which he is particularly fond.

When a boy he was a fine rider, his good hands and seat making him a capital pupil for Robert Watson in the Carlow & Island county, who soon taught him to love “the sport of kings”. His excellent training in youth stood him in good service in after years, for when hunting was made “uncomfortable” in Ireland he took Great Bowden Hall in Leicestershire, hunted with the Pytchley South Quorn (then Sir Bache Cunard’s) and Cottesmore hounds for several seasons, and no man went better or was more popular in that famous country.

His brilliant Success when he won the point-to-point steeplechase in 1885 is the talk of the sporting Northamptonshire farmers, of which the country still has a few left, to this day. No man, say they still, had better horses or went straighter across the country than he did. This great race, although kept secret, was largely attended, upwards of two hundred horsemen being present when the meeting was reached at Buckby Folly. The course was about 4 miles and a half, in the shape of a horseshoe, over a grass country with stiff fences and an open brook. Lord Rathdonnell dressed at John Cooper’s, where they weighed out, and who very hospitably entertained them. There were 29 entries, against 22 in 1884 and 19 in the year previous. The scene was brilliant in the extreme when Mr. Cooper’s hospitable home was left for the start, and from the hill near the Folly the race could be seen nearly the whole way. Captain (Bay) Middleton made the running, the whole field being well together; but the Captain soon came to grief, and Mr. W.H. Foster took up the running; when about a mile from home Lord Rathdonnell, on Redskin, rushed to the front, and although carrying a stone over top-weight, won by about half a length, Mr. Gordon Cunard being second, Captain Middleton third, and Mr. James Pender fourth, Captain F. Osbourne being fifth, and the first representative of the light teens, four out of the fourteen-stone division being the first home. A great reception awaited the winner, who, not forgetting his host, quietly remarked, “I tell you what, John, it was that glass of old brandy you gave me that did it”. He had previously won a Harlow point-to-point race before leaving Ireland.

His taste for Shorthorns, commenced at home, was whetted by Mr. Bolton’s fine herd at the Island, where that gentleman at one time kept a pack of hounds to give sport to the good folks of Wexford. His old friend, Mr. Doyne’s choice little herd at Wells hard y, as well as his flock of Border Leicester’s developed further interest in breeding choice cattle and sheep.

He has tried to breed weight-carrying hunters, with a certain amount of success, but experience has shown, what others have also found out, that the Irish hunter after all is more or less a chance animal, for he has found it very hard to breed a horse up to 15 stone that he could ride himself, though several are red annually at Lisnavagh. Revenge who stood at Lisnavagh for many years, has proved one of the best hunting sires, and Victoricus by Victor out of an Arbitrator mare is getting very good young stock at the present time.

Formerly the herd of Shorthorns was kept at Lisnavagh. He first bought a few of the Old Blossoms, the Glossys and some of Torr’s G’s at the Island, and a few animals from Mr. George Allen’s and Major O’Reilly’s herds in Ulster and Louth. The bull Anchor, a purchase from Mr. Chaloner at King’s Fort, brought the herd into prominent notice’ for this fine bull twice won the £155 Chaloner Plate at the Dublin Show; was placed first at the Newry Show of the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland; carried off the Tweeddale Gold Medal at the Highland Society’s meeting at Perth, and, at the great Royal International Show at Kilburn in 1879 Anchor was placed first, and stood well forward for the £100 championship for the best male; the judges, however, differing, an umpire on the spur of the moment was called in, and, overlooking the elegance and character, as well as the great natural substance, of Anchor, awarded the championship to one of the fat Telemachus bulls from Burghley. Saxon King was afterwards obtained from Mr. Talbot Crosbie in County Kerry. He also won the Chaloner Plate in 1882, and was first at the Kilkenny Meeting two years later, of the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland.

Booth blood which was for so long a period the mainstay of the Irish Shorthorn, was tapped about 1882, and Scottish King and King Otho were hired from Warlaby.

A few years after the death of his uncle, the late Lord, he removed his herd into County Louth, where he now resides. Farming is, however, still carried on at Lisnavagh, but grazing is more the feature, the land being better adapted for it than for breeding. About 150 bullocks are bought late in the autumn, dishorned, and about 100 ewes; these are grazed on through the summer, and an auction is held in October. The return of the same purchasers year after year is the best proof of the appreciation of the stock; for a greater feeder in the north of England has lately proved that Irish bullocks will dress out to be about 81/2 lbs., whereas the more fashionable blue greys will only kill to about 71/2 lbs. to every 14lbs live weight.

At Drumcar the herd has been significantly increased, very choice animals now being bred there. At the late Mr. Aylmer’s sale in Norfolk the best of the Castanets were purchased. One or two Medoras from the King’s Fort and the bull “Flower Prince” from that patriarchal breeder, Mr. Andrew Mitchell of Alloa, on the banks of the Forth, and a few animals of Booth blood from Mr. Heinemann in Kent were at different times added to the herd. Prince and Sir Alan Studley were hired from Warlaby, and Royal Zingaro, from King’s Fort, with his beautiful colour and rare hair and quality, has long been an efficient sire. The dam of this bull is at present alive and well in the herd at Drumcar, and has produced several very fine animals, both male and female.

Colonel Butler, the agent, who resides at Greenmount, close by, takes as keen interest in the herd as Mr. Adair does in the farming at Lisnavagh, his regret, and those round him, being the distance between the two estates, otherwise they might have his lordship more often hunting amongst them in the Carlow county. Ryder, the herdsman at Drumcar, is just as devoted to Shorthorns as his master; and on a field-day, when the boys gather up the herd from the distant meadows by the river Dee on to the lawn, no pleasanter sight can be seen than the interest one and all take in their choice as to which is best, and how they have thriven since the last gathering.

Occasional sales have dispersed much of the blood, with good effect, throughout Ireland, whilst some animals have found their way into the Lothians, England and Wales. It should be mentioned in evidence of the merit of the old Lisnavagh stock, that some calves were brought by Mr. Evan Jones and taken into Carmarthenshire, and one of them recently took a high position when exhibited at the Tredegar Show last November.

At the Dublin Spring Show a few young animals are exhibited in good natural condition, for Lord Rathdonnell strongly objects to the forcing and cramming system now so much in vogue; they generally receive the notice of the judges. Two years ago the Duke of Leinster’s £150 cup for the best group of Shorthorns was awarded to a bull, cow, and two heifers from Drumcar.

Lord Rathdonnell was elected a member of the Royal Dublin Society in 1875, and was soon afterwards appointed to the Council, and has been twice Chairman of the Agricultural Committee. He is also a prominent member of the Viceregal Commission on Horse Breeding in Ireland. He is a very active steward at the Spring Show, and to his energy and organising abilities a portion of the great success of the August Horse Show is due. There he is very much to the fore, especially in the jumping enclosure, where he has annually organised the grand parade of prize horses which has been so successful a feature of the shows at Balls Bridge. At most of the Irish race meetings he is generally present. His geniality and kindness of heart, his quick sound judgement and good common sense have endeared him to everyone with whom he comes in contact, while his racy humour and ready wit have, among his more intimate acquaintances, deservedly entitled him to the sobriquet of the “Merry Lord”. “

March: The Kaiser is still toying with the idea of going to help the boys in South Africa but is talked out of it by his ministers who have their cautious eyes on British domination of the seas. An Anglo-German alliance still seems to be on the cards although between 1897 and 1899, Count Muravyov, the Russian foreign minister, was secretly trying to form a triple alliance with Germany and France.

Spring Show: Lord Rathdonnell’s Gipsy King, placed first in the class for ‘Bulls calved prior to January 1896 – ‘a wonderfully sweet, gay, tidy bull, very compact in build, short on his leg, and true in symmetry.’ His underline was faultless. The bull was ‘bred by his noble owner.’

Tom Rathdonnell’s youngest daughter, Pauline McClintock Bunbury, was married at Drumcar in 1897 to an English officer, Major Fred Dalgety, who fought alongside her brother Billy in the Anglo-Boer War. Billy was killed in the conflict.  With thanks to Patricia Bruen.

June 10: Marriage of Tom and Kate Rathdonnell’s youngest daughter Pauline to Major Frederick John Dalgety (1866-1926), 15th Hussars, of Lockerley Hall, Hants. He was a Captain in the 15th Huzzars at the time. The ceremony took place in the Parish Church of Drumcar and one presumes much of the talk was about the Queen’s impending Diamond Jubilee. The Drumcar marriage registers are now housed at the RCB Library in Braemor Park, Dublin.
Fred Dalgety was the eldest of five sons (with five daughters) born to Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety (1817-1894), a Canadian-born pioneer of Scots descent who became the largest Australian wool importer in London, and his wife, Blanche Trosse Allen. Born in Canada, FGD was one of 12 children born to Alexander Dalgety, army officer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Doidge. In 1833-1834, aged 16, he landed in Sydney in colonial Australia abroad the frigate Dryade with just 16 shillings in his pocket. He advanced to Melbourne and became a prosperous merchant, buying and selling for ‘the settlers’ trade’. Business boomed with the gold rush and he moved to London in 1850 to establish the headquarters of a metropolitan-colonial enterprise dealing mainly with the Victorian pastoral industry, aka wool export, as well as mining, trading and insurance concerns. This became the global firm, Dalgety & Company. In 1868, he bought the Lockerley and East Tytherley estates in Hampshire, where his newly built Lockerly Hall was completed in 1873. In 1877, he became High Sheriff of Hampshire. He did much to develop large-scale facilities for financing and organizing the production and marketing of rural produce, especially wool in Australia. By 1884 Dalgety & Co. had firms in London, Melbourne, Geelong, Launceston, Dunedin, Christchurch and Sydney, with ten partners and a combined capital of £900,000, of which Dalgety held £300,000 and his original partners £350,000. He was chairman of the Colonial Wool Merchants’ Association.
Blanche died on 11 April 1883 and FGD died at Lockerley on 20 March 1894, survived by five daughters and five sons, none of whom went into the business. “The upbringing of his children was gentlemanly, not commercial; he married his eldest daughter into the aristocracy with a dowry of £20,000.”
FGD lived in England after 1859, making one last trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1881. In 1868-73 he built Lockerley Hall, a mansion and estate worth £238,000, where he died. During the fifteenth century the land on which Lockerley Hall now stands was part of the estate of the manor of East Tytherley of Tytherley and Lockerley. In 1849, William Fothergill Cooke, joint inventor of the electric telegraph, erected Oaklands House, a substantial house with conservatory attached, stabling and two large kitchen gardens. The lawn, pleasure grounds and shrubberies contained specimen trees, including Wellingtonia, araucaria, rhododendrons and cypresses. Oaklands House was sold in 1856 to FGD who razed the house in 1868 and built Lockerley Hall on the site. The house was completed in 1871 in a neo-Elizabethan style by William Burn, of the firm Burn, McVicar and Anderson.
Fred and Pauline Dalgety had four children: John Allen Frederick, Arthur William, Barbara, and Christopher Thomas. John Dalgety, the eldest son, inherited Lockerley Hall and removed the top floor of the building and two wings to make it slightly more manageable, turning it into a neo-Georgian style building. As John was a bachelor, he invited his youngest brother Christopher Dalgety to live at the house and this is where Christopher’s son Alexander, the “heir apparent” to the estate, lived for the first 10 or 11 years of his life. However, Arthur William Dalgety then married and produced a son Hugh who instead inherited and then sold it to one of the Sainsbury family who promptly split up the estate, selling one of the farms & its “des-res” to a prominent politician. The house was sold by Sainsbury to Roger Croft who did much to restore some of the interior features. It currently belongs to a Mr Fyffe, the banana baron. Alexander Dalgety, Consultant & Pyrethrum Specialist, lives near Berwick-upon-Tweed with his wife Susan. [102]

I am reminded of this scene from ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ by Oscar Wilde when the Duchess of Berwick is trying to fob her daughter off on a rich Australian called Hopper:

Duchess of Berwick. Dear Mr. Hopper, how nice of you to come so early. We all know how you are run after in London.

Hopper. Capital place, London! They are not nearly so exclusive in London as they are in Sydney.

Duchess of Berwick. Ah! we know your value, Mr. Hopper. We wish there were more like you. It would make life so much easier. Do you know, Mr. Hopper, dear Agatha and I are so much interested in Australia. It must be so pretty with all the dear little kangaroos flying about. Agatha has found it on the map. What a curious shape it is! Just like a large packing case. However, it is a very young country, isn’t it?

Hopper. Wasn’t it made at the same time as the others, Duchess?

Duchess of Berwick. How clever you are, Mr. Hopper. You have a cleverness quite of your own. Now I mustn’t keep you.

Hopper. But I should like to dance with Lady Agatha, Duchess.

Duchess of Berwick. Well, I hope she has a dance left. Have you a dance left, Agatha?

Lady Agatha. Yes, mamma.

Duchess of Berwick. The next one?

Lady Agatha. Yes, mamma.

Hopper. May I have the pleasure? [Lady Agatha bows.]

Duchess of Berwick. Mind you take great care of my little chatterbox, Mr. Hopper 

June 19: Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott died, aged 65, a ‘technical bankrupt’ on same day Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee.

June 22: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee marks the apex of the British Empire.

August 4-6: “Carlow New Masonic Hall. A GRAND BAZAAR and FANCY FAIR. In Aid of Building Fund will be held in the TOWN HALL, CARLOW.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 4th, 5th and 6th, 1897.
Under the Patronage of Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, Lord and Lady Duncannon, Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, Bart, and Lady Butler, Sir Charles Burton, Bart, and Lady Burton, Sir Anthony Weldon, Bart, and Lady Weldon, Major and Mrs Alexander, Mr and Mrs Toler-Aylward, Mr and Mrs D.R. Pack-Beresford, Mr and Mrs Browne-Clayton, Mr and Mrs Stewart Duckett, Colonel and Mrs Eustace, Dean and Mrs Finlay, Captain and Mrs Duckett-Stewart, Dr. and Mrs Rawson, Mrs Fleming, Mrs Greenwood, Archdeacon and Mrs Jameson, Mr and Mrs J.F.Lecky, Captain and Mrs Newton, Mr and Mrs R. Lecky Pike, Captain and Mrs Thomas, Colonel and Mrs Vigors, Mr and Mrs T. Anderson, Mrs Vessy. Mr S. Vessy, The Three Provincial Grand Masters – Mr Lloyd-Vaughan (High Sheriff), Colonel Cosby and Colonel Pratt Saunders.
The following, amongst others, have kindly consented to preside at the Stalls:-
Lady Rathdonnell, Lady Burton, Mrs Stuart, Mrs Maffett, Mrs Masey, Mrs Fitzmaurice (Kelvin Grove), Mrs and the Misses Langran.
Theatricals, Tableaux Vivants, Wheel of Fortune, Palmistry, Shooting Gallery, and a variety of other Entertainments.
The BAZAAR will be OPENED at 2pm on Wednesday, in Masonic Form, by Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell, His Majestys Lieutenant.
Contributions either in money or in kind will be thankfully received by any of the Stall Holders.” [103]

August 7: The Carlow Bazaar opening ceremony is performed by Lord Rathdonnell, while Lady Rathdonnell and Mrs Stuart presided over Stall 1, assisted by Mrs G. Fishbourne, Miss Roger, Miss Twigg and Miss Fazer. [104]

We feel great pleasure in being able to announce as the opening sentence of our notice, that this Bazaar was a grand and unqualified success , the only tinge of regret being that it was considered deserving of local ecclesiastical censure. We do not, however, intend dwelling further on this point, particularly as it did not injuriously affect the success of the Bazaar, whatever other effect it may ultimately have. Our readers are doubtless aware that about a year ago the first announcement of the Bazaar appeared, the object as then stated being to clear off a debt on the Carlow Masonic Hall recently erected, and which it is not too much to say, is an ornament to the town and a credit to the craft. In this age of bazaars it is scarcely necessary to say that the element of novelty has to a great extent passed away. They are regarded with jealousy and dislike by a certain section of the male community, who declare that the “thing is overdone” and predict nothing but failure and disappointment from any venture bearing the name commencing with a big B. False prophets they generally prove to be, for despite the sneers of the cynic and the sighs of the un-sympathetic, the Bazaar survives. The fact is that regard them as we may there is some irresistible charm about the Bazaar, and we fancy we have discovered the secret. It is essentially “women’s work,” and affords abundant proof — if such were needed — that any task, however arduous or venturesome that ladies undertake with warm hearts and willing hands is crowned with success. This Bazaar exemplified this truism, and must be regarded as a great victory for the fair sex and a great compliment to the Masonic Order.
An attractive feature in the programme was the opening ceremony, which took place at 2 o’ clock on Wednesday, by which time the hall and stalls and every available space were crowded by a fashionable assemblage. Brother the Right Honourable Lord Rathdonnell, her Majesty’s Lieutenant for the County of Carlow, very kindly accepted the invitation of the Managing Committee to open the Bazaar. At half-past 1 o’ clock the members of the local Lodges (116 and 91) assembled in the board-room and having given a warm welcome to Lord Rathdonnell, formed in procession, wearing full Masonic regalia, presenting a pleasing contrast in color and design. Lord Rathdonnell escorted by Colonel P. D. Vigors and Captain Duckett-Steuart (all three wearing the gorgeous regalia of Prince Masons ) marched up the room to the strains of the National Anthem, God Save The Queen, heartily sung by the whole assemblage to Brother Dr. Malone’s accompaniment on the pianoforte.
Lord Rathdonnell, on rising to formally open the Bazaar, was lustily cheered.
Having read a telegram received that day from Brother H.P. Lloyd Vaughan (High Sheriff of Carlow ) expressing regret for being unavoidably prevented from attending and taking part in their proceedings, he said it afforded him great pleasure to be present that day to open their Bazaar. In doing so it was scarcely necessary to remind them of the purpose for which it was held — namely, to clear off a debt which remains on the new Lodge buildings, recently erected at a cost of £1,000. He should like to bring before them one very good reason why the numerous visitors to the Bazaar should spend their money freely. Owing to this debt being still upon the Lodge, the Carlow Masons had not been able to subscribe as largely to the funds of the Masonic Schools as formerly. Every penny therefore that would be spent at that Bazaar would enable the Lodges all the sooner to resume their former donations to that most excellent charity ( applause ). That surely should be an inducement to people to spend their money freely, remembering the laudable object in view (applause).
Having gone round the different stalls and examined the varied and tempting wares, he could say the ladies in charge had not put too high a price on the goods for sale, a mistake sometimes made at bazaars. He would therefore assure intending purchasers that they buy boldly, without having that uncomfortable feeling of having been “done” (laughter and applause). He was, said Lord Rathdonnell, in the habit of keeping on his dressing table a diary with mottoes, and of tearing one off daily. Happening to be from home for some time on his return he had several to tear off, and found the one for the 3rd August 1897 was very appropriate for that occasion, and read thus :–“It does not follow the more talkative a person becomes the more successful he is ” (laughter). As he had many friends in that room, he would act on the advice contained in the motto (laughter ). Another leaflet torn off contained the motto: -“A word in earnest is as good as a speech.” His closing “word in earnest” would be the hope that everybody would come to the bazaar with full purses and leave with empty ones (applause ). His Lordship then formally declared the Bazaar open.
On the call of Brother Dr. Stawell, Lord Rathdonnell was saluted in Masonic form, and according to ancient usage, by a fire of eleven. [105] The Bazaar open, business commenced briskly, the six large stalls which occupied a considerable portion of the space, were decorated and dressed with consummate taste, each apparently vying with the other in these respects, and the whole presenting a charming effect. They were all well laden with a splendid and varied collection of goods, useful, ornamental and valuable, including curios from far-off climes, as well as home-made wares, many of them rare and artistic specimens, and most of them the work of amateurs, who entered on the “labour of love” with a will worthy of the cause they so generously espoused, and who felt amply compensated by the admiration and patronage with which their efforts were crowned.
The Bazaar was continued on Thursday and Friday, mid-day and evening, and was well patronised all through.” [106]

Aug 13: The first issue of Workers’ Republic.

Aug 31: The future king George V and Queen Mary (then Duke and Duchess of York) stay at Adare Manor overnight. ‘On leaving Adare their Royal Highnesses will travel to Killaloe, and go by special steamboat to Banagher, proceeding by rail to Baronscourt, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, where they will stay for three days, and a large garden party will be given at Baronscourt in their honour.’

Sept 7: Tom and Kate Rathdonnell attend a massive “At Home” garden party for 2000 guests at Mountstewart, hosted by the Marchioness of Londonderry, at which the guest of honour were the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) at the latter end of the Royal couple’s rain-sodden tour of Ireland. [107]

October 9 (Sat): The Carlow Sentinel reports on death of Lieut. William Browne-Clayton (b. 1873) in Afghanistan. ‘On Saturday last a feeling of profound sorrow was caused not only in this town and county but throughout every portion of her Majesty’s wide dominions by the sad intelligence that some British officers had been killed in action at the North-Western frontier in India, including a gallant young Carlowman, Lieutenant William Clayton Browne-Clayton, second son of William Clayton Browne-Clayton, Esquire, D.L., of Browne’s Hill, Carlow.’ He was serving under Lieutenant Colonel J.L. O’ Bryen, commander of the 31st Punjabis, in the Expedition to Bajour. O’Bryen also died in battle.

Lord Rathdonnell & the Celbridge Charter School.


‘Four houses are in course of erection at Celbridge, Co. Kildare, for Col. Bunbury. Mr. John M’Curdy, architect; Mr. J. F. Lynch, Carlow, builder.’ (The Dublin Builder – Monday 1 April 1867, p. 16)
[Photo: Anne Dollard, 2020]

William ‘Speaker’ Conolly of Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, died in 1729. In his will he provided for the erection of a charity school to accommodate 40 orphans or other poor children. In 1809, the administration of the school was transferred to the Incorporated Society for promoting Protestant schools in Ireland. The Society’s schools were known as the Charter Schools.

One condition on the transfer of the school to the Society was that the Conollys could reserve the right to nominate 30 children to the school. Children so nominated became known as the Conolly foundationers. In the early years, the school concentrated on preparing the children for positions in domestic service and in manufacture. In later years, the pupils began to receive an intermediate education, the emphasis shifting to careers in education.

In 1897, Mrs Conolly of Castletown wrote to the Society expressing concern that the Conolly foundationers were receiving an education that unfitted them for their situation in life. She proposed that the Society purchase the interest in the leases of two houses (Landscape House and Kildrought House) in Celbridge that could be then converted into a boarding school for the Conolly girls. The Society agreed to Mrs Conolly’s proposition. In 1898, a deputation from the Society visited Celbridge and found that the two houses proposed by Mrs Conolly were not available but another, that of Lord Rathdonnell, was. However, when the Society received the estimate of the cost of alterations to the house (1,500 pounds) it decided it could not go ahead with the scheme.

Survey of Celbridge by Patrick Shaffrey, Town Planner, from July 1982, notes that there was “an attractive group of four 2 storey houses with double dormer windows” at 56 Main Street, North, but I know not if they are still there. According to Mr Shaffrey: “The first smooth plastered; second – dashed; third smooth plastered, not painted; fourth – dashed with rear entrance – instead of window on ground floor. This terrace of houses was restored by Lord Rathdonnell at the end of the 19th century. Older houses here had remained derelict since 1798 when they were burned.” The Lisnavagh Archives refers to a series of houses owned by Rathdonnell in the 1930s and leased to Angela Moore (Landscape View), James Lennon and William Kelly. The one next to the late Angela Moore was purchased circa 1970s by Robin and Ciceley Hall (who also took on the gardens at Primrose Hill, Lucan) who did a splendid job recreating the Georgian interior (both in design & furnishing) but sadly it was later sold and turned into an office for use as a Building Society. [108]

Dec 2: Shooting party at Portaferry. See photo below.




Shooting Party at Portaferry House, Co. Down, 2nd December 1897.
L-R (standing): Lord Rathdonnell, Mr. Martin, Captain Charles Toler McMurragh Kavanagh (10th Hussars), Claude Brownlow, Unknown, JVN. (sitting) E.L. with Biddy, Lady Rathdonnell and The General.
At the time of this photo, Captain Kavanagh was Adjutant to the 6th Yeomanry Brigade (PAO Leics. Yeo. & Derby. Yeo.) while Lord Rathdonnell was a Captain in Prince Albert’s Own Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry.
I presume JVN was Lt. Col. John Vesey Nugent of Portaferry House, Co. Down, DL, JP, Lieu. Col., formerly Capt and Brevet Major of 51st King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, born 16th July 1837. He was married on 19th January 1886 to Emily Georgiana Langham (is she E.L. in photo, with Biddy?), daughter of Herbert Langham of Cottesbrooke Park, Northamptonshire. He succeeded his brother Lt. Gen. Andrew Nugent at Portaferry in 1905. Emily Nugent died on 2 April 1909.
‘The General’ was probably Lt. Gen. Andrew Nugent of Portaferry House, JP and DL, High Sheriff (1882), Col. of the Royal Scots Greys, who was born in 1834 and died in 1905.
Claude Brownlow lived at Coolderry, near Carrickmacross, and is buried in a marked grave in the C of I cemetery in Carrickmacross. The Brownlows intermarried with the Shirleys of Lough Fea.
With thanks to Sylvia McClintock, Cecil Mills & Griff Morgan-Jones.

January 6: (Wed) I have a dance card for the Kildare Hunt Ball of 1898 which took place at the Town Hall in Naas, with the Viceregal Band. According to a report on the ‘much-enjoyed’ ball in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 5 February 1898, ‘Liddell’s band supplied the dance music, and tire catering was more than safe – it was superlative – in the hands of Lovell’s accomplished aides. The dresses worn were quite lovely, and county belles were present in picturesque numbers and brightness.’ Ever since I found the dance card in the attic at Lisnavagh, I’ve had a hunch that this belonged to twenty-year-old Billy and sure enough, a perusal of the Kildare Observer of 29 January 1898 confirms he was there. The newspaper also lists all other attendees and the precise arrangements of the dances. There are six names pencilled on the back and it is difficult not to read into the largest name ‘Amy’ which fills the spot for the No. 2 dance (Valse: Marguerite), and also the 5th (Lancers: The Geisha). It’s tricky to read the other names but it looks like he had Mrs Mitchell for the 11th and Lady Evelyn HH (Hely Hutchinson) for the 19th and penultimate dance. I’ve always assumed Amy was Amy Duckett but alas, she is not named in the line-up.

Jan 30: Death of Chichester Fortescue, 2nd Baron Clermont and 1st Baron Carlingford at Marseille, France, aged 75.

Feb 2: Mamie McClintock Bunbury and Violet Gibson attend the Cadogan’s first Drawing Room of the Season at Dublin Castle. [109]

Feb: “The Kildare Hunt Ball, given at the Town Hall, Naas, was a very brilliant festivity, and a really smart one also, for Liddell had charge the music, Lovell of the catering, and the show of stylish gowns and pretty women was one of the most attractive ever seen in the county. A number of ladies resident in the neighbourhood took the decoration in hand, and did their self-imposed work most effectively. The big maestro di musica was in excellent fettle the premier portion of the evening, but something ruffled his plumes at the close. I was told it was the daringness of a young male fledgling present, who recklessly suggested a diminuendo, when dancers cried, “bellows-to-mend!” To keep up a festivity till 4 a.m. is proof that participants are pleased with it, and even at the hour named there was general unwillingness to depart. Lady Hesketh wore a beautiful gown of white and silver. Lady Downshire was entirely in white. Lady Listowel’swhite gown was arranged with azure blue. Mrs. de Burgh looked quite lovely in a flowered striped silk toilette, with quantities of roses. Lady Mayo wore black, and looked doubly fair because it. Miss Leila Crichton was, as usual, greatly admired in pink. Mrs. Atherton had a most uncommon gown of oyster-grey satin, with rouleaux of mouse-coloured velvet on the bodice, and long lace sleeves. Mrs. Tremayne was dressed in bright silk of a pretty pink shade. Mrs. Alexander had a lovely toilette of white satin, with a richly jewelled tablier. Miss de Robeck’s black satin gown was enlivened with scarlet ribbons. Mrs. Lionel Warren displayed a splendid diamond tiara and a handsome dress of peach brocade. And strikingly good costumes were worn by Mrs. Gilpin, Mrs. Charles de Robeck, Mrs. Green, Mrs. Maurice Hussey, Mrs. Lovebond, Mrs. and Miss Lindsay, and Mrs. St. Leger Moore.” [110]

March 8: The Rathdonnells and one of their daughters are among the top tier of guests for a State Ball at Dublin Castle hosted by the Cadogans. Violet Gibson and the Ashbourne family also attend. [111]

April 26: ‘‘Lord and Lady Ashbourne had a small dinner party Tuesday last week, at, which the Countess Cadogan was present, accompanied by her eldest son and Mr. Victor Corkran … Lady Ashbourne also wore a complete crown of diamonds, and a necklet of same, thrown up in relief by a broad band of velvet and lace. The Hon. Violet Gibson was dressed in black satin, with scarlet chiffon sash, and poppies on the bodice ; and her youthful sister, the Hon. Frances Gibson, who was one of this season’s debutantes, looked very pretty and petite in shell-pink gauze, over silk. Lady Rathdonnell had a very quaint gown of deep cream brocatelle, with a flowered stripe in red and yellow colourings, and the bodice made with lacings at every seam, exactly in corset fashion.” [112]

June 4: Tom and Billy pose for Old Captains of the Boats Crew photo at Eton, along with Sir John Edwards Moss, Colonel FC Ricardo and Messrs. GC Bourne, HG Gold, MC Pilkington, V Nickalls, CP Sercold (cox). Tom was the most senior captain; Billy the most junior although Sercold looks young too. Colonel F. C. Ricardo was the inspiration for Toad of Toad Hall in ‘The Wind in the Willows’.

