Descendants of families from great Irish houses gather

Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe’s book ‘Voices from the Great Houses’ launched

British Ambassador to Ireland  Dominick Chilcott (centre) with Muckross House trustees Maurice O’Keefe (left) and Michael Larkin at the house in Killarney, Co Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O'Sullivan

British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott (centre) with Muckross House trustees Maurice O’Keefe (left) and Michael Larkin at the house in Killarney, Co Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O'Sullivan

Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 06:00

The descendants of the occupants of the great houses of the southwest gathered for the first time in more than 100 years at Muckross House, Killarney, last Saturday.

The gathering of the descendents of the former gentry who arrived here in the 16th and 17th centuries coincided with the launch of a new book on life in the great houses of the region.Maurice and Jane O’Keeffe’s Voices from the Great Houses looks at life in such houses as Castle Townshend, Cahernane, The Reeks, Muckross, and Cahernane.

Among those attending the launch was Thomas Denny, descendant of the Denny family who have given their name to Tralee’s grandest street. He lives in Dorset where he is a stained-glass artist. He has renewed acquaintance with Tralee historians in recent years, allowing access to the family archive. “In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were around a dozen families who inter-married – Kerry gentry was notorious for all being cousins,” he said. It was 100 years since his family “were properly here,” he added.