Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Barefoot Earl

Timothy has been walking barefoot a lot - again- during this vacation; reminiscent, perhaps, of the Staples baronet, of Lissan in County Tyrone, who walked everywhere in his bare feet.

Except that I personally desist from this habit, in the British Isles, especially during the winter months.

I am of the belief that it toughens the souls of one's feet and exfoliates naturally.

It is fundamentally good for the feet.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Pizzeria Peperone

Timothy Belmont has abstained from the Devil's Brew today. Let us simply say that I had my fair share yesterday, here and there.

Yet again, I spent an agreeable day on El Cotillo beach. The sun shone all day.

Tonight I fancied a pizza so, having spent a few hours back at base freshening up and all that rot, I made a beeline for Pizzeria Peperone on Calle Iglesia, Corralejo.

This is a bright and cheerful little establishment run by Italians. There seems to be an established Italian community in this town.

Inside Peperone there are nine tables, robust wooden chairs in different, bold colours; blue place settings; and pictures of pizza vegetables on the walls.

ordered the garlic pizza bread, followed by a pizza with a fancy name, though including tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, artichoke, mushroom and garlic.

Timothy Belmont is a man who relishes his garlic by the bucketload. A whole clove would suffice on a pizza.

Alas, I think they sprinkle a few tiny pieces of the clove. They aren't at fault, I hasten to add.

Perhaps raw garlic in a sauce on some dish is an acquired taste: in this state it can be fiery and strong.

My meal and a soft drink came to €13.50.

The Ugly Duckling: II

Last night I enjoyed another delightful dinner at The Ugly Duckling, Corralejo, where Henrik welcomes and looks after his customers with such aplomb.

I was warmly greeted and shown to a my table, where Henrik poured me a complimentary glass of Cava.

For the benefit of those of you who haven't been following my travels, The Ugly Duckling is a very small Danish restaurant, in a little street which isn't terribly far from the port and harbour.

It has six tables inside. The menu is limited to beef tenderloin, chicken breast, and fillet of salmon; and a Danish speciality of the day.

There is a choice of about three sauces and a variety of vegetables, including potatoes served chipped, mashed or roasted.

As a starter I chose the prawns in garlic butter with sour cream and onion.

My main course comprised a perfectly cooked, boneless fillet of salmon, with bearnaise butter, mashed potato, and spinach.

I had a glass of the very good house wine.

By this stage of the proceedings the long-suffering nose-bag was bursting to capacity; nevertheless, Henrik persuaded me to have a slice of their chocolate cake.

Everything was first-rate, beautifully prepared and executed; service exceptionally good, most courteous, and cordial.

I look forward to my next visit in several days time.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Roads Scandal

The infrastructure - viz. the main streets - in Corralejo are being totally renovated for the 21st century.

They are becoming considerably more attractive for tourists, clearly a priority for Fuerteventura's economy.

The Main street in the town is taking years, literally, to complete.

However, an observer shall notice that the work is diligent, thorough and painstaking: costly blocks of stone are cut with a special saw and the result in indeed impressive.

IS IT NOT a shame that, in spite of similar endeavours on the main thoroughfares and squares of the capital city of Northern Ireland, utility companies are allowed to uproot expensive granite blocks and throw them unceremoniously in a tipper truck or skip?

Queen's Square, Belfast, is a good example.

In 2014, many months of work were ruined in a week or so by a utility company which drilled beautiful granite blocks from the ground and replaced them with Tarmac.

To my mind, this act amounted to criminal damage.

Let the contractor or sub-contractor be named and shamed.

Does the taxpayer have, or not have, a Right to know the name of the company which effectively stole the fine granite blocks at Queen's Square?

Should they not be punished, struck off future work for water, electricity, gas, telecommunication and other companies?

We elect politicians to deal with such matters.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Bombay Masala Restaurant

I spent another wonderful day on the beach, at El Cotillo, today. I've seen it busier, though. No matter.

I lunched on a mere apple, satsuma, and banana.

This light repast was more than compensated for by my meal this evening at Bombay Masala restaurant, Music Square, Corralejo.

I've been a customer here for several years and they know me now.

I'm always greeted cordially.

I took my usual table and ordered a beverage while I perused the menu.

Bombay Masala is an unpretentious, modest little place. The ambiance is quiet and simple.

There is background music, though one eats here for the good grub and charming staff.

Tonight I had the lamb Korma with onion pilau rice, accompanied by pescwari naan bread.

The lamb, unsurprisingly, melted in the mouth: it was lean and tender.

Everything was delicious indeed.

They brought me the complimentary liqueur with the bill, a reasonable €20.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Soul Barcafé

I was looking forward to a table at the bijou Soul Barcafé, Music Square, Corralejo, this evening. I fancied one of their 50 brands of gin.

Accordingly, I arrived after eight and a pretty young woman welcomed me with a menu and seat directly in view of the platform where a couple of singers were entertaining everybody.

I fancied a Tanqueray Ten, with the Nordic Blue tonic-water.

Cognizant that they are in the habit of bringing the G&T fully poured, without the option ~ personally I prefer to pour my own amount of tonic into the gin ~ I expressly told the waitress that I'd pour it myself.

She didn't seem to understand, though left me.