August 2: Death at Longparish House, Whitchurch, Hampshire, of family friend Colonel Alfred Tippinge, a Crimean War veteran, whose wife Flora Tippinge was a Calvert. We have a photo of Flora in the McClintock albums.

August 12: Chief Secretary Arthur Balfour gifts Irish nationalism with the Local Government (Ireland) Act. This comes in the wake of a revelation that Ireland had been overtaxed by about £2.5 million a year ever since the Act of Union was implemented in 1801.

Tom’s second daughter Mary,
known as Mamie, in later life. In November 1898, she married Henry Duncombe Bramwell.

Old Captains of The Boats’ 1898

August 24: Tsar Nicholas II seizes initiative to invite the leaders of the world to the Hague Peace Conference of 1899. The Tsar was an avid fan of Jan Gotlib Bloch who had lately published his six-volume master work, Is War Now Impossible?, which transpired to be a horrifying and extremely accurate prediction of how a new world war would shape up.

September 2:  Battle of Omdurman, in which 12,000 Sudanese tribesmen were wiped out by a  highly disciplined British army equipped with modern rifles, machine guns, and artillery, commanded by Lord Kitchener. During the Sudan campaign, Melik, a guide-blade river gunboat, was the flagship of the gunboat flotilla of ten under the command of Cdre Keppel. The Melik (the only survivor) and her two sister Sheik and Sultan were unique in having twin screw tunnel propulsion systems. Melik was also almost certainly the first warship to carry a cine-camera in action. It was brought on board by the correspondent of the Illustrated London News, Frederick Villiers, but it broke down, so no cine-film of the battle was shot. Two days after the battle, the Melik transported Lord Kitchener and his staff form Omdurman to the ruined Governor’s Palace in Khartoum. In August 2022, I had the pleasure of voyaging on the Island Sky with Anthony Harvey, secretary of the Melik Society. Its purpose is to advance public awareness of Anglo-Sudanese history in the period 1883-1956 through the restoration and preservation of the Melik and the paddle steamer Bordein. Kitchener’s nephew Henry was the first President of the Melik Society and his daughter Emma, the wife of Julian Fellowes, took over after he died in 2011.

September 9: Death of Tom’s uncle Major Henry Stanley McClintock of Kilwarlin House, Co. Down. Born in 1812, he served as a Major of the Antrim Artillery, and also the Royal Horse Artillery. He married his cousin Gertrude La Touche of Harristown and wrote the book, ‘Random Tales, Chiefly Irish’.

November 3: Mamie McClintock Bunbury, Tom and Kate Rathdonnell’s second daughter, marries Lt Col Henry Duncombe Bramwell, 15th Lancers.

Local Government Act replaces Grand Jury system with elected County Councils. The first elected chairman of Carlow County Council was John Hammond of Tullow Street, Carlow (his shop was later owned by Ger Donnelly) who presided until 1907. [113]

An Irish correspondent to the Fishing Gazette reported to that paper that ‘in the River Barrow, near Carlow, a man who was shovelling gravel out of the river was attacked by a pike. The man killed it with a blow of the shovel. It weighed 36 pounds. The man had to be removed to the infirmary, as the calf of his leg had been severely gashed by this, for Ireland, medium-sized pike.” We have heard of the voracity of the pike in Ireland, but this reads like a shark yarn.[114]




Billy Bunbury’s portrait at Lisnavagh.

January: Billy enters the Scots Greys from the Militia. There is a growing threat of war although with who remains less certain!!!? Kaiser Bill claims that France and Russia have asked Germany to join them in an attack on Britain while she is engaged in a war in South Africa. The Kaiser turned the offer down and let both Victoria and Edward know; both expressed their appreciation! Aside from the Kruger Telegram of 1896, there was actually little ground for conflict between Germany and Britain at this time. Queen Vic, of course, was practically German herself. Moreover, Britain had been at war with both Russia and France earlier in the century and the Franco-Russian alliance was all about defending their overseas empires. Britain’s policy of splendid isolation meant she was all alone and surrounded by many enemies. There would be much political spin afterwards to hail the Russians and demonise the Germans but at this time Britain was much friendlier with Germany, despite the Kruger telegram.

January 9: Freeman’s Journal reports in ‘FASHION AND VARIETIES’ that ‘Lord & Lady Rathdonnell have arrived at Kingstown from England.’

February 16: Félix Faure, the president of France since 1895, dies of a heart attack in the Élysée Palace, allegedly while having sex on his desk with 30-year-old Marguerite Steinheil.

February 26: Tom and Kate Rathdonnell celebrate 25 years of marriage. A silver lamp is given to them by their children. A report in the ‘What is Doing in Society’ section of the New York Times of 19 February suggests they would be among those aristocrats who would be ‘deserting England soon’, presumably meaning they were departing (Ireland!) on a lengthy cruise in celebration of the event. But they cannot have gone for long as Tom was in Dundalk by March 9th.

March 9: Tom Rathdonnell heads Committee of Management for the Dundalk Agricultural Spring Show, entering (and winning rosettes with) several of his own pure-bred stock, such as the red shorthorn Achilles (2nd Class 2 Best Bull), the roan shorthorn Queen of Gipsies (2nd, Class 3, Best Cow), the roan shorthorn Greek Dame (2nd, Class 4, Best Heifer), the white shorthorn Grecian Atha (1st, Class 5, Best Heifer), as well as Best Draught Mare (2nd and 3rd place), Best Barrel of White Seed Oats (4th) and Best Barrel of Black Seed Oats (4th). [115]

April: Alice Butler, the Georgia-born great-granddaughter of Pierce the revolutionary, recalls a visit to Ballintemple: ‘Our arrival was truly Irish. On getting out of the train at Shillelagh, 10 miles from Ballin Temple, we were met by a large family barouche, lined with pink satin and a good deal the worse for wear. It had originally belonged to Lord Fitzwilliam of Coolatin who, as he lived on a hill above the town, was spoken of as the Lord Above. She later continued, Ballin Temple was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. It had a thousand acres and three woods: the upper, the middle and the lower. In front of the comfortable Georgian house rose a high terraced bank of rhododendrons which, when in full bloom, and the sun setting behind them, looked like a red river. At the bottom of the third wood flowed the River Slaney, somewhat like a Scottish river, tumbling over brown mossy rocks and full of salmon … In the spring the woods were literally carpeted with bluebells, the bluest and largest I have ever seen, often having fifteen bells on one stalk‘.

May 18: The Hague Peace Conference opens on Tsar Nicholas II’s birthday. The concept is that reasonable people will surely be able to work out a peace strategy over cigars and whiskey rather than commit collective suicide and allow a world war to develop. It’s a sort of prototype arms control conference. The treaties, declarations, and final act of the conference were signed on 29 July of that year, and they entered into force on 4 September 1900.

June 7: Birth of the writer Elizabeth Bowen, a first cousin of Jessica Rathdonnell’s mother.

Sept 20 (or thereabouts): Athy miller and corn merchant Mathew Minch presides at a meeting of Athy Town Commissioners that protested against the ‘unjustifiable war that is now being forced upon the Boers’ and offering sympathy and moral support to Kruger and his independent Transvaal Republic. [116]

Oct 9: Krueger orders the British to withdraw all personnel from the Transvaal within 48 hours, a ridiculous ultimatum. He was fed up with the way Britain was still urging the uitlanders to rise up, despite Boers having seriously curtailed uitlander power in Boer states. The ultimatum came in response to Chamberlains provocative demand that uitlanders be given full voting rights, amongst other things.

Oct 11: South African Boers declare war on Great Britain; the war would spell the end for the two Boer states. Boer make a pre-emptive strike into British territory attacking Natal and besieging the British garrisons at Mafeking and Ladysmith.

Oct 30: British defeated and captured by Boers at Nicholson’s Nek.

Nov 28: British defeat Boers at Modder River.

Dec 10-15: Boers enjoy a series of tactical victories at Stormberg, Magersfontein and Colenso which completely puts the British on the backfoot as they try to relieve sieges.

December 15: More than 500 soldiers of Major-General Arthur Fitzroy Hart’s Irish Brigade, drawn mainly from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and the Connaught Rangers, are killed or wounded in an engagement near Colenso in Upper Natal. Among the dead is Private Alexander Bennett, a brother of Lord Rathdonnell’s footman, William Bennett. (See below, April 1900). Also killed is Freddie Roberts; he and his father are among just three pairs of fathers and sons to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The Goughs, also part Bunbury, are another. In fact, only three father and son combinations have ever won the VC – Gough, Roberts and, as it happens, Congreve. Furthermore, the Goughs (who racked up 3 VCs) can also boast the first brothers to win a VC each. All this makes me think I should become a Field Marshal.

Dec 23: A week after his son Freddie Roberts, VC, was killed fighting Boers at Colenso, Field Marshal Lord Roberts (aka Bobs) sails for South Africa with a huge army. He sailed on the RMS Dunottar Castle with a brief to take overall command of British forces in the Second Boer War, subordinating the previous commander, General Redvers Buller, and successfully came to the rescue. He apparently learned of his son’s death on the same day as his appointment. There’s some rather amazing footage of Lord Roberts himself heading to Boer War in 1899 at – ’s lots of blurry parts so stick with it; section 3 of the sea is rather dull but maybe not to an old sailor! Wonderful to see the men hacking out trenches and on parade … Lord Roberts’ mother was a Bunbury. Bovril later rather brilliantly claimed that Bob’s victory in Africa spelt out the word BovrilVonolel, Bob’s horse, is buried at Kilmainham – see Come Here to Me blog.

Unlike the First Boer War, the British perform like a proper professional force, moving with real purpose. However, the conflict soon transforms into a guerrilla war as Boers begin downing telegraph wires, launching night time ambushes, seizing British arms supplies and blowing up railway lines. The British army under Kitchener respond with a policy of scorched earth and concentration camps, as army is owned to burn everything the Boers own. The concept is to isolate the Boer commandos from any support network. They also build 8000 blockhouses, using African labour, which is extremely demoralising for the Boer civilians and commandos. Britain is evidently determined to overpower their 30000-strong enemy with whatever amount of men and money it takes. Half a million men will eventually be called into the combat zone, including soldiers from Australia and New Zealand.

Dec 28: Severe frost with a hurricane of sleet and snow pummels Ireland.

Dec 29: A regular blizzard in Ireland. This may have been the biggest snow until the Big Snow of 1947. While there were periodic heavy snows, a widespread cold snap didn’t kick in until early 1900.

The composer Sir Hubert Parry (1848–1918), a former school mate of Tom’s from Eton, becomes Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, until 1908.

In 1899, W.P. Cross was succeeded as Master of the Armagh and Tynan Hunt by Miss Isa McClintock who remained master until her death in 1952. “An appointment of this nature indicates very clearly that hunting has always been ahead of the times in relation to equality. Gender, class, creed and race are not taken into consideration in assessing who is best to lead the hunt. Isa was a member of the Fellows Hall McClintocks from Tynan, a tall striking woman who always rode side-saddle and was a fearless, skilful horsewoman of outstanding respect for her 54-year mastership!

Thauma registered as ‘now a trading vessel’ in Lloyd’s Register of Yachting for 1899. She was under the new ownership of a Danish company based in Copenhagen. Within four years she would be sunk.



January 19: Jack Eustace of Newtown, County Carlow, killed in South African War. He left a wife but no children. Robin Harvey has written an account of the finding of his Elgin pocket watch. [117]

January: Mounting Tensions at War Concert in Carlow.

Head Constable McCoy, whose talent for organising public entertainment has long being recognised, has been devoting his efforts to the aid of the various funds for the relief of the sufferers by the war. He has got up three grand concerts, varied by limelight views of the scenes from South Africa.
The first concerts were on Monday (mid-day ) and night, they were well attended. The seeds of future disorder were sown when some ultra Britishers hissed President Kruger’s effigy as shown on the screen. Later further irritation was caused by the singing of “God Save The Queen”, a tune which has unfortunately been made a party one in Ireland.
On Tuesday night every picture of the Boers was cheered whilst the British generals and in fact every scene favourable to the British was hissed vigorously. The picture of the disaster to a British armoured train was loudly cheered
At the end the “Boys of Wexford” was sung by the vast majority of the audience, the strains of the Royal anthem being completely drowned. Any reference of a pro-British tendency called for marked disapproval. A voice from the back was heard ” Well done, young blood of Carlow”…..the Head Constable engaged in a wordy contest with the “voice” at the back and offered to bet £10 that the “voice” would not name a freer country than Ireland.
On Thursday night suspected Boer sympathisers were excluded, but the “Boers” invaded and turned out the gas and left the whole place in darkness. The entertainments raised over £40. The Hall was decorated by Misses Duggan, Burke, Langran, Hearns. The Union Jack we may say was the prevailing ornament.”

[Note added by Michael Purcell in 2013 to following extract from Pat Purcell Papers – “Michael Hanrahan (executed by the British in 1916) organised some of the “boys” throughout Carlow to break up fundraisers being held for the relief of distress during the Boer War. The incident described below was also described in attachment to the minutes of the Workman’s Club, where it was recorded that Michael and his brother were the chief hecklers at the meetings referred to.]
Nationalist and Leinster Times, January 1900.

Jan 29: Boers under Joubert beat English at Spion Kop, Natal, 2,000 killed.

Feb 6: John Redmond elected leader of the Irish Party. Redmond was a conciliatory politician who achieved the two main objectives of his political life: party unity and, in September 1914, the passing of the Irish Home Rule Act.

Feb 10: The following list of Carlow men serving as officers in the Anglo-Boer War was published in the Carlow Sentinel on 10 February 1900 and transcribed by Michael Purcell in April 2013.

The undermentioned officers, most of whom are followers of the Carlow and Island Hounds, are now in active service in South Africa, or are on their
way :-
Col. Alex Rochfort, R.H.A.
Major B. Lecky, R.H.A.
Major B. Burton, R.H.A., already mentioned with dispatches with General French.
Mr T. Archdale, R.H.A.
Captain Robert Browne-Clayton, 5th Lancers, Ladysmith.
Captain D.O. Eustace, 5th Dragoon Guards, Ladysmith.
Mr John Eustace, South African Light Horse, killed while on patrol.
Mr C. R. Eustace, Bethune’s Mounted Infantry.
Mr R. Rawson, Gloucester Regiment, Ladysmith.
Mr Jno Duckett, 9th Lancers, Modder River
Honourable William Bunbury, Scots’ Greys, Natal.
Capt. Fishbourne, 5th Fusiliers, wounded (invalided home to Carlow ).
Mr G. Brooke, Connaught Rangers, wounded, Natal.
Capt. A. Beresford, R.F.A. (commanding a squadron of the South African
Light Horse ).
Capt. U. Vigors, Devons, wounded Natal.
Mr Percy Vigors, Connaught Rangers.
Mr Urban Vigors, 18th Royal Irish.
Capt. F. Henley, Oxfordshire Light Infantry.
Mr G. Bayley, Oxfordshire Light Infantry.
Mr G M’Clintock, 5th Lancers, Natal.
Mr J. M’Clintock, 18th Hussars, Natal.

Major Sir Anthony A. Weldon, Railway Staff Officer, Pietermaritzburg.
Mr Bertram Weldon, 1st Leinsters (wounded ).
Mr Walter Alexander, special service.
Dr W. Crosthwait, A.M.D.
In addition to the foregoing, the following volunteers are about to proceed
to the front :-
Mr D.J. Ross, C. Bagenal, H. Butler, G. Turner, and Mr Robert O’ Callaghan,
F.R.C.S., late Surgeon of the County Carlow Infirmary, as Surgeon-in-charge of a field hospital Corps.
Mr W. Duckett-Steuart sailed on the 31st January as a volunteer in the Loyal Suffolk Hussars.

Feb 14 General Roberts invades South Africa’s Orange Free State with 20,000 British troops.

Billy’s broken grave. Photo: Charné Kemp.

February 17: During ‘Black February’, Tom and Kate Rathdonnell’s eldest son and heir 2nd Lieutenant Billy Bunbury dies aged 21, following wounds received in action near Kimberley, South Africa, during the Boer War. The full details of Billy’s tragic death, together with letters he posted home from the war in the months beforehand, can be found here. He was buried in the Gladstone cemetery in Kimberley where his parents later erected a beautiful Celtic Cross to his memory. Very sadly, his grave was among many that were vandalised in the 2020s. The cross was pushed over and cracked into at least two parts. Many other headstones have been pillaged for their granite, marble and metal crosses. In June 2023, Steve Lunderstedt, historian and author, described the cemetery as ‘the most vandalised cemetery in South Africa.’ (See here).

February 17: ‘A meeting of the Select Vestry of Rathvilly Parish was held on 17th February 1900, at which the following members attended :- Rev. Jas O’Callaghan, Peter Salter, William Salter, Harold Philip Earl, Chas Butler, Wm Burgess, J.P. Churchwarden ; Benjamin Allshire, Dr Thomas Kidd, William Corrigan, Hon Secretary ; Mr Wilson, J.P., sent an apology for his unavoidable absence.

The following resolution was unanimously adopted :-
“We the Select Vestry of Rathvilly Parish, having heard with regret of the death of the Hon. William McClintock Bunbury from wounds received on the march to the relief of Kimberly, beg to tender to Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and family our most sincere and respectful sympathy in the grievous loss they have sustained in the death of their son.
The melancholy news has cast a gloom over this his native parish, and the painful occurrence is deeply felt by all classes and creeds, without distinction.
We feel it must be some consolation to the afflicted parents to know that their gallant son met a soldier’s death while taking part in a deed that must ever rank amongst the most brilliant in the annals of the British Army.’ [118]

February 17 (circa): ‘Much regret has been caused in Carlow by the news that the Hon. W. M’Clintock-Bunbury, eldest son of Lord Rathdonnell and grandson of the Right Hon. Henry Bruen, P.C., Oak Park, Carlow, has been killed in South Africa. The young officer was a Lieutenant in the Scots Greys, and lost his life in the engagement at Rensburgh. He was a young man of much promise and idolised by his relatives. In consequence of the death of the Hon W. M’Clintock Bunbury the Carlow Hounds did not hunt this week.[119]

Feb 18: Battle at Paardeberg, 1,270 British killed/injured.

Feb 22: Battle at Wynne’s Hill, South-Africa (Boers vs British army).

Feb 22: Death of Richard Ebenezer Shackleton, Esquire. ‘We deeply regret to announce the death, after a short illness, of Richard Ebenezer Shackleton, Esquire, at Belan Lodge, County Kildare, which occurred on Thursday last. He was a Science Scholar and Gold Medallist, T.C.D., and also had the honour of being one of the Vice Presidents of the British and Irish Millers’ Association. His family were closely associated with the Barrow Mills in Carlow. Interment in family burial ground, at Timolin.’

February 23: Battle at Hart’s Hill, South-Africa (Boers vs British army). The Irish Brigade suffer heavy casualties at Tugela Heights during the advance to relieve Ladysmith; the Pall Mall Gazette reports: ‘The Carlow Hounds have suspended hunting for the present as a tribute to the memory of Mr. McClintock-Bunbury, Lord Rathdonnell’s eldest son, killed in South Africa.’

February 24: The Carlow Sentinel carries the following story under the heading of ‘LATEST WAR NEWS.’

Friday’s Telegrams.
Received Carlow, 10.56 a.m.
Relief of Kimberly.
Message from Lord Roberts.
“General French, with horse artillery, cavalry, and mounted infantry, reached Kimberly this evening, Thursday.”
Received Carlow, 5.45 p.m.
Great jubilation in London over General French’s brilliant exploit”

The newspaper added:

‘The sad news from the seat of war of the death from wounds of Second-Lieut. Hon. W. M’Clintock Bunbury, eldest son of Lord Rathdonnell, was received with profound regret by all classes in Carlow, his native county, on Tuesday last. As a mark of respect to his memory Mr Robert Watson, Master Fox Hounds, who was hunting when the intelligence reached him, drew the pack off, and at once intimated that the Carlow and Island Hounds would not meet this week.’ [120]

The following obituary published in the Carlow Sentinel on 24 February 1900 was transcribed by Michael Purcell in May 2013:

Death of the Hon. William McClintock Bunbury.

The news flashed by wire on Tuesday of the relief of Kimberley was saddened by a wire that followed soon after announcing that a gallant young officer, the Hon William McClintock Bunbury, had died from wounds received in the engagement, when in the forefront of the battle with his renowned Regiment, the Scots’ Greys, in which he held the rank of Second Lieutenant.
With profound sorrow the mournful intelligence was received throughout the length and breadth of this his native county, with which his family have been intimately and honourably associated for centuries, and in which his early boyhood days were spent.
He was eldest son of the Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell, Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum [ie: Keeper of the Rolls] of County Carlow, and grandson of the Right Hon. Henry Bruen P.C.
He was born at Lisnevagh [sic] on the 15th September, 1878, and consequently was only in his twenty second year — full of health and life and promise, when he fell at the post of duty, bravely fighting for Queen and country, and leaving behind an unsullied and imperishable name and fame.
In this their great hour of trial his bereaved parents and relatives will find some consolation in the knowledge that, with many other brave comrades in arms, he shared a soldier’s fate and fell gallantly leading on his men to victory.
If deep and widespread sympathy can do aught to assuage their grief it is sincerely offered by very many who share their sorrow and deplore their loss.
One who knew him from boyhood, and mourns his death, writes :- He trod in the footsteps of his father all through his short life.
At an early age he went to Eton, where in a short time he showed his love for the river and became a “Wet Bob,” and soon after was recognised as a very fine oar.
He won many cups and sweepstakes ( as his father did before him ) on the river, and ended up his Eton career by rowing “stroke” in the Eton eight when they won the Ladies’ Cup at Henley regatta, in 1898, thereby gaining the highest summit of ambition that can be attained by an Eton “Wet Bob”.
From the Eton “Army Class” he passed almost direct for the Army, which shows that he did not devote all his time to the “river”.
He was gazetted to a commission in the Scots’ Greys (the Regiment in which his father and his late uncle, “Jack Bunbury,” served for many years), on January 4th, 1899.
During the short time that “Billy” Bunbury served with his Regiment none amongst the subalterns of this crack corps was more universally popular.
He was a keen sportsman, alike in the saddle as in the Eton “eight, ” and showed his prowess in the former by steering his own horse second in the Regimental Cup at the “Greys” race last October.
*”Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori* .”
The Hon. Thomas Leopold McClintock Bunbury, born 1881, now becomes heir to the peerage – which is an Irish one — Lord Rathdonnell sitting in the House of Lords as a representative Peer.

** “How sweet and right it is to die for one’s country.”

Feb 27: Battle at Pietershoogte; Boer General Cronjé surrenders to English in Pardenberg, South-Africa.

Feb 28: After a 119-day siege by the Boers, the British troops in Ladysmith, South Africa, are relieved.

March 3: TheCarlow Sentinel publishes this letter from the Right Hon. Henry Bruen of Oak Park, to the Carlow Board of Guardians thanking them for passing a resolution on the death of his grandson, Hon. William McClintock Bunbury.

Oak Park House, Carlow.
Dear Sir –
I beg that you will offer on behalf of my family and myself our sincere thanks to the Board of Guardians for the kind resolution of condolence passed by them at their last meeting ; such an expression of sympathy of our friends is most soothing in the grief which we feel under this bereavement,
I remain yours gratefully,
Henry Bruen. [121]

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – 10 March 1900. The Hon. William Bunbury, known to the family as Billy, was heir to the Lisnavagh
estate and the Rathdonnell peerage. In 1900, he was killed during a skirmish with Boer guerrilas near Kimberley, South Africa.

March 10: The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News publishes Billy’s photo by Hill and Saunders along with this report: “THE LATE HON. LIEUT. McCLINTOCK- BUNBURY. Great gloom has been thrown over Eton by news of the death of the Hon. Lieutenant McClintock- Bunbury, 2nd Dragoons. He stroked Eton to victory in the Ladies’ Plate at Henley in 1895.’ [122]

April 1: Queen Victoria creates the Irish Guards as a nod to Irish heroism and to commemorate Irish troops who fought in the Second Boer War under the British flag.

April 4: Queen Victoria arrives in Kingstown (Dun Laogahire) at the start of a three week Royal Visit in Dublin. During this time, she presents the stunning Queen Victoria Challenge Cup to the RDS. I saw it in 2018, at which time Chis Andrews of Weir & Sons hailed it as the finest silverwork he has seen.

April 5: Imperial Yeomanry’s 17th battalion, commanded by Dick Moore and T.J. de Burgh of the Kildare Hunt sets off from Southampton for Rhodesia.

April 11: Hugo de Burgh of Oldtown, Co. Kildare, killed near Jammersburgh Drift on 11th April 1900.

April 16: Lord Rathdonnell and Henry Bruen present the magistrates of Carlow to Queen Victoria at the Viceregal Lodge. Sir Arthur Vicars in attendance throughout. [123] One assumes she expressed her condolences at Billy’s death two months earlier.

April 20: Tom Rathdonnell meets the Queen [again?], probably at the Vice-Regal Lodge in Phoenix Park.


Alexander Bennett – A Footman’s Brother at War, 1900


Among the Rathdonnell’s staff at Drumcar at this time was William Bennett, a footman. His brother Alexander Bennett, a private in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was believed to have been killed at Colenso in the Anglo-Boer War.  Bennett’s sister-in-law penned the following letter:

45 Bath Avenue Sandymount
23rd April 1900
Dear Sir,
I beg to state that my husband, William Bennett, brother of the late No. 6165 Pte. A Bennett RDF is alive and in the service of Lord Rathdonnell, Drumcar House, Dunleer Co. Louth
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
? Bennett

Extract of Lord Rathdonnell’s letter concering Alexander Bennett, who was killed at Colenso in 1899.

Lord Rathdonnell added the following:

Drumcar Dunleer Ireland
April 25 1900
Lord Rathdonnell presents his compliments to the Officer Commanding Royal Dublin Fusiliers Depot, and writes on behalf of his footman Bennett, and ask [sic] if he can give him any definite information respecting the man’s brother Alexander Bennett, 6165, A Company, serving with Sir R. Buller’s force.
He recently heard from ? that his brother was killed at Colenso but the name of the man killed at Colenso appears as James Bennett and the number is not the same. ?? if there was a ??? been mistaken for A Bennett

There was evidently no certain response when William Bennett to write again two weeks later:

Drumcar Ho Dunleer
Co. Louth
May 9th Sir,
I beg leave to state that I am brother and next to [sic] kin of the late No. 6165 Private A Bennett, A Company RDF, stated to have been killed at Colenso Dec. 15th.
[Could?] you kindly inform me [if I am] to receive any compensation or benefit

Alexander Bennett was awarded a posthumous Queen’s South Africa medal. He is commemorated on the Fusiliers’ Arch in Stephen’s Green. I wonder if they are related to Alexander Bennett, steward of the Blennerhassett estate at Ballyseedy near Tralee, County Kerry. Company Sergeant Major Alfred Bennett of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, who fell at Seddelbahr in 1915, was a son of Alexander he steward. I wrote about him in ‘The Glorious Madness.’ With thanks to Dave Power.


