Friday, 24 March 2017

Coolcarrigan House

THE WILSON-WRIGHT FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 5,432 ACRES


The first member of the Wright family to settle in Ireland was

CAPTAIN JAMES WRIGHT (1615-1700), of Royston, Yorkshire, son of John Wright and Margaret, daughter of Richard Ratcliffe.

This soldier, an officer in Cromwell's army, landed at Dublin, 1649.

In 1661, Captain Wright was granted lands at Golagh in County Monaghan.

He was, however, attainted by JAMES II's parliament, 1688.

His son,

JOSEPH WRIGHT (1652-1731), of Golagh, married, in 1708, Mary, daughter of Edward Own of Kilmore, County Monaghan, and had a son,

JOSEPH WRIGHT, of Golagh, High Sheriff of Monaghan, married, in 1744, Eleanor Martyn, of Clogher and Dumbartagh, County Cavan.

The second son,

JOSEPH WRIGHT JP, of Carrachor Hall, Rector of Killencoole, Lurgan Green and Harristown, County Louth, married Mary Montgomery and had four sons.

His second son,

RICHARD WRIGHT, of Fortfield, Belfast, and Craigavad House, County Down, married Catherine, daughter of George Dowdall.

He died in 1788, leaving issue five sons and two daughters.

The third son,

EDWARD THOMAS WRIGHT (1810-81), of Donnybrook, County Dublin, Barrister, married, in 1832, his cousin Charlotte, daughter of Joseph Wright, of Beech Hill, Donnybrook, County Dublin.

The eldest son,

EDWARD PERCIVAL WRIGHT (1834-1910), Professor of Botany, Dublin University, married Emily, daughter of Colonel Ponsonby Shaw of the Indian Army.

His second son,

THE REV CHARLES HENRY HAMILTON WRIGHT (1836-1909), married, in 1859, Ebba Johanna, daughter of Nils Wilhelm Almroth (Director of the Royal Mint in Stockholm and a Knight of the Northern Star of Sweden).

His second son,

SIR ALMROTH EDWARD WRIGHT KBE CB (1861-1947), married, in 1889, Jane Georgina, daughter of Robert Mackay Wilson, of Coolcarrigan, County Kildare.

His second son,

LEONARD ALMROTH WILSON-WRIGHT JP, of Coolcarrigan, High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1921, who married, in 1925, Florence, eldest daughter of James Ivory JP, of Brewlands, Glenisla, Forfarshire, and had issue, an only son,

JOCK WILSON-WRIGHT (1928-), who married, in 1953, Sheila Gwendolyn Yate, only daughter of Colonel Henry Patrick Blosse-Lynch, of Partry, Claremorris, County Mayo, and had issue,
Robert (b 1956);
Jane Sheila (b 1958);
Janet, (b 1951) who married Sir Richard La Touche Colthurst, 9th Baronet, of Ardrum, County Cork, and had issue two sons, Charles (b 1955) and James (b 1957).
***** 

THE WILSONS descend from John Wilson, of Rahee, County Antrim, said to have landed in Carrickfergus in the suite of WILLIAM III.

Robert Mackay Wilson's great-grandfather Hugh Wilson (d 1822) also lived at Rashee.

Robert Mackay Wilson's grandfather William Wilson, of Daramona House, County Westmeath, and Larkhill, County Dublin, was born in 1787 and married, in 1815, Rebecca Dupre (d 1846), daughter of John Mackay of Elagh, County Tyrone, and Prospect, County Londonderry.

Robert's elder brother John (1826-1906) succeeded to Daramona House and was sometime High Sheriff for counties Westmeath and Longford.

Robert Mackay Wilson JP (b1829), High Sheriff of Kildare, 1887, married, in 1858, Elizabeth, daughter of Murray Suffern, of Belfast.

Mr Wilson purchased Coolcarrigan.

Coolcarrigan passed to his only surviving child,

Jane Georgina Wilson (1860-1926) who married Sir Almroth Wright.


COOLCARRIGAN HOUSE, near Naas, County Kildare, is a mansion of three bays and two storeys in the Georgian style, built in the 1830s by Robert Mackay Wilson to the designs of an unknown architect.

The façade has hooded moldings over the upper windows, a simple parapet and a typical late-Georgian door with fanlight and sidelights, while the central bay is treated as a breakfront by the addition of a pair of pilasters.


Two later curved screen walls, ending in tall piers, project outwards to either side of the entrance front and disguise the fact that the house has been considerably enlarged at the rear.

These additions make Coolcarrigan a very comfortable family home.


There is a beautiful family chapel in the grounds:

Consecrated in 1885 by the Most Rev William Plunket, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and later 4th Baron Plunket, the chapel was built in the Hiberno-Romanesque Revival style, with a Round Tower and a High Cross.

It derives from the 12th century Temple Finghin at Clonmacnoise on the River Shannon.

This tiny complex, surrounded by trees and a dry moat, is the most complete example of the Celtic Revival style in Ireland and makes an attractive view from the house.

The church interior has frescoes in Gaelic script, specially chosen by Douglas Hyde, the first Irish President and a close family friend; while the very good stained glass windows, dedicated to various members of the family, are also in the Celtic Revival style.

The main avenue has a splendid display of spring bulbs while the superb twenty-acre garden has a wonderful collection of rare and unusual trees and shrubs inspired by Sir Harold Hillier, the great 20th century plants-man and collector.

An elaborate 1900s greenhouse in the walled garden has just been authentically restored.

Robert Wilson's daughter Georgina married Sir Almroth Wright, and inherited Coolcarrigan.

Her husband was an eminent physician and a colleague of Alexander Fleming, who worked on the development of vaccination and discovered the cure for typhoid.

Among his friends was the playwright George Bernard Shaw, whose play The Doctor’s Dilemma is based upon Sir Almroth.

Their descendants, the Wilson-Wright family, still live at Coolcarrigan, the fifth generation to live in the house.

First published in March, 2013.

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