Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don 1763 – 1831

Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don (1763 – 1831), of Belanagare and Clonalis, co. Roscommon was the brother in law of Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832). He was married to Judith Moore’s eldest sister Jane. So he’s a 5th great-uncle.

He was the first Catholic M.P. for Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) ,  his son and two grandsons were also M.P’s. He was a friend, and colleague of Daniel O’Connell, who wrote to his son Denis after his death

” The death of my most respected and loved friend, your father, was to me a severe blow … How little does the world know of the value of the public services of men who like him held themselves always in readiness without ostentation or parade but with firmness and sincerity to aid in the struggles which nations make for liberty … I really know no one individual to whom the Catholics of Ireland are so powerfully indebted for the successful result of their contest for emancipation … His was not holiday patriotism … No, in the worst of times and when the storms of calumny and persecution from our enemies and apathy and treachery from our friends raged at their height he was always found at his post. “

He was only an M.P. from 1830 – 12 June 1831, but the seat was inherited by his son Denis who was an M.P for sixteen years, and later his grandson Charles Owen O’Conor who was an M.P for Roscommon for twenty years.

The O’Conors were descended from the ancient kings of Connaught through a younger son of Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) of Ballintubber Castle, sometime Member for county Roscommon. Owen’s grandfather Charles O’Conor (1710-91) was a noted antiquary and his father Denis and uncle Charles (1736-1808) of Mount Allen, as heirs to one of the oldest and most extensive Irish landholding families in the province, participated in the Catholic agitation of the late eighteenth century.

Owen, who served as a Volunteer in 1782 and was one of the Roscommon delegates to the Catholic convention in 1793, was also active in this campaign and probably became involved with the United Irishmen. However, except for his remark to Wolfe Tone in January 1793 that he was prepared for extreme measures, he steered clear of revolutionary activity, unlike his radical cousin Thomas (of Mount Allen), who in 1801 emigrated to New York; it was there that his son Charles (1804-84) became a prominent Democrat lawyer.

Denis O’Conor’s fourth cousin Dominick O’Conor (d. 1795) had left Clonalis ( the family house, and estate)  to his wife Catherine (d. 1814) and then to Owen as future head of the family. This was disputed by Dominick’s younger brother Alexander, who succeeded him as the O’Conor Don and had delusions of establishing himself as a self-styled monarch in a rebuilt Ballintubber Castle; he and his next brother Thomas, who predeceased him, were described by Skeffington Gibbon as ‘men of high and noble birth, but from their eccentric, secluded, pecuniary difficulties and habits, hardly known beyond the walls of the smoky and despicable hovels in which they lived and died’. After protracted litigation that reduced the value of the property, O’Conor purchased Clonalis outright in 1805, and on Alexander’s death in December 1820 he inherited the headship of the Don part of the old Catholic clan of the O’Conors. 

By the early 1820s the O’Conor Don was one of the most influential of the older generation of reformers in the Catholic Association. He played a leading part in the regular petitioning by Catholics in Roscommon, where he gave his electoral support to the pro-Catholic County Members. He spoke against the introduction of Poor Laws to Ireland and the increased Irish stamp and spirit duties. He stood in the general election of 1830,  pledging to support a range of radical reforms and to devote the rest of his life to the Irish cause. He was returned unopposed as the first Catholic to represent Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh.

Poverty in Ireland – 1904

Poverty in Ireland.—The annual reports of the Irish Local Government- Board, says The Freeman’s Journal, are annual reminders of the nature of that “progress” about which our governors make boast. They give us statistics of Irish poverty covering three decades. The latest report carries us back to the year 1873, when there were 5,327,938 people in Ireland ; and
furnishes us the figures of pauperism for the year ending March, 1903, when the population was about 4,413,655.  [The Irish census taken in 1841 recorded a population of 8,175,124, and that of 1851 a total of 6,552,385 with approximately 1,000,000 dying during the famine. The Irish population dropped by 46%, and 3,000,000 people emigrated] 

With nearly a million people gone, it might be expected that we should have fewer paupers among those who remain. The depopulation of the country, we have often been assured, was a necessary step in its progress. It meant an increase of prosperity to those left behind. Strange, then, that there should be a far higher proportion of paupers in 1903 than in 1873. The five and a third millions supplied only 40,837 inmates to the workhouses at the beginning of the year 1873; the four and two-fifths millions provided 42,784.

