Tag Archives: Sibling of Daedalus



From top: Lady Knayth; report of De Valera’s legal victory; Russel Square, Brighton in the 1930s.

He was bequeathed a fortune by a complete stranger of apparently unsound mind.

And fought off a legal challenge by her penniless brother.

So what happened to Eamon De Valera’s Brighton windfall?

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

In 1932 the dead body of Miss Polly Mary Fitzpatrick, former lady’s maid, was discovered in her house in Russell Square, Brighton. She had lain there for three weeks.

Miss Fitzpatrick was a Dubliner by birth, a Catholic, and a patriotic Irishwoman. She was also of a ‘very thrifty and remarkable disposition.’

Her late employer, Lady de Knayth, had left her a legacy of £200 a year, which, by astute investment, she had turned into the sum of £3000 – a very large estate indeed at that time.

She had also developed a habit of making wills. The year before her death, she had bequeathed the entirety of her property to Cardinal Bourne.

This was not her last will and testament, however.

After her death there was found, in an old skirt under her bed, tied in a silken girdle, a later will in favour of Eamon de Valera, President of the Irish Free State Executive Council.

Neither will contained any bequest to her brother, John Fitzpatrick, a former railwayman living in a flat in Rialto Buildings, Dublin on a pension of 6 shillings per week, and for whom the money, he told the Irish Times, would have been a godsend.

Mr Fitzpatrick challenged the will, and Mr de Valera resisted.

Legal proceedings ensued, and were heard in the Probate Court in London. Mr Justice Bateson, the judge assigned to the case, asked Mr de Valera’s counsel, TP O’Connor, if it ‘was a real fight or a sham fight’.

A real one, Mr O’Connor replied.

Mr Fitzpatrick argued that his sister was “of weak intellect, childish and eccentric, that in late years she had become a recluse, and that she had formed a dislike of persons from whom she was said to have derived pecuniary benefit.”

This apparently referred to the family of Lady de Knayth, with whom the deceased had fallen out, possibly because they resented her late employer’s legacy.

Mr de Valera’s counsel, on the other hand, described Miss Fitzpatrick as ‘an old fashioned lady’ who, though ‘self-contained’ and not inclined to mix freely with people, was financially astute, had many interests, including old furniture and objets d’art, and ‘took her meals daily in a good class restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Her bequest to his client had been made in recognition of his services to Ireland, and he had no intention of profiting from the estate, intending instead that the money would be used as a trust for public purposes of the kind which Miss Fitzpatrick was known to approve and desired to see advanced.

The burden of proving unsoundness of mind, in the case of a person making a will, is a heavy burden and rests on the person challenging the will. Mr Fitzpatrick did not succeed in satisifying it.

Mr De Valera won the case, and the money.

However I cannot find any further record of the Fitzpatrick Trust, which it was stated he intended to set up.


Tales of Old Dublin

Sources: (text) The Irish Times; the Times; the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette; the Gloucestershire Echo; the Northern Whig; the Edinburgh Evening News, MyBrightonandHove

Top: Lady Knayth by John Singer Sargent



Sibling of Daedalus writes:

I was struck by the Aran-sweatered beauty that graced the poster of [this week’s] Nialler9’s Gig of the Week (above) and, as part of my ongoing hunt for forgotten Irish beauties (male and female), did some research.

The model is an Irish-speaking girl from Rathfarnham [Dublin 14] called Orla Ni Shiochain who rose to fame in 1950s Paris as a house model for Nina Ricci. To wit:


….the head designer for Ricci at the time was the very talented Jules Crahay who trained with Dior and was a key figure in transitioning fashion from the New Look to a more contemporary style. Orla was included in an interview with Life Magazine that Jules and his house models did in 1960.

Orla married a Frenchman, and died some years ago. The photograph shown on the poster (top) is one of a series taken in her parents’ back garden when she was home for Christmas 1962. You can see the full set on the Irish Photoshelter Archive here.

Sibling Of Daedalus


The sink hole (top) and College Green, Dublin in 1707, including sedan chair

The six-feet-deep sink hole at the George’s Street junction of Dame Street, around 100 metres from the Olympia Theatre “might be part of a long-rumoured tunnel used by 19th century politicians to go to brothels,” according to The Herald.


Also: Hmm.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

Possibly they got the century wrong, as the Act of Union closed down the Irish Parliament in 1801, bringing an end to the profitable Temple Bar brothel quarter.

This aside, I haven’t been able to locate any reference to such tunnels in contemporaneous historical works, and perhaps there was no need for them, as enclosed sedan chairs provided an equally discreet way for 18th century gentlemen to go about their romantic business.

