Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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(1848 - 1929)



1. THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1848-1866)
4. BILLY'S DEATH & THE EVE OF WAR (1900-1913)
5. WORLD WAR ONE (1914-1918)

7. THE IRISH CIVIL WAR (1922-1923)
8. TWILIGHT & EPILOGUE (1924-1960)

These pages will be consistently updated.
Comments, updates and corrections are much appreciated




2. MILITARY & MARRIAGE (1867-1878)


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

A substantial piece on the Incredible Arthur MacMurrough Kanavagh, the new MP for Carlow, appears in the Friends Intelligencer of 1867, page 142, and also in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (22 November 1866), which applauded him as a remarkable man.

February 13: Abortive Fenian raid on Chester Castle.

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

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

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

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

May 11: Death at Lisnavagh of Tom's sister Isabella McClintock Bunbury aged 21. She is buried alongside her father in the family vault at St. Mary's Church in Rathvilly. Her death is noted in The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 222, p. 831 (F. Jefferies, 1867): 'May 11 - At Lisnevagh co Carlow aged 21 Isabella, dau of the late Capt Bunbury RN'.

June 5: At a Levee held by the Prince of Wales on June 5th, Sir Benjamin lee Guinness, MP, had been presented by the Earl of Derby, on his being created a baronet, and Colonel McClintock of Drumcar on his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of the Co. Louth and Colonel of Militia by Lord Naas (later Earl of Mayo). (June 7th 1867, Freeman's Journal)

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


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

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

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

Nov 15: Death of 19 year old Lady Geraldine FitzGerald, firstborn daughter of the 5th Duke of Leinster, an exact contemporary of Tom Bunbury.

Nov 18: Tom's uncle John McClintock, later Lord Rathdonnell, returned as HM Lord Lieutenant for both Louth and Drogheda. On the same day, Lady Frances Fitzwilliam, eldest daughter of 6th Earl Fitzwilliam and sister to Viscount Milton, marries Charles Mervyn Doyne and moves to Wells House, County Wexford, a house that had also been designed by the architect Daniel Robertson. She was born at Wentworth and grew up there during the 1850s and 1860. They have 5 children.

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

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

Tom's housemaster, Dr Edmond Warre, became a deacon and priest in 1867. There are several references to TKMB in ‘Edmond Warre, D.D., C.B., C.V.0.: Sometime Headmaster and Provost of Eton’ by Charles Robert Leslie Fletcher. J.J. Hornby became headmaster in 1867 and Warre loyally supported him for the next seventeen years.



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

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

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This photo almost certainly shows Tom on parade with the Scots Greys during his time with the regiment between 1868 and 1874. It is believed to have been taken at the Curragh.

In October 2012, Major Robin W.B. Maclean of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum in Edinburgh advised me this photograph (and one similar) is rare and interesting because they have so few of that period. His interpretation of the photograph is as follows.

‘It looks like a routine daily parade, probably for Guard Mounting (front rank) and general duties (back rank.) The front rank is in Full Dress because it is about to go on guard and would be based in the guard room at the entrance to the barracks (usually) . The back rank will be those who are doing general duties that night. I can only guess what general duties were in 1870 but looking after the horses in the stables would be one of them.
The Guard probably consists of a sergeant (in front holding sword). It looks like a duty trumpeter on the far right. There should be a Corporal and a Lance Corporal. The others will be troopers.
The back rank would need detailed knowledge to interpret. I do not have this knowledge but a regiment’s worth of horses must require quite a senior NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) to take charge of the stables at night with a number of grooms to help. I see they are holding what looks like riding crops in their hands. Perhaps the cookhouse also had duties in those days.’

With thanks to Susi Burton Allen and Shane Bizgood for pointing me in the right direction.

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

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

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

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

July 28-30: The first annual Dublin Horse Show was held and organised by the Royal Dublin Society on the lawns of Leinster House, and includes the first known instance of competitive show-jumping (on Leinster Lawn). [For more, see an essay by Stuart Lane called "Economic Role of the Workhorse in Nineteenth-century Ireland” in 'The Irish Draught Horse: A History’ by Mary McGrath and Joan C. Griffith (eds) (Collins Press,Cork, 2005), pp. 105-25, esp. p.119. Thanks to Dr Pat Wallace] The RDS Council granted £100 out of the Society's funds to be awarded in prizes. It started as a show of led-horses and featured ‘leaping’ demonstrations, as well as classes for mules and asses. The first prize for the Stone Wall competition (6ft) in 1868 was won by Richard Flynn on hunter, Shane Rhue (who sold for £1,000 later that day).

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

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

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

December 10: Gladstone becomes British Prime Minister at the head of a Liberal government. Many consider Gladstone a kindly man, deeply conscious of the land problem in Ireland. However, Tom's grandfather Sir James Stronge thought so little of Gladstone that he had his white headed skull etched on the bottom of his favourite lavatory at Tynan. Gladstone's triumph brings the Peelite-Liberal coalition to power.

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

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

December 21: Tom's uncle John McClintock created Baron Rathdonnell in the Peerage of Ireland 'in recognition of his services to the Protestant and Conservative causes'. (Webster) His official title is Baron Rathdonnell of Rathdonnell, Co. Donegal, recalling the old ringfort of Rathdonnell in Trentagh, Co. Donegal, which was one of the first McClintock properties in Ireland. Located close to Letterkenny in the parish of Kimacrenan, this former stronghold of the O’Donnell chieftains was presumably seized when they lost their power after the Flight of the Earls in 1607, at about the time the McClintocks first arrived in Trentagh.[i] The title was granted through a law that allowed one new peer of Ireland for every three peerages of that kingdom which became extinct. The preceding peerage created before Rathdonnell was that of Fermoy in 1856 which had proved such a fiasco many thought the Irish peerage was actually defunct. Although Lord Rathdonnell had no son, 'the title conferred on this wide-spread and well-connected family will not become extinct, as there is a special remainder to the sons of his late brother', Captain William B McClintock Bunbury, RN, MP, the eldest of whom was Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, will succeed. Lord Downshire had recommended him for a peerage in 1852. Having the elderly and much respected Field Marshall Lord Gough as your cousin, not to mention the Earl of Clancarty, can only have boosted his chances. Also, Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was appointed naval aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria during 1868 and such connections between the McClintock and Royalty can only have heightened their chances of a peerage. Indeed, McClintock and his wife met the Prince and Princess of Wales when they came across for the Punchestown Races. The Marquess of Abercorn was promoted to the Irish Dukedom later in the year.