In 1873 there were only 206,482 admissions to Irish workhouses ; in 1903 there were 333,729, an increase of 127,247, or over 60 per cent. That is the measure of the ” improvement ” effected by the disappearance of nearly a million of the population. Nor is that the whole story. We gather from another portion of the report that in the decade preceding 1873 the total number of dangerous lunatics certified by the, dispensary medical officers was 6,561 ; while in the decade preceding 1903 it was 21,354. An increase of 60 per cent. in indoor pauperism, an increase of over 200 per cent in lunacy, the blood-letting of a country so strongly recommended by the political “Sangrados”, [quack doctors] produces strange effects upon the national wealth and health. On the average, one out of every forty-four of the population was on the daily paupers’ list during the year ending March 31, 1903.

The above text was found on p.18, 7th May 1904 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Twenty-seven generations of great-grandparents

A while back I posted that if you are somehow descended from Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) and Judith Grehan (neé Moore), then you are a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn , and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st. You can find that post here.  I hadn’t taken it any further, so I’m grateful to Nancy Beckley for pushing things back to Edward the First. I picked it up, and pushed it a bit further. It all seems very impressive until you do the maths. 27th great-grandparent means there are another 536 million other great-grandparents who aren’t kings or queens. Still it’s always nice having a saint in the family.

Saint Margaret is Scotland’s only royal saint, and Malcolm is the one in Macbeth. 

27th great grandparents William the Conqueror (1028–1087) and Matilda of Flanders (1031-1083), and also Saint Margaret and the Scottish king Malcolm III. 

26th great grandparents Henry I (1068 – 1135) and Matilda [originally christened Edith] of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118),

25th great grandparents Geoffrey V (1113 – 1151) of Anjou and Matilda, (1102 – 1167)

24th great grandparents Henry II ( 1154 -1189) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 -1204)

23rd great grandparents King John (1199-1216) Isabella of Angoulême (1188 – 1246)

22nd great grandparents Henry III (1207-1272)/Eleanor of Provence (1223 – 1291)

21st great grandparents: King Edward I (1239-1307)/Eleanor of Castile (1241 – 1290)

20th great grandparents:  Elizabeth of Rhuddlan (1282-1316)./ Humphrey de Bohun, (1276-1322) 4th Earl of Hereford (second husband)

19th great grandparents:  Lady Eleanor de Bohun (1304-1363)/James Butler (1305-1338), 1st Earl of Ormond

18th great grandparents:  James Butler (1331-1382), 2nd Earl of Ormond/Elizabeth Darcy (1332-1390)

17th  great grandparents: James Butler (1359-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond/Anne Welles (1360 -1397)

16th  great grandparents:  Richard Butler (1395-1443), Sir Richard Butler of Polestown/ Catherine O’Reilly(1395-1420), Gildas O’Reilly, Lord of East Breifne

15th  great grandparents:  Edmund MacRichard Butler (1420-1464), The MacRichard of Ossory/ Catherine O’Carroll (?-1506)

14th  great grandparents:  Sir James Butler (1438 -1487),/Sabh Kavanagh (1440 -1508), Princess of Leinster, daughter of Donal Reagh Kavanagh MacMurrough, King of Leinster (1396-1476)

13th great grandparents:  Piers Butler (1467-1539), 8th Earl of Ormond/Margaret Fitzgerald (c.1473 -1542)

12th great grandparents:  Thomas Butler (?-1532)/wife not known

Rory O More

11th great grandparents:  Margaret Butler/Rory O’More (?-1556)

10th great grandparents:  Lewis O’More/wife not known

9th great grandparents:  Walter Moore/Alicia Elliott

8th great grandparents:  Patrick Moore/Joan O’Hely

7th great grandparents:  Edmund Moore/Elizabeth Graham

6th great grandparents:  James Moore (?-1741)/Mary Cullen

5th great grandparents:  Edward Moore (?-1787)/Jane Reynolds

4th great grandparents:  Judith Moore (1763-?)/Patrick Grehan (1758-1832)

3rd great grandparents:  Patrick Grehan (1791-1853)/Harriet Lescher (1811-1877)

2nd great grandparents:  Celia Mary Grehan(1838-1901)JohnRoche O’Bryen1810-1870

1st great grandparents: Ernest A O’Bryen 1865-1919/Gertrude Purssell 1873 -1950

An English response to the Battle of Mentana 1867

I find the tone in both of these quite extraordinary, but then at the time of the first article, the Church had been a temporal power for almost 1500 years.

The Roman Question.

” The King is not saved by much valour: and the giant will not be saved in the multitude of his power. Vain is the horse for safety?? : but in the abundance of his might he shall not be saved. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him; and on them who hope in his mercy. Psalm xxxii.”

