Henry Edmond Taaffe Ferrall1832

Henry Edmond Taaffe Ferrall 1832

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In 1863, the Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser (Monday 26th January 1863) reported that Henry Taaffe Ferrall of 3 Regina Terrace, Raglan Road, Dublin, had been newly appointed the Resident Magistrate and Justice of the Peace for County Roscommon.

In August of 1863, the lease of Moylurg House, Clogher, near Boyle, Co. Roscommon, was advertised for sale by George Henry Hackett, Peter Aungier* and John Law Hackett:-

The Evening Freeman, Thursday 20th August 1863:-

Houses & Lands, County Roscommon

To be sold, the House, Offices, and lands of Moylurg, as held under the Viscount Lorton at a low rent for a long term, with a covenant of renewal.

The house is very commodious, and suitable for a gentleman of position. It is situate on the banks of the Lower Cavetown Lake [now Clogher Lough], of which it commands a beautiful view, and is well sheltered by ornamental plantations. The Lawn and Pleasure Grounds are tastefully planted and laid out.

The Lands (a limestone formation) contain 160 acres exclusive of waste, and are of the finest fattening quality and are also well adapted for tillage or meadow.

The plantation consists of Oak, Ash, Larch, Fir, Spruce &c, interspersed with old timber. In fact, the property is at once a picturesque and beautiful gentleman’s residence, and a valuable and productive first-rate farm.

There are two approaches, one to Boyle, a station on the Midland and Great Western railway, two and a half miles distant; the second towards Carrick-on-Shannon Station, three miles distant.

The Farmyard is large. Stabling and Offices extensive. The Garden exceeds half an acre. The County Hounds are within eight miles and the Boyle & Leitrim Hounds hunt over the plains of Boyle of which the above Lands form part.

The Upper Cavetown Lake is close to the Lower [Clogher Lough] and both contain the finest trout and char.

A portion of the purchase money can remain outstanding on such terms as may be agreed on.

For particulars, apply to G. H. Hackett Esq, 24 Lower Baggot-street Dublin; to Peter Aungier Esq, 70 North King-street Dublin**, and to John L. Hackett Esq, Ardcarne, Boyle.

By late 1863, Moylurg House had become the residence of the aforementioned Henry Edmond Taaffe Ferrall and his wife, Alice Mary (née Keogh), who leased it for the next 35 years and made a multitude of improvements to the house and gardens, many of which still exist.

The couple married on 7th August 1855 at St Mary’s Church, Haddington Road, Dublin.

Alice was the youngest daughter of Robert John Keogh (c.1825–1880) – the grandson of John Keogh* of Mount Jerome, Dublin – and Anna Vavasour Temperance Jennings (d. 31st August 1907, aged 68, at Sutton), the second daughter of Richard Jennings of Delgany. Alice’s siblings were John Wolfe Keogh (b. 1864), Wilhemina Catherine (b. 8th August 1867 at Drumsna), Robert John (b. 17th February 1870), and Henry Christian Keogh (b. 24th January 1875).

*Alice’s great-grandfather, John Keogh (1740–1817) made his fortune in silk and brewing in Dublin, and from purchasing and leasing land in Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo. This earned him a reputed income of around £6,000 per annum in the late 1790s (just short of £1 million today). A famous and influential campaigner for Catholic emancipation, he was described by the Irish Whig politician Henry Grattan Jnr (1789–1859) as “the ablest man of the Catholic body… few men of that class were superior in intellect, or even equal to him. His mind was strong and his head was clear… he did more for the Roman Catholics than any other individual of that body.”

The 1793 Relief Act was one of Keogh’s biggest achievements, although it stopped short of total emancipation. In his own words, Keogh “devoted nearly 30 years of my life for the purpose of breaking the chains of my countrymen”. He was a close friend and confidante of the Irish revolutionary leader, Wolfe Tone, who said of him, “I can sincerely say that one of my greatest pleasures, which I anticipated in case of our success, was the society of Mount Jerome, where I have spent many happy days, and some of them serviceable to the country. It was there that he [John Keogh] and I used to frame our papers and manifestoes. It was there that we drew up the petition and vindication of the Catholics, which produced such powerful effects both in England and Ireland.”