[i] A branch of the McClintock family was living at Rathdonnell House during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Rathdonnell House, built adjacent to the ringfort, was occupied by Samuel King who died of apoplexy aged 52 on 15t October 1831. (Death Notices, Kilmacrenan Parish, Co. Donegal. Transcribed from the Londonderry Sentinel 1829-69.)

It is to be noted that there are at least two other ‘Rathdonnells’ which may have helped inspire John McClintock to adopt the name. The first is what appears to be a townland called Rathdonnell, close to Dunleer, which was in existence as early as 1822. (See: http://www.jbhall.freeservers.com/1822_freeholders_mo_to_y.htm). There is a place called Rathdaniel, about 6 miles south west of Drumcar House, John McClintock's home. The second is a Rathdonnell (sometimes Rathdaniel) which appears on Lewis & Taylor's map of Ireland between Rathvilly and Baltinglass, close to the home of his mothers family, the Bunburys of Lisnavagh. As my father says, 'Quite a number of O'Donnell's may have had forts - how many Newcastles are there in England or Lochmor's in Scotland? It only became a problem when we learned to travel!'

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This would appear to be Tom
Bunbury sporting the uniform
of the 12th Royal Lancers with
whom he served as a young man.

1869 (aged 21)

Gladstone disestablishes Protestant Churches in Ireland.

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

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

January 21: Carlow and Island Hunt meet at Lisnevagh [sic]. (Carlow Post, 16 January 1869).

February 2: Bagenalstown Races on Michael Lyons estate at Fenniscourt.

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

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

April: One of Tom's friends (certainly in later life) was Bache Cunard, heir of the New York shipping magnate whose father died in April 1869. The Illustrated London News (Vol. LIV, June 5, 1869, p.579) published his fathers will as follows: “The will of Sir Edward Cunard, Bart., of the city of New York, where he died, April 6 last, at the age of fifty-three, was proved in London, on the 25th alt., under £300,000 personalty, by his brother, William Cunard, Esq., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and of St. James's-street, Westminster, the acting executor, power being reserved to his nephew, Charles Gilbert Franklyn, Esq., of New York, also an executor appointed. The will is dated July 18, 1866, and is declared as being made in conformity with and is valid by the laws and Constitution of the United States. The testator was possessed of considerable property in the British provinces, also largely interested in the shares of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company, and in the British and Foreign Steam-Packet Company. He has made a liberal provision for his daughters, and leaves the residue of his property between his three sons—leaving to his eldest son, now Sir Bache Cunard, Bart., a moiety thereof, and to his other sons, Edward and Gordon, the remainder equally between them”.

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

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

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

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

October 9: Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury transferred from 6th Dragoon Guards to become a Cornet in 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys). Information courtesy of Major Robin Maclean, Curator, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, Edinburgh, & obtained from 'The History Of The Second Dragoons. Royal Scots Greys' by Edward Almack FSA. Published in 1908 by Alexander Moring Ltd. The De La More Press, 32 George St, Hanover Square, Page 221). This was presumably connected to his maternal cousin, General Sir John Bloomfield Gough, Colonel of the Scots Greys, who was grandson of George and Letitia (nee Bunbury) Gough, second son of the Very. Rev. Thomas Gough, Dean of Derry, and nephew of Hugh, 1st Viscount Gough. Sir John had been appointed colonel of the Royal Scots Greys in 1864. Born in 1804, he entered the Army through the Royal Military College in 1820, served in the 22nd Foot and the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and exchanged as captain into the 3rd Light Dragoons. He proceeded to India with his uncle, Sir Hugh Gough, serving on his staff throughout every battle in his campaigns in China, Gwalior, Sutlej, and the Punjab. He commanded a cavalry brigade at the battle of Moodkee and Ferozeshah, and was very severely wounded whilst accompanying Sir Robert Dick’s Division which led the assault on the Sikh entrenchments at Sobraon. For these services he was promoted through the various grades to the rank of colonel, and was appointed an ADC to the Queen and Companion of the Bath. In 1867 he was made a KCB and in 1876 GCB. He died on Tuesday 22nd September 1891, leaving three sons, all serving in the army. Another son fell at the battle of Abu Klea in 1885.

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

Tom Rathdonnell 2

Tom dressed for business.


Feb 17: "Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Buswell's family hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin, from Drumcar, County of Louth.' (Belfast News-Letter, 17 Feb 1870 - COURT AND FASHION).

Feb 28: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

March 17: Jack Bunbury wins throwing the hammer at Eton sports day with a distance of 83ft 7.5inches. (The Harrovian, Volume 1).

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

April 7: Death in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) of Tom and Jack's's 16-year-old sister, Helen McClintock Bunbury. (Hampshire Telegraph, Saturday 16 April 1870). She is buried alongside their father and sister in the family vault at St. Mary's in Rathvilly.

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

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

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

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

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

July: Jack Bunbury leaves Eton.

