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.)


How we came to be

Everywhere we go,

People always ask us,

Who we are,

And where we come from.

A question often asked when you initiate a conversation about family history is: “how far back have you got?” Genealogy is a quest whose ultimate goal, it seems, is Adam and Eve. The Garden of Eden for Enniskerry and its surroundings can be firmly placed in the middle of the seventeenth century, when many families settled here for the first time.

Land so close to Dublin was always going to be precious. The ancient territory of Fercullen, stretching in from Bray to the east to Lough Bray to the west was strategically important as it separated Dublin from the Wicklow mountains. Since Norman invasion in the twelfth century, there was a dizzying array of land takeovers. At one stage, the O’Tooles, former owners of the lands, were paid by to protect the land from other potential Irish invaders. This arrangement turned sour, and as we enter the 1600s, Fercullen was granted in 1603 to Elizabeth I’s favourite soldier: Sir Richard Wingfield. In 1609, James I confirmed Richard’s status and granted him the lands for ever. The original grant was:

the manor of Powerscourt, containing one ruinous castle… and all lands in the whole countrie of Fercullen conteininge in itself 5 miles in leinth and 4 in bredth, for the most part mountaine and stonie… to hold for 21 years at a rent of £6 Ierishe”.

Soon after, the name Fercullen became obsolete, and Powerscourt was the name for the area. In 1618, Richard became Viscount Powerscourt, paying a considerable sum of money in fee, even though he didn’t have a direct heir (meaning the title would become extinct on his death). It is unlikely that he lived in his “ruinous castle”, but his heir, Sir Edward Wingfield, may have. The next 40 years were among the most violent in Irish history. Cromwell’s invasion in 1649 left Royalist forces in Ireland rushing to defend their lands, with the support of Irish Confederates. Five companies were sent to Powerscourt to destroy it and prevent it from being taken and used by Cromwell’s Puritan Army. Cromwell’s conquest was largely complete in 1652. In order to pay his men, he instructed William Petty to survey lands to distribute them to his army. This was completed by 1657, but by 1660, Cromwellian rule was over and the monarchy had been restored in Charles II. Royalty reigned again.

Land ownership before and after Cromwell invasion is now traceable on the wonderful Trinity College Dublin Down Survey site. Here land ownership in 1641 and land ownership after the Restoration can be compared. It was typical that land was taken from Catholics, and having been given to Protestants by Cromwell, remained that way after Charles II came to power, as he was loathe to unsettle his Protestant supporters. (The Confederates were conveniently forgotten). The interesting thing about Powerscourt is that the land ownership remained the same. Folliott Wingfield, who had been a minor for the entire Cromwellian episode, came of age in 1663. Because they were Royalists, the Wingfield lands at Powerscourt had been assigned by Cromwell to Sir Charles Meredith. However, after Charles II regained the throne, Meredith lost out. A very rare 17th century document in the Powerscourt Papers at the National Library of Ireland confirmed Folliott’s position as lord of all lands at Powerscourt in 1663:

Sir Edward Wingfield Knight, grandfather to our subjecte Folliott Wingfield, of Powerscourte in the County of Wicklow.

Folliot, now of age, with several thousand acres to his name, began to rebuild the castle at Powerscourt and occupy the lands. A new settlement was evident in the names recorded in the Parish register at the church. Canon Stokes recounts in his Parish of Powerscourt:

As was natural in a fairly new community marriages come first…1662…with names still familiar, Williams, Jones and Sumers. Burials began the following year with names which include Hicks and Burton. No baptismal records are available until 1677 when the first of the large family of Bethel and Bridget Burton was brought to the font in the church beside Powerscourt House.

A confirmatory source for these new inhabitants can be found in the Hearth Money Rolls, a list of parishes and townlands within them, and their occupants. They were so-called as householders were taxed two shillings for every hearth they owned. The only surviving copy of the list details householders who owned more than two hearths, and hence were probably the significant houses of the period. These include John Amacky and George Norris of Bahana, Mr Williams of Killegar, Mr Patrickson and Cornelius Kelley of Monastery, William Paine at Enniskerry, John Townsell at Enniskerry, Robert Steele at Parknasiloge, Ralph Smith and Christian Carr at Cookstown, Thomas Evans and Mr Fox at Tinnahinch, Mr Burton, and Hugh Kelly. These names differ from those reported less than twenty years earlier, when significant names in the parish (as reported to the 1641 depositions) included Carpenter, Chamberlain, Hunter, Johnson, Ryder, Watson, and Winsmore. In just 60 years, the entire structure of land ownership in the area had completely and irreversibly changed hands.

Folliott married the daughter of the immensely wealthy Earl of Orrery in 1660, and probably rebuilt the church beside Powerscourt house, now a ruin but apparently had a capacity for 700 people. This number seems an exaggeration, but it must have been at least considerable. He also rebuilt the castle, for its final incarnation. He became 1st Viscount Powerscourt of the second creation, but he also died without direct issue, so the title became extinct. The title wouldn’t be bestowed again until the eighteenth century, after the construction of Powerscourt House around the original castle in 1743.

Little physical remains of Folliot’s presence at Powerscourt, but the names of many inhabitants of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth centuries, and even today; those we owe to his assignations in the decade after the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Submissions are invited for articles to the 2013 Journal of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Local History. The theme this year is “Gathering our Genealogies“. See here fore more details


The Down Survey Project at Trinity College Dublin can be explored at

Things to do in Enniskerry in 1943

Ciara O’Brien of Wicklow County Library Services recently posted an article on the County Wicklow Heritage website about an Irish Tourist Association survey of towns and villages of Ireland, carried out in the 1940s. The surveys for Wicklow are held in Local Studies Section in Ballywaltrim, and Enniskerry was one of the villages surveyed, in May 1943.

So if you were visiting Enniskerry 70 years ago in 1943, what would you be able to do? Let’s turn back the clock:


Upon arriving, you would need to sort out your accommodation. Two hotels are listed: Mount Maulin Hotel (phone Enniskerry 19) and Glenview Hotel, both of which had 10 bedrooms. These had the luxury of indoor sanitation, with one toilet for every two bedrooms in Mount Maulin and one for every four bedrooms in Glenview. Both are licensed. What about our our local hotels we know and love? I have a feeling the surveyor got a bit confused – the returns include Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue as a sub-section of Enniskerry parish, and I think he must have just left out the Enniskerry village hotels.

If hotels (and indoor sanitation) weren’t your thing, you could stay in one of the local guest houses. This included Mrs Lydia Keegan, Ballinagee House (5 bedrooms); Mrs Harper, Crone (4 bedrooms); one each for Guards McGrath and Flanagan (no details), Miss Gannon, Killogue Villa, Kilmac (2 bedrooms) and J Kavanagh, also Kilmac (3 bedrooms). Ms F. S. M. Walsh, Clonroe, Enniskerry offered 4 bedrooms and the luxury of indoor sanitation. The house is situated at the top of the Ballyorney road.

Of course if you knew the right people, there was a chance you could stay in one of the local mansions listed: Powerscourt, Charleville, Hollybrook, Tinnahinch, and Kilcroney (by now a Country Club). Don’t even think about camping unless you know your Scout’s Promise: only Baden Powell Boy Scouts are allowed on Powerscourt Estate.

People to help

The village’s population is recorded as 145, and it is described as a “typical Tyrolean village nestling in a nicely wooded glen, beside the Dargle River, and near the entrance to the Powerscourt Demesne. There has been no change here for over a century, as Lord Powerscourt will not permit innovations.” Despite the reported innovative reluctance of Lord P, the water has been laid on by him and maintained by him – hence no water rates in the village. (Come back your Lordship! All is forgiven…) Both the water system and the sewerage system (provided by the Board of Health) are very good. The Board of Health has installed Ladies and Gents Public Conveniences in the village. There is an obelisk with clock and fountain on a dais, which was erected by Powerscourt in centre of village. The village has electricity and public lighting is provided by a local co-op syndicate.

The Post Office is central in village and has telegraph, telephone, and M. O. You can get photographic supplies at Windsor’s, and William Seery or John Tallon offer a taxi service and bring you touring where you can take holiday snaps. If you have your own transport, Richard Seery runs a garage. If you are more traditional, Joe Troy runs a hacks (hackney?) horse service. CIE bus services run to Bray and Dublin. Wednesday is a half-holiday though, so don’t expect too much activity then.

Gone Fishin’ (and hunting and shooting and…)

Once settled into accommodation, the next thing is to get out in that fresh country air. After all, the area boasts “the most celebrated scenery in the county and abounds in charming vistas of diverse and highly impressive character.” First up; angling. The local river, the Dargle offers small brown trout, averaging 1/4 pound. Suitable flies for the pros are Butchers or Orange Grouse. There are several preserved stretches on the river – that in Powerscourt Demesne is the preserve of Lord Powerscourt, and is available at 2 shilling 6 pence (2/6) a day. That flowing through Tinnahinch is the preserve of Lady Grattan and from Tinnahinch bridge up is that of Mr Davis, new proprietor of Charleville. The County Wicklow Anglers Association has the lower Dargle; membership fee 10/6 payable to  secretary George Moore Esq, 40, Dollymount Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

Don’t like fishing? Well the Kilcroney Sports and Country Club (phone Bray 277) is just the thing you need. There are 4 lawn tennis courts (2 grass, 2 hard); price 2/6 for visitors. There is also an 18 hole golf course over wonderful natural country, and attractive to the proficient golfer as well as to the beginner. The club house is separate and complete in every detail, catering for both Ladies and Gentlemen. The local professional is the Irish Champion H Bradshaw, and the annual fees are: Ordinary members: £5 5s; Lady Ass. £5 5s; Country Members: £2 2s; Overseas Members: £1 1s; 5 day members (Mon – Fri) £3 3s. Green fees for visitors are 2/6 per day and 5/ on Saturday and Sunday.There is a nineteenth hole, as the club is licensed. If he likes fishing and she likes golf, the Country Club also have one bank of the Dargle preserved for fishing…

Shooting is available at Glencree Forest by permission of the Irish Land Commission and Lord Powerscourt. Hunting with hounds is available courtesy of the Bray Harriers and there is Point to Point at Calary Bog, Sugar Loaf mountain.

