|December 14, 1904
Lady Limerick To Tour in Concert
Lady Limerick, who, according to the cable dispatches,
has arranged to come over here immediately after the Christmas holidays to
undertake a concert tour, of which the profits, it is said, are to be devoted to
the endowment of a national school for music at Dublin, is the wife of one of
the impoverished British peers, the late earl, who himself was far from rich,
having left everything of which he could dispose to his widow- a second wife.
His first wife, the mother of the present peer, was a woman of rather humble
The present earl was formerly in the army, but
distinguished himself more as an amateur actor than as a soldier, his most
notable performance having been his presentation of "The Nurse" in his
burlesque of "Romeo and Juliet," given at the Queen's Theater, Dublin,
in behalf of some local charity. He has, besides this, one very peculiar hobby,
that of bootmaking.
Lady Limerick is a very beautiful woman, with dark hair
and typically Irish eyes, possessed of great musical talents, that are shared by
her sister. Indeed, the latter's performances on the violin, together with Lady
Limerick's singing and touch of the piano, served to secure them as young girls
the entree into Dublin society. The countess is the daughter of Joseph Burke
Irwin, a police magistrate of Limerick, and a granddaughter to that J.B. Irwin,
of Fenn Hall, Roscommon, who in the early days of the nineteenth century, was
known throughout Ireland by the soubriquet of "Hard Riding Johnny." It
was her uncle, Edward Irwin who was so conspicuous on the turf, and who with his
grand race horse, Faugh-a-Ballagh, won the historic St. Leger of 1844. She was
practically dowerless, and it was largely on this account that her
father-in-law, the late earl, so bitterly opposed her marriage.
The patronymic of the Lords of Limerick is Pery, which
does not prevent their claiming descent on the distaff side from the Plantagenet
kings. The first Pery of note was William Pery, Bishop of Limerick, who was
created Lord Glentworth in 1789. His son, for supporting the act of union and
for inducing the corporation and County of Limerick to do the same, was advanced
to the rank, first of Viscount and then of Earl of Limerick. The title of Lord
Glentworth is now borne by Lady Limerick's son, who has for his godmother the
Princess of Wales.
Should Lady Limerick's concert tour in America prove a
success, we may yet witness a whole string of British peeresses and women of
title and of the highest rank in English society coming over here to appear
before the American public for money in behalf of the charities and institutions
in which they are more particularly interested. Of course, it is only the net
profits that go to the charity or to the institution mentioned, after the
payment of all the expenses of the tour, and in this way duchesses,
marchionesses, and countesses will have an opportunity of visiting America free
of cost under the most favorable auspices, and, more over, will have the
additional advantage, not indifferent to the feminine mind of knowing that they
are to be seen not merely by that small fraction of people, but by the American
public at large.
Impresarios will doubtless be quick to take up this new
branch of industry, namely, the management of the concert tours of peeresses who
sing, play and recite for charity, and who, of course, will be on quite a
different footing to those impoverished scions of the European aristocracy, such
as, for instance, Lord Yarmouth, Lady Mansel, and "Princess Wrede,"
who have appeared before the American footlights in a purely professional
capacity for that charity that begins at home.
Dec 19, 1904
The name of de Vere occupies so much of the
attention of the American public in connection with the amazing frauds of Mrs.
Chadwick that it may be as well to mention that there is no relation whatsoever
between her and old Sir Stephen de Vere, who has just died in Ireland at Foynes
Island, his place in County Limerick, at the age of nearly ninety-four. Sir
Stephen, an elder brother of the Irish poet Aubrey de Vere, was for near half a
century one of the most prominent figures in Irish life and politics, and it is
the experience which he acquired on a voyage to this country in connection with
the Irish famine of 1847 that caused him to start the agitation which resulted
in effective legislation against those sinister engines of destruction, the
Sir Stephen and his brother, the late Aubrey de Vere
were such courtly old fellows and personified to so great a degree everything
that was patrician, that it is somewhat a shock to learn that the so
aristocratic name of de Vere came to them by adoption rather than by direct
inheritance. The family was founded by one of Cromwell's soldiers in Ireland of
the name of Hunt, who married Jane de Vere, granddaughter of the Earl of Oxford,
and a member of the noble English house of de Vere, long since extinct, of which
Lord Oxford was the chief. It was one of the descendants of this Cromwellian
soldier and of Jane de Vere, who, on marrying the sister of the first Lord
Limerick, dropped the name of Hunt and assumed that of his de Vere ancestress,
being subsequently created a baronet, and it is his grandson, the fourth
baronet, who has just died, without issue, the baronetcy becoming extinct, the
estates passing, however, to his grandnephew, Aubrey O'Brien, who will probably
now in turn assume the name of de Vere.
MARQUISE DE FONTENOY.