Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Ardmore Memory and Story - The Village
Page Title : Big Houses
Page Number : 7
Publication Date : 06 November 2013
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Ardmore

I have had access to the Griffith Valuation sheets of 1850's and also updates of these, from the Valuation Office, Irish Life Centre, Dublin.

I have looked in particular at the six big houses, all in Duffcarrick and listed one after another.

1. Mercy Convent, now know as Stella Maris.
2. Lacken (or Byron Lodge).
3. Maycroft.
4. Dhucarraig (Carrick-on-Suir Presentation Sisters).
5. Melrose.
6. Atlantic Lodge.

Stella Maris
The first house, now known as Stella Maris, from 1855 to 1860 was occupied by Nelson Foley with Edward Odell as lessor.

In the 1861 - 1883 period Odells were in occupation
In the 1884 - 1893 period Col. Henry Cotton was in occupation (Catherine Fitzgerald and H. Odell's names were inserted and crossed out).
In 1894 Patrick Walsh was in occupation
In 1909 Miss Mary J. Walsh was in occupation and the house is now referred to as Ardmore House
1920 Lady Clodagh Anson; then the Sisters of Mercy

The story of Maycroft and Lacken given by Mrs Dowson is a quite adequate account of both houses.

In Lacken, there were two sisters, Mrs Sealy and Mrs Dawson. Mrs Dawson was a very good gardener; Mrs Sealy had a room furnished as a dispensary and local people often came to her for cures for minor injuries and ailments.

She had (Mrs Dawson) three sons, Lionel, Gus and Reggie. Reggie was a professional entertainer in London; he performed in St. Declans Hall in 1915. Lionel was in India. Gus was secretary to Newcastle Sanatorium. We think it was he who married a Miss Gates from Kildorrery. The Gates established the first co-operative society in Cork, in Kildorrery and the family is mentioned in Elizabeth Bowen’s books.

They stayed a lot in Rock House during the summer. Mrs Gates would not allow any meals to be cooked on Sundays; they all had to be cold. Ciss Quain remembers a Lucy Gates; and a Jim Gates who disguised his age in order to join the army for the 1914-18 war.

Lacken is now owned by Mrs Mary Byron-Casey who runs a very successful guest-house there.

Maycroft is a large semi-detached house, now the property of the Ahearne family, Cork. It was occupied and owned for the greater part of this century by the Pollock family from London. Mrs Pollock was nee Barry, a family from around Clogheen. There were three boys and two girls and they came to Ardmore each summer and while in residence, a flag flew from one of the trees.

David had a back ailment and died at the age of twenty-five: Patrick was drowned with a friend in a boating accident in England: Dick who had hounds and a horse in the premises below Tigaluinn now owned by the Rooneys, died in India (he was in the army). Catherine and Rosemary’s husbands had colonial posts. During the war years, Mr & Mrs Pollock senior lived in Ardmore with their grand-children (children of Catherine’s), John and Susan under the charge of a young girl, Eva Roland who later married in Kinsale and became Mrs Jacob. Later on Mrs Dowson (Rosemary) and her husband home from Kenya lived in Maycroft for some years with her two grand-children, one of whom Charles went to school in Ardmore in the sixties.

They had wonderful memories of Ardmore and Mrs Dowson had some hair-raising stories of their youthful exploits; one concerned an underground passage in the graveyard into which they stumbled by mistake; one was an account of being let down by rope over the steep cliff at Faill na Sleannaire in order to explore an aperture half-way down.

It was she who left this account of Maycroft. “The history of the house necessitates a reference to the vicissitudes of two families who possessed in succession, the neighbouring mansion and property of Ardogenna, built in the 18th and 17th centuries, a house capable of maintaining a strong defence, and was then the seat of the ancient Irish family of Coghlan. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Coghlans (leased?) the property to the Lawlor family.

Towards the middle of the 19th century, this latter family was represented by two females only and the family was deeply in debt to the National Bank of Ireland, which institution notified the sisters that it intended to foreclose and take possessions of the property on a certain date. The sisters purchased two plots of land in the village of Ardmore, and with the assistance of the country people, pillaged Ardogenna, with the result that the two houses in Ardmore, incorporated much material removed from the older house (The roof slates, windows, doors, some fire-places etc.,)

The date of the building of Maycroft and the adjoining house, Lacken, is commonly given as 1846, but there is no means of proving this to be the actual case.

The ladies Lawlor both married and soon sold their houses, that of Maycroft being purchased by Staff-Commander R.N., William Bagge Triphook, who being ordered abroad by the Admiralty settled his affairs but died before his departure abroad in 1867 aged 55. He married Ann Bagge who died in 1905. His son Major Triphook, Durham Light Infantry succeeded and died in 1887. This gentleman erected the present greenhouse and he made the tennis court.

Anne Triphook continued to live in Maycroft but sold it in 1904 to Katherine Cecil Thurston, once well-known as a successful novelist. She died in 1911 and left the property to her life-long friend, Nancy Inex Pollock.