Fancy a Walk?

Powerscourt Demesne is open to visitors every day at the following rates: – Pedestrians and Pedal cyclists – 6 d per person to Demesne; Motor Cyclists: 2/6; Motor Cars: 5/- per car. “However, visitors are not now admitted to the Terrace or Gardens, this restriction being imposed owing to damage caused by thoughtless or wanton visitors.

The ‘Lover’s Leap’, a huge rock projecting from the side of the Glen, is a popular rendezvous and overlooks the deep ravine in both directions from a height of 300 ft. over the river. The sea is visible to the east, beyond the top of the wooded slope on the left. The ‘Moss House’ and the ‘View Rock’ also provide extended views. The lofty ranges of Kippure, with Powerscourt in the foreground, is a conspicuous and impressive sight and Tinnahinch House, in a verdant vale, forms another pretty view. Near here, the glen is spanned by a bridge, having a castellated gateway, which conveys the water-pipes from the Varty Reservoir at Roundwood. Numerous winding paths ascend the glen sides and command very pleasing views of the various aspects of the valley.

The Scalp, a deep narrow gap in the mountain, two miles north of Enniskerry, presents a remarkable spectacle and is visited by many thousands of curious sightseers each year. It is a natural chasm forming part of a magnificent rocky defile. Glen of the Downs, three miles past Kilmacanogue, is another very popular spot with visitors to Wicklow. It is a charming ravine over a mile long, with wooded banks rising to about 800 ft. on either side.” Quite.

Social Life

There are three clubs: the Ancient Order of Hibernians Club, the Church of Ireland Parochial Club, and the aforementioned Kilcroney Golf and Country Club. No mention of public houses, surely an oversight as indicated above, given that licensed premises are identified. Dancing is available at the British Legion Hall (Proprietor Sam Tallon, Hon. Sec.); Butler’s Ball room (Scalp); and Hayden’s Ball Room (Scalp).

After the fun on Saturday, don’t forget duties on Sunday: a range of choice includes St Mary’s (RC, Enniskerry) 8.30 am – 12 noon; Kilmacanogue (RC) 8.30 am – 12 noon; Curtlestown (RC) 10 am; OMI Glencree (RC) 10.30 am; St Patricks (CoI, Enniskerry) 11.30 am and 7 pm; Kilbride (CoI) 11.30 am  and 4 pm.

Now sure, why wouldn’t you visit?


Many thanks to Ciara O’Brien for highlighting these archives. They are available to view in Ballywaltrim Library.

Moving East

Richard and Bridget Seery

Dick and Birdie Seery

My granny married a man from the village. I wonder how they met. Maybe they met at a local dance, or on the steps at the town clock. They probably went to the same school. It’s one of the many things I regret not asking her.

She lived at Kilmalin, the eldest child in a family of three. Her parents Patrick and Maggie were just two years married in 1911, and Bridget was only one year old in 1911. Her younger sister Maureen and brother Sean weren’t born at that stage. Maureen never married, and Sean moved away to England, bringing the McNulty name with him. The young family had settled in the labourer’s cottages built by Lord Powerscourt. Patrick, originally from Glaskenny, was a carpenter on the estate.

Richard Seery was my grandfather. The youngest child in 1911, aged just two, he lived with his six brothers and sister, Lizzie, in the houses at the bottom of Kilgarran Hill, the one next to the old Fever Hospital. His parents Patrick and Mary were married 18 years by then, and with eight children, it must have been quite a squeeze in that little cottage. There was a big field out the back, with a hill down by the side of the house. My uncle tells me they would sled down the hill in the snow, out onto the road. You could do that in those days, he said. There were no cars. Patrick, my great-grandfather, was a bus driver, probably doing a good trade on the Enniskerry to Bray route with his horse-drawn people carrier. Maybe he brought people to view the waterfall at Powerscourt. Family legend says he is the bus man in one of the Lawrence photographs of the village.

So the carpenter’s daughter and the bus man’s son met and married and had their own family. They moved first to Church Hill. Their house is now called Ceres Cottage. My granny had a tea room there in the front room. Whoever bought it apparently asked her if they could name the house after them, but she said no. She probably didn’t want the attention. But they named it anyway, just with a different spelling. They moved to Monastery, where I used to visit my granny. Walking from Kilgarran, I’d walk up the Dublin road, and cross over the pass to the Monastery road up to the house at Monastery. The kettle was always warm. I never knew my grandfather. But when I think of him and his brothers, I imagine they were similar to my dad and his brothers. We certainly all look alike. I like to project back their personalities, back through the generations. We all stand in a particular way.

Great grandfather Patrick’s father was also Patrick, living in Kilmalin at the time of his son’s marriage in 1893. He was as a labourer at Powerscourt. Patrick Junior’s bride, Mary Rourke, three months older than he, was the daughter of James, a carman. James probably helped his new son-in-law get into the bus trade. Joseph Windsor and Ellen Rourke were the witnesses. The newly-weds must have moved to the little cottage on Kilgarran soon after, and they had their first son, Patrick a year later. He was my grandfather’s brother.

Great-great grandfather Patrick married Mary Cassidy and they had at least three girls and two boys, living in their family home at Kilmalin. He was a labourer, born in the 1830s, long before the town clock was built. Seery’s don’t appear on Griffith’s Valuation. They were likely one of a large class of under-tenants that didn’t register on national records. I curse their good behaviour now. An odd drink on the street or a wandering animal would have put them in the local court records. But I do know what great-great-grandfather Patrick did every day of his life for several years, as he is recorded in the Powerscourt Estate workmen’s account books, earning 8 shillings a week. On 7 August 1855, he took Lord Powerscourt’s luggage to Dublin. It must have been a great day away from raking hay and drawing stones. His Lordship was probably on his way to India.

The Workmen’s account books also list a Dan Seery. He was higher on the list, meaning he was there longer. Second on the list after James McCue. Patrick didn’t have a brother Daniel that I can find, but his father was Daniel. It’s likely then the Dan and Pat listed in the Powerscourt records were father and son. So now I can say I know what great-great-great-grandfather Dan did every day of his life for several years too. Like his son, his wasn’t an easy life; six days a week with just a few days off a year – but the steady income must have been useful to Dan’s wife, Elizabeth Sanders.

They married in 1833 and had five children, including Patrick, born in 1834. They lived at Blackhouse, a name that lives only in local memory now, but not registered in the Ordnance Survey. They Ordnance men came to the area when Dan’s son Patrick was just five. Blackhouse was on all of the old maps but the map men must have decided it wasn’t a townland, and the name was dropped. Dan’s best man was John Grimes, who had recently married Dan’s sister, Winifred. As Dan’s children grew up and moved out, they moved east, to Kilmalin, and then the next generation to the village. The lands at Kilmalin and Glencree were being cleared and amalgamated into larger farms. People moved to the village or away altogether. Great aunt Maureen lived in my granny’s family home at Kilmalin. She saw the shift. How’d you get to know them up there, she’d ask, as gate-keeper between the village and the valley. What would she make of it all now?

The mystery of the Seerys of Enniskerry is where they came from and where they went. Most Irish Seerys come from the midlands. Dan and Winifred were from a family of five. While no records exist for their parents, it seems safe to assume that they too lived locally. Perhaps Dan and Winifred’s parents moved here at the turn of the 1800s. There was a lot of new work to be had in building the new village. With so many brothers in each generation, it’s strange to think that there’s not more there now. After the current generation, the Seery name, like many Enniskerry names from previous centuries – Buckley and Miller, Grimes and McGuirk – will disappear. We enjoyed our stay.

Contribute your family’s story by September 1st to be included in this year’s Journal, which will be published in November.

seery family tree

Lewis Strange Wingfield RHA

Lewis Strange Wingfield, 1861, from Beniah Brawn on Flickr, no copyright restrictions.

Sometimes I come across people from the past that I would really would have liked to meet. Lewis Wingfield is one of them. He was the youngest brother of the 7th Viscount Powerscourt, Mervyn. Their father died in 1844, when Lewis was two and Mervyn eight, leaving the estate in Chancery for 10 years. Another brother—Maurice Richard—died soon after his 27th birthday.


My first encounter was with his work—early photographs of the Powerscourt estate and neighbouring village of Enniskerry from the early 1860s. These he collected together and presented them to friends in an album entitled “Powerscourt: Immortalized by Lewis Winfield 1863“. There is a very fine copy in the National Photographic Archive at the National Library of Ireland, dedicated to his friend, Rev. Charles McDonagh. Recently, I held a copy of the album in private hands which was dedicated to La Touche. Included in this one is a little postage-stamp sized photo of our man Lewis, in profile, beside the dedication. It seems he made copies of these albums for friends.


Lewis latterly became a painter, and was elected associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1871 (IT, 27/7/1871). An exhibition with a painting of Joan of Arc was displayed in the Academy in 1870, which seemed to meet with good reviews, apart from his rendering of faces  (IT, 19/11/1870). Another painting, which gives perhaps some insight into his character was “Scene No. 36”, a painting of a clown and his two sons donning their suits in a room next to an amphitheatre—the crowd outside just visible—while in the room there is also a female figure laying dying on a table, with a second female drooped over her weeping. There is a quote attributed to this (IT14/3/1873):

Men must work, and women must weep.