May 31: Disaster strikes Imperial Yeomanry outside the town of Lindley when a breakdown in communications leads to 21 killed (including Sir John Power and Private A Marshall Porter, son of the Master of Rolls), 60 wounded (including Lord Longford, Lieutenant H.C. Villiers Stuart and the Hon. Victor Gibson, son of Lord Ashbourne and brother of Violet, as well as over 400 captured (including the future Lord Craigavon).

The Colvin brothers in The Sphere.

June 9: The Sphere homes in on the Colvin brothers in an article entitled ‘Another Group of Kinsmen in Khaki at the Front’ that reads: “It would be difficult indeed to exhaust this subject, which has already been dealt with in these pages under the title of “Brothers in Battle.” A notable case of kinship is that of the three brothers Colvin. Colonel R. Beale Colvin, who commands the Roughriders in the Imperial Yeomanry, has been assisting at the headquarters of the Yeomanry as D.A.A.G. all the winter. He married Lady Gwen Colin Rous, fifth daughter of the late Earl of Stradbroke. His brother, Captain Cecil Colvin, 4th Battalion Essex Regiment, who has seen service in Egypt, is going with him in command of a company of the Roughriders. He is married to a daughter of Colonel Craigie Halkett of Cramond, whose nephew, Lieu tenant C. P. M. Craigie Halkett of the Highland Light Infantry, was killed at Paardeberg. Still another brother, Major Forrester Farnell Colvin, 9th Lancers, has been serving with Lord Methuen, and is now with Lord Roberts. He is married to the Hon. Isobel McClintock Bunbury, eldest daughter of Lord Rathdonnell, who lost his son and heir, of the Scots Greys, near Kimberley.’

July 7: ‘The crowbar gang is operating in the historic barony of Truagh, the home of the great clan McKenna. The evictor is Lord Rathdonnell. The tenants evicted were Felix Smyth and his sister, of Gerfin; James Cush, of Mullinderg, and John Meehan, of Mullinderg. The evictors also visited the house of Owen McKenna, eighty-six years old, but as he was confined to bed they were reluctantly forced to abandon the “sentence of death”. [124]

July 11: Lieutenant Thomas Conolly, Scots Greys, of Castletown, a first cousin of Kate Rathdonnell, is killed in action at Nitral’s Nek, South Africa, aged 30. His father was the colourful Thomas Conolly (1823-1876) who ran the Charleston Blockade during the American Civil War, while his mother was Sarah Elizabeth Shaw of Temple House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. The elder Thomas and Kate’s mother Mary Margaret Bruen were brother and sister.

July 29: Death of Louisa Tipping, daughter of Henry McClintock, aged 86. She is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Christchurch, New Zealand. She had 11 children 35 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Autumn: The Royal Dublin Society proposes a statue of Queen Victoria for Dublin which they emphasize will be a personal tribute to her rather than a glorification of the crown. It was unveiled on Leinster Lawn in 1908 beside John Henry Foley’s sculpture of Prince Albert but was later sold to Sydney.

Oct 2: Birth of Hubert Butler at Maiden Hall, Bennetsbridge, County Kilkenny. He was father to Julia Crampton and paternal uncle to Jessica Rathdonnell and James Butler.

George Wyndham in Vanity Fair.

Nov 7: George Wyndham becomes Chief Secretary for Ireland.

Nov 16: The Irish Land Commission notes that Lord Rathdonnell is landlord of Searkin in County Monaghan, with tenants named as Thomas McMahon, Edward Owens, Hugh Smith, Pat Finnegan & another. Searkin is a townland between Hilton Park and Newbliss, right behind Killevan Church where – as serendipity would have it – I married Ally Moore.

Nov 27: Winston Churchill gives lecture on his Boer War experience at the Rotunda in Dublin, chaired by Lord Ashbourne, father of Violet and Victor Gibson. Violet later tried to kill Mussolini.

Nov 29: The Bournemouth Daily Echo reports: ‘Lord Rathdonnell was fifty-two on Thursday. Since his last birthday Lord Rathdonnell has had the great grief of losing his eldest son and heir, Lieutenant the Hon. W. McClintock Bunbury, who died from wounds received at the relief of Kimberley in February last. His only surviving son, Thomas Leopold, is now in his nineteenth year. Lord Rathdonnell, like his son after him, was stroke of the Eton eight, and is still a bold rider across country. Familiarly known as Tom Bunbury, he succeeded his uncle in the title, and is himself the son of the late Captain William Bunbury McClintock, M.P.’ [125]

Dec 22: Disaster strikes 17th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, when 44 are captured and 7 wounded, including T.J. de Burgh.




This man is named as ‘C. Butler’ in a book of photos of members of the Carlow & Island Hunt – I am pretty sure he is Charlie Butler, who was agent at Lisnavagh from circa 1900 to 1905. See here for his story, plus a stack of photographs.

January 16 & June 4: – The Irish Builder details work by Anthony Scott on a new Agent’s house at Lisnavagh, recently completed, for Lord Rathdonnell. [126] ‘Faced with ashlar granite; design in harmony with other buildings on estate. Principally carried out by estate workers.’

January 22: Death of Queen Victoria, aged 81, at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Spanning 63 years, her reign, was the longest in British history. When she finally slipped away there were three people in the room – the doctor on one side, with the Prince of Wales behind him and, on the other side of her bed, with one hand supporting her head … the Queen’s grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Jan 24: Proclamation of Edward VII as King in Dublin Castle.

Jan 25:  Queen Victoria’s body is lifted into her coffin by her sons Edward VII and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Abdul Karim was the last to view her body before her casket was closed, whispering an Islamic prayer over his Empress.

Jan 25 (circa). Died, Mrs Ellen Bloomfield, wife of Major Godfrey Bloomfield, Thornville, Palatine, Carlow. Buried in Killeshin. Her husband died four weeks later.

January 31: Boer General John Smuts & De la Rey conquer Mud river, Transvaal in South Africa. In Ireland, Tom Rathdonnell convenes meeting to Carlow gentry to express their sorrow at the Queen’s passing. The following was published in the Carlow Sentinel, January 1901:

On Thursday last a meeting of Magistrates of the County of Carlow was held in the Grand Jury room.
It was convened by circular by Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell, His Majesty’s Lieutenant, “to pass a resolution expressing deep sorrow at the death of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria and sympathy with His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward the V11, and members of the Royal Family”.
The meeting was fixed for 12.30 o’clock, among those present were: Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell, Chairman. Right Hon. Henry Bruen, P.C., Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, Bart., William Browne-Clayton, D.L., Colonel P. D. Vigors, Major Alexander, Robert Lecky Pike, Captain Thomas, B.F. Bagenal, Gordon Fishbourne, Arthur Fitzmaurice, Standish O’Grady Roche, Doctor Colgan, Sidney Vessy, J.O. Adair, N.F. Coppinger etc. etc.
Letters or telegrams explaining unavoidable absence were read from the following Magistrates: Sir C. Burton, Bart. Arthur McClintock, William Duckett, Col. E.J. Eustace, Walter McMurrogh Kavanagh, C.J. Engledow, R.W. Hall-Dare, etc. etc.
Addressing the meeting Lord Rathdonnell said: Gentlemen I felt it my duty to call you together to express our feelings of deep sorrow at the death of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen. We have lost a Sovereign who has reigned the longest and has been the most constitutional Monarch that ever sat on the throne —-a Monarch who lived daily, even hourly, for the welfare of her subjects —a Monarch who was not only a great Queen Empress, but was at the same time a good woman, always setting an example to everyone both in public and in private life, and always sharing, and more than sharing, in the happiness and sorrows of those over whom she ruled. It is therefore, I think right, that we should tender our respectful sympathy to his Most Gracious Majesty the King, to the Queen, and to the Royal Family in this hour of their sad distress and sorrow, and it is for this reason, gentlemen, that I called you here today. If you will allow me , I would call on the Right Honourable Henry Bruen to move a resolution.
Responding, Right Hon. Henry Bruen said — I heartily thank you, Lord Rathdonnell, for having given me the privilege of moving a resolution expressing our sorrow, a privilege which I prize deeply, and tendering our sympathy to the King, and the Royal Family etc. etc.’ [127]

Feb 2: State Funeral of Queen Victoria in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, followed by burial at the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore. She buried with her wedding ring, as well as a dressing gown that had belonged to Albert, a plastercast of Albert’s hand, a photo of Johns Brown (inserted in her hand), a lock of John Brown’s hair and the wedding ring of John Brown’s mother, all discreetly covered in lillies so as not to upset her children! In London, everything was either black or purple, her colour of choice for mourning. All the linen shops dyed their linen black. A million people line the route to watch the funeral cortege of forty kings, including the Edward VII and the Kaiser, and crown princes, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir-presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. As requested by the Queen, Abdul Karim, her Munshi, was among her principal mourners, so he paid his last respects.

Feb 3: The morning after Queen Victoria’s funeral, a desolate Abdul Karim recieves a visit from Queen Alexandra, the new queen, with Princess Beatrice and guards who raid the house, gather up all the correspondence and gifts Victoria had sent him and burn them all on a bonfire before the eyes of Abdul and his weeping family. He is ordered back to Agra, where he died in 1909, aged 46. All other Indian servants are also dismissed from the Royal household. It really is the end of an era.

Feb 17: 1st anniversary of Billy’s death.

Feb 25. Death of 75-year-old Major Godfrey Colpoys Bloomfield, an Indian office, who at his residence at Thornville, Palatine. According to the Fermanagh Times (7 March 1901):

‘He was a son of the late Major John Colpoys Bloomfield, DL, of Redwood, County Tipperary, and Castlecaldwell, County Fermanagh, and Frances, hie wife, daughter of the late Sir John Caldwell, Bart. The deceased officer entered the Army at the age of 16 years, and at once proceeded to India, where he had a distinguished military career. He rendered important service by raising during the Mutiny a native regiment which remained loyal, and was the first native regiment that ever lived in barracks. The regiment is still known as “Bloomfeild’s Sikhs,” and is now the 31st Punjab Native Infantry. Major Bloomfield retired from the army shortly after the death of his first wife, whom he lost during the Mutiny. He married as his second wife, Ellen, daughter of the late Thomas Charles Bridges, Esq., of The Lodge, Ludlow, Shropshire, and she only predeceased him by just four weeks. The funeral cortege was large and representative.  The remains were carried to the entrance gates by his neighbours. The chief mourners were—Mr. Edward S Maffett, son-in-law; Captain Bloomfield, Mr. Lyons, R.S. Walcott, Captain L. Fitzherbert, F. Walcott, and Rev. Canon Grierson, B.D., nephews.’ . [128]

March 8: The shareholders of Great Northern Breweries Ltd held their annual meeting on at the Brewery Offices, Dundalk. Lord Rathdonnell, chairman of the company, presided. (Distillers’, Brewers’, and Spirit Merchants’ Magazine, 1 April 1901.)

March 31: A census shows the population of Ireland to be 4,458,775; this is the last census taken on the basis of baronies. The occupants of Lisnevagh [sic] are listed here. Tom and Kate Rathdonnell were at Drumcar, along with their son Tim, then a twenty-year-old Cambridge student. Also at Drumcar were the Yorkshire-born butler Lewis Kaye (who went on to work at Lisnavagh), Anne Johnstone, the 50 year old housemaid; Sara McCrave, the 40-year-old cook, who was a Catholic from Dundalk; Carlow-born Maryanne Moulton, a 20-year-old housemaid and Sligo-born  Margaret Morrison, a 23-year-old lady’s maid, who would go on to marry Lewis Kaye. Everyone bar Sara was Church of Ireland.

Lewis Smith Kaye (1873-1939) of Wakefield, Yorkshire, married Margaret Morrison in the summer of 1904. They had a son Charles Sydney Kaye in 1905 but he died as a baby. Three more daughters followed – Beatrice Margaret (1906-81), Doris Mary (1908-62) and Hilda Emily Kaye (1911–2003), who married Mr Dudgeon. Lewis was recorded as butler at Lisnavagh on the 1911 census when living with Margaret and their two elder daughters, as well as two housemaids, both Church of Ireland, namely Mabel Millan (b. 1890, Carlow) and Ida Catherine Rowe (b. 1891, Meath). Lewis died on 7 November 1939 and was buried at St Mary’s (Church of Ireland) Cemetery, Rathvilly – see here. Only known as ‘Miss Kay’ to my father (for long decades afterwards), Hilda would become the housekeeper at Lisnavagh in the 1950s, working alongside John Brophy of Ballon, who had succeeded as butler. Hilda died on  7 Dec 2003, aged 91 or 92, and was buried at St Mary’s, Rathvilly.


Lisnavagh, 1901, via Charlie Butler album.

According to the 1901 census, Robert Townsend, gardener, born c. 1872,  was living at Lisnavagh in what was called House No. 5, along with his wife Sarah (born c. 1875) and their baby son Frederick, who was born in Dublin City eleven months earlier. In 2022, David Townsend, their grandson, advised me that Robert and Sarah were married in Clontarf in 1899 but he has no further information. They were a Protestant family and all three of them were born in Dublin. Perhaps Robert was employed to fill the gap left by the Bloomers departure? House No. 5 has not yet been identified. The census indicates that it had 2, 3 or 4 rooms and two windows at the front, as well as a fowl house.  The house had no resident at the time of the 1911 census but seems to have been paired up with the School House (with 5 out-buildings) and had two of its own out-buildings. A squiggle links the two buildings, along with the word “nat. mixed’, which may mean that the School was for mixed religion, or mixed sex!? By the time of the 1911 census, the Townsends were living at Barnane, County Tipperary, where Robert was presumably gardening with the Carden family. Also with them were their five sons, Fredrick, Robert, William, Henry and Maurice, all under the age of 11. Given that seven-year-old William was the first of the boys to be born in County Tipperary, it seems reasonable to suppose that Robert and Sarah moved to Barnane circa 1904. They are thought to have stayed in Barnane for sometime. Robert died in 1934 and Sarah in 1956; they are buried together in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

April: Lieutenant Colonel Everard of Randalstown, Navan, wins Queen Victoria Challenge Cup at Spring Show in Dublin.

April 16: ‘On Wednesday, their Excellencies [aka the Earl and Countess of Cadogan, he being the Viceroy] and their guests were present at the Royal Dublin Society’s Spring Cattle and Dog Show at Ball’s Bridge, where they were received by the President (Lord Ardilaun), Lord Powerscourt, Lord Massy, Lord Iveagh, Sir Thomas Butler, Baron de Robeck, Lord Ashtown, Lord Rathdonnell, and a number of the influential members of the RDS Council.’ (Gentlewoman – Saturday 20 April 1901)

July 31: Having held a meeting in the Town Hall in April 1901, Kate Rathdonnell sent the following letter to the editor of the Carlow Sentinel. 

Rathvilly, County Carlow.
July 31st 1901.
Sir — I should be very much obliged if you could find space in your columns to make it known to those who have kindly taken collection cards for the Women’s Memorial to Queen Victoria, that I should be grateful if they would return the cards and the money collected to me, or to Miss O’Meara, on or before Saturday August 24 ; also if intending subscribers would forward their contributions.
I enclose a list of the principal subscriptions which I have received up to the present date, and would like to remind your readers that all the money collected will go to the “Jubilee” Fund for providing Trained Nurses for the Sick Poor in their own houses.
Ireland has been most generously treated in the matter by the Central London Committee, having in the year 1900, received considerably more than double the sum to which her own contribution in the two Jubilee years would have entitled her.
Yours faithfully, K. A. Rathdonnell.
Lady Burton £5– Mrs Dawson Borrer £5– Mrs Duckett £5– Mrs Henry Bruen £2- 2 shillings.–Mrs Pack-Beresford £2– Mrs Pike £2–Mrs Alexander £1–Mrs Bagenal £1– Mrs Cornwall-Brady £1– Hon Mrs Coppinger £1–Mrs Browne-Clayton £1– Mrs Fitzmaurice £1– Mrs Hore £1– “A Friend” per Mrs Pike £1– Mrs Kavanagh, Borris Lodge, £1– Mrs Kavanagh, Borris House,£1–Mrs Standish Roche £1– Mrs Eustace 5 shillings, Miss Cave 5 shillings, Lady Rathdonnell £5-5 shillings.
Collecting cards – Mrs Pike, No 1403 £1-5 shillings Mrs Herring-Cooper,£3-5 shillings Mrs Walter Persse, £2– Mrs McCrean, 15 shillings Miss Randall, £1-10 shillings Mrs Pagan, £2-6 shillings Mrs Sparrow, £1-9 shillings.” [129]

August 5 1901 marked the meeting of Three Great Explorers: Shackleton, Scott … and McClintock!! The officers were standing on the deck of the ship Discovery just before Captain Robert Falcon Scott (centre) set off on his first polar command. The others include Sir Leopold McClintock (top hat), Reginald Skelton? (left, hand on hip) and Ernest Shackleton (behind Scott). I presume that’s Mrs Scott grinning proudly behind Sir Leopold’s topper!! The ship was at Cowes to receive a visit from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Sir Leopold seems to be casting an eager eye on the Royal Victorian Order on Scott’s breast; the king has just presented it to him moments before this photo was taken. Sir Clements Markham was also present.

August 5: Meeting of Three Great Explorers: Shackleton, Scott and McClintock!!

‘THE DISCOVERY. INSPECTION BY THE KING AND QUEEN. The King and Queen with Princess Victoria, and attended by their suites, inspected the Antarctic exploration ship Discovery in Cowes Roads on Monday. The vessel crossed over from Stokes Bay earlier in the morning, and was moored at one of his Majesty’s yacht’s buoys abreast of the Osborne. Their Majesties left the Osborne at half-past eleven, and were received at the gangway by Sir Clements Markham, who presented Commander Scott,who in turn presented the officers of the ship and the scientific staff. The King then inspected the crew, who, with the officers and scientific staff, make up a complement of 46 persons, and then walked round the upper deck, examining all the laboratories and taking great interest in the special features of the vessel. There were present Sir Allen Young, Sir Leopold McClintock, Admiral Markham, Mr. Longstaff, whose generosity rendered the fitting out of the expedition practicable, and Mrs. Scott, mother of the captain, whom the King cordially greeted off his arrival.’ [Ernest Shackleton was also present]

August 31: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell are at Lisnavagh, their place in Carlow; Drumcar, their home in Louth, having been let for the last year. Mr. McClintock Bunbury their only surviving son, has lately started for South Africa with his sister, Mrs. Colvin …’. [130]

Sept: Christian de Wett, enemy No. 1, rallies Boers through until March 1902.

September 6: US President William McKinley is shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York, and dies eight days later. Teddy Roosevelt, his vice-presdient, succceeds.

Oct 21: Douglas Hyde’s Casadh an tSúgán (The Twisting of the Rope) premieres at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin and becomes the first staged Irish-language play.

November 21: Fatal accident at Tullow Station – ‘Shortly after leaving that station the fireman noticed that there was no driver. Having stopped the train he walked back along the track where he found the driver. It would appear the driver had got out onto the footplate to make adjustments while the engine was moving out of the station and he slipped and fell under the train. He died the following morning.’

November 26: ‘Friendship’s Kiss?’ Strange incident takes place in what may have been the Sawmill at Lisnavagh but was, in any event, the home of Thomas Henry Parker, described as Lord Rathdonnell’s forester. Joseph Byrne, a 60-year-old farmer with 24 acres at Knockevagh, held at a yearly rent of £36, called by the Parker’s house during the rain-drenched afternoon, apparently seeking a pair of timber shafts. Parker was away but his wife Rachel was home, so she invited Byrne to warm himself by the fire while he waited. Parker duly returned with a gentleman called Morgan, who was also buying timber. They sat down to eat. Byrne declined the food but after they had dined, he set off for Thomas Maher’s home in Williamstown with both Morgan and Parker. However, Byrne then bade the two men farewell and broke back to the Parker’s house where, depending on whose side of the story you believe, he either attempted to rape Mrs Parker or he did no such thing. He claimed that it was a misunderstanding born of a moment when he was initially taking his leave of her before his walk with Morgan and Parker. ‘I made a bow of my head towards her when shaking hands, and she also bowed too – putting her face against mine – whether accidentally or intentionally I cannot say for certain.’ He also claimed he had only returned to the Parker home to confirm a suitable time to meet Mr Parker again. Fat lot of good it did him as Mr Parker – whom Byrne described as ‘only a hedge-layer’ – came home earlier than expected, caught Byrne and beat seven shades out of him. Bizarrely, the Wicklow People (19 January 1901) thought this was all hysterically funny, as did those in court listening to the proceedings, not least Byrne’s claim that this was all a case of ‘Friendship’s Kiss.’ Perhaps if one knew the characters involved there would be humour there somewhere but my reading of the facts – Rachel being pushed to the ground, her dress torn etc – was that it was pretty sinister stuff. Of note, Parker’s annual salary was £150.

November 30: Carlow Sentinel reports: “Lord Rathdonnell has taken Westbury Cottage, Sherbourne, for six months, and intends to hunt during this season with the Blackmore Vale Foxhounds.” [131]

Kate Rathdonnell’s brother, Arthur Thomas Bruen starts 23 year long career as land agent in Ireland.

Tom Rathdonnell’s former Eton school mate Sir Joseph Dimsdale (1849–1912) becomes Lord Mayor of London (1901–1902).

The Lord Rathdonnell Challenge Cup for Junior Fours was first presented to Carlow Rowing Club in 1901. Tom Rathdonnell, a fine oarsman himself, had rowed with his brother Jack. While at Eton, Jack won the coveted Ladies Plate at Henley. At Oxford, Jack was stroke for the Oxford Crew during the Three Universities Boat-Race of 1871. Tom took a keen interest in the carlow Club, attending the regattas with his wife, who presented the prizes. In 1902 he donated the silver cup which bears his name, now competed for by junior fours. The oars which Tom and Jack used were all proudly displayed in the stairwell of old Lisnavagh, the only room long enough to accommodate them, with the names painted on the blade. As well as the cellar, some were on loan to the Carlow Rowing Club.[132]



Jan 20: Birth of Kevin Barry, future patriot, who was at school in Rathvilly.

Feb: ‘Lord Rathdonnell, Lord Denman. Sir Charles Cayzer, M.P., Sir Theodore Doxford. M.P., Sir Charles Nugent, Lady Lawson, Lady Camoys. and Lady Eyre Williams are among the recent arrivals at Bath.’ (Pall Mall Gazette, 21 February 1902, p. 3).

Feb 20: Death at Wentworth Wodehouse of William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 6th Earl Fitzwilliam. As his son predeceased him, the inheritance passed to his grandson Billy, who was at Coolattin when he heard the news of his grandfather’s death. There are immediate questions among Billy’s aunts and uncles as to the truth of his parentage. Billy’s favourite cousin was Kathleen Doyne (1870-1938). There was clearly a huge question mark over his real identity and, with hundreds of millions of pounds at stake, perhaps it is small wonder there was such subterfuge among his aunts and uncles.

Feb 28: Death of Dr Richard Ebenezer Nun Bolton, Medical Officer of the Ballickmoyler and Newtown dispensary district. [133]

March 4: Major Arthur William Pack-Beresford, second son of the late Captain Denis W. Pack-Beresford and nephew of William Browne-Clayton, Esq. D.L. of Browne’s Hill, dies of enteric fever in South Africa. [134]

March 10: The Boers of South Africa score their last victory over the British, capturing British General Methuen and 200 men.

March 14: The Irish Association of Women Graduates and Candidate-Graduates, an organisation open to those interested in promoting women’s education, is launched. I think this was the year the first women were admitted to Trinity College Dublin …

April: ‘MAJOR CHARLES T. MacMURROGH KAVANAGH. Amongst the best and bravest of officers now engaged in the South African war, Carlow can claim many who have nobly fought and bled – some to death – for King and country. From time to time we have with pride referred to deeds of daring performed by our county men, and it gives us pleasure to add another to the illustrious role. We find in recent dispatches that Major MacMurrogh Kavanagh, 10th Hussars, has been mentioned for distinguished services. The gallant young officer – son of the late Arthur MacMurrogh Kavanagh, H.M.L. for County Carlow – on the 9th April captured six prisoners at Van Rhynsdorp, and on the 14th followed up his success by surprising Bowers langer (?). The 10th Hussars charged wounding three Boers with their swords. Eleven prisoners, 33 horses and 10 mules had already been captured.’ (Carlow Sentinel). [135]

April 2: Premiere of W.B. Yeats’ Cathleen ni Houlihan starring Maud Gonne, about the failed rebellion of 1798, with a woman representing the ideal of an independent Irish republic.

April 9: Rathdonnell present when the Guarantee Fund Bill was drafted in the Kildare Street Club, the G.H.Q. and nerve centre of Irish landlordism at this time. George Wyndham, Chief Secretary for Ireland, recalled in a letter to his father, dated 9/4/1902:

‘Lunched at Kildare Street Club with other officials; took on the Lord Lieutenant and others at three o’clock in formal council till 5.30, wrote and telegraphed till seven o’clock. I then felt the want of air, so walked on the quays till 7.30, and dressed at the Kildare Street Club for my Landlords’ dinner. It was a great success, and as good as a play. We sat down fourteen; Dermot in command at my left; Lords Clonbrock, Bagwell, Rosse, Rathdonnell, Cloncurry, The O’Connor Don, Mr. Bruen, O’Callaghan Westrop, de Fellenburg Montgomery, their secretary Willis, and Solicitor Moore, with Hanson.’ (Reported in Derry Journal, 29 January 1936, see here).

Apr 11: Hendrik Potgieter, South African Boer General, dies during a curious mass charge by the Boer cavalry at the Battle at Rooiwal, which transpires to be the last battle of the Anglo-Boer War.

April 15: Spring Show begins in Dublin and Tom Rathdonnell in attendance, taking first and third prize for the Pedigree Shorthorn Dairy Cow, as well as 2nd place with Begonia Blossom in the ‘Shorthorn Cow of Any Age’ and 2nd with Vain Lady in the ‘Shorthorn Cow Calved in 1901 or After’. He also won a Government Premium for his bull, Royal Buck. [136]

May: Prince Henry of Prussia, a younger brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II, spends a night at Adare Manor while the German squadron lay at peace in Dublin Bay. The 4th Earl of Dunraven had sailed with the prince at Cowes and at Kiel, and played golf with him too. He had even sold him a wooden cruising ship by name of L’Esperance. [137] The prince was, he felt, both ‘a charming companion and a good sportsman.’ However, Lady Limerick, another guest that night, claimed Prince Henry had loudly banged the table with a first, remarking, ‘It would take me and my Germans to discipline the Irish!’ [138] Lord Dunraven was reluctant to believe rumours that the German prince was secretly fishing for information on behalf of his brother. ‘If Prince Henry abused his high rank for that purpose, he certainly did it astutely.’

May 19: Great Britain & Boers resume peace talks in Pretoria.

May 31: Boer War Ends; Treaty of Vereeniging signed, Britain annexes Transvaal. The human cost has been the destruction of two promising independent Boer states and the death of thousands of people, black, white, man, woman, child.

June: ‘Major and Brevet Lieut Col Colvin, 9th Lancers, has been appointed to the command of the Scots Greys. Col Colvin rendered distinguished service in Africa during the late war, and was given his Brevet rank in recognition of his services. He was well known in Meath and Louth when he was quartered at Dundalk, and married Lord Rathdonnell’s eldest daughter.’ [139]

June 26: Scheduled date for Coronation of Edward VII and Alexandra, postponed until August because of illness. Lafayette busy photographing all the nobility and gentry in their finery.

