Powerscourt Parochial Records

The website of Jenny Self, familiar to many viewers of this site, seems to have disappeared. It was a treasure trove as it documented her hard work in transcribing several parish records. While we hope it returns, in the interest of those who used it regularly, I have posted the Powerscourt records from that website below. All of this work is credited to the original transcriber, Jenny Self.

In following her original layout, the pages are listed in order below. There is a search function in the side menu bar or use CTRL-F to find a word on the page.

  • Powerscourt 1660-1760
  • Powerscourt 1758 – 1780
  • Powerscourt 1780 – 1831
  • Powerscourt 1831 – 1852
  • Powerscourt Marriages 1853 to 1860 and Burials 1852 to 1874
  • Powerscourt Baptisms 1849 to 1874
  • Powerscourt Burials 1874 to 1942
  • Powerscourt Marriages 1845 to 1979

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Remembering Patsy Sheehan

Patsy Sheehan was from Monastery, Enniskerry. She worked at the Wayside Cafe for Mrs Windsor for many years. Patsy was fostered from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home with Frances Patterson at an early age by Bride Rafferty and they lived at 3 Shamrock Cottage in Monastery, Enniskerry. Patsy passed away on 15 July 2014 aged 81, and her daughter Anita recounts some of her memories, below.

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person is...do you know?

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person is…do you know?

Mum loved to sit and chat with me every Sunday about her life in what was then a very rural place.

Patsy helped Bride by snaring rabbits which were sold to John Magee the village butcher for 1’6, she also pickled blackberries which were picked and sold, the money was always given to Bride.

It may surprise many to know that Patsy had a criminal record! At the age of 10 she had to go to court for chopping down trees in the Bog Meadow. She screamed the place down as she thought she was going to jail… she said that everyone did it as there was a war on and also the coal truck wouldn’t deliver up the hill where they lived!

Patsy loved talking about all the people who she knew and loved whilst growing up in this small Irish village. She attended St Mary & St Joseph’s School when Mr and Mrs Corcoran and Miss Smithers were the teachers and then she went on to the technical college in Bray. During the first year the headmaster asked if Patsy would like to work for a couple who lived next to the college as the wife had had an accident and needed help… she never went back to college. She was offered a summer job at the Wayside Cafe, she said it was a job with great perks… all you could eat and she got to stay over if she was on an early shift!

Patsy and Frances made many friends whilst growing up some of which were the Sutton Family, the Doran Family, Rosie McDonnell, Michael Kelly, the Barry Family.

At age 17 she was working full time in the cafe. She was also a help to many families in the village. She helped with Mrs McNulty’s children who’s husband was a barber in Bray, Garda McGrath’s wife, and she also helped the lady who ran the post office (she couldn’t remember her name). She also helped Mrs Dodd whose husband had a building yard in Bray and they apparently put the first cross on Bray Head! The most significant family was the Kirwan family. Michael, Vincent, Eugene, Collette and Rita all became Patsy’s close family and are still that today.

In the summer 1950 she met Hugh Patrick Gillen from Belfast who was on holiday in Enniskerry and they both shared a love of dancing. They courted for 2 years but then broke up. So in 1953 Patsy decided to go to England with her friend Tessy O’Neill and they lodged in Kingsland Crescent, Norris Green. She got a job in the Mecano and then went on to work in Plesseys. Hugh followed Patsy to England in 1954. They married in 1956 and lodged with Mrs Ashton in Brookside Avenue and in 1958 their first Son Paul Anthony Gillen was born.

In 1959 they bought their family home at Max Road. Following Paul’s birth Patsy and Hugh went on to have Moya Theresa, Kevin Gerard, Anita Rose, Eamonn John and Catherine Ann. Hugh worked at Lucas Aerospace Bowring Park, Liverpool for many years whilst raising their family and Pat had many local jobs. Sadly Hugh passed away suddenly at the age of 55 leaving Patsy and her children heartbroken. Both Patsy and Hugh worked hard all their life to provide a loving home, annual holidays back to Enniskerry when we all stayed with Michael Rafferty and to many caravan parks in North Wales and although they had 6 children of their own there was always more room for friends or family.

Patsy Sheehan 1

In 1992 Patsy met Billy Fitzpatrick and this led to a partnership that was to last for 22 years. Patsy and Billy visited Enniskerry many times to visit old friends and family.

My Mum never ever forgot where she was from and when we had our Sunday chats her passion for Enniskerry was obvious, this is why I would like to share her memories with you on your site.

Her wish was for her ashes to be brought back to Enniskerry and we will be doing this on 6th & 7th September 2014. Mum will be mentioned at the 7pm mass in the village on 6th September and we would be happy for anyone who knew her to join us at mass to celebrate her life.

An Irish composer and World War I

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)

The current commemoration of the First World War brings the composers of the time and music that was inspired by the war into focus. When the war started the Irish composer Ina Boyle (1889-1967) was 25 years of age. Some of the works that she composed between 1914 and 1918 reflect the influence of events in Europe.

By Dr Ita Beausang

Musical Education

Ina Boyle had showed musical talent from an early age together with a determination to compose. Living in Bushey Park, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, she was home-schooled and given violin and cello lessons with her sister by their governess. From the age of eleven she studied theory and harmony privately with Samuel Spencer Myerscough (1854-1940), an English organist who founded the Leinster School of Music in 1904.

She also took correspondence lessons with a relative by marriage, Dr Charles Wood (1866-1926). Wood was a lecturer in harmony and counterpoint at Cambridge University, where he later succeeded Charles Villiers Stanford as professor of music, and he also taught in the Royal College of Music. He was married to Boyle’s cousin, Charlotte Wills-Sandford, and took a keen interest in Boyle’s musical progress.

Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Charles Wood (1866-1926)

In 1910 Boyle began lessons with Dr Percy Buck (1871-1947) who had just been appointed professor of music at Trinity College Dublin. Her early compositions preserved in TCD Manuscripts Library, with copious corrections by her teachers, consist mainly of songs with added parts for violin and violoncello.

By 1913 Boyle had yet another teacher, Dr C.H. Kitson, an Oxford graduate, who came to Dublin as organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral and was later appointed professor of music at University College Dublin. She began to concentrate seriously on composition and was awarded  first and second prizes in the composers’ competition at Sligo Feis Ceoil in 1913 with Elegie for cello and orchestra and a setting of ‘The last Invocation’ by Walt Whitman, whose poetry was a popular choice for many composers at that time.

