In September 2005, Nancy and her relative, Fenella Tillier, visited Clonmel, County Tipperary in Ireland, where the family of Nancy's mother, Gertrude Phipps, had lived. Fenella kept a diary of the visit - it is reproduced below.
Thursday, 15th September, 2005
Nancy and I arrived at Heathrow c.12.30pm. Poor Nancy cut her finger and it was almost impossible to find the First Aid roorn. Eventually having gone down to the basement, outside, along the pavement and in again, we did. Nancy finger was dressed. When we then went on a hunt looking for a sandwich! Our plane was then delayed till 5.00 pm, partly due to bad weather in Dublin and the rest because of air traffic control. We got onto the runway only to be delayed for another 30 minutes, watch every other airline queuing up and going off. We got off c. 5.30pm and landed in Shannon at 6.35.
By the time we left Shannon airport and had picked up our car it was 7.30 p.rn. and getting dark which was sad. We had a time going through Limerick and by the time we got to Tipperary it was dark. Arrived with Charles and Di at Mobarnahane Lodge, at 9.15 p.rn. having thought we had lost our way between Cashel and them, but it was alright all along!! It was good to see them and we had a delicious fish pie and blackberry and apple crumble. [Charles and Di Hazell at Mobarnahane are old friends of mine and Charles' sister Anna married James Johnson who owned Great Tew Estate in the next village to Nancy.]
Friday, 16th September, 2005
Was a lovely morning. Nancy was woken up by the sound of the donkey, which she loved. Charles really wanted to take us to his beloved library near Cashel Cathedral. We had a look around the Cathedral, love window in the nave. Charles was so enthusiastic, and gave us a very interesting talk. Some of the oldest and rarest books are here. He also brought another friend along called Christopher Horsman.
We all had lunch at Kierney's Castle Hotel, very good bowl of soup. Then came back to Mobarahane for a rest.
Later on in the afternoon we went to Clonmel to the Museum, and Charles came with us. Mr. Pat Holland wanted to meet Nancy. He had read her books when he was a student. There was a photographic exhibition, which we looked at for a short time before Mr. Holland arrived. Then I produced our family book "The Life of Colonel Pownoll Phipps" and I am afraid that was that as Mr. Holland was so interested in it, especially any pieces he could pick out about Dr. Hemphill, as he had written a book "Tipperary Images" The Photography of Dr. William Despard Hemphill. Mr. Holland very kindly gave us all a copy. He did bring some very good photos out from the museum, showing Newtown Anner. Unfortunately the museum was closing and we had to go. [Mr. Pat Holland is gardener and caretaker to Newtown Anner where the Osbornes did live and which Tessa and Nigel Cathcart now own. They have done tremendous work restoring the gardens and house.]
[Pat Holland later added this correction: "I was then the Curator of the County Museum and had then and now no formal link with Newtownanner. My book re Dr. Hemphill has many references to it and I have enjoyed visiting it several times, thanks to the hospitality of the owners."]
In the evening we had a supper party in Fethard, at Sadel's Restaurant, next to McCarthys. I wanted to introduce Nigel and Tessa Cathcart to the Hazells, also cousin Eddy Stewart-Liberty to Nancy and all the others. It turned out to be a tremendous success, no-one drew breath from the time we went to going out. Food was very good. We got home about 11pm. We left Eddy with Tessa and Nigel.
Saturday, 17th September, 2005
It was another lovely morning. We said our goodbyes to Charles and Di and drove through Fethard, taking a detour to look at the huge ramparts and stone wall. Went onto Clonmel and Oaklands. Very excited. Arrived 11am, the gates were open and the drive cemented. Also a lick of paint on the gate lodge walls. John and Sheila Hunt and their Alsatian 'Paddy' greeted us in front of the house. Poor Oaklands is a bit sad, but still standing defiant. You could still see and imagine what it used to be, and feel the love. The Hunts are trying to conserve it but the vandals had been vile.