Will you reproach us that, writing from Rome, and in these days, we note the song of the shepherd King? They were not clad in coats of mail, no pennon dangled on their lance, but those youths with the down of manhood hardly on their face wore as true crusaders as ever died in Palestine. They were as modest and as resolute as ever was David when Saul said to him, “Thou art not able to withstand this Philistine nor to fight against him, for thou art but a boy; but he is a warrior from his youth.” And who has wept the death of one of the Zouaves? A tear no doubt has stood in the brother’s eye: the sister and the mother will say he is gone before ; but those tears are the incense of love and not the pining of regret, If the coat of Nelson is preserved at Greenwich,and lights burn at the tomb of Wellington, will you blame us that we hold that plain grey uniform in honour; and if we do not place it in glass cases, that we reverence the names of those who wore it, and hold up our hands at the altar of Christ gladly on their behalf?

Will you tell us that his Church militant upon earth has no country and is a mere myth ? Here at least in Rome you cannot, for we kneel by the sepulchres of his prophets, and the voice of St. Paul answers, ” All who will live piously in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution: but evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, erring and driving into error.”

Here you cannot, for the Church had no sooner celebrated the chains of St. Peter than she says Mass in honour of the martyrs of the Maccabees. They were Jews; but they were true to their God. Shall the Church, which has not forgotten them, forget to celebrate her champions now? St. Gregory, of Nanzianzum, says well, ” Though among many they are not held in honour that they did not undertake that contest after Christ, yet are they worthy to be honoured by all, because they showed themselves strong and constant for their country’s laws and institutions.”

To what else have the Romans now been true, and for what else defended their city?  ” And Judas and his brethren saw that evils were multiplied, and that the armies approached to their borders, and they knew the orders the king had given to destroy the people and utterly abolish them ; and they said every man to his neighbour. Let us raise up the low condition of our people, and let us fight for our people and our sanctuary.”   And now the Romans have done it, and you cannot deny that they had a right to do it.

But will you say that the Catholics of every nation who fought by their side were needy adventurers who had no right to be there ?  Yes, they were adventurers; adventurers in the fields of honour and of duty ; adventurers for religion on the walls of the chosen city. For Rome is the city of all Catholics ; there they have a right to their Father’s blessing, and how much more if they died defending him to his prayer for their souls. For these are no common rights, but immeasurably greater than the rights of nations ; and yet it was not until the law of nations was cast to the winds that Catholic Rome vindicated her honour in the courage of her sons.

But still will you say that the French had no right to come? Every man has a right to resist injustice; and it is only a question of prudence if he does not. Were the Catholics of the world to’ wait till Piedmont had done in Rome what. she has done in all her usurpations : stripped the altars, emptied the convents, melted the sacred vessels, cast venerable men into prison, driven out religious women to starve ? The ideas of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth have not yet reduced Romans to that. Why were Frenchmen to wait? You can give no reason except your own wish. And France was more bound to interfere, because by a mistaken policy she had let the mischief loose upon Italy, because no faith had been kept with her, and her honour was at stake. We say nothing of her traditions and her Catholic name.

God knows how much France has suffered. He knows how her faith will be revived. Do we not grieve, then ? Not for the dead, but for the living. They are at peace, and the torment of malice can reach them no more. But Europe is not at peace; and how can it be,? You will say that it is the princes who are to defend the Church if they think it worth defending. But the princes have not defended the Church, and the Church has a right to defend herself. Do you think that be-cause the Catholics of Europe are disunited, because they are peaceable, and weak to resist aggression, that you can ride over them as you please ? They have hearts and hands and swords. In your insane bigotry and injustice will you seek by diplomatic intrigue to do what by the sword you dare not do ? And if you think you could persuade men to please you by making the Sovereign Pontiff a puppet, will you not see on a larger scale what we have just seen on a smaller one ?

You will; for the Pontiff has rights which you do not understand, but which the Church throughout the world understands and cherishes. And if obedience is impaired it still exists, and the Catholic people will hear their pastor again if you compel him to say as he has said now, “Venerable brethren, by this race of abandoned men we are surrounded on every side.” For nothing that you can do will ever destroy the temporal power of the Church ; no art or menaces induce the Pope to remain in Rome in the condition to which you seek to reduce him. If, then, you are not prepared for war, it is your part first to set the example of peace. For it is your continual hounding on of the dogs of Piedmont which has brought about the present crisis. And if you think it pleasant to fiddle while Rome is burning, we do not; and Europe will not submit to your dictation. Lead civilised lives yourselves before you undertake to reform your neighbours.

And if you do not believe in the providence of God, which has given the Church a civil principality, remember that even in this world He seldom suffers flagrant violations of public right to go unpunished. Here in Rome, freed at least for the time from your machinations, we will pray for the conversion of your country, and that the Almighty will cease to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him.