John Keogh’s former mansion and lands at Mount Jerome, in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, were purchased by the General Cemetery Company in 1836 and became known as Mount Jerome Cemetery. It was the first privately owned cemetery in Ireland, spans nearly 50 acres and contains more than 300,000 graves.

Henry Taaffe Ferrall had aristocratic connections. He was the son of Edmond Taaffe (b. 1802) of Woodfield, County Mayo, and Louisa Bridget, daughter of Richard Ferrall of Corkagh, County Roscommon. 

Henry’s grandparents were Henry Edmond Taaffe and Eleanor Athy, the only daughter of Edmond Lynch Athy and his wife, Margaret (née Lynch), of Renville Castle, Oranmore, County Galway. Margaret was Phillip Lynch’s heiress and inherited the Renville estate (now known as Rinville Park, a public recreation park) passed into the hands of the Athy family upon Margaret’s marriage to Henry Taaffe Ferrall’s great-grandfather.

Henry’s branch of the Taaffe family was descended from a common ancestor shared with the 10th Viscount Charles Rudolph Josef Francis Clement Taaffe, an Austrian aristocrat (whose mother was Amelia, daughter of the Prince of Bretzenheim Regents). Viscount Taaffe is described in the 1860 publication of The County Families of the United Kingdom as “Count of the Holy Roman Empire, and Chamberlain to the Emperor of Austria”. His home was listed as Elischal Castle (Schloss Ellischau), Bohemia. The Irish titles of Viscount Taaffe included Earl of Carlingford, Baron Ballymote and Viscount Taaffe of Corren. The family’s titles were forfeited in 1919, when the Taaffes sided with the enemies of Great Britain during World War I, and their Austrian titles were also no longer recognised by the socialist Austrian government.

The Taaffes had been one of Ireland’s leading families since the 13th century. They moved from Wales to Ireland around 1196 and records show that, by 1320, William Taaffe’s seat was Smarmore Castle in Co. Louth. The Taaffe family still lived at Smarmore until the 1980s. It is now a private clinic treating drug and alcohol abuse.

In addition to his newly-appointed position as Justice of the Peace for Roscommon, Henry Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg House was also a Captain in the British Indian Military Forces and, from 1877, Deputy-Lieutenant of the 3rd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers (formerly the South Mayo Militia). 

The Connaught Rangers was an Irish line infantry regiment of the British Army. They were known as ‘line’ infantry due to their rank formations in battle, which consisted of two to four ranks of foot soldiers arranged in rigid alignment for maximum firepower. Between the time of its formation and Irish Independence, the Connaught Rangers was one of eight Irish regiments recruited largely in Ireland and its fierce fighting reputation earned it the nickname The Devil’s Own

A leading Irish Unionist, firmly opposed to home rule for Ireland and a Roman Catholic, Henry Taaffe Ferrall was also a long-term member of the Board of Guardians of the South Dublin Union. 

Henry and Alice Taaffe Ferrall owned a house at 73* Merrion Square (South), Dublin, for 40 years, from 1866–1906; a fine four-storey brick Georgian townhouse consisting of three bays over a basement, with a three-storey return and a mews stable house, yard and external vaulted cellars. 

Now part of Dublin’s famous historic quarter, in the Taaffe Ferralls’ time, Merrion Square was a residential district for wealthy aristocrats who often had country estates elsewhere. It is considered one of Dublin's finest surviving examples of a Georgian square. In the 18th century, William Wilson wrote of it: “…besides the other streets and buildings in this quarter, there is a new square which is nearly as extensive as Stephen’s-green, called Merrion-square: it was laid out some years ago by the late Lord Fitzwilliam; the buildings, except a few, are quite finished, and the centre (like Rutland and Mountjoy-squares) is enclosed with iron palisades, &c. and formed into a beautiful garden, adorned with shrubberies, gravel-walks, and handsome entrance lodges.”