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

July 16: Franco-Prussian War. French parliament declares war on the German kingdom of Prussia. The origin of the conflict dated back to 1868 when the Spanish deposed Queen Isabella II and began hunting for a new monarch. Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian chancellor then engineered for Leopold Hohenzollern of Prussia to take the Spanish throne, allegedly on the basis that this would incite France to declare war. Sure enough, the concept of German monarchs to France's east and south infuriated Napoleon III and the French people so much that Leopold was persuaded to give up his claim, in part by his own father who predicted revolution and bloodshed if Leopold became king. Bismarck avoided utter humiliation by shrewdly tampering with a letter from the Prussian king Wilhelm to Napoleon in response to demands from the French ambassador that Prussia withdraw its interests in Spain. The Ems Dispatch had the desired effect as Napoleon III, desperate for popularity, and the French people, equally desperate to boost their national sense of identity, began baying for war. It was Prussia's war from the outset as their battle-hardened troops, superior artillery and innovative commanders enabled a blitzkrieg like annihilation of the French forces. Napoleon III is also contending with pure Prussian efficiency, exemplified by the use of the railroads to bring more troops to the front lines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 19-30: The Sige of Metz commences when the French Army are besieged by 150,000 Prussian troops. Napoleon III marches to relieve it with a ragtag army of 120,00 men. Napoleon then camped his men in Sedan in the hope he could start over but the Prussians already knew Sedan and the surrounding landscape so well that they had the French Emperor trapped in the last days of August 1870 while the Prussians lined up their six-pounder canons.

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

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

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

October 12: Sir Leopold McClintock marries Annette Elizabeth, 2nd dau. of R. Foster Dunlop, of Monasterboice House, co. Louth, by Anna, his wife, sister of loth Viscount Massereene and Ferrard.

October 24: At the age of 19, Jack McClintock Bunbury, successfully matriculates from Brasenose College, Oxford.

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

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

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

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

In 1870, there were three schools in the Rathvilly parish - one at Lisnavagh superintended by Rev S Quintin which seems to have been mixed, and the other two at Bough (one girls, one boys) superidntended by the Rev T.D. Hume (and S. Quintin). List of Schools in Connection with Church Education Society (1870), Volume 28, from Royal Commissioner on Nature and Extent of Instruction by Institutions in Ireland for Elementary or Primary Education, and Working of System of National Education: volume VIII, miscellaneous papers.

Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.


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

January: Chichester Fortescure becomes President of the Board of Trade and Lord Harrington succeeds as Chief Secretary of Ireland.

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

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

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

March 3: The Freemans Journal (3 March 1871, p. 4) reported that the Rathdonnells, Tom's aunt and uncle, were, along with the Lord Chancellor, the foremost guests at a dinner party at the Vice-Regal Court with Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, and his wife. Eight days later, the same paper reported that the death of the Marquis of Westmeath had created a vacancy in the Irish Representative Peergae which, according to the Mail, was likely to be filled with the election of Lord Rathdonnell. But he did not get the seat.

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

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

April 12: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

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

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

May 31: Tom Bunbury commissioned as a Lieutenant by purchase in the the Royal Scots Greys with whom he remains for just short of three more years. He is stationed at Plymouth & Dartmoor. He appears to have been living at Lisnavagh at this time. One Tuesday night, when Tom was a Lieutenant, the Scots Grey's Glee Club convened at the No. 29 Troop Room for an evening of music and readings. Tom's reading of a work called 'The Happy Man' is said to have 'created roars of laughter'. An unacknowledged newspaper account explains, 'Pat Murphy, the hero of the piece, deserts from his regiment in India and is introduced to the audience in the act of washing his shirt, or rather a shirt-front, which Pat simply wears for the 'honour of the service'. Whilst engaged at this he discovers a number of blacks carrying a palaquin, with a princess inside, and a large tiger in pursuit. The men drop the palaquin and seek to save themselves, when Pat shoots the tiger and makes love to the princess, and asks her to become Mrs Murphy. Lieutenant Bunbury described Pat's love scene in a most humorous manner, but when he proceeded to refresh the imaginary Princess with endless rolls of sausages and a large bottle of whiskey produced from the inside of a drum, the laughter was uncontrollable'. The piece came between a comic song by Private Fraser called 'Cliquot - Lutzow's Wild Chase' and another song by Troop -Sergeant Major Masterton called 'The Horn of Chase'. One of the highlights was 'Teatotal Society' sung by Private Boyle. 'God Save the Queen' brought the very pleasant evening to a close. Among those in attendance were Colonel Nugent, Surgeon-Major Stoney, Captain Hozier, Captain Farquhar, Captain Donnithorne, Lieutenant Scott, Lieutenant Bunbury, Lieutenant Wilson (adjt) and Quarter Master Liddle. A footnote explained that the regiment was being exercised daily that week, from 9 - 11am, in out-post duty and scouting under the command of Colonel A Nugent. On Tuesday the regiment was exercised in reconnoitring duty under the command of Captain Hozier (Brigade Major). [From newspaper cutting in the Isabella - Tom diary of 1866].

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

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

Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
Have ye seen the thunder cloud
Burst its bands of winter terror
When will tempests round it crowd!
So they rent the ring around them,
So they flash'd upon the day!
So the mighty hosts were scattered,
So the monster crowds gave way!
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,

Lo! The gallant Greys are charging,
Scotland waves her bonnet blue!
Dreams of glory start before her,
Alma heights and Waterloo!
Crown each warrior's brow with bays!
Scotland still can trust her honour
To her sons, the gallant Greys"
Lo! The gallant Greys are charging.