Where there’s little to earn, and many to keep.

Lewis also painted some panels of Moore’s melodies which were used to decorate the saloon at Powerscourt (IT29/6/1894). These were sold in the Powerscourt Estate Auction in 1984 (Christies) and therefore very likely still exist. One image is shown in the Christies auction catalogue. There is a reference somewhere to a bust of him (Christies contain a lot “A bust of a gentleman of the Powerscourt family”, alongside a lot of a bust of Mervyn).


Lewis Wingfield as Miss Yellowstone 25 April 1865, from Beniah Brawn on Filckr, no copyright restrictions.

I’m struggling to get a handle on Lewis’ character. His mother Elizabeth prevented him going into the army, because of the delicacy of his constitution (DNB). His eldest brother Mervyn considered his younger brother to be a bit of a dandy, apparently despised him, and as he was then childless, went to great efforts to spend his money (on creating gardens at Powerscourt) so that Lewis wouldn’t inherit it.

The more I read about Lewis, the more I wonder about these now oft-quoted descriptions of his character. There was no doubt he was close to his mother—he cancelled his debut as a comedian at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Liverpool to travel to Dieppe as his mother, Marchioness of Londonderry, had become ill. (She must have recovered as she died in 1884). Perhaps her concern over an army career was more a protectiveness on her part. Lewis joined the ambulance corps and was in Paris during the Franco-Prussian war, where he became a surgeon (interestingly, two pieces rescued from Palais Royal at this time are now in Powerscourt Gardens, having been later purchased by Mervyn). He reported from Paris for various newspapers (and indeed drew a painting of the siege of Paris). This was a man who got about – he literally travelled the globe. He was one of the earliest Englishmen to obtain permission to travel to China (IT, 16/11/91). While his constitution may have been “delicate”, I wonder if it was in the sense that he wasn’t the large well built man his elder brother was. His voice was said to be reedy and effeminate (DNB). Nevertheless,  he did eventually join the English army in 1884—the year his mother died—and became ill in Egypt. He travelled to Australia in 1890 to recover, but died young, in 1891, a few months before his 42nd birthday. Early deaths in the family were unfortunately all too common.

His relationship with his brother that is also intriguing. The quote about the sibling hatred comes from no less a source than the Knight of Glin (Christies), who says that Sheila Wingfield, wife of the 9th Viscount, writes in Sun Too Fast that the 7th Viscount found himself childless after several years and as he intensely disliked his brother, heir presumptive, decided to start spending all the cash. While its true that there were no children for Mervyn until 1880, work began in earnest at Powerscourt soon after his majority—if Mervyn was anguishing about spending money, he didn’t wait too long. There is a painting in the Christies catalogue of a hunt in Scotland, which has among its several subjects both Mervyn and Lewis, so they evidently travelled together on at least this occasion. Mervyn also donated to the Royal Hibernian Academy a painting of him by Lewis in 1890, just before Lewis’ death (WIT, 8/2/1890).  Indeed, Lewis became associated with the Academy at the same time that George Hodson Bart, another Enniskerry local boy, became an honorary member. Lewis was certainly not excluded from the society circles his brother moved in. Sheila was two generations down the line, and perhaps was exaggerating. If so, I’m a bit disappointed in her; as a Jewish female poet who felt her work was not valued by critics and especially family (JEPLH), she must have privately shared some sense of compassion for Lewis.


Balloons escaping from the siege of Paris

I immediately warm to Lewis. He moved from photography to painting to reporting to acting, became an army surgeon, travelled and ultimately focussed on writing, both plays and novels.  I see him ballooning around furiously scribbling notes for his reportage. He seems to have been extremely intelligent. In My Lords of Strogue, a three volume historical novel, he weaves in historical accounts into a funny (so far as I am at the moment) story of upper society, a work obviously underpinned by significant background research.  Books are dedicated to friends, as we saw with photo albums above, and his friendships were of great importance to him.

His humour was noted in an article in the Weekly Irish Times in 1885, which reported:

Much amusement was caused the other day at Brighton by the publication of the following unique circular by the Hon. Lewis Winfield:- “The Honourable Lewis Wingfield, having taken a house at Brighton, and wishing always to be on pleasant terms with his neighbours, intends to make a practice of giving an annual treat to the well-behaved children residing in Marine gardens, the entertainment to take place about Christmas-tide. Such of the children, however, who prove themselves to be ill-mannered and badly behaved-who, that is, make an uproar in the alley before nine o’clock in the morning, or who hang about the Parade end of Marine gardens in the daytime as if it were a playground (which it is not), and scream and cry and make unnecessary noises there, to the annoyance of the dwellers at 75 Marine parade, will not be included in the invitations to the proposed annual gathering.”

I wonder how successful that strategy was!

Lewis was married, but I do wonder if he was gay—or at least as gay as you could be in Victorian upper class society. Fuel to this fire is provided by a story that appeared in the newspapers in April 1879: “Strange Charge of Watch Stealing“. This article reported that Lewis left his home one morning and “fell in” with a soldier in Hyde Park. Lewis later accused the soldier of stealing his watch, but the soldier made “disgraceful allegations” about Lewis. Despite it being mentioned in court that Lewis was a visitor to the barracks, the poor soldier got five years hard labour as punishment—an all too convenient method to push the whole affair under the carpet.

Cover of his 1863 album, with thanks to Powerscourt Estate

Please do contact me if you know any more about this intriguing man. I have some references to follow up in the National Library, so will hopefully have more at some stage.


This post was originally posted on my old history blog and has been slightly modified in this update.

Landowners in Enniskerry, 1876

The following is a list of returns for Enniskerry in the report “Landowners in Ireland: Return of owners of land of one acre and upwards” published in 1876. The list is not comprehensive, as it is only informative if people who are resident on that land. For example, Benjamin Lee Guinness comes in as owning nearly 1500 acres of land in Wicklow, but his address is simply: “Dublin”. There is also a Joseph Darlington, a good 19th century Enniskerry name, who owns just over an acre, but again he lives outside the county, so we can’t say if he is indeed an Enniskerry man. Nevertheless, it is an interesting compilation. The most valuable piece of land based on size is that belonging to the representatives of Rev Luke King at Cookstown, which is worth over £7.50 per acre. The extent of the Powerscourt estate is given as nearly 37,000 acres, while Charleville is about one tenth of that. Nevertheless that value of land at Charleville per acre is almost double that of Powerscourt.

Name Address Extent of land (acres) Value (£)
Evans, John Crone 454 113
Grattan, Lady Laura Tinnehinch 58 122
King, Representatives of Rev Luke, Cookstown 75 568
Monck, Viscount Charleville 3434 1556
Powerscourt, Lord Viscount Powerscourt 36693 8890
Young, Eliza Cookstown 3 60

You can explore this document at



Report on the state of wine at Powerscourt (1853)

The following was logged in the Guardian minute books regarding the wines in the cellar at Powerscourt. This survey was carried out during the minority of Lord Powerscourt, when his mother (who remarried Lord Castlereagh) was one of the three Guardians of the Estate, which was managed by Captain Cranfield:

Report on the State of the Wine at Powerscourt

(R. J. Gordon Esq, Belfast)

Having been requested by Lord and Lady Castlereagh to examine the cellar of wines at Powerscourt and to make a report thereon for Lord Powerscourt’s Guardians I beg to say that on examining the Cellar I found it contained a very large quantity of Claret almost all of which is of the Vintages 1825 and 1834 – two of the best vintages on record – of the former there are about 27 dozens and 3 bottles, and of the 1834 about 65 dozens and three bottles – there are also about 2 dozens and 2 bottles of claret supposed to be of the famous vintage of 1815 – wines of that year may be considered extinct – a few bottles perhaps being still in some private cellars. The wine is sound and good but I am satisfied not so good as it was some ten or fifteen years since, and it is questionable how far it may be prudent to keep so much of it.

The wines of vintage 1834 and Standard quarts of 1825 were purchased from myself several years since by the late Lord Powerscourt and are not to be excelled – the other wine of 1825 is also excellent – they are however becoming very old, and the quantity in the cellar is so large that I much fear (considering how little wine is now used in Society compared with the habit some years since) if not brought into use for four or five years yet, a great deal of it will suffer, and in all probability a considerable portion of it be lost.

I should recommend that some steps be taken to part with a portion of it. If it were known in the London Clubs or among the London wine Brokers that there was such wine for sale under the circumstances I think a large price would probably be obtained for it.

On estimating the quantity I have reckoned 5 doz of Magnum bottles as 10 dozen of wine – these are 1834, and 4 dozen and 11 bottles of 1825 in standard quarts I have reckoned as 7 dozen and 4 bottles.


Of this there is none in the cellar.


I found a very considerable quantity of sherry, of different kinds, but all good, the total quantity being about 96 dozen and 3 bottles, besides 10 dozen and 4 bottles of good dinner sherry, and 16 dozen for housekeepers use.

Of the 96 dozen I found about 30 dozen in so bad condition, partly I should think from being badly bottled at first, and partly from leakage through the corks that I feared they would be lost the bottles not being full, and I had these drawn, put back into cask, fined??, and rebottled producing 27 dozen and 2 bottles of bright wine and 15 bottles cloudy from deposit.