She returned a few minutes later with the usual drink and 100% of the tonic poured in.

I pointed this out. She left again. The barman appeared and apologised that the waitress had not understood (!).

My order duly arrived, though  the barman had given my original drink to the couple behind me, free!

I overheard this, turned round, laughed, and remarked that they'd got a good deal.

The sting in the tail was the length of time it took for them to bring me the bill.

I got the impression that my complaint, if that was what it was, caused resentment.

Resentment, despite the fact that they were clearly at fault.

I eventually had to ask for my change.

I had intended to leave a tip despite everything, though lifted the coins and put them back in my pocket.

I may or may not be back.

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Ugly Duckling

Today was fine and sunny, it transpired. After breakfast, I walked quite briskly across the town of Corralejo to a sort of shopping centre, where the Zara store is located.

Many, if not most, of the shops open at ten o'clock.

I have developed a liking for the café condensado here, a rich concoction of the cocoa bean and sweet condensed milk.

During the afternoon, I settled at a small open-air bar called Bar Soul, in Music Square, where I encountered a couple of most agreeable Irish ladies. 

We chin-wagged for three hours, by Jove. I owe them a snifter.

THIS EVENING, I dined at The Ugly Ducking, a very small Danish restaurant in Calle La Ballena, Corralejo.

In a former existence it was called Los Pepes.

The decor today is unpretentious: White ceiling and walls; vintage Danish posters; six black tables.

Cognizant that this bijou restaurant is well sought-after for a table, I emailed them a few weeks ago and reserved my place on three occasions.

I was cordially welcomed by Henrik and shown to my table.

He brought me a complimentary glass of Cava.

Having perused the menu, I opted for the Green Salad, followed by the Dish of the Day (viz. creamy pork casserole).

The salad was delicious: tossed in a mustard dressing, with pickled gherkins in a ramekin at the side.

Fresh bread came with oil and olives.

The casserole was hearty, comprising lean pork, small potatoes, vegetables and a creamy sauce.

I also had a glass of the house wine which, at €2.50, was palatable and easy-drinking.

Henrik brought me a complimentary glass of his home-made licorice vodka liqueur, rich and flavourful.

The bill amounted to just over €20.

I've reserved a table here on two more occasions, so I bade them Farewell.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Piazza Grande

This evening I've enjoyed a simple Italian dish of macaroni in a bacon and tomato sauce. Given that I have a taste for the garlic, I requested extra, though they never realise the extent to which young Belmont craves the stuff. 

I could easily consume a few cloves of an evening.

Nevertheless, the macaroni duly arrived. I was seated outdoors, so I suppose one might describe the experience as being al fresco.

This tasty dish was served with the customary basket of toasted, sliced bread rolls or whatever.

Some sort of fancy oil came in a bottle, too; and Parmesan cheese.

By Jove, it was jolly good; especially for six or seven euros.

The native tongue at this establishment is Italian.

I'm seated beside two pretty girls and doubtless the interest is not mutual, as far as they are concerned at least.

Notwithstanding that regrettable fact, I shall enjoy my Tanqueray and linger awhile.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


I'd already consumed a few refreshers, viz. the Tanquerays, during the afternoon, so opted for the rather more salubrious agua con gas this evening at Avenida.

Avenida is a very popular local restaurant in Corralejo; though it was quiet when I darkened their door earlier this evening.

I took a table at the window and asked for the said water.

Sea-bass was one of the Specials; however, I ordered their grilled chicken, half portion.

Half portions at this establishment are normal portions at home; whereas full portions are meant for stokers, rednecks and Billy Bunter.

They brought the yummy fresh bread with alioli. Beware. Their alioli is strong. Only consume it if you like garlic. I love it.

The chicken was fine, served with lettuce, a slice of tomato, and some chips.

My meal came to a not unreasonable €6.40, so I left them a generous tip.

AT THE moment I am installed comfortably in the Bar Bouganville.

Corralejo : I

Weather still good in Northern Ireland? I'm presently installed at Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, to be precise.

The journey here was uneventful, I'm glad to report.

I was gratified to see Ulster's celebrated Dromona butter on the shelves of the local SPAR supermarket; which I accordingly bought.

Well, readers, I can recount that I've enjoyed my fair share of Tanqueray gin already. Alas, we have no Shortcross Gin here, yet.

Today it is fine and sunny: I could get used to this. 

I wonder if I could remove to sunnier climes permanently?

I have a table reserved at The Ugly Duckling thrice, the first date being the 24th April.

Tonight I might well darken the doors of Avenida.

By the way, the special Tanqueray and Feverfew pack cost me the princely sum of €13.95. Not bad, what?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Carton House


This illustrious and ancient family is descended from a common ancestor with the house of FITZMAURICE, Earls of Kerry (an earldom now merged with the marquessesate of Lansdowne) and that of WINDSOR, Earls of Plymouth; namely,

MAURICE FITZGERALD, LORD OF LANSTEPHAN, through whose exertions the possession of Ireland was chiefly accomplished by HENRY II.