Oscar Wilde's parents, Sir William and Lady Jane Wilde, owned 1 Merrion Square and the famous playwright lived there from 1855–1878; Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell resided at number 58; and the eminent poet W. B. Yeats lived at number 82.  Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington (1769–1852) – twice elected Prime Minister of Great Britain and conqueror of Napoleon’s army at the Battle of Waterloo – was born in one of the four Georgian townhouses house that now make up the Merrion Hotel (he often described himself as having been “born in an Irish stable”!). The British Embassy once stood at number 39, but it was burned to the ground following the ‘Bloody Sunday’ shootings in the early 1970s. No.73 Merrion Square still stands and is now owned by the Irish Traditional Music Archive.

* [The Dublin Registry of Deeds holds documents which show that the house number was changed from 15 to 73 in 1880, during the Taaffe Ferrall's tenure.]

The Traditional Music Archive's brochure states that: "The history of the houses on Merrion Square mirrors the elite social and economic history of Dublin and Ireland during most of their 200 and more years. Built by speculative developers and wealthy tradesmen, they were at first the townhouses of the nobility and gentry of the Ascendency (including members of the Irish Parliament), of the upper clergy of the Established Church, of the judiciary, and of lawyers prominent in government.

"Their earliest owners may have felt them to be rather cramped by comparison to their country houses and estates, with servants in unwelcome proximity."

Henry Taaffe Ferrall’s name frequently appears in The Irish Times of the period, attending the Lord Lieutenant's Levée in Dublin Castle, taking part in notable court cases, or involved in charitable Poor Law activities. He was a member of the Junior United Services Club on St Stephens Green, a prestigious military gentlemen’s club for the use of officers of the British Army and Royal Navy, and he was also a member of the infamous Kildare Street Club, a gentlemen’s club described by The Building News in 1859 as “an institution famous for aristocracy, claret and whist…”which existed from 1782–1977. Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, was also a member.

On 8th May 1864, Louisa Bridget Taaffe – Henry Taaffe Ferrall’s mother – died, aged 67, at her home in Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, leaving her son £450 [roughly £55,470 today] in her Will.

The Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette, on Saturday 16th September 1865, listed Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg as having donated £2 (roughly £250 in today’s money) to the Catholic Young Men’s Society*. The same list of donors shows that Lord Lorton gave £10 [roughly £1,200 today] in addition to his annual subscription of £5, and the O’Conor Don is also reported to have donated £10. Other prominent local names on the list include Caleb Robertson, O.D.J. Grace and John Law Hackett.

In 1866, the year in which he was sworn in as High Sheriff* of Roscommon, Major Henry Taaffe Ferrall was reported to have met with early Land League resistance from his tenants in Ballintober, Co. Roscommon, who refused his offer of a 15 percent abatement in rents. John Law Hackett of Ardcarne House, from whom he had purchased the lease of Moylurg, was sworn in as his Sub-Sheriff. (Source: Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette, 3rd February 1866).

*The High Sheriff of Roscommon was the British Crown's judicial representative in Co. Roscommon from 1575 until 1922, when the office was abolished in the new Irish Free State and replaced by the office of Roscommon County Sheriff. The High Sheriff had judicial, electoral, ceremonial and administrative functions and executed High Court Writs. 

The usual procedure for appointing the High Sheriff from 1660 onwards was that three men from the county were nominated at the beginning of each year and the Lord Lieutenant then selected the one who would be High Sheriff for the next 12 months. 

