Scandal in the Big House!

Sunday, 6th October 2019
Dromana House Cappoquin Co. Waterford
10 am for a 11 am start: COFFEE

  • Julian Walton (Dunhill Education Centre): ‘The Scandalous Lives of the Carpenters, Earls of Tyrconnell.’
  • Prof Claire Connolly (UCC): ‘Hot and Cold Scandal in Maria Edgeworth’s Novels’
  • Lunch
  • Dr Eibhear Walsh (UCC): ‘Scandal in Merrion Square: The Other Wilde Trial.’
  • Dr Peter Murray: ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know”– Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb and Lismore Castle.’

Afternoon tea and guided tour of the gardens.

Enquiries and booking email: Tel: +353(86)8186305.

€75 pp or €130 for 2 persons to include morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. Programme subject to change without notice.

Abstracts & Biographies:

Julian Walton:

‘The Scandalous Lives of the Carpenters, Earls of Tyrconnell’

George Carpenter, a junior member of an old Herefordshire family of yeoman farmers, became a successful and wealthy general in the War of the Spanish Succession, and was created in 1719 Baron Carpenter of Killaghy in County Kilkenny. His grandson received in 1761 two further titles, Earl of Tyrconnell and Viscount Carlingford.

The five generations of Carpenters played a prominent role in British society, but their lives were plagued by scandals that astonished even contemporary Georgian society. The family became extinct in the male line in 1853.

This lecture originated in research still in progress on the Carpenter papers which are now held at Curraghmore.

Julian Walton is a former secondary schoolteacher and librarian with a lifelong interest in history. During the 1990s he worked at Waterford Heritage Genealogical Centre, where among other assignments he undertook the conservation of Waterford Cathedral Library. He was then employed in the library of University College Cork on the cataloguing of older printed books. Since he “retired” in 2006 he has been Resident Historian at Dunhill Multi-Education Centre in County Waterford, where he lectures on aspects of local history. He is the author of The Royal Charters of Waterford and of many articles in historical journals. His most recent publications are On This Day volumes one and two, which are based on a series of short programmes broadcast on Waterford Local Radio between 1994 and 2012.

Prof Claire Connolly:

Hot and Cold Scandal in Maria Edgeworth’s Novels 

Throughout her long and successful writing career, Maria Edgeworth had a keen eye for scandalous goings on in big houses. For the plot of Castle Rackrent (1800), she drew on shocking episodes in her own family history (recorded in the famous Black Book of Edgeworthstown) and also borrowed the details of two notorious cases of mistreated wives in the mid eighteenth century : the imprisonment of Lady Cathcart by her husband Colonel Maguire and the punishment of the adulterous Lady Belfield by her husband, the 1st Earl of Belvedere. As her writing developed, however, Edgeworth showed herself capable of a delicate and nuanced treatment of the attractions and dangers of scandal. The talk concludes with a brief discussion of Edgeworth’s final novel, Helen (1837), the plot of which depends on the rapid circulation of news and rumours, not least through the offices of a scandal-mongering dentist.

Claire Connolly is Professor of Modern English at University College Cork in Ireland and, for 2018/19, Parnell Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Her 2011 book A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1829 won the Donald J. Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Monograph, awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies. Scholarly editions include two volumes in The Works of Maria Edgeworth (Pickering and Chatto, 1999-2003) and Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl ( Pickering and Chatto, 2000). With Marjorie Howes (Boston College), she is General Editor of a new six volume series, Irish Literature in Transition, 1700-2015, under contract to Cambridge University Press.

Dr Eibhear Walshe:

Scandal in Merrion Square: The Other Wilde Trial 

Eibhear Walshe talks about the Mary Travers Trial of 1864, the subject for his first novel, The Diary of Mary Travers, where Jane Wilde was sued for libel by a young woman, intent on revenging herself on the Wildes of Merrion Square. This scandal rocked Dublin society and provided the newspapers with a field day of speculation and gossip about Dublin’s celebrated couple Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane, the poet Speranza.

Dr. Eibhear Walshe is a senior lecturer in the School of Modern English at University College Cork where he is Director of Creative Writing. He has published in the area of memoir, literary criticism and biography, and his books include Kate O’Brien: A Writing Life, (2006), Oscar’s Shadow : Wilde and Ireland, (2012), and A Different Story: The Writings of Colm Tóibín (2013). His childhood memoir, Cissie’s Abattoir (2009) was broadcast on RTE’s Book on One. His novel, The Diary of Mary Travers was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award 2015 and longlisted for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award. “ The Trumpet Shall Sound” is his latest Novel.

Dr Peter Murray:

‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know”– Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb and Lismore Castle’

Fleeing from her tragic love affair with Lord Byron, who she described as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, in 1812 Lady Caroline Lamb sought refuge in Ireland. Accompanied by her husband and parents, “Caro”, as she was known, travelled to Lismore Castle. During her time at Lismore, Caro was offered protection by her childhood friend, Lord Hartington or ‘Hart’—later to become the 6th Duke of Devonshire. At Lismore, Caro collected social and political information about Ireland, which she was later to use to good effect in her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Glenarvon. This book caused a scandal when published in London in 1816, not least for endorsing Irish nationalism, but also in its characterization of Lord Byron as an Irish revolutionary named Glenarvon. When it appeared in May 1816, Glenarvon was also widely seen as a kiss-and-tell (or as Byron crudely put it, a “F— and publish”) account of Caro’s love affair with the poet.  Glenarvon provides the reader not only with portraits of William Lamb and Byron, but also of Irish society on the brink of revolution. At the centre of the novel is the Lismore Castle, which Caro described very much as it was in 1812, a building still in a state of semi-dereliction. The decision by the Bachelor Duke to rebuild his Irish home as a grand Romantic medieval fantasy was almost certainly influenced by Caro, who epitomized the Romantic movement and reveled, as did Lord Byron, in ancient houses that retained both the sensibility and architecture of times past.

Dr. Peter Murray, Retired Director, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. As Director of the Crawford Gallery, Cork , Peter oversaw the development of the gallery from a municipal gallery to a National Cultural Institution. Enhancing the Crawford’s fine collections and making them accessible was central to Peter’s role. He has published widely on Irish fine and decorative arts and is a respected international speaker.