This Maurice was the son of Gerald FitzOtho (son of Walter FitzOtho, who, at the general survey of the kingdom in 1078, was castellan of Windsor, and was appointed by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, warden of the forests of Berkshire; which Walter was the son of

OTHO, a rich and powerful lord in the time of ALFRED THE GREAT, descended from the Dukes of Tuscany, a baron of England, according to Sir William Dugdale, in the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, by Nesta, daughter of Rees, Prince of South Wales.
The said Maurice obtained for his services a grant of extensive territories in the province of Leinster, and was constituted, in 1172, one of the governors of Ireland; in which year he slew O'Rourke, Prince of Meath, then in rebellion against the English Government.
This feudal chief died, full of honour, in 1177, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

GERALD FITZGERALD (c1150-1204), 1st Baron of Offaly, who was with his father in the memorable sally out of Dublin, in 1173, when that city was besieged by O'Connor, King of Connaught, with an army of 36,000 men, over whom the FitzGeralds obtained a complete victory.

This Gerald, dying at Sligo, was succeeded by his son,

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1194-1257), 2nd Baron, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland,
who was put into possession, by a mandatory letter of HENRY III, dated 1216, of Maynooth and all the other lands of which his father died seized in Ireland, and was put also into possession of the castle of CRUM, County Limerick.
This nobleman is said to have been the first who brought the Orders of the Franciscans and the Dominicans into Ireland. In 1229, the King, appreciating the good services of the family since its settlement in Ireland, constituted his lordship lord-justice of the kingdom. In 1236, Lord Offaly built the castle of Armagh; and, in 1242, he erected a similar edifice at Athlone.
His lordship died in 1257, in the habit of St Francis, leaving the reputation of having been a "valiant knight, a very pleasant man, inferior to none in the kingdom, having lived all his life with commendation."

By his wife he had issue,
Gerald FitzMaurice;
MAURICE FITZGERALD, of whom we treat;
David FitzMaurice;
Thomas FitzMaurice.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1238-c1286), 3rd Baron, Chief Governor of Ireland,
then in minority; and Prince EDWARD having obtained the dominion of Ireland from his father, HENRY III, claimed his wardship as a part of the prerogative; but the barony of OFFALY being held by the minor and his deceased father under Margaret, Countess of Lincoln, to whom belonged the county of Kildare, as widow of the Earl of Pembroke, that lady contested the right of wardship, and brought the case before the King himself for decision. This nobleman was afterwards Chief Governor of Ireland.
He espoused firstly, Maud, daughter of Sir Gerald de Prendergast, by who he had issue, a daughter, Amabel; and secondly, Emmeline, daughter of Stephen Longespee, by whom he had a daughter, JULIANA FITZGERALD, LADY OF THOMOND.

Lord Offaly was succeeded at his decease by his cousin,

JOHN FITZGERALD, designated of Callann, who wedded firstly, Margery, daughter of Sir Thomas Anthony, with whom he acquired the lands of Decies and Desmond, and had an only son, MAURICE.

He espoused secondly, Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor (the first Irish lady chosen for a wife by any member of the family), and had four sons,
Gilbert, ancestor of The White Knights;
John, ancestor of The Knights of Glin;
Maurice, first Knight of Kerry, or The Black Knight;
Thomas, ancestor of the FitzGeralds, of The Island, County Kerry.
This John being killed with his eldest son, Maurice, at Callann, by MacCarthy Mor, against whom the FitzGeralds had raised a great army in 1261, was succeeded by his grandson,

THOMAS, nicknamed Nappagh Simiacus, or the APE,
a surname thus acquired - being only nine months old when his father and grandfather fell at Callann, his attendants rushing out at the first astonishment excited by the intelligence, left the child alone in its cradle, when a baboon, kept in the family, took him up, and carried him to the top of the steeple of Tralee Abbey;
whence, after conveying him round the battlements, and exhibiting him to the appalled spectators, he brought him down safely, and laid him in his cradle. From this tradition the supporters of the house of LEINSTER are said to have been adopted.
This thomas was constituted a Lord Justice of Ireland, and captain of all Desmond, in 1295; and being of so much power, was generally styled Prince and Ruler of Munster.
He married Margaret, daughter of John, Lord Barry, of Oletham; and dying in 1298, left two sons,
JOHN, his successor;
Maurice, created EARL OF DESMOND in 1329.
Thomas was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 5th Baron (c1250-1316).
This nobleman being at variance with William de Vescy, Lord of Kildare, and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1291, and having various charges to prefer against him, came over to England, and confronted, and challenged the said Vescy, Lord of Kildare, before the King.
Lord Kildare first took up the glove, but subsequently withdrawing to France, His Majesty EDWARD I pronounced against his lordship, and conferred upon Lord Offaly Vescy's manors and Lordship of Kildare, Rathangan, etc.
Lord Offaly returned triumphantly to Ireland, and having continued to promote the English interest there, was created by EDWARD II, in 1316, EARL OF KILDARE.
His lordship died in the same year.