On Saturday 13th April 1867, the Roscommon Messenger advertised that there would be a sale on the 14th May of the estate of Louisa Bridget Taaffe, widow of Edmond Taaffe (Henry Taaffe Ferrall’s parents). This was not a straightforward affair, as the dispersal and sale of the estate had still not concluded 37 years later, after Henry had died. In the Land Judge's Court in Dublin in 1904, Mr Justice Ross declared it "a very peculiar estate" held in Rundale (communal tenant occupation) and consisting of 17 townlands. It was finally purchased for £31,600 [c. £4 million in 2021] by the Congested Districts Board in May 1904 from Mr Gerald More O'Farrell - the owner and petitioner "in lieu of the late Henry Taaffe Ferrall". (sources: Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette, Dublin Daily Express).

On Wednesday 11th March 1868, the London Daily News published a Declaration from a list of “aggrieved” Catholic gentlemen; among the signatories was Henry Taaffe Ferrall, D.L. Captain, Moylurg, Co. Roscommon:-

“We, the undersigned Irish Catholic Laymen, deem it our duty to contradict publicly the assertion that we do not feel aggrieved by the present Ecclesiastical Settlement of Ireland. We feel, with reference to that settlement, as our Protestant fellow-countrymen in England, Ireland and Scotland would feel if they were subjected to like injustice. The indignity of the religion and of the people of Ireland demands religious equality; and we are convinced that without religious equality there cannot be generated and secured that respect for law, and those relations of mutual goodwill, which constitutes the true foundation for national prosperity.”

On Friday 14th August 1868, Henry Taaffe Ferrall made an appearance as a Steward at the Roscommon Races (Source: Dublin Evening Mail). Ireland has always had a rich history of horse racing (point to point originated there) and Roscommon Racecourse had been operating unofficially since members of the British Military, who were based in the town, began racing there in 1837. It became an official racecourse in 1885. 

On Saturday 20th March, 1869, the Warder & Dublin Weekly Mail reported that Henry Taaffe Ferrall had been re-sworn in as a member of the Grand Jury for Co. Roscommon. 

The Irish Times, on Friday 10th June 1870, reported that:-

“The noble proprietor of Rockingham, the Earl of Kingston, being one of those landlords who, in the West of Ireland, wish to use their wealth and position in such a manner as to benefit their tenantry and all those around them, allows me to state that, with those views and the desire of organizing an agricultural show to be held in the month of September next, at Boyle, his lordship kindly invited his tenantry to meet him this day, at Rockingham, to aid in arranging the necessary preliminaries, and to partake of a sumptuous entertainment.

“The town of Boyle, with the consequent outlay and employment to be given, will in every respect be improved, as it is the intention of many experienced farmers and personages of distinction to be present during the week of the agricultural show in September next.

An influential committee, consisting of Major Ffolliott of Hollybrook; Messrs Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg…etc.”

Freeman's Journal on Friday 16th September 1870, records that Henry Taaffe Ferrall did, indeed, attend the Rockingham Estate Agricultural Show, which he had helped to organise. The weather in the earlier part of the day was“rather unpropitious, but towards noon it cleared up and the afternoon proved exceedingly fine.”

On 4th February 1871, the death of Oliver Dowel John Grace of Mantua House, Elphin, was announced. He was the father-in-law of Henry Taaffe Ferrall’s only sister, Barbara Eleanor. Just two years later, on 1st February 1873, the Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette reported the death of Barbara Eleanor Grace.

The same newspaper, on 1st February 1873, also carried a report of Captain Henry Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg attending the Lord Lieutenant’s first Levée of the season at Dublin Castle. Other prominent guests and neighbours of Taaffe Ferrall attending the event included the present High Sheriff of Roscommon, Thomas Y. L. Kirkwood of Woodbrook; Lieutenant-Colonel Ffolliott of Hollybrook; Colonel Clements of the Leitrim Rifles; and Captain Irwin of the Roscommon Militia.

The Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette, on Saturday 27th December 1873 reported that a hunt on St Stephen’s Day was “largely and fashionably attended”, starting at Pullower and covering Ardcarne, Carramore, Navarino, Moylurg, Eastersnow and “finally yielding up the ghost at Croghan”.