July 9: The Rathdonnells host a children’s fete at Lisnavagh to mark the Coronation as per this report in the Carlow Sentinel of Saturday 19 July 1902:

On Wednesday, 9th inst, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell entertained a large party of children and their friends at Lisnavagh. It was originally intended to have this gathering about the date fixed for the Coronation, but owing to the lamentable illness of his Majesty, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell very naturally postponed the fete till the King should he pronounced out of danger.
Though the morning looked rather threatening, yet as the hour fixed for the gathering 3.30 drew nigh, the sky cleared, and the weather, during the afternoon, was all that could be desired. Punctually at the appointed hour the children and their teachers marched on the beautiful grounds where a large tent had been erected and abundance of good things provided.
The schools included in the invitation were Disraeli Endowed School, Hacketstown School, and Lisnevagh School. There were also present the children of the workmen and the employed on Lisnevagh. Having partaken of tea, games were the order of the day, the young people entering into the various competitions with the greatest enthusiasm.
After spending a very pleasant and enjoyable afternoon the children were assembled in front of Lisnevagh Home, and the numerous prizes kindly provided by Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, were distributed by Lady Rathdonnell to the successful competitors in the various games.
Buns and bags of sweets were also distributed to all the children, Masters Jack and George Colvin — Lord and Lady Rathdonnell’s grandchildren —helping with evident pleasure in the distribution.
Before separating, the children were addressed by Lord Rathdonnell, who explained the reasons for postponing the gathering, and said he knew all present were delighted to hear that the King who had been so seriously ill, was now on the high road to recovery.
The Rev J O’Callaghan, on behalf of all those present, heartily thanked, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell for the most enjoyable afternoon which they had spent, and called for three cheers for their kind hoste [sic] and hostess which, needless to say, were given with the utmost heartiness. Having sung the National Anthem, the young people and their friends wended their way towards home, all loud in their expressions of gratitude for the pleasant afternoon. During the afternoon Lord and Lady Rathdonnell were untiring in their efforts to minister to the happiness of all present.
Amongst those who were present and helped to entertain the children were — Miss Bruen, and Mrs J O’Callaghan, Rev and Mrs J H Bradish and Miss F Abbott, Mr and Mrs C Butler, Mr and Mrs R H Rafter and Miss Lett, BA, Disraeli School ; Mr R Hodgens, BA, and Miss Hodgens, Hacketstown School, and Miss Hailes, Lisnevagh School, etc.
Later in the evening a huge “Coronation” bonfire, provided by Lord Rathdonnell, was lighted at Knocknegan, near the residence of Peter Salter. Esq.
During the night large numbers of people from the surrounding district visited the scene. Refreshments were liberal y provided by Lord Rathdonnell, and distributed under the personal superintendence of Mr Charles Butler, sub-agent.
Ms Salter also entertained most hospitably scores of those who were present during the evening.’

July 12: Tom’s former school pal Arthur Balfour succeeds Lord Salisbury, his uncle, as Prime Minister, resigning three years later. The Irish question continued to plague Balfour; his hope that Constructive Unionism would derail the Home Rule train floundered and, in the end, he supported Lloyd-George’s abortive attempt to introduce Home Rule in 1916.

July: Newspapers report that the Hon. Violet Gibson, daughter of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, has joined the Roman Catholic Church.

August 9: Coronation of Edward VII and Alexandra at Westminster Abbey.

September: ‘The exhibition of Irish industries attracted considerable attention on the third day at the show, which was the most enjoyable of all, possibly because of the interest centred in the jumping competitions. Lady Grosvenor made extensive purchases at the various stalls, which were inspected by a large number of visitors who seemed to take a special interest in the disabled soldiers and sailors stall, presided over by Mrs. McNeill, wife of the Duke of Connaught’s military secretary, and who was wearing a blue and white muslin gown. It is possible to mention only a few of the most notable people at the show, among whom were Lady Ashtown, who was there all three days, and Lady Barrington, very charmingly gowned on Wednesday in a light grey voile trimmed with black lace and choux of vieux rose velvet on the bodice. Lady Clonbrock. brought her daughters, who were in white, and Lady Francis Doyne’s young daughters wore pretty mauve and white floral-patterned muslins whilst Lady Castleross, Lady Louisa Howard, Lady Drogheda who was chaperoning a daughter Lady Clarina in black and white, the Dowager Lady Donoughmore and her two pretty daughters, Lady Limerick, Lady May Brabazon, in white, Lady Powerscourt, Lady Rathdonnell, Lady Granard, and Lord and Lady Bandon were on the grand stand or walking about.’ [140]

October 2: Death of Sir Charles Burton, 5th Bart, of an illness related to a fall in the garden. He was born in 1823 and educated at Eton. He served as a lieutenant in the 18th Dragoons until his retirement aged 23 in 1849. In 1861, he wed an American heiress, Georgina May, only daughter of David Halliburton of Texas. They had no children. He lived at Pollardstown (Pollacton) House outside Carlow and was a keen supporter of the Carlow & Island Hounds until he fractured a leg while riding to meet hounds with his good friend Robert Watson one frosty morning. Lady Burton survived him by two years. The executors of his will were Lord Rathdonnell and William Rotchford of Cahir Abbey, Cahir. Both men were bequeathed £100 for administrative purposes while the bulk of the Burton family fortune was left to his niece.

2nd Baron Rathdonnell, from Freemasons Hall, Dublin.

October 5: ”Lord and Lady Rathdonnell are going to the Cape to visit their son’s grave. One of their married daughters Mrs. Colvin has been in South Africa for some months so as to be near her husband, Captain Colvin, 9th Lancers’. [141] I believe the Rathdonnells then went to Kimberley to see where Billy was laid to rest.

December: ‘LORD RATHDONNELL presided over the annual meeting of the Dundalk Brewery, which showed a net profit of £2405, providing for a dividend of 5 per cent. and a carry over of £620. His Lordship said the sale had increased considerably, and there was every reason to expect a still more prosperous year than that just finished.’ (Distillers’, Brewers’, and Spirit Merchants’ Magazine, 1 January 1903).

December 20: The Land Conference begins at the Mansion House in Dublin, running until 4 January 1903. This involves four ‘landlord’ delegates (the Earl of Dunraven, the Earl of Mayo, Col. Sir Hutcheson Poë and Col. Sir Nugent Everard) meeting  four tenant representatives (William O’Brien, John Redmond, Timothy Harrington MP and the Temperance campaigner T.W. Russell). Sir Hutcheson Poë’s nephew Leonard Poë would become agent at Lisnavagh. The upshot of the Land Conference was the  ground-breaking Wyndham Land Act of August 1903.

Tom Rathdonnell elected Vice President of the Royal Dublin Society.

JM Barrie writes ‘The Admirable Crichton‘.



There are papers suggesting that parts of Lisnavagh House were rebuilt at this time.

January 1: ‘Lord Rathdonnell had a narrow escape while hunting with the Blackmore Vale Hounds [Dorset/Somerset] at Worbridge on Thursday. His mount, on approaching a gateway, shied, reared, and fell backward. Lord Rathdonnell escaped with a severe shock and a few bruises.’ [142]

Presumably the fate of his grandmother and great-grandfather was high on his mind afterwards … Bill Burgess, who was born in 1902, recalled Tom Rathdonnell as a ‘big and stout’ man who rode a 14-hand dock-tailed cob around the farm. All the gates at that time had latches that he could open them up without getting down from the horse. Bill was born just after Billy Bunbury died. As a young man he once hunted a grey horse for Lord Rathdonnell.

Feb 9: Death of the first editor and proprietor of The Nation newspaper, Charles Gavan Duffy, in Nice, France.

February 28: Although he no longer owned Thauma – she was a trading vessel by 1899 – Tom must have been saddened by the news that she was lost at ‘Vigso’ on 28 February while sailing from Bergen to Copenhagen with a cargo of fish on board. According to a friend of Robert Harbord, “Norway was desperately poor at that time, under the yoke of Swedish domination, and in dire straits, so even ‘exporting’ just a small cargo of fish would have made a difference. This seems to be on the south side of the entrance to the Skagerrak”.

March: Death of Rev John Phelan, parish priest of Rathvilly. See his obituary from The Carlow Nationalist here.

March 21: The Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser of 21 March 1903, p. 3 remembers Father Phelan thus:

‘… the Board Guardians of the Baltinglaas Union have heard with the deepest regret the death of the Rev John Phelan, pastor of Rathvilly parish, and they desire to place on record the cordial respect and deep regard in which the deceased was held by all classes and creeds. His benevolence was well known and his ability widely recognised, and the parish and diocese are poorer by his loss.”
Chairman—Father Phelan was a friend of a great number of guardians in this room, and I think he was a person who endeared himself everyone who knew him. He was personal friend of mine for a number years, and there was no one who took more unselfish view of things as he did.
Mr Cusack—He is great loss to the parish.
The Clerk said Father Phelan had taken a great interest in the Labourers’ Act and housing of the poor. In the Rathvilly there are more houses erected by the union than in any other of the divisions. In No 2 rural district, a good portion of which is in the parish of Rathvilly, there were 100 cottages in eight divisions, and inNo 1 district only 80 cottages in twenty divisions. He remembered that Father Phelan went personally to the Local Government Board to represent to them the unhealthy state in which Scott’s row was. with the object of having it closed up and better houses built. |
Chairman—l am sorry he did not live to see it done. The resolution was then passed in silence.’

April 3: Death of Adelaide Duguid, mother of Constance. She was buried alongside her daughter in Myshall.

Tom Rathdonnell with the Duke of Connaught and his family, 1903. Courtesy of Durcan O’Hara.

April 21-23: ‘The Royal Dublin Society have during the past week held their annual spring show at their premises at Balls Bridge. The weather, extremely cold, was bright and dry. Some very fine cattle were to be seen in the stalls, His Majesty carrying off several prizes. These prize animals were generally surrounded by a circle of admiring persons. The attendance was by no means a record one, the keen wind rendering the standing round the grand inclosure anything but pleasant. The string band of the Empress of India’s Lancers contributed a pleasing selection of music during the afternoon hours.
On Tuesday, a visit was paid to the show by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and the Princesses Margaret and Patricia of Connaught. The Royal party, on arriving, were received by several members of the council and committee, among them being Lord Powerscourt, Lord Rathdonnell, Sir Thomas Butler, Bart., the O’Conor Don, Col Gore Lindsay, Sir Charles Cameron, Sir James Creed Meredith, Lieut.-Col. Plunkett, Col. Nugent Everard, kn., who afterwards conducted Their Royal Highnesses round the show yard. Before leaving, the distinguished visitors paid a visit to the intending stall devoted to the work of the Disabled Soldiers’ Society. Here they were received by the Hon. Mrs Gore Lindsay and Lady Arnott.
The second day, the Lord-Lieutenant paid a visit. escorted by a troop of the 21st Lancers, their smart dark blue and French grey and gold uniforms forming a pleasing and gay back ground to the beautiful Viceregal carriages drawn by His Excellency’s splendid teams of horses. In attendance on the Lord- Lieutenant were the following Lord Plunkett, Private Secretary ; Major the Hon. Morrogh O’Brien. Major Lambart, and Capt. the Hon. Gerald Cadogan, A.D.C. His Excellency, on completing his visit to the different cattle sections, adjourned to the jumping inclosure, where an interesting display of polo ponies took place. The Viceregal party proceeded to the centre of the grass lawn, accompanied by Lord Ardilaun, Lord Rathdonnell, Baron de Robeck, Sir Thomas Butler, Lord Ashtown, the O’Conor Don, Sir Gerald  Dease, Lord Massy, Sir John Kennedy, Bart., Sir Algernon Coote, Bart., Sir Arthur Brook, Bart., Lord Frederick Fitzgerald,and among those present in the jumping ground were, Lord Ashhourne, Lord Castlemaine, Major-Gen. and Mrs Remmington, Sir John and Lady Maxwell, Mr and Mrs Dames-Longworth, Lady Arnott, who devoted herself to selling at the disabled soldiers’ stall: Miss Arnott, Col. and Mrs Davidson, the latter in a very smart pale green hat worn with a moleskin short coat and cloth skirt; Mrs Richards, in bright blue face cloth and white silk braidings ; Capt. Riall, who had with him his two daughters, in well cut cloth gowns and white fur boas : Sir Henry and Lady Sophia Grattan-Bellew, Mr and Mrs T. Talbot Power; Mrs Fowler, in a tailor-made gown;  Miss Rowden, in dark blue and lace vest ; her daughter, Miss St. Maur Sheil ; Mr- Alfred West, wearing a brown-flecked tweed ; Mrs Dudgeon; and Miss Sharman Crawford, the latter in a pale grey long cloth coat; etc.’
[The Queen – Saturday 25 April 1903, p. 90]

May 7: “ACAUN BRIDGE. RE-OPENING OF ROADWAY. NOTICE is hereby given that the Roadway over the above bridge on the road from Carlow to Hacketstown is open for traffic. E. T. QUILTON, County Surveyor, Carlow, 7th May, 1903.” [143]

March 26: A severe storm causes havoc through the region, felling 1400 trees on the La Touche property at Harristown, County Kildare; 1500 at the O’Connor Henchy estate at Stonebrook and 500 on the More O’Farrell estate of Moyvalley. At Naas, almost every building in the town suffered while Lord Mayo’s greenhouse at Palmerstown was also damaged. It is not yet known how badly Lisnavagh was affected.

June 3: Steuart Duckett of Duckett’s Grove rewrites his will, bequeathing the residue of his property to his only daughter Amy (later Philpotts). It is hard not to see this as a slight to his only son Lt Col John Steuart Duckett, D.S.O., Res. of Officers, late 9th Lancers, b. 1876. In 1903, JSD married Laura Penrose Wilson (her third husband after Edward Wilfred Marshall and Capt. Edwin Bryce Wilson), 5th child and third daughter of the late Col. Charles George Hayter, C.B. Her sister Wilhelmina Hayter married Philip Cecil Harcourt Gordon (1864-1920), a surgeon in the Burma war who died in Jersey. Another sister Gertrude was married Frederic Charles Newsam (div. 1901) … There is no obvious record of the marriage in the press. I sense that JSD was somehow disgraced for this marriage and that his lead his father to rewrite his will …

Germaine’s, soon after completion, from the Charles Butler family album. For more, see here.

June 4: The Irish Builder of 4 June 1903 published a picture of Germaine’s at Lisnavagh with this caption: ‘This house has recently been completed for Lord Rathdonnell, and is intended as a residence for Charles Butler, Esq., the agent for his lordship. The house was built by direct labour, most of the workmen being employees on the estate. The house is faced with hewn ashlar of the fine Carlow granite, and its design is in harmony with the general character of the other buildings on the estate. The work has been carried out from the designs of Messrs Anthony Scott and Sons, architects, of Dublin. Owing to the fact that the work was carried out principally by his own men, Lord Rathdonnell took the keenest personal interest in the progress of the works, visiting them almost daily.’ [144] For more on the history of Germaine’s, see here.

July 2: The Gordon Bennett Cup, the first international motor race, takes place in Athy – Castledermot – Carlow – Kildare area. Arthur Bruen, Kate’s brother, takes numerous photographs of the event.

July 11: The Royal Cork Yacht Club stages the world’s first power boat race.

July 23: The Royal train from Maynooth carrying King Edward VII, queen consort Alexandra, and daughter Princess Victoria, reaches Ashtown station near Phoenix Park whereupon three daughters of Dublin-born William Purcell O’Neill, the engineer-in-chief of the Midland Great Western Railway, presented bouquets. Miss Naomi presented carnations, the royal favourite.  Miss Ruth presented the Princess Victoria with a lovely spray of orchids and stephanotis and lilies. The youngest daughter, Miss Irene, presented a basket of red, white and blue flowers. The flowers were most graciously accepted and the three girls were requested by the Queen to travel with them in the Royal saloon carriage, which they happily availed of.

George Wyndham, Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1900 until 1905.

August 14: On the back of the 1902 Land Conference, the ground-breaking Wyndham’s Land Act was introduced by George Wyndham, Chief Secretary of Ireland, offering inducements to landlords to sell their properties. Also known as the Land Purchase (Ireland) Act, this helped to solve the contentious Irish land question by offering landlords an extra 12% bonus payment, paid by the British government, for any lands they sold to their tenants. The 4th Earl of Dunraven, who chaired the Land Conference, described the act as ‘a lasting monument to what the spirit can accomplish for Ireland.’ Over the next five years, nearly quarter of a million tenants bought their holding.

Put another way: The government provided loans to tenants at reduced interest for the purchase of land and gave bonuses to landlords who sold. The loan was repayable over 68 years … which was in effect the year I was born so one wonders what happened to all the money in arrears! The Wyndham Act allowed landlords to sell to their tenants but, in addition to the agreed price financed by the government, landlords received an extra 12% payment. This bonus would cost the Treasury £12 million. Lord Dunraven, a liberal, considered “this generous settlement which at one leap solved [the] age old contentious ownership of Irish land was only to be welcomed… A lasting monument to what the spirit can accomplish for Ireland. It changed the face of the country; improvement was almost miraculous. In five years, it enabled 228,938 occupying tenants to buy their holding.”

Once agreement was reached between landlord and tenant, the transaction was approved by the Land Commission. In 2004 Michael Purcell kindly gave me a pile of Land Act “agreement forms” relating to transactions to tenants for the Rathdonnell estates in Carlow.

27 October (circa): “Lord Rathdonnell’s Estate. The deputation (Messrs W. Murphy, J.P., J. Lyons, County Council, J. Ellis D.C., and W. Pollard) appointed at a recent meeting of the tenants of the above County Carlow estate, met the agent, Mr J O Adair, at Lisnevagh [sic] on Friday, and Mr Adair informed them that he should have to refuse the tenants offer of 25% reduction, with the back half-year forgiven, and the half-year now due added to the purchase money. He stated that Lord Rathdonnell’s terms were 20% reduction on first term, and 10% on second term rents and all rents to be paid up to the time of purchase. So far it would seem negotiations are at an end.” [145]

November 12: Governey’s Boot Factory opens in Carlow, opposite Mr Governey’s mineral waterworks by Carlow Castle. The factory was built by Thompsons of Carlow.

November (late): ‘Lord and Lady Clarina, who had Lord and Lady Rathdonnell staying with them at Elm Park, near Limerick, last week, are at this moment in England paying a few visits, and they spent last week at Halden, near Exeter, where also Colonel Kekewich, the hero of Kimberley, was staying with Mr. Bannytyne for a shoot.’ Gentlewoman, 5 December 1903, p. 26.

December: The Royal Dublin Society’s hosted its great Winter Show, or Christmas exhibition of cattle, poultry, cereals and farming implements in Ballsbridge. The Rathdonnells triumph again with a ‘phenomenal’ haul, of eight prizes and I possess a framed photograph of the Lisnavagh winners on parade. The prizes which were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (aka William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley, a Boer War veteran). Among the Rathdonnell’s winning beasts were Black But Comely (an Aberdeen Angus in Kate Rathdonnell’s name), Bluebeard (shorthorn and Angus cross), Redcoat (reserved) and Pink Domino. [146] According to the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News (19 December 1903), which includes an excellent photo,

‘Lord Rathdonnell’s success as an exhibitor was something phenomenal. He took eight prizes with eight exhibits, besides securing the Lord Lieutenant’s Champions Cups in two important sections. Critics gathered curiously Around his splendid shorthorn cross-bed ox, Bluebeard, a magnificently solid beast, marked scantily with white behind the shoulders and on the legs, and another of the same owner’s exhibits, viz., Black but Comely, was regarded as a model of in-fed perfectness and finish. For black polled cattle Colonel Pepper held supremacy, and he showed also a superb grey polled ox, which in point of weight bear all compeers, scaling close upon two hundredweight.’

Rathdonnell’s success also made the Australian papers the following month as this report from The Queenslander reveals:

Our Irish Letter. DUBLIN, December 10. IERNE. Although dull, cold, dreary weather has been our portion since I last wrote, Dublin has been full of visitors to the Royal Dublin Society’s Winter Show, which was opened on Tuesday last at the Agricultural Hall, Ball’s Bridge, and was attended on the first day by the Lord Lieutenant. The Winter Show does not appeal to women as do the Spring and Summer Shows, but still there was a goodly sprinkling of them dotted about the building. The great events were the championship competitions for two cups, presented by Lord Dudley, for the best infed and outfed animal respectively, both of which were awarded to Lord Rathdonnell, or rather to Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, as she gained the first cup for her infed Aberdeen- Angus, and her husband carried off the second cup for his outfed Shorthorn and Angus cross, Bluebeard.” [147]

December 15 [Tuesday]: The Lord Lieutenant [Earl of Cadogan] “drove in semi-state to Balls Bridge, and the winter show of cattle held by the Royal Dublin Society. His Excellency, who spent a considerable time in inspecting the exhibits, was received by Lord Rathdonnell (whose eight exhibits of fat cattle gained no less than twelve awards, including two challenge cups), Sir Thomas Butler, Sir James C. Meredith, Colonel Gore Lindsay, Captain Riall,Colonel Plunkett, Mr. James Talbot Power, Colonel Davoren, Captain Carden, Dr. Magrath, Mr. Fletcher Moore. Mr. Shire, and Mr. Bruce.” (Gentlewoman, 19 December 1903, p. 42.)

Opening of Milltown Wing at the National Gallery to house the Leeson Collection bequeathed by the Countess of Milltown of Russborough House. The corridor between the Milltown and Dargan Wings is now a space dominated by self-taught Joseph Walsh’s ‘Magnus Modus’ … the roof above is covered in seagull poop, while the floor is terrazzo. Mr Walsh, a grandson of a wood craftsman, is based in Riverstock, Co Cork, and mastered the art of laminating and steam-bending ash to make his works look like they are a single piece of timber when really he has just added more and more layers, glazing the final result with white oil. In the 2017 NGI makeover, they used a deep dining room green to highlight the 18th century gilt frames.

Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, 19 December 1903. Lord Rathdonnell’s Winners in the Winter Cattle Show at Ballsbridge in December 1908. The accompanying text explained: “Lord Rathdonnell‘s success as an exhibitor was something phenomenal. He took eight prizes with eight exhibits, besides securing the Lord Lieutenant’s Champion Cups in two important sections. Critics gathered curiously around his splendid shorthorn cross bred ox, Bluebeard, a magnificently solid beast, marked scantily with white behind the shoulders and on the legs, and another of the same owner’s exhibits, Black but Comely, was regarded as a model of in-fed perfectness and finish.”



January 15 (Fri): “THE LAND ACT. RATHDONNELL’S FERMANAGH ESTATE SOLD. The tenants on the Rathdonnell estate, County Fermanagh, some time ago opened negotiations with their landlord, Lord Rathdonnell, and as a result they received a letter in which it was stated that Lord Rathdonnell would sell his property at 25% reduction on first, and 12% on second term rents, reserving sporting and turbary rights. All rent due up to the 1st November last must be paid. On Friday the tenants agreed to accept the foregoing terms.’ [148]

January 24: “Lord and Lady Rathdonnell returned to their Irish home from London a few days ago. Lord Rathdonnell is an enthusiastic farmer and was last year elected president of the Royal Dublin Society for the third time.” [149]

February 8: Japan launches a surprise attack on the Russians, along the coast of Manchuria, beginning the Russo-Japanese War.

April 5: Death of writer, social reformer, anti-vivisection activist, and leading women’s suffrage campaigner, Frances Power Cobbe.

Robert Gray Watson, father-in-law to Jack Bunbury and Master of the Carlow & Island Hounds.

April: The Carlow & Island Hunt had its last meet at Knocklow in April 1904. On Monday 6 June 1904, a Tasmanian newspaper called The Examiner carried the following story on page 5:

‘Word has been received from Ireland that Mr. Robert Watson, who is 84 years of age, and is the brother of Mr. Geo. Watson, and uncle of Mr. Godfrey Watson, the well-known starter and master of the Melbourne Hounds, has resigned his position as master of the Carlow and Island Foxhounds, and has been succeeded by Lord Rathdonnell. Mr. Watson has been appointed life president of the hounds. Despite that last season in Ireland was most unfavourable for hunting, the hounds put up a rather remarkable record. No fewer than 144 meets took place, 107 foxes were killed, 108 were “marked to earth” and not one serious accident was reported.’

Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes (1904), Volume 82, p. 77, likewise reported:

‘Changes follow the resignation of Mr. Robert Watson, who, since 1845, has been at the head of affairs in the Carlow and Island country. The “Island” country has been given up, and will be hunted by Earl Fitzwilliam, who gives a handsome subscription and lends two of his coverts to the Carlow Hunt Club, which has been founded, with Mr. Robert Watson as president, to hunt the Carlow country two days a week. Mr. W. E. Grogan is the new master, and will carry the horn himself, with F. Haynes, from the Galtee, as first whipper-in, F.K.H., and Mr. Fitzpatrick, of the defunct Carlow and Island, as second whipper-in. Lord Rathdonnell is building new kennels for the Carlow Hunt Club at Moyle, a very central position.’

The end of the Carlow & Island was confirmed by The Bystander of 26 October 1904 which noted:

‘the Carlow (late Carlow and Island) open the Season on November 1, when the Meet will take place at Ballydarton, the seat of Mr Robert Watson, the late Master, who for close on sixty years held command of the Carlow and Island. Mr. W. H. Grogan who succeeds Mr Watson, has had a busy time of it with the cubs since September 15. He has exchanged the coverts of Donishall and some others in the “Island” country for Knocklow and Rath in Lord Fitzwilliam’s country.’

Although he did not, we believe, become Master, Tom Rathdonnell did build new kennels at Moyle for a pack formed on those purchased from Mr Watson and which consisted of just over 30 couples. That same year William E Grogan of Moyle became Master of the Carlows. The first kennel huntsman was T. Taylor and second whip was M. Fitzpatrick. Mr. Taylor gave way in 1906 to S. Dickens, and in 1907 N. Gorman took Fitzpatricks’ place.

‘When they met last at Tullow they did not do much from Ballymurphy, but had a good forty minutes from Fenton’s gorse, through Butler’s Grange, Rathlyon and Paulville to Lisnevagh, where hounds were stopped.’ [150]

A slumbering  bull.


Messrs. John Thornton and Co’s sales of shorthorns during the Spring Show week at Ball’s Bridge have been already referred to in these columns, and the next important fixture will be at Drumcar, where the first of the sales will be conducted on Wednesday, 20th April, comprising over 30 head from the old-established herd kept at Drumcar, Dunleer, by the Right Hon. Lord Rathdonnell.

The herd at Drumcar is one of the best known in Ireland, bring established many years ago at Lisnavagh, County Carlow. This herd has for a long period been successfully represented at the Royal Dublin and other shows, where they have been awarded numerous prizes. They include a fine lot of young heifers and young bulls, which will be exhibited at the coming Royal Dublin Show.

By permission of the Committee they will be brought out for sale on Wednesday morning, and afterwards returned to the Show, where they will remain until the close, when they will be delivered to the purchasers.

On the day following the sale of the Drumcar shorthorns the herds kept at Dunleckney, Bagenalstown, by Mr. Sidney Vesey and at Tinahely, County Wicklow, by Mr. Wentworth Taylor, will be brought under the hammer. Prizes have been won with stock bred Tinahely at the Royal Dublin Society’s and Bray Shows for many years. [151]

At about this time Drumcar was sold. It is referred to in legal papers as the ‘Resettlement of 1902’

April 26: Edward VII and Queen Alexandra arrive on a State visit to Ireland and travel by rail to Naas and onwards to Punchestown.

June 16: James Joyce has his first date with Nora Barnacle; ultimately, it became the date on which everything takes place in his masterpiece, Ulysses.

Harry de Robeck, 4th Baron de Robeck. Irish Independent, 2 November 1898

August 1: In the Russo-Japanese War, the Siege of Port Arthur begins.

August 23: The 4th Baron de Robeck died at Gowran Grange, aged 81, on the opening day of the Dublin Horse Show with which he was ‘keenly associated for many long years’. Indeed, he was vice-President of the Royal Dublin Society for a period and was regarded as one of the most prominent figures at the Horse Show. In their obituary, Baily’s stated that ‘though foreign by lineage, [the 4th Baron] was in proclivities as Irish as the Irish, and probably the most popular man that ever lived in Kildare.’ The Irish Times concurred that he was ‘one of the most urbane, off-handed, kindly and outspoken of men, and was never happier than when in the saddle.’ He was succeeded by his 45-year-old son Colonel Harry de Robeck, then Master of the Kildare Hounds.

August: Captain Harry de Courcy-Wheeler wins the high stone wall championship at the Dublin Horse Show.

