Ireland Old News

Washington Post
Washington DC, USA

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 parentage.
     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 so-called "coffin-ships."
     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.

Submitted by #I000525


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