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

November: Rev Ralph Wilde, Church of Ireland Rector at Drumsnat, County Monaghan, permits his nieces Emily and Mary Wylie [aka Wilde] - sisters of Oscar Wilde - to attend a party hosted by Andrew Reid of Drumaconnor House near Smithboro with disastrous consequences. According to an account by local historian Eamonn Mulligan, co-author of ‘The Replay - a parish history’ (a history of the parish of Kilmore and Drumsnatt) published in 1984: 'The two girls attended the ball and remained there when all the guests had gone home. The host took one of the girls for a last dance around the floor. As they waltzed past an open fireplace, the girls crinoline dress caught fire. Her sister, seeing her plights, came to her assistance and her dress also caught fire. The host of the ball wrapped his coat around them and rolled them down the steps in front of the house into the snow. But, alas, it was too late for both young girls died.’ One thinks of 'The Dreadful Story of Harriet & Her Matches'. Mary, aged 22, passed away on 8 November, followed by Emily, aged 24, on the 21st. They are buried at St. Molua’s Church in Drumsnat where a new headstone was erected earlier this century. The girls were the illegitimate daughters of Sir William Wilde, Surgeon Occulist to her Majesty the Queen, founder of St. Mark's Opthalmic Hospital and father of Oscar. Jack Storey adds: 'A story exists about the "Lady in Black", believed to be the mother of the two ladies. She came every year on the anniversary of their deaths, took a taxi from Monaghan Railway Station and visited the grave. Nobody discovered her identity but is is known that she travelled from Dublin. Sir William Wilde, a notable "eye surgeon" was the father of the two Wilde girls, & it is believed that he had an affair with the "Lady in Black". Rev Ralph Wilde [who christened Oscar] had reared the Wilde sisters as his own and he was transferred shortly after the tragedy.’ Sir William Wilde was clearly anxious that the tragic story of the deaths of his two illegitimate daughters did not git the press and the coroner Alexander C Waddell complied so that there was no inquest. 'From all the circumstances of the case,’ concluded Mr. Waddell, 'I did not consider anything further necessary than a careful inquiry into the facts, which showed that everything possible was done to preserve the life of the deceased.' It is not known how the Bunburys reacted to the tragedy but it is to be noted that Colonel Kane Bunbury owned the land at Drumsnat while his granddaughter was friendly with the Wilde girls' brother Willie. Redmond Kane, Tom Rathdonnell's ancestor, secured the lands and lake of Drumsnat [Drumsnaught] from the Bishop of Clogher in 1760. Drumaconnor House is now home to the Treanor family and is located just off the Monaghan/Clones road. See Theo McMahon, 'The Deaths of Emily and Mary Wilde, 1871', Clogher Historical Society (2003).

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

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


Tom Rathdonnell

A portrait of Tom Rathdonnell as a young man.


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

Sir Leopold McClintock begins 5 year run as Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard. This was a time of relative peace, as the British Empire continued to expand and the age of New Imperialism begins.

February 3: Carlow Post (Saturday 10 February 1872) reports on the death of Mrs Hanlon: "Died Saturday, in her 68th year, Mrs Alice Hanlon, of Fairy Lawn. She was a member an old and respectable Catholic family, who took aprominent part in the political struggles of the County Carlow, and by their heroic devotion to the cause of civil and religious liberty, lost many a broad acre in that memorable contest. The stately mansion of Lisnavah [sic] stands on the site the home of the Germaines. During a long and useful life Mrs Hanlon possesed the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends, and in the sad season of famine her efforts to relieve the sufferings of the poor were generous beyond her means, and secured her their abiding gratitude. She bore with saintlike patience the sufferings of her last illness, and perfectly resigned to God’s holy will, calmly awaited, in the fullness of Christian hope, the summons, we trust, to a happy eternity. At her obsequies, in the chapel of Ratoath, the Rev. James Colgan was celebrant, assisted by the Rev P. Wall and Rev. A. Dwyer asdeacon and sub-deacon, and the Rev. W O’Sea as master of ceremonies. There were also present. Rev. J. Kehoe. P.P., Ballon : Rev. P. J. Mulhall, P.P., Goresbridge; Very Rev. Dr. Kavanagh, Rev. Dean Burke, Carlow College ; Rev. P. Fitzs’mons, Rev. M. J. Murphy. Rev. P. Clowry. Rev. J. Neville. Rev. Richard Coffey, Rev. P. Maher, Rev. P. Ryan, Rev. J. Delaney. -R.I.P.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 8: Assasination in the Andaman Islands of the 49-year-old Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India, formerly Master of the Kildare Hunt.

April 2: Bagenalstown and Fenniscourt Steeplechase.

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

Winter: Attempted assasination of five foot high Queen Victoria by a Republican is thwarted by John Brown.

December 3: (Tuesday) The Freemans Journal (p. 2) reports that the new Representative Peer, in the room of the late Lord Clarina, will according to the Limerick Chronicle be either Lord Rathdonnell or Lord Crofton.

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


The Select Committee on Contagious Diseases XI of 1873 concludes that attempts to control Foot & Mounth Disease in Ireland and Great Britain have been unsuccessful. They recommend that the sale of diseased animals in public places and the carriage of infected animals by rail be prohibited, and that the Privy Council should cease issuing orders for the control of the disease.

image title

Above: A fine photo of Carlow's sporting - and gentry - elite with Tom Bunbury up front.
(Photo courtesy of Shay Kinsella).

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

February 22: The Glasgow Herald commended Tom's manners when he rode out with the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Foxhounds four days earlier. The scarlet sportsmen met at Castlemilk 'where Captain Stuart dispensed his usual hospitality; after which a move was made to Netherton braes, where they found at once'. The fox escaped but was eventually 'run to ground in a drain quite close to Old Frams house at Calderwood'. The author, with the pseudonym of 'Stringhalt' went on to 'condemn that dreadful system of man-traps, namely running wire through a hedge which is hardly visible, until you are made aware of the fact by a frightful "cropper". He goes on to say: 'Captain Bunbury, Scots Greys, who went well, did a thing I have read about but never heard authenticated. At one of the wire fences he got off, laid his red coat over the wire and then led his horse over'. Tom had been among the first up when the fox went to ground, along with Messrs. Durham Kippen, Peter Whyte, John Reid yr of Gallowflat, A. Chalmers, Geo. Kidston and Mr Stuart yr.