Of this wine I am sorry to say there is a large quantity for none of it is good. Of common Madeira there are about 41 dozens besides, about 21 dozen pints? of Malmsey? Madeira and about 7 ½ dozens of Sercial? The Malmsey Madeira though failing is sound, and a little of this might be kept, but I should strongly recommend the rest to be sold for anything that can be found for it. Some of the Madeira might answer for kitchen use but there are 16 dozen of sherry for this purpose besides 17 bottles of some white wine in an upper bin in the new cellar.


In the new cellar, there are about 6 dozens and 2 bottles (large) abd about 8 dozen of pints of very good wine. Hock in the sherry cellar should be disposed of – there are about 17 dozens which I fear will be lost, indeed some of it is bad already.


There are about 2 dozen and 10 bottles in the sherry cellar bad – only fit for kitchen use.


There are about 2 dozen which I should fear would not keep long – the wine is sound but becoming flat.

Falernian Wine

I do not know this wine – there are about 24 bottles of it – to me it appears very poor thin wine that will not keep.

Home made wine

About 2 bottles very indifferent

There are also a few bottles (about 9) in one of the upper bins in the Sherry Cellar which I cannot make anything of.

Belfast, 25 May, 1853 (Signed) RL Gordon


Summary of Stock of Claret

  • Vintage supposed 1815 Growth Unknown Bin No. 10:  8 Doz 2 Bottles
  • Vintage 1825 Growth unknown Bin No. 13: 2 doz 5 bottles
  • Same Bin No. 14: 17 doz 6 bottles
  • Vinatage 1825 Gordon’s Wine Growth Latour – in standard quarts these bottles are equal to 7 doz 4 bottles common wine bottles Bin No. 17: 4 doz 11 bottles
  • 1834 (Gordon’s Wine) Growth Lafitte Bin No. 1: 2 doz 9 bottles
  • same Bin No. 2: 21 doz 5 bottles
  • 1834 Gordon’s Wine Growth Latour Bin no. 5: 21 doz 4 bottles
  • 1834 Gordon’s Wine Growth Lafitte (pure Bin No. 4: 9 doz 10 bottles
  • 1834 Gordon’s Wine Growth Lafitte in Magnums Bin No. 17: 5 doz
  • These 5 doz Magnums equal to 10 dozen common wine bottles
  • Belfast, 25 May, 1853 (Signed) RL Gordon

Guardian Notes on Wine Report

Lady Castlereagh signed the return of the wine in the cellars.

The contents of the cellar was calculated by Mr Wilkinson and the House Steward on the 16th June and the return signed by Lady Castlereagh was found on their statement. I was unable, from —, to make the instruction myself. There are a few discrepancies from Mr Gordon’s report which will be noticed in this column further on – George Cranfield (Agent to the Estate)

(several discrepancies listed, usually one or two bottles…)

Powerscourt family and local notables, 1901

Here’s a high resolution version of the Powerscourt family portrait, taken in 1901. Lord Powerscourt, 7th Viscount, is seated in the centre, with his wife behind him and children behind him, including the future 8th Viscount, who had just come of age. The 7th Viscount died in 1904. There are several Enniskerry notables are in the picture, including Lord Monck of Charleville. Thanks to Úna Wogan for this high resolution version.

Seated in front: Lord and Lady Powerscourt, Behind (centre): their three daughters and two sons – Lady Templemore, the Hon. Mrs Vandeyer, Lo rd Powerscourt and the Hon Maurice Wingfield. Included in the back are Mr Edmund D’Olier, the Lord Monck, Father Cuddy PP, Mr M Tallon, Mr Augustine Ryder, Mr Syme, Archdeacon Galbraith, Mr Richard Barrington, Mr Wogan, Mr John Pluck, Mr Bernard Mason, Mr Frank Buckley, Mr JC Buckley, Mr Philip Barrington.

The Irish Times republished the photograph several years later, giving a list of those in it.

Powerscourt National School in the 19th Century


It seems hard to imagine now, but in the early 1800s, there was no system of education in Ireland. The provision of education was chaotic, and relied on local support, support of Christian Societies, and the efforts of parents keen to educate their children. Successive governments of the time did little more than commission reports into how education should be provided and while deciding what to do, provided grants to Christian Societies who in turn funded schools. Landowners often provided support by way of building schools, paying for teachers, or subsidising students of their tenants. And despite being forbidden, parents organised hedge-schools and schoolmasters. The poor schoolmaster was at the bottom of the pecking order—if the parents thought that he wasn’t up to the job, he was shipped out and a new man hired!

Frustration grew with the government, who seemed unwilling or unable to implement a national education system. A group of philanthropic businessmen established “The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland”, more commonly known as The Kildare Place Society in 1811. The group included many of the major Dublin merchants of the time, Samuel Bewley, Arthur and William Guinness and several members of the La Touche family. The aims of the Society were to provide a means to educating all children, regardless of religious background or income. The society’s model gained popularity, and by 1815 the government decided that all grants that it had previously given to a variety of different societies, should now be directed to the Kildare Place Society.

At this time in Enniskerry, the resident landlord was Richard, 5th Viscount Powerscourt. In 1813, he had married Frances Theodosia Jocelyn, the first daughter of the Earl of Roden, a well known family in Irish aristocratic circles. Having sold Powerscourt Townhouse a decade before, the country house was the primary residence for the newly-wed couple. Whether it was a result of the thrill of being married, a desire to impress the in-laws, or just wanting to have somewhere nice to pass through every day, Richard decided to initiate a series of improvements in Enniskerry village. In 1818, he hired the architect Sir William Morrison to build a series of “rustic cottages” and it was at this time, the new Schoolhouse was built. The new school aligned with the principles of the Society, and by 1825 was formally under the remit of the society. This was probably due to the fact that the Rector of Powerscourt, Reverend Robert Daly was a strong supporter of its ideals. Also, both David and Peter La Touche were influential members of the society. The La Touches lived in nearby Bellvue at Glen of the Downs, and owned Luggala. Peter La Touche leased land from Powercourt at Lough Bray, where he had a hunting lodge. It is likely therefore, that they knew the Powerscourts and promoted the Society to them.

School Design

No plans exist for the school house, but in designing the school, Morrison would probably have been guided by a pamphlet produced by Joseph Lancaster, an educationalist whose speeches had prompted the formation of the Kildare Place Society. In Hints and Directions for Arranging School-Rooms (1813), he provides extensive details on how the school building should be built and rooms arranged. The location of the schoolhouse should be “elevated above the surrounding ground”, with the school room on a ground floor, without any vault or cellar underneath (in order to reduce noise). It should be set back from the public road, because “the safety of the children coming to and going from the school room will be sometimes endangered by the passing of carriages close to the door”. There should be a play area if space allows.

Figure 1: William Deane Butler’s model plan for a schoolhouse, published in The Schoolmaster’s Manual, 1825. These plans would have been based on the designs of early Kildare Place Society schools such as that at Enniskerry, built 1818.

The building should have plenty of large windows, something relatively unusual in buildings of this time because of window taxes, from which schools were exempt. The school room should be “oblong, clear of all projection, from the wall; if fireplaces, buttresses, or any other things be permitted to project, they will… obstruct that pervading view which the master should command of every part of the room, and of every individual scholar”. The master’s desk “should be at the end of the school room; facing of the scholars, without rails on it to intercept his view, and should be placed upon a platform  elevated in proportion to the length of the room”. Each student should be allocated 17 inches of desk space—teaching to write on slate rather than paper would save room. These concepts were eventually included in The Schoolmaster’s Manual (1825), which included some model drawings of plans for schoolhouses. It is easy to see the parallels between the example shown and the school at Enniskerry. The school cost £600 to build in 1818, about €50,000 in today’s money. 

School Materials

Figure 2: Images from popular books at the time—top left: The His­tory of Useful Arts & Manufactures, printed for the Society on Chancery Lane, Dublin; top right: A Picture of the Seasons (August); bottom: Little Jack, a hugely popular children’s book in the early 18th century.

The Kildare Place Society provided books, posters and other materials to their schools. Initially, the books were really just stacks of tablets made of card with text pasted onto them, so that one book could be shared around. For example, the spelling book contained 60 cards of increasing difficulty. However at this time there was a very popular series of books (known as chapbooks) which were small and cheap and contained stories of adventure and daring. The Society realised it would have to match the popularity of these books if it was to establish their materials at the core of the school curriculum. To do this, it mimicked the look and feel of the chapbooks, but developed their own content that was more in keeping with the moral tone of the society. The scale of books published by the Society is staggering. By 1842, nearly 1.7 million books had been circulated.

The School in the Parish

A report was published in 1825 on the state of the provision of education in Ireland (the government were still trying to decide what to do!). In the Parish of Powerscourt, there were eleven schools, including at least four hedge schools. The reported stated that the (new) schoolhouse at Enniskerry consisted of four rooms, and cost £600 to build. It had 61 children on the roll, 14 boys and 47 girls.  The school-mistress was Margaret Sandford and she was paid almost £36 per annum, £34 of which was paid by Lord Powerscourt. It was usual for pupils to pay a small sum—perhaps 1 penny per week—as it was considered that this would ensure their attendance was good. Just across the bridge, opposite the entrance to the Bog Meadow. There was an infant school. There were other schools in Annacrevy, Glencree, Bushy Park and Charleville.

Six years after the 1825 report, the government of the day finally decided to establish a National School system. The grant of £30,000 formerly paid to the Kildare Place Society went instead to the Board of Education, whose model largely mimicked that of the Society it was replacing. Existing schools could be taken into connexion with the Board by applying for salary for teachers or for supplies for schools. While the school at Curtlestown joined the National School system in 1834, the school at Enniskerry did not do so until much later in the century. This meant that support for the school relied on local subscription and the support of Powerscourt. There is evidence that Lord Powerscourt and his Guardians were heavily involved in the education of its tenants children. The 6th Viscount Powerscourt died young and the estate was run by Guardians until his son and heir came of age. The Guardians were the 6th Viscount’s father in law, wife, and uncle—Lord Roden, Lady Powerscourt (who remarried and became Lady Castlereagh and then Marchioness Londonderry) and Reverend William Wingfield respectively.