AN ENGLISH PRIEST,

Rome, Octave of All Saints. [ which would have been the 9th November 1867]

The above text was found on p.7, 23rd November 1867 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

And then 100 years later in The Tablet, almost as strong a view

Papal Guards

The year 1967 is not quite so rich in.centenaries as 1966 was, but it has one outstanding one. It is the centenary of the last victory of the Church in arms, in the series which began with the Milvian Bridge, includes Lepanto and Vienna, and had added to, it in 1867 the victory over the Garibaldian invaders of papal Rome at Mentana. The thirty thousand Garibaldians who marched on Rome in three great bands in 1867, faced only by the twelve thousand defenders of the papacy, must have imagined that Rome was well within their grasp. If they suffered a check from the Catholic Zouaves at San Francesco in their opening moves, their overwhelming force brought them eventually to the bridges over the Teverone, a bare three miles from Rome, ten thousand strong against General Kanzler’s papal army of three thousand. This, though it included some of the Pope’s own Romans, counted as its best elements young men, and old men, drawn from every province in Christendom. Collingridge, the heroic young Londoner, and Peter Yong, the virile young Dutchman, who fell together at Monte Libretti; Bach the Bavarian, a leader of Ney’s quality: these were typical of those Catholic volunteers ” prepared, like Jacob, to wrestle with the angel “ in a far more literal sense than most of us. Alas that the final battle was not ornamented by the kilts of the regiment of Glasgow Highlanders that Scotland contributed to the cause! But these, as unpaid as the other volunteers, had less financial capital to keep their unit in being, and disappeared in the ranks of the papal forces, to live on soup and macaroni, deprived of the garb of Old Gaul.

The sudden appearance of Napoleon III’s French-men in support of the “papalisti” ended the Garibaldian hopes, as admirers of Lothair will remember, the new French breechloader ” doing marvels “ and causing that strange cessation in the battle remembered by one volunteer on the papal side. Then the Garibaldians surrendered or fled, and Julian Watts-Russell, little more than a boy, fell in the moment of victory, among his fellows of the papal Zouaves. The House of Savoy, which had eaten up Italy ” like an artichoke,” had to wait three years before Rome, the last leaf, was swallowed, apart from that undigestible morsel of the Vatican; and where is that ancient house today?

The above text was found on p.11, 7th January 1967 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The entry of the Pontifical troops into Rome, after their victory at Mentana 1867

The Battle of Mentana was fought on November 3, 1867 near the village of Mentana, just outside Rome, [about three miles]   between French-Papal troops and the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were attempting to capture Rome, which was not unified to Kingdom of Italy until three years later.

— We have received the following from our Roman Correspondent, under date of Rome, November 15.—

The entry of the Pontifical troops after their victory at Mentana took place last Wednesday. Nothing could be more imposing than the spectacle, and it offered the most convincing proof possible that the Roman population considered the triumph of the army as their own, and was resolved to show their feeling on the matter. The Porta Pia was the gate by which the troops were to arrive, and long before the hour fixed every window was filled, every balcony draped, and stores of autumn flowers laid up, to shower on the victorious troops.

Porta Pia, Rome.

They entered with banners displayed, trumpets sounding and the Commander-in-Chief, General Kanzler, who had gone outside the gate to meet them, at their head. His Excellency was accompanied by the French General de Failly, and on reaching the Piazza Pia they drew up, surrounded by their respective staffs, and the long line of troops defiled before them. The Zouaves came first and were cheered again and again by the crowd. The great Roman families joined heartily in the demonstration, and the French General appeared as much excited as any one, and repeatedly turned to General Kanzler and pressed his hand, as company after company of the flower of the French Catholic youth passed, victorious, before them. The Legion, too, were admirably received, and so were the gallant Swiss Chasseurs, whose conduct at Mentana under Colonel Jeannerot and Major Castella was beyond praise.

Madame Kanzler’s carriage driving up at the same moment, her Excellency was received with a very warm demonstration, and no wonder, for, from the first arrival of the wounded of Bagnorea and Monte Libretti, she has consecrated herself with unwearied energy to the care of the hospitals, and has devoted her entire time to the consolation and nursing of our brave soldiers. A Roman by birth, her danger, in case of a reverse, would, from the courageous and active part she has taken in the cause, and from her husband’s position, have been greater than that of any other person, but this consideration, fully weighed and met, has never deterred her from her noble task.

It is one of the most curious signs of the present time the military enthusiasm which has seized on the Roman people and the pride it feels in its army. The lists of subscriptions for the wounded, for the soldiers and their families, are rapidly filling, each offering being in the Italian fashion generally accompanied by a sentence in praise of the Pontifical troops.