FROM this nobleman the family honours descended, without anything remarkable occurring, to

GERALD, 5th Earl,
who died, leaving a daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who marrying James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormonde, the King's sheriff, in 1434, was ordered, on payment of the usual fine to the Exchequer, to give full livery of the Earl of Kildare's estates to this latter nobleman and his wife; and on the same roll, in that year, we find that Lord Ormonde and his wife paid the accustomed "relief" due to the Crown out of the estates of the said Gerald, Lord Kildare.
But no claim was ever made by the Earls of Ormonde to the parliamentary barony of the Kildare family in right of their marriage with the heir; for we find it with the earldom inherited by

THOMAS (c1421-78), 7th Earl, who succeeded his father John, the 6th Earl, in 1427.
This nobleman was appointed, in 1454 and 1455, Lord Deputy of Ireland; in the latter of which years he held a great council, or parliament, in Dublin, and subsequently one at Naas, wherein, amongst other proceedings, it was resolved "that as no means could be found to keep the King's coin within the Kingdom of Ireland, that all Frenchmen, Spaniards, Britons, Portugese, and other sundry nations, should pay for every pound og silver they carried out of the land, 40 pence of custom to the king's customer, for the use of the King."
His lordship was continued in the government of Ireland until 1459, when Richard, Duke of York, was constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; but the following year, Lord Kildare was appointed Deputy to the Duke of York.
This tide of prosperity continued to flow until 1467, when, being involved with the Earl of Desmond, he was attainted with that nobleman (who suffered death), but subsequently pardoned, set at liberty, and restored in blood, by act of parliament.
His lordship was afterwards a Lord Justice of Ireland; and, in 1471, Deputy to George, Duke of Clarence.

He died in 1478, and was succeeded by his eldest son (by Joan, daughter of James, 6th Earl of Desmond), 

GERALD (c1456-c1513), 8th Earl, KG;
who was constituted, on his accession to the peerage, Lord Deputy to Richard, Duke of York, and held a parliament at Naas. In 1480, he was re-appointed Lord Deputy; and again, upon the accession of HENRY VII, Deputy to Jasper, Duke of Bedford, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Upon the arrival, however, of Lambert Simnel, and his tutor, Richard Simon, an Oxford priest, in Ireland, the Lord Deputy, the Chancellor, Treasurer, and other nobles in the York interest, immediately acknowledged the imposter, and had him proclaimed in Dublin, by the style of EDWARD VI;
and the Lord Deputy assisted with the others at his coronation at Christ Church Cathedral, in 1487, where the ceremony was performed with great solemnity, the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Earl of Lincoln, Lord Lovell, Jenico Marks, Mayor of Dublin, and several other persons of rank attending.
The crown was borrowed from the image of the Virgin Mary; John Pain, the Bishop of Meath, preached the coronation sermon; and the Pretender was subsequently conveyed upon the shoulders of Darcy, of Platten, a person of extraordinary height, to Dublin Castle, amidst the shouts of the populace.
In the engagement which afterwards decided the fate of Simnel, near Stoke, the Chancellor, FitzGerald, fell; but the Lord Deputy had the good fortune to make his peace with the King.
His lordship was nominated Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1496, when he was succeeded by his son,

GERALD (1487-1534), 9th Earl; who, with his five uncles, having revolted, was imprisoned in the Tower, where he died, in 1534, and an act was passed in the parliament of Ireland attainting him of high treason, and forfeiting the family honours and estates.

His eldest son,

THOMAS, 10th Earl, shared in the misfortunes of his father, and leaving no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

GERALD (1525-85), 11th Earl;
of whom a most remarkable account is given by a contemporary historian, Richard Stanihurst. It appears that, at the age of 10, he was preserved from the power of HENRY VIII by the precaution of his female relatives, and his tutor, Thomas Leurense, his father's foster-brother.
He wandered from court to court upon the Continent, until Cardinal Pole, who was related to his lordship's mother, sent for him into Italy and completed his education. He wedded Mabel, daughter of Sir Anthony Brown, and through the medium of that connection, obtained the favour of EDWARD VI, who conferred upon him, in 1552, the Lordship of Maynooth and other of his father's estates.
In the ensuing reign, he was fully restored, by letters patent, to the earldom of KILDARE and barony of Offaly, with the precedence of his ancestors.
It is a remarkable circumstance that, though attainted by act of parliament, this Gerald, under such grants from the Crown, but without any new statute, was summoned to, and actually sat as a peer in, the parliament of 1560, and it was not until the 11th year of ELIZABETH I that the attainter was removed by parliament.
His lordship's eldest son, GERALD, Lord Offaly, dying in the lifetime of the 11th Earl, left an only daughter, Lettice, who married Sir Robert Digby, and for a long time claimed the BARONY OF OFFALY, as heir of her father, but which claim, after being referred by JAMES I to the judges of England, was decided by His Majesty himself, who confirmed the barony of Offaly to the Earls of Kildare and their heirs male, and created Lady Digby BARONESS OFFALY for life;
whereupon that ancient title devolved on the deceased Earl's second son and successor,

HENRY, 12th Earl. This nobleman wedded Lady Frances Howard, daughter of Charles, Earl of Nottingham, and had surviving issue,
His lordship dying thus without male issue, was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM, 13th Earl; who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon  (the son of Edward FitzGerald, brother of the 11th Earl, his kinsman,

GERALD, 14th Earl; whose grandson,

GEORGE, 16th Earl, was the first of the family brought up in the reformed religion, being so educated by his guardian, the Duke of Lennox.