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

April 30: Tom begins a diary about his time with the Scots Greys which we have a copy of at Lisnavagh, starts off at Hamilton on a march to Aldershot and concludes at High Wycombe on June 5th. Later that same year, the Greys served in the Anglo-Ashanti War in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) under General Garnet Wolseley (of the Tullow, Co. Carlow family) arrived at the head of 2,500 British troops and several thousand West Indian and African troops in January 1874. After a series of British victories, resulting in the destruction of its capital at Kumasi, the Asantahene, the ruler of the Ashanti, signed a harsh British treaty in July 1874 to end the war. It is not yet known whether Tom Bunbury served in this campaign. If he did, we might somewhere have his Ashantee War Medal, awarded for participation in the campaign against the Ashanti in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) between 9 June 1873 and 4 February 1874. It was specifically for 'those who crossed the River Prah or participated in actions at Amoaful or Ardahsa'. The medal has a yellow ribbon with black edges and two black stripes.

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

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

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

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

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

By 1870 the 'typical' landlord owned about 2,000 acres, but by 1876 less than 800 landlords own half the country, 302 of which owned 33.7 per cent of Irish land. Almost half of the 800 landlords were absentee, in that some were resident outside Ireland with many more resident on other Irish estates (Foster).

Carlow Rugby Football Club founded by Horace Rochfort, co-founder of Polo Club. The first rugby matches are played in the "Football Meadow" at Tinnepark, a Bruen property, where soccer matches are also played. Landed gentry emerging as central to evolution of sport in Ireland. Today the club stands beside the Bruen's Triumphal Arch in Oak Park.

Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days.

Kate Bruen 2

Katherine Anne Bruen
married Tom Bunbury
in 1874.


On 1st January 1874, Tom was one of three gentlemen commissioned as Justice of the Peace for Carlow, alongside Sir Clement James Wolsely, Bart, and Samuel Fenton. The commission ran until 1st June 1876. (339 | Return of Number of Gentlemen appointed to Commission of Peace in Ireland, 1874-76).

Jan 31 - 17 Feb: General Election. 'At the election of 1874 there was a hope that the standard of Conservatism would be raised again in Louth by a McClintock. Captain McClintock Bunbury (ie: Tom) did arrive here on the eve of the election, but the “Home Rule” furore being then at its height, it was deemed that the hopes of a success for a Conservative candidate would be very small and Captain McClintock Bunbury was not put in nomination. Since then however he has attended on several Grand Juries.' (Dundalk Herald, 24 May 1879)

Tom evidently had evidently inherited the political ambitions of his patrernal and maternal forbears. A letter to Tom from his uncle John, Baron Rathdonnell, dated 2nd February and written from Bath, urges him to ensure he had financial backing of Uncle Kane ‘for you cannot stand unless at a good expense’. Rathdonnell also counselled ‘I am afraid you are rather late in the field – I should not be guided solely by Dunlop [presumably of Monasterboice], I say this between ourselves’. Two days later (4 Feb 1874), Tom resigned his commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys and drafted a letter at the Kildare Street Club with his address to the Electors of Count Louth, seeking the honour of their 'vote and assistance’. He was standing on behalf ‘of the great constitutional party of which Mr. Disraeli is the acknowledged leader’. He does not appear to have followed through or was, in any event, unsucessful. And while Disraeli won the General Election on February 17th and came to power at the head of a Conservative government, the Home Rulers cleaned up in County Louth as they became the third biggest party in Westminster.

Amongst the shock defeats to the government were Chichester Fortescue, Gladstone's President of the Board of Trade, while the Conservatives lost Tom's cousin Sir James Stronge. Gladstone took Fortesuce's elimination as a direct indication of the low esteem in which the Irish held him. Fortesuce, reported The Times, was "the embodiment of the Irish policy of the government, its guiding spirit and most active instrument in framing and carrying the "healing measures" which were expected to cure all the ills of the country".

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

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

Lady Elizabeth McClintock

Lady Elizabeth McClintock who
celebrated her 95th birthday in 1874.

February 26: Nine days after the General Election, a historic alliance of two of Carlow's great Anglo-Irish families occurred with the marriage of 26 year old Tom McClintock Bunbury and Katherine Anne Bruen, the eldest daughter of Henry Bruen of Oak Park, MP. Among the wedding presents they received were the elaborate clock in the Blue Room at Lisnavagh and a walnut cabinet presented "To TB" by "Scottie"; the latter currently houses my father's secret cigar stash and sits on top of a desk made from the timber of the Samarang!

On February 28th 1874, The Carlow Sentinel reported lavishly on the wedding beneath the heading ‘Fashionable Intelligence – Marriage in High Life’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dowager Countess of Longford – Travelling Clock.

Mr & Mrs Rutledge – Oxydised Silver Ink Stand, richly embossed.

Lieut-Col Nugent (Scots Greys) – Pair of Oxydised Silver Ormolu Branch Candlesticks.

Hon Mrs Haines – Richly Carved Indian Card Case of Sandalwood.

The Misses Barton – Purple Velvet Box, for holding Gloves, Handkerchiefs, and Perfumery.

The Lady Elizabeth McClintock – Ormolu Ink Bottle.

Rev S. Quinton – Emerald and Pearl Locket.

Lord and Lady Rathdonnell – Necklace and Pendant of Pearls and Diamonds.

Miss Conolly – Necklace, Brooch and Earrings of Turquoise.

Captain G.D. Pakenham – Burnished Gold Bracelet.