Major Triphook and his mother are buried in adjoining graves in the old churchyard”. The Triphook headstone in the local cemetery testifies to the varied military career of Simon Bagge Triphook (died 1887). He was involved in the Maori campaign in New Zealand; at the Curragh Camp and at Jhelum in the first Afghan war.

For further information on the Thurstones, see Ardmore Journal 1984.

The house, Dhucarraig in its own grounds between Maycroft and Melrose, has been the property of the Presentation nuns, Carrick-on-Suir, since the early 1920's. Apart from the Cappoquin Mercy Order, which by this time was well established in Ardmore, there were no other nuns in the village at the time. Even as children we felt that the nuns were shy and ill at ease and just not used to being outside the convent walls. The property had been owned by the Aldworth family from Newmarket and we always referred to it as 'Aldworths'.

Aldworth Court at Newmarket had close connections with John Philpot Curran, his daughter, Sarah, the betrothed of Robert Emmet is buried in Newmarket. The Aldworth family had been given a grant and charter by James 1, confirmed by Charles 2. One of the Aldworth family is reputed to have become the first and only lady Freemason. The family left it in the 1920's and it came into the ownership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart for some years.

I am indebted to an account in The Cork Examiner for this information.

A copy of the Evening Echo of October 1999 describes St. Finbarres Cathedral and says "A brass tablet on the floor near the pulpit indicates the tomb of Elizabeth Aldworth (1695-1775) the only women to be initiated into Free Masonry".

From the update of the Griffith Valuations sent by the Valuation Office in Dublin one sees that Captain Thomas Thornton (and later on, his representatives) was occupier of the house from the 1850's through to 1893.

Then came John C. Aldworth, 1909 - 1919, the death of whose mother-in-law Henrietta Cecil Collins is recorded in the Register of Deaths in Dungarvan in 1914. The family must have used the house quite extensively.

A German governess was resident with them at one period, and in July 1914 was drowned while swimming on Ardmore Beach. She was Gertrude Schmalzle, aged 20 and she was buried in the local graveyard. The inscriptioin on the headstone is now illegible. Relatives have come to Ardmore, enquiring on a few occasions, the last occasion being in September 1999.

The Presentation Sisters, Carrick-on-Suir acquired the house in the '20's and they are still the owners.

An interesting point about Melrose is that the valuation of the building is more than twice of any of its neighbours, so it must have been bigger and more impressive always.

In the 1855 - 1860 period Rev. Thomas J. Thurtle was occupier (lessor E. Odell)
In the 1861 - 1876 period Richard Chearnley and representatives
In the 1877 - 1883 period Mrs Bagge
In the 1884 - 1920 period Catherine Fitzgerald who was there until the 1920's.

Then came the Barrons, The Collises, and Martin Hurley, so I his daughter lived there for ten years after getting married in 1945; then my sister, Eileen Colbert had a guest house there until the beginning of the 1990's. Its owned by a German family at present, the Schumans.

Atlantic Lodge
Leopold Keane was occupier to 1863 with Rev. John Wallace as lessor. Lodgers are noted as occupiers in the 1864-1876 period. Then came Albertine Zehender.

In the 1884 - 1893 period Samuel B. Poer was occupier with Captain H.J. Wallace as lessor. It is with the Poer family that we associate the house.

The Mockler family had a special connection with them. In the last of the pre-1920 years, William Mockler (died 1985), a tall, powerfully built man was appointed guardian to George Poer, also a tall well-built man who evidently suffered from a mental condition. They went on very long walks, over to Old Parish, to the Lickey with fishing rods and a wicker pannier to carry home the fish, which were never caught, out on Carraig a Phúintín at low tide from which Will Mockler had to more or less forcibly remove him, as he would have remained oblivious to the incoming tide.

During the war years, a Poer family member who lived in India used to send regular packages of tea to the Mocklers, what a boon in the ½oz tea days. Later on, they came on annual visits to the Mockler family and brought them to visit them in Monkstown.

There are four Beresfond Poer headstones in Ardmore graveyard, the last internment being in 1985, so evidently, they had warm recollections of their time in Ardmore.

The house was bought as the curate's house in the early 20's and later was sold to the present owners, Monica (nee Casey with Ardmore Irish American connections) and her husband Anton Willam, an Austrian.

The Hotel
The house in the village formerly known as The Hotel is the long two-storey building on the south side of the street, now the residence of Billy and Ber Harty. The Cup and Saucer restaurant, property of Mr & Mrs Matt Power, was formerly part of it.

It has been said that a family of Fitzgeralds were the original owners. In the ‘Primary Valuation of Tenements’ for the village of Ardmore about 1851, there is a Timothy Fitzgerald who apparently kept ‘lodgers’. He had a house and garden, net annual value £3”10’0. Would this have been the person who initiated the hotel?

In 1864, the Register of Deaths records the death of a young man, Michael Fitzgerald, aged 25, hotel keeper. Then in 1865, the same register records the death of John Fitzgerald 82, hotel keeper. The story goes that the Fitzgeralds were evicted from the hotel and the blind old lady being evicted, had herself led around the house and poked her stick through every window and cursed the lot. Jimmie Rooney thinks the expense of enlarging the building precipitated their ill fortune, I wonder too, was the death of the young man in 1864 a relevant factor.