Figure 3: Request from John Cranston Schoolmaster at Enniskerry to Guardians of Powerscourt, May 1849, that he be allowed to retire with pension. (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

There is some recorded correspondence between the schoolmasters and the Guardians, which highlights the relationship between them. A note in 1848 to the guardians from Philip O’Connor, headmaster at Annacrivey school requested fuel. The estate manager, Captain Cranfield added to the note that the school was the only one without a fuel supply. The Guardians directed that the five ton of coal per term formerly provided to Glencree, which had recently closed (but later re-opened after pressure from tenants) was to be provided to Annacrivey.This note tells us that the Guardians were the main providers of support to the school.


Figure 4: Salaries paid to Schoolmasters by Lord Viscount Powerscourt for the Year 1844 (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

Figure 5: Request from Headmasters at Annacrivey and Enniskerry to Guardians of Powerscourt to be allow schools to close on Saturdays (Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

But this support brought with it control of the schools. A request was submitted by the schoolmasters at Annacrivey and Enniskerry in 1849 to close their schools on Saturday “to enable them to purchase provisions, elsewhere than Enniskerry.” They added that this would not unduly affect the pupils as the attendance on Saturdays is small. In reply, William Wingfield asked why the attendance was so small. They mustn’t have been able to convince him, as another request was submitted in 1852, when the Guardian minutes note that Lady Castlereagh “has heard that the schoolmasters and mistresses are anxious that there should be no school on Saturdays, and approves.” A subsequent note indicated that Captain Cranfield would speak to them about it, and that he informed Lady Castlereagh that Reverend Wingfield had refused their application some time ago. I wonder what happened!

The Guardians also had control over who was school master. When John Cranston, schoolmaster at Enniskerry and at Annacrivey since 21st October 1817, decided to retire, he wrote to the Guardians in May 1848, he stated that he had spent £150 on the school and land at Annacrivey over his time there. He added that he was in poor health, and had a wife and six children to support. Lord Roden replied that he had spoken to Lady Castlereagh and she agrees that Cranston should be pensioned off and a new and proper master got for Enniskerry. Under the circumstances I think he should be pensioned at a salary of £25 a year for his life – if the Bishop of Cashel (Reverend Robert Daly, formerly Rector of the Parish) will contribute £10 this will leave him within £5 of his present salary. As to any improvements made so many years ago as is said to have been done by Cranston at Annacrivey no consideration whatever can be taken by the Guardians”.

It would appear therefore that the Guardians were not too happy with Cranston’s performance as a master—an earlier note accompanying the request for fuel in 1848 referred to Annacrivey, whose schoolmaster was Philip O’Connor, as “the largest and best managed school on the estate.” They wanted a new master at Enniskerry.

The new man was George Lindsay, who along with his wife had been recommended for the position as Master and Mistress of Enniskerry by Reverend H Kearney. The Guardians noted at this time that they would consider it, but within a year Lindsay’s name was associated with the school. In 1855, the Church Education Society (which had superseded the Kildare Place Society) sent in their inspector’s report to the Guardians. William Wingfield noted in the minutes that “The Inspector of the Ch. Ed. Soc’y school reports most favourably of the Annacrivey and Enniskerry schools, particularly the latter.”

Poor John Cranston died within two years of retiring, and a note was sent from a Reverend O’Callaghan to the Guardians to see if they were able to continue his pension to his wife. William Wingfield replied that that he was sorry that he could not continue the pension, but would allow it up to the last Gale Day (rent collection time), and an additional five pounds.

Joining the National School System

In 1867, the decision was taken to move the Enniskerry School into the National School System. On the original application, James Doherty, aged 30 and his wife Isabella, aged 24 are listed as schoolmaster and mistress. James received training from the Church Education Society, at their training school at Kildare Place. The school building is described in the application as being 44 foot long and 16 feet wide, with six large windows. It adds that a portion of the house is occupied by the teacher, with “no inconvenience to the school”. The average attendance is 20, with 27 males and 11 females on the books. In applying, Lord Powerscourt—by now it was the 7th Viscount Powerscourt—undertook to carry out any improvements requested by the Board. The application was approved, and a salary of £15 was allowed for Mr. Doherty. The school was given the roll number 9760. While it was originally called Enniskerry National School, in 1876, it changed its name to Powerscourt National School.

The school had a series of teachers during the 1870s. James Doherty left in 1871, and he was succeeded by Denis Christian in 1875. After Christian left, short terms were served by Michael Redmond, S Jackson, W Marshall and James Sweetman, who left in 1878. We can only speculate why there were so many masters over such a short period of time. In 1879, William Pattison was app=pointed, and remained until 1896. Pattison’s wife was workmistress at the school, and would have taught needlework. Support for needlework can be traced back to at least 1855, when William Wingfield granted a once-off donation of £5 for a sewing school at Annacrivey, stating that “the efficient support of such an industrial establishment is of great advantage to Lord Powerscourt’s tenantry.” When the then Marchioness Londonderry visited Curtlestown National School in 1855, she declared herself “much pleased with the needlework”.

William Pattison retired in 1896, and was replaced by Samuel Flinn (aged 26) as schoolmaster and his wife Fannie (aged 20) as workmistress. They would run the school into the new century, and bring us to the end of this story. The history of Powerscourt National School is a very rich and important one, as its narrative runs parallel with the history of the provision of education in Ireland as supported by education societies, landed gentry, parents and ultimately the State.


The Schoolmasters Manual (1825), The History of Useful Arts & Manufactures (1822), A Picture of the Seasons (1819) and Little Jack (various years) are available to read on the Hathitrust website or Google Books. Extracts from Hints and Directions for Arranging School-Rooms (1813) were reproduced in the Belfast Monthly Newsletter (1814), freely available on JSTOR at the URL: The Powerscourt Papers are held by the National Library of Ireland, and the index to their contents is given in Collection List No. 124. All records of the National School System are held in the National Archives of Ireland. More information on a typical day in the classroom is available in the book “Slates Up!”,  by Susan Parkes, which contains classroom activities and details of how to build a model of a 19th century classroom.

This article was published in the commemorative booklet published to mark the building of the new school at Enniskerry.

Early Tourists to Powerscourt Waterfall

260 years ago, Bishop Pococke wrote about his visit to Powerscourt in 1752 which was part of his travels around Ireland:

Powers Court, belonging to Lord Powerscourt… In the Park two miles from the House, is the famous fall of Water, which is a cascade that falls in one spout without breaks… the high ground on each side covered with wood in the way to it is very fine.

Tourism in the modern sense began around 1750, so Pococke was one of the earliest to write about a visit to Powerscourt. As the century progressed, many more came after him. Travel in Britain and Ireland by the aristocracy rose significantly as the Grand Tour of Europe became impossible during the Napoleonic Wars. Travel narratives and guidebooks recommended sites to see, and even in those guides restricted to Dublin, tourists were recommended to visit Powerscourt House and the Waterfall.

The Waterfall was particularly popular. The latter half of the eighteenth century coincided with the Romantic movement and the search for the sublime—places and views that would evoke emotions of awe and terror, of the dominance of nature. Powerscourt Waterfall fit the bill nicely, and visitors seeking sublime wrote about it effusively. Edward Lloyd wrote in his “Month’s Tour” in 1781 that:

When we approached the waterfall we were struck with amazement. The astonishing accounts we had heard of this phenomenon conveyed no idea of it to our minds. It descends from a steep rock of the stupendous height of 350 feet. In its fall, its appearance resembles the drifting of snow, and the spectators are bedewed with the spray at a considerable distance. 

Powerscourt Waterfall by George Barret, ca. 1760. Writing in 1781, Edward Lloyd wrote “In its fall, its appearance resembles the drifting of snow”

In 1821, Richard Wingfield, 5th Viscount Powerscourt dammed up the river above the Waterfall in preparation for a visit of George IV, with the intention of bursting the dam to produce an admirable flow for the royal view. Luckily for the King, he didn’t go, as the viewing platform on which he was to view the spectacle was washed away.

Successive Lord Powerscourts improved the grounds at the Waterfall, building a viewing bridge, a picnic area and seating, and a banqueting room. The Waterfall’s place on the tourist map was confirmed when it appeared in the hugely popular book ”A guide to the county of Wicklow”, published in 1822, which would be the standard reference for tourists to the county for the next 50 years.

Entering the deer park an extent of 500 acres the road crossing the river lies through a great forest of oak which clothes the sides of two lofty mountains up to their very summits. The glen called the deer park is in the form of a semi-circle the mountains on each side as you enter the vale, meeting at the end.  After a drive of nearly one mile in a direct line towards the mountain blocking up the end of the glen the waterfall is perceived issuing from the top of the overhanging cliff which is a completely perpendicular rock and falling from a height of three hundred feet into a natural reservoir below behind a group of lofty rocks…

An early photograph of Powerscourt Waterfall, by Lewis Wingfield, youngest brother of 7th Viscount Powerscourt, ca. 1860

This post was originally written for  The Powerscourt Blog.