Sir Leopold McClintock – The Claw of a Bear, shot by himself, mounted in Gold, as a Brooch.

Mr and Mrs Vesey Nugent – Bracelet Set with Pearls and Turquoises.

Mr Calvert – Card Tray Edgeware China Medallion set in Ormolu.

Mr Conolly, MP, and Mrs Conolly – Diamond and Ruby Bracelet.

Mr Kavanagh, MP, and Mrs Kavanagh – Small Travelling Clock.

Colonel Bunbury – Tiara of Diamonds and large Locket of Diamonds. Both these ornaments were enriched with stones of rare size and quality, and formed a princely gift.

Sir James and Lady Stronge – Chain and Pendant of Gold, with Coral and Pearls.

Lord Langford – Gold Locket, set with Lapaz Lazuli Pearls and Diamonds.

Mr Bruen, MP, and Mrs Bruen – Dressing Case of Coromandel Wood, Silver Mounted.

Mrs McClintock Bunbury – Gold Bracelet, Set with Emeralds, Pearls and Diamonds; Necklace and Cross set with various precious stones.

Mrs Pakenham – Two Mirrors (Oval) with brackets supporting Flower Vases.

Hon Mrs Rochfort – Ormolu Photograph Frame.

The Lady Frances Doyne – Two Jadrinieres Purple Mintor China.

Mr E Nugent and Mr J Stronge – Pair of Antique Candlesticks and Bell.

Mrs Coltman – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.

Lady Burton – Russian Leather Travelling Bag.

Mrs Maxwell Stronge – Vase, Oxydised Silver and Ormolu.

Mrs Tighe – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.

Mr and Mrs T. Pakenham Law – Pair Ormolu Candlesticks.

Lady Clermont – Ink Stand and Pen Tray, Oxydised Silver and Ormolu.

Mr Henry Bruen – Five branch Candlestick and Flower Bowl, supported by the Bird of Wisdom, all in Irish Bog Oak.

Hon Miss Rowley – Large Russian Leather Photograph Book.

Mr and the Hon Mrs C Ponsonby - Large Silver Lockets with Monogram.

Mrs Clayton Browne – Ormolu Casket.
Captain Saunders (Scots Greys) – A Luncheon Basket fitted up.
Miss M Burton – Large Spa and Ormolu Photograph Book.

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

March 1: Four days after his brothers' wedding, Jack is made a Lieutenant in the Scots Greys.

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

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

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

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

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

Aug-Sept: Tom Rathdonnell (then Captain Bunbury) purchases of the fee simple of c.1,000 acres of the estate of Henry Tudor Parnell from the Landed Estates Court on 1874-5. Henry Tudor Parnell is the brother of Charles Stewart Parnell. The lands comprise 632 acres in Ballykillane and Constable Hill, where the tenant was named as “Representative of Captain Bunbury”, 306 acres in Ballysallagh where the tenant was “William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury”, and 92 acres in Monastill where the tenants were “Representative of Richard Hannon, Joseph Hannon, Richard Noblett, Matthew Hannon and Frances Hanon”. With thanks to Oliver Whelan.

Aug 27: Death of the sculptor John Henry Foley.

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

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

LisnavaghNov 4 1874: Death of Colonel Kane Bunbury

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

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

An account with James Morris of 140 Tullow Street, Carlow, tells us that the Colonel's last bill was for six candles, one box of tea and four sugars amounting to 7 d 7s. The Colonel is buried in the family vault at St. Mary's Church in Rathvilly where Captain McClintock Bunbury lay with his two daughters. In his will he asked his Executors to invest £1000 in the Government's new three percent stock, from which they were to divide the moiety of the annual interest between the Poor Protestant and Roman Catholic inhabitants of the Parish of Rathvilly, except those recieving workhouse relief.

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

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

Captain Bunbury

It has always been my belief
that this portrait depicts Tom
Bunbury's sisters, Bella and
Helen, who were both fated
to die tragically young.

Carlow Sentinal, November 14th 1874. (From PPP)
Fashionable Intelligence.
Lord and Lady Rathdonnell and suite have arrived at Moyle, Carlow, from Drumcar, County Louth. [NOTE - He had been at funeral so must have gone back to Drumcar in the meantime].
Mr. Kavanagh, M.P., left Kingstown on Monday for England.
Dowager Lady Wolsely and suite arrived in Dublin on Thursday from England.
Calls to the Bar ----Amongst the gentlemen called to the Bar, at the sitting of the Court of Chancery on Monday, we observe the name of an esteemed young Carlow gentleman, Philip Henry Bagenal, Esquire, A.B., Oxford, second surviving son of the late Philip Henry Bagenal, Esquire, of Bennekerry, in this county. We sincerely wish Mr. Bagenal every success in the honourable profession he has chosen, and which judging from his high literary attainments he is well qualified to adorn.
A Royal Marriage ----In Bonapartist circles mention is made of a projected marriage between the Prince Imperial and the daughter of the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.

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

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

November 30: Birth of Winston Churchill.

November 31: (Monday) Tom's uncle Lord Rathdonnell present for a special sessions meeting at which a new baronial constable and cess collector for the barony of Ardee was elected in place of the late Mr. Harmon. (Freemans Journal, Tuesday, December 01, 1874 Page: 6).

December 28: Tom and Kate Bunbury have first child, a daughter, the Hon. Isabella (Katharine) McClintock Bunbury. She goes on to marry Forrester Farnell Colvin. My guess is that she was named Katharine for the late Kane Bunbury's mother, Katherine Kane. ?


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

Feb 11: Colonel Kane Bunbury's will proven.