The War Years

Only a few months after the outbreak of the war its impact was felt in Enniskerry when on 21 October 1914 Captain Henry Stanley Monck of the Coldstream Guards, son of Viscount Monck of Charleville House, was killed in action in St. Julien. There are two plaques in St. Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry – where Boyle’s father, Rev. William Foster Boyle was curate – a Monck Memorial and a Great War Memorial to commemorate ten members of the parish who lost their lives in the war. In addition a brass communion rail and chancel, designed by Lord Powerscourt, was inaugurated in their memory on Easter Sunday 1919. [1]

Captain Grenville Fortescue

Captain Grenville Fortescue (1887 – 1915)

Like many other local families the Boyle family were directly affected by the war.  On 4 September 1915 Captain Grenville Fortescue, 11th Battalian, husband of their cousin Adelaide Jephson and father of two children, was killed in action in France at the age of twenty-eight. [2]

Another cousin, Lieutenant Patrick Bryan Sandford Wood, R.A.F., aged nineteen, eldest son of Charles and Charlotte Wood, was killed on 24 May 1918 in an aeroplane accident on active service in Italy, where he is buried in Taranto Town Cemetery. [3]

Anthems (1915)

It is likely that the connection with Christ Church cathedral through her teacher C.H. Kitson encouraged Boyle to compose two anthems, which she paid to have published in 1915. The Funeral Anthem, ‘He will swallow up death with victory’ (Isaah XXV 8,9) for solo soprano, choir and organ, was published by Stainer & Bell. In her Memoranda notebook she notes

‘Dr Kitson said he would do it at Christ Church cathedral but afterwards said he did not like it so well on second thoughts, so it was never sung. Sent a copy to Charles Wood who said he liked it.’ [4]

The other anthem, ‘Wilt not Thou O God go forth with our Hosts’ (Psalms 108, 33) for choir and organ, a War Anthem dedicated to the Ulster Division, was published by Novello. According to her Memoranda ‘This was to have been sung by the choir of Derry Cathedral but so many of the men went to the war that it could not be given.’[5] It is hoped to have the anthems performed in Dublin and Derry during the 2014 commemoration of WW1.

‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’ (1916)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Among Boyle’s ‘Early Compositions’ in TCD Manuscripts Library there is a setting for voice and piano, dated December 1916, of Rudyard Kipling’s poignant poem ‘My boy Jack?’

“HAVE you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide
. [6]

There are conflicting opinions on whether the poem refers to Kipling’s son John, who went missing in the battle of Loos in October 1915, or to generic victims of the war. In any case it was widely disseminated at the time and was set to music in 1917 by Edward German and recorded in that year by Clara Butt. Boyle’s setting in December 1916 predates this but she does not include the song in her Memoranda. It is a less dramatic interpretation of the text and is well worth revival.

‘Soldiers at peace’ (1916)

Captain Herbert Asquith

Captain Herbert Asquith (1881-1947)

The most ambitious work composed by Boyle during the war is ‘Soldiers at peace’ (1916), a setting for choir and orchestra of a sonnet by Captain Herbert Asquith, second son of the British Prime Minister. She paid £11.7.0 to have the vocal score published by Novello and in 1918 her first review was published in The Musical Times:

 Soldiers at peace’ (Novello) is a poem by Herbert Asquith set for chorus and orchestra by I. Boyle. The words have a pathos that is sympathetically reflected in the music. A certain striking ‘motif’ comes about twenty times in the instrumental part, and in a way binds the beginning to the end. The vocal part-writing is smooth and singable. The piece is a very suitable one for a choral performance in which the programme should have the war note on its pathetic side. It takes about four or five minutes to perform. [7]

A brief notice in a survey of New Vocal Music in The Times was less complimentary:

There are those who do not know when they are putting their hand on the ark. Ina Boyle has set for chorus Herbert Asquith’s ‘Soldiers at Peace’ without understanding. [8]

In 1917 Boyle entered the work for the first competition of the Carnegie Trust. There were 136 entrants, including Stanford and Vaughan Williams. She was gratified when her entry was commended, and placed on the list of ‘Works of Special Merit’ for the information of conductors. [9]

In 1920 ‘Soldiers at peace’ was performed at Woodbrook, Bray by Bray Choral Society, conducted by Thomas Weaving, then organist at ChristChurch cathedral. Turner Huggard, assistant organist at St. Patrick’s cathedral, played the wind parts on the organ and the strings were played by local amateurs, including Boyle’s sister and their governess. The performance was reviewed in The Irish Times the following day:

When one reads the noble words of Captain Asquith’s sonnet one rather feared the temerity of the young Irish composer, Miss I. Boyle. There was no need. Miss I. Boyle has more than promise. Her handling of the orchestral effects as a background to the chorus was what we have grown to call ‘masterly’. The writing is always clever and original, especially the violin parts, used to heighten the suggestion of ideals of youth. To the cello is left the picture-touches – very effectively The choir entered displaying mobility and oneness of movement and a fine tone-equality throughout, the final line rather wavered, and hardly suggested the poet’s or, one would think, Miss Boyle’s idea. The work was enthusiastically received, Miss I Boyle having to come from the body of the hall to acknowledge the ovation. One can easily predict for this talented young Irish girl, the daughter of Rev. W.F. Boyle of Enniskerry, a brilliant future if she develops as one would expect. [10]

Boyle’s future would include her travels to London for lessons  with Ralph Vaughan Williams from 1923 until the outbreak of the Second World War, performances in England of her most successful work, the orchestral rhapsody ‘The Magic Harp’, and a lifetime of devotion to composition, which was foreshadowed by the works which she composed during the First World War.


Works composed by Ina Boyle 1914-1918:

  • 1914 ‘The joy of earth’ (AE George Russell), voice and piano (TCD MS 4119)
  • 1914 ‘Ireland’ (Walt Whitman), baritone, SATB chorus, orchestra ( TCD MS 4054-4054c)
  • 1915 Funeral Anthem ‘He will swallow up death in victory’ (publ. Stainer & Bell 1915; TCD MS 4162)
  • 1915 War Anthem ‘Wilt not Thou O God go Forth with our Hosts’   (publ. Novello 1915; TCD MS 4162, BL)
  • 1916 ‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’ (Rudyard Kipling) voice and piano  (TCD MS 4050)
  • 1916 ‘Soldiers at peace’ (Herbert Asquith) SATB chorus, orchestra (publ. Novello 1917; TCD MS 4055-4055c BL)
  • 1917-18 ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ (Julia Ward Howe), soprano solo, SATB, orchestra (TCD MS 4056-4056b)
  • 1918 Phantasy for viola and piano (TCD MS 4120)
  • 1918-19 ‘A Sea Poem’, Theme, variations and finale for orchestra (TCD MS 4057-4157a)

[1] Irish Times 24 April 1919.

[4] Ina Boyle Memoranda, 3.

[5] Ibid.

[7] The Musical Times, lix, 900, 69.

[8] The Times, 23 Feb. 1918.

[9] Ina Boyle, Memoranda. 4.

[10] The Irish Times, 7 Feb. 1920.

Unveiling of Bray War Memorial by Lord Powerscourt, 1923

Bray War Memorial (picture from informatique on Flickr)

Bray War Memorial (picture from informatique on Flickr)

One of the first war memorials in the Free State was unveiled in 1923 by Lord Powerscourt at Bray. The memorial—a Celtic cross made from Tullamore limestone on a plinth of Wicklow granite—was designed by Sir Thomas Manley Deane and constructed by architectural sculptors Charles Harrison and Sons of Great Brunswick St.  It lists the names of almost 200 people from Bray who died in World War 1.

