A newspaper MD’s daughter gets married in style and 14 Benedictine nuns return home

1916/2016: a miscellany

March 3rd, 1916

The daughter of the managing director of

The Irish Times

was married with much pomp and circumstance in London.

Victoria Arnott


was the daughter of Sir

John Arnott

, whose father, also called John, bought

The Irish Times

in 1873. Victoria Arnott married Lord de Freyne in Brompton Oratory, London, a well-known Catholic church.

De Freyne

was a member of the well-known French family from


, Co Roscommon.

They included among their number Field Marshal John French who had been the commander-in-chief of the British expeditionary force in France at the start of the first World War. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev Edward Pereira and the Rev John Talbot while Fr Brendan Vaughan gave an "eloquent address" to the newly married couple. Miss Arnott's dress was of rich ivory satin with drapery of old Honiton lace. The bride carried a sheaf of lilies.

The nuns at Ypres returned to Ireland via Euston Station in London. The 14 Irish Benedictine nuns had to flee their convent when fighting spread to Flanders in late 1914. They narrowly escaped German shells and were swiftly evacuated to London where they remained throughout 1915 and early 1916. They became something of a cause célèbre at the time following the publication of a bestselling book, The Nuns at Ypres, in 1915, which told of how their 250-year sojourn in Ypres came to an end the previous year.

It included a foreword from John Redmond (inset), whose niece, Dame Teresa, had been a nun in the convent. The Irish Times reported that the nuns were on their way to Co Wexford where they were establishing a convent. It also reported that Redmond had set up a fund to enable the sisters "to re-establish themselves in London".


The bullet scars that the GPO displays often seem like the only tangible reference to 1916 on its main stage of O’Connell Street. But in reality the entire street is a reference point to it, as it had to be entirely rebuilt in the aftermath of its destruction.


, the


and Eason’s, to name just a few, were all substantially reconstructed and laid the blueprint for the O’Connell Street that we know today. Next Wednesday, the president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI),

Robin Mandal

, will speak as part of the RDS Library Speaker Series on

Rebuilding Dublin after 1916

. The lecture takes place at 6.30pm in the RDS Library. Prof

Ronan Fanning

will give a lecture next Thursday on de


and 1916 at St Mary’s Church, Haddington Road, at 7.15pm. Prof Fanning is the author of

De Valera: A Will to Power