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

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

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

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

April 6: IMPORTANT EJECTMENT CASE - Carlow, Tuesday. The general quarter sessions for this county were opened yesterday, before J A. Wall, Esq., Q.C., Chairman,and the following magistrates :- Messrs. Arthur Fitzmaurice, Horace Rochefort, J.F. Lecky, James C. Moore, R.M.; George Alexander; William Duckett; and Thomas O'Mara, M.B. The business consisted of 68 civil bill entries, two spirit licence applications, five Crown cases and one ejectment.
Considerable interest appeared to be manifested in a case of ejectment for overholding, the plaintiff being Thomas Kane M'Clintock Bunbury, Esq., of Lisnavagh [sic] and the defendants Wm. Stafford, Esq., JP, of Stafford Lodge, Kilmacthomas; Rev. A. Wall, C.C.; and Richard Hackett. Mr. Malcomson appeared for the plaintiff and Mr. Thorp for the defendant. Mr.Malcomson said the ejectment was brought on a notice to quit to recover possession of the lands of Mortarstown, a short distance from the town of Carlow,and they formed portion of the old estate of the Bunbury's. In the year 1804 a lease was made by the late Thomas Bunbury, of Lisnevagh, to Thomas Coffey, of Carlow, at £68 6s. a year for three lives, the last of which expired some eight or nine years ago, and the tenant's interest then became vested in Miss Ellen Coffey. The rent was reduced to £39 per annum, payable in March and September, and Thomas Bunbury, the lessor, died in 1846, devising his estate to Colonel Kane Bunbury for his lifetime, and after that to his nephew, the late Captain Bunbury, the father of the present plaintiff. The notice to quit was served in 1874, between which time and the preceding September Miss Coffey died, and the Rev Arnold Wall, C.C. took out administration, after which he was served with notice to quit, and possessjon demanded, but not given up. Colonel Kane Bunbury, uncle to the plaintiff, died November, 1874, and now Thomas Kane M'Clintock Bunbury claimed, and became entitled, both as heir-at-law and under the original deed, to the possession of those lands. The services having been proved, Mr. Thorp applied for an adjournment of the case until the next quarter sessions, in order to afford him an opportunity of serving a claim under the Land Act, but his worship refused, without the consent of the opposite party, who objected. Mr.William Johnson, agent to the property, proved the receipt of rent half-yearly from Miss Ellen Coffey, and positively denied that Mr. Stsfrord was even recognised as tenant, although he had been in communication with him for the purpose of getting up possession, and offering to forego one years rent due at the time of Miss Coffey's death if possession were given. The case hae not concluded.
Freeman's Journal - Wednesday 7 April 1875

April 7: A hearing before James A. Wall, Esq., QC, at the Carlow Quarter Sessions of the ejectment case in which Tom Bunbury was plaintiff (with Mr. Malcomson as his lawyer) and William Stafford, JP, of Stafford Lodge, Co. Waterford, and the Rev. Arnold Wall,. CC, were defendants (with Mr. Thorp as their lawyer). Further details can be found at Freemans Journal, Thursday, April 08, 187, p. 6.

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

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

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

On the 9th inst this [Carlow & Island] pack met at Lisnevagh and, finding at Moorstown, took their fox by Rathdaniel to Lisnevagh, where he was coursed by dogs and lost. (Quoted in 'TRIVIATA ; or, Cross Road Chronicles of Passages in Irish Hunting History during the season of 1875-76., p. 51).

Kate BruenS

I need to confirm whether
this is Katherine Anne Bruen
(later 2nd Lady Rathdonnell)
or her mother-in-law, Pauline
McClintock Bunbury (nee Stronge).


January 1: (Saturday) Death at Lisnavagh of Tom Bunbury's mother, Mrs. Pauline McClintock Bunbury. According to The Irish Times, she had been 'in delicate health for some time'. The Freemans Journal (Tuesday, January 4, p. 5) and the Nenagh Guardian (Saturday, January 8) concur that she died 'at Lisnevagh [sic] on Saturday last'.

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

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

February 17: (Thursday) Freemans Journal (p.7) notes Lord and Lady Rathdonnell as guests at Morrisson's Hotel.

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

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

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

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

June 22: On Thursday 22 June 1876 the Belfast Telegraph reported that Tom Bunbury had come second in the Amateur Class for Best Shorthorn Bull calved in 1874 at the North-East Agricultural Show. He was beaten by Robert Perceval Maxwell of Finnebrogue, County Down, while third place went to George D Beresford, MP, of The Palace, Armagh.

June 35-26: Myles Keogh of Leighlinbridge was Colonel Custer’s second-in-command at the battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Popular legend holds that Myles’ horse Comanche was the sole survivor of the 7th Cavalry Regiment when Sitting Bill’s forces left the field of battle.

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

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

According to R. Timothy Campbell and Stephen A. Royle in ‘The Country House and its Demesne in County Carlow’ (‘Carlow & Society, ed. Thomas McGrath, p. 740), the 1876 List of Landowners shows Rathdonnell’s unusual predicament as an absentee from Carlow, in that he 'preferred to live at Drumcar'. I’m not sure I agree with all of thire conclusions as Tom didn’t become Baron Rathdonnell until 1879 and I didn’t think his uncle John McClintock, Lord Rathdonnell, owned land in Carlow. However, maybe I am wrong as their article goes on to state: ‘Rathdonnell owned 3,262 hectares in the county which was comparable in qualitative rental terms to larger properties such as that of the Bruen family in the north Carlow. Whereas most estates in Carlow with country based estate cores (around 75% of the total) held practically all of their property within Carlow and its adjacent counties, the structure of the Rathdonnell estate differed in that only 40% of the family’s landed property (41% of landed income) came from its Carlow rental, while the rest, which had been either inherited or bought, was scattered over a number of counties including Kildare and Fermanagh.'

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

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


Foot and mouth epidemic over for first time since 1873.