In his speech, Powerscourt stated that the memorial was erected as “a tribute of gratitude, of love, and of admiration to those who, when the call came, sallied forth with light hearts, leaving all that that life held most dear, into the great unknown, whence, in their case, there was no return.” The memorial was erected “by their own endeavour, in memory of their own friends.”

The list of names on the memorial are recorded at the Irish War Memorial Website, at this link.

A video of Remembrance Day, 1924, is available at the British Pathe website and is embedded below:

George Telford, Enniskerry Merchant

Enniskerry ca 1896, from the National Llibrary of Ireland Lawrence Collection

Enniskerry ca 1896, from the National Library of Ireland Lawrence Collection

In 1892, London’s Commercial Gazette reported an agreement reached by George Telford & Son, an Enniskerry grocer and general merchant to pay Andrew Byrne of Quinsborough Road, Bray, also a merchant. Evidently he had fallen behind in his bills. But who was George Telford?

The 1901 Census lists George Telford, then aged 66, as a retired grocer originally from County Longford. Living with him is Beresford Buckley (28), a post office assistant, Annie Moore (24), a nurse, and Bridget Morriss (40), a house maid. Moore was evidently Telford’s nurse, as her relationship to him is listed as servant. They lived in a 10-12 roomed house, that had 6 windows to the front. Given that it was next to the hotel (9 windows to the front), it seems like a good guess that this is what is today’s Spar and Jenny Turner.

Buckley was a very common Enniskerry name, and the rather unusual name Beresford is one found in the Buckley family line. The Powerscourt church records list Beryl Beresford née Buckley marrying Richard Bradner in 1892. The Buckleys and the Telfords were close. Thomas Henry Telford—the son mentioned by the Gazette—married Marian Amelia Buckley, daughter of the village butcher Henry Buckley in 1887, while Francis Buckley, son of the hotelier at the Powerscourt Arms William Buckley married Georgina Telford, Georgina. The couple took over running the Powerscourt Arms Hotel, as can be seen in the Lawrence photograph. (One of their early tasks would have been to deal with the fire (read more on that here).

Telford Grave (photo from IGP Website)

Telford Grave (photo from IGP Website)

While by 1901, only George Telford was left in the village, his family are mentioned in Powerscourt graveyard records. His wife Anne died in September 1885, aged 64. As well as Thomas and Georgina, the couple had another daughter, Isabella, who died as an infant in 1868. Thomas and Marian left Enniskerry and by 1901, they were living in Watkin’s Buildings off Cork St. He was a relieving officer. Interestingly, William Miller lived with them – Miller was another Enniskerry merchant name. Back in Enniskerry, Francis and his new bride  Georgina got down to the business hotel, and clearly of family; they had at least nine children. Sadly Georgina died in 1909, aged just 46 and she was not listed in 1911 Census. In the intervening 10 years, Francis’ job description changed from Hotel Keeper to Farmer. By 1911, the hotel was run by William Johnston (more on that here). It was the beginning of the end of Buckleys in Enniskerry.

The nurse living with George in 1901 suggests he was ill, and in August of that year, just after the Census was taken, he died. Thomas died in 1929, and they are, George Telford and Son, buried together in Powerscourt Church graveyard.



Larry’s Apprenticeship: An Enniskerry story from 1872

 With thanks to Úna Wogan, who found this in the County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser – a Welsh newspaper – from 21 Dec 1872. Úna says that she “found the index to the authors that contributed to the annual and “Larry’s Apprenticeship” was written by Isabella Banks or her pen name, Mrs G Linnaeus Banks. Although it’s a piece of fiction I’m wondering was she actually inspired by a servant called Margaret McCann. She must have had some knowledge of the village and surrounds and the Quinn/McCann names are very appropriate.”

Make a cup of tea and enjoy! Thank you Úna! 

“Larry’s Apprenticeship”: An Irish Fairy Legend


AH, sure, an’ did I ever tell ye how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?’ This query was put by Margaret M’Cann (an old, valuable, faithful, and warm-hearted Irish servant of my mother’s) to myself and youngest brother, who were seated-myself on the kitchen fender, and he on a low stool–listening to her true stories of Banshees and Leprechauns, in both of which she was a stout believer. She had just told us of the wailing banshee she had herself seen and heard on the river bank, and of a leprechaun in his red cap and miniature suit of green; and she had borne with perfect good-humour our ridicule and banter over her credulity, when she put the sudden question,

“Did ye know, then, how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?” “I never knew they were carpenters” said I, with a light laugh. ‘”Why, Margaret, I thought all your family were farmers” cried Fred, with an assumption of prior information. ‘Them’s the Quins, Master Fred. They are all farmers to this blessed day; an’ the M’Canns were farmers too, an’ had a fine holdin’ amongst the Wicklow mountains, just a trifle beyan Enniskerry, till Larry M’Cann (my grandfather that was) met with an adventure amongst the Good People.’ Here Margaret, being a devout Catholic, crossed herself. ‘Good People!  0, I suppose you mean fairies,’ was my amendment. Sure, an’ I do: but we never speak of them but as the Good People. It’s unlucky.’ ‘0, that’s only in Ireland,’ suggested Fred, with a droll wink at me. In England, you may call them anything you like, and they won’t mind it one bit.’ ‘Are ye sure now, Master Fred?’ Certain. But, Margaret, what had the fairies to do with Larry M’Cann’s carpentering?’ Well, I’ll tell ye, of course as it wor towld to me, when I was a slip of a colleen no bigger than yez.’