His lordship wedded Lady Jane Boyle, daughter of the 1st Earl of Cork, and had, with other issue,
WENTWORTH, his successor;
Robert, father of ROBERT, 19th Earl.
George, 16th Earl, was succeeded by his elder surviving son,

WENTWORTH, 17th Earl, who was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 18th Earl, who dsp in 1707, when the honours reverted to his cousin (refer to Captain Robert FitzGerald, second son of the 16th Earl), 

ROBERT (1675-1743), 19th Earl, third son of Captain Robert FitzGerald, seconnd son of the 16th Earl, who took a distinguished and active part in favour of WILLIAM III, during the contest in Ireland between that prince and his father-in-law, JAMES II.

This nobleman was an eminent statesman in the reigns of Queen ANNE, GEORGE I and GEORGE II.

His lordship espoused, in 1708, Mary, eldest daughter of William, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin, by whom he had four sons and eight daughters; and dying in 1743, was succeeded by his only son then living, 

JAMES, 20th Earl, who was created Viscount Leinster, of Taplow, in 1747; and in 1761, advanced to a marquessate, as Marquess of Kildare.

In 1766, his lordship was further advanced to the dignity of a dukedom, as DUKE OF LEINSTER.

His Grace wedded Lady Amelia Mary, daughter of Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, by whom he had seventeen children, of whom were
WILLIAM ROBERT, his successor;
Charles James, 1st Baron Lecale;
Henry, m Charlotte, Baroness de Ros;
Robert Stephen;
Emilia Maria Margaret;
Charlotte Mary Gertrude;
Sophia Sarah Mary; Lucy Anne.
The Duke died in 1773, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
The heir presumptive is the 9th Duke's younger brother Lord John FitzGerald (born 1952)
The Dukes of Leinster are premier dukes, marquesses and earls of Ireland.

CARTON HOUSE, near Maynooth, County Kildare, remains one of the grandest stately homes in Ireland.

Formerly the ancestral seat of the  Dukes of Leinster, the demesne presently comprises 1,100 acres.

During a history spanning more than eight centuries, Carton House Hotel, County Kildare, has seen many changes.

The estate first came into the ownership of the FitzGerald family shortly after Maurice FitzGerald played an active role in the capture of Dublin by the Normans in 1170 and was rewarded by being appointed Lord of Maynooth, an area covering townlands which include Carton House.

His son became Baron Offaly in 1205 and his descendant, John FitzGerald, became Earl of Kildare in 1315.

Under the 8th Earl, the FitzGerald family reached pre-eminence as the virtual rulers of Ireland between 1477 and 1513.

However, the 8th Earl's grandson, the eloquently titled Silken Thomas was executed in 1537, with his five uncles, for leading an uprising against the Crown.

Although the FitzGeralds subsequently regained their land and titles, they did not regain their position at Court until the 18th century when Robert, the 19th Earl of Kildare, became a Privy Counsellor and a Lord Justice.

The first record of a house at Carton was in the 17th century when William Talbot, Recorder of the city of Dublin was given a lease of the lands by the 14th Earl of Kildare and is thought to have built a house.

The house and lands were forfeited to the crown in 1691 and in 1703 sold to Major-General Richard Ingoldsby, Master-General of the Ordnance.

In 1739, Richard Castle was employed by the 19th Earl of Kildare to build the existing house after it was bought by the 19th Earl of Kildare.

This was the same year the FitzGerald family bought Frescati House. Castle (originally Cassels) was also responsible for some other grand Irish houses including Westport House, Powerscourt House and in 1745, Leinster House, which he also built for the FitzGeralds.

In 1747 James the 20th Earl of Kildare and from 1766 first Duke of Leinster, married Lady Emily Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond and great-granddaughter of King Charles II.

LADY EMILY played an important role in the development of the house and estate as it is today. She created the Chinese room (bedroom to Queen Victoria) and decorated the famous Shell Cottage on the estate with shells from around the world.

One of Lady Emily's 23 children was the famous Irish Patriot Lord Edward FitzGerald, leader of the 1798 rebellion.

Leinster House (formerly Kildare House)

Carton remained unaltered until 1815 when the 3rd Duke decided to sell Leinster House to the Royal Dublin Society and make Carton his principal residence. He employed Richard Morrison to enlarge and re-model the house.

Morrison replaced the curved colonnades with straight connecting links to obtain additional rooms including the famous dining room. At this time, the entrance to the house was moved to the north side.

Carton remained in the control of the FitzGeralds until the early 1920s when the 7th Duke sold his birthright to a moneylender, Sir Harry Mallaby Deeley, in order to pay off gambling debts of £67,500.

He was third in line to succeed and so did not think he would ever inherit, but one of his brothers died in the war and another of a brain tumour and so Carton was lost to the FitzGeralds.

In 1923 a local unit of the IRA went to Carton with the intention of burning it down. However, they were stopped when a member of the FitzGerald family brought a large painting of Lord Edward FitzGerald to the door and pointed out that they would be burning the house of a revered Irish patriot.

Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, whose principal residence was Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, purchased the house in 1949; and in 1977 his son, the Hon David Nall-Cain, who had by then moved to the Isle of Man, sold the house to its present owners, Lee and Mary Mallaghan.

Carton House  was remodelled by Richard Castle in 1739, building an enormous central, pedimented block, curved colonnades and wings.

Their Graces' Dublin residence, Kildare House, later renemed Leinster House, easily the grandest private home in the Irish capital, was erected by the same architect six years later.