The Hunts were very kind and had lit a huge log fire for us in the drawing room where we sat (unfortunately the vandals had broken the windows behind us and John was having trouble find the correct wood to mend them with. Very narrow slats.) It was still lovely to be there, but must have been sad for Nancy, who had stayed there in the 1960' s. We sat and reminisced. Sheila Hunt was a Miss Garde before she married and asked us if we knew a 'Charlie Phipps" who lived on the Isle of Wight. He was a first cousin to her father (so would be very very old now if alive). Her Grandmother's name was Burroughs.
We then had a small tour of Oaklands. Looked into a small room by the back stairs, which Nancy said should have been Nurse's housekeeper's room. There was a 100 next door to it now. When Nancy went in and she was accompanied by the big alsation Paddy! We could see a big window up the front stairs, looking toward the courtyard, luckily this was still intact. As you went in through the front door there a big hall with fireplace and room on left may have been the library??
We were then invited to have something to eat, but I had arranged to get a key of Bernie Lennon (churchwarden) and show Nancy the plaque in memory of our Gt. Gt.(Gt.) Grandfather. The Hunts came with us. It is a very fine plaque It read:
Sacred Memory of Colonel Pownoll Phipps, K C., H.E.I.C.S." who departed this life at Oaklands, in this parish, on the 5th November, 1858. In the 80th year of his age, where he had resided for the last 22 years of his life, universally respected and beloved. From his youth up he was a devoted servant of Christ, combining with the strictest uprightness, the most perfect Christian charity.
He served as a volunteer in Egypt in the army of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, in the year 1801 and subsequently passed 27 years in India, where he held several important staff appointments in a manner resounding to his reputation and honour. His remains lie in a vault in the churchyard, Killaloan in this county.
Also in memory of his youngest son, Robert Constatine Phipps, who died 9th October, 1841, aged 16 days, and who lies buried in this churchyard. And he said "Is well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, "It is well" - 11 Kings 1 v.26 "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me "Right, blessed are the dead which died in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the spirit: that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them" Revelations XIV; 13
At the foot of the plaque it reads "Also Anna widow of the above Colonel Pownoll Phipps, who died at Oaklands, 22nd January, 1898, Aged 89. Buried in Killaloan Church.
Another plaque in the church was for Margaret Rogers of Oaklands, Clonmel, who was born at Marlfield, February 5th, 1842, and died near Sevenoaks, June 23rd, 1904. The tablet was erected by her surviving brothers and sisters (the Bagwells).
We then returned to Oaklands and descended into the kitchens and had baked beans on toast and a cup of tea. Mr. Hunt had mended the windows in the kitchen which had been vandalised last year, and taken off the graffiti.
We then toured upstairs. The master bedroom had lovely views, and you could see anyone from the lodge gates coming up the drive, and the streams. Unfortunately the shutters had to be shut. The room on the right, looked onto a small lawn and out at the beautiful oak trees (though some are rather old now). Nancy thought that this may have been the room she slept in when she stayed with Betty. There was another room looking out towards the stables. They are fine light rooms and a good size. Apparently the third floor has the same layout. We did not go up there. Then on the top floor it is one huge room, which is believed to have been used for Quaker meetings.
As we were saying good-by to John and Sheila, he said "do drive down to the stables yard. So we did. You could see the tunnel into the house, where the servants had to bring up the water, vegetables etc. from the kitchen garden across the road. The Hunts had really been so kind, I do hope they can restore Oaklands.
Our next stop was Newtown Anner the other side of Clonmel. About 4 miles away I think. We over shot the drive, it is rather hidden. Went along this lovely long drive, with parkland to our right. It was a marvellous day with the sun shining.
We met Nigel and Tessa and outside in the garden, with the lovely dovecot, which they have restored so well. We then had a tour of the grounds. Great work is being done sowing the grass and clearing the glades. We sat on a seat beside the lake, above the Shell grotto. Then we went down some rather difficult steps and peeped into the shell house.