It is only now we are beginning to realise what we have escaped from. The recent perquisitions made have brought to light some terrible revelations of the intentions of the sect. Five hours’ pillage was to have been allowed by the Garibaldian army. The churches and convents were to have been sacked, the priests massacred, the nuns insulted. Hundreds of barrels loaded with shot were found ; and ” pour comble ” [to cap it all]  a well made guillotine, with axe, rollers, pulley, and all, “en regle”, [ready for use]  was among the moral forces discovered in the search for arms.

Five cases of guns addressed to Mr. Odo Russell [ From 1858 until August 1870,  the real, though unofficial, representative of Britain at the Vatican. He was the nephew of Lord John Russell, Prime Minister between 1846 – 1852, and again 1865 -1866 ] were recently seized by the police, a circumstance at least awkward for a diplomatic agent, and of which it is to be hoped some satisfactory explanation will be afforded.

It was arranged that on a certain day, the 30th of October or 1st of November, the column of Garibaldi, numbering 15,000, the column of Acerti, 15,000, the column of Pincigiacci, 15,000, were to concentrate their collective force of nearly 60,000 men on Rome from ten different points of Monte Rotondo, Viterbo, Velletri, and Froeinone. The Finanziere or custom-house officers of the Porta San Paolo had been bought over, and all was prepared for the supreme attack. Had not the French landed in time, it is difficult to realise what would have been the end. It was-resolved, in case of the worst, that all who wished to share the fate of the Holy Father and his defenders should cross the Tiber, and St.Spirito and the bridge of St. Angelo being blown up, the Leonine city was to have been defended to the very last, all being ready to have died on the very staircases of the Vatican, if need were,, round the throne of Pius IX. The fort could have held out eight days at least, and in that interval help might arrive from France. The army numbered 10,000, and was ready to fight à l’outrence under the conduct of its heroic and devoted general. Surrender under any circumstances was not spoken of. It was a word erased from the vocabulary while a single Garibaldian remained on the Pontifical territory, and had the French delayed their arrival, Europe would have heard of a wholesale martyrdom, but not of a capitulation.

His Holiness celebrated Mass in the Sixtine Chapel on Friday, the 8th, for the repose of the souls of those who fell in battle since the beginning of the campaign. He was so deeply moved that he could scarcely continue the concluding prayers.

On Saturday, the 9th, we celebrated the obsequies of Julian Watts Russell at the English College. I can add nothing to the beautiful notice by Padre Cardella, his confessor, which I enclose, and which I feel sure you will give a place to in your columns. It was to all present a source of hope and trust for England, that she has given two glorious martyrs to the Temporal Power since the beginning of the present campaign, and the names of Alfred Collingridge and Julian Russell will never be forgotten by English Catholics, when they recall the memory of Monte Libretti and Mentana.

At the same hour as the requiem in the English College another on a far larger scale was performed at San Lorenzo, for the souls of MM. De Veaux and Deodat Dufournel. As your readers will remember, his younger brother, Emmanuel Dufournel, was killed in battle at Farnese. Deodat, who was attached to the staff of the Zouaves, was shot down at Villa Cecchina, while conducting a perquisition in one of the houses filled with Garibaldians, and died, after linger-ing a week, in the hospital of St. Spirito. He was universally beloved and deplored, and the entire corps of officers followed his remains and those of the gallant De Veaux to the grave.

The Zouaves, I am happy to say,are daily increasing, and the certainty which exists in the minds of all classes here that the meeting of the Chambers in Florence will hurry on the catastrophe in which the Pontifical army must again be called into action, is acting as a spur to the recruitment in every country and to the movement in favour of the increase and armament of the Pontifical forces. The third battalion of’ Zouaves will be formed to-day under the conduct of Captain D’Albions, one of the oldest and most experienced officers in the regiment, and who previously served in the French army. The recruits at the depot were 1,100 yesterday, and among them are the Baron De Farelle, the Comte De Montmorin, Mr. Vavasour, of Hazelwood, Mr. Hansom, M. Henri de Riancey (son of the Catholic journalist), and an immense number of young men belonging to the first French and Belgian families. It is considered impossible that the status quo can be maintained in Italy. It is most uncertain whether the French will remain – if they do it will only be to make an end of the Italian kingdom, whose state is a perpetual menace to the cause of order in Europe; and it is more than probable that in such a case the Pope’s troops would be called on to reoccupy Umbria and the Marches. At all events, the Papal army must be rendered sufficiently strong to occupy the territory of the Pope as it stands at present, and this cannot be done save by the united action of Catholics in every country.