Touring The Scalp, Enniskerry, and Powerscourt – by Poem

Of the dozens (hundreds?) of travel narratives about touring in Wicklow and Ireland from the 19th century, here is a more unusual one from Major Cosby, who in 1835, published his tour of Wicklow in the form of a poem. A extract for our locality is below:

The Scalp we pass, where massive stones
Suspended are to break your bones :
On either side rise heap on heap,
So you are glad to make escape.
This surely is a curious gap,
Formed the traveller to entrap.
Now on we go to Enniskerry,
Elysian fields without a ferry.
Then close we are to Powerscourt,
Where all of taste must needs resort.
In arm-chair there sat the King-
In Ireland sure a rarish thing.
From the saloon there is a view,
That does all other views outdo :
Undulating grounds, valleys, woods,
And rumbling tumbling noise of floods;

In distance seen that beauteous cone,
By name of Sugar-loaf well known ;
Which does all other views out-top,
Like loaf uncapt in grocer’s shop :
Its base enwrapt in dusky blue,
How sweet its top in mountain-dew.
The Deer-park and the Waterfall,—
May my genius compass all.

Cosby adds the following note regarding the Scalp:

This is a very extraordinary separation of an immense mass of coarse asunder in a convulsion of nature; and the overtopping masses rolling down into the yawning gulf, are thrown into promiscuous confusion of greater and lesser masses of distinct stones of many tons weight resting on each other, leaving several half projecting from the sides, that seem merely to retain their balance. The fine effect of this interesting object has been greatly injured, not by the levelling hand of time, but by road-makers, who, to remove a mole-hill in comparison to the ascent at Enniskerry and fall to Tinnehinch, but two miles farther on, have cut a straight line along the side.

Oh vile draymen* of road-makers,
Would you had been undertakers,
And so have earned an honest bread
By chis’ling tomb-stones for the dead;
Not thus, by breaking massive stones,
But from the grave raise dead men’s bones,
And leave to death to level all,
And to the Scalp its sloping fall.

Invitation to Book Launch: “A Glimpse of Empire”

See invitation below extended to all interested – looks like a fascinating book and exhibition:

Powerscourt Estate is delighted to welcome Jessica Douglas Home to launch her book ‘A Glimpse of Empire’ at Powerscourt House. The book depicts Lilah Wingfield’s visit to India for the December 1911 Royal Durbar, where the new King, George V, is to be proclaimed Emperor of India. Lilah Wingfield grew up at Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow, so it is fitting that the Irish launch of the book should take place here.

The book launch takes place on 2nd April at 6.30pm in the Garden Rooms at Powerscourt House. Jessica will give a short talk and there will be an exhibition of over 150 photographs documenting Lilah’s journey through India a hundred years ago. Jessica will hold a second talk on 3rd April at 1pm at Powerscourt House. The photo exhibition is available for viewing from 3rd to 4th of April between 09.30am and 5.30 pm. To register to attend please contact Aoife O’ Driscoll (Ph. (01) 204 6009 /E: No booking is required to visit the exhibition. All events are free of charge. For more information please visit


A Glimpse of Empire

In the autumn of 1911, 23 year old Lilah Wingfield travels to India for the Royal Durbar. There she sees George V crowned Emperor of India, the apex of a fortnight of relentless ceremony, unheard-of extravagance and imposing military spectacle, in the setting of a vast Tented City complete with its own farms, railway, telegraph and post offices. She meets many of the most remarkable colonial characters of the day, including some of the foremost Indian Princes, vying to stage the most lavish display to prove their devotion to the Raj.

As the tents are dismantled, Lilah travels through India – to the dangerous Khyber Pass on the Afghan border, to Rajasthan, to the gory sites of the Mutiny and to stay with India’s only female Ruler, the Begum of Bhopal – an extraordinary adventure for a single girl. Her diary shows her deepening awareness of the ambivalence of certain maharajas towards British Rule even while she is being entertained royally in their lakeside palaces. Her Irish upbringing gives her an instinctive feeling for the mixture of their longing for independence and affection for their mother country. The book is copiously illustrated by her own photographs.

The story behind the diary is even more remarkable – it was found in a second hand book shop by a total stranger, in Holt in Norfolk, who realised from the diary that Lilah was a cousin of a local landowner, the Earl of Leicester, and sent the diary back to her family. The Leicesters gave the diary to Lilah’s granddaughter Jessica.

About the Author:

Jessica Douglas-Home is the author of Violet: The Life and Loves of Violet Gordon Woodhouse (1996), and Once Upon Another Time (2000).  To learn more about ‘A Glimpse of Empire’ visit

Taylor and Skinner Map of Ireland 1777

George Taylor and Andrew Skinner obtained funding to complete a map of Ireland and raised £2000 from Ireland’s landed gentry. They produced their map, surveyed in 1777 was a great aid to travellers, who would have had to previously rely on County maps.

A portion of the page for the “Road from Dublin to Powerscourt & Rathdrum” is shown below (map no. 147). The entire map can be downloaded from the Ask About Ireland site, whose copy is a much better quality than the Google Books edition.

Taylor and Skinner Map of Ireland 1777 (Extract from Map No. 147)

A few pieces of information can be gleaned from the map. Firstly, after entering to the county, the Scalp road is shown, along with an “Old Road” that used to be the main route, that ran east of the Scalp (Barnaslingan). Enniskerry itself isn’t very detailed, and indeed isn’t in the index, the fact that Powerscourt and not Enniskerry is the destination says a lot about how small the village was at this time. There are a couple of buildings marked at the river, along with the junction shown for the road to Glencree. The Dargle river  is shown running  between the Powerscourt and Charleville estates.

Country seats of the gentry also feature heavily, as these were essentially the people who paod for the survey and printing of the map. Viscount Powerscourt of Powerscourt, Mon(c)k Esq of Charleville and Mason Esq of Bushy Park are all shown. In a clever move, Taylor and Skinner listed all the names of the houses at the back, and included an asterisk to say if that owner had not contributed to the survey. Powerscourt paid his dues, and is unmarked. Neither Monck nor Mason are listed in the subscribers, so obviously did not pay anything!

The map is a fantastic local history resource. It is unfortunately a large document (105 MB). Other Wicklow maps include the road through Bray (essentially the modern N11) to Wicklow and the road through Baltinglass.


List of those with burial rights in Powerscourt

When the new church at Powerscourt gates was built, Mervyn, 7th Viscount, “requested Mr William Buckley, the then innkeeper of the Powerscourt Arms Hotel Enniskerry, who was then churchwarden, to furnish me with a list of the parishioners…[so that] the burials in the old churchyard are restricted to those families who had rights prior to 1869.” – where the old churchyard was that beside the house.

As luck would have it, this list still exists in the Powerscourt Papers at the National Library of Ireland, and I have reproduced it below. Some of the names have been annotated in pencil “decd” – so the list was obviously updated at some stage. It is in two parts: those living in the Parish and those outside. A note on the front page said that a copy of the list has been given to (I think) H Galbraith in 1879.

MS 43,061 /10: List of those with right of burial in the churchyard in Powerscourt Demesne; 2pp undated

List of those resident in the parish

Anthony Beale and family Killough
James Booth do Bahana
Thomas Bradner do Tonygarra
William Buckley decd do Enniskerry
Francis Buckley do Lackendarra
Robert Buckley do Onagh
John Buckley do Knockbawn
John Buckley do Ballybrew
John Thomas Buckley do Enniskerry
Henry Buckley decd do Enniskerry
Samuel Buckley do Glasskenny
Loftus Buckley do Deerpark
William Burn/Bunn do Killegar
Thomas Burton do Annacrevy
Mrs Burton do Annacrevy
Alice Burton do Barnamire
Richard Burton do Barnamire
William Burton do Barnamire
Bethel Burton decd do Barnamire
Mrs Bernard do Enniskerry
William Correll decd do Enniskerry
Anne Curley Enniskerry
Maryanne Darlington Monastry
John Evans decd and family Crone
Thomas Fanning do Stylebawn
Catherine Green do Enniskerry
Robert Graydon do Coolekey
Mrs Harricks do Glasskenny
William Hicks do Kilmolin
Leonard Hicks do Cluen?
John Hicks do Cluen?
Mrs Harrisson do Ballinagee
Thomas Halpin decd Monastry
John Hopkins and family Deerpark
Mrs Jones do Ballinagee
John Jones do Tinnehinch
Mr Henry Keegan decd do Bahana
Mrs Saul Keegan do Bahana
Mr RP Keegan do Ballinagee
John Long do Killough
Miss Larkin do Charleville
Viscount Monck do Charleville
Miss Moore Ballinagee
Thomas Miller decd and family Glasskenny
Mary McMullen do Monastry
Matthew Noble do Tonygarra
Patrick Noble do Annacrevy
Philip O’Connor do Annacrevy
Henry Pearson do Killough
Mrs Patrickson do Killegar
Viscount Powerscourt do Powerscourt
James Quigley do Enniskerry
Timothy Quigley decd do Kilmolin
Henry Quinn do Killough
William Quinn do Charleville
Mrs Roe do Coolekey
Henry Sandys decd do The Dargle
Henry Sutton do Long Hill
Mrs Sutton do Ballyreagh
Mrs Stronge decd do Berryfield
John Townsend do Killough
Henry Townsend do Ballyornan
Saul Tourson do Cluen?
Mrs Tourson do Kilmolin
Mrs Tourson do Enniskerry
Robert Townsend decd and family Deerpark
Thomas Walker decd do Curtlestown
Margaret Walker Enniskerry
Henry Ward Parknasillogue
Francis Ward and Family Parknasillogue
Robert Williams do Ballybrew
Mrs Maude Williams do Ballybrew
Abraham Williams do Cookstown
William Williams do Ballinagee
Miss Williams do Enniskerry
Michael Walker do Ballybawn
Edward Young decd do Barnaslingan
John Hillman do Monastry
George Hillman do Monastry
Mrs Curley Enniskerry