The Organ Room or Gold Saloon is probably the most magnificent and important room in the House, with its Victorian Pipe organ at one end; its sumptuous gilded walls, ceiling and plasterwork.

The Chinese Room (below) also retains its 18th century character, resplendent with its Chinese wallpaper of 1759 and the sumptuous gilded embellishments within the room.

It has been unfortunate that Carton no longer belongs to either the Dukes of Leinster who created it; nor the Nall-Cains, whose role was notable, too.

Both families left for reasons of impecuniosity: The 7th Duke squandered the family fortune.

The Dukes of Leinster were, by far, the greatest landowners in County Kildare, with an immense amount of property and ground rents in Dublin and Athy.

There were prosperous tenant farms and the family had to release this land under the terms of the Wyndham Act of 1903.

Carton House and demesne has been lovingly restored to become a de luxe hotel.

First published in May, 2011.  Leinster arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Order of St Patrick: NI List


The Order of St Patrick remains technically extant.

It features in the orders of chivalry section of the Royal Family website.

The Knights listed below had connections in one form or another with Northern Ireland.


  • 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil 1783
  • 1st Earl of Charlemont 1783
  • 1st Earl of Ely 1783
  • 1st Marquess of Ely 1794
  • 2nd Earl of Roden 1806
  • 2nd Marquess of Ely 1807
  • 1st Earl O'Neill 1809
  • 2nd Earl of Enniskillen 1810
  • 2nd Marquess of Donegall 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Caledon 1821
  • 3rd Earl of Roden 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Charlemont 1831
  • 3rd Marquess of Downshire 1831
  • 10th Viscount Massereene 1851
  • 3rd Earl of Gosford 1855
  • 4th Marquess of Londonderry 1856
  • 3rd Marquess of Donegall 1857
  • 4th Marquess of Downshire 1859
  • 1st Marquess of Dufferin & Ava 1864
  • 2nd Baron Lurgan 1864
  • 3rd Earl of Charlemont 1865
  • 3rd Earl of Erne 1868
  • 4th Earl of Gosford 1869
  • 5th Marquess of Londonderry 1874
  • 7th Duke of Manchester 1877
  • 4th Earl of Erne 1889
  • 3rd Earl of Kilmorey 1890
  • 4th Earl of Caledon 1897
  • 4th Earl of Enniskillen 1902
  • 24th Baron de Ros 1902
  • 1st Viscount Pirrie 1909
  • 9th Earl of Shaftesbury 1911
  • 3rd Duke of Abercorn 1922
The first three appointees were founder members of the Order. 

The Most Noble James, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG KP PC, was the final non-royal conferral before the Order went into abeyance.

First published on the 17th March, 2011.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Leinster Ape

THOMAS, 2nd Baron Desmond, was nicknamed the APE, a surname thus acquired ~ being only nine months old when his father and grandfather fell at Callann, his attendants rushing out at the first astonishment excited by the intelligence, left the child alone in its cradle, when a baboon, kept in the family, took him up, and carried him to the top of the steeple of Tralee Abbey;

whence, after conveying him round the battlements, and exhibiting him to the appalled spectators, he brought him down safely, and laid him in his cradle.

From this tradition the supporters of the house of LEINSTER are said to have been adopted.

This Thomas was constituted a Lord Justice of Ireland, and captain of all Desmond, in 1295; and being of so much power, was generally styled Prince and Ruler of Munster.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Londonderry House Ball




THE NEXT NIGHT, a starlit night, was also a gay one in Park Lane when Lady Mairi Bury had a coming-out dance for her petite, blonde daughter, the Hon Elizabeth Keppel.

Lady Mairi, in tangerine paper-taffeta and fabulous tiara and necklace of square-cut diamonds and emeralds, stood at the top of the imposing staircase of Londonderry House - her childhood home - to receive her guests.

It was a wonderful setting for a ball, though Lady Mairi told me that she thought Elizabeth might well be the last of the Londonderry family to have a coming-out there.

In the gold-and-white ballroom the gay colours of dresses glowed softly under the chandeliers.

The young men, the Earl of Portarlington, Mr Alexander Cadogan, Mr William Lindsay-Hogg, Mr Paul Channon MP, and the Hon John Jolliffe, found that they had only to walk a few yards from the dance-floor to sit out in rooms hung with fine old paintings.

As Elizabeth is the eldest of her branch of the family, there were many relatives present:-

Her father, Viscount Bury; the Earl & Countess of Albemarle, her cousin the Hon Camilla Jessel, the Dowager Viscountess Chaplin and the Hon Walter & Mrs Keppel.

For the older generation it was an evening of memories - memories of some of the greatest pre-war parties when Prime Ministers and future Prime Ministers argued long after dinner.

The hostess on these occasions was Lady Mairi's mother, the late Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry.