And -Margaret settled herself on her chair with all the importance of an old story-teller. Ye must know that Larry was as fine an’ strapping a lad as ever stepped over the daisies. It was he that could handle a flail or a plough, or dig praties, or stack the hay in the haggard, And when he went to chapel on a Sunday in his best frieze coat, with the ends of his handkercher flying loose, an’ his caubeen cocked rakishly on one side, sure an’ weren’t all the girls in Enniskerry in love with his blue eyes and yellow hair, and weren’t half of them dying to have him for a bachelor? I presumed we listeners looked mystified, with the word bachelor so applied, for Margaret explained, that’s what you call a sweetheart, miss.’ But Larry, though not conceited, laughed with one girl, an joked with another; an’ whenever he went to Dublin, or Phoenix Park, or the Strawberry-beds, could take the floor with the best, and have the purtiest girl for a partner-an’ troth it’s he that could dance a jig- but he never thought of takin’ a partner for life, or of ofterin himself as a bachelor, till he met with Kitty Quin, an’ her black eyes made a hole in his heart at wanst. He was nigh six-an’-twenty when he met her. It was at a pattern at the Seven Churches of Glendalough, an’ sorra a bit could he mind his prayers for looking at her as she towld her beads so piously, without seem in to think of the bachelors or her own pretty face at all. Well, I heard grandfather say that, though he was as bowld and impident in his way with the lasses as any lad in Enniskerry, his knees fairly knocked together, an his heart went all in a flutter before he could bless himself, when Michael Quin tuk her by the hand an’ comin towards him, said, Here’s our Kitty come back from aunt Riley’s; an’ when Larry wor too dazed to speak, went on, Have yez got a drop in your eye. man that yez cannot see the colleen, or has Dublin made her so strange ye don’t know her again ? What Larry said he never remembered, but he felt as if lie hadn’t a bit of heart left, an’ his words tumbled over each other like stones rolled down hill. He knew he had blundered out somethin’ for Kitty’s cheeks went red as the roses on her gown. She put out her soft little hand with a smile that showed two rows of teeth as white an’ fresh as hailstones; and she said modestly as a nun, I’m glad to see any of my owld friends again, Misther M’Cann.” He had sense enough left, to take howld of the hand she offered: an’ sure he must have given it a hearty grip for the roses grew on her forehead to match her cheeks’ and she drew it back hastily. Larry, however, kept close to the brother an’ sister- an; when the prayers were over, an’ the people began to enjoy themselves, an’ the dudeens an’ the whiskey went round to warm the hearts an’ the toes, then Larry plucked up his courage an’ asked Kitty to take the floor with him. Now Kitty was either shy, or her Dublin manners made her too proud to dance at a pattern, so she made excuses. Michael, who had kissed the whiskey-jar very lovingly, would not have his friend said no “to; and so to keep Mike in a good humour, she consented to dance a jig with Larry. Sure, an’ it was then he must have won her heart; for they all went back to Enniskerry together, she let Larry put his arm around her waist, just to howld her on the car, because of the bad roads, an’ stale a kiss when he lifted her down at Farmer Quin’s garden gate. And from that out Larry followed Kitty like her sliadder. But Peter Quin farmed more than two hundred acres, all’ Larry’s father only he]d a hundred an’ twenty an’ that’s a good differ, Master Fred. Then Mike an’ Kitty work all the chitder Peter had, whilst Larry’s brothers- God be praised !—were as thick on the time as rabbits in a run: wherever ye turned yez might tumble over a pig or a gossoon. ° Troth, an’ it wasn’t’ long afore the neighbours began to call on Larry as Kitty’s bachelor, an’ one deceitful ould fellow, who had himself an eye to Kitty’s bit of money, gave Peter a hint that Larry was coortin’ the lass for the love of her fortune. Peter had a temper that was always on the simmer, an’ it boiled over at once.

By some ill-luck Larry showed his face at the Quin’s door before it had time to cool, so Peter treated him to a thrifle of his blackguard. “Div ye think Kitty, the elligant darlng, is for such a poor spalpeen as yez ?” he said, “She that’s been educated in Dublin, an’ liez book-larnin’, let alone manners, an’ a fortun’ to the fore.  But it’s the fortun’ I’m thinking, yez lookin’ for wid one eye, an’ the girl wid the other, Misther Lawrence M’Cann,” he said, with a sneer an’ a turn up of his ugly nose. It’s well for yez, Mr. Pether Quin, that yez Kitty’s father, or, by jabers, an’ I’s showin’ yez the taste of this blackthorn I’d be,” said Larry on the instant, keeping his passion down with an effort. Yez may keep your dirty money, bad cess to them as put the black thought of me into yer heart, if ye’ll only put Kitty’s sweet little hand into mine wid a blessin’ ‘

“You may be sure, miss, as they did not whisper; an’ hearin’ a row, Mike ran from the barn into the slip of garden forenent the house to join in the fun. He was jist in time to hear his father repate his insult, an’ accusing Larry of wanting Kitty’s hundred pounds; an’ then Mike fired up, an’ took his friend’s part like a Trojan,’ And what’s a Trojan, Margaret ? asked Fred, demurely, with another sly blink at me. Whisht, Masther Fred, an’ don’t be after interruptin,’ or we’ll never get to the Good People at all,’ said Margaret, ignoring the question. Rightly admonished, Master Fred allowed the story to proceed. But Mike could not bring his father to reason, even though he offered him a draw of his pipe. More by token, he himself was unwilling to let his sister marry a man who had neither house nor furniture of his own. It’s not for the likes of her to lay her head under a father-in-law’s roof, an have her childer running over a floor that is not her own,” said Mike. I’d say nothin’ agin the match, Larry, if ye had but a farm or a house of yer own, or even the bits of things to make a house dacent for the lass.”

Larry went away with a very sore heart, miss, you may be sure, for he’d set his very sowl upon Kitty Quin.  An’ sure an’ that was the black morning for Larry jumpin’ a corner of a quickset hedge on his way home, who should he come across but Kitty, with a basket of ripe strawberries on her arm, an’ she lookin’ more temptin’ than the fruit. Kitty had a tender drop in her heart, and seeing that he was sad, she set herself to discover what it was about; and didn’t she regret her curiosity in another minit ? for he poured out all his love and his sorrow like a great gushin stream, and held her hand as if he was drowni’n, an’ only that could keep him from sinking quite. Taken by surprise, Kitty dropped her basket, an’ would have fainted outright, had not Larry put out his arm an’ caught her, and that brought her to her seven senses. Poor Larry mistook her faintness for a sign of her affection, an’ in his joy kissed her sweet lips over an’ over again. But Kitty soon told him the differ. She said she had only fainted from the heat. She was sorry he had mistaken her friendship for a warmer feeling; but though she was ashamed her father should have suspected him of a mercenary motive, she could not encourage his hopes. She should never marry without her father s consent; an’ besides, her bringing-up had made her unfit for a farmer’s wife, an’ so she had determined—yes, determined was the word-never to marry any man who had not a good trade in his hands that would be a livin’ either in country or town. Every word that Kitty said fell like ice on Larry’s hot heart, an’ he reeled home as if he had had lashins of whisky; an’ when he got there, he took the whisky to drown his sorrow till he wor drunk in arnest.

There was nobody to tell him of the battle in Kitty’s breast between love and pride nor how she had crept into the house by the back way, an’ shut herself up, all alone, in her room, to shed tears like a February cloud over the very mischief she had done, and the pain in her own breast. Sure, all the fun an’ the frolic in Larry’s nature was curtailed that black mornin’. He went about the farm without a smile on his lip or a sunbeam in his eye, an’ his mother would have it the boy was bewitched. Even Father Maguire noticed his altered looks, an’ his careless dress when he went to mass on the Sundays, and the good priest did his best to set matters straight’ but all to no use, miss. Peter Quinn was sorry when his temper was off, but —small blame to him he still thought she might do better than go to the M’Cann’ to be under a mother-in- law, an’ work like a slave for all Larry’s younger brothers.

As for Kitty, before the feel of Larry’s kiss had gone from her lips the colleen was angry that he had taken her at her word; but she fed her courage with pride, and put a calm face on, though her heart was all in a tempest of throuble. An’ sure, miss, there’s many and many a girl does that, although you are too young to know it, and I hope never will.’ Here Margaret looked at me soberly, as if giving a leaf out of the book of her own experience.

One fine June morning, when the roses were in full dress, an’ the air had the smell of flowers an’ new- mown hay, Larry went to St. Patrick’s Market to sell a cow that had gone dry. Three weeks before, an’ that same Larry would have sung or whistled every foot of the road, barrin’ he met a traveller and stopped to give him the time o’ day. or exchange a joke. But now he kept his hands in his pockets, his chin hung on his chest, an’ his mouth was as close as a miser’s purse. He had a sup of whiskey before he left home, to keep his heart up, but; fur all that he looked as melancholy as the cow he wor drivin’. He had barely got a couple of miles beyant Peter Quin’s farm, which lay in his way to Dublin, when he heard a thin weak voice callin’ to him, like the wind through a keyhole.