The points most important are the enrolment of volunteers and the purchase of the very beat arms of precision. The Meyer rifle, with an improvement firing eighteen shots per minute, has been accepted, and the funds are now being raised as fast as possible in France and Belgium. “Bis dat qui cito dat “  [he gives twice, who gives promptly,] was never so completely exemplified as in the present case. We cannot wait for arms, for the attack will be renewed in the spring, and breechloaders are essential. Had the Pontifical army been armed with them at Mentana, not a Garibaldian could have escaped. The Chassepot, too, far from the best rifle invented, did wonders in the hands of the French reserve ; but the Zouaves had only the Minie of 1856 and the bayonet to rely on, and what they did with them proves what they would have done had they been properly armed.

I enclose General Kanzler’s official report of the battle, from which you will see what a decisive action Mentana was.

The police of Florence are, it appears, in jubilation since Mentana. There are neither thefts nor murders in the city, which has been emptied of its dangerous elements since the battle. The Pope, who received the French officers in audience on Wednesday, told them that Italy, of all countries, ought to be grateful to them for having rid her of a revolution more dangerous to her than to any other.

It is uncertain what dispositions will be taken in regard of the Garibaldian prisoners, and the opinion that the French Government will charge itself with their deportation to Cayenne is that most in favour. It would be the most prudent, as, in spite of the kindness with, which they have been treated, the antecedents and characters of the greatest proportion are such as to forbid any hope of honour or gratitude, and they would return to their life of pillage and rapine at the first opportunity.

The above text was found on p.1, 23rd November 1867 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Lords Walter and Frederick Fitzgerald. The Kildare Observer 24th October 1898

Frederick (1857 -1924) and Walter Fitzgerald (1858 – 1923) were younger sons of the 4th Duke of Leinster. They were the eighth, and ninth, children respectively, and the third , and fourth sons. Both seemed to have lived mostly ay Kilkea Castle which was one of the family homes, but not at Carton House, in co. Kildare, which was the family seat in the nineteenth century, until its sale in 1920’s to pay the gambling debts of the 7th Duke. Lord Walter Fitzgerald was an antiquarian, and Irish historian.

The Kildare Observer 24 October 1898

The Leinster Family – Lords Walter & Frederick Fitzgerald

References to the old family of the Fitzgeralds were made recently in the “Daily Independent.” Writing with regard to Lords Walter and Frederick, the “Independent” says: –

Aerial View Kilkea Castle

“Lord Walter Fitzgerald resides at Kilkea Castle, Co. Kildare, a charming old residence which has been for centuries one of the family places of the Earls of Kildare. Now that the tradition of 1798 have been revived, sombre interest is attached to the place, by reason of the fact that Lord Edward Fitzgerald interested himself to procure a lease of the Castle and lands from his brother, the Duke of Leinster, for his friend, Thomas Reynolds, one of the Leinster Council of the United Irishmen. But Reynolds lived, never suspected of the deepest treachery which ever disgraced the name of Irishman. This Reynolds it was who gave information to the Government, which resulted in the arrest in Bond’s house of the Revolutionary Directorate just a few days before the appointed date of the Insurrection. He bargained his price and he was paid it. In Kilkea are some valuable family paintings, and perhaps, the best portrait by Hamilton, of the ill-fated Lord Edward hangs upon the walls of the Library.

Lord Walter takes a keen interest in the life and times of Lord Edward, for he is a thorough Irishman, and delights to dwell upon the glorious traditions of the House of Geraldine. He is a well known archaeologist and is an authority upon Celtic nomenclature. When the editor of the “Weekly Independent” was compiling material for his article for the Christmas Number of that newspaper, Lord Walter gave him much valuable information and, unhesitatingly placed at his disposal many documents which were of rare value and historical worth. Perhaps the most significant, certainly the most pathetic treasure in Kilkea, is the plastic cast from the inscription cut in the wall of the cell in the Tower of London, by “Silken Thomas” over four hundred years ago. It reads: “Thomas Fitzger.” The Lord of O’Fally was dragged to the headsman before his hand had finished the inscription. It was at Kilkea that the Wizard Earl of Kildare practised the black arts; and there is a story accredited to present day, that on breaking down a wall in the place long ago, a secret chamber was discovered, wherein sat the figure of a grey haired man poring over a parchment covered with strange characters. With the rush of air the form crumbled away, and nothing remained but a handful of dust.