Not resident in this parish

Edward Keegan and Family Kilternan
Anne Davis do Dublin
Mrs Dalton do Bray
John Buckley do Killincarrig
Mrs Wm Fox do Coolegad
Captain Needham do
Mrs Murray
Mr Shaw do Celbridge
Mr Houghton do Ballybride
George Heatley do Glencormick
Mr McCready do Dublin
James Sutton do Ballycorus
Thomas Saunders do Dundrum
Mr Ormsby do Dublin
John Richardson do Kilgobbin
Benjamin Buckley do Rathgar
Benjamin Buckley do Ballybeta
Mr Le Grange and family Fassaroe
John Pharr do Ballinastow
George Fox do Kilternan
Mr Tracy do Bally—duff
John Williams do Donnybrook
Edward Pharr do Rathmines
Charles Douglas do Palermo, Bray
James Buckley do Ballinastow
Alexander Roe in Australia
David Tourson do Bray
Mr Wm Harpeur? Do Stillorgan
Mr Vernier/Verrier do The Astle
Represantitves of Mr Hamilton
do Mr Ferrier Dublin
do Mr Woodburne Dublin
do Mr Underwood Dublin
do Mr Kennan Dublin
do Revd Wm Walker? England
do Mr Wm Collins Templeogue
do Captain Hoare
do Mr James Tracey Ballycorus
do Mr James Shirley Enniskerry
do Mr H M Mason Dublin
do Mr Frette? Dublin
do Mr Anthony Leeson Ballinastow
do Mr John Johnson Dublin
do Mr Flood Cookstown
do Mr Thomas Fox Killmurray
do Mr Devine Dublin
do Mr Thos Collins Ballybetha
do Major De Butts
do Mrs Stronge Glenamuck
do Mr Clark Dublin
do Mr Bessonnett (added in pencil) Dublin

Becoming Viscount Powerscourt

The Lords Powerscourt were also Viscounts—above Baron but below Earl in ranking. The first Lord Powerscourt, Richard Wingfield, was ennobled in 1618 and became 1st Viscount Powerscourt. His citation mentioned that he was a beloved and faithful soldier of Elizabeth I, who had made him Marshal of Ireland in 1600. Richard was involved in the Nine Years War, fighting in Tyrone and at the Battle of Kinsale, and was rewarded in 1609 with about 45,000 acres at Powerscourt for his soldierly deeds here and on the continent, along with estates in Wexford and Tyrone.* Richard died in 1634 without “male issue” so the Viscount title went with him. A cousin, Ffolliott picked up the title first Viscount Powerscourt of the second creation in 1664 from Charles II (who had recently regained the throne after Cromwell threw a wobbler for a few years), but he again died without an heir. And so it wasn’t until 1743, that Richard, grandson of Ffolliot’s cousin, picked up the title from George II, and become 1st Viscount Powerscourt of the third creation. Richard had rebuilt Powerscourt House to be the magnificent Palladian mansion in the 1730s. The town clock in the village (1843) commemorates the centenary of this creation. It is from this Richard that all the Viscount Powerscourts are descended (brothers or sons). The current Viscount is Niall, 10th Viscount Powerscourt.

What does it take to become a Viscount? Well, it usually means a King (or Queen) saying something like this about you and your family:**

As honours and dignities are the proper and just reward to persons, who have eminently merited from their King and country, and as a continuance of those honours in their name and family is an incitement to their posterity to persevere in the practice or those virtues, that ennobled their ancestors. And whereas we bear in our royal mind a remembrance of the great and faithful services performed for our royal predecessors by Richard Wingfield, Knt., late Lord Viscount of Powerscourt, who being by our late royal predecessor Elizabeth, Queen of England, appointed Mareschal of her army, in this kingdom under the then Lord Mountjoy, did defeat and disperse at Kingsale the troops of the Earl Tyrone and the other rebels associated with him.  And when, after the suppression of the rebellion of the aforesaid Earl of Tyrone, and the establishment of a general peace through this Kingdom, the notorious rebel O Dogherty had burn’d the then new city of Derry, and raised great disturbances in the province of Ulster, he, the above mentioned Mareschal with a small number of forces, conquered and flew the said O Dogherty in open battle, and dispersed all his adherents and after these services in time of war, the said Mareschal being twice appointed one of the L. J. and chief governors of our kingdom of Ireland, was no less eminent for his ability and services in the administration of the public government in times of peace. And, as upon the death of the said Richard Wingfield, late Mareschal and Lord Viscount of Powerscourt without issue male whereby the said honour and title of Powerscourt was extinct ; our late royal predecessor King Charles II bearing in his royal remembrance the above mentioned services of the said Mareschal and Viscount of Powerscourt and being desirous to transmit the memory of the same to posterity was pleated to create Folliott Wingfield, late of Powerscourt in the county of Wicklow Esq., cousin and heir of the said Mareschal a peer of this kingdom, by the name of Folliott Wingfield, Lord Viscount of Powerscourt; and as the said Ffolliott Lord Viscount of Powerscourt is deceased without issue male, whereby the said title and honour of Lord Viscount of Powerscourt is again become extinct; and as we have the same desire with our royal predecessors, to preserve the remembrance of good and faithful services done to them and ourselves; and as we are satisfied in our princely judgment that Richard Wingfield of Powerscourt , Esq., cousin and heir to the said Richard Wingfield, Viscount of Powerscourt, Mareschal of Ireland, and to the said Folliott Wingfield, Lord Viscount of Powerscourt is a person, who, besides his noble descent, and his possessing the Estates of his said ancestors, hath, by his own abilities and services in Parliament, rendered himself to be no less regarded by his country, than his constant and hearty Attachment and fidelity to ourselves and our government have made him acceptable to us, and worthy to sustain the honours enjoyed by his illustrious ancestors. Know ye therefore &c. (Rot. Anno. 17. Geo. II. 3. p. f.)


*Wingfields also had several estates in the west of Ireland – see the Landed Estate Database.

**From The peerage of Ireland: or, A genealogical history of the present nobility of that kingdom, John Lodge and Mervyn Archdall, 1789. (Preamble for Richard, 1st Viscount of the third creation).

New Road 1849

Here’s a note in the Powerscourt Guardian Minute books (#381) which indicates that the Forge Road was built in Summer 1849.

The new road from the corner of the Free houses on the Kilgarran Road to the Police Barracks in Enniskerry has been for some months completed and the agent now produces a letter from the assistant county surveyor stating that the whole expense of the deep cutting, filling up, forming, carting away marl &c &c and the building of a gullet &c amounts to £339.

Mr Maringay?, secretary to the Grand Jury (writing 23 Sept 1849) stating that Mr Sandys on the part of the late Lord Powerscourt promised to pay the difference between the total cost and the sum the Cess Payer agreed to paying: £100. Add to this the sum the  Cess payer agreed to pay for a gullet (£15), the difference is £224.

The Agent requests an order from the Guardians to discharge – He would observe that the contractor William Williams, a very honest and industrious tenant on the estate, has fallen into arrears, and this sum will clear his rent up to last March and have a portion towards te September Gale. So that in fact, the Estate loses nothing by this transaction, as Williams has not chattels to any amount worth naming.

There is lots more on William Williams to come! The building of this road also led to compensation claims as many plots were cut into two small pieces or were destroyed by the steep bank left as a result of the new road.

You’re Fired!

There’s some evidence to suggest that Lord Powerscourt, 7th Viscount, took control of some aspects of the demesne management well before his majority. One issue that was obviously close to his heart was the development of the gardens. In 1851, the Guardians of Powerscourt (Lord Roden, the minor’s grandfather, Lady Castlereagh, his mother, and William Wingfield, his uncle) instructed Captain Cranfield to fire the old gardener, Mr. Ross, with a view to hiring a new younger man. Ross’ replacement was to be Alexander Robertson, who would work with the 7th Viscount to implement Daniel Robertson (no relation) and the 6th Viscounts’ plans for the terraces at Powerscourt. While it was a significant moment in the development of the gardens, you can’t help but feel sorry for Mr Ross!

London, Oct 2, 1851


I write to you in accordance with the wishes of Lord Powerscourt, Lady Castlereagh and the other Guardians to tell you that they wish the garden department at Powerscourt to be transferred to the management of a younger man more versed in all the new managements of flowers and fruits than you are; therefore they are desirous that you should not consider yourself any longer in the Powerscourt employment after the first week in November and the have desired Captain Cranfield to take up from you all implement and tools and anything else under your care belonging to the Powerscourt Property. In consequence of the length of time you have lived with the family they are unwilling to discharge you without giving you a pension during the minority and which would probably be continued afterwards during your life, but they can only promise for themselves during their own time of superintendence, they have agreed to give you £50 a year to be paid to you half yearly — provided you conduct yourself properly and give up everything in your care in good order. I have written to Captain Cranfield these directions and he will see them carried out and wishing you health and Peace to enjoy your Pension and the repose which is such a blessing at your advanced life and declining years.

I am your friend, (signed) Roden

Captain Cranfield will require the Garden House to be in his hands during the first week in November.

Mr Ross, Gardener, Powerscourt.

The importance of this moment in the minute books is noted by Lord Powerscourt himself almost twenty years later in 1870, when he annotates this letter recorded in the Guardian minute books with:

Alexander Robertson, formerly of the Earl of Camperdown’s Garden at Dundee was put in as the young working gardener. (Signed) Powerscourt, Oct 12 1870.

Twelve things you might miss while wandering around Powerscourt Gardens

I made some use of the bit of weekend sunshine that we had to grab some of the more unusual views at Powerscourt.