The top o’ the mornin’ to you, Larry The same to you, misther, answered Larry, slowly lifting his eyes, an’ then rubbin’ them to clear the cob- webs away; for straight across the road was a gate where never a gate had been before, an’ sittin’ cross- legged on the topmost bar was the queerest little old man Larry had ever seen. He was no bigger than a two-year child, but his face was as wizen an’ wrinkled as if he was four hundred. He was dressed in an old-fashioned coat an’ breeches as green as the grass, had shining buckles in his shoes, and on his head a bright red cap. By all them tokens Larry knew that the little old man was a leprechaun, an’ his mouth began to wather for some of the gold he knew the old gintleman must have hid in the ground some- where about, an’ his heart began to thump. But Larry was not the boy to be afraid, so he put a bould face on when the leprechaun, with his head cocked on one side and a knowing twinkle in his eye, said to him, That’s a fine baste yez drivin’, Larry!” Troth, yer honour, an’ ye may say that same,” replied Larry, doffin his caubeen an’ scrapin’ his foot, for he thought it best to be civil. An’ so your drivin’ the cow to market because she’s lost her milk, an ye mane to askin’ pound ten for her said the leprechaun with a comical chuckle. Begod, an’ I am!” exclaimed Larry, opening his eyes and slapping his thigh in amazement, an’ sure, it’s the knowin’ old gintleman yer honour is ” Thrue for you,” said the leprechaun; “an’ maybe I know, besides, that Larry M’Cann’s goin’ to the bad for love of the purtiest girl in Wicklow. But pluck up a spirit, Larry, don’t be cast down. It’s I that owe Peter Quinn a grudge this many a long day, for his meaness in cheatin’ the fairies of their due. Never a fairies’ drop’ (milk left as a propitiatory offering to the Good People) is to be found in Peter’s cow-house or dairy; and never a turf or a pratie or a cast-off coat has he for a poor shivering begger or omadhaun’ (idiot), ‘bad cess to him An’ so, Larry, I mean to befriend yez for it’s yez thet have the warm heart and open hand’ an’ we’ll back thim against the cowld heart ,.nd the tight fist any day an’ the leprechaun plucked off his red cap and swung it over his head, as if in high glee.

Larry, with another scrape of his foot, thanked the green-coated old gentleman, an’ asked him if he meant to show him where to find a pot of goold. Ay, an’ that I do; but, Larry,” an’ here he looked slyer than ever, the fortun’s in your own right hand, man, an’ it’s I that meane to teache ye to find it there.” Larry opened his great brown hand, an’ turned it over, an’ looked in the broad palm. Divil a bit I see of a fortin’ there,” says he. Whisht says the leprechaun. Go on wid yer beast, an’ when ye meet a man wid his breeches knees untied, an’ his coat-tails down to his heels, an’ a wisp of straw in his shoes to keep his toes warm where they peep out of his stockin’s, an’ a caubeen witout a brim, thin ye’ll know the man that’ll bid for yer cow, an’ give ye nine goolden guineas for her, not dirty notes. Nine guineas begod, an’ that’s more than-” Larry stopped short. The leprechaun was gone, an’ the gate was gone, an’ the poor cow walked on as if she had never been stayed.

“Perhaps she never had,’ suggested Fred ‘Now, Masther Fred,’ said Margaret ”if ye interrupt me agin wid yer roguish doubts, I shall stop, an ye’ll never hear how it all ended.’ Go on, Margaret,’ urged I, and Margaret obeyed.

– 0 – 0 – 0 –


LARRY’S surprise an’ the leprechaun’s promises drove the thoughts of Kitty out of his head, an’ he stepped toward Dublin with something of his ould lightsomeness; when just as he crossed the canal bridge lie saw Kitty Quin standin’ on her aunt Riley’s doorstep in Clanbrassil street, dressed as elligantlv as a lady, an’ lookin’ as grand an’ as proud as a queen. Well, Kitty’s face went crimson, an’ Larry’s heart gave a great leap; but she just made him a stiff kind of curtsey, an the door bein’ opened, went in without a word. Thim’s Dublin manners, I suppose,” thought Larrv, his heart aching worse than ever; while Kitty, watchin him from behind the window- blind as tar as she could see, felt the tears rowl over her burnin’ cheeks, an’ then wiped them off angrily, as if ashamed of her natural feelin’s an’ blamed herself for being silly.

Larry hardly knew how he got to the market, but sure enough there he met that same identical man the leprechaun had towld him of. An’ more, by token he made Larry a bid for the cow. He bid eight pound ten, but Larry, heartened beforehand, stuck out tor nine guineas; and sure he took Larry into a public-house that stood convanient, and took out of his breeches-pocket an ow!d rag tied round wid string to sarve as a purse, and there an’ thin counted down the nine goolden guineas. Then he asked Larry to have a dhrop an’ a dhraw” to seal the bargain. Lairy s customer called for the whisky, an’ offered Larry his own pipe. So the boy had both the dhrop an the dhraw, an’ then they had another dhrop an’ a dhraw; an Larry remembered no more till he found himself lyin on the grass, wid the stars shining out in honour of Midsummer-eve, an’ a rushin’ in his ears as of a great sea. ‘Then he heard a rustle as of leaves, an’ a mighty wbisperin, an lifted himself on his elbow to look about hiin, and there he saw hundreds of little people no more than a span high, dressed in all sorts of queer out- landish fashions. All the little men had coats of green velvet, and leaves of green shamrock in their hands; whilst the ladies had scarves of green gauze as fine as cobwebs, an shamrock was wreathed round their heads, which shone like goold in the moonlight. “They were all in commotion, running hither an thither, howlding long discourses, and appeared to be in some sort of trouble or difficulty.

Presently he saw in their midst the loveliest little creature the light of his eyes ever flashed on. She was sitting in a silver-lily of a car, and drawn by seven-and- twenty grasshoppers, three abreast. She had a wand in her hand, on which a crystal dew-drop twinkled like a star, an Larry knew at wanst that they were all fairies, an she was their queen. Then, miss, as they drew nigher to him, Larry heard that one of the owd fairies lay dead, an that they wanted a coffin for the berrin. But not a coffin could they get, for fairy coffins must be made by mortals, or the dead fairies never lie at rest. An that was what the council an the confusion was about. Soon Larry heard the fairy queen say in a voice for all the world like the chirp of a cricket, -‘But who shall make thee coffin?” All of a sudden at least fifty’ of the Good People laid howld of him, and cried out like so many bees humming, Here’s Larry M’Cann, here’s Larry M’Cann it’s he will make the coffin.” But he never handled a saw or a plane in his life; he cannot make a pig-trough, an how will he finish a coffin fit for an elf ? said one of the Good People. Sure, thin, an it’s we that must teache him,” answered another.