In vivid contrast to the pursuits of the 'Gentry', in the same issue, directly below this report, was the following article:-

CHRISTMAS AT THE WORKHOUSE– The Inmates at the Boyle Workhouse were, on Christmas day, provided with tea, breakfast and substantial meat dinner, which, at the present season, when every heart glows with cheer, brought a merry Christmas to the many who reverses have compelled to take up their abode in the workhouse; and it was gratifying to observe that whilst the utmost good order prevailed throughout the establishment, every brow wore an expression of happiness which silently bespoke the gratitude felt for this well-timed bounty, which was done ample justice by the recipients, who included every stage of years from the lisping tongue to the tottering 80."

In 1874, Captain Henry Taaffe Ferrall was promoted to Hon. Major in a published List of Regimental Officers in the Indian Military Forces of Great Britain (source: Oxford University). 

On Saturday 27th November 1874, the Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette published the Minutes of the weekly Boyle Poor Law meeting. Printed every week, these gave a commentary on the goings on at Boyle Workhouse. The chairman was the Hon. Lawrence H. King Harman of Rockingham, with Captain Robertson Jnr, Major Henry Taaffe Ferrall, J. D. Mac Dermott and John Mulrooney making up the Board of Guardians present. 

The Medical Officer’s report stated:-

"Admitted to hospital, week ended 7th November – 6, discharged – 9, died – nil. In hospital – 58. Number in workhouse – 224. Cost of provisions – £38 16s 8d. Number receiving outdoor relief – 173, costing £8 19s 6d."

On the 18th January 1879, the Longford Journal carried the tragic story of the loss of a pack of hunting hounds and a deer at Lower Cavetown Lake (now called Clogher Lough) in full sight of the occupants of Moylurg House:-


"A sad accident occurred to this famous and splendid pack of hounds on Wednesday last. The meet was at the Roscommon Club, Boyle, where the frost was much greater than at the kennels. However, all were anxious for a run, and a magnificent red hind was engaged near the town and bounded off in a grand style—ten minutes’ law. The pack was then laid on, and went away at a clipping pace over Grange, through tremendous stiff country, towards Ballymore. They then wheeled across the Roscommon road, over the far famed plains to Moylurg, on Lower Cavetown Lake, which was all frozen over. The lake is a large one. At the brink, the racing pack viewed the deer, she went on the ice, and hounds and deer went slipping and sliding right into the centre of the lake; here she was pulled down, with the whole pack all round her. 

"The master, John Cooke, R. McEntyre, and some of the field, were on the brink, but the ice would not bear their weight. In vain both master and Cooke blew their horns but the gallant pack were too ‘varmint’ to leave their game. Too well we know if the ice gave all were lost. 

"Suddenly, a loud crash was heard and a large crack appeared all over the lake. Still no assistance could be rendered to get them back. In another second the ice gave under the weight, and both deer and hounds were in the water. A boat by this time had been procured, but the ice was not strong enough to bear it, and still too strong to be broken. Some of the gentlemen present rendered every help with crowbars and sticks to try and break the ice to enable the boat to work, but all efforts were in vain—the hounds were about four hundred yards away, so all attempts to help them was fruitless. It was a trying and most pityful sight for the master to see the poor creatures trying to scramble up the breaking ice and to hear their cries, toiling if possible to answer the sound of the warm and well-known voice of their huntsman and their master, who often cheered them on to victory and the finish of many a gallant run; but, alas, all was now over, and this was to be their last hunt. The sight was too much for the master to lose the pride of his kennels —the very ones he had so much trouble and expense in bringing to such perfection by breeding, etc, from the best blood in England. He leaned over his brown mare and grieved like a child. 