There’s another network of tunnels under Dame Street, though; the underground Poddle river tunnel network, running from Ship Street past the Olympia, under the Central Bank and out into the Liffey through the big grate below the Clarence Hotel on Wellington Quay.

The hole in Dame Street must be very close to the Poddle network. Or perhaps it is simply, as Dublin City Council has said, a cellar? Incidentally, there was once a well-documented underground tunnel leading from Harcourt Street to the Iveagh Gardens; it may even be still there, although the Luas works on Harcourt Street didn’t manage to turn up any trace of it…


Sibling of Daedalus

College Green illustration via: Come Here To Me

Top pic: Adam Sherry


He left Dublin with a wild streak and a killer smile.

After siring 24 offspring with multiple mothers.

But enough about Colin Farrell.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

Apparently this date in 1927 was the date of birth, in Dublin Zoo, of Cairbre [Irish mythological name], later re-christened Leo and the first MGM lion to roar on the silver screen. The problem is, there were at least 5 MGM lions, all of whom were rechristened Leo. The most likely candidate is this one, photographed being filmed in the early 1930s. Hear him roar (or gently growl) in the MGM video (above).
Cairbre is recorded in the RDS records as having sired 24 cubs, before being put down in 1944 (some say, for attacking a cameraman).
Dublin Zoo was approached again in 1950 to supply 15 lions to kill Christians in the Easter perennial Quo Vadis (1951), starring Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr. It refused.


Sibling of Daedalus


You can count on us.

We lied.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

Further to your WWI tank competition, a copy of a propaganda poster circulated by the American-Irish Defense Association, an organisation set up in 1940 to argue for American support for Irish participation in the defence of the Atlantic and the British Isles.

Controlled by the British Special Operations Executive, AIDA, as it was known, became the source of mockery in the pro-neutrality paper the Irish World after it published a propaganda paper referring to ‘the Irish Free State’ ‘which hasn’t been for some years’.

A 1941 cable subsequently sent by AIDA to Eamon de Valera calling on him to protect ‘the Atlantic lifeline of civilization’ did not result in any change in neutrality. It seems that America, after all, could not count on the Irish. Nice poster though!

Pic via Ebay


Cromwellian Dublin.

No city for slackers/businesswomen.

“… it is therefore ordered and agreed upon, by the authorities aforesaid, that there be beadles appointed in every parish of this city to be maintained by the inhabitants of each parish, and that forthwith there shall be a large cage set in the Cornmarket, where the beadles and constables are to imprison all beggars, idle women and maids selling apples and oranges and all idle boys and all other idlers, who are to be kept there until they shall be examined and punished.. the said cage to be built at the city’s charge.”

From the Dublin Assembly Roll,, 1659

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

“No sign of the Cage (situated at the junction of High Street and Thomas Street, Dublin) remains today; it was destroyed when King Charles II (a monarch with a soft spot for idlers and orange-sellers) returned to the throne the following year…Those unfortunate enough to end up in the Great Cage were, if they were lucky. and thought capable of reform, released after ‘chastisement’. The truly irredeemable idlers, on the other hand, were transported to the West Indies to work as indentured labourers. Broadsheet commenters take note…”


Sibling of Daedalus

PNP256386Dublin 1740.

The hungry rising.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

“Tonight is the anniversary of the start of the Great Dublin Bread Riots which began in the early hours of 31 May 1740 and lasted until the 2nd June. According to this account:-

“Several hundred persons banded themselves together, and, proceeding to the bakers’ shops and meal stores, took the bread and meal into the streets, and sold them to the poor at low prices… Some days after the riot the Lord Mayor issued a proclamation giving permission to “foreign bakers and others” to bake bread in Dublin; he also sent to all the churchwardens of the city to furnish him with information of any persons who had concealed corn on their premises; he denounced “forestallers,” who met in the suburbs the people coming in with provisions, in order to buy them up before they reached the market; thus in a great measure justifying the rioters who were whipped and transported. The bakers began to bake household bread, which for some time they had ceased to do, and prices fell”

The riots took place against the context of the other Great Famine of 1740 during which it has been suggested 38% of the population died.Some of the rioters paid for the bread; others did not, all were threatened with excommunication by their respective churches. Quite a few ‘respectable’ citizens participated in the riots, and were subjected to transportation as a result. Harsh times indeed.”

Sibling of Daedalus

Extract Via History of the Great Irish Famine


Squatting rights and fake gold?