With that the fairy queen touched him on the fore- head, as lightly as if a leaf had dropped there, with her shining wand, an it flashed before his eyes till they seemed to flash fire; an before he could cry out, or ask a saint to purtect him, he felt himself goin down, down, down, down into the very earth itself; an it’s lost he thought be was for evermore. Troth was Dublin Castle’s but a mud cabin in comparison with the palace Larry was in when he came to his senses. The walls were brighter than sunshine or rainbows, an goold, an silver, an prechus jewels were as plentiful as praties. There were gardens with trees all flowers, the likes of which were never seen in all Ireland an the birds were all crimson an green an lylack, and sang sweeter than thrush or nightingale. He seemed to see all this at once, and many a curious thing beside, which I disremember, and amongst it all the Good People were as busy as bees in a hive. Almost the first thing he saw was the dead-fairy lying on a bed of Indian moss, under a delicate silken quilt, with a tiny wreath of lilies of the valley on his head, and forget-me-nots all about him. There was a fine bird of paradise singing over him so soft an sweet, it charmed the very sowl of Larry. There were fairies watchin the corpse, but every wan of them was sobbin or cryin, an sure that same bothered him. It was not long he was left to stare about him. One of the Good People put an inch rule into his band an set him to measure the corpse, an sure that same came as natural to him as hoeing the cabbages. He was taken to a fine fairy workshop, where everything was as neat an orderly as if it had just been cleaned. There was piles of wood of all sorts, an one owld brownie told Larry their names, and there was lots of bright tools, an another wee owld fellow towld him their names; and then two or three showed him how to use them.

Then they gave him the wood. an the tools, an he made an eligant little coffin as aisily as if he had been at the trade all his life. The dead corpse was lifted in by the mourners as never mourned, an Larry fastened down the lid as cleverly as any undertaker in Leinster. As the funeral percession, with the coffin in the midst, moved away to the fairies’ cemetry, the owld brownie who first took notice of Larry said, “very nately put together, Larry M’Cann; sure, an ye’re a credit to your teachers. Take your wages, man, an go.” Larry put out his hand and stooped for the glitterin purse that wor held out to him, an—whisht! He was lyin on his back, with his curly head on a hard stone, undher a big tree, wid the morning sun shinin full in his face, Powerscourt falls tumbling in foam down the great high rocks, that frowned above him, leapin over big bowlders, an rushin away with a roar under a little wooden bridge just beyant.

Larry rubbed his eyes, sat up, an rubbed them again, and sure the more he looked about him, the more he was bothered. “Begorra, an ‘this is a quare thrick to be plavin’ a man,” says he, as he scrambled on his feet, wid his bones as stiff an sore as if he had been beaten with a shillaly. “Is it myself I am, or somebody else? an whare have I been ? an’ by the powers, how did I come here at all, at ll ? Is it drunk, or dreaming, or asleep I am at this blessed minit? Be jabers, the Good People-” Larry stopped, an crossed himself, and bethought of his wages, and all that was in his grip was dead leaves. ‘But he gave a great jump, an cried out, “Plane laves, begad; an it wur fairy goold, an that never turns to laves, An it’s a plane tree I’m lyin undher! Musha, but that’s a rare joke! In another minute his heart sank, and ‘he thremb’ed with fear lest he had been paid for the cow in fairy goold too, an should find only yellow leaves in his pocket.

But, faith, the nine bright goolden guineas-not dirty one-pound notes-were solid and safe. The sun was dancin brightly on the waters, as Larry hastened along the narrow footpath by the stream, an turnin sharp off before he reached the foaming waters of the Dargle, mounted the crooked an dangerous way up the steep banks to the high road, wondering why the Good People couldn’t have laid him down under a road side hedge, or in a green field, instead of carrying him out of his way intirely to Powerscourt falls. It was all a mystery an a dream to him, an as he went. “All night’ cried the old M’Cann, as the broth of a boy put his bright curly head in at the door. All night, father, all night, did ye say cried Larry, bewildered; for ye see, Master Fred, he thought he had been a week with the Good People. “Yes all night; for isn’t the sun shinin on this blessed Midsummer-day, ye spalpeen? Is it drunk ye are before the dew is off the daises ? Ah, Larry, Larry me lad, it’s the wrong way yez going since Kitty Quin showed ye the cowld shoulder; bad cess to the whole lot of them But where’s the price of the baste ? If ye were drunk, sure ye’d sins a left to take care of that?”

Ay, an sure when he found be had not been more than a night with the fairies, he had sense enough left to keep his own secret. His mother said a mighty change had come over Larry, but not a guess had she where it came from. He put his potheen aside when it came his way, an took to the farm so kindly; he went about his work whistling, and did as much in one day as he had ever done in two. Then he went an around to Dublin with the car, an brought back a lot of carpenters tools, an some -dale boards. He put them in an old shed that was tumbling down, unknownst to any one but his brother Pat. Then he put a door on the pigsty, to keep the pigs out of the house, and persuaded his father to have the holes in the mud floor of the kitchen filled up; an conthrived somehow to make the farm dacent an comfortable, with odd bits of improvement here an there. Amongst it all, he an Pat got the crooked walls of the shed to stand upright, and mended the thatch, an put the door again on its two hinges, an put a lock on the door, widout a word to father or mother. An then sure, he conthrived to put up some sort of a carpenter’s bench, after the patthern in the fairies’ workshop. More wood was got, an truth, one mornin, to her surprise, Mrs. M’Cann found a new dale table, an a dresser, an’ an easy chair in her kitchen, the like of which wasn’t to be found in all Enniskerry. Sure an it’s idigant, it’s fairy work said all the neighbours. True for yon, it is the fairies’ work,” said Larry, with a sly wink at Pat; an Pat, knowin what he had seen, an nothin of the fairies, burst into a loud laugh, an let out that Larry was the workman. No neighbour was more astonished than Larry’s own father and mother. They knew nothin of Larry’s friend the leprechaun, nor his fairy teachers; they said the blessed Saint Joseph must have put the knowledge in his head, an called the boy a rale born genius. • Other farmers’ wives envied Mrs. M’Cann her fine dresser, on which a. set of new wooden patters and bickers were ranged, with here an there a bright-coloured crock for show; an they came beggin’ of Larry to make the copy of it for them.

So, sure, an it came about that soon Larry had so much of his new work he was forced to teach two of his brothers the trade, an build a proper workshop; and Farmer M’Cann had to set the gossoons to work on the farm instead of lounging about an propping up door-posts all the day. ‘But never a bit did Larry go near Kitty all this time, though many a longing look did he cast that way when he passed Peter Quin’s gate. If they met at mass, he just gave her the time o day, as any other friend might do; but though his very heart was bursting with love, he kept it, like his other secrets, to himself.

As for Kitty, there were plenty of bachelors after her, either for herself or her fortun’ but she never got the feel of Larry’s kisses off her lips, an cared more for a glance of his blue eye than for all the bachelors in Wicklow: Kitty, so the story ends, was married to Larry, after she had been punished for her pride a short time by his distant conduct to her, and all ended happily. Margaret, the narrator of the tale, was as firm a believer in fairies to her dying day as when she told the story of Larry’s Apprenticeship, and the fortune he found in his own right hand.—


-Belgravia Annual

Banks, Isabella [Mrs G Linnaeus Banks]. ‘Larry’s Apprenticeship.’ A (1872): 48-57.)