Beneath the shadow of Kilkea Castle is an old burying ground, moss and lichen overspreading many a forgotten slab and grave. There is humour in all things, and Lord Walter Fitzgerald will not let you depart until you take a look at one headstone which is a perpetual joke. It reads: –

Erected by
THOMAS O’TOOLE.
1779,
In memory of his posterity.

A Scottish antiquarian strayed down to Kilkea once upon a time, and the humour of this penetrated into his brain, and in the excess of his astonishment he offered to purchase the tombstone. Needless to say, he left without even taking away even a rubbing of the grim piece of humour that laughs on one hundred years after the good-hearted Thomas O’Toole was laid to rest. Lord Walter has, since the publication of “The Geraldine,” been pleased to express himself extremely gratified at the way Lord Edward’s life has been treated by the Editor of the “Weekly Independent.”

Lord Frederick Fitzgerald, the late Duke of Leinster’s eldest brother, is the guardian of the present young duke, whose charming personality has been noticed in this column. Lord Frederick, like his brother Lord Walter Fitzgerald, was pleased beyond measure when he heard that the story of Lord Edward Fitzgerald was to be made the subject of the Christmas number of the “Weekly Independent.” Like most others, he recognised that no brief and continuous narrative of Lord Edward was in existence, and he did his share in helping the editor of our contemporary in making his sketch authentic and complete. He placed the documents he had in the Carton [ Carton House, co. Kildare was the main family seat from 1815 until the 1920’s.] collection at the disposal of the editor of the “Weekly Independent,” and permitted Mr. W.C. Mills to make sketches of any historical articles or pictures which might be of interest. Of these latter, the pike presented by the United Irishmen to Lord Edward takes first rank.

Carton House, Maynooth, co. Kildare.

Lord Frederick Fitzgerald held a position in the Rifles, and saw a considerable amount of active service. Perhaps the most interesting part of his military career was when his battalion was on eviction duty in the North of Ireland. The peasants invariably drew a hard and fast line between the military and police, and whereas the R.I.C came in for all the contumely, the Rifles were “Never bothered at all, at all.” One day an old peasant, who had been reading in the “Derry Journal” that the men who resisted extermination following in the footsteps of Tone and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, came up to Lord Frederick as he stood in front of his company and asked “Tell me yer honour, aren’t you a relative of Lord Edward?”   “I am” answered the Major of the Rifles. “An’ why are ye here,” asked the peasant, “an’ Lord Edward such a friend of Mr Parnell’s?” Lord Frederick was dumbfounded, but managed to reply “Well, you see, Lord Edward is dead for nearly hundred years.”  “Divil may care,” replied the hardy peasant; “if he was alive wouldn’t he be on Parnell’s side?” “To tell you the truth” answered the officer, “I believe he would be.” That night the healths of Mr Parnell, Lord Edward, and the commander of the Rifle detachment were drunk in three times three in the house by the cross-roads.

An Irish outing – 1894

This just makes me smile..

The fourth Annual Excursion Meeting [of the County Kildare Archaeological Society]  took place on Tuesday, the 18th September (1894), at Castledermot, Kilkea, and district.

A special train was run from Kildare to Mageney, in connection with the morning trains on the main line.

Ruins of the Franciscan Abbey, Castledermot, co. Kildare.

On the arrival of the train at Mageney, the company betook themselves to the vehicles which were provided by the Society for the conveyance of the Members to the various places to be  visited during the day, and under the conductorship of Lord Walter FitzGerald, who, with Mr. Arthur Vicars, Ulster, had charge of the arrangements for the day, a long procession of vehicles started for Castledermot, three and a-half miles distant, where the forces of the Society were augmented by others who had driven from contiguous parts of the county. All assembled in the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey to hear a Paper of deep research read by the Vice-President of the Society, Most Rev. Dr. Comerford, who traced the history of the old abbey down from remote ages.

The next move was for the Church, where Lord Walter FitzGerald gave a short dissertation on the Round Tower attached to the church, on which subject he had already written a Paper in the Journal.

The chief interest in the churchyard however, was centred in the Old Celtic Cross, which had been restored by a former Duke of Leinster.

The Southern Cross, Castledermot cemetery, co Kildare

Miss Margaret Stokes (Hon. Member of the K.A.S.) gave a most interesting lecture on the fine Old Cross, describing the various scenes carved on the sides, and touching generally on the archaeology and history of Old Celtic Crosses, on which subject Miss Stokes is one of our greatest authorities.

The peculiar “hole stone” close by was pointed out and discoursed on by Lord Walter FitzGerald, after which luncheon was the order of the day. The company proceeded to the adjoining schoolhouse, kindly lent for the purpose by the Rev. C. Ganly, where Lord Walter FitzGerald had made most ample arrangements for those who had sent in their names for luncheon a few days before.

