News from Times Past with Brian Gabriel

Festivities at St. Ann’s, Blarney & Temperance Festival at Inchicummane

On yesterday there was high festival at St. Ann’s. For once that ever-flowing stream of pure water, over which Dr. Barter presides, was stopped and instead thereof flowed champagne. The grounds were gaily decorated, the rooms were hung with brilliant tapestry, the health-giving operations of packing and shampooing were suspended; so no one cast a thought on ought save making merry. The reason of all these festivities is to be found in the fact that on yesterday a lady and a gentleman, both patients at St. Ann’s were united in the holy bond of matrimony. The bride was Miss Chesney, daughter of Lieutenant General Chesney, of Ballyardle, Newry, and the bridegroom, Mr. Nicholas M. O’Donnell, of Coolmore, Millstreet. The marriage ceremony was by special licence, celebrated in the reading room of the establishment, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. G.O. Pratt, of Newry. After the ceremony had been celebrated, the company adjourned to a dejeuner prepared for them in the gymnasium. This fine room had been decorated for the occasion by Mr. Richard Barter, R.H.A., and some of the ladies staying at the establishment and it is but simple notice to say that they performed the pleasing task with a skill and taste we have never seen excelled. The roof and walls of the room were all hung with red, white and blue drapery, relieved by wreaths of oak leaves and flowers, gay festoons hung from the ceiling, and in the centre of the room there nestled, amid flowers and gay ribbons, a splendidly decorated bridal cake. The dejeuner was elegant and profuse, and the wines were excellent. At the head of the table sat the bride and bridegroom, and amongst the assembled company were: – The Countess of Shannon, Lieutenant General and Mrs. Chesney, Miss and the Masters Chesney, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert, and Miss O’Donnell, Dr. Barter, Richard Barter, Jnr., Richard Barter, R.H.A.; the Misses Barter, Dr. and Mrs. O’Connell, Captain Mynheer and Mr. Mynheer, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, Mr. Wallace Adams, Mrs. Thompson and the Misses Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Hymes and Miss Geeson, Captain McCartney, 4th Dragoons, Rev. Mr. Pratt, Mr. Byrne Power, Mr and Miss Newman, Mr. Prendergast, Miss Fox, Mr. Fitzgibbon, Dr. Barrett. After full justice had been done by the guests to the splendid dejeuner provided for them, Dr. Barter proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom in a very humourous speech. The bridegroom having returned thanks, and the other toasts usual at marriage breakfasts having been drunk with all honours, General Chesney proposed the health of Dr. Barter, which was enthusiastically received. Dr. Barter, in returning thanks, said he was one of the best abused men in Ireland – where-ever he went there were persons to be found who would point him out and say, “There’s that hum-bug Dr. Barter.” But he did not mind this, for he felt comforted by knowing that his was a mission to suffering humanity, a mission to increase human happiness, to decrease human pain, disease and misery, and to prolong human life. No man could assert that anyone who had ever been under his care had pointed at him the finger of reproach, or had stated that any results, save good ones, had followed from his treatment. He was, thanks to those around him in receipt of a princely income from his establishment – but he was comparatively a poor man, for he did not hoard that income, but spent it in spreading through all Western Europe the great system he had introduced into this country – he spent that income in giving health to millions and bread to thousands. It was a proud thing for him to reflect on, that he who once rode a lame pony as a dispensary doctor, in the receipt of a salary of fifty guineas a year, had introduced a great sanitary reform into Western Europe, had establishments in all the principal towns of Great Britain, and was in the receipt of an income of some ten or twelve thousand a year – an income which, as he before said, he spent in spreading far and wide the benefits of his system But while he thus expended the income he received he also had the satisfaction of remembering that no one could say that he owed a shilling – no one could say that he had not provided for his family. But whatever remained after paying his debts, after providing for his family, he felt that he was bound in honour and duty to spend in spreading that great system which had conducted him to fame and fortune, and millions to happiness and health. The learned doctor was vociferously applauded, at the conclusion of his speech. General Chesney then proposed the health of Mr. R. Barter, R.H.A., and highly complimented him on the tasteful manner in which the room was decorated. Mr. Barter, having returned thanks, the mystic ceremony of eating the bridal-cake was performed to the satisfaction of all those present. The room was then cleared for dancing which was kept up with great animation until 5 o’clock p.m., at which hour the bride and bridegroom left St. Ann’s to proceed by train to the residence of the latter. We must not omit to mention that at the moment of their departure the goodly and ancient custom of throwing the slipper was religiously performed by the fair bridesmaids. In the evening a ball was given at which a great number of the neighbouring gentry were present, and dancing was kept up till an early hour this morning. This closed the festivities, which passed off with the greatest success. Those who had the good fortune to be present at them, will we are sure, join us in wishing that the halls of St. Ann’s may soon again be lighted up for some similar event, and that the illnesses of all Dr. Barter’s lady patients may terminate as happily as did that of Miss Jane Chesney. The above article appeared in the Cork Examiner of Wednesday 1st March 1865

Temperance Festival at Inchicummane near Blarney – Nov 1842 The members of the Inchicummane Total Abstinence Society gave their annual soiree on Sunday evening the 30th ultimo. Besides the teetotallers residing in the hamlet and its vicinity, some gentlemen from Cork, who took a prominent part in the proceedings of the society, were invited to meet the respected and beloved parish priest, the Rev. Matthew Horgan, who honoured them by presiding at the entertainment. The excellent band of the St. Patrick’s Temperance Hall, Mallow Lane, was also invited, and by their superior performance of many popular airs, waltzes’, etc., contributed greatly to the enjoyment of all present. As the Temperance Room was not sufficiently large to accommodate the guests and members, an extensive barn, belonging to Mr. Sheehan, the active local president of the Society was fitted out by the stewards in the most tasteful manner for the occasion. After ample justice had been done to the good fare so plentifully supplied to about three hundred persons, one third of whom were respectfully attired and interesting looking females, the cloth was removed and the following toasts were given with appropriate observations by the Rev. Chairman – “The People,” “Father Mathew and the Temperance Movement,” which was eloquently responded to by Mr. S. R. Quinn. “The Independent Press of Ireland and J.F. Maguire, Esq.” “The Ladies,” which was spoken to by Mr. T.F. Looney, the Vice-President, in the happiest style. At the request of the Chairman, Mr. Quinn gave, after some prefatory remarks, “Prosperity to the Inchicummane Society,” to which Mr. Sheehan replied in a manner that would reflect credit on a practised speaker. Greatly to the regret of all assembled, the Chairman was obliged to leave at nine o’clock, to attend a parishioner who was taken dangerously ill. The chair was subsequently filled by Mr. Quinn, who with Mr. Looney, addressed the meeting several times during the evening, Many admired songs were sung, and dancing was kept up until midnight dispersed as happy a group as ever assembled on any festive occasion. The above article appeared in the Cork Examiner of 7th November 1842.

To commemorate the official founding of Blarney Village 250 years ago, in 1765, all lectures presented during 2015 by Blarney & District Historical Society will have a high Blarney & District content. The illustrated lecture for Thursday 5th February 2015 at 8pm in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal (Blarney Secondary School) is titled ‘Famine Times in Blarney & District’. The speaker is Mr. Michael Murphy. Everyone is welcome to attend these excellent lectures and learn a little about the history of this famous little village. Enquiries to Brian Gabriel 087 2153216.

Limited back numbers of the Blarney & District Historical Society publications, ‘Old Blarney’ Journals, issues 1 to 9, and ‘Old Blarney’ Photo-journals, issues 1 to 4, are available by contacting Brian Gabriel on 087 2153216 or at the monthly lectures.