Reverse the Closure of Wicklow County Library Local Studies Section

It has been announced that Wicklow County Council have decided to close the Local Studies section in Ballywaltrim Library, Bray due to staff shortages from next Monday June 30th. This is a severely short-sighted decision. As anyone who has visited the Local Studies section will know, this is an extremely valuable resource. The Local Studies Librarian has amassed a collection on Wicklow history, heritage, and genealogy that is second to none for the county. In addition, help was always available to those wishing to start out on their researches for their localities, or those (like me) who had reached a dead-end in their research and needed suggestions as to what else to try. For this section to close will be an enormous loss.

Take Action!

A draft letter is below if you wish to use it.

I encourage all those who value history and heritage of our county to write to the Secretary, Cathaoirleach and Councillors of Wicklow County Council. Contact details are available on the County Website, and I have collated them here. In addition, Wicklow has five TDS, whose names I have included in the email list. 

Please make contact today to protest against this. A draft letter is below. Please feel free to reuse this. A compilation of emails is here:

Draft Letter

Dear County Secretary, Cathaoirleach, and Councillors,

I wish to protest at the imminent closure of the Local Studies Section of Wicklow County Library. It is simply incredulous that this decision is being taken at a time when the value of history and heritage nationally and internationally is gaining greater awareness, in the context of genealogy, folklore, heritage, and local history. The closure of the Local Studies Section at Ballywaltrim means the loss of an enormously valuable resource. The materials gathered there represent as comprehensive a collection of books, journals, newspapers, and other materials as one could hope for and the Librarian has been ever active in continuing to build on and broaden the collection. This is a level of expertise and requires time on task that cannot be replaced by a general staff member. The closure is proposed “for the foreseeable future” but given that the Council is willing to endorse this position in the first place, it does not suggest that this library resource will be activated again in the future.

As well as the physical collection, the library and Librarian have been invaluable to local history researchers and others interested in heritage by providing leans, suggestions, sourcing materials, and generally assisting with research. Again this is not an area that can be dealt with in general library engagement. The actual presence the Librarian was a clear symbol of someone on hand to assist, and a sign that the Library, and hence the Council, took the promotion of history and heritage seriously. It is clear now that this is not the case.

Wicklow is a county rich in history and heritage, and one only has to browse the library catalogue for detailed information documented by the Librarian to illustrate the extent of local studies resources available. With the loss of this resource, the immediate concern is that this careful collecting and documenting in the future will just not happen. I believe this will be looked at in hindsight as a severely retrograde step, and contrasts starkly with what other local studies libraries are doing around the country. One only has to look across the border to South Dublin County Library (http://www.southdublinlibraries.ie/local-studies) to get a sense of what Wicklow should be emulating.

The removal of this service will be seriously detrimental to Wicklow’s reputation as a county interested in history and heritage. I urge you please to do what you can to revoke this short-sighted and badly planned decision as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,


cc. Mr Stephen Donnelly, TD, Mr. Andrew Doyle, TD, Ms. Anne Ferris, TD, Mr. Simon Harris, TD, Mr. Billy Timmins, TD.



Buckley’s Jaunting Car Between Enniskerry and Dublin

Jaunting CarThe Jaunting Car was described by the Dublin Penny Journal in 1832:

This is, properly, an Irish machine. The JAUNTING CAR is almost peculiar to our island. A Scotchman or an English- man on first landing at Dublin or at Kingstown is struck with this peculiarity; but they soon learn to relish so agreeable and handsome a conveyance.

Two years later a Dublin street directory listed a service between Dublin and Enniskerry by Jaunting Car. Buckley’s Enniskerry Coach Office was listed at 21 Chatham Street, in the 1834 Dublin Almanac. The 1840 Almanac listed Francis Buckley in the same address, and the 1846 Almanac, which can be viewed on Google Books, gives more details:

  • ENNISKERRY CAR from 21 Chatham street every morning at 8 o’clock through Miltown and Dundrum; leaves MILLER’S hotel Enniskerry at 3 and arrive in Dublin at 5 o’clock in the afternoon 

The proprietor at this time was Thomas Buckley. We can see then that the journey lasted two hours, and travelled from the city through Milltown and Dundrum to Enniskerry. Miller’s Hotel is now the Powerscourt Arms Hotel (which coincidentally was taken over by the Buckleys).

Thom’s Street Directory from 1850 shows the Coaching office was still at 21 Chatham Street, but was now run by Thomas Harney. By 1862, the offices were gone. Perhaps the competition from the railway to Bray meant that it was now longer attractive to travel from the city to Enniskerry directly by jaunting car.


“Enniskerry” compilation is now free on Google Books

coverLast year “Enniskerry: Archives, Notes, & Stories from the Village” was published. The book was a compilation of articles from the website and other journal articles. It’s almost sold out of the second run, and as there won’t be another print run, I’ve put the entire book up on Google books. You can view it there for free. As well as articles from the website, there are some additional images and material, and an index. The book is also in several Wicklow Libraries.


Powerscourt Tenant Names from 1840s

Lord Londonderry's SeatDeclarations of tenant loyalty were common in the nineteenth century. These would usually be issued on the marriage of the landlord, the birth of a child (especially an heir) or some other significant life event. A declaration by tenants to Lady Powerscourt surfaced recently, and while declarations are not unusual, this one is particularly interesting as it comes from a period where there is a bit of a black hole regarding Powerscourt records. When 6th Viscount Powerscourt died suddenly in 1844 (aged just 29), his widow married again in 1846, to Frederick Stewart, 4th Marquess of Londonderry. It seems likely then that this address commemorates that occasion.  Visitors to Powerscourt will know Lord Londonderry’s seat which overlooks the Japanese Gardens.

It is addressed to “the Most Noble The Marchioness of Londonderry,’ from ‘We The Tenants of Lords Powercourt’s Estates in this district…’ who “have the honour to be Your Ladyships most attached and faithful servants…” The original has over 146 names; unfortunately in the time available, I was just able to obtain those listed below:

  • David Charles la Touche, Luggala
  • Monck, Charleville
  • James Dixon, Monastery
  • Anthony Mulligan, Paddock
  • John McCoy md Enniskerry
  • Widow Maud Williams, Ballyross
  • Robert Williams Ballybrew
  • Anthony Sutton, Glasnamullen
  • Thomas Sutton, Glasnamullen
  • George Shirley, Enniskerry
  • John Sutton, Glasnamullen
  • Jas or Thos Sutton, Glasnamullen
  • –ies Sutton, Glasnamullen
  • John Sutton, Kilmacanogue
  • William Sutton, Ballingeskin
  • James Quigley, Enniskerry
  • William Williams, Enniskerry
  • Henry Buckley, Enniskerry
  • Joseph Williams, Monastery
  • Bethel Burton, Barnamire
  • William Sutton, Glasnamullen


Talk at Enniskerry History Society Thurs 13th March

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I’ll be talking at Enniskerry History Society on Thursday 13th March on the topic of my new book. It will detail some of the work I’ve being doing  on schools in Wicklow that were developed prior to the development of the National School system in 1831, and in particular the considerable local efforts to build schools around County Wicklow in the period 1785-1825. As well as an overview of the county, I plan to give some detail relevant to our own schools in Enniskerry and North Wicklow.