  • Hon Elizabeth Anson 
  • Elizabeth Blakiston-Houston 
  • Hon Sarah Boyle 
  • Lady Elizabeth Charteris 
  • Lady Rose Chetwynd-Talbot 
  • Lady Carey Coke 
  • Lady Diana Douglas-Home 
  • Lady Anne, Lady Mary & Lady Sarah Fitzalan-Howard 
  • Belinda Guinness
    The Hon Lucinda Lambton
  • The Duke & Duchess of Abercorn 
  • The Viscount & Viscountess Allendale 
  • Lord Annaly 
  • The Earl & Countess of Antrim 
  • Mr Mark & Lady Annabel Birley 
  • Lady Perdita Blackwood 
  • Viscount Bury 
  • Marquess of Clydesdale 
  • The Earl of Dudley MC 
  • The Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava 
  • The Lord & Lady Glentoran 
  • Colonel & the Hon Mrs Grosvenor 
  • Lt-Cdr & Hon Mrs O King 
  • Raffaele, Duchess of Leinster 
  • Mr & Mrs John Profumo 
  • The Duke & Duchess of Sutherland 
  • The Lord Talbot de Malahide 
  • The Lord & Lady Wakehurst 
  • The Hon Helen Ward 
  • The Dean of Windsor & Mrs Hamilton 
  • Viscount Anson 
  • Paul Channon MP 
  • Viscount Chelsea 
  • The Marquess of Dufferin & Ava 
  • The Lord Dunleath 
  • Viscount Dunluce 
  • The Earl of Gowrie 
  • Marquess of Hamilton 
  • Lord Anthony Hamilton 
  • Viscount Jocelyn 
  • The Lord O'Neill 
  • Andrew & Gavin Perceval-Maxwell 
  • Lord Sudeley 
  • The Viscount Sudeley 
  • The Earl of Suffolk

 Londonderry arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in December, 2011.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry

Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland © 2011

Lady Londonderry, whose husband was the 7th Marquess, was the daughter of Henry, 1st Viscount Chaplin.

In the image above she wears the famed Londonderry Jewels, many of which are now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The insignia of a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is worn. 

The photograph was taken in the drawing-room of Londonderry House, with, it is believed, the large portrait of Castlereagh behind her.

Lady Londonderry was preparing to leave for the 1948 State Opening of Parliament, the first full dress State Opening since the end of the 2nd World War. 

This was to be the last State Opening for Edith Londonderry, since her husband, the 7th Marquess, died several months later.

First published in November, 2011.  Charles Villiers, a grandson of the late Lady Mairi Bury and great-grandson of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, has kindly provided this information from his archives.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Belvoir Revisited

Belvoir's water feature in 2015

I took a brief stroll in Belvoir forest park, at Newtownbreda, County Down, this afternoon.

The river Lagan divides counties Antrim and Down here.

I'd been to Marks and Spencer's store at Forestside shopping centre.

Little remains of what was once one of the greatest estates in County Down, a seat of the Viscounts Dungannon, followed by the Bateson Baronets, Barons Deramore.

Site of former glass-houses

A visitor would be challenged to find much trace of the former demesne, except the old stable-yard, an ice-house, some remnants of walls and water features which were close to the extensive glass-houses.

There was a fountain and an ornamental stream.

Former glass-houses

Presumably the remnant red-brick walls enclosed the walled garden.

A fairly thorough job was done by the present owner in the obliteration of the great mansion-house - now the main car-park - and the parkland.

Nevertheless, a fine and beautiful forest park remains today for us all to enjoy; and for that we must be truly thankful.

3rd Baron Glentoran


The Hon Thomas Robin Valerian Dixon succeeded to the barony and baronetcy in 1995.

He was a major in the Grenadier Guards before retiring from the army in 1966 to pursue a successful career in commerce.

After serving with the Grenadier Guards from 1954 to 1966, Major Dixon joined Kodak, where he worked as a Public Relations Officer.
In 1971 he moved to the Redland Tile and Brick company in Northern Ireland, where he built up the company from small beginnings into a multi-million pound subsidiary, ultimately holding the position of Managing Director, then Chairman by the time he left the firm in 1998.
In addition to his career interests, in 1964 Major Dixon won an Olympic Gold medal in the Bobsleigh event, and a World Championship Gold in 1965.

In the same year he was appointed MBE for services to sport.

He retained his strong sporting links by, amongst other things, being President of the Jury at the 1976 Olympics, and has been President of the British Bobsleigh Association.

In 1983, he established and became the founder chairman of the Ulster Games Foundation in an attempt to bring international sporting events to Northern Ireland.

In 1987, he was appointed Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tall Ships Council, and successfully managed to bring the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race to Belfast, an event which he then subsequently organised.

Between 1992-96, Lord Glentoran was chairman of Positively Belfast, which aimed to promote the city as a potential host city for major events.

Because of these and other significant achievements, in 1992 he was appointed CBE for services to Northern Ireland and Industry.

Between 1993 and 1995, he was Chairman of the “Growing a Green Economy” committee, which reported to the then Northern Ireland Minister, Sir Robert Atkins.

Lord Glentoran first entered the House of Lords in 1995, and from 1999 he was the Conservative Party "shadow minister" for Northern Ireland and Wales.

From 2001 to 2003, he was also a shadow minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Body.

The 3rd Baron was a representative Conservative peer in the House of Lords. 

His father, the 2nd Baron, was HM Lord-Lieutenant for the City of Belfast from 1976-85.

Lord Glentoran's seat is Drumadarragh House, near Ballyclare in County Antrim.

He has three sons: His heir, the Hon Daniel Dixon; the Hon Andrew Dixon; and the Hon Patrick Dixon.