To Dalkey then…

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

“We all know about the Great Dalkey Land-Grab of 2008. But did your readers know that the practice of squatting and gold-digging in Dalkey has been going on for over a century?
Back in the day the Commons of Dalkey was common grazing land which spread over Dalkey Hill nearly to Bray. When stone quarrying started on Dalkey Hill (“the Long Rock”) in 1817 the workers from the quarries built makeshift places of residence on the commons.
Largely unnoticed at first, the Dalkey miners came to public prominence in 1834 when the daughter of one of them, Miss Etty Scott (a fine-looking girl by all accounts) made claim that a horde of Viking gold was buried under the hill.
Miss Scott’s assertion resulted in the establishment of a Dalkey Goldmining Society and much digging, which ended ignominiously with the only thing discovered in the hill a bag of angry cats left there by prankster Trinity College medical students*
There was a happy ending for the Dalkey miners however; a case around the same time involving squatters on Ballymore Eustace held that they were entitled to ownership of the land occupied by them for the past twenty or so years, and they sold their plots (on which most of the big houses of Dalkey were subsequently built) to building speculators for substantial sums of money.
Sadly, the fair Etty (described by ballad singers of the day as ‘Dalkey’s beautiful dreamer’) failed to benefit from the sale of her father’s plot, having died of consumption, or possibly chagrin not long after the failure of her abortive gold mining enterprise…”

The Dalkey Gold Dreamer (Enterprising irishman)

*the cats were covered in phosphorescent to make them glow in the dark.

Pic via homethoughtsfromabroad

dog[A Newfoundland saves a young girl  from the River Liffey  a child]

Baby saves dog.


Dog saves baby.

Now you’re talking.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

“Just browsing through ‘Brown’s ‘Biographical Sketches and Authentic Anecdotes of Dogs’ (as you do) when I came across this daring canine act of bravery at Carlisle (now O’Connell) Bridge.

One day, as a little girl was amusing herself with a child, near Carlisle Bridge, Dublin, and was sportively toying with the child, he made a sudden spring from her arms, and in an instant fell into the river. The screaming nurse and anxious spectators saw the water close over the child, and conceived that he had sunk to rise no more.
A Newfoundland dog, which had been accidentally passing with his master, sprang forward to the wall, and gazed wistfully at the ripple in the water, made by the child’s descent. At the same instant the dog sprang forward to the edge of the water. While the animal was descending, the child again sunk, and the faithful creature was seen anxiously swimming round and round the spot where he had disappeared. Once more the child rose to the surface; the dog seized him, and with a firm but gentle pressure, bore him to land without injury.
“Meanwhile a gentleman arrived, who, on inquiry into the circumstances of the transaction, exhibited strong marks of interest and feeling toward the child, and of admiration for the dog that had rescued him from death. The person who had removed the child from the dog turned to show him to the gentleman, when there were presented to his view the well-known features of his own son! A mixed sensation of terror, joy, and surprise, struck him mute. When he had recovered the use of his faculties, and fondly kissed his little darling, he lavished a thousand embraces on the dog, and offered to his master five hundred guineas if he would transfer the valuable animal to him; but the owner of the dog felt too much affection for the useful creature, to part with him for any consideration whatever.

For anyone interested in the exact location, it seems to have been at Aston Quay and it seems to have happened some time in the late 18th century. The name of the dog is unknown, but it apparently belonged to Colonel Wynne. Long-time readers of Broadsheet may remember another post 9link below0 about a different Newfoundland dog which took part in a daring sea rescue some years later, and now haunts St Patrick’s Cathedral…

Previously: The Dog That Haunts St Patrick’s Cathedral

Sibling of Daedalus


Raise a ticket stub to William Dargan.

Without him you’d be on the bus.

Sibling of Daedalus writes:

“Readers taking the train or DART home today might be interested to know that it is the birthday of William Dargan, who not only brought the railway to Ireland but was the only Irishman ever to have a statue erected to him in his own lifetime, displayed at the Irish Industrial Exhibition  which took place on Leinster Lawn [Dublin] in 1853, and which he underwrote.
Queen Victoria attended the exhibition and was very taken with Dargan, whom she found ‘touchingly modest and simple’, going so far as to press his arm to show him that she had ‘the… intellect to understand and… heart to appreciate’ his work.
Dargan, an Irish patriot whose fortune declined in later years, invited the Queen to tea at his home in Mount Anville, but steadfastly refused to accept a knighthood. Meanwhile, the Queen’s husband, Prince Albert, remarked sniffily that the Irish public ‘looked like Italian beggars’. I am not sure what happened to his larger-than-life statue (shown above) but I think there is still a mural of the dashingly frockcoated Dargan up on the wall at Bray station?”


Sibling of Daedalus

Print via MonkstownParish.ie