All welcome: Powerscourt Arms Hotel, 8.30 pm, Thursday 13th March.

Education in Wicklow: Forthcoming Talk at Greystones, 20 Feb

imageOn Thursday 20th February 2014, I am very honoured to be giving a talk at Greystones Archaeological and History Society. The talk title is:
Education in Wicklow: From Parish Schools to National Schools.

It will detail some of the work I’ve being doing over the last year on schools in Wicklow that were developed prior to the development of the National School system in 1831, and in particular the considerable local efforts to build schools around County Wicklow in the period 1785-1825. As well as an overview of the county, I plan to give some detail relevant to Greystones and North Wicklow. I hope you can make it! I have a book coming out on this topic soon. Details of time and venue are on the GAHS website. (8.30pm in the Family Centre adjoining Holy Rosary Church, Greystones)

Greystones AHS are a great Society with an active programme. In addition to talks and trips, they publish a journal, and in a model I wish other local history societies would adopt, the journal is published online. In fact I was able to find out some context for education in Delgany from an article in the 2004 Journal, “Lead Kindly Light? Education and the La Touche Family” by Judith Flannery, which is available to read on the Society’s website.

Tenants on the Powerscourt Estate, 1816

powerscourt townlands larger November mergedA map exists of the Powerscourt Estate from 1816. The names of the tenants accompanies the map. These are listed below. This is a first run of the analysis – it doesn’t distinguish very large tenancies from single plot holdings, but may be of use to those wishing to search family names. They are listed below by townland. You can see a map showing where each townland is by clicking on the image to the right.

Unfortunately because of a technical issue, data that was stored in tables in some parts of the website are lost. I am slowly working my way through this to try to update and bring information back online where I can.

Irish History Books for Christmas 2013

If there’s a history lover in your family, some fantastic books have been published over the last year on various topics in Irish history. Some of my favourites are below. Santa, if you are looking…


  • Just published is Garret Fitzgerald’s “Irish primary education in the early nineteenth century“, which is in fact more than this – it is bookended by two chapters discussing the context of the Inquiry and literacy prior to the Famine. It’s from the RIA, so it goes without saying that it is beautifully produced, and is probably the only history book in the list that includes r squared values…
  • Staying at Academy House, “Maps & Texts: Exploring the Irish Historic Towns Atlas” brings together themes that have emerged from the Historic Town Atlas survey (now at No. 25: Ennis). The book compares the development of towns, and considers themes such as religion and education. There’s an introduction from JH Andrews and it is well illustrated throughout. What’s not to love?
  • The History Press published their first (I think) book of historical fiction, Brian Cregan’s Parnell. It is a fantastic read, and really gives an insight into the man and this period of history, combining intricate parliamentary detail (heaven) in a well-paced story. It also introduced (to me) the wonderful character of Joseph Biggar MP. Un-put-down-able…
  • the-last-knight_525_789_sWhile on fiction, New Island have published the second Swallow in the series by Conor Brady. I haven’t read it yet, I’m saving it for a Christmas treat.
  • The History Press also published “Defying the Law of the Land“, which has a lot of useful information and case-studies for use in a local studies context.
  • Four Courts Press published “Irish elites in the nineteenth century” which includes a very diverse range of essays on “elite” life over the course of the century.
  • Also from Four Courts Press, “The Old Library, Trinity College Dublin, 1712 – 1912”  celebrates 300 years of the library. It is full of interesting essays on lots of topics. One for the coffee table.
  • Robert O’Byrne’s book on Desmond FitzGerald, “The Last Knight“, is a wonderful personal tribute to the extensive contributions of the Knight of Glin to Irish history and conservation. Full of interest and beautifully produced.
  • Absolute indulgence comes in the form of Finola O’Kane’s “Ireland and the Picturesque; Design, Landscape Painting and Tourism in Ireland, 1700-1830“. It is a stunning book, very broad in scope. There is a good section on Wicklow and the Dargle Valley.
  • 51hmeag6a-L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_It’s almost a cliché, but Fintan O’Toole’s “History of Ireland in 100 Objects” is fantastic. Voted book of the year by people who vote these things.
  • Down in Cork, CUP published “The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine“. It’s a hugely important book, and although published in 2012, Santa clearly didn’t get the message last year… Essential reference for any local history study over the Famine period.
  • And of course, “Enniskerry: Archives, notes, and stories from the village” is that must-have stocking filler…


50th Anniversary and 3rd Birthday

Stokes Parish of Powerscourt A Centenary LectureDecember 2013 marks the 3rd anniversary of this website and to celebrate, I have a treat.

2013 is the 50th anniversary of Canon Stokes’ wonderful lecture “The Parish of Powerscourt“. I have transcribed this lecture to make it available to a new audience. In addition, I have included further reading and notes on the material covered by Stokes. You can access the file by clicking on the link below.


The Parish of Powerscourt: A Centenary Lecture


This lecture was delivered by Canon Stokes in 1963 as part of the centenary celebrations of the completion of the new church at Powerscourt Gate. The purpose of re-issuing it is both to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that lecture and to make it available to a new audience.

It is a hallmark of the work that must have gone into preparing this lecture that the content still informs today, five decades later. Its breadth is impressive; the history of the locality is surveyed from pre-Christian tims to the early twentieth century. In order to complement the material presented by Stokes, I have included some additional footnotes that highlight what material he may have had available to inform him at the time, and add any new information that may have come to light since. The purpose of these notes is to provide those interested in pursuing the history of our area further with some useful leads to begin their work.

The publication of the reprinted lecture is set to coincide with the third anniversary of the website: www.enniskerryhistory.org, where more information is deposited and where interested readers can continue the conversation on the many topics initiated by Canon Stokes.

Michael Seery

December 2013

PDF File can be downloaded here.

Talk: Tales from a Country Churchyard

St Patrick's Church, Enniskerry

St Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry

A must-see talk is coming up at Kilmacanogue History Society on Tuesday December 3rd. Judy Cameron has done an enormous amount of work documenting the lives of those buried at St Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry. She has previously created a graveyard tour, and if that is anything to go by, this talk is not to be missed!


Tales from a Country Churchyard: the interesting lives of some Dargle Valley residents, by Judy Cameron.

December 3rd, GLENVIEW HOTEL, Glen of the Downs, at 8.30PM
Entry donation €3 (members €2), and all are welcome.

Enniskerry Historical Society Talk 10th October

Enniskerry Historical Society Talk by Brian White

Communications, Wicklow links to the 8th Wonder of the World and also Enniskerry Past, that will include the timeline of the building of the R.C. Church in Enniskerry and Lord Powerscourt horse riding feats between Paris and Fontainbleau in France. Enniskerry links with aviation history.

Powerscourt Arms Hotel: 10th October 2013 at 8.30pm