First published in July, 2010.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Mount Stewart's Revival

3rd Marchioness of Londonderry, by Lawrence

I've spent a marvellous morning at Mount Stewart, the National Trust's property on the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

Of course it was the County Down seat of the Marquesses of Londonderry.

Today I was invited to a special preview of the mansion-house, which has been lovingly restored.

I began the day with tea and a scone in the tea-room, which has also had a major "makeover".

The sky-light on the roof makes this tea-room wonderfully bright and airy.

The Hall

I was seated beside an absolutely captivating lady who lives at Cultra, County Down. We chatted about this and that, though she intimated that she's a loyal member of the Virgin health club at Knocknagoney.

Thereafter I made my way in a stately fashion (!) under the portico and porch of the House and immediately encountered an old pal, Alan, whom I hadn't met for ages - understatement - and who volunteers with the Trust, as I do myself.

Thence I toured the principal rooms on the ground floor and was very glad to meet the staff in attendance.

There's a finely-woven carpet in the large dining-room which was especially made by Axminster, and boasts the Stewart dragon crest.

The National Trust has acquired many exquisite treasures from Lord Londonderry and his family, including valuable paintings and portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

The fabric of the House has been restored and beautified tastefully and skilfully by the Trust: rooms have been renovated sympathetically and in keeping with the period.

Could this monogrammed leather case have contained Edith Lady Londonderry's binoculars?

Heartiest congratulations to all the staff at The National Trust, particularly at Mount Stewart; and the teams of staff who have spent so many hours in what has clearly been a labour of Love.

The Earls Cairns: II

WILLIAM CAIRNS became a merchant in Dublin, where he married firstly, in 1778, Sarah Hutchinson, of St James's parish; and secondly, in 1787, Margaret Keine, of St Mark's parish.
He died at Parkmount, in 1819, leaving issue, besides one daughter who died young,

DANIEL CAIRNS, born 1784, who became an officer in the 28th and afterwards in the 62nd Regiment, and died unmarried, at Jamaica, 1802.

In the Belfast Newsletter of October 17, 1775, both William and his eldest son John appear in a list of subscribers to a testimonial to the Rev Matthew Garnett, Vicar of Carnmoney.

For my references to early Belfast newspapers and some of my information as to the Gregg family, I am indebted to Mr Isaac Ward, who is probably the greatest living authority on old Belfast History. 
The Gregg family settled in Belfast in the 17th century and became prosperous in business.

In 1700, three brothers, Nathan, Thomas and John Gregg, were merchants in Belfast.

Nathan died in 1705, leaving his sons John and Thomas, then under age.

Thomas had an eldest son, Nathan, and other children, of whom probably William, of Parkmount, was one.

Nathan Gregg mentions these children in his will; also his sisters, Elizabeth, wife of James Smith, of Belfast; and Agnes, wife of John Stevenson, of County Antrim.

Book of Grants of Licenses, Dublin, in the Public Record Office, Dublin
: In both these entries, Nathan is written "Nathaniel", but undoubtedly Nathan was the name.

In the first marriage Hutchinson is given as the wife's name, but in a family bible the name is recorded Hutchins.


WILLIAM CAIRNS, of Parkmount, born 1789,
entered the army and became a captain in the 47th Regiment. He married, when only seventeen, Rosanna, daughter of Hugh Johnston, merchant of Belfast. During his father's lifetime he lived at Rushpark, near Carrickfergus, and also had a house in Belfast, which stood on the grounds now occupied by the Robinson & Cleaver building.
Parkmount House

After his father's death, William moved to Parkmount House, which he shortly afterwards sold to John McNeill, a banker in Belfast.

He subsequently lived at Cultra, County Down.

He married secondly, Matilda, daughter of Francis Beggs, of The Grange, Malahide, and dying at Cultra in 1844, left issue, Nathan Daniel, born 1807, who married, in 1839, Mary, daughter of Thomas Miller, of Preston. 
McNeill, of Machrihanish, who came over to Ireland about 1625 with his relatives the MacNaghtens, obtained the lands of Killoquin, County Antrim, where he settled, marrying Rose Stewart of Garry, in that County, John McNeill of Parkmount, having succeeded to a large fortune as heir of his uncle General McNeill, purchased Parkmount and a considerable estate at Craigs, County Antrim, and became a private banker in Belfast, eventually forming, with others, what is now the Northern Bank. 
His grandson sold Parkmount, which, as Belfast extended, became a particularly desirable property.

The new owner of Parkmount was the prominent Belfast merchant Sir Robert Anderson Bt, DL, Lord Mayor and High Sheriff.

The Cairns family, since the Reformation, were all Presbyterian.

The 1st Earl's great-grandfather, or some members of his family at least, seem to have conformed to the established Church (of Ireland) shortly after their move to Parkmount.

In the Belfast News-Letter, dated about 1790, there is an advertisement inserted by John
Cairns, of Parkmount, offering a reward for the recovery of his watch, which he had lost the previous Sunday between Parkmount and Carnmoney Church.

As early as 1775,
both John and his father William appear on a list of subscribers to a testimonial to the Vicar of Carnmoney; however, the History of Belfast (supplement) records that two of John's sisters were members of Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church.

First published in February, 2011.