"Of the fifteen couple out four couple scrambled back to land, all the dog hounds were lost. The field were willing to do anything in their power to save the pack, but nothing could be done, and all felt the loss most keenly. Poor Cooke, seeing his beauties dying before his eyes, made many efforts to risk his life on the frail ice, but he was restrained by the crowd, who knew all attempts were in vain. There are, of course, enough hounds left to pull through the season, but losing such a number of really splendid ones is a loss not easily made good, as those well-know who remember Alfred, Minrod, Hasty, Dainty, and others equal to them in every way. The master must only throw himself on the generosity of sporting fellow masters to make up his loss for the present until the new entry come up."

On 10th July 1880, the Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette named Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg as a member of the Grand Jury Panel. 

The Dublin Daily Express, on Saturday 9th October 1880 reported that at the monthly meeting of the Directors of the City of Dublin Hospital, Surgeon Wheeler handed over £2 2s [roughly £240 in 2020] on behalf of Major Henry Taaffe Ferrall.

In 1881, the Major – soon to be promoted to Colonel Taaffe Ferrall and his wife, Alice, were prominent Roscommon landowners, who are recorded in the book, The Great Landowners of Great Britain & Ireland (4th edition, published in 1883) as owning 5,140 acres. 

On 2nd July 1881, it was reported by the Dublin Weekly Nation that Colonel Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg, Boyle, had carried out two tenant evictions:-

"Luke Dockery, Doneen, 10 in family; rent – £8; valuation - £6 5s; £31 due [roughly £3,700 in arrears today]; has been admitted as caretaker; has no means of living. Thomas Sharkey, 7 in family; rent – £15 5s; valuation, £13 5s; rent increased £2 10s in 1872; £23 12s 2d due [roughly £3,000 in arrears today]; has been admitted as caretaker; has no means of living."

In stark contrast, the Irish Times, on 5th December 1881, reported that Mrs H. Taaffe Ferrall of Moylurg and 73 Merrion Square, Dublin, had been elected a member of the Royal Horticultural Society.  

On June 16, 1888, the Sligo Champion reported the funeral of Colonel Edward Robert King-Harman (3rd April 1838–12th June 1888), which took place from his home at Rockingham. The paper's description of King-Harman was less than admiring: "It is said that a prophet has no honour in his own country; still less – as recent Irish history shows – has the village tyrant. The extent to which the late master of Rockingham could play the tyrant of the fields is only known to those of the tenants of his vast estates (including the residents of Boyle) who felt the force of his vindictive power. The Irish race, however, are a forgiving race, they do not carry the war of politics beyond the grave, and so it was that Colonel King-Harman was followed on Thursday to his last resting place by as large a gathering of his countrymen as if his latter days had not been spent in reviling and abusing, in imprisoning and torturing them."

The Hon. Mrs Taaffe Ferrall is reported to have sent flowers in the shape of a cross, but there is no record of the Taaffe Ferralls attending the funeral. Their tenure at Moylurg House was drawing to a close and their thoughts and time were, perhaps, being directed more frequently towards Dublin.

The Dublin Daily Express on Monday 30 July 1888, reported that Major Henry Taaffe Ferrall had been appointed Vice-President of The City of Dublin Unionist Registration Association, 9 Dawson St, Dublin, serving under the President, Sir Edward C. Guinness*.

*Edward Cecil Guinness (1847–1927), 1st Earl of Iveagh, was an Irish businessman and philanthropist. A member of the prominent Anglo-Irish Guinness family, he was the head of the family's eponymous brewing business, making him the richest man in Ireland. He is best remembered for his provision of affordable housing in London and Dublin through charitable trusts.

On Saturday 31st March 1894, an advertisement in the Irish Independent announced that the Moylurg lease was To Be Auctioned:-


On the Premises on the 5th April 1894


3 miles from Boyle Station on Midland Railway. 160 Irish acres, held under lease, subject to £198 15s 5d, with gentleman’s residence, two gate lodges, pleasure grounds, walled-in garden, green houses, good stabling and farmyard, with large cattle shed. All buildings and improvements were erected by Lessee. For further particulars and conditions of sale, apply to: John O’Hagan, Solicitor, 9 Harcourt Street, Dublin; or to Mr Cunningham, Auctioneer, Boyle.

