Fire at Powerscourt Arms Hotel, 1894

The Powerscourt Arms Hotel had a significant fire which was well documented at the time in national media, including an article in the Freeman’s Journal. It’s a story I have retold in the book, but I was really delighted when I was sent a photograph of one of the people mentioned in an article written about the fire – Michael Wogan Jnr. Click on the picture below (which links to a PDF file) to find out a bit more about the story.

Many thanks go to Michael’s descendant, Úna, for sending in the photo and some additional information. Úna also featured in the BBC programme Terry Wogan’s Ireland, meeting Terry as he passed through Enniskerry. You can see more photos from the National Library’s Flash from the Past initiative here.

Names: Buckley, Norman, Wogan

5 thoughts on “Fire at Powerscourt Arms Hotel, 1894

  1. Freeman’s Journal for the 9th January 1895 gives a list of subscribers to a fund ‘to enable the proprietor to tide over his present difficulties’. The approximately 60 names include many well known in the area (including M.Wogan jun.). Already over £200 had been subscribed, and this list added nearly another £100.

  2. Hi Roger, Thanks for that. Úna had sent that on to me at the time, and I had meant to transcribe it. No time like the present! Some interesting names here, probably worth a post in its own right to find out more about these people listed – they must have formed a kind of Who’s Who for the time! I’m interested in the Millers – TB Miller is listed here and his shop front is in the Lawrence photograph, but he was gone by 1901. I wonder what happened!

    Burning of the Enniskerry Hotel
    The Committee who are Collecting Subscriptions for the purpose of enabling the proprietor to tide over his present difficulties met to-day at the Court House, Enniskerry, when the following subscriptions were announced. The Final Meeting of the Committee will be held on the 14th inst at 12 o’clock noon, so that all persons intending to subscribe will kindly do so this week. Treasurers – Dr James Hamilton and Professor Mackintosh, Enniskerry.
    JOHN HEWITT, Hon Sec.

    Already acknowledged – £204
    Thomas LeFanu, Summerhill – £1
    AB? per Archdeacon Galbraith – 10s
    A Sympathiser 1-10
    M Wogan jun, Enniskerry-10s
    JH Keegan, Kiltiernan – £2
    H Booth- £1
    AS Sutton, Golden Ball – £1
    JT Morris – £1
    W Collier, Bray £10
    The Ladies Howard, Wingfield £1-10
    James Doyle, Coolnaskeagh – £1
    Augustine Ryder, Kilmacanogue £1
    Bat Byrne, Goldmines and J Hunt 10s
    Joseph Doyle, Enniskerry £1
    Wm Collis Moore £1
    Messrs Wilkinson, Salesmasters £5
    Joseph D Cope £5
    Messrs John D’Arcy and Sons, Usher street 10-10
    Thomas Saunders, Dundrum £5
    Edward Robinson, Leabeg £2
    Mr Carter £2
    Gavin Low £2
    William Gilchrist £1
    John Byrne £1
    Samuel Sutton £1
    MF O’Reilly £1
    William Murphy £1
    Andrew Gawley £1
    Lanaham Buckley £1
    William O’Neill £1
    Richard Graham £1
    Patrick Donovan £1
    Smith and Griffin £1
    Laurence Cuff £1
    Mr Bobbett Coolaheart £1
    Paul and Vincent £1
    William Byrne £1
    Ralph Valentine, Bray 10s
    Mrs Casey, Bray 10s
    John Barr and P Barr £1
    M McQuaid 10s
    TB Miller, Enniskerry £2
    EE Davidson £1
    Wm Buckley, Milltown £2
    John Saunders £1
    Henry Whitton, Templecarrigg £1
    Rev L Ryan CC, Enniskerry £1
    Rev – Nolan CC, Enniskerry £2
    JT Buckley, Enniskerry £2
    TA Collins, Easton £2
    JC Buckley, Enniskerry £3
    WG Syme, Bray £1

    Freeman’s Journal, 9th January 1895

  3. On the on-line ‘Dictionary of Irish Architects’ ( there is an entry for Cecil Orr regarding the rebuilding of the Powerscourt Arms Hotel, dated March 1895. The contractors were Sutton & Doyle of Enniskerry and the estimated cost was £1,083.18s.10d (to the nearest penny!).


  4. Hi – the “WG Syme” in Michael’s reply above is my great-grandfather, William Godfrey Syme. Amazing what you can find on the Internet.
    William’s son (and my grandfather) was Charles Norton Syme, who emigrated to Canada in 1894. Charles was born in Bray (apparently, according to family records).
    I’m interested in finding other Syme ancestors and would appreciate any help regarding where to look.
    All the best, from Winnipeg, Canada

  5. My Grandmother was Kathleen Syme and her father was William Godfrey Syme a Bank Manager in Bray. He had five children. They were David Godfrey, Charles Norton, Florence, Kathleen and Irene. David married Ida Kerr in 1902. They had four children. James, Ronald, Neville and Dorothy Ida Felicity. Felicity married Robert Braddell Smith and lived in Gorey.
    Kathleen married T J Smalley in about 1904. they had two daughters Vida, who had three daughters, and and Sheila Who married Robert O’Neill . They had three boys and I am one of them. I have a family tree which goes back to about 1745.
    I don’t have any information about on your grand father’s family

    Contact me if you require more.
    Regards Denis O’Neill

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