Elizabeth Of Austria
Sir, - Denis Staunton's Berlin Letter of August 25th refers to the visits of Empress Elizabeth of Austria to Spain, the Middle East and England. She also visited Ireland in 1879 and 1880 to hunt in Meath and Kildare and visited Maynooth College three times.
The first visit was accidental, as she followed a stag into the college grounds through a gap in the wall. When she dismounted the Vice-President (Dr William Walsh) paid his respects and invited her to take refreshment. He proffered his cloak, which she accepted, and she later acknowledged his courtesy with the gift of a diamond ring. She came again a few days later to attend Mass. At that time she was staying at Summerhill, Co Meath.
In February 1880 she again visited the college and this time she brought with her from Vienna a three-feet-high, solid silver statue of St George and the Dragon (she thought that St George was the Patron Saint of Ireland).
After she returned to Austria she sent a set of cloth-of-gold vestments decorated with shamrocks in green silk and bearing the arms of Austria, Bavaria and Lorraine under the cross on the front of the chasuble. On the lining are embroidered in green and gold the name Elizabeth and the date 1880. - Yours, etc. A. L. Connolly,