Then we went across the bridge to the island, which was a very popular place in the old days for the gentry to be photographed. Nigel has great ambition to dam the stream and fill the pond/moat back again with water. The island was lovely with the new grass and clearings. There was an enormous tree, very rare and maybe the best example in Ireland. On the island Nigel has a great project in restoring the Temple. The base is there and a grassy glade going down to it. We continued round, and there were lots of cyclamens round the roots of the trees. They were beautiful. We walked on round and came back to the huge Lime Tree beside the house. We peeped in the walled kitchen garden.
While Nancy looked into the stables, where her mother kept her horse, I went to look at the Peach House, which is nearly finished being restored. Also the gardener's cottage next to it, with pillars by the front door. Nigel said this is to be done up as well, they had started work on it.
We walked through the house to the front door. When Tessa offered us a cup of tea, we joked about the old days, and how they probably ate cucumber sandwiches. Lo and behold Tessa brought out cucumber sandwiches for our tea and currant bread with a choice of Indian or china tea. We sat in the front of the house, thinking how our aunts, uncle, cousins, would have had cucumber sandwich with their tea!
It had been such a lovely afternoon, dreaming and feeling, how it was when our ancesiors lived at Newtown Anner.
It was now about 5 p.m. and we set off to find our Bed and Breakfast, at Lissarda, situated above the River Suir and Hotel Minella. Mrs. Moran was ready to greet us and show our rooms. It was a very convenient bungalow. Nancy went to have a rest, while I went to find a lemon for Tessa for our dinner! I bought a bottle of wine, some cheese, a lemon and snack for our picnic the next day. When I came back eventually it was time to return to Newtown Anner for dinner.
We were taken through the hall, and drawing room, with it marble fireplace and beautiful ceilings. We went into to Boudoir for dinner. There was a lovely wood fire and candles. We sat and relaxed in front of the fire and talked. Then had a delicious meal, of salmon and stewed blackberries and apple from Newtown Anner garden.
We left about 9.45 p.rn. for our B. & B. It had been such a marvellous day. We had lunched at Oaklands and dined at Newtown Anner. Been to the Abbey Church. Weather so perfect and John, Sheila, Tessa and Nigel so kind. I was so happy that it was Nancy and myself together. We can feel the love our family had for Oaklands.
Sunday. 18th September, 2005
We had a very good breakfast at Lissarda. Then made our way to Killaloan Church at about 10.00a.m. It has an avenue of trees to it. We met Pat Maher, who lives in a bungalow on the right, with his brother Michael. It was Michael who was to show us round the church and family vaults. Michael waved to us from the church and his large collie came bounding towards us, ready to knock us down!! He did settle very soon afterwards. As we entered the churchyard, there a mass of cyclamens in the grass. I pointed out to Nancy the Phipps vault on the right hand side, adjacent to the church. It has been cemented up. Sad the plaque is missing. It should read in the front:
Within this vault are deposited the remains of Margaret Smith Widow of the late Major Smith Died 17th April, 1839. Aged 73
Margaret Ramsay Warde Died 26th Sept., 1845. Aged 58
Col. Pownoll Phipps, K.C., H.E.I.C.S. Died 5th November, 1858. Aged 79
Matilda Eliza Phipps Died 23rd Jan. 1880. Aged 46
Anna Phipps Widow of Colonel Pownoll Phipps Died 22nd Jan. 1898. Aged 89
We then looked at the Osborne vault in the left hand comer of the churchyard. It is said Sir Thomas is not buried in it. Also states Catherine (Lady Osborne, G. G. Grandmother's sister, died in 1836 and not 1856. Michael told us an interest tales about (Obby) Osborne de Vere, son of Grace and the Duke of St. Albans. How when the Second World War broke out he took the iron railing from around the Osborne vault and sent them to England for bullets to be made! Also ploughed up the tennis court and grew com, in support of English. Said he would never return to Ireland again after the war, and I believe when he came over he would meet people in Northern Ireland. He is buried in England at Flookborough in England and his wife Beatrix is buried at Killaloan, near the church at the West End.