Aug 26: Lord Dunraven forms the Irish Reform Association to campaign for some devolution.

Nov 1: ”HUNTING. CARLOW HOUNDS. THE OPENING MEET The newly constituted Carlow Hunt Club had its opening day on Tuesday, when a very big field mustered at Ballydarton to give a hearty and cordial greeting to the new Master, Mr. W. E. Grogan. It will be in the recollection of our readers that Mr. Grogan was elected by acclamation to carry the horn and the new mastership synchronised with a change in the constitution of the club, and the withdrawal from the island or Wexford County, with which the old club had been so long associated. Marking the card for Ballydarton, the residence of Mr. Robert Watson, was intended by Mr. Grogan as a compliment to his predecessor, who for five and fifty years had presided over the sport of kings in the county Carlow and adjoining territories.’ [152] It is to be noted that the Rathdonnells were not present although plenty of Bruen and McClintocks were.

December 1: The Distillers’, Brewers’, and Spirit Merchants’ Magazine (1 December 1904) reports that the Great Northern Brewery at Dundalk was on a financial slide. It also observed that Lord Rathdonnell still occupied the chair.

December 6-9: The Royal Dublin Society’s Winter Cattle Show took place in Ballsbridge. “Lord and Lady Rathdonnell might almost be said to have swept the decks in classes in which they competed, and the fact occurring every year, together with the capturing of both the valuable cups presented by the Lord Lieutenant at this recent show, gave rise to some discontent among less exalted exhibitors. The opinion seemed to be – but I do not at all quote it as my own – that if noblemen, whose wealth and facilities afford special advantages, would either step down for a while, so as to give others a chance of levelling up, or have a distinctive class of their own for the purpose of exhibiting cattle, results would be fairer and more generally encouraging than under the existing regime. I merely repeat what was said unreservedly in the show-yard but, of course, one hears the same kind of thing about all competitional efforts notably literature.” [153]

December: Smithfield Club Show, Lord Rathdonnell secures a highly commended and reserve in Class 10 for a shorthorn heifer. [154] I’m by no means certain the following refers to the same event but in 1904, the Mark Lane Express, Agricultural Journal &c (Vol. 91, p 723) stated of an unspecified event:

‘Of the heifers in this section the Lady Rathdonnell owned the best, an extraordinarily well-fed bluegrey just over 15cwt., very symmetrical, full of roasting beef, and of fine quality. This was the champion of this section.’

This ‘Wilkinson-Webley’ revolver (model 1905) has a silver panel inset into the grip with the initials ‘T.K.R.’. Roy Shadbolt, an English collector and amateur historian of Wilkinson arms who lives in Texas, acquired the revolver in 2010. He conducted considerable research into its ownership and concluded that it must have belonged to ‘Thomas Kane Rathdonnell’.

December: Irish unionists form a United Unionist Council to resist Lord Dunraven’s devolution plan.

Roger Casement’s shocking report on the Belgian rubber plantations is published.

At about this time, it is believed that Tom acquired a Wilkinson-Webley revolver (model 1905), a version which was sold to gentleman and officers through Wilkinson Swords showroom at 27 Pall Mall London. The initials ‘T.K.R.’ were placed on a silver panel inset into the grip. This information and the accompanying images came via Roy Shadbolt, an English collector and amateur historian of Wilkinson arms based in the USA. He found the gun at a show in Idaho in July 2010. Apparently, a comprehensive search of the military lists for that period produced only ‘one’ name as a match for the TKR initials and that was ‘Thomas Kane Rathdonnell’.




I haven’t pinned a date on this but I think this is the Rathdonnells with two of their daughters and their son Tim standing in the port cochere at Lisnavagh.

January 2: Russia surrenders Port Arthur; Japan winning the war.

January 22: The “1905 Revolution” breaks out in Russia; Bloody Sunday, not helped by mounting losses in Russo-Japanese Wars.

January 30: Bizarre “suicide” in Melbourne of Thomas Bunbury Gough, the oldest son of the Rev. Benjamin Bloomfield Gough and his wife Letitia (née Frend) and nephew of Tom Rathdonnell’s former Scots Greys commander. He appears to have poisoned himself but was found suspended by a rope around his waist from the stairwell of their family home dressed as a woman. His suicide was entirely out of character. [155]

February 23: Death of Kate Rathdonnell’s youngest brother Charles Bruen, unmarried, aged 30.

March 5: Wyndham resigned as Chief Secretary and was replaced by a very British Walter Long, a kinsman of the Hume family, who set about undoing Wyndham’s work.

May 27-28: The Battle of Tsushima is last gasp for Russia before conceding defeat to Japan.

June 27: Tragic death in cycling accident of Wimbledon star Harold Mahoney of Dromore Castle, Co. Kerry, whose land steward and gardener were the Bloomer brothers, formerly of Lisnavagh.

July: Memorial to 1798 hero Father John Murphy unveiled in Tullow.

July 6: Augusta Bellingham, a first cousin of the Butlers of Ballintemple, was married at Castle Bellingham to John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute. The groom chartered the steamer Princess Maud to take his guests and the Isle of Bute pipe band across to Castle Bellingham for the wedding. Remarkably, the wedding – the society event of the year – is believed to have been the first such event ever captured on film, as per

July 8: ‘ACAUN – Mr Quilton, County Surveyor, brought under the notice of the Council the condition of Acaun bridge, at present undergoing repairs. He said he found it necessary to get the centre arch stripped and examined. He found it would not be safe to allow traffic to go over it in its present condition and consequently it would have to be stopped for three or four weeks. He would have notices to that effect put up.’ [156]

September 5: The Treaty of Portsmouth (New Hampshire) gives Japan control of Korea and much of South Manchuria, including Port Arthur and the railway that connected it with the rest of the region, along with the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Russian power is curtailed in the region, but it was not required to pay Japan’s war costs, which ultimately turns Japanese opinion against the USA – this manifests itself 36 years later with the attack on Pearl Harbour.

September 19: Death of Dr Thomas Barnardo, founder of the homes for destitute boys.

Oct 21: Centenary of Trafalgar.

Nov 6: ‘The Marquess of Lansdowne is to be entertained at the Junior Constitutional Club at dinner in celebration of the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, on Monday, Nov. 6. Lord Ashbourne will preside.’ [157]

Nov 18: Tim Bunbury sails for Ceylon to become private secretary to Sir Henry Blake, the Governor of Ceylon.

Nov 28: Arthur Griffith founds Sinn Fein.




The 1911 census suggests that Ellen Somers was born in Co. Wicklow in about 1821 and married for 50 years, with 3 children. Her husband was already dead when the 1901 census was taken and her occupation was given as cook, quite possibly for the Big House at Lisnavagh. Ellen was about 44 years old when her daughter Elizabeth was born in Co. Carlow circa 1865, shortly before the death of Captain McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh. As such, Elizabeth was probably the youngest of her three children.

The 1901 census states that Elizabeth Dowling (her first husband’s name was probably James Dowling) was by then a widow and living with her seven-year-old daughter Ellen, as well as her elderly mother. The 1911 Census indicates that Elizabeth was married in 1909 to Mr. Doolan, but her husband’s first name or occupation is unknown. She was described as General Servant. The younger Ellen appears to have become a Servant at Castlecomer House, Co Kilkenny, and went on to marry Edward Nolan, son of Laurence and Maryann Nolan of House No. 35, Graigue Rural, Queen’s County (as per the 1901 Census). By 1911, 22-year-old Edward Nolan was living with his Parents and siblings live at House No. 4, Graigue Rural. Edward and Ellen later settled at 75 Sleaty Road, Graiguecullen, Carlow, which (much extended) is now owned by Ellen’s last surviving child Mrs Breda (Bridget) Loughman (b1938) and her husband Mr Tom Loughman (b1930); the Loughmans have 12 children. Anna Nolan Gough is a member of this family.



Pauline Dalgety, née McClintock Bunbury.

Feb: ‘Lord Rathdonnell … has sold his Irish at Newtownbutler to his tenants, under the Wyndham Act.’  (Islington Gazette, 14 February 1906, p. 3).

February 21: Pauline Dalgety’s picture is published in The Sketch with the following caption:

“The Hon. Mrs Dalgety of Lockerley Hall, near Romsey, is the youngest of Lord Rathdonnell’s three charming daughters, who all married soldiers, and cavalrymen to boot. It is hard to believe that over eight years have sped since Miss Pauline Caroline McClintock Bunbury married Captain Frederick John Dalgety, 15th Hussars, on a glorious June day. A year afterwards her elder sister, Miss Mary Emily, wedded Captain Bramwell, a brother officer of Captain Dalgety’s in the Fighting Fifteenth. The name of Dalgety suggests Scotland, and a certain famous character of Sir Walter Scott’s. The family undoubtedly derive from Forfarshire, but they have been “seated” at Lockerley, which was formerly known as Oaklands, for generations. Mrs Dalgety is the proud mother of two little boys and a little girl.”

April 5: Vesuvius erupts, killing 100 and devastating Naples. Rome bows out of hosting 1908 Olympics and London steps forward.

June 7: Cunard’s liner the Lusitania launched in Glasgow – the largest and fastest in the world.

Summer: The new Enniskillen Yacht Club sought a sturdy keel-boat suitable to handle the rough waters of the Erne’s Broad Lough. They opt for the Fairy class boats, designed by Linton Hope, the foremost small boat designer, and built by John Hilditch of Carrickfergus. These small racing keelboats provided “excellent sport in ‘one-design’ racing, where success depends only on crew skills, not the boat, since all the boats are the ‘one design’ in hull shape, rig and sail area.”

November 3 (Saturday): Bad news from Princess Street, Edinburgh, where, in the words of The Times (November 5), ‘an unfortunate accident’ befell the statue which was designed in memory of the fallen men of the Royal Scot’s Greys. As the bronze figure of horse and rider was being hoisted by crane onto the stone pedestal, the chain snapped and the statue crashed to the ground, damaging both horse and plinth. As the statue was built in sections, they were able to complete the erection ahead of Lord Roseberry’s unveiling ceremony on November 16th. Sculpted by Mr. Birnie Rhind, the model was Sergeant Major Anthony James Hinnigan from Jedburgh and his horse ‘Polly’.

In November 1906, Tom and Katherine Anne attended the unveiling of the Memorial to the officers and men of the Royal Scots Greys killed during the Boer War. The name of the Hon. William McClintock Bunbury was etched upon this. Approximately 84 years later, Tom’s great-great-grandson found himself asleep beneath this same monument after a hefty night on the batter.

November 16: Tom and Kate Rathdonnell attend unveiling of Memorial to the Fallen Heroes of the Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons) on Princess Street in Edinburgh by the Earl of Roseberry.

November 26: The following letter was written to the Carlow Sentinel by Kate Rathdonnell (nee Bruen) in relation to the South Africa Graves Fund.

“To the Editor of the Carlow Sentinel.
Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, County Carlow.
26th November 1906.
Sir — As I am one of those appointed to receive contributions to the “South African Graves’ Fund,” may I ask you to be so good as to publish in your paper the accompanying letter from Her Royal Highness Princess Christian and the other members of the Committee — Yours faithfully,
K.A. Rathdonnell.

To the Editor of the Carlow Sentinel.
Sir – The times has come when the Guild of Loyal Women of South Africa – the Association which laid upon itself the duty of caring for the graves of those who fell in the late war – is no longer able to carry out and complete this work without more assistance from home. etc etc.” [158]

[The letter concludes by requesting readers to send contributions to Lady Rathdonnell at Lisnavagh.]

December: ‘Lord Rathdonnell, who has just kept his birthday, is an old officer of the Scots Greys. His three daughters are married to cavalry officers, and his son was looked upon as one of the most promising officers the Army when his career was cut short during a fight near Kimberley in the South African War. Lieutenant McClintock- Bunbury was attached to his father’s old regiment, and, like his father, had been stroke of the Eton Eight and had won the Ladies’ Plate at Henley. The Rathdonnell Barony has yet to celebrate its jubilee. The first Peer was the present holder’s uncle, Mr. John McClintock, a familiar figure in the House of Commons and a prominent rider in the Irish hunting-field. When he died, in 1879, he was succeeded by a young man after his own heart. Lord Rathdonnell is as bold a rider across country as one could wish to see, and a famous breeder of Shorthorns.’ (Gloucester Citizen, 1 December 1906, p. 6).

Hopit, a bay colt, is foaled at Scarrough House, John J Maxwell’s stud near Dundrum, County Tipperary, in 1906. His sire was Popoff who had formerly stood at the Coolmore Stud near Fethard and whose offspring included Shanballymore, winner of the 1911 Irish Derby. Popoff’s career had nearly come to an end when he injured himself jumping a gate as a two-year-old and fetched up as an unwanted raffle prize. However, Mr Maxwell had stepped in and saved the young stallion, matching her up with an unnamed but well-bred mare. Having spent his formative year on the lush green pastures of Tipperary, Hopit was carried to England where he joined the stables of John Upton of Ingmire Hall, Westmoreland.



Shouxing, also known as the Old Man of the South Pole in Chinese astronomy. He holds a crooked staff in one hand and the peach of immortality in the other. Not sure what the small child figure is on his arm! He is the symbol of happiness and longevity in Far Eastern culture. Was this carving picked up on the Grand Tour of 1907?

January 26: A riot breaks out in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on the first night of J.M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, when the audience take offence at the ‘foul language’. The riots continue for a week, but the show goes on, heavily guarded by police.

January: The Rathdonnells embark upon a six-month cruise to the ‘East’. Also on board the ship was the composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934), a household name, who was presumably dreaming up his five Pomp and Circumstance Marches, even as their ship sailed. On 1 January 1907, Elgar wrote:

Fair weather, not rough in Bay but rather a curious swell. Not very lively people on board The Captn. at whose table we were very nice & Rathdonnells & a speakable Mr. Harland next E. & a nice Mrs. Neson (Ceylon) just beyond – God grant a happy year for E. & C. & us all‘.

The following day they passed by the Rock of Gibraltar and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada. On 3 January, Elgar remarked:

Nice morning but colder & soon got into a real gale – Sea fine to see & such wind Continued all the Evening & night Difficult to walk about Tremendous waves hurling against ship. Knocked officer & seaman over in course of it. Became quite friends with Lord & Lady Rathdonnel – Bored by old Lord Ellenborough‘.

They arrived in Marseilles the following day in very rough weather and could not dock. It is not clear whether the Rathdonnells stayed on board as the ship carried on to Naples and Capri. To see more on Elgar’s diary, visit Elgar in 1907.

Mid-Feb: Michael Governey fractures his leg out riding with the Carlow Hounds at Duckett’s Grove. He was looked after by Dr J.V. Ryan, his doctor and drinking comrade. [159]

April 26: The Belfast lockout begins (until 28 August 1907) when dockers, Protestant and Catholic alike, went on strike after their demand for union recognition was refused. The strike was called by Liverpool-born trade union leader James Larkin who had successfully organised the dock workers to join the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL).

May 20: The Irish Builder details a new ‘Water tower & cast-iron tank & ram’ made for Lord Rathdonnell by William Patrick Hade, civil engineer, of Carlow. [160] The Covered Yard and Steel Tank at Lisnavagh were erected in 1907 by Thomas Thompson of Hanover Works in Carlow. The concept was the same as the design used at the Main Hall of the RDS and Simmonscourt Hall, erected by the Collen Brothers, forebears of Anthony and Shane Jackson. At the turn of the century, the Collen family’s quarry at Tandragee built Kylemore Abbey, the Curragh Camp and the Portwhatsit [?] Lunatic Asylum, as well as good chunk of the Royal Dublin Society. The company continues to run under Peter and Joyce Thompson and had something to say to the Millennium Bridge and the East-Link Bridge. My father added the floors to Covered Yard in 1965.

June: “Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, who spent the winter travelling in the East, arrived in England last month. Lord Rathdonnell crossed to Ireland on Saturday.” [161]

June 15: Called by Roosevelt, the Second Hague Conference opens, hoping to expand on the 1899 conference, especially in relation to naval armaments. The treaties, declarations, and final act of the Second Conference were signed on 18 October 1907; they entered into force on 26 January 1910.

July 6: Theft of Irish Crown Jewels in which the Rathdonnell’s neighbour Peirce Gun O’Mahony is implicated.

Aug 3: Tom is a judge at the annual Kildare Hunt Horse Show at Oldtown.
August 19: The Fusiliers’ Arch was unveiled at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, to commemorate the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who served in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. Lord Meath delivered a speech at a luncheon in the Shelbourne Hotel afterwards, which included the following lines:

‘The toast list to-day is short, and contains but one toast, that of The King (applause). His Majesty King Edward occupies a position amongst rulers which is absolutely unique. He not only rules over twelve million square miles, one-sixth of the earth’s surface, and governs four hundred millions of subjects of all races, colours, creeds, and conditions of civilisation, from the most advanced to the most backward, but he is a Monarch whose personal qualities are of so distinguished an order that he has come to be regarded as a statesman of the first rank (applause). The world watches His Majesty’s movements with breathless interest. Under his masterful touch international difficulties which seem insuperable are solved, political sores are healed. His presence seems to breathe the spirit of peace and of goodwill, so that when he undertakes a journey it needs no strong imagination to picture to oneself the Angel of Peace hovering over his footsteps with healing in her wings (applause). King Edward is no stranger to Ireland; certainly not to Dublin. (renewed applause).’

Autumn: The Rathdonnells are listed in The Bystander as among the “visitors to Cairo this autumn” (1907), along with the Earl and Countess of Halsbury, Mr. and Lady Evelyn Giffard, the Earl of Kingston, Sir Gilbert Parker, and Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Lechmere. [162]

Sept 7: The Cunard line’s RMS Lusitania sets sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

October 17: At 11:30am, Marconi got his inaugural radio message through from Connemara to Lord Avebury at the New York Times and so began a new age of communication between North America and Europe. ‘Have I done the world good, or have I added a menace?’, Marconi would later wonder.

Bishop D’Arcy painted by Sir John Lavery.

November 6: The Rev. Charles Frederick D’Arcy, later Archbishop of Armagh, is translated to the see of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin. In his memoirs, ‘The Adventures of a Bishop’, he recalled how he arrived in the Diocese of Leighlin having been Bishop of Clogher since 1903, where he had lived at my wife’s family home of Bishopscourt, outside Clones, Co. Monaghan. He subsequently observed:

‘The Diocese of Leighlin includes County Carlow and a large portion of Queen’s County, with a fragment of Wicklow. It is a rich and beautiful territory, containing many resident gentry, and a large population of thriving farmers, and is freer from poverty, I think, than any part of southern Ireland. There has always been less political unrest in this fertile and well-to-do area than in other parts. Among the leaders in the work of the Church in this part of the united diocese might be counted nearly all the prominent men in the social life of the counties. It is very noteworthy of the history of the Church of Ireland since her disestablishment that she has been able to attract and to hold the hearts of her laity, and to secure their devoted services. This while united diocese might be taken as an illustration of this, and to no part does it apply more fully than to the Diocese of Leighlin’.

‘When I first came to know [the Diocese of Leighlin],’, continues Archbishop D’Arcy, Mr. [Henry] Bruen of Oak Park, Carlow, occupied the leading position. Universally respected for his lofty character, he was almost a dictator as regards the financial administration of the Church. In the Diocesan Council, his word was law. And he was a wise man, of great experience. The financial scheme of Leighlin, framed after 1870, was largely his creation. It had worked most successfully, and Leighlin was, in consequence, one of the best endowed dioceses in Ireland. As I often heard, Leighlin had been, at the start, blessed with the active assistance of three men of outstanding ability and devotion, Mr. Bruen, Sir Thomas Butler of Ballintemple, and that very wonderful man, Mr. [Arthur] MacMurrough Kavanagh of Borris, who, in spite of physical disabilities which would have utterly confounded most men, was able to hold his own in public affairs, and even in feats of endurance, with the best of his day. Of these three, Mr. Bruen alone survived, when I took over the reins of office in the united diocese. I felt, when first it was my duty to preside at the Diocesan Council of Leighlin, that Mr. Bruen’s voice spoke with the weight of a great authority. [p. 156]

Amongst those whom D’Arcy mingled were Lord Rathdonnell, Walter Kavanagh (son of Arthur and ‘one of the most impressive speakers in the General Synod – a man of very fine character’), Sir Algernon Coote of Ballyfin (‘premier baronet of Ireland, one of the kindest and most generous of men’) and Sir Hutcheson Poë of Doanaghadee, County Down, and, later, Heywood, County Laoise. [163]

Admiral Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, 1893.

November 17: Death of Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock. An obituary published in The Graphic on Saturday 23 November 1907 reads:

“The late Admiral Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, F.R.S., D.C.L, and L.L.D, was born in 1819, and entered the Navy in 1831. It was about a year after Dr. Rae had brought London the first intelligible news of Franklin’s fate that Captain McClintock (as he then was) set out in the Fox yacht, fitted out by Lady Franklin, on his most famous voyage. He returned in 1859 to tell of Franklin’s tragic fate. Most people have read his book, ‘’The Voyage of the Fox in the Arctic Seas: A Narrative of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and his Companions,” perhaps the most interesting book of the kind ever written. The explorer was knighted, received the Freedom of the City of London, the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, D.C.L. of Oxford, and LL.D. of Cambridge and Dublin.”

November 27: Readers of the Sydney Morning Herald learn that Land League activists had stopped the Ormond Hunt and that ‘poison was also told over the country where the Kildare fox-hounds hunt. Several hounds were poisoned at the last meet near Tullow, and two died.’

December: Opening of the Cottage Hospital at Scarlet Street in Drogheda as a result of the efforts of two sisters known locally as the ‘Misses Smiths’ of Greenhills, aka Miss Sidney Smith and Miss Rosa Smith, who raised the money for its erection and maintenance. Lady Rathdonnell and Viscountess Gormanston are the initial patronesses of the hospital while the President of this new establishment was Lady Bellew. [164]

Evicted Tenants Act provides for compulsory sale of land needed for evicted tenants.

Vere St Leger Goold, former Wimbledon finalist, convicted of murder.




By 1908, the Hollywood Motion Picture industry was underway, including the Moore brothers of Fordestown, County Meath, Mary Pickford (whose mother’s family were from Tralee) and Carlow-born William Desmond Taylor, pictured.

February: Monument to the late Queen Victoria erected within grounds of the Royal Dublin Society at Leinster House. Lord Lieutenant unveils monument while 1,000 troops on parade.

Easter: The Catholic Church’s ne temere decree goes into effect. This declaration of matrimonial law issued by Pope Pius X proposed that in mixed marriages, children should be brought up Catholic and the Catholic partner should endeavour to convert the other partner to Catholicism. I would have thought this did as much to harden Unionist resolve as anything.

April 21: The annual general meeting of the Irish Shorthorn Breeders’ Association was held in the Boardroom of the Royal Dublin Society, Ballsbridge, with the Right Hon. Frederick Wrench in the chair. “A resolution of sympathy with Lord Rathdonnell, the outgoing President, in his recent serious indisposition, and expressing fervent hopes for his complete recovery to health, was unanimously adopted.” [165]

April 27-31 Oct: London Olympics. (The dreaded kazoo was also there!)

May 28: The Irish Times reports – ‘On the recommendation of Lord Rathdonnell, His Majesty’s Lieutenant for the County of Carlow, the Lord Chancellor has appointed Mr. Samuel Richard Carter, of Otter Holt, Carlow and Monawee, Queen’s County, to the Commission of the Peace for the County Carlow.’

June 22: Death of 86-year-old William Dawson Duckett, DL, at Duckett’s Grove. He is buried in the square walled graveyard on the left side of the steep incline on the road approaching Castledermot from Tullow. There is a scroll dedicated to him in Urglin Church. [166]

July 14: Kate Rathdonnell’s brother, Arthur Thomas Bruen, marries Lily, youngest daughter of Francis Ruttledge, JP, of Coolbawn Cottage, Co. Wexford.

August 6 (circa): ‘Mr. Robert Watson, who for more than fifty years was Master of Carlow and Island Foxhounds, has died after a comparatively brief illness at Ballydarton, County Carlow, aged eighty-six.’ [167]

August 19: STATE COMMISSIONERS COMPULSORY ACQUIREMENT OF LAND – The Estates Commissioners give notice that they propose to acquire compulsorily under the Evicted Tenants Act certain lands in the Barony of Ardee, County Louth, and they call upon the Right Hon. Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, County Carlow, and all other persons, if any, interested in the lands, who may object to the acquisition of the lands under the Act, to lodge in the office of the Irish Land Commission, within one month from the date of the publication in the Dublin Gazette of this notice, a statement of the grounds of their objection. All the lands are shown on the maps, copies of which are filed in the office of the Irish Land Commission [i.e.: the present day Merrion Hotel], and may be inspected by all persons interested, during office hours. [168]

Sept 26: Tom’s cousin Frank McClintock (aka Francis George Le Poer McClintock, M.A., M.R.S.A.I.), former Rector of Drumcar, becomes Dean of Armagh. He was ordained Deacon in 1878 and became a Priest in 1879. He was third son of Major Henry Stanley M’Clintock who was also a brother of the first Lord Rathdonnell. Frank was Curate of Kilsaran parish from 1878 until his appointment to Drumcar Parish in 1886. In 1894 he was appointed Prebendary of Ballymore, and in 1896 Precentor of Armagh. He was later Domestic Chaplain to the Lord Primate and to the Lord Lieutenant.

When Bishop D’Arcy took office as Archbishop of Armagh in 1920, he described Dean McClintock, as ‘a man of wide cultivation and a musician of high attainments [who] was a member of a family long seated in County Louth of whom Lord Rathdonnell is the head. No more warming personality than the dean could be imagined. He was a pianist of extraordinary gifts. He seemed to lose himself in the sheer joy of the performance. Perhaps too sensitive for the rough and tumble of ordinary life, he kept aloof from many of the things which interest the multitudes. Yet he was always most kindly and sympathetic’. [169]

Oct 1:  Henry Ford’s Model T, a “universal car” designed for the masses, goes on sale for the first time.

Dec 18: ‘The Earl and Countess of Rothes embark at Marseilles on Friday next for passage to Egypt by the Peninsular and Oriental steamship Marmera, as will also Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, Sir Arthur and Lady Paget, and Prince D’Arenburg. By the earns vessel the Marchioness of Lansdowne, Sir Henry and Lady Tichborne, General Sir Bindon Blood, Lord Frederick Hamilton, and Sir Hill Child are travelling to India.’ [170]

Corrigan family acquire Rathmore House, former home of Colonel Kane Bunbury.

‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame is published. The inspiration for Toad of Toad Hall was Colonel F.C. Ricardo (1852-1924), a neighbour of Grahame, who, like Toad, drove round in a yellow Rolls-Royce and would offer lifts to any residents he saw. In 1924, Colonel Ricardo collapsed and died suddenly while walking with his niece in the garden of his house, Lullebrook Manor on Odney Island at Cookham in Berkshire. He was in the Eton crews that won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley in 1869 and 1870. He was Captain of the Boats and Keeper of the Field in 1870 and 1871, which is why he appears in the photograph of the Eton Captains taken just before Billy Bunbury’s death.

Death of Thomas Barry, father of Kevin Barry. Family running prosperous dairy that included an eighty-six-acre holding at Tombeagh, Hacketstown, Co Carlow and a retail outlet below the family home in Fleet Street. For more on Kevin Barry’s sister Kathleen, see here.

At about this time, Lord Rathdonnell became Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a position he had held for 16 years, a tricky period in Irish politics. Nic Dunlop asks whether aristocracy and gentry from the south took part in Orange parades? There was a version of the famous portrait of King Billy at the Boyne by Jan Wyck at Lisnavagh. Some of Rathdonnell’s McClintock and Gough kinsmen would be embroiled in the Curragh mutiny.




January: Perhaps the most unlikely beneficiaries of the Night of the Big Wind of 1839 were those old enough to remember it when the Old Age Pensions Act was enacted in January 1909, 70 years after the event and 100 years ago this month. The Act offered the first ever weekly pension to those over 70. It was likened to the opening of a new factory on the outskirts of every town and village in Britain and Ireland. By March 1909, over 80,000 pensioners were registered of whom 70,000 were Irish! When a committee was sent to investigate this imbalance, it transpired that few births in Ireland were ever registered before 1865. As such, the pensions committees had decreed that if someone’s age had ‘gone astray’ on them, they would be eligible for a pension if they could state that they were ‘fine and hardy’ on the Night of the Big Wind 70 years earlier. One such applicant was Tim Joyce of County Limerick. ‘I always thought I was 60’, he explained. ‘But my friends came to me and told me they were certain sure I was 70 and as there were three or four of them against me, the evidence was too strong for me. I put in for the pension and got it’.