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

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

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

Anne, Lady Rathdonnell

The 1st Lady Rathdonnell
(nee Anne Lefroy)

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

Robert Watson

Robert Watson was one of
the great huntsmen of the
Victorian Age. In 1878, Tom's
brother Jack Bunbury married
Watson's daughter Myra.

May 11: Birth of the Hon. Pauline Caroline McClintock Bunbury, third and youngest daughter of Tom and Kate Bunbury, who is named for Tom's late mother. Pauline went on to marry Major Frederick John Dalgety. (The Freemans Journal of Thursday, May 17, 1877, p. 1, announced that Kate has given birth to a daughter at Lisnevagh [sic] on May 11th).

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

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

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

July 12: (Thursday) Freemans Journal (p. 6) notes Lord and Lady Rathdonnell have arrived at Kingstown from England.

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

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

Sept 13: 'MARRIAGES. On the 13th inst., by special license, at the Castle, Ballyraggett, the residence of Lady Harriet Kavanagh, by the Bishop of Ossory, assisted by the Rev Robert le Poer McClintock, Rector of Castle Bellingham, cousin of the bride, James Peddie Steele, Esq., B.A . M.D., Edin., to Sarah Louisa, youngest daughter of the late Rev. William and Lady Louisa le Poer Trench.' ( Illustrated London News - Saturday 29 September 1877).

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

October 17-12 Nov: Gladstone visited Ireland and stayed with Brabazon (who had been a Liberal MP) at Kilruddery, and the Fitzwilliams at Coolattin (which he visited on other occasions), as well as other Anglo-Irish families in County Wicklow. As Kevin Lee relates on his excellent Facebook history of Carnew, the prime minister ... "was accompanied by his wife, his daughter and his private secretary, Spencer Lyttleton. The Gladstones, the Fitzwilliams, Lord Meath, Professor Mahaffey from Trinity College, Dublin, and fellow dignitaries, combined with the entourage of hangers on that accompany such a group must have cut a fine dash as they traversed the roads of south Wicklow. The convoy of carriages was headed by the four wheeled barouche of Lady Alice Fitzwilliam. The Earl’s teenage daughter displayed skill beyond her years in her control of the four ponies which were pulling the carriage. Gladstone’s itinerary included a visit to the farm of Michael Lawrenson in Killinure, a townland located on the road from Shillelagh to Tullow. Lawrenson farmed 435 acres and had 100 acres under tillage. With regard to dairy farming Lawrenson had on view samples of the butter which he was exporting to England. Gladstone seemed very interested in the wages being paid to the Irish farm labourers. It was a subject in which the Killinure man was well versed, having served as under steward at Coollattin. He did venture the opinion that the labouring class would be much better off if the public houses remained closed on Sundays. The party next visited the farm of Ralph Lawrenson in Munny. From here they proceeded to the hill of Aghold where they had an uninterrupted view extending for over 40 miles and taking in eleven Irish counties. On his return to England Gladstone stopped in Bray where he was the guest of Lord Meath. On the journey from Shillelagh to Bray the train stopped in Aughrim where Gladstone was met by Father Kavanagh from Carlow College and the parish priest of Rathdum, Father Galvin."

Many of the Irish gentry loathed Gladsstone and regarded the Home Rule Bill as the work of the anti-Christ. Cartoons lampooning Gladstone adorned their W.C’s while his portrait stared up from the bottom of chamberpots at Tynan Abbey and Castlecoole (where the National Trust has it on display). When Queen Victorian offered a gift to Beauparc’s Bertha Lambert, a maid of honour, after she danced a Irish jig, Miss Lambert replied: “The head of Mr Gladstone on a dish, ma’am.” Meanwhile, Irish faith in British rule was consistently undermined by the long drawn out process to grant Catholic Emancipation, the mistreatment of men like O’Connell, the complete mishandling of the Great Famine and then the long dithering over Home Rule ... all of which fed into revolutionary agendas.

Winter 1877: Britain nearly goes to war with Russia in 1877 over the Russo-Turkish war. The Russians eventually agreed to retreat from Bulgaria, restoring it and Macedonia to Ottoman Turkish rule. The withdrawal was considered a diplomatic triumph of Britain's Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, though it was not such a good deal for Balkan Slavs, hobbled by Ottoman misrule for another generation.

Lord Rathdonnell listed as a subscriber to the Turkish Compassionate Fund, established by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts as a relief fund for the Mohammedan victims of the Turko-Russian war, who, driven out of their homes, sought refuge in Constantinople, the capital of their monarch, the sultan.

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

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

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

August: The annual show hosted by the RDS at Ballsbridge boasts a lower turn-out of cattle than usual, owing to quarantines put in place in London following an outrbreak of foot-and-mouth at the Paris Cattle Show. That said, the Irish Times applauded the 'exceedingly good quality, especially in the shorthorn class' where 'the first prize was taken by Major McClintock Bunbury with a shorthorn bred by Mr. Challoner, which won the challenge cup as a two-year-old, for that gentleman, and as a four-year-old for the present owner at the last spring show of the Royal Dublin Society'. Major McClintock Bunbury was also 'deservedly awarded first prize in the shorthorn cow section, for a very lengthy animal of great merit.' (Weekly Irish Times, Saturday, August 10, 1878, p. 5).

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

Lousy harvest.

Sept 11: Jack Bunbury marries Elizabeth Myra Watson, daughter of Robert Watson of Ballydarton, Co. Carlow.

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

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

‘Macdermott's War Song’, written and composed by G. W. Hunt, becomes a hit at height of the crisis with words:
‘We don't want to fight but by jingo if we do...
We've got the ships, we've got the men, and got the money too!
We've fought the Bear before... and while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople...’
Disraeli was the main opponent of jingoism while Gladstone was the chief advocate of the moralists so where did Lady Rathdonnell stand?!

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