Stores form Old Newspapers

Derby Mercury 21 November 1849

Continued Festivities at Lismore Castle

‘The Duke of Devonshire [William Spencer Cavendish 1790-1858, 6th Duke] has during his long and most welcome visit to his magnificent Castle of Lismore, given large dinner parties every Tuesday, and frequently a ball and supper followed afterwards. [He had arrived in Lismore in September] On Tuesday week he gave what was intended for his farewell party; but in his great hospitality, he gave way to his feelings and had another, the largest for the season, on Tuesday last. And further to display those feelings of goodness and kindness…he gave on Saturday a large dejeuner à la fourchette (a luncheon or light meal of eggs, meat, etc), which was attended by over 80 of the gentry and their families. Such has been the kindness and affability of his grace since his arrival…that the utmost gloom and despondency would affect every one of every class there, were it not for the positive certainty that his grace will return early next season and pay a more protracted visit to his Irish estates.

He expressed himself highly delighted with his visit, and thinks every day, better and better of the people. As a proof of his feeling, he has gone constantly amongst them, walked into the houses of some of the humblest, and entered into conversation with them. As a further proof of his intentions, he has already devised a great addition to the castle, the works for which are to be commenced early in the spring. The east wing of the castle was not uniform with the rest; being of a more modern form, and not of the castellated style. This is to be taken down, and a more appropriate building to be erected on its site. A ballroom and supper-room are also to be built on another part, where an ancient ruin at present stands. His grace, by these improvements, will thus effect a double object…placing himself in a better position to indulge in that princely hospitality…and at the same time the carrying out of those works will afford vast employment to the tradespeople of the town and neighbourhood…He has already laid out a beautiful walk cut in the majestic cliffs on which the castle stands…The surrounding grounds are all now planted with evergreens. On Friday night Mr and Mrs Currey gave a large evening party, or rather a ball, to the tradespeople and workpeople connected with the castle, to the number of over 100. His grace and every member of his household were present. He remained till 3 o’clock a.m. A sumptuous supper, laid in an adjoining apartment… The dancing was kept up with great spirit, the pianoforte being presided over by Mr John Quin, a young gentleman of this town’.

The duke recorded his impressions of the people: ‘A week at Lismore goes like an hour anywhere else. My neighbours throng to see me, and all are admitted. They have got a natural bonhomie and want of pretension that makes them very captivating, never wanting to appear what they are not…They are always gay.’ The duke also brought along an artist- Samuel Cook, who painted a beautiful series of watercolours of the castle before its rebuilding.

The work of rebuilding the castle was entrusted to Joseh Paxton (1803-1865) and photographs taken at the time by pioneer photographer Francis Edmund Currey (the duke’s agent in Lismore) can be seen currently in an exhibition – ‘Ways of Seeing – the albums of Francis Edmund Currey’, at St Carthage’s Hall, Lismore, which is on show until 16 July.

William Spencer Cavendish 6th Duke of Devonshire Circa 1852


Engraving of Lismore Castle Circa 1824