Lastly we looked inside the remains of the church. There is still a plaque in memory of: Margaret Ramsay Warde, daughter of Sarah Catherine Warde (she had eight children) and Rev, Richard Warde, Vicar ofYalding, Kent, (for 43 years).
Michael said, when the church was made redundant, they took all the tablets out and put them in the old St. Mary's Church, in Clonmel. They did not realised that Margaret Ramsay . Warde was related to Lady Osborne. (I have not got the wording right yet) I must write and let him know, then maybe it could be put in the old church with the others.
We left Killaloan about mid-day and drove to Sir Thomas' bridge, whichjoined his estates in Waterford and Tipperary. It was a very fine bridge. We walked along the river Suir, with the sun shining. Then we headed for the Comeragh mountains. So often the family had gone over here to Carigbrahane, near Stradbally, where G.G.G. Grandmother Annie's brother James Smith lived. He managed the Osborne estates.
We were so lucky it was such a clear day and we could see and feel the mountains. We went through Rathcormac (had a sign saying "Welcome Slovakia" left over from last year when they housed competitors in the Para-Olympic games, were held in Dublin).
We got to Stradbally at 1pm and the little shop was open, so we bought something to drink and a scone. We went down to the Cove. Lovely sand, but the sea was out as far as it could go! Round the comer, so we could not see it. We have the whole beach nearly to ourselves. It was said, there are red squirrels there, but we did not see any. We had our picnic, sitting on a stone on the beach, it was idyllic. P. WP. says in his autobiography "we used to bathe at Stradbally" We could just imagine it. After our picnic I went for a paddle, Nancy said she would come as far as she could. Lo and behold she came to the edge of the sea and felt the lovely warm water. On our way back, Nancy took a diversion because of the water and she had shoes on. I went round the other way into the pool my feet nearly got stuck, it was quick sand!! When I got around the rock, I saw Nancy rock climbing!! She had to scramble over some rocks to get onto dry beach! ! It was so peaceful, as we were leaving about 3.0p.m. people were arriving, we thought it may be locals and they new the tide had turned and was coming in.
We thought it time to go, and stopped at a very convenient 'convenience'! Also at the stopped at the shop for some water. Made our way to our new Bed and Breakfast, . Ballinacourty House, near Tipperary. We went via Dungarvan and Lismore. Saw the castle from a distance. Made our way to Clogheen over the Knockmealdown Mountains. It was fabulous. The walks our ancestors had done over these mountains was amazing. There were a lot of rhododendron bushes everywhere, near Lismore side. We stopped at a 'view point' near The Vee. Looking down towards the Galty mountains and Tipperary. We had a biscuit and a drink.
Then we drove on through Clogheen and Cahir, turned left through the Glen of Aherlow, between the Galty Mountains and Tipperary. We arrived at Ballincourty House about 5.30 p.m. Met by Rowland, young man who managed the hotel and cooked. His wife had given birth to a baby boy and just returned home. In 1871 P.W.P. had breakfasted here, when the Massey Dawson's lived here. Unfortunately the house was burnt down in the 1920's. They had converted the stables and courtyard into a B. and B., with a restaurant included. We dined at 7.0 p.m. and had a delicious meal. When we went to bed, the moon was full, and you could see the Galty Mountains.
Monday, 19th September, 2005
We had a very good breakfast. Set off for Shannon Airport. Limerick was a bit of muddle, but we arrived safely. It was sad sitting on the runway in our plane, saying "Goodbye Tipperary". It had been a marvellous holiday, everything seemed to work out as planned, and even visits unplanned!!
Nancy did so well, at the age of 91 years. It was amazing. Thank you Nancy.