February 1: (Monday) T. L. Bunbury of Lisnavagh and Robert Thorp of Kilgreany House, Bagenalstown, made their respective declarations as High Sheriff and Sub-Sheriff of Co. Carlow, before Mr. Charles J. Johnson, Commissioner of Oaths. [171] Tim’s uncle Henry Bruen of Oak Park – Kate’s eldest brother – was simultaneously elected High Sheriff of Co. Wexford. Tim need not have feared his father looking over his shoulder during the next few months as Tom and Kate Rathdonnell had taken to the seas and headed for Egypt.

March 8: Death. of Sir Thomas Butler of Ballintemple. His son Richard, “an archetypal Victorian gentleman… magistrate and member of the hunt committee“, succeeds.

March 31: Construction of the RMS Titanic began when designer James Andrews laid the first keel plate in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, Belfast.

April: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell are still in Egypt, and are not expected back in Ireland until the middle of next month. Lord Rathdonnell has greatly benefited by his stay in a warm climate. An old officer of the Scots Greys, and a great hunting man, Lord Rathdonnell spends most of his time in Ireland, where he has two seats—Lisnavagh in Carlow and Drumcar in Louth—but he had been indisposed, and his medical advisers recommended a complete change. He is well known as a breeder of horses and cattle, and in this direction has attained special eminence. Lord and Lady Rathdonnell’s elder son, a subaltern in the 2nd Dragoons, his father’s old corps, died in South Africa of wounds received in action near Kimberley, and their other son was for a time private secretary to a Governor of Ceylon. Their three daughters are all married to cavalry officers.’ (Clifton Society, 15 April 1909, p. 6.)

April 30: Faced with a huge financial crisis, Lloyd-George’s “People’s Budget” surprises most commentators by ignoring cutbacks, increasing spending on everything and putting a huge tax on rich.

May: A month for sunshine.

June: A month for dullness, coldness and in places for its wetness. An absolute shocker. Northerly winds were frequent during the month.

In 1909, representations were made by Mr R. J. Mecredy, a renowned motoring historian, to the British Automobile Association, with a view to setting up in Ireland. Following a visit in 1910 by Colonel Bosworth and Stenson Cooke, AA Secretary, offices were opened in Dublin and Belfast, with a sub-office being opened in Cork c1912-13. The AA Irish Secretary was Arthur Allen.

October 6: Marriage in Urglin, County Carlow, of Amy Duckett and Major Louis Murray Phillpotts, DSO (1870-1916), second son of the Reverend H J and Mrs Phillpotts, of Shadwell, Speldhurst, Kent. Grace Bruen and Maud Butler were among the bridesmaids. Amy may have been an old flame of Billy Bunbury who was killed in South Africa nine years earlier. Philpotts was a veteran of the Anglo-Boer War who also took part in the advance on Kimberley and fought at Modder River, as well as operations in the Orange River Colony, February to May 1900 (including operations at Paardeberg from 17 to 26 February, during which time Billy died), and actions near Johannesburg. He was with the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery at the time. With the outbreak of the European War, he was gazetted Lieutenant Colonel in October 1914 and later promoted to Brigadier General with the First Field Artillery but he was killed in action on 8 September 1916. Their son Lt.-Col. Henry Steuart Phillpotts was born in 1910 and married Mary Finola FitzGerald, daughter of Sir Arthur Henry Brinsley FitzGerald, 4th Bt; their daughter Rebecca married Maurice Michael Hardress Goodbody. After her husband’s death in the war, Amy Philpotts was married secondly on 21 February 1921 to Lt.-Col. Frederick Makgill Maitland but she died May 20th 1927. These details come from a grave plaque in the Duckett burial ground at Russelstown Park (near the M9 motorway) where she was buried. The plaque is only partially legible and was transcribed by James Doyle in August 2017. Russelstown Park House was demolished by the Land Commission in the 1950’s. The remaining stables are now renovated as a private residence.

October 24: The Engineering and Scientific Association of Ireland assures its members that flying machines will never be of any practical use.

Grace Bruen by Bassano, taken in 1925 when she was 55 years old. In August 1910, she married General Sir Hunt Johnson-Walsh, who had served in expeditions to Manipur, India, and Chin Hills, Burma, in the early 1890s.

October 28: The New Zealand Tablet‘s Irish News section reports: ‘LOUTH – LONG-PENDING NEGOTIATIONS: After four years’ negotiations, the tenants of Lord Rathdonnell at Drumcor [sic], County Louth, have signed agreements for the purchase of their holdings‘.

At about this time, the Leinster Estates were sold to the tenants under the Wyndham Land Purchase Act for over £1,000,000. Maurice, the sixth Duke of Leinster, was born in 1887 and regarded as a talented young man at Eton. However, ‘he suffered from a nervous malady almost from his boyhood, and was destined to lead the life of an invalid’. (Nationalist). He died in 1922 after a prolonged illness. His father ‘was very popular and was a man of a very attractive personality. He was held in the highest esteem by the tenants on the extensive estates in Kildare, and died in December 1893, at a comparatively early age. His mother Lady Hermione Duncombe was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Faversham. She died in March 1895.’

November: Tim Bunbury elected a Grand Knight of the College of Philosophical Masons in Ireland.

November 13: The Times announces that Miss Watson, Bob Watson’s daughter – and Jack Bunbury’s sister-in-law – is to become hunt secretary to the Wentworths, ‘Although the only subscriptions expected from Lord Fitzwilliam’s (Wentworth) followers are those to the Wire and Poultry Fund, the secretarial work is by no means light, and it was therefore with regret that the Hunt learned of Mr. G. A. Wilson’s request to be relieved of the post which he had honorarily held for a great many years. In his place, however, the committee have taken the unusual course of electing a lady, and when it is added that the new hon. secretary is a daughter of the late Mr. Robert Watson, who hunted the Carlow and Island country for nearly 60 years, and a sister of the late Mr. John Watson, Master of the Meath, everyone connected with the sport both in England and Ireland will agree that the choice is a very happy one. There have been few families with such a long, close, and interesting association with hunting as the Watsons. The grandfather of the newly-appointed secretary, Miss Watson, of Hooton Roberts, also hunted the Carlow, or, as it was formerly called, the Tullow country, before the memorable rule of his son, and even before that era his ancestors had kept hounds, hunting hare, stag, fox, and wolf; as a matter of fact the last wolf in Ireland is said to have been killed in county Carlow by their pack. Then Miss Watson’s uncle, the late Mr. George Watson, founded the Melbourne Hunt, and was Master for more than half a century, first hunting the dingo and kangaroo, but soon introducing the British fox, which has multiplied there with almost the same rapidity as the imported rabbit. His son, Mr. Godfrey Watson, was still Joint Master of the Melbourne a few seasons ago. Another of Miss Watson’s uncles, the late Mr. William Watson, was during his lifetime a most active supporter of the Cotswold Hunt; and her sister, Baroness Max de Tuyll, has had the well-deserved reputation of being one of the best riders to hounds in the English Midlands. Miss Watson herself is an accomplished horsewoman, and takes. a keen interest in hunting affairs, so that the followers of Lord Fitzwilliam’s Wentworth pack are in every way to be congratulated upon the appointment of Mr. Wilson’s successor.’

Dec 20: The Volta, Irelands first cinema opens in Dublin.



March 10: Death of the Rathdonnell’s grandson, 13-year-old, George Colvin, while he is at Eton. The second son of Lt. Col. Forrester and Isabel Colvin, George had contracted measles some days earlier but then collapsed and died of heart failure, just as Rathdonnell’s brother Jack had done. His young siblings did not attend the funeral at Shermansbury Church, Cowfold, the next day.

May 5: Theodore Roosevelt formally accepts the Nobel Prize, in return for resolving the Russo-Japanese War five years earlier.

July 15: Tom and Kate Rathdonnell in attendance at the Japan-British Exhibition in London over which Prince Arthur of Connaught presided. (Telegraph).  Louis Brennan demonstrates his latest version of the monorail system with such success that, at Churchill’s behest, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith went for a much publicized ride on board, and Brennan picked up the Grand Prize.

August 4: Marriage of Kate Rathdonnell’s youngest sister Grace Bruen to Sir Hunt Henry Allen Johnson-Walsh, 5th Bart, of Ballykilcavan, County Laois.

Can anyone identify this Double Phaeton motorcar from circa 1904 which was photographed outside the old front entrance of Lisnavagh House? Unfortunately the man (Captain Brush!!?) is blocking out all ID features. The digits “44” on the number plate suggest that it was IY44, owned by Captain Brush of Brohatna [Broughattin], Ballymascanlon, Dundalk, Co Louth.
I suspect this was Dublin-born John Eastwood Ramsay Brush who, at the time of the 1911 census, was 44 years old, living at Brohatna, and serving as a Justice of the Peace and Major in the Special Reserve of officers. Also living with him was his Louth-born sister Edwina Brush, aged 40, while 1911 was also the year in which John Brush married Gwyneth Mary Prinsep. She was presumably a relation of London-born Anthony Prinsep (1888–1942), the owner or manager of several London theatres whose first wife was actress Marie Lohr (1890-1975) who starred in plays by Bernard Shaw and acted alongside Sir Gerald du Maurier as Lady Ware in ‘The Ware Case’ (1924).
According to Burke’s Irish Family Records (1976), Brohatna House was bought by John’s father Henry Brush (1824 -1900). John served as a Major with the 3 Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Great War but was invalided from Salonika in late 1916, suffering from malaria. The Irish Independent of 24 November 1916 noted that Major Brush was ‘of an Ulster family and is well known in Derry.’ He died in February 1922. His son Auriol Henry Brush served in World War 2 and lived in Ravensdale until 1958, when he moved to London.
Lord Rathdonnell had IC36 and IC49 registered to him in 1911 but sadly makes and models weren’t recorded.
See the 1911 Motor Directories online.
The decorative mantel above the front door at Lisnavagh is now over the fire in the Library.
The car might be a French Mors (due to long front wheel hubs) or a French Gardner Serpollet
(given its short bonnet; this would be a ‘steamer’ with the engine underside/rear.
With thanks to Dominic Lee, Ian S. Elliott (Corravahan House), Brendan McCoy and Bozi Mohacek (Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society).

Sept 18Sir Richard Butler returns to his 7000-acre estate at Ballin Temple in time for his American wife, Alice Leigh, to deliver their first-born son and heir, Thomas Pierce Butler. Like Rathdonnell, Sir Richard was a keen farmer and “began by breeding herds of black Aberdeen Angus cattle, later turning to the cultivation of Clydesdale shire-horses“. Crops, sheep and pigs were also farmed. Hope and Francis Morris worked at Ballintemple when the estate consisted of about 1000 acres. In a charming article entitled “Days of Yore at Ballintemple” they recalled the employees gathering in the farmyard at 8 o’clock in the morning to the fading chimes of the yardbell. Here they would receive their instructions from for the day ahead. “The bell was rung again at 1 o’clock for lunch break, 2 o’clock to return to work and finally at 6 o’clock to gladly end another day on the farm.” Full-time employees numbered 8 – 10 with seasonal labourers brought in “at peak times such as hay-making, harvesting and potato picking“. Children were often given a week off school in October to help with these chores. Harvesting took a particularly long time, starting with “the cutting of the corn with a binder followed by the stoking of sheaves … [which were then] left perhaps a week before being put into hand stacks. When the corn seemed mature enough the stacks were then drawn by horse and cart to the haggard and put into large ricks“. Threshing took place over 5 or 6 days later in the autumn and was something of a social event as men from neighbouring farms came in to help out. Another few days of threshing took place at the end of February in order to have fresh seed ready for sowing the Spring crops.

Sept 24: ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell are spending the autumn at Lisnavagh, their place in Co Carlow, where they had a shooting party last week. Their son Mr. T. Bunbury has just returned home from spending two years abroad.’ [172]

Oct 7: Premiere of Percy French’s play, The Immigrant’s Letter.

Oct 8 (Sat): Tom and Kate Rathdonnell amongst the leading guests who gather at St David’s Church in Naas for the wedding of the 5th Baron de Robeck’s eldest daughter Dorothy Zoe to Mr. Digby Robert Peel, third son of the late William Felten Peel, of Alexandria, Egypt, and Mrs. Peel, of The White House, Hartfleld, Sussex. The Archdeacon of Kildare officiated. The bride, who wore white satin charmeuse trimmed with silver embroidery, was given away by her father. She was followed by Master Michael de Robeck (her brother) and Miss Joan de Robeck (her cousin), the former wearing a Court costume of white satin and the latter a white muslin frock and lace cap. The bridesmaids were the Misses Olave and Muriel de Robeck (sisters), Miss Zoe de Burgh, and Miss Iris Reiss, who wore frocks of white satin and ninon, with old rose-coloured sashes, and hats of the same shade. Small bouquets of carnations were fastened to the Empire staves which they carried. Captain E. M. Conolly, (aka Ted Conolly), late Royal Artillery, was best man. As well as the Rathdonnells, the guests included Lady Albreda Bourke, the Earl and Countess of Mayo, Sir John and Lady Kennedy, Mr. and Lady Annette La Touche, Sir Kildare and Lady Borrowes, and Sir William and Lady Goulding. After the reception the bride and bridegroom left for London. [173]

Oct 20: The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to Titanic, is launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Dec 10: Birth of John Martin Bruen, DSO, only son of Arthur and Lily Bruen, and nephew to the Rathdonnells.

Dec 15: The Court Journal runs this article, published in Clifton Society on 15 December 1910, p. 6.

‘Lord Rathdonnell, who is sixty-two, was some time ago in very indifferent health, but, says the Court Journal, he is now much better, a long stay in Egypt when he was indisposed having greatly benefited him. An old officer of the Scots Greys, and a most keen hunting man at one period, Lord Rathdonnell lives mostly in Ireland, where he has been more than ordinarily successful in breeding horses and shorthorns. His elder son, a most promising officer of the 2nd Dragoons, was killed during a fight near Kimberley in 1900, and his heir is his younger son, Mr. Thomas Leopold McClintock-Bunbury, who has inherited his father’s interest in cattle and horse breeding. Lord and Lady Rathdonnell’s family may be said to have close connections with the cavalry arm of the Service, for their three daughters all married cavalry officers.
The Rathdonnell peerage Is quite a recent creation, dating only from 1868, but Lord Rathdonnell is head of a branch of an ancient Scots family, which has been settled in Ireland since 1597, when Alexander McClintock purchased the Rathdonnell property in Donegal. The McClintock family estates are, however, now in Carlow and Louth, and four or five years ago Lord Rathdonnell disposed of considerable land in Fermanagh, under the Wyndham Act. The first peer, Lord Rathdonnell’s uncle, died in 1879, and his widow ten years later. ‘

Dec 31: Birth of Peter Fitzwilliam (later 8th Earl Fitzwilliam) at Wentworth Wodehouse in Yorkshire.


Lisnavagh in the 1911 Census – Williamstown DED


The following lists represents the names of those recorded at Lisnavagh at the time of the 1911 Census, followed by their age, place of birth, profession, religion, literacy, marital status and other details where known. There were almost certainly many more people employed at Lisnavagh who lived in the adjacent townlands of Ballybit, Haroldstown and Tobinstown, which I hope to attend to before long. My father proposes regarding the houses below: ” In reality 2,3,10.1, 11,13, 14 and 15 exchange between Groom’s Cottage, the two farm Cottages and maybe the Lodge, Green Lane and two Ballybit cottages.” There are also the same results for the 1901 census yet to be explored.

HOUSE 1, LISNAVAGH – THE PARKERS of The Sawmill, Lisnavagh

  • Fredrick Joseph Parker, 51, England, Forester, Church of Ireland, Read and write
  • Sarah Jane Parker, 51, England, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Wife, Married.
  • Harry Parker, 24, England, House Carpenter, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Single.
  • Albert Parker, 21, England, Engine Driver Saw Mill, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Son, Single.
  • Lily Parker, 19, England, Dress Maker, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Daughter, Single
  • Annie Ellen Parker, 16, Co Louth, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Daughter, Single
  • Frank Parker, 14, Co Louth, Scholar, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Single.
  • Edith Emily Parker, 12, Co Louth, Scholar, Church of Ireland, read and write, daughter.
  • Gertrude Parker, 10, Co Louth, Scholar, Church of Ireland, Read and write.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: The record fits my memory that they came from England via Drumcar. By the ages of the children it appears the family moved to the Sawmill Cottage between 1892 and 1895, the father could of course have come earlier. (Frank and Harry I remember.)]



The house appears to have been owned or rented by Rose F Weekes, not sure who she was, but on the night of the census it was occupied by the people below. Further details of this unidentified house here:

  • Rosabelle Walker, 64, Co Tyrone, Irish Church, Read and write, Head of Family, Widow. Also known as ‘Rose’, Rosabelle Frances Walker was born a Lendrum and was a sister (possibly a twin) of George Lendrum, who also lived here. She was a widow of Charles Reginald Walker, whom she married in 1872 and who died in 1879. According to Rosemary Raughter, she was also involved in the Wicklow women’s anti-Home Rule agitation. By 1912 she was renting a house in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, by 1912. She died in Portarlington in January 1921, three months after her nephew’s murder. G B Butler was present at her death. Rosabelle and her husband are buried in Kilskeery Church graveyard. Another sister Mary Waller Lendrum married a Mr Carlton; their son Charles, or Charlie, was a military man, never married and may have lived near Fintona.
  • George Lendrum, 64, Co Tyrone, Irish Church, Read and write, Visitor, Married.
  • Netta Lendrum, 54, Roscommon, Irish Church, Read and write, Visitor.
  • Bridget Kehoe, 27, Co Carlow, P Maid / Domestic Servant, R Catholic, Read and write, Single.
  • Mary Daly, 28, Co Limerick, Cook Domestic Servant, R Catholic, Read and write, Servant, Single
  • William Carr, 33, Co Dublin, Gardener, R Catholic, Read and write, Servant, Single.
    [P. Maid” is probably Parlour Maid and the Irish Church is Church of Ireland.]

George Cosby Lendrum (1846-1933) was High Sheriff of County Fermanagh (1875) and Tyrone (1882), as well as a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for both counties. In the 1880s, they lived at Jamestown, Magheracross, half-way between the villages of Kilskeery and Ballinanamallard on the Tyrone/Fermanagh border. In about 1899, they moved to Corkil (or Corkhill), just two or three miles up the river in the village of Kilskeery, to the north of Enniskillen. They were also associated with Derryvullan, Irvinestown.

In 1878, he married Netta [Frances Antoinetta] Butler, a daughter of Captain Antoine Sloët Butler, CB (1823-1901), third son of Sir Thomas, 8th Bt., of Ballintemple, and his wife Mary Beresford. Captain A.S. Butler was born in October 1823 and was ‘commonly called Baron’ in a nod to a Baron Sloët who had helped his father recuperate from a weighty ailment earlier that year. Through his mother, the captain was a first cousin of the Victorian poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

George and Netta had five children, four sons anda daughter … All four brothers were briefly involved with rubber planting in Malaya where over 250,000 were working on the crop by 1911. The children were:
(1) Anne Lendrum (aka Nancy Dalgety, who married Sandy Dalgety, a brother-in-law of Pauline McClintock-Bunbury; they had no children and lived at Ryevale, Nancy dying in 1967);
(2) James Butler Lendrum (1880–1924), known as Jim, survived a near drowning at Bundoran as a boy.[174] He went on to manage a rubber plantation in Malaya; he died under extraordinary circumstances on 12 May 1924, aged 42, at the Wilton Hotel in London Westminster, which stood near The Apollo Theatre and very close to Victoria Station. An inquest found that the appalling convulsions he died of were triggered by a fractured skull which he suffered two years previously when his motorbike collided with a bullock cart.
(3) [George] Waller Lendrum (1882-1918) who joined the Cape Police in South Africa, changed his surname to Vesey and was killed in the Great War while serving with the North Irish Horse;
(4) Marcus Beresford Lendrum, DL (1883-1969), who fought on the Somme and later in North Russia during the Great War, and later worked with the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank. He was father of June and grandfather of Geoff Simmons; and
(5) Alan Cane Lendrum (1885-1920) sailed round the world with Lord Brassey and served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the Great War, winning an MC & Bar. Alan was Resident Magistrate in Co. Clare when, aged 34, he was kidnapped and executed by the IRA on 27 October 1920. He was buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Kilskerry. [175]



  • Lewis Smith Kaye, 37, Yorkshire, Butler, Domestic Servant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family. He and Margaret had been married for 6 years and 2 of their 3 children were still living.
  • Margaret Kaye, 33, Co Sligo, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Wife.
  • Beatrice Margaret Kaye, 4, Co Carlow, Church of Ireland.
  • Doris Mary Kaye, 2, Co Carlow, Church of Ireland.
  • Mabel Millan, 21, Co Carlow, House maid / Domestic Servant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Single. She was living with the Kayes as a servant.
  • Ida Catherine Rowe, 20, Co Meath, House maid / Domestic Servant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Servant, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: Maybe the Groom’s, handy for the butler. I think the servants were more likely part of the main household than his. Hilda must not yet be born, which is probable if she died in 2003.]


HOUSE 4, LISNAVAGH – The Schoolhouse?


  • Elizabeth Griffin, 25, Co Wicklow, National Teacher, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family, Single.
  • Isabella Griffin, 37, Co Wicklow, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Sister, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: Looks like the Schoolhouse, so there may still have been lessons going on there a hundred years ago.]


HOUSE 6, LISNAVAGH – The Stables?


  • James Mary, 36, Louth?, Coachman, Roman Catholic, Read and write, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: Was in all likelihood in the Stables, to where there was a pull bell. Basically in all outbuildings where there is plaster and a fireplace, it was someone’s home.]

HOUSE 7, LISNAVAGH – The Bothy!?


  • Richard Turner, 18, Wicklow, Gardener, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Single.
  • George Willis, 18, Carlow, Gardener, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Servant, Single. (Perhaps a nephew of the Giffs?)

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: This seems more like the Bothy?]




  • William Foulds, 43, Scotland, Gardener, Scottish Presbyterian, Read and write, Head of Family, Married.
  • Mary Ann Foulds, 43, Scotland, Scottish Presbyterian, Read and write, Wife, Married. They had been married for fourteen years and had five children, four of whom were still living:
  • John Foulds, 12, Co Tipperary, Scholar, Scottish Presbyterian, Read and write, Single.
  • Margaret Foulds, 9, Co Tipperary, Scholar, Scottish Presbyterian, Read and write, Daughter, Single.
  • Mary Foulds, 4, Co Carlow, Scottish Presbyterian, Cannot read, Daughter, Single.
  • Lily Foulds, 0, Co Carlow, Scottish Presbyterian, Cannot read, Daughter.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: New to me but fit with being the gardener in Oddfellows Hall; again the implication is that they came from Tipperary between 1902 and 1907.]


HOUSE 9 – THE NICHOLLS – The Keeper’s.


  • Charles Nicholl, 34, Co Sligo, Game Keeper, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family, Married.
  • Grace Nicholl, 36, Co Wicklow, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Wife. They had been married for 8 years and had 3 children:
  • Matthew Nicholl, 6, Co Carlow, Scholar, Church of Ireland,
  • William Nicholl, 5, Co Carlow, Scholar, Church of Ireland, Cannot read, Single
  • Charles Alexander Nicholl, 1, Co Carlow, Church of Ireland.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: I hardly knew Charles of the Keeper’s Cottage who died about 1945. I knew Charlie and Bill.]




  • Ernest Perry, 20, Dublin, Painter, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: This could be on the farm lofts, or anywhere. There is no obvious sequence to the numbered houses unless other censuses (maybe they are so elite to be censae) throw up a pattern.]




  • Henry Giff, 25, Carlow, Hand Steward, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family, Married. [Presumably Land Steward, not Han Steward!?]
  • Elizabeth Giff, 26, Carlow, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Wife, Married.
  • Francis Giff, 28, Carlow, Shop Assistant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Brother, Single.
  • Annie Willis, 46, Carlow, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Sister in Law, Married.




  • Christopher Ryder, 70, Wicklow, Workman, Roman Catholic, Head of Family, Widower.
  • Annie Brady, 41, Dublin City, Cook / Domestic Servant, Roman Catholic, Read and write, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: Might be Farm Cottage].




  • Arthur Thomas Bruen, 38, Dublin, Land Agent, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family, Married.
  • Lily Bruen, 38, Wexford, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Wife, Married
  • John Martin Bruen, 0, Dublin, Church of Ireland, Son, Single.
  • Christina Eubank, 38, Kilkenny, Nurse / Domestic Servant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Servant, Widow.
  • Jean Stewart, 24, Scotland, General Servant, United Free Presbyterian, Read and write, Servant, Single.

[Rathdonnell Comments, 8 Jan 2012: Seems like Germaine’s with 2 servants. The sequence is strange with no precedence, and what about the House?]




  • Thomas Young, 31, Scotland, Blacksmith, Presbyterian, Read and write, Head of Family, Single.




  • Samuel Davison, 41, Co Louth, Farm Servant, Church of Ireland, Read and write, Head of Family, Single.




  • Joshua Scott, 44, Carlow, Farm Labourer, Irish Church, Can read and write, Head of Family.
  • Thomas Price, 48, Queens Co, Groom, R Catholic, Cannot read or write, Boarder, Single.




The house in Ballybit where Bob Murphy lived prior to his death in 2002 was formerly home to John Harte and his mother Anne. According to the 1911 census, John was a 28-year-old who worked as a ‘chaffer’. Born circa 1851, Anne Harte was a Catholic from the Queen’s County who worked as a housekeeper, perhaps at Lisnavagh. She had been a widow since at least the 1901 census. John’s older sister Mary and older brother James were recorded as a domestic servant and agricultural labourer in 1901, probably at Lisnavagh. John converted the Harte’s old pigsty into a greenhouse with a coal-fired pipe. See also Ballybit here.




The 1901 and 1911 census also highlights the Maher family of Williamstown who appear to have been much involved with the Lisnavagh Sawmill – that the widowed Thomas Maher Snr and his two sons Gerald and Thomas were all described as carpenters on the 1901 census. (John, the youngest son, described as a farmer’s son in 1901, is described as a carpenter in 1911His daughter Maggie was described as a housekeeper, perhaps of Lisnavagh? I remember seeing the sawmill in operation in the early 1980s and it was all cogs, whistles and belts, amazing to watch in motion. Some of the old furnaces and steam engines were presumably stoked by Scottish fireman John Bisset (named on the 1901 census as a boarder with the Mahers) while another Scotsman William Smyth was a straight up ‘saw miller’. Interestingly, as Brendan O’Donoghue relays, Elizabeth Bridget Maher, presumably a sister of the Carpenters, left Williamstown for Australia in about 1900, married an Aussie called William Gorman and had a son, Tom Gorman (1901-1978) who played rugby for the Australian rugby team (then called the Kangaroos, now the Wallabies). He was the first Queenslander to captain a Kangaroo Tour (1929-30).



By 1911, Rathdonnell was driving – or, presumably being driven in – a dark blue Wolseley Siddley open touring car (16Cwt 3 Qrs) which was registered as ‘Private’ on 31st. July 1911. Its registration number was IC 36. (IC is Carlow). The family chauffeur at this time was Dublin-born Walter Wood who would remain at Lisnavagh through until his death in circa 1955. The accompanying image shows a Wolseley Siddley with Lady Maurice Fitzgerald of Johnstown Castle seated up front with her cousin and estate manager Colonel Ronald Forbes. Her daughter Kathleen and chauffeur Billy Breslin are in the back seat. As to the details on Rathdonnell’s Siddley, classic car enthusiast Peter Miller observed in 2015 that a side page attached to his registration stated: “Registration cancelled through change of ownership and non-application of new owner to have car re-registered. R.J.K. 11/09/1911”. As Peter remarks, ‘it would appear that the car was sold a few months after being taxed in July 1911.’


