A lot of us have been enjoying the Pathe news reels. Michael Wood sends in another link to Movietone news reel, which is really something special. The video shows the son of the 8th Viscount, soon to be 9th Viscount, with his new wife Sheila Wingfield arriving at Powerscourt in 1933. They are drawn up the avenue by some tenants, and both the groom and his father give speeches to the tenantry gathered there. The 8th Viscount mentions that a similar welcome was given to the 7th Viscount for his arrival home after his marriage in 1864. Interestingly, he says one of those present in 1933 was also present in 1864 – does anyone know who this might be?
The Irish Times* reported that on 6th of July, 1864, there were “Rejoicings at Enniskerry” with a reception to welcome home the newlywed couple and that:
every tenant on the estate seemed determined to show by the zeal and warmth with which he took part in the demonstration, his respect and admiration for his young lord… No stronger evidence could be had of the esteem with which the family is regarded than the grand ovation which was made in honour of his first appearance of the bride of Lord Powerscourt at the home of his ancestors. It was a reception worthy the days of Ireland’s happiest times, when the brides of Irish chieftains were met by whole clans, and escorted to their future homes, with all the pomp and honour befitting their rank.
The route from the Scalp had a series of triumphal arches “bearing mottoes appropriate to the occasion“. The article mentions Powerscourt Arms, which had the arms of both Leicester and Powerscourt displayed (the Viscountess was the daughter of the Duke of Leicester, and the Leicester Arms would later be an inn in the village), the house of Mr Buckley, Mr John Byrne and Mr John Williams. Mr Thomas Walker, aged over 90, was the oldest tenant on the estate, and made the opening address. In the August 10th, 1864 issue, the newly wed Powerscourts threw a ball to thank the tenantry for their welcoming celebrations: “Workmen had engaged to erect a large tent, and this, adjoining the mansion, formed a very handsome ballroom, which was decorated with festoons of flowers“. Over 500 tenants, “including wives sons and daughters” were invited.
The link to the site is here – you need to register, but this is free. Once registered, search for Powerscourt, and the movie is number 2240 – “Irish Couple Receive Medieval Welcome“. It is a real treat.
While on the topic of Sheila Wingfield, featured in this movie, here is a link to an RTE radio interview with Anne Roper and Penny Perrick, who made a documentary and wrote a book, respectively, on Sheila’s life. It is a really interesting interview (see entry for Tuesday 20th February) – you need to have Real Player on your computer to play RTE podcasts. The interview starts about 5 minutes in.
*The Irish Times, 6 Jul, 1864, page 3; 11 Aug, 1864, page 4.