Mitchelstown Matters


Sir, - Having lived in Mitchelstown, Co Cork for most of my life, I can't say I was overly surprised to find that The Irish Times has joined other national media in attempting to move the town into Co Tipperary. That, at least, was what Desmond O'Grady did in "To Mary Shelley, another lost child" (The Irish Times, October 13th.

In his article, Mr O'Grady also mentioned that the recently discovered short story by Mary Shelley was written for Laurette, a daughter of Margaret, Lady Mount Cashell (not Mountcashel). Margaret was the eldest daughter of Robert, Viscount Kingsborough and subsequently the second Earl of Kingston, of Mitchelstown Castle, Co Cork. In 1791 she married her Co Cork neighbour, Stephen, second Earl of Mount Cashell, part of whose demesne at Moorpark, Kilworth, is now operated as an agricultural research institute.

Not only was Margaret intimately associated with Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelly, but she also regarded Lord Edward Fitzgerald as a close friend. She occasionally described herself as "a Republican and a United Irishwoman". Shelley had such admiration for Margaret that she became "a lady, the wonder of her kind, whose form was up born by a lovely mind" in his poem The Sensitive Plant. Readers of your article, October 13th, would be forgiven for thinking that Lord Mount Cashell was Laurette's father. This was not so. Laurette was indeed Lady Mount Cashell's daughter, but her father was another Irishman, George William Tighe. He and Margaret became lovers in Italy in 1804. Soon afterwards she left her husband to live there with Tighe, whom she married after the death of the Earl of Mount Cashell in 1822. - Yours, etc., Bill Power,

Mulberry House, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.