January 5: Anne de Vere Cole marries Neville Chamberlain. Her brother Horace will marry Denise Daly, who would later become my father’s aunt.

January 26: The Rathdonnells may have attended the wedding of Eustace Mansfield and Mabel Paget at St Mary’s of Cadogan Street. See the story of Lisnavagh the war-horse.

April 1: The Thompson Graving Dock opened, located on the west-side of Queen’s Island in Belfast, within sight of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The dock was constructed by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. It was designed to accommodate the new mammoth White Star liners Olympic and Titanic.

April 2: Census recorded for Ireland and England (Sunday night) but curiously no record of any Rathdonnells, Bunburys or McClintocks at Drumcar or Lisnavagh that night. Fuller details of who was around can be found above. The census records a population of 4,390,219 in Ireland.

On the 1911 census, the 8 (primarily Ulster) Protestant servants living with 82-year-old Henry Bruen at Oak Park include a 30-year-old Dublin-born chauffeur called Walter Percy Wood who later works at Lisnavagh from circa 1920 until circa 1960. It seems quite plausible that he was already working for Lisnavagh but was visiting Oak Park, given that a motorcycle with the registration number IC 49 was registered to Walter at Lisnavagh in 1911. The registration was cancelled ‘by direction of the owner’ on 30 December 1912. [176]

May 6: Death of Edward VII. 

June: Ricudo and Omarino, two Amazonians, arrive in London as part of Sir Roger Casement‘s campaign to highlight atrocities in the Putumayo on the Colombia-Peru border. It transpires to be an exceptionally hot summer.

June 22: George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

August 1: Dr J. H. Bernard succeeds Charles D’Arcy to be enthroned as Bishop at St. Canice’s, and in Leighlin and Ferns on the two following days. As Robert MacCarthy put it in ‘The Church of Ireland in Carlow, 1549-2000’, ‘the new bishop displayed what would now be regarded as a very restful approach to his episcopal duties’. He heads off on a tour of familiarity with the gentry and, in his first two months, he stays with the Rathdonnells at Lisnavagh, the Cosbys at Stardbally, the Robertsons at Huntington Castle, the Desarts of Desart Court and ‘Old Lord Courtown’. I think his only son Robert Bernard was killed at Gallipoli in 1915.

October 1: Statue of Charles Stewart Parnell  unveiled on Sackville (aka O’Connell) Street, Dublin, by John Redmond, 30 years after O’Connell’s statue was placed on the street. Was Nelson’s Pillar starting to feel the heat? Augustus Saint Gardens was the sculptor and a souvenir booklet, with black and white photographs, was published by Sealy, Bryers and Walker, 1911.

October 25: (Wednesday) Irish Independent reports on p. 4 that ‘Lord and Lady Rathdonnell are leaving Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow, and will spend the winter with their daughter of Oxfordshire’.

November 7: Death of the Baron de Tuyll, second husband to Myra Watson, the widow of Jack Bunbury.

December 11: Death of Henry de La Poer Beresford, 6th Marquess of Waterford, KP (1875-1911) who drowned in the Clodagh by Curraghmore.



January 17:Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole, only to find that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten him by one month. He dies on the return leg on 29 March.

March 8: Death of Kate Rathdonnell’s father, Rt. Hon. Henry Bruen, aged 84.

April 2: James Mallin, a respectable, well-to-do farmer from Haroldstown was found drowned in the River Dereen. ‘It appears the deceased partook of dinner as usual with his family at about 1:30 on that day. After dinner he left home to inspect cattle that were grazing near his dwelling on the bank of the river. He was absent longer than was his wont and his family grew uneasy. A search was made through the fields and ditches, partly in daylight, and later with the assistance of lanterns. At length, a farmer called Patrick Carroll spotted him from the Lisnavagh side of the river, caught in the river between two stones. The body was immediately removed to the bank and messenger was sent to the police of Rathvilly who were soon on the spot. The body was then quite cold.’

April 3: ‘At 4pm on the 3rd inst, Dr. JJ Nolan, coroner for Co. Carlow held an inquest on the remain of James Mallin. Sergeant McGovern, Sergeant Murphy and Constable O’Grady were all present. James’s son Patrick Mallin explained that James ‘suffered from lightness of the head and would occasionally imagine he was dying and send for the police’. Dr. Thomas Kidd deposed that James had been in ‘a very bad state of health’ when he examined him shortly before his death, and that he had difficulty breathing and walking. A verdict of accidental death was returned.’ [177]

Eddie Colley, who was fated to die when the Titanic sank on his birthday.

April 10: The Belfast built luxury liner Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Berth 44, White Star Line dock, Southampton towards New York, with Edward Colley (my grandmother’s uncle) amongst those on board.

April 11: Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced the Third Home Rule Bill which would have provided self-government for Ireland, an apparent triumph for Nationalist leader John Redmond.

April 11: Titanic stops off at Queenstown (now Cobh), Co Cork, where 79 people boarded the vessel. A lucky seven disembarked, including Father Browne.

April 15: At 2.20 am the White Star liner Titanic sinks. Edward Colley is amongst those who drowns; it was his 37th birthday.

April 22: Denys Corbett Wilson, a pioneering Irish aviator, completes his 100-minute flight from Goodwick in Pembrokeshire to Crane near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford – from Great Britain to Ireland. The journey time was 1 hour 40 minutes. He was shot down in 1915.

April 22: Colonel Forrester Colvin buys his future war-horse Hopit for £162.15.

June 30: First serious outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease since 1884. Identified by backward tracing, it was confirmed on a farm in Swords, Co. Dublin, on 30 June. It had earlier been diagnosed in animals in a slaughter plant in Liverpool. The disease infected 382 animals on 68 herds in seven counties and persisted until 17 November. A Royal Commission of inquiry investigated the handling of the disease. ‘One of the side issues was the diagnosis of Armagh disease, which causes peeling of the superficial epithelium of the tongues of cattle and is caused by an undetermined infectious agent. Experiments demonstrated that it could be transmitted to susceptible animals when challenged with homogenized epithelium. No signs occurred when the challenge dose was first passed through a Berkfeld filter. This disease has no clinical significance except that it can be confused with FMD.’ [178]

August 8: Sir Roger Casement’s Putumayo Report published.

August: Lisnavagh, a gelding bred by the Rathdonnells, wins the Class XIV for hunters 14 stone and upwards for Mrs Eustace Mansfield at the County Kildare Hunt Horse Show. He went on to win the same class at the Royal Dublin Society’s 1912 Horse Show.

September 14: Marriage of Kate’s brother Edward Francis Bruen to Constance Dora Drummond, younger daughter of Admiral Edmund Charles Drummond of Highfield, Halesworth, Suffolk.

Sept 13: In a speech at Dundee, Winston Churchill announces his support of a policy of devolution for Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Sept 23: Ulster Unionist Council vote in favour of a resolution pledging itself to the Covenant.

September 28: Inspired by Edward Carson, nearly half a million Ulster Protestant Unionists signed the Solemn League and Covenant, pledging resistance to the Home Rule Bill for Ireland. The Covenant itself is signed by 237,368 men while 234,046 women sign the accompanying Declaration. The event is immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Ulster 1912”.

October: Lord Charles Beresford unveiled a statue of Captain Cook at Whitby.[179]

Nov 5: US presidential election. Woodrow Wilson unseats incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft while former President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran under the banner of the new Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party, comes third. Europe loves Roosevelt. Wilson’s grandfather was from Strabane.

November 26: (Tuesday) Marriage of Tom and Kate Rathdonnell’s second son and heir, Tim (aka Captain T.L. McClintock Bunbury) and Ethel Ievers Synge. The wedding takes place at St. Mary Abbot’s Church, Kensington, with Tim’s cousin the Very Rev. Frank McClintock, Dean of Armagh, officiating, assisted by the Rev. G.H.B. Coleridge, BA. They had four bridesmaids while Victor Pochin was best man. The bride was given away by Sir Everard Ion Thurn who hosted the subsequent reception with his wife which was ‘attended by a distinguished company’. [180]




‘Messrs. Slocock had a large establishment in Burrin Street, where a big business in thoroughbred horses and hunters was carried on, and they also had a stud-farm at Ballinacarrig.’ (From an article by John Ellis, entitled ‘Carlow, looking back to 1913,’ reproduced by courtesy of The Old Carlow Society and published for The Nationalist Centenary 1883—1983. Pages 59-61.) The fine gates to Slocock’s, aka Hanover House, are still visible in 2022. Perhaps they will be opened again as an entrance to Penney’s?!

Feb 14: County Court Judge Brereton Barry heard this case at the Tullow Quarter Session:

Elizabeth Dearing, Tankardstown, County Carlow, widow, and farmer, sued Robert Giltrap, Tankardstown, for the recovery of £3.19s, being a balance alleged to be due by defendant, for the use and occupation of one field, part of the lands of Tankardstown, taken by the defendant from the plaintiff for a corn crop in the year 1911, also due on the foot of an account stated and settled.
Mr WM BYRNE, solicitor, appeal appeared for plaintiff, I missed a roach, solicitor for defendant.
The particulars of the claim as set out in the civil bill were as follows: 2 acres and 32 perches  Irish of land set for corn crops at £6 an acre. By threshing done for plaintiff, £2, £1.10s, and 15s, and by cash on account £5. Total £9 5s, leaving a balance of £3.19s.
The plaintiff gave evidence of having set the land to the defendant at £6 an acre, and detailed a conversation that took place between them at the time of the letting.
Defendant denied that the land was set per acre, but the agreement was £12 for the year.
Having heard evidence, his honour gave a decree for £2 and said he would allow Mr Giltrap the full amount claimed by him.
He thought the ladies contention was right as regards the letting of the land.
Carlow Sentinel, 15 Feb 1913.

Feb 14: County Court Judge Brereton Barry heard this case at the Tullow Quarter Session:

Thomas Bunbury, of Crecrin [near Ballyconnell / Liscolman], Co Carlow, Farmer, sued John Brian, of the same place, also a farmer for the recovery of £10 damages for alleged unlawful entering and trespassing on plaintiffs land at Crecrin, on the month of October 1912, and unlawfully prevented plaintive from cutting trees, his property, on said lands,
Mr JH McLaren, solicitor, Wicklow, appeared for the plaintiff.
Mr Fitzgerald, BL (instructed by Mr Roche, solicitor, Tullow) for the defendant.
Evidence having been heard, his Honour gave a decree for the nominal sum of one shilling.

May 22: Lord Ashbourne, the still politically active former Lord Chancellor, suffers a seizure while walking with his wife in Hyde Park. and dies at St George’s Hospital, London. In his will, he leaves just £800 of his £92,000 fortune to his eldest son Willie, 2nd Lord Ashbourne.

June 4: Aboyeur, a colt sired in Adare by Lord Dunraven’s stallion Desmond, wins the Epson Derby at 100-1. However, the event is completely overshadowed by the apparent suicide of a suffragette in the middle of the race.

June 12: Marriage of Lord Edward FitzGerald, future Duke of Leinster, and Miss May Etheridge, the actress and Pink Pajama Girl. Both bride and he bridegroom were 21 years old.

June 13: Marriage of the Rathdonnell’s 26-year-old nephew Henry Bruen to Gladys McClintock, only daughter of Arthur George Florence McClintock of Rathvinden, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow.

June 28: The Princess Royal, the Duchess of Fife and Princess Maud are present at the International Horse Show in Olympia, London, when Mabel Mansfield’s Lisnavagh takes second place (to Mr Bennett Raby’s Cork) in the class for Hunter Mare or Gelding, conveying more than 14 stone. The horse was described as ‘a very wear-and-tear type’ and went on to be a war horse.

Kate Rathdonnell’s brother (Admiral) Edward Francis Bruen commanding HMS Bellephron.

Kate’s brother Henry becomes President of Carlow Golf Club (until 1927).

July 7: Home Rule bill passes in House of Commons for the second time.

August 26: Dublin Strike and Lockout begins when workers of the Dublin United Tramways Company officially go on strike. Jim Larkin timed the strike to take place in the middle of the Dublin Horse Show held by the Royal Dublin Society, of which Tom Rathdonnell was then President. The trams to the show thus ground to a halt. This was to maximise inconvenience and thus do the greatest damage to tram boss William Martin Murphy.  At the Horse Show, Lisnavagh (the future war-horse) placed 2nd out of 38 entries in the 14 stone up to 15 stone hunters, beaten by Sir Timothy O’Brien’s The Bailiff

Sept 7: A large rally in Sackville Street asserts right of free speech, trade union representation and demands an enquiry into police conduct.

Sept 22: 12,000 Ulster Volunteers parade at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society’s show grounds at Balmoral (Belfast) in protest at the Home Rule Bill. In Dublin the food ship, The Hare, arrives bringing forty tons of food raised by British trade unionists.

November 13: ‘At a meeting of the Royal Dublin Society on Thursday, Lord Rathdonnell, H.M.L. for Carlow, was nominated as President of the Society, in succession to Lord Ardilaun, whose resignation was accepted with regret.’ (Carlow Sentinel, 15 November 1913).

December 4: At a meeting for the election of officers, Lord Rathdonnell was unanimously elected the new president of the Royal Dublin Society. [181] He was to remain president until his death in 1929.

December 6: Carlow Foxhounds meet at Lisnavagh.

Mrs Bridget Lawlor opens her catering business in Naas. She quickly comes to dominate the trade, particularly at the Royal Dublin Society and Punchestown where, by 1923, the society event is the Jockey’s Ball. When the races came to Punchestown, both Naas and Ballymore Eustace went into party mode for the occasion right down to old fellows playing melodeons and young gals dancing by every crossroads in the county.




[1] Robert’s widow was married secondly on 1st Feb. 1883 to Francis, eldest son of Owen B. Cole, Esq., D.L., and Lady Fanny Cole. [‘The Rev. Robert Le Poer McClintock, of Spencer Hill, Castle Bellingham, in the county of Louth, on the 30th ult., London He was the son of John McClintock, Esq., of Drumcar, in the county of Louth, by his second wife, Lady Elizabeth, daughter of William Power, Earl of Clancarty, and was thus half-brother of John, Lord Rathdonnell, who died on May 17 last.’ – Illustrated London News – Saturday 12 July 1879

[2] Belfast Morning News – Wednesday 15 September 1880

[3] See: The British Medical Journal, Feb. 5, I881.

[4] Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser – Saturday 22 October 1881

[5] The End of Liberal Ulster, Frank Thompson.

[6] Stair na hÉireann.

[7] From Pat Purcell Papers: ‘DEATH OF CAPT. DENIS WILLIAM PATRICK PACK-BERESFORD Esq. D.L., J.P. of Fenagh House, Carlow.

The death [aged 63] of Capt. Denis Pack- Beresford took place last week at his residence Fenagh House, Carlow. We regret having to add his name to the obituary list of this year the death of the above estimable gentleman, which took place, rather suddenly, on Wednesday night last.

He had been suffering from an acute attack of gout which he appeared to have surmounted ; but that dread enemy was only momentarily baffled , for, it returned on the morning of Wednesday last , and put a sudden termination to the life of this widely-known and popular gentleman. He succumbed to an attack of apoplexy shortly before mid-night. He was the second son of the distinguished Peninsular officer, the late Major-General Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B. (who five times received the thanks of Parliament for his military services), his mother was the Lady Elizabeth Louisa la Poer Beresford, daughter of George, First Marquis of Waterford.

Denis was born on the 7th July 1818 and assumed, by Royal License, the additional name of Beresford in March 1854, in compliance with the will of his godfather and relative William Carr, Field Marshal Viscount Beresford, G.C.B. by virtue of which he had succeeded to that nobleman’s estates in Carlow.

In 1858 he was appointed Deputy-Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace and served the office of High Sheriff for Carlow county. In 1862 on the retirement of Capt. W. McClintock Bunbury he was elected Member of Parliament for Carlow in the Conservative interest, he was re-chosen at the General Election of 1865.

On the 12th February 1863 he married Annette Caroline, only daughter of Robert Clayton Browne, Esq. D.L. of Browne’s Hill, and Harriette Augusta Hamilton, by whom he leaves a youthful family of seven sons and two daughters.

Capt. Denis Pack-Beresford was educated at the Royal Academy, Woolwich, he received his commission in 1836 and commenced his career in the Royal Artillery. On the breaking out of the Crimean War he volunteered for active service and was appointed extra aide-de-camp to General Cator and accompanied that officer to the East.

On his return to Carlow he retired from the service to devote himself to the duties of his property as resident landlord. In every relation of life he was highly esteemed and his loss as an improving resident landlord, a liberal employer and generous benefactor of the poor, will be long and severely felt and especially in the locality of Fenagh, which he raised from a condition of wretchedness to comfort and prosperity. Like most country gentlemen, the deceased was an active votary of all field sports, and in the racing world was well known on both sides of the St. George’s Channel.

The remains of this lamented gentleman were interred in Lorum churchyard. The funeral which left Fenagh House shortly after noon was one of the largest that has taken place in the county for many years, the immense gathering , composed of men of all classes and creeds. Following a portion of the solemn funeral service held in Fenagh House which was read by the Rev. T.G.J. Phillips, Rector of Fenagh, the mournful cortege which extended fully a mile proceeded to Lorum, which was reached about two-clock. The coffin was brought into the church where the service was read by the Very Rev. the Dean of Leighlin and the Rev. Canon Finlay.

The remains were encased in a suit of three coffins, the outer one of polished oak with gilt mountings, and bearing the simple inscription of the name, age, and date of death. It was laden with wreaths and immortelles, prepared by loving hands and placed there by relatives present and others were sent by the following, who were unable to attend :- Mr and Mrs Clayton-Browne, Mrs William Clayton-Browne, Lady Burton, Mrs Reynell Pack, Mrs Arthur Elliott, Mrs James Anson Farren, Sir William Reynell Anson, Algernon H. Anson, Esq. R,N. (nephews) Miss Ada Newton and Mrs William Vesey.’ (From the Bunbury Papers, transcribed by Jean Casey on behalf of Michael Purcell).

[8] Irish Times, Monday 12 June 1882.

[9] The Irish Times, p. 2.

[10] Pat Purcell Papers.

[11] Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (1883), Vol 19-44, p. 95.

[12] Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes, Vol. 41 (1884)

[13] Vanity Fair, Volume 32, 1884, p. 364.

[14] The following are the judges awards relevant to Lisnavagh.

For the best Bull, calved on or after the 1st of January, 1879 —
1st prize. Lord Rathdonnell, Lisnavagh, Tullow, County Carlow;
2nd, D. J. Stapleton, Tullemain. Callan, County Kilkenny;
Highly commended, Humphry Smith, Mountmellick.

For the best Bull, calved in the year 1883—
1st prize, Francis W. Low, Kilshane, Tipperary;
2nd, Lord Rathdonnell, Lisnavagh, Tullow, County Carlow;
3rd, and commended, Thomas Lalor, Cregg, Carick-on-Sulr ;
Highly commended and reserved, William Day, Garryhack, Ballycogley, Wexford.

For the best Heifer, calved in 1883—
1st Prize, Lord Rathdonnell. Lisnavagh, Tullow;
2nd, reserved and highly commended, William Richard Meade, Ballymartle, Ballinahassig;
Commended, William F Budds, Courtstown, Tullaroan, Freshford, County Kilkenny, and William Johnson, Prumplestown House, Carlow.

Leinster Leader, Saturday 5 July 1884

[15] James P. Shannon out it in ‘Hacketsown in the 1880s’ (Carloviana, 2009, p. 27).

[16] Carlow Sentinel. 1st October 1884, courtesy of Michael Purcell.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 28th October, Mr and Mrs Clayton Browne entertained at Browne’s Hill a large party of their friends and relations on the occasion of the celebration of their Golden Wedding.
They received numerous handsome presents, amongst them a gold cup, presented by their four children and twenty-one grandchildren.
They also received an address from the Select Vestry of the Parish of Carlow.
The following received invitations, most of whom were present to offer their congratulations in person :-
The Marquis and Marchioness of Kildare, Lord and Lady Rathdonnell, the Hon. Edward and Mrs Stopford, the Hon. Hugh and Lady Mary Boscawen, Sir Thomas and Lady Butler and Miss Butler, the Dowager Lady Butler and Miss C. Butler, Sir Charles and Lady Burton, the Hon Mrs Clements, Sir Clement and Lady Wolseley, the Right Hon Henry and Mrs Bruen, Mr Henry and the Misses Bruen ; Mr and the Hon Mrs Rochfort, Mrs and Mrs Kavanagh, Mrs W. Kavanagh and Mrs Meredith, Mrs Pack-Beresford and family, Mr and Mrs Clayton Browne and family, Miss G. Langrishe, the Dean of Leighlin and Mrs and Miss King and Miss A. Newton, Mrs Thomas, Mr and Mrs Jocelyn Thomas, Mr and Mrs Duckett, Mrs Lecky and Miss Watson, Mr, Mrs and Miss Watson ; Mrs Gray and Miss Watson, Mr Newton and Miss Newton, Mount Leinster ; Mr and Mrs Steuart Duckett, Mr, Mrs Bagenal, and Miss Hall-Dare ; Mr and Mrs Alexander, Major and Mrs Hutchinson, Mr and Mrs George Alexander and Mr S Alexander, Major and Mrs Tanner, Mr and Mrs Charles Duckett, Mr and Mrs Fred Lecky, and Mr R. Lecky, Mr and Mrs Rupert Lecky , Mr, Mrs and Miss Newton, Mr and the Misses Hore, Mr and Mrs Arthur and the Misses Fitzmaurice, Mr William and Mr and Mrs Edward Fitzmaurice, and Mrs Clarke, the Ven. Archdeacon and Mrs Jameson, Mr and Mrs William Fitzmaurice, Laurel Lodge ; Mr and Mrs Fitzmaurice, Fruit Hill, ; Dr and Mrs Ireland, Major and Mrs and the Misses Bloomfield, Mr and Mrs H. Cooper, Mr and Mrs Hall-Dare, Captain and Mrs Persse, Colonel and Mrs Vigors, Mr and Mrs Alcock, Rev J. and Mrs Dillon, Mr and Mrs Standish Roche, Mr, Mrs and the Misses Eustace, Castlemore, Mr and Mrs Eustace, Newstown ; Mr and Mrs Ponsonby, Mr and Mrs Hone, Very Rev. W.E. and Miss Ryan, Mrs Rawson, Mr and Mrs Cornwall Brady , Rev. C. and Mrs Bellingham, Mr and Mrs Borrer, Mr and Miss Cooper, Mr and Mrs Stuart, Mr and Mrs Lecky-Pike, Dr and Mrs Newell, Mr C. Butler, Mr J. Mrs and Miss Butler, and Miss Owen, Mrs Vesey, Rev. J. and Mrs Finlay, the Rev. T. and Mrs Philips.

[17] See Myles Dungan’s account here.

[18] Pat Purcell Papers: ‘On Saturday last, April 11th, Mr Jameson, Sub-Sheriff for Carlow, accompanied by his bailiffs and protected by a strong guard of police, visited the townland of Kilcloney, near Borris to seek possession from Mrs Anne Waters of her farm., in pursuance of a decree obtained by Mr Beresford the landlord for the recovery of a hanging gale. This hanging gale had been on the estate for more than a century and a half and was in existence long before the property came into the possession of the present landlord. Amongst those present were Joe Delany, a well known bailiff from Borris and an underling of Mr Beresfords named Burke who distinguished themselves throughout be their insolence and impertinence. The sub-sheriff arrived at noon and proceeded to take possession of the premises by having the furniture removed from the dwelling house. After part of the effects had been brought out , Mrs Waters, being advised by her friends that she had done all that was necessary as a protest, she satisfied the landlords claim by paying the money due. The proceedings were attended by a large crowd of local people with a contingent of horsemen present and the scene was also graced by the presence of a number of ladies.

The Rev. W.P. Bourke, who was loudly cheered, then addressed the assembled crowd – – He stated that he did not think it well that they should separate without protesting formally against the outrageous treatment that Mrs Waters had been subjected to.

Young Mr Beresford came of age a few weeks ago and his first introduction to his tenantry there was through the sheriff , who had come to eject Mrs Waters not because she was unable to meet all just demands on rent etc but because she had refused to pay the hanging gale which was due before Mr Beresford was born, or before Mr Beresford owned a piece of land in Kilcloney. The father of the present Mr Beresford was dead, and as they were told to say nothing of the dead except what was good, and as he had nothing good to say about the late Capt. Beresford he would extend to him the charity of silence.

From this day on , he said, the Beresford family will be known as “Hanging-gale Beresford”. “I tell the people” he continued, “that they need not be particularly squeamish as to what means they would adopt to stop fox-hunting by the landlords on their land”. Mr M. Waters thanked the people for coming out to support them. The gathering then dispersed cheering for Mrs Waters and the Irish National League.’

[19] Northampton Mercury, 21 March 1885.

[20] Nationalist and Leinster Times. Note added by Michael Purcell 2012 – should read “Great Bowden Hall, Market Harborough”, this letter led to a debate in the columns of the Nationalist during the following weeks, with Father John Phelan, the newly appointed parish priest of Rathvilly leading the way and attempting to stir up trouble. It appears he was ignored.” Information courtesy of the Pat Purcell Papers.

[21] From “Carlow History and Society” (Editor, Dr. Thomas McGrath, ISBN 978-0-906602-386 – ‘The Landed Gentry in Decline – A Count Carlow Perspective’ by Jimmy ‘Toole, p. 758-759

[22] Portsmouth Evening News, 25 January 1886.

[23] Northampton Mercury, Saturday 27 February 1886, p. 8.

[24] Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser – Saturday 24 April 1886.

[25] Waterford Standard – Wednesday 20 October 1886.

[26] Pat Purcell Papers.

[27] Carlow Sentinel.

[28] Transcribed from a Copybook by Michael Purcell.

[29] Leicester Chronicle, 9 April 1887.

[30] Leicester Chronicle, 9 April 1887.

[31] Nenagh Guardian, Wednesday, June 22, 1887, p. 6.

[32] See Weekly Irish Times (Saturday 15 October 1887) and also here.

[33] Announced in The Irish Times, July 26th, 1888.

[34] Dublin Daily Express – Monday 24 September 1888.

[35] Francis Wynne to Russell, n.d. [1887-1890], irish Jesuit Archives, J27/144 (49). Quoted in ‘Engendering Ireland: New Reflections on Modern History and Literature’ by Rebecca Anne Barr, Sarah-Anne Buckley, Laura Kelly (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015).

[36] Henry Cornelius Klassen’s “Eye on the Future: Business People in Calgary and the Bow Valley 1879-1900” (2002).

[37] Bucks Herald – Saturday 05 October 1889.

[38] From a copybook / scrapbook in the Pat Purcell Papers.

[39] Pat Purcell Papers.

[40] Pat Purcell Papers.

[41] Pat Purcell Papers.

[42] Pat Purcell Papers.

[43] Pat Purcell Papers.

[44] Saturday 4 January 1890, Illustrated London News

[45]Rathvilly League. – Father Phelan presided at last meeting of above and amongst those present were: – Rev. Patrick Byrne, Mssrs. Michael Nolan, Edward Kelly, John Kehoe, Denis Deering, Treas.; M. P. Maher, Hon. Sec.; Michael Lawler, John Hayden, James Byrne, Michael Byrne, Patrick Dowling, Michael Barrett, Timothy O’Toole, James Kehoe, John Donnelly, John Brown, Michael Barry, Denis Doyle, Denis Lawler, Edward Nolan, Wm. Bolger, Matthew Tobin. A resolution of confidence in Mr. Parnell was passed. Wm. Salter, Ballybitt, was elected a member. The President announced that the Tenants’ Defence Fund had reached £100.’ Thanks to Sue Clements, from Carlow Nationalist 1890.

[46] Leicester Chronicle, 22 February 1890.

[47] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[48] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[49] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[50] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[51] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[52] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[53] Thanks to Sue Clements.

[54] Pat Purcell Papers.

[55] Irish Society (Dublin) – Saturday 14 February 1891.

[56] Pat Purcell Papers.

[57] Nationalist and Leinster Times, July 4th, 1891. With thanks also to Michael Purcell.

[58] Irish Society (Dublin) – 15 August 1891.