Obviously the great terraces are immediately identifiable as belonging to Powerscourt, but here are some other pictures that each have a story behind them. It was hard to limit to twelve! Another visit would give another twelve pictures but I hope that you find them interesting.

1. The Laocoön

The Laocoön is an enormous piece of sculpture based on a Greek legend. However, almost as impressive is the enormous granite plinth it is standing on. It took two weeks to move this on wooden rollers from Glencree to this spot, all the while the head gardener at the time Alexander Robertson was sitting on top issuing instructions.

2. The Chorus Gate

Immediately after the Laocoon, you pass through The Chorus Gate. Made from a copy of a 17th century German gate, and purchased in London for this position, you can see the musical insignia on the ironwork. In the original plans there was no gate at this position, so it must have been added during the reconstruction in the second half of the 19th century.

 3. Julia’s Garden

Julia was the wife of Mervyn, 7th Viscount, and this garden takes pride of place in this location where his accomplished collecting ability is obvious. While this is the only bust of Julia in the garden, Mervyn named the bust of a lady among four other men on the front of the house "Empress Julia". This garden was installed by their son. Four statues are arranged underneath the bust. The central two used to stand at the Bamberg Gate.

4. The English Gate

This gate leads from what was the old kitchen garden into the Green Pond, now called the Dolphin Pond. It was made in England, hence the name, but over the gate you can make out a rose, thistle and shamrock representing the United Kingdom (inset).

5. Princess Grace’s Tree

The gardens are full of trees planted by distinguished visitors, this one was planted by Princess Grace in 1978. This is a good spot to view the terraces.

6. Roman Ruins

Both the 6th and 7th Viscounts were keen and knowledgeable collectors of sculpture and cratsmanship from all over Europe to decorate their house and gardens. There is mention of a Roman sarcophagus acquired near the Colloseum in Rome - is this it? Not exactly the kind of thing that could happen today!

7. Coat of Arms

Powerscourt's coat of arms are represented in several places. Here, they were specially commissioned by the 6th Viscount to adorn the plinths under two statues on the Upper Terrace: Diana the Huntress and Apollo Belvedere, also acquired by the 6th Viscount.

8. Terraces

There's no way you can miss the terraces, but interestingly, all the sculpture work on the upper terrace is marble (see lion in background) and those on the lower terrace is bronze (foreground piece). The straight sections of railing around the perron were discovered by the 7th Viscount during renovations having been brought back from Europe by the 6th Viscount decades earlier. The curved pieces were made in Birmingham to complete the piece. Can you tell the difference?

9. Alexander Robertson

This is my favourite position to view the house. It's also close to where Mervyn, 7th Viscount says that Alexander Robertson—the gardener with which he began the construction of the terraces with in 1850s—fell ill. He died soon after in 1860. He was only at the garden for 5 - 6 years, but his impact was enormous. He is buried in the graveyard near the house.

10. Juggy’s Pond

Juggy's pond, now called Triton pond is as least as the old as the house itself. Its shape changed once or twice during reconstruction. At one stage it was planned for it to be a formal rectangular space. Luckily that didn't happen. The pond was 14ft deep, but was reduced to 6ft with soil as the terraces were carved out. It was also the sewage outlet from the house until the mid-19th century. Luckily that did change!

11. The Lord Viscount’s Walk

One of the more under-visited parts of the garden as it is off the main track, this was a place for Powerscourt to plant some of the most impressive trees in the gardens. I can see him walking around here while pondering his plans for the house, gardens, and estate!

12. Servant’s Hall

Major development work to the house in the 1880s saw the building of the Servant's Hall. It was later called the Armoury, although I was never sure if that was just a decorative term!


Irish Gardens and Demesnes from 1830, Malins and Bowe.

A Description and History of Powerscourt, Mervyn Wingfield, 1903.

Minute Books of the Guardians of Powerscourt, National Library of Ireland.

The Moncks and Charleville Estate

I obviously wasn't the only Seery who did some work at Charleville. This is my grandfather.

My first piece of local history ‘research’ was on Charleville House in Enniskerry. As a student working there during summers, I was smitten with the elegant grandeur of the house and the stunning gardens, fabulously restored. Using Enniskerry Library as a research base, I punched out four pages, double spacing, on my Commodore Amiga and was ready to present it to my employers and the world. Luckily for me, them, and the authors of the books I had likely plagiarised from, the file corrupted before I could print it. Twenty years later, using similar techniques to the first time, I am going to try again…

The best view of Charleville House, Enniskerry is undoubtedly from Powerscourt Avenue. Here we see the Palladian villa nestled in its woodland setting. But its location, so close to Powerscourt begs an obvious question—how did such a grand house on its own estate end up being so close to Powerscourt? Why does Enniskerry have two great estate houses? Like many questions that arise about our locality, they are answered by Rev AE Stokes in his 1963 lecture. In this he asks;

How came it that Flower and his relations the Moncks managed to hold on to about a thousand acres at Glencap?

The answer, like most questions of land, go back deep in time, probably to post-Norman invasion. In the jostling of land ownership through the medieval era, the lands around the Dargle passed in and out of ownership of O’Tooles, then Strongbow’s man de Ridelesford, then de Cogan, and then crucially—part of the lands at least—to the Archbishop of Dublin. After a time when no records exist in the 15th and 16th centuries, the lands in the territory formerly known as Fercullen, were granted to Richard Wingfield who would become Viscount Powerscourt. However, Wingfield and his descendants had no claim to the lands south of the Dargle in this area, as they had been granted to the Archbishop of Dublin centuries earlier. After Cromwell, these lands were granted to Sir William Flower, one of his officers. One of Flower’s descendants, Agneta, married Charles Monck in 1705, who had inherited lands at Grangegorman in Dublin. It was they or their first son George Monck who built a house at Charleville, and the Moncks would be resident there for the next two hundred and fifty years.

Charleville, Enniskerry, (H. Brocas, 1762 - 1837).

The present house at Charleville was not the first house there. About 100 metres to the left of the house there is a large hollow in the ground where a previous house stood. This burned down in 1792 and practically nothing is known about it. The picture shown is attributed to Henry Brocas and is thought to be the original house, but it is not certain whether this is the case, or whether it is a plan for what the new house could look like. Desmond Guinness mentions in Irish Houses and Castles that the stables to the rear could pre-date the current house, so they may belong to the older one.

Charleville (links to NIAH website)

In any case, the present house at Charleville and its pretty gate lodges were built in 1797 by Charles Stanley Monck, the nephew of George, whose only son had died aged six. Having voted for the Act of Union, Charles became 1st Viscount Monck in 1801. Powerscourt, one of only five Lords who voted against Union can’t have been too pleased with his neighbour’s actions—he reportedly told one of the king’s messengers who came to offer him a marquess (roughly equivalent to an earldom) in return for support for the Union that he would not be bribed (one version of the story has Powerscourt kicking the messenger down the stairs!). Charles died the following year, and his son Henry continued improvements at Charleville; most notably significant development before the royal visit in 1821 in the hope that King George IV might visit when he came to Powerscourt. These developments provide the origins of the Regency interiors at Charleville. The king didn’t visit, which must have been disappointing, but Henry did become 1st Earl of Rathdowne the following year—not a bad compensation prize!

Lady Elizabeth Monck, one of the eleven daughters of Henry, 2nd Viscount. She married her cousin, Charles 4th Viscount.

As Henry had no living sons (but 11 daughters), when he died in 1848, the Earldom went with him. His brother became 3rd Viscount for a year until his own death in 1849, and his son, Charles, became 4th Viscount for almost the remainder of the century, until 1894. Charles married his cousing—one of Henry’s 11 daughters who had lost out on their inheritance because of their gender. He was Governor General of Canada from 1861 – 1868. The last Monck to live at Charleville was Charles’ son, Henry, 5th Viscount who died in 1927. As he was pre-deceased by his two sons and his only brother, he was the last Viscount Monck. There are extensive files in the National Library for the Monck family.

What of the neighbourly relations between the Powerscourts and Moncks? It is improbable that Richard 4th Viscount Powerscourt (1762-1809) was on good terms with Charles 1st Viscount Monck (1754-1802) given their divergent views on Act of Union. It was Richard, 5th Viscount who secured the King’s visit in 1821 but who watched his neighbour become Earl in the following year. By the time of the 1825 Irish Education Enquiry, we have evidence to show that Lady (Countess) Rathdowne, wife of the 2nd Viscount Monck took a great interest in the education of their tenantry—specifically the religious education. She was friends with Lady Powerscourt, wife of the 6th Viscount and they both met regularly with Reverend Daly to discuss spiritual matters. The trio were a tour de force for evangelical religious education in the parish.

There are notes to suggest that in the middle of the 1800s, there was a land agreement between Monck (probably 4th Viscount) and Powerscourt (probably Guardians acting on his behalf) which caused some disquiet in the community. This may not reflect neighbourly relations though, more just good business sense. The long lives of Mervyn 7th Viscount Powerscourt and Charles 4th Viscount Monck means they must have had dealings with each other over the second half of the century. There was an incident recorded in the Powerscourt Guardian minute books in the 1850s regarding whether an additional public house should be allowed in the village. Monck (in favour) and Powerscourt (against) differed in their views.

However, other than what I have mentioned, I have come across very little about Moncks from the Powerscourt perspective. He is occasionally mentioned on lists of subscribers for local charities, and occasionally sat at Enniskerry Courthouse as Petty Sessions judge. But otherwise, he does not seem to have been much involved in village life. I suppose it can’t have been easy to do so, given Powerscourt was landlord of all around him, including the village.