Sure Aren't We All Irish Anyhow in 1868
Denis William Pack-Beresford married Annette Clayton-Browne in
1863 in Carlow.
A Fenian Rising took place in 1867.
I believe the event recorded below dates from circa 1868.
It does appear that the "Catholic Elector's Son" took part in
the "jigs and reels" and had a sup of the wines and whiskies on
offer, which may account for his " bloodsheding and crutches
throwing" rhetoric regarding the Fenagh tenantry if they should
be called upon to fight for His Nibs . (this calls to mind a
comment made to me by my Uncle Tom regarding a well known I.R.A.
leader "sure he would fight for Ireland to the last drop of
everyone else's blood")
Pictures of the Pack-Beresford / Browne-Clayton wedding in 1863
appear elsewhere on this Carlow site.
"Little Phil" was the family Irish Wolfhound.
Undated handbill in the Pat Purcell Papers.
~~~~~~~ THE BEST WAY TO "STAMP OUT" FENIANISM IN IRELAND
During the last seven centuries here in Ireland seldom has there
been witnessed such a scene as that which presented itself in
the laurel-wreathed halls of Fenagh House, as the clock struck
twelve at night, to seal forever the fate of the old Fenian
year, while upwards of thirty couples in full guise, dancing an
Irish jig under the mistletoe, smiled "a happy new year" to each
other, as well as to the true Irish lady to whose princely
hospitality they were indebted for the night's amusement.
Mrs Annette Carloine Clayton-Browne-Pack-Beresford , whose name
is a household word amongst the peasantry for miles around the
base of Mount Leinster, conceived the idea of giving a ball on
the last night of the old year, not however, to the Ladies and
Gentlemen of the county, but to the respectable farmer's sons
and daughters in her own immediate neighbourhood, intermixed
with a sprinkling of the villagers, and accordingly directed by
Mr. Simpson, who stands at the head of her household staff to
issue invitations to the number of about one hundred.
About nine o'clock the party began to assemble and it did not
break up until five in the morning. Never before did a happier
party meet upon the plains of Leinster. Catholic and Protestant
danced side by side, united in the closest bond of friendship;
never before did such a party meet with such attention,
courtesy, kindness, and hospitality in the halls of a resident
gentleman --- in the Irish home of an Irish prince.
The choicest wines, the oldest whiskies -- every luxury was
there in profusion. The supper was such as a party of princes
might sit down to; and Mr Simpson, Mrs White and Miss Hyland
aided by Mr Palmer, Mr Hitchman, and all the rest of Captain
Beresford's household staff spared no pains to make the party
comfortable and happy. In fact the only grievance the sons and
daughters of Captain Beresford's tenantry laboured under on the
first day of the new year after giving the old year a decent
send-off was having "stamped out" Fenianism" for ever in the
County Carlow to the tune of a real Irish jig -- the grievance
they laboured under as they separated for their respective homes
in the morning was the great difficulty they were placed in as
to whether they are more indebted to the lady who spread such a
costly banquet before them, or to the extraordinary kindness and
attention they received during the night from all the members of
her household staff.
LETTER OF THANKS :
"A CATHOLIC ELECTOR'S SON"
THIS , SIR,
I consider should be ever memorable in the annals of the County
I am not one of those who would wish to attach any importance to
an isolated fact. But when I see in that happy group the grand
result of Captain Beresford's labours for a number of years;
when I see all classes united in comfort and happiness around
him, when I find the peasantry well-housed, well-fed and warmly
clothed, his baths thrown open, his doors and windows neither
bolted nor barred, while neither a red coat, nor a policeman
come within sight -- and this at a time when the country was
thought to be on the eve of an insurrection -- at a time when
the gentry in other parts of Ireland were crying out for armies
to defend them, afraid of their own shadows or rather of their
guilty conscience within. When I see Captain and Mrs Beresford
retiring to rest in their Irish home at Fenagh House after
smiling upon their subjects and not even placing little Phil as
a sentinel without to ward off the much dreaded Fenian host. I
say sir, when I find all these circumstances united at such a
time and in such a place, Captain Pack-Beresford has not
laboured in vain. He has lived to reap the fruit of his labours.
There is a gentleman who had confidence in the people; nor shall
he ever find that confidence betrayed. Captain and Mrs
Pack-Beresford have made themselves known to the people by their
unremitting kindness and attention to them. The people will
always know them. Not a man within miles round who would not
shed the last drop of his life's blood in their defence in the
event of a Fenian "rising". They require none of the Queen's
Life Guards to protect them, because they are enshrined in the
hearts of the people. Even the old men and women would abandon
their crutches to fight for them; and so long as Mrs Beresford
wishes to send the Captain into Parliament, so long he shall go
there, and no man dare oppose him in the county Carlow.
- God Save Her Most Gracious Majesty The Queen,
- Mr and Mrs
Pack-Beresford of Fenagh House, Carlow.
The above is a true and
accurate transcript of the original document.
- Transcribed by M. Purcell c2008.
- Nationalist and Leinster Times newspapers in
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