Four months later, presumably having already relinquished the lease of Moylurg, Freeman’s Journal, on Wednesday 18th July 1894, lists Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Taaffe Ferrall D.L. as a member of the Mansion House Committee formed in Dublin for the purpose of “promoting the permanent improvement of the condition of the Achill islanders”:-

“The recent calamity, by which so many of the poor people of Achill lost their lives migrating to England and Scotland in search of harvest employment, has caused public attention to be fixed upon that district.”

On June 14th 1894, 32 Achill islanders had drowned at Westport Bay when the boat they were on hit a sand bank, listed to one side and threw the passengers into the water. Some drowned in their cabins, others became entangled in sails and ropes. About 70 people were saved by boats that came to the rescue. The committee set to work, appealing in the Press for relief for those who had lost their breadwinners. They received a generous response and collected £3,000 [roughly £383,000 today] for the relatives of those drowned. They also erected a large headstone with the names of the deceased. (Source: Achill Holidays)

On 30th September 1896, Freeman’s Journal carried a report on a scandalous “shooting affray” at Moylurg, which must have raised the eyebrows of its former inhabitants, Colonel and Mrs Henry Taaffe Ferrall, now residing full time at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin. The shooting affray involved the new owner of Moylurg, Mr James Martin J.P.

Henry Taaffe Ferrall died two years later, at 73 Merrion Square, on 27th August 1898. His Obituary states: 

"Colonel Henry Taaffe Ferrall, of Moylurg, County Roscommon, whose death is announced as having taken place at his Dublin residence, in Merrion Square, at the age of 66, was the eldest son of the late Mr Edmond Taaffe, of Woodfield, County Mayo, by his marriage with Louisa, daughter of Mr Richard Ferrall, of Moylurg, whose name he subsequently assumed in addition to his patronymic. He was born in 1832, and married in 1855 Alice Mary, daughter of Mr John Keogh, of Lis-a-lea, County Dublin. He was a Magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Roscommon, of which County he served the office of High Sheriff in 1866, and he was formerly Lieutenant- Colonel of the South Mayo Militia (the 3rd Battalion of the Connaught Rangers)."

An intriguing footnote to the Taaffe Ferrall years at Moylurg House is a gravestone in Eastersnow Cemetery bearing the dedication:-

"IHS, Erected to Margaret Halpin, the faithful servant of Henry Taaffe Ferrall Esq, Moylurg, died 17 September 1870, May She Rest in Peace, Amen."

Erected during the class-ridden Victorian era, there was speculation locally that this tribute hinted at an illicit affair between Henry Taaffe Ferrall and Margaret Halpin, who was born in Dublin in 1835 to Margaret and Patrick Halpin. She was just 35 when she died (Source: Record Transcripts Irish Deaths 1864-1958). It is more likely the case that Taaffe Ferrall was simply rewarding a loyal servant who died before her time and wanted it recorded for posterity. We will probably never know the whole story.

When he died in 1898, Henry Taaffe Ferrall left £5,540 14s. 6d. [roughly £714,100 today] in his Will to his wife, Alice. She continued living at 73 Merrion Square until she died, seven years later, on 30th December 1906. 

As the couple had no children, Alice’s estate, worth £5,357 13s. 10d. [roughly £645,963 today], was left to her brother Major-General John Wolfe Keogh of the 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot and Prince of Wales’ (North Staffordshire) Regiment (he retired on 18th January 1888) of Elshieshields Tower, Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and to various charitable institutions. (Source: Will Calendars National Archive)


Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1832
Date of Death 27th Aug 1898
Associated Building (s) Moylurg House Croghan  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Alice Mary
Place & Date of Marriage 7th August 1855 at St Mary’s Church, Haddington Road, Dublin

Some communities associated with this ancestor