Sir Robin Haydon


Sir, - Your obituary of Sir Robin Haydon (The Irish Times, December 11th) did not convey the warmth of personality and charm which he and his wife Elizabeth brought to their posting. Following the murder of his predecessor, Robin Haydon was very conscious of the danger of his post in those far-off days. Yet he and his wife led their lives, represented his sovereign's interests in the Republic and made a wide circle of friends.

I was lucky enough to know them well at that time and we visited each other's houses regularly. They were charming and delightful, while never letting their side down. Always kind, and to me the least of their considerations, they were very thoughtful and kind as they knew my parents were dying and made life tolerable at that time. As an example of this, it happened that at about this time of the year, after-dinner talk at Glencairn with Nicholas Monserrat turned bellicose, covering such areas as Irish neutrality in the second World War, Dev, and a proposed Red Hat for Tomas O Fiach. I left in high dudgeon at about 2 a.m.

Robin and Elizabeth, my hosts and the injured party, called on me the next day with flowers to resolve any distance which might have resulted form the bad behaviour of two of their guests. Noblesse and all that . . .

They never wavered from their sense of duty and obligation to their country, loved it, and loved being in Dublin; they were honourable, decent and lovely in their marriage. The awfulness of their subsequent lives is hardly to be thought about for such a gallant couple. They were the very best of their type, and Robin as ambassador was "a very gentle, parfait knight".

They were loved and are missed by many, not least by me. - Yours, etc.,

Ciaran MacGonigal, Director, The Hunt Museum, Limerick.