The Members and their friends then drove to Kilkea, some three and a-half miles distant, first visiting the ruins of the old church of Kilkea, Rev. C. Ganly shortly detailing its history, after which they proceeded to the Castle a few yards off, where they were received by the Ladies FitzGerald, and having taken up their position on the terrace, which formed an admirable natural lecture theatre, with the Castle in the background, the Rev. C. Ganly commenced a Paper on Kilkea Castle, which will be published in the Journal.

Kilkea Castle, co Kildare.

The whole Company then adjourned to the interior of the Castle to inspect the quaint old building, which is an admirable specimen of an Irish feudal castle, adapted to modern usage, with walls of prodigious thickness. Many antiquities were to be seen in the hall, and some interesting historical portraits, but we must remember that although this is the original residence of the FitzGeralds of ancient days, still Carton is now the principal seat of that family, where naturally are to be found its chief treasures and objects of historical family interest.

The Ladies FitzGerald had kindly invited the Society to tea, which formed a very welcome termination to the day’s proceedings. Mr. Mansfield having photographed those present in the Castle grounds, and it being now late, the party separated on the return journey to Mageney and Athy, to catch their various trains, having spent a very enjoyable day in most magnificent weather. On the whole the Members of the Society have reason to congratulate themselves on their annual excursions, which hitherto have always worked so satisfactorily, and given the Society quite a reputation for its Excursion Meetings.

Kilkea Castle, co Kildare.

The following Members and Visitors took part in the Excursion : —

The Earl of Mayo (President) ; The Countess of Mayo; Most Rev. Dr. Comerford (Vice-President), Mr. and Mrs. Cooke Trench; Mr. D. Mahony ; Mr. H. Hendrick-Aylnier, High Sheriff (Hon.Treasurer); Colonel Bonham ; Miss Bonham ; Mr. Mark Taylor ; Mr. Casimir O’Meagher; Mr. and Mrs. Mackay Wilson ; Lord Walter Fitz Gerald (Hon. Secretary) ; Mr. Arthur Vicars, Ulster King-of-Arms (Hon. Secretary) The Dean of Kildare, and Mrs. Cowell; Rev. C. W. Ganly ; Very Rev. Thomas Tynan; Rev. Denis Murphy ; Lady Weldon; Captain Weldon; Miss Margaret Stokes, Hon. Member, K.A.S. ; Colonel Vigors ; Mr. and Mrs. Grove White ; Mr. W. R. J. Molloy ; Mr. S. J. Brown; Rev. J. F. M. Ffrench ; Mr. T. J. Hannon; Rev. W. Elliott; Mr. J. R. Sutclitfe; Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Sweetman ; Mr. and Mrs. Carroll, and Miss Carroll; Rev. E. O’Leary; Rev E. Hogan; Rev. J. Dunne; Major and Mrs. Rynd; Rev. M. Devitt; Very Rev. Dr. Burke; Rev. M. Walsh ; Mr. L. Dunne; Colonel Wilson ; Mrs. Wall and Miss Scovill; Surgeon-Major Keogh; Miss Archbold; Lady Eva FitzGerald; Lady Mabel FitzGerald; Mr. J. Whiteside Dane; Mr. George Mansfield and Mrs. Mansfield; Rev. Canon Travers- Smith ; Rev. D. Meake ; Mr. Gerald FitzGerald; Mr. A. Wharburton; Mr. Morgan Mooney ; Miss Power; Miss Manders ; Mrs. Ross; Miss Browne; Mrs. Blake; Mrs. Engledow ; Rev. A. Kirkpatrick; Rev. P. Connolly ; Miss Jones ; Mr. R. L. Weldon ; Mrs, and Miss Taylor ; Mr. W. T. Kirkpatrick ; Mr. and Mrs. Vipond Barry ; Rev. J. D. Osborne, and Mrs. Osborne; Miss Braham ; Miss Elliott ; Miss Awdry; Miss H. M. Heathcote ; Miss M. Manders ; Mr, Thynne, C.B. ; Mrs. Woollcombe ; Mr. R. L, Woollcombe ; Rev. Mr. Mackey ; Rev. Mr. Gormley ; Miss Burroughs ; Miss Boyd ; Mr. Nicholas J. Synnott; Rev, J. Bird; Mr. Arthur Hade, C.E. ; Rev. B. C, Davidson Houston; Rev. James Adams; Mr. Thomas Greene; Mr. R. R. Kennedy, R.M.

From the Journal Of The Co. Kildare Archaeological Society And Surrounding Districts. Vol. 1. 1891 – 1895 . p. 352 – 353.