Deug Fitzgerald, his wife Mary and son Paddy, lived up to the 40’s in a one-room apartment, which is now the part of ’Brisen’ adjoining Dunnes furniture factory. It is generally thought they were of the same family who built and were evicted from the hotel in the village. They had a covered car bed and Paddy slept in the settle bed. There was no back door and they were constantly up and down to the ruins of the boat-house, property of the British Marine, and now occupied by the Fire Brigade building and the public toilets. They had two pigs there and a donkey and had the customary plot in Dysert where they grew four acres of wheat and slashed it for food. In the ‘40’s the people of the village built a one-roomed house for Paddy in Mary Ellen Burke’s (of Chapel Row) back garden and that’s where he spent the rest of his days. He was a member of the Rocket Life-Saving Service and became number one man more by default than anything else.

On one occasion, Mr. Morgan on visitation had the members of the service lined up at Goat Island, and asked a question about a certain combination of lights on a vessel and what kind of steam ship it indicated, Paddy didn’t know and in his embarrassment conveyed the prompt from behind, “a steam-roller, sir.”

The next occupants of the hotel were Ahearns, from around Aglish, it is thought. The hotel was apparently flourishing for some years and army officers from Cobh were met at Youghal Railway Station and conveyed to Ardmore by the hotel jarvey car (Tommie Quinn, the driver) and there they spent the week-end and we had the beginning of tourism in Ardmore. Groups came by wagonette from Youghal also. Mick Ahearne was musical and played the melodeon and there was dancing on a platform in the garden. So Ardmore was a popular venue in the ‘80s and ‘90s of the last century. The large flat piece of ground between Green Shutters and Quarry House was known as the Croquet Ground and was owned by the hotel people too and apparently used frequently by the guests.

An article in the Monthly Illustrated Journal of July 1883 gives an account of a trip to Ardmore “The twilight was fast disappearing over the Bay as we returned to the Hotel. While waiting for our trap, we were shown upstairs into the prettiest parlour imaginable. One side of it was almost all let into a long window, that looked out on a garden, which was one mass of soft verdure. Trees and shrubs and flowers all were covered with a southern luxuriance of foliage, a large fuchsia transformed the window frame into a bower, its dull crimson bells with their purple centres showing dimly through the profusion of brilliant green. Somehow as we rested on the low loungers, I thought that verdant garden the most refreshing sight we had seen that day.”

The Ahearnes had no family of their own and in the 1890’s, two Prendergast sisters (their father John Prendergast a marine captain) Hannah Margaret and Dote were ensconsed in the hotel with their aunt, Mrs Ahearne and lived in comfort there. She left the hotel to one of the sisters. In 1896, James Willoughby, a mechanic from Youghal married Hannah Margaret. The Willoughbys and Dote continued to live in the Hotel, but in 1901, Mrs. Willoughby died in childbirth.

Apparently, the hotel was sold and bought by William Harris, a native of Bruree, Co. Limerick and a veteran of the Boer war. It was not then run as a hotel, but as a licensed premises.

The Harrisses were four in family, Ciss the only surviving girl; Willie became an engineer, married a Dungarvan girl and died soon after; Jack became a Christian Brother and Joe became a priest. Ciss was a good-looking girl with many suitors all repulsed by her father. His wife had died in the severe flu epidemic of the ‘20’s.

Fr. Joe had meant to be a diocesan priest but changed his mind and became a Jesuit, a decision of which his father did not approve at all, specially when he was sent to China. “I’d convert more of them at the point of a bayonet, than he would by his prayers” is the remark attributed to him.

Fr. Joe (known as Fr. Richard, in the Order) was in Canton, later in Hong Kong, where he was a member of the community during the Japanese occupation. After the war he became rector of the Regional Seminary for southern China situated in Hong Kong. Subsequently he became superior of Irish Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong. He was later in retirement in Sydney and was visited (summer 1997) by Mrs Nicholson, aunt of Dr. Joe Meehan. She reported him hale and hearty with a lively, active mind. He died in 1998.

In 1984, when my niece Helen and I were in Canton, we were trying to cross the street one evening in front of a relentless avalanche of bicycles and a little Chinese man came to our aid. He had excellent English and we got chatting at the side of the river. He brought us to see a Catholic church and priest; the church was then emerging from a penal situation. Our new found friend acted as interpreter and you can imagine our astonishment when the priest enquired for Fr. O’Meara and Fr. Harris. Fr. O’Meara was uncle of Mary, James Quain’s wife and Fr. Harris was our own Joe, from down the road at home. The Chinese priest had been a pupil of theirs’ at the seminary in Hong Kong. In a teeming Chinese city, thousands of miles from home, it was amazing to be asked about two people whom we knew so well.

The next owners of the property were the late Frank Nugent, Cliff Hotel and the late Jack O’Brien in the village. Frank Nugent transferred the seven day bar licence to Cliff House; Mrs O’Brien had a small shop there for a while. Then came the Carltons who had a supermarket there; it is now the private residence of Ber and Billy Harty.

© Waterford County Museum 2014. All rights reserved. Please read our Terms of Use