[59] Leinster Leader – Saturday 17 October 1891.

[60] Pat Purcell Papers.

[61] From the Thorpe scrapbook in the Pat Purcell Papers

[62] Isle of Man Times, Wednesday 10 February 1892.

[63] Posted in Isle of Man Times, 23 March 1892, and other papers. See British News Archives for more).

[64] John and his sister had only been evicted when the homeplace and all his improvements and those of his forefathers, were taken over by a man described by John as a “landgrabber” without a penny compensation, and the time selected for the eviction was during “Holy Week” (From PPP)
Carlow Vindicator.
Letter to the Editor.
Tinryland, April 30th, 1892.
Dear Sir, –I wish through the medium of your journal to expose a case of the most barefaced landgrabbing , which I am sure will meet with the condemnation it deserves from all honest men. I was evicted from my home , which was in the possession of my family for generations, by my landlord . Mr Denis.R. Beresford, for non-payment of a rent which must be admitted to was exorbitant even by his own valuer. He scarcely allowed the clay to settle over his mother’s grave when he called in the services of Messrs Moore, Mack and Ryan and Watters (the latter acting as emergency man), and turned myself and my sister out on the road on a cold February morning.
We were not well out when J—?—-( name published in report but not in transcript) comes and takes possession of all my improvements and those of my forefathers, without one penny compensation to me –the time selected by this pious Catholic for doing so being Holy Week. The rent of the farm (if you can call it such ) is £12 yearly, the area six acres, including a road all around it about thirty perches. This , with waste of rocks, leaves about five acres tillage land. So you see it was the house and premises built by my predecessors, without one penny from the landlord, and on which I expended during the last ten years over£100, which were coveted.
I remain yours, John Byrne.

With thanks to Michael Purcell and the Pat Purcell Papers.

[65] Carlow Vindicator. With thanks again to Michael Purcell and his team.

[66] James B Leslie, ‘Armagh clergy and parishes‘.

[67] LANDLORDISM NEAR BORRIS: On Tuesday last (2nd August ) a widow, Mrs Anne Waters, at the age of 81 years with her family, were thrown out upon the roadside by her landlord, Mr Denis Pack-Beresford. Now deprived, not only of her home, but also of the resources of livelihood which she hoped to bequeath to her children. It will be remembered that so far back as August 1891 the tenant paid the entire amount due, viz., two years’ rent including hanging-gale, and full legal costs, but as the period for redemption had expired a cheque for the amount is now held by Pack-Beresford’s agent. So the poor tenant is now in the position of having parted with home and money. Mr Pack-Beresford so far has both, and it will be interesting to watch what he will do with poor Mrs Waters farm.
The case is one eminently deserving of close public attention. The circumstances of the case reveal an arbitrariness that recall the by-gone days when the landlord could do what he liked. For the past six years Mrs Waters has been harassed by unreasonable rent exaction, and mulcted in law costs. The rent and heavy legal costs was long since paid to the agent, Mr Charles Thorpe who then wanted the tenant to enter an agreement containing unjust conditions.
Last week, Mrs Waters, with her family, was thrown out upon the roadside and their house handed over to the tender mercies of the sheriff and the emergencymen, (crow-bar brigade), at least one of whom wore a revolver, they have now barricaded the premises as if they feared an armed invasion to recapture it.
Mr. Pack-Beresford will find that all Nationalists will combine, and that Landlordism in its old form must not be revived in this country, and that respectable tenants, who are willing to pay their just obligations shall not be turned from their homes in order to satisfy a vindictive and despotic landlord. The employees of Mr Pack-Beresford have been engaged during the past week in Carting over to Fenagh House the produce of Mrs Waters land, and some of the crops (including a heap of coal) have been stored at Pack-Beresford’s farm. The greedy landlord’s serfs with six horses and the necessary implements entered the Waters farm and without either care or consideration for the condition of the grain the whole corn crop was cut down and is left melting on the ground from that day to this. It is stated that portion of the work was personally superintended by Mr Denis Pack-Beresford.
Other items removed by the emergencymen were; farm carts, tools, two ricks of hay, implements, a donkey croydon, presses, furniture, utensils and sundry articles. The root and vegetable crops are likewise claimed by Mr Pack-Beresford and are specially guarded, the poor tenant today not knowing the luxury even of a potato from her own garden.
(From the scrapbook of Landlord Agent, Mr Charles Thorpe, in the PPP.)

[68] Sporting Gazette, Saturday 27 August 1892.

[69] Carlow Sentinel, Oct. 1892. (From Pat Purcell Papers)

[70] Irish Independent, April 22, 1913, p. 4.

[71] Carlow Sentinel – Saturday 18 March 1893.

[72] Irish Society (Dublin), 25 March 1893.

[73] For full details of this case, see Q.B. & Ex. Divisions. Vol. XXX11, p. 575, AG v. Rathdonnell. With thanks to Nicholas McNicholas.

[74] Irish Society (Dublin), Saturday 29 July 1893.

[75] The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia, Wednesday 6 December 1893, p. 5.

[76] The Social Review, 16 Dec 1893.

[77] The Social Review, 17 February 1894.

[78] The ceremony took place in the Parish Church of Drumcar, according to the Marriage Register (1845-1954) Ref No. P972.3.1, which has now been deposited with the RCB Library in Braemor Park.

[79] The Social Review, 11 August 1894.

[80] Born in 1862, Robert Pigott was Ellen and Alice’s brother and probably the second of William and Bessie Pigott’s eight children. On 11th November 1897, he married Annie Corrigan, a daughter of Dorah Corrigan. In the 1901 census, he said he was 49, which is probably the correct age, and gives a dob of c.1852. By 1901, he had succeeded his father at Maplestown, Rahill, Co. Carlow, where he lived with his mother (Bessie, a 74-year-old widow), mother-in-law, wife, brother (28-year-old William), daughter (one year old Annie Alice Pigott) and two servants, James Nolan and Sarah Keppel. Robert passed away on 25 June 1904, said to be aged 58. According to the 1911 census, his widow Annie and daughter Annie Alice were living in Rickestown with another daughter, Dora Elizabeth Pigott [1902-1984] who later married Alfred Jones [1906-1979] of Holdenstown, Baltinglass, and is buried with him in St. Mary’s, Rathvilly.

[81] One wonders were they related to the unfortunate farmer Thomas Bloomer of Annacranny, near Caledon, who was found unconscious in a field by his sister in 1917, succumbing shortly after she brought him into the house. He was about 60 years old at the time of his death. Weekly Irish Times, Saturday, February 24, 1917.

The 1901 census also states that Thomas and Ellen (who was the exact same age as him) had two daughters, Edith Emily (aged 5, born in Carlow) and Kathleen (aged 1, who later seemingly had her name changed to Norah) and a son, Leslie (aged 2). They lived with Richard and Alice (who, at 36, was the oldest in the house), and their son, Richard (aged 1). The fact that the younger Richard was born in Co. Westmeath suggests that Richard and Alice may have been living in that county in 1900.

[82] Weekly Irish Times, 23 July 1904.

[83] As well as Leslie, now 12, they had a daughter Norah (aged 11, born in Co. Kerry and presumably named for Mrs. Hood) and son Robert Perey [Percy?] (aged 9, born in Co. Kerry). Their fifteen-year-old daughter Edith Emily Bloomer was enrolled at a girl’s school in Cannonsfield, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

[84] With thanks to Richard Corrigan & John O’Grady.

[85] The London Gazette, January 3rd 1896.

[86] The Social Review, 22 February 1896.

[87] Clifton Society, 27 February 1896. Thanks to Barrie Dowdall.

[88] Dublin Daily Express, 27 February 1896.

[89] From a poster in the Pat Purcell Papers.

[90] Dublin Evening Telegraph, 17 April 1896.

[91] The Social Review, 25 April 1896.

[92] From the Pat Purcell Papers.

[93] Windsor and Eton Express – Saturday 11 July 1896.

[94] Other guests also listed at The Social Review (Dublin, Ireland : 1893) – Saturday 22 August 1896.

[95] Dublin Evening Telegraph, 22 October 1896.

[96] Evening Herald, 17 October 1896.

[97] See Michael John Fitzgerald McCarthy, ‘Five Years in Ireland, 1895-1900’ (Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Company, 1902).

[98] Evening Herald, 22 October 1896.

[99] Freeman’s Journal – Friday 30 October 1896.

[100] The Times, Dec 3rd 1896.

[101] Bernadette Marks of Fingal Genealogy (Newsletter of the Irish Family History Foundation, January 2015).

[102] The biography of Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety (1817–1894) by R. M. Hartwell is published in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972. See also James Dalgety’s page at

[103] Carlow Sentinel, 1897. (From the Pat Purcell Papers)

[104] Review of Bazaar held at Masonic Hall. 4th, 5th, 6th August 1897. (Sentinel). (From PPP)

The produce stall (presided over by Mrs. W. Fitzmaurice) presented an agreeable contrast to those devoted to fine-art and fancy purposes. It was appropriately decorated with verdant foliage, and had quite a rustic appearance, well stored with fruit, flowers, fowl, etc. Taken altogether the stallholders and their lady assistants are to be warmly congratulated on their taste and tact in exhibiting and disposing of their varied and valuable stock-in-trade.
In addition to the stalls above referred to a “Wheel of Fortune” worked by Miss Bell, made a gallant attempt at perpetual motion, and piled up the pence into pounds, an interesting operation, at which the popular “dip” and Jocko’s jump lent valuable help.
Another of the many attractions was the shooting gallery, presided over by Brothers Gash and Douglas, who “charged” and “rifled” in the very best Bazaar fashion.
The Cafe Chantant was a source of pleasure, amusement and profit.
On each afternoon and evening of the Bazaar it was well filled with audiences, highly delighted with the half-hour concerts and other entertainments provided for them, under the direction of Dr. Malone.
The following ladies and gentlemen gave valuable help :– Mrs Alexander (violin), Miss Carey, Miss Swanzy, Miss Longfield (piano), Miss D. Rawson (violin), Miss Malone (piano), the Misses Plewman, Miss Mollie Malone, Fraulein Ruedy, Miss Bayley (piano), Drs Carey and Stawell, Messrs Anderson, Hutchins, Toomey and Brownrigg, Reverends J.H. Bradish, A. I. Mitchell and others. A most enjoyable little play called ” Cheerful and Musical” was acted by Miss Carey and Miss Swanzy in a manner that displayed histrionic ability of a high order. Of course the dances arranged for on Friday night were very much enjoyed and largely availed of, excellent dance music being supplied by a number of Ladies present.
The following is a list of stallholders and assistants :-
Stall 1. – Presided over by Lady Rathdonnell and Mrs Stuart, assisted by Mrs G. Fishbourne, Miss Roger, Miss Twigg, Miss Fazer.
Stall 2. – Presided over by Lady Burton and Mrs Browne-Clayton, assisted by Miss Butler, Miss Shackerly, and six daughters of the Browne-Clayton family, Brownes Hill.
Stall 3 – Presided over by Mrs Massy and Mrs Maffett, assisted by Mrs H. Fitzmaurice, Miss Duckett Steuart, Miss Carroll, Miss Ada Carroll, Miss Goodwin, Miss Weldon, Miss Murielle Weldon, Miss Adeline Herring-Cooper, Miss H. Herring-Cooper.
Stall 4 – Presided over by Mrs W. Fitzmaurice, assisted by Miss Harding, Miss D. Rawson, Miss Drillma, and Master Fitzmaurice and Master Harding.
Stall 5 – Presided over by Mrs and Misses Langram, assisted by Miss N. Coghlan, Miss H. Coghlan, and Miss Bell.
Stall 6 – ( Refreshments )- Presided over by Miss Thorp, assisted by Mrs May Thorp, Miss Crosthwait, Miss Head, Mrs Stawell and Mrs Frank Brown.
In conclusion a word of praise is due to the Bazaar Committee, and especially to Brother the Reverend D.H.Massy, President of that Committee, upon whom the lion’s share of the work devolved. The Carlow Masonic Committee gratefully acknowledge receipt of a cheque from Mrs Toler-Aylward, Shankill Castle, Whitehall, towards the Bazaar Fund.
Result of the Ballot (Draw ) :– Winners — Joseph Boyle, Marble Clock. — George Douglas, Suit of Serge — Lieutenant Beaumount , Tea Service — A.E. Hull, Double-barrelled Gun — Boileau and Boyd, Chest of Tea, — W.G. Jacob, Fat Sheep.

[105] Regarding the ‘Fire of Eleven’, Carlow historian Michael Purcell offers this interpretation. ‘In lay language they drank a toast but unlike yourself or meself with a bottle of stout, or a “good luck” or “here’s health to ya” toast … and with a bit of “secret” pantomime added ~ with “heavy set” tankards they drank from a bowl of punch, “3 times 3” (ie: 9 fires) whilst pointing left to right with the left hand … before drinking drawing the tankard north to south from shoulder to shoulder … added to which was a “Toast to her Most Excellent Majesty Queen Victoria the First” (the 10th fire) followed by a “Toast to the Ancient Craft” (hence the ‘Fire of 11′) … following which, turning east to west, they held the left hand steady ( nipple high ) and clapping it with their right hand whilst keeping time with the left foot. When this was completed they sat and banged their gravels on the table, 3 times 3, and in a boisterous fashion shouted “Zay” 3 times 3. The number 11 has special significance in Masonic ritual and “fire” kinda relates to the elements or elements thereof. When a member died, they held a “silent fire”. It’s quite simple really, once you got the hang of it.’

[106] Carlow Sentinel, 1897. (From the Pat Purcell Papers) Note from Michael Purcell, April 2011: Designed by William Morrison, the Masonic Lodge on the Athy Road, Carlow, was opened in 1897. The builders were William Weir of Palatine and Edward Brophy, Dublin Road, Carlow. Membership of the “Free Masons” for Roman Catholics was forbidden by Rome and for weeks beforehand local people were told from the pulpit in Carlow Cathedral that they should not attend this Bazaar. The Bazaar opening ceremony was performed by Lord Rathdonnell. Up to the present day the Masonic Lodge continues to thrive in Carlow and since its establishment has contributed to many worthwhile charities.

[107] Belfast News-Letter, 8 September 1897.

[108] With thanks to Anne Dollard and Jim Tancred.

[109] Belfast News-Letter, 3 February 1898.

[110] Dublin Weekly Nation, 12 February 1898.

[111] Freeman’s Journal , 9 March 1898.

[112] Dublin Weekly Nation, 30 April 1898.

[113] Pat Purcell Papers.

[114] South Bourke & Mornington Journal (Richmond, Victoria, Australia) Wednesday 10 August 1898.

[115] The Irish Times, Friday 10th March 1899.

[116] Freeman’s Journal – Saturday 23 September 1899.

[117] In Feb 1900, The Carlow Sentinel carried the following story under the heading ‘WAR NEWS’:
Death of Mr John Eustace, South African Light Horse.
We deeply regret to announce the death of Mr John Spottiswoode Eustace, second son of James Eustace, Esquire, of Newtown, Carlow.
When war broke out in South Africa, Mr Eustace did not wait his country’s call, but immediately on commencement of hostilities he joined the South African Light Horse Volunteers, in which splendid corps of irregulars, his fine horsemanship, soldierly and manly bearing and behaviour was soon conspicuous, and he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, no slight honour where all are so good.
Those of his friends at home who watched the doings of his regiment must have noticed how frequently he was in action, and on January 19th, he was killed at his post doing his duty.
How noble a death is this!

(Thanks to Michael Purcell & the Pat Purcell Papers. Michael Purcell subsequently received some feedback about “Jack Eustace” which ran as follows: “He died on the Tugela River, Natal, South Africa leaving behind a wife, but no children. His brother Cecil found Jack’s body after it had been rifled by the Boers.” His pocket watch was recovered and was still working in 2020.)

[118] The Late Hon. William McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Dragoons (Scots’ Greys)”. Transcribed by Michael Purcell from the Carlow Sentinel.

[119] Nationalist and Leinster Times, via the Pat Purcell Papers.

[120] Thanks to Michael Purcell & Pat Purcell Papers.

[121] Transcribed by Michael Purcell.

[122] Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Saturday 10 March 1900.

[123] Kerry Evening Post, Saturday 21 April 1900.

[124] Kentucky Irish American, July 7th 1900.

[125] Bournemouth Daily Echo – Friday 30 November 1900.

[126] Irish Builder Vols. 43 (p. 601) and 45 (p. 1810). Illustration in supplement. Born in Easkey, Co. Sligo, circa 1844, Anthony Scott became clerk of works to Thomas Newenham Deane when the latter was appointed Superintendent of National Monuments by the Board of Works in 1875. According to his granddaughter Byrne Costigan, he was the first person to ‘cap’ an Irish round tower. He subsequently set up a practice in Navan but by the time he began work on the Agent’s House at Lisnavagh, he had relocated to Drogheda and Dublin. He did much work for the Catholic church and to improved housing schemes. According to his obituary in the Irish Builder, he ‘probably designed and superintended the building of far more houses for the working classes than any other architect in Ireland’. He was an early member of the Society of Architects and in 1901 was appointed the Society’s Honorary Secretary for Ireland. Byrne Costigan remembered her grandfather – a widower by the time she knew him – as an austere and rather distant figure, who corrected his grandchildren’s grammar and pronunciation and sometimes told them stories from Irish history. ‘Never a jolly, joking sort of man, it seemed to me that he wore solitude like a cloak, that his face was shuttered and remote, though the shutters could fly open, the eyes flash, the rare smile gleam.’ He was a frequent visitor to Rome, where a connection of his wife’s owned and ran the Pensione Hayden in the Piazza Poli, assisted by one of his daughters. Nationalist in his sympathies, he does not appear to have been actively involved in politics, although he is recorded as designing the platforms for the Home Rule demonstration of the spring of 1912. Scott died on 17 February 1919, aged seventy-four.’ Abridged from his profile in Irish Architectural Archive – Dictionary of Irish Architects, 1720-1940.

[127] Carlow Sentinel, January 1901. (From Pat Purcell Papers). Not from 2011 by Michael Purcell – ‘There follows a very long account of Henry Bruen’s speech, unfortunately life is not long enough for me to transcribe and type same but the gist of it is “The Queen is dead , God save the King”.’

RESOLUTION OF CONDOLENCE FROM CARLOW ROYAL ARCH CHAPTER. At a meeting of the members of the above Chapter, held on Thursday, the following resolution of condolence with the King and Royal Family, on the death of Queen Victoria was passed, and placed on the records:———-

That we the Most Excellent King and Companions of Carlow Royal Arch Chapter 116, beg respectfully to tender to your Most Gracious Majesty and the members of the Royal Family, our deep sympathy in the loss they and the Empire have sustained in the death of our revered and beloved Queen; and we beg your Majesty to accept this expression of loyalty and devotion to your throne and person, with the hope that you may long be spared to occupy your present exalted position.
________________________________________FUNERAL SERVICE IN CARLOW..
We beg to call attention to the fact that a Special Service will be held in Carlow Church on to-day (Saturday) the day of the Queen’s funeral.
__________________________________THE CARLOW MAGISTRATES AND THE LATE QUEEN.
Addressing the Petty Sessions at Carlow Court house the Right Hon. H. Bruen, P.C.D.L. said — This is the first occasion that this Court has met since the great loss –the heavy sorrow that has fallen on the country by the death of Her Majesty the Queen ; Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, excelled during her long reign excelled as a wise ruler, and a pattern of domestic virtues, and she endeared herself to her subjects by a wise and tender sympathy in all their joys and sorrows. Such was the Sovereign we have lost.
Dr. McDonald, Medical Officer of Health, reported that Margaret Hoare’s house in Chapel Street was in an unsanitary condition on account of a pig being kept in the house.
Mr Molloy asked : – Is this the same pig that was reported last July.
The Clerk replied: – no that was removed.
The Chairman, Mr. Michael Governey, stated — it is to be hoped that strong measures will be taken to put a stop to this practice of keeping pigs in dwelling houses. Keeping a pig in a dwelling house is not alone a danger to the house itself but to the whole neighbourhood.

[128] Pat Purcell Papers.

[129] With thanks to Michael Purcell for transcribing.

[130] Reading Mercury, August 31 1901,  ‘WHAT THE WORLD SAYS’ See British News Archives for rest of this.

[131] Pat Purcell Papers.

[132] Thanks to Greg Deniefe.

[133] ‘THE LATE DOCTOR BOLTON. We announce the death of Dr. Richard Ebenezer Nun Bolton, Medical Officer of the Ballickmoyler and Newtown dispensary district. which occurred on the 28th February. In his 56th year and for the past couple of years suffered from the effects of an accident by which he was thrown from a horse when riding home after attendance on a dispensary patient. The people of Ballickmoyler and district have lost in him a skillful physician and a kind and generous friend, he held the office of Medical Officer for a period of about 30 years and the onerous duties of which he discharged faithfully and well was testified by the gratitude and good wishes of the sick poor entrusted to his care. He was an ardent sportsman and a follower of the Carlow and Island Hunt. On Saturday his remains arrived in Carlow by the afternoon train, and were followed by a very large assemblage of people from town and country to his residence at Providence House, Ballickmoyler. Deceased was the younger son of the late Dr Ebenezer. N. Bolton who was also for many years medical officer at Ballickmoyler.’ (Carlow Sentinel). (From PPP)

[134] ‘DEATH OF MAJOR A.W. PACK-BERESFORD. With profound regret we announce the death of Major Arthur William Pack-Beresford, R.A. the sad intimation of which was received by his brother Denis Robert Pack-Beresford, Esq. D.L. of Fenagh House, Carlow by telegram on Thursday last. This gallant young officer, who was second son of the late Captain Denis W. Pack-Beresford and nephew of William Browne-Clayton, Esq. D.L. of Brownes Hill, Carlow, had only attained his 33rd year, when that fell disease, enteric fever, ended an already distinguished military career. In the early stages and throughout the war in South Africa his battery of Royal Artillery took a prominent part, and for distinguished services he obtained his brevet majority, and was given a command in the South African Constabulary, with which he was serving up to the time of his death, on the 4th March at Bloemfontein. In the battle of Sanna’s Post he was dangerously wounded, having been shot through the body, but had quite recovered from the effects when attacked by the illness which terminated fatally. Within a short period he was twice mentioned in Lord Kitchener’s dispatches for gallant and successful services. The great grief to his family and friends occasioned by the announcement is intensified by the fact that favourable telegrams were received up to the day previous to his death.’ (Carlow Sentinel) (From PPP)

[135] Pat Purcell Papers.

[136] Weekly Irish Times, 19 April 1902.

[137] Londonderry Sentinel, 22 May 1902, p. 8.

[138] A Clubman’s Notebook, Pall Mall Gazette, 10 February 1917, p. 3.

[139] Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal, 13 June 1903, p. 4.

[140] The Sphere, Saturday 6 September 1902.

[141] Society and Personal Notes of the Weekly Irish Times.

[142] The Globe, Saturday 3 January 1903, p. 8.

[143] Carlow Sentinel – Saturday 16 May 1903.

[144] With thanks to Mairtin D’Alton.

[145] Nationalist and Leinster Times, 31st Oct. 1903. Courtesy of Michael Purcell and the Pat Purcell Papers.

[146] Weekly Irish Times, 12 December 1903.

[147] The Queenslander (Saturday 23 January 1904, p.46)

[148] Carlow Sentinel, 16 January 1904, with thanks to Pat Purcell Papers.

[149] The Tatler – Wednesday 27 January 1904.

[150] Baily’s Magazine of Sports & Pastimes, 1904, Volume 81.

[151] Irish Times – Saturday 26 March 1904.

[152] Irish Independent, Thursday 03 November 1904.

[153] Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Saturday 17 December 1904.

[154] Weekly Irish Times, 7th December 1904.

[155] Thomas Bunbury Gough was the author of “Boyish reminiscences of His Majesty the King’s visit to Canada in 1860” which has been reprinted as an historical reproduction. He moved to Australia in about 1873 where he married Evelyn Anna Walker Rigg at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Emerald Hill on 4th. June 1873. He was also Captain of HMVS Cerberus in Victoria, Australia. And his 6th child Doris Boyd was the mother of Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd, the most famous member of the Boyd dynasty of Australian artists and “Australian of the Year in 1995”. He was buried in the St. Kilda Cemetery. Another daughter Mary married Sir Sidney Nolan, known to the family as Sid, internationally famed in the art world for his Ned Kelly series of paintings. (Some of this information was kindly provided to me in September 2012 by TBG’s great-granddaughter Alice Perceval, whose mother was the youngest daughter of Merric and Doris Boyd. Thanks also to Jeremy Beck, great-grandson of Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield Boyd (née Gough) and William Merric Boyd).

[156] Carlow Sentinel – Saturday 8 July 1905.

[157] Homeward Mail from India, China and the East, 28 October 1905, p. 17.

[158] Thanks to Michael Purcell and the Pat Purcell Papers. Note added by Michael Purcell, 2013 – the South African Graves Fund was established in 1903 to raise funds for the maintenance of the British War Graves of the soldiers who died in the Anglo-Boer War. In Carlow town Ned Nolan of Tullow Street was appointed collector, it is recorded in his “Graves’ Book” that he collected £212 in two years. Ned was a brother to Nannie Nolan of the shop. He served along with many Carlow men in the British Army during the conflict.

[159] NLT, 19 February 1907. Thanks to Eugene Carbery.

[160] The Irish Builder 49 (p. 334). William Patrick Hade was the son of James or John Hade, also a civil engineer of Carlow, and was born in Carlow in 1858 or 1859. From the age of 19 to 22 he was a pupil of his much older brother Arthur Hade, and for the next few years was engaged on drainage work. By the time he was twenty-eight, according to his own account, he had ‘a considerable private practice’. He is described as ‘engineer to Carlow County Council’ in 1901. By the time of the 1911 census he was a widower, living with Arthur at 28 Dublin Street, Carlow. He died on 9 September 1940. Abridged from his profile in Irish Architectural Archive – Dictionary of Irish Architects, 1720-1940.

[161] Irish Times – Monday 1 July 1907.

[162] The Bystander (An Illustrated Weekly, Devoted to Travel, Literature, Art, the Drama, Progress, Locomotion, Volume 12).

[163] Charles Frederick D’Arcy, ‘The adventures of a bishop: a phase of Irish life: a personal and historical narrative’(Hodder & Stoughton, 1934), p. 156-158.

[164] Brendan Matthews charts the history of the hospital in an article for the Drogheda Independent.

[165] Irish Times, Wednesday 22 April 1908.

[166] Thanks to James Doyle.

[167] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 08 August 1908.

[168] Dublin Daily Express, 19 August 1908, p. 5.

[169] Charles Frederick D’Arcy, ‘The adventures of a bishop: a phase of Irish life: a personal and historical narrative’(Hodder & Stoughton, 1934), p. 297.

[170] Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) – Monday 14 December 1908.

[171] Kildare Observer, Saturday 6 February 1909, p. 2.

[172] Irish Independent, Thursday 15 Sept 1909, p. 4; The Queen – Saturday 24 September 1910.

[173] The Times, October 10, 1910, p. 13.

[174] ‘At the meeting of the Monaghan Town Commissioners on Tuesday, Mr O. Macnally presented to Mr. P. Mr Corrie Rafferty, son of Mr P Rafferty, JP, a testimonial on vellum from the Royal Humane Society, for saving the life of James Butler Lendrum, at Bundoran, in August last. Master Lendrum was in a boat which capsized, and he would have been drowned but for the bravery of young Mr Rafferty in leaping into the water and rescuing him.’ (Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 11 Jan 1890)

[175] For more on this, see Eoin Shanahan, ‘The Hand that held the Gun; Untold stories of the War of Independence in West Clare’ (ClareBooks, 2019). With thanks to Geoff Fitzsimons.

[176] Thanks to Peter Miller for car details.

[177] Kildare Observer, Saturday, April 13, 1912, p. 6.

[178] Foot and Mouth Disease in Ireland; History, Diagnosis, Eradication and Serosurveillance, by Patrick J O’Reilly; Michael.O’Connor; Anne Harrington; Sally Gaynor & Dianne Clery.

[179] Thanks to Victoria House.

[180] The Irish Independent reported on the ‘Fashionable Marriage’ on Wednesday, November 27, 1912.

[181] Northern Whig, Friday 5 December 1913.