Woodlawn House, Clonodfoy, County Limerick
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The Gascoigne family were connected to Ireland from the time of Richard Oliver Gascoigne, he was born in County Limerick [see details here]
The two Gascoigne sister's [Isabella and Elizabeth] each married into the Trench family, Elizabeth marrying Lord Ashtown in 1852. Woodlawn became the focus of improvements to the Irish estates, the other being the family seat at Castle Oliver.
The relationship between the English and the Irish along with our other great nations in this small collection of islands, the Scots and the Welsh, has long been fraught with difficulties. These four peoples with many commonalities, harbour serious national desires, which are still evident today. However, whilst it may be expedient in our
P.C. times to condemn Empire and any of its benefits, many worthy and noble endeavours have been washed away in the tidal influence of
P.C. The Gascoigne sister's are one such example, they were of Anglo-Irish descent and clearly did their utmost to stem the effects of famine in the areas of Ireland under which they had any sway. The observations by Rev. F.S.Colman from the
History of Barwick in Elmet, published by the Thoresby Society in 1908, states: ...where they [The Gascoigne sister's, Isabella and Elizabeth] took so active a part in relieving the distress of the peasants during the Potato famine of 1846-7....
A chronicler [Memoir of the Trench family, by T.R.F. Cooke-Trench (pp112)] It is much to be regretted that no record has been left to us of the great work done by these two very remarkable ladies on their estate at Clonodfoy, County Limerick, during the great Irish Famine.
It is to be feared that their self sacrificing work did not receive the recognition that it deserved at the hands of those whom it was meant to benefit.
Kilfinnane Church is near Castle Oliver and the window below is in memory of Elizabeth. Unfortunately we do not know who erected or paid for it.
The pictures of Woodlawn and the Church were kindly provided by Roderick Trench.
The two Gascoigne sisters were noted for their skills in the use of stained glass, in Aberford the Almshouses are bestowed with many fine examples of the craft.
Castle Oliver [also known as Clonodfoy] around the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Castle Oliver taken in 2004, in contrast to the nineteenth century image above, a lake covers the area that was previously a formal garden.
Castle Oliver from a nineteenth century photograph.
A book on Castle Oliver is nearing publication, it's a must for those interested in the Gascoigne's and their heirs the "Oliver & Trench" families.
Various other links for information on Castle Oliver here:
Parlington Hall in the late Nineteenth century. Taken from a photograph